Town Hall Meeting on St Pauls’ Hospital, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Community partners (listed below) are planning a Town Hall Meeting on the future of St. Paul’s Hospital, on Tuesday, May 26. Below is more info. At the bottom, we have added links to selected media coverage.

West End Neighbours is not involved in organizing this meeting, but we encourage all West Enders to join in this important discussion. WEN is concerned that quality health care services continue to be available to our high-density neighbourhood, particularly given the high senior population in the West End. Appropriate phasing and re-development of the existing site need to take place to ensure the best possible outcomes for the neighbourhood. This is also a very important topic in the context of the West End Community Plan and future changes in the neighbourhood.

St Pauls Hospital event 26-May-2015

Protecting Health Care in downtown Vancouver
Town Hall Meeting on St. Pauls Hospital
Tues. May 26 – 7pm
West End Community Centre

Community Partners

  • West End Seniors Network
  • West End Business Improvement Association
  • Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA
  • Gordon Neighbourhood House
  • Seniors Planning Table

Continue reading

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City Hall’s failure to notify many residents (renters) of new development projects – case in point 1177 (1171) Jervis Street

1301-Davie_2 side vew proposed 19 storeysHere below, WEN shares some of our correspondence with seniors officials and Vancouver City Council about inadequacies  and inconsistencies in the City’s notification to the public about proposed developments. In this development of a 19-storey tower at 1177 (1171) Jervis, approved by the City on May 5, 2015, renters living in the neighbourhood did not receive fair and adequate notification.

Why is this issue important? Because the City is moving toward removing developments from the City Council / Public Hearing process and giving the Development Permit Board (consisting of just four City employees) a bigger role in approving developments. The increased power of the DPB, combined with the reduced notification of affected residents, is going in the wrong direction.

The correspondence gets somewhat detailed, but if you read it, the points are clear. The City is being inconsistent and unfair its notification to residents (in this case, renters in particular) about important City Hall decisions that will affect them.

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Epilogue:

WEN received no response to our March 24 message. And in fact, the City sent no further notification to renters near the 1177 Jervis site subject to the tower proposal. Nor did the City even add the date to the sign-board on site to notify local residents of the all-important DPB meeting of May 5, which was the last opportunity for public input on this development.

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WEN to Vancouver City Council

Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Subject: Public Notification for 1177 Jervis Street – Development Application File: 418742

Dear Mayor and Council,

… this is time-sensitive for the Public Hearing on March 24, 2014 [amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan].

The main point is the inconsistency of logic/justifications and the smaller effort to contact residents in the West End, when comparing the DODP amendments today versus notification about the development at 1177 Jervis Street. Continue reading

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19-storey tower proposal at 1177 (now 1171) Jervis goes to Development Permit Board today (Mon, May 4)

1301-Davie_2 side vew proposed 19 storeysThis is the first tower development to get to the approval stage  in the West End after the Novembr 2013 adoption of the West End Community Plan. The way this is handled is likely a sign of how the City and developers will interpret the Community Plan in the coming decades.

Monday, May 4, 2015 at 3 pm this proposal for 1177 Jervis Street (corner of Davie and Jervis) goes to the Development Permit Board for final approval. (Original addresses for this site were 1301, 1309, and 1315 Davie Street. Also, formal address appears to have been changed to 1171 Jervis Street. The staff report was posted online on about April 29.)

1301-Davie location photo

Development Permit Board
Monday, May 3, 2015, starting 3 pm
Agenda: Here
Staff report download: Here (20 MB, in PDF format)

The staff report lists “issues”:

  • Demolition of character houses
  • Social housing unit mix
  • Building height
  • Private view analysis
  • Tenant relocation plan

Our previous article provides some analysis.  Excerpt: “It is interesting to note the City’s speed of processing this application. It received an application for this large high rise development on a site with heritage interest, processed it and scheduled approval 12 weeks later on May 4th without a Public Hearing. The West End Community Plan and subsequent “pre-zoning” has made this possible.” Full article here:
https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/1301davie-1177jervis-development/

1177 JERVIS STREET – DE418742 – ZONE RM-5D
Applicant: Intracorp Jervis Ltd. Partners
Property Owner: Terrapoint Developments Ltd.
Design: NSDA Architects and Richard Henry Architects
Request: To develop this site with a 19 storey mixed used building with one level of Commercial (first floor) and 19 levels of residential (1st to 19th floors) containing 91 dwelling units (63 Market/28 Social Housing) all over three levels of underground parking, having vehicular access from the lane.
Staff: Colin King

No public hearing or rezoning was required for this project. That step was eliminated as a result of changes to zoning shortly after the West End Community Plan was adopted in November 2013. We believe a large amount of public input has gone to the City regarding this application. The DPB is a small board, consisting of four City staff. To what extent has public input been incorporated? The project also benefits from a newly adopted definition of “social housing.” This project would never have happened at this site without the West End Community Plan.

