Happy New Year 2018 from West End Neighbours!


West End kayak Christopher Hughes 2011Happy New Year!

Vancouver City Council adopted the current West End Community Plan in November 2013, so in 2018 we will mark the milestone of five years since the plan was adopted. The WECP has triggered some dramatic changes in the community, including  pace of demolition and construction that has even surprised our city planners.

The City does not have a systematic process for tracking, evaluating, and reporting on implementation of the WECP and delivery of promised benefits. During the coming year, West End Neighbours will report on proposals and decisions affecting the neighbourhood, put together information on the ongoing changes, and provide residents with information and suggestions on how to get local voices heard at City Hall.

WEN started reporting on issues back in 2010, so this site is a good archive of things over the past eight years. We will do our best to keep the stories coming. We welcome input, information and tips, suggestions for stories, and donations to cover our costs.

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Many West End topics in Council Nov 28 (Tues): Housing Strategy, Gabriola Mansion, Social Housing at 1488 Robson, Naming of West End Lanes, Coast Plaza Hotel, Rental Buildings

The Regular Meeting of Vancouver City Council will cover several topics that relate to the West End. For now we just list them here, with links to relevant documents. The meeting starts at 9:30 am. The agenda, documents, instructions on how to write or speak to City Council are at this link. Please visit the official agenda for the full, up to date list.


Here is a selection of topics especially relevant to the West End.


1. Housing Vancouver Strategy (2018 – 2027) and 3-Year Action Plan (2018 – 2020)

Gil Kelley, General Manager, Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability, will present on the Policy Report dated November 15, 2017.


1. TEXT AMENDMENT: 1523 Davie Street (Gabriola Mansion)

On November 14, 2017, Vancouver City Council heard from speakers at a Public Hearing on the above-noted application and, following the close of the receipt of public comments, referred discussion and decision to the Regular Council meeting on November 28, 2017, as Unfinished Business.

The following previously distributed documents refer:

Policy Report dated October 3, 2017, entitled “CD-1 Text Amendment: 1523 Davie Street (Gabriola Mansion)”; PDF
Summary and Recommendation PDF
Minutes 2 of this agenda package.


4. CAC Policy Update: Simplifying CACs on New Rental Housing and Commercial Development


5. Acquisition of Social Housing at 1488 Robson Street


1. Naming of West End Lanes and New Temporary City Hall Plaza


1. Approval of Form of Development – 1030 Denman Street (Coast Plaza Hotel)


5. Retaining Older Purpose Built Rental Accommodation



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Gabriola Mansion (1523 Davie) goes to Public Hearing tonight (Nov 14) for 16+4 market rentals, no height increase

gabriola-mansion, Vancouver Archives

Gabriola Mansion at 1523 Davie Street in Vancouver’s West End, in 1903, two years after completion (Vancouver Archives)

A rezoning application for an icon of the West End, the Gabriola Mansion at 1523 Davie Street, goes to Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. It is item #2 on the agenda for the meeting, which starts at 6 pm.

Official information on the application:

Basic details of the application:

To amend the text of CD-1 (248) (Comprehensive Development) District for 1523 Davie Street (Gabriola Mansion) for:

  • the preservation and restoration of significant heritage elements of the Gabriola Mansion;
  • the conversion of the mansion into 16 market rental units;
  • four new infill market rental townhouses to be developed in the northeast corner of the property;
  • an increase in floor space ratio (FSR) from 0.35 to 0.89; and
  • no increase in height from the existing CD-1 (248).

Public Hearing agenda and documents, including correspondence:


Vancouver council to decide on new uses for two old mansions: Casa Mia to become a care facility, while the Gabriola Mansion slated for rental units (by Justin McElroy, CBC, 9-Nov-2017)


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Open House: 1444 Alberni & 740 Nicola (Nov 7) for 43 + 48 storey towers

1468 Alberni renderings, Oct 2017

Open House: 1444 Alberni Street and 740 Nicola Street
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
5 to 8 pm
Listel Hotel Impressionist Gallery (1300 Robson St)

Basic info:

