Update on three Alberni-Georgia Corridor developments: Feb. 7, 2017

cov-wecp-2013-corridors-beach-frame-sketch

Sketch of the Thurlow-Burrard (red hue, vertical) and Alberni-Georgia “corridors” (red, horizontal), from p22 of West End Community Plan (2013)

Below is a brief update on three selected developments in the “Alberni – Georgia corridor,” kindly compiled and submitted by a reader. The West End Community Plan was adopted by City Council in 2013.

1550 Alberni (October 20 2016) (readdressed as “1568 Alberni”)

  • This is a proposal for a 43-storey tower.
  • Following approval of the Revised Rezoning Application (Public Hearing October 20, 2016), a Development Application (DP-2016-00640) was submitted on November 18, 2016.
  • The official deadline (to be included in staff report) for public comments on the Development Application was January 27, 2017, but concerned residents can still send in their comments for consideration.

1500 West Georgia Street

  • This is a rezoning application for a 43-storey tower.
  • The Urban Design Panel (an advisory body for City Council) did not support the 1500 West Georgia project (October 5, 2016)
  • What’s next? Stay tuned.
  • You can provide comments on this rezoning application by filling out an online feedback form. The official deadline for comments was October 30, 2016, but comments will be accepted “up to the Public Hearing date.”

1640-1650 Alberni Street

  • This is a rezoning application for a 42-storey tower.
  • The Urban Design Panel supported this project (November 30, 2016).
  • What’s next? A Public Hearing. No date has been set (as of Feb 8, 2017) for Public Hearing for this application.
  • You can provide comments on this rezoning application by filling out an online feedback form. The official deadline for comments was January 2, 2017, but comments will be accepted “up to the Public Hearing date.”

*****

For reference, here is an excerpt from the West End Community Plan (2013). For more information about general policies for this Alberni-Georgia Cooridor, see the text starting on p43. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

BC Hydro consulting West Enders on proposed “seed” underground substations: Feb 15, 16, 18, 20, 22

BC Hydro is sharing ideas on a proposal to construct new underground electrical power substations in the West End (Lord Roberts School Annex) and Yaletown and to renovate an existing substation under Cathedral Square downtown. BC Hydro is promoting possible public benefits, such as new schools. Some people have contact WEN asking about this proposal, saying that the media coverage is emphasizing the positive aspects, but what about other concerns? We haven’t developed a position on the proposal, but welcome input from readers. What issues have not yet been discussed publicly enough?

Key points for the West End: Hydro is suggesting it pay for a new school in Coal Harbour and move students from the Lord Roberts Annex there in 2020. The Lord Roberts Annex would be demolished, the property excavated, the underground substation built there and then a new school would be built on top. The estimated completion date is 2025. (Vancouver Sun)

BC Hydro is expecting to make decisions by late March, 2017.

There are many things to consider, and there has been considerable media coverage already (below we provide a few links and excerpts). For extensive information and to give feedback, please visit bchydro.com/seed.

The BC Hydro website contains detailed information (FAQ), a list of consultation events, and information about EMF (electric and magnetic fields), plus a link to provide feedback online. There are several opportunities to learn more and give feedback in person:

Open Houses: 

  • Saturday February 18, 10 am – 1 pm, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 1130 Jervis Street
  • Monday February 20, 5 pm – 8 pm, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 1130 Jervis Street
  • Wednesday February 22, 5 pm – 8 pm, Elise Roy Elementary School, 150 Drake Street

Roundtable Discussions: These will also be held (space is limited and registration is required). Email seed@bchydro.com to sign up for…

  • Wednesday February 15 (6 pm to 8 pm) or
  • Thursday February 16 (6 pm to 8 pm).

**************

MEDIA COVERAGE

B.C. Hydro lays plans for two new downtown Vancouver substations, deep underground (by Matt Robinson, Vancouver Sun, January 19, 2017)
http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/b-c-hydro-lays-plans-for-two-new-downtown-vancouver-substations-deep-underground
Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

West End Parking Strategy, 400% price hike: In City Council Feb 8 (Wed)

cov-west-end-parking-9-recommendations-july-2016

Nine recommendations by City staff, as of summer 2016

As reported previously by West End Neighbours, the City of Vancouver was consulting the public in 2015 and 2016 on a “West End Parking Strategy.” The final step is now here, with staff recommendations set to be presented at the February 8, 2017 (Wednesday, starting 9:30 a.m.) standing committee meeting of City Council.