Here are some of our observations:

  • Social Housing: The proposal suggests it is creating 28 Social Housing units. Under the City’s new definition of “social housing” only one third of these units (9 of them) are required to rent at the Province of British Columbia’s “Housing Income Limits” which are based on the commonly-accepted maximum rent of 30% of household income. Rents for the other 19 units of “social housing” are unknown but are not tied to the BC Housing Income Limit rent levels. It is likely these units will rent for far more than the existing rental accommodation on the site.
  • Lanes: A key aspect of the West End Plan – one highlighted repeatedly by City staff – was the opportunities for improvements to the West End’s rear lanes. While a narrow landscape strip is proposed along the rear lane of this project, the building itself presents a collection of emergency exits, blank walls, ventilation grills, and loading and vehicle access areas. This hardly seems to be the “pedestrian-friendly” type of improvements that the West End Plan offered.
  • Notification: The City has confirmed that renter households – the vast majority of households in all directions from this site – were not notified directly of this development proposal . While the signs on the site indicate the date of the information meeting for the project, they do not indicate the date of the Development Permit Board meeting where this project is to be considered – a meeting which the public has a legal right to attend and at which to make submissions. WEN believes that improvements need to take place to the City’s notification procedures for developments that will impact the lives of so many West Enders, the majority of them renters.
    Continue reading
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Jane’s Walks 2015 in the West End this weekend: Free neighbourhood walks May 1 to 3 (Fri to Sun)

ebaybeach_2-230x173This weekend across Canada and around the world, Jane’s Walks will be hosted by locals in celebration of their own communities. There are 28 walks this year in the Metro Vancouver region, and at least four in the West End.

Jane’s Walks website: http://janeswalk.org

Walks in Vancouver: Here

Direct links to the walks in the West End. Please go directly to the site to confirm details.

Silent Walk
http://janeswalk.org/canada/vancouver/silent-walk/
May 1, 2015 | 02:00 PM
How long since you enjoyed true stillness? Enough to hear the silence, and other sounds beyond it? On this walk there will be no questions or discussions. There’s no test. Simply come prepared to be silent for the duration of the walk, leaving cameras and other gadgets behind. Bring walking shoes, water and rain gear We’ll be walking easy trails with no steep inclines and avoiding the bike trails as much as possible. This walk is not suitable for children or pets. Leader: Anne Crawford

The “West” West End
http://janeswalk.org/canada/vancouver/west-west-end/
May 3, 2015 | 10:00 AM
The walk will explore the urban fabric of this vibrant community from Coal Harbour to English Bay. Leader: Gordon Price

A Walk Through Time: West End Stories
http://janeswalk.org/canada/vancouver/walk-through-time-west-end-stories/
May 2, 2015 | 11:00 AM
May 2, 2015 | 01:00 PM
This is not your ordinary Jane’s walk. Vancouver Public Library staff will guide you through a walk while playing recordings from storytellers who grew up and went to school in Vancouver’s West End from the 1930s onward. We will also share historical photographs from the neighbourhood. You will hear high-quality audio recordings from the West End Stories project that bring to life the buildings, places, and events that shaped the West End. Staff from the Vancouver Public Library will lead participants, provide historic photographs on tablets, play story clips from the storytellers over loudspeakers, and let you know how you can record your own digital stories. Starting at the entrance to King George Secondary School, the walk will venture through the neighbourhood and end at English Bay. The West End Stories project is a digital collaboration between the West End Memories Project and the Vancouver Public Library. Walk Leaders: Erin Ziegenfuss, Sue Moor, Laurel Johnson

Comox Greenway & Nelson Park – a kid-focused Jane’s Walk!
http://janeswalk.org/canada/vancouver/comox-greenway-nelson-park/
May 2, 2015 | 10:00 AM
This interactive walk allows kids (and parents) to learn how city spaces are designed to promote walking and cycling. We’ll tour the recently updated Comox Greenway and explore areas of Nelson park to highlight design features that are key to making active travel safe and enjoyable for everyone. Come and think like a city planner and learn a few new tricks to better assess your own neighbourhood streets and parks. Each family will receive a handout with stickers and a list of questions to guide them along the walk. We’ve also got walking buttons for all participants. Join us! Kids (ages 6+) and families encouraged on this first-of-its-kind Janes Walk in Vancouver – kid-focused! Walk