  • Two buildings (43 and 48 storeys)
  • 314 market strata units and 129 market rental units
  • A 56 space City owned childcare facility on Level 7
  • Closure of Nicola Street between Alberni Street and the lane to create a new City park
  • Applicant seeks an increase in density from current 6 to 15 FSR (floor space ratio)
  • Located within the Georgia Corridor as defined in the West End Community Plan
  • The permitted height limit is 300 ft. (“relaxable” by Development Permit Board to 450 ft or 137.2 m). “View corridors restrict height to between approximately 480 ft (146.3 m) and 410 ft (124.97 m)” across the site. The site is currently occupied by a mixed use building containing office and rental residential use.
  • Vancouver based developers Asia Standard Americas and Landa in partnership with architectural firms Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) and Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership (MCMP). “At the outset, it was unanimous that the design paid homage to the rich history of the surrounding area and incorporated the progressive nature of the West End Community Plan.”
  • View the full application here (http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1444alberni_740nicola/index.htm)
  • Project description here: http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1444alberni_740nicola/documents/03-ProjectDescription.pdf

City contact: Yan Zeng, Rezoning Planner, yan.zeng@vancouver.ca, 604-871-6383
Applicant contact: Monika Serrer, MCM Partnership, mserrer@mcmparchitects.com, 604-687-2990

This application is being considered under the West End Community Plan and Rezoning Policy for the West End.


Previous mention by West End Neighbours Continue reading

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Pre-Application Open House: 1060-1080 Barclay St (Nov 1) for two towers (48 & 49 storeys), by Bosa Properties

Images were from the Open House.

A developer-hosted open house to gather initial feedback was held:
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
5 to 8 pm
Century Plaza Hotel – Burrard Room (1015 Burrard St)

Buro Ole Scheeren, Francl Architecture and Bosa Properties intend to apply for a rezoning of the properties located at 1040, 1060, 1070 and 1080 Barclay Street for two buildings with commercial uses proposed along Thurlow Street.

The West End Community Plan Implementation Newsletter (Oct 27) stated that this was for 441 market strata units and 193 social housing units. Numbers presented at the open house differ (see below).

Pre-application open houses are an opportunity for developers to share early plans and receive initial community feedback in preparation for a rezoning application.

This is another major project enabled by the West End Community Plan.

From the open house:
Proposal Statistics. The following statistics are preliminary and will be further refined for a rezoning submission. Continue reading

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Rezoning open house Oct 16 (Mon) for 2 buildings (32 and 33 storeys) 1065 Harwood, 1332 Thurlow, 1066 Harwood, 1078 Harwood

1065 Harwood + Thurlow 2 towers Open house Oct 2017Rezoning Application – Upcoming Open House
1065 Harwood Street, 1332 Thurlow Street, 1066 Harwood Street and 1078 Harwood Street
Two buildings (32 and 33 storeys)
202 market strata units and 98 social housing units
Open house to learn more and share your thoughts:
Monday, October 16, 2017, 5-8 pm
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
1110 Howe Street, Columbia Room, Mezzanine Level

Below is the text of a notification postcard from the City of Vancouver Continue reading

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West End Housing & Homelessness Forum (By-Election Council Candidates): St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, Oct 5 (Thu) 7pm

Candidates Forum 5-Oct-2017, GNH

Event notice for by-election City Council candidates’ meeting (one to be elected, see details here):

West End Housing & Homelessness Forum
Thursday, October 5th, 2017
7 to 9 pm
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, 1022 Nelson Street, Vancouver
Organizer: Gordon Neighbourhood House

How should the City of Vancouver move forward on issues of homelessness and housing? Candidates seeking to become Vancouver’s next city councillor will answer questions from community stakeholders on these two critical issues in the West End.

In attendance:
– Hector Bremner (NPA)
– Diego Cardona (Vision Vancouver)
– Pete Fry (Green Party)
– Judy Graves (OneCity)
– Jean Swanson

Send your questions to welcome@gordonhouse.org

Wheelchair accessible venue; all welcome.

We acknowledge that this event takes place on the unceded, occupied, ancestral and traditional lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Source – original Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/events/132766430686809/

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Westenders: Vote in by-election! Advance voting Oct 4 (Wed) & Oct 10 (Tue), general voting Oct 14 (Sat)

by-election-general-landing, credit CoV Oct 2017

Image credit: City of Vancouver

October 2017 By-Election Candidates Meeting and Voting Dates

Oct 4 (Wed), 8 am to 8 pm: Advance Voting at Vancouver City Hall

October 5 (Fri) 7-9 pm: All Candidates’ Forum (organized by Gordon Neighbourhood House). Venue: St Andrew’s Wesley United Church, 1022 Nelson St.