One proposal by staff is to boost the annual parking permit fee for residents to $360 per year. This is down from the previous proposal to charge $600 per year. On other points, how well have staff incorporated public input?

 

If Council approves the recommendations, implementation will start in 2017. Concerned citizens may write or speak to Council. If you are concerned, you can attend in person. You can also observe the discussion by live or archived web video.

See the meeting agenda here, or download the staff report/recommendations here:
http://council.vancouver.ca/20170208/documents/cfsc4.pdf

Below is some extra information compiled by WEN. (We have not yet done a detailed analysis of the current/final proposal by staff.)

Parking wars: 400% price hike proposed for new West End street parkers: Increase from $72 per year to $360 per year intended to help cut street parking gridlock (by Karin Larsen, CBC News, 01-Feb-2017. Excerpt: Next week, a report will go before council outlining a number of recommendations to help curb the problem, including raising the permit rate 400 per cent, from $72 per year to $360 per year for people wanting to buy a permit for the first time. Those with existing permits will only see small increases.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-west-end-parking-permit-1.3961543 Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Currently “no new development applications” in the West End

Just for the record, the West End Community Plan Update (e-mail, 3-Feb-2017) from the City of Vancouver, says:

Development Applications

There are currently no new development applications in the West End. Two existing applications (1345 Davie Street [Safeway block on Davie and Cardero] and 1488 Robson Street [Empire Landmark Hotel]) are active but are unscheduled for the Development Permit Board. For more information go to vancouver.ca/devapps or call 3-1-1 and provide the operator with the address.

West End Neighbours (WEN) adds that besides “development applications” the community needs to keep an eye on “rezoning applications,” which are listed on the City website by address, at vancouver.ca/rezapps. In addition, keep an eye on upcoming meetings of the Urban Design Panel, and Development Permit Board.

Posted in Uncategorized

1523 Davie Street (Gabriola Mansion)​: Architect’s open house Feb. 9 & 23, 2017

gabriola-mansion-1523-davie-credit-carreramc-com

Gabriola Mansion: Credit: CarerraMC.com

Ankenman Marchand Architects intends to submit a rezoning application to the City of Vancouver for 1523 Davie Street (Gabriola Mansion) and on behalf of the property owner is hosting an open house to share their ideas and get some early feedback from the West End community.

Download poster from architect here.

UPDATE (20-Feb): ADDITIONAL DATE ADDED.

What: Pre-application Open House for the Gabriola Mansion
Where: Gabriola Mansion, 1523 Davie Street
When: Thursday, February 23, 2017 (6 -8 pm)
Purpose: For the applicant to gather community feedback before submitting a formal rezoning application

A rezoning application has not yet been submitted to the City.

If you wish to provide comments on the enquiry please contact the enquirer, Timothy Ankenman, Ankenman Marchand Architects, at timothy@amarchitects.com or attend the open house.

When: 6-8 pm, Thursday, February 9, 2017
Location: The Gabriola Mansion (1523 Davie Street) Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

West Enders: Buy resident parking permit now (if you don’t have one) to save hundreds of dollars a year in future

West Enders who do not yet have resident parking permits may wish to make their purchase soon, because NEW parking permits in the West End are expected to cost about $600 per year, whereas renewals (May 2017) are expected to be about $75 for existing permit holders.

This is somewhat speculative, but in the near future and without much warning, City staff are likely to send their recommendations to Vancouver City Council to adopt their proposals to “improve” parking in the West End.

If you (or friends or family members) may need street parking in future, you can buy a West End Parking Permit online here (see conditions for eligibility):
https://app.vancouver.ca/ResidentialParkingPermit_net/

If you purchase the permit now, the pricing is “pro-rated” to the end of May 2017, so it works out to about $42 for the remaining portion of the permit lifespan. You will need your ICBC documentation to complete the online renewal.

See our previous coverage on this topic: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

West End / Coal Harbour Housing Forum – Nov 24 (Thurs) – by West End/Coal Harbour MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert

spencer-chandra-herbert-photoHere is an announcement from BC MLA for the West End and Coal Harbour, Spencer Chandra Herbert, who says “We are a community currently experiencing a devastating housing crisis that affects so many of us.”

spencer-renter-forum-poster-24-nov-2016
6:30 pm, Thursday, November 24, 2016
St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 1130 Jervis St.

