Did you know that towers approved or under review for a small area of the West End along West Georgia Street, Alberni Street, and Robson Street, if stacked up, would be nearly two kilometers high, rise 618 storeys, and house 6,000 people?
The West End Community Plan adopted in November 2013 phrased the overall direction for the Georgia and Burrard Corridors and Lower Robson as follows:
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.
What do these words really mean? What does this translate to on the ground? How has implementation “deepened” housing affordability? How has it “contributed to public benefits”?
West End Neighbours tallied the tower developments (rezonings and development applications) in this part of the West End for the just more than five years since the plan was adopted, and here are some of our statistics:
- 618 storeys (cumulative)
- 6,240 feet (cumulative), equivalent to 1.9 kilometers high
- Floor space ratios (FSRs, a measure of density) ranging from 7.7 to 14.95
- 2,948 units, with space for an estimated 6,000 residents (for comparison, the implementation of the WECP over a period of thirty years envisioned 9,000 residents across the entire West End)
- 3,346 parking spots
Now that over five years have passed, the West End has seen a huge amount of change in some parts of the neighbourhood and more is on the way. West End Neighbours wrote to City Council in January 2019 calling for a five-year review and report on WECP implementation. (We’re still waiting for a response from the Mayor and City Hall.)
Meanwhile, since no comprehensive summary is available from the City, we have been doing some tracking of numbers based on media coverage plus various documents on the City’s website. More comprehensive analysis is needed for the entire West End, particularly for Davie Street plus the Burrard corridor (including Thurlow Street) where a demolition and construction boom was triggered by the WECP.
Here is an image from the WECP.
The WECP contained coded wording for the Georgia-Alberni corridor: “Strengthen the urban frame” and “intensify … towards greater clarity.” Also, peppered throughout the WECP is the concept of “deepening” housing affordability, though no clear definition was provided. Continue reading