Oct 10 (Tue), 8 am to 8 pm: Advance Voting at Vancouver City Hall

Oct 14 (Sat), 8 am to 8 pm: General voting at various voting places. There are also various ways to vote. See info here. http://vancouver.ca/your-government/where-to-vote.aspx

Click for official  voting information from the City of Vancouver.

Message from West End Neighbours: Voter turnout for by-elections is typically low. The results this month’s by-election for one seat on City Council and all seats on the Vancouver School Board will be decided by those who actually vote. We encourage people to prepare, and then to get out and vote. Be sure to also have a look at the track records and funding sources of candidates and their parties. Vote! Decide who will take the contested positions until the main civic election a year from now. 

Check local media online for recent coverage the campaigns and promises of the candidates. The Vancouver CourierVancouver Sun, and Georgia Straight are good places to start. You can also check the candidates and party websites. The October 5 All Candidates’ Forum would also be worthwhile attending.

Below is official information from the City.


Advance voting for by-election takes place on October 4 and 10
Vancouver City Hall open from 8am to 8pm 


Advance voting for the 2017 Vancouver by-election will take place on October 4 and 10 at Vancouver City Hall, 453 West 12th Ave, from 8am to 8pm.

October 14 is general voting day for the by-election, which will elect one city councillor and nine school trustees.

list of all candidates and their profiles can be viewed online by visiting vancouver.ca/by-election.

During advance voting, staff will offer accessibility aids to assist persons with disabilities, including a sip and puff device, audio system with headphones to read the ballot, and a magnification device to enlarge text on the ballot. Continue reading

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Outcome: 7-storey maple to be cut down at Bidwell & Davie for Reliance tower project

Bidwell Davie trees, Reliance Project, 5-Sep-2017 (1)Here is an update on our previous story (“1188 Bidwell: Proposed big tree removal (maple, 7 storeys high) appears to violate City’s development permit conditions,” 18-Aug-2017).

The concerned resident stayed in touch with the City after surprising officials there by inquiring in August about a sign indicating the seven-storey-tall maple tree would be cut down, and WEN dug into the development approval documents to discover that the tree was supposed to be preserved.

Below is a September 6 memorandum back from the City’s project facilitator, which we share here, with permission.

Bottom line: “… the tree cannot be retained due it presenting a hazard to the public…”

On the positive side, the City did a good job of communicating with the concerned resident and reporting back. And this case put senior officials on notice that the public wants transparency and that the departments involved need to take more care with reviews of big developments — prior to and after approvals.

On the negative side, in this case it became clear that the relevant departments had not been in adequate communication with each other and there are still unanswered questions about the process. When it approved the tree removal this summer, the Park Board apparently did not know that the City required Reliance Properties to preserve all existing trees as a strict condition to win the development approval for a 22-storey tower by 1188 Bidwell Street. And Reliance had formally committed to do so.

We also need to look at the back story.

Something went seriously wrong along the way. What needs to change and improve City processes in the future? Continue reading

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21-storey rental tower at 1500 Robson goes to Development Permit Board Sep 5 (Tues)

1500-robson from changingcitybook 5-Apr-2017The application submitted for 1500 Robson Street will go before the Development Permit Board (an internal decision-making body consisting of four senior City staff) on Tuesday, September 5 at 3 pm, at City Hall, 1st floor (Town Hall Meeting Room). This is just across from the 31 and 32 storey towers going up after demolition of the Empire Landmark Hotel at 1488 Robson.

Like many other projects we have seen in the past four years as a result of the Nov 2013 West End Community Plan and subsequent “pre-zoning” of large tracts of the West End in January 2014, this application goes straight to the DPB, with no public hearing and no involvement of City Council. However, the public is able to speak to the DPB at the meeting.

Development Application:
1500 Robson Street– DP-2017-00304– Zone C-5A
Applicant: IBI Group Architects
Property Owner: London Life Insurance Company
Request: To develop a 21 storey mixed use building with 127 market rental units and commercial units at grade all over four levels of underground parking with access off of the lane and also requesting an increase in the Floor Space Ratio using a Heritage Density Transfer from a donor site at 12 Water Street (providing 9,078 square feet).
City staff: Danielle Wiley

We can see how the West End Community Plan has significantly accelerated developments, with this one going from first application to scheduled final approval within six months for a 21-storey tower, while it can take nearly two years for permission on a minor home renovation in Vancouver.

Continue reading

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