Housing Forum Speakers

  • David Eby – NDP Official Opposition Housing Spokesperson
  • David Hutniak – Landlord BC
  • Karen Sawatzky – Air BnB Researcher
  • Danny Oleksiuk –Abundant Housing Vancouver
  • St. Paul’s Advocacy

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Adriane Carr town hall meeting in West End Nov 30 (Wed) as Neighbourhood Liaison Councillor

adriane-carr-town-hall-photo-nov-2016Councillor Adriane Carr Holding Neighbourhood Liaison Town Hall Meetings

Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr has scheduled Town Hall Meetings in the four neighbourhoods to which she has been assigned “neighbourhood councillor liaison” duty, including the West End. Below are the dates, with the West End event in bold.

  • Mon. Nov. 21 – 7:30-9:30 pm – West Point Grey United Church – 4595 West 8th Avenue
  • Wed. Nov 23 – 7:30-9:30 pm – Killarney Community Centre – 6260 Killarney Street
  • Fri. Nov 25 – 6:30-8:30 pm – Strathcona Community Centre – 601 Keefer Street
  • Wed. Nov 30 – 6:30-8:30 pm – Gordon Neighbourhood House (West End) – 1019 Broughton Street

Councillor Carr will be starting each meeting with an update on Federal Cabinet’s Kinder Morgan decision, urging attendees to help distribute flyers providing Vancouver residents with the information they need to urge Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet to say “NO” to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker expansion plans.

The bulk of the meeting will be an open mic Q&A session allowing people to raise any question or Vancouver issue of concern to them. Councillor Carr has engaged Pete Fry to help her with follow-up on the issues raised. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Realtor lists 1045 Haro strata & offices at 875 Thurlow, potential for 2 new 60-storey towers: Case study for West End Community Plan

The URBAN YVR blog has a post dated November 5 entitled “West End strata goes up for sale, two new 550′ feet tall towers could be allowed: Redevelopment of strata and office buildings could transform block next to Sutton Place Hotel.” It describes a current listing  with realtor Cushman & Wakefield for two sites in one sales package (1045 Haro and 875 Thurlow). One of the buildings currently on the site is a 161-unit strata building just 36 years old. The other is a commercial building just renovated this year in 2016.

This is another site to follow in order for the community to understand the impacts of the West End Community Plan, adopted by City Council in November 2013.

City Council and city planners spoke little of any potential development rush during the consultations with residents in the community, and instead emphasized “affordability”: “Strategically locate opportunities for new growth through increased heights and densities along the Georgia and Burrard Corridors and in Lower Robson to help deepen housing affordability and to contribute public benefits” (excerpt from “Overall directions” (page 43)). The term “deepen” was not defined in the Plan. Will future uses of this property “deepen” affordability in the West End? Changes to the provincial strata corporation act have also facilitated the liquidation of strata condo housing. Are city and provincial policies inviting speculation and the opposite of the promised affordability effect?

It will be interesting to follow this site and learn more about the impacts of the Plan on current residents of this building, how the deal was orchestrated, and who actually controls ownership of the property. And who benefits from the West End Plan.

Below are some points and excerpts, but please visit the original post and the realtor’s pamphlet (PDF) for more text.

*************

  • The property covers almost an entire downtown city block, and is currently mixed-use building with 161 strata lots. 1045-haro-cushman-wakefield-listing-package-nov-2016-sm
  • Cushman & Wakefield is representing owners of two sites: the “City View” strata condominium complex at 1045 Haro Street (a seven-storey building built in 1980 — making it just 36 years old), and the commercial building at 842 Thurlow Street, which was renovated this year (2016).

    1045-haro-strata-bldg-google-streeview-nov-2016

    36-year old strata at 1045 Haro

  • Cushman & Wakefield describes the property as “one of the largest and most prominent redevelopment opportunities ever experienced in downtown Vancouver.”
  • URBAN YVR says, “These previously under-appreciated properties are suddenly some of downtown Vancouver’s hottest redevelopment opportunities due to changes introduced in the West End Community Plan, adopted by the city in 2013 but now just starting to have an impact on the area.”842-thurlow-office-bldg-google-streetview-nov-2016
  • The Plan allows buildings up to 60 storeys in some locations. This property falls under the “Burrard Corridor E” part of the West End Community Plan, where building heights up to 550 feet can be considered (see page 50 of West End Community Plan).
  • Cushman & Wakefield: “It is estimated that 1045 Haro redevelopment presents the potential to redevelop the site to, likely, a two tower redevelopment scheme.”
  • URBAN YVR: “The increase in allowable building heights has already caused a land rush in the area, with one run-down, three storey walk-up on Nelson Street being flipped for $68 million in a deal earlier this yearIndividual condo owners in strata buildings are cashing out, banding together to sell their buildings in the West End to developers, in some cases receiving double the market value for their units due to the higher building heights now allowed in the West End plan.”
  • The property sale at 1045 Haro Street is subject to a bid process with no formal asking price. More details are in Cushman & Wakefield’s offering brochure here.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

West End parking: Paul Juzkow reports on research, comments on City’s responses. Council decision coming soon.

cov-west-end-parking-9-recommendations-july-2016

Nine recommendations by City staff to solve parking problems in the West End. The public should have a chance to speak to Mayor and City Council when the topic comes up in the fall of 2016.

A year ago, West End residents learned that the City of Vancouver was consulting the public and looking for solutions to parking problems in the West End. In July 2016 we learned that staff had issued nine recommendations, including a 700% percent increase in resident parking permit fees.

Paul Juzkow, a twenty-five year resident of the West End, has spent a lot of time and effort investigating the issues, taking notes and making observations, corresponding with City Hall, and talking to community members on the topic of parking issues and the nine recommendations. He has kindly shared with us some excerpts of responses from the City, plus his own comments and observations. We are happy to post them here, noting that the opinions are his. See our July 14 post for his earlier comments, plus links to media coverage (Resident critiques City’s bulletin on new West End parking policy recommendations after public outcry).

The consultation process has basically ended, and City staff are expected to submit their report to City Council this fall. That will be the public’s last and only real chance to speak to Mayor and Council, your elected officials, on this topic.

Anyone who will be affected by the proposed parking changes in the West End, now is the time to prepare to communicate with Mayor and Council (once the meeting date is set and documents are available).

Nine recommendations from the City:

  1. Charge market-based rates for new parking permits
  2. Keep existing permit holders on the same rates
  3. Create a parking benefit district
  4. Divide the permit zone
  5. Unlock unused parking
  6. Improve parking enforcement and driving alternatives
  7. Let visitors park in residential spaces when it’s less busy
  8. Add parking meters to some visitor parking spaces
  9. Convert some residential parking to visitor parking

**************

West End Parking Changes Update
By Paul Juzkow, October 18, 2016

The City replied to me on an email that I had sent listing my evaluation of the City’s 9 recommendations regarding parking in the West End (I am “against” 1, 4, 8, 9, “for” 5 and 7, and “neutral” on 2, 3, and 6). (See full details on the City’s web page, http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/west-end-parking-strategy.aspx). My comments are based on what I heard from residents of the West End and some of my own ideas. In this post I share the responses I received from the City, and my comments on each one.

Additionally, many people have asked me to comment on the Mobi Bicycles. At the bottom, I share some thoughts about the impacts of the Mobi bike-sharing system, Construction, and Movie Filming, on parking in the West End.

RESPONSES FROM CITY OF VANCOUVER, AND COMMENTS BY PAUL JUZKOW

Recommendation 1: “Charge market-based rates for new parking permits”
City: “The price increase is intended to reduce the difference in cost between on-street and off-street parking. $50/month would fall near the low end of off-street parking prices in the West End. The risk in implementing a smaller increase, or series of smaller increases is that it wouldn’t achieve the goal of equalizing the cost of parking choices in the neighbourhood.”

Paul: My position is “against.” The City doesn’t even mention my main objection, i.e. that this will decease affordability in the neighbourhood. We are going to make our neighbourhood way less affordable to save some residents “5 minutes and over 1 km of extra driving.” I think residents would pick affordability over the 5 extra minutes any day!

Also, the City also doesn’t mention that this dramatic increase goes against the City Council approved Transportation 2040 plan which states the intent would be to “gradually raise prices.” 700% is not a gradual increase!

Recommendation 3: “Create a parking benefit district”
City: “Regarding the re-investment of parking revenues in a West End benefit district: Our recommendations will be part of a council report that will fully state our intentions on this issue. More details on the benefit district and potential ways to create or enhance West End amenities will be available moving forward.”

Paul: My position is “neutral.” If the City does proceed with these parking changes it could result in up to $5 million more collected from parking permits and meters. We would want this money spent in the West End! From the response it sounds like this will be recommended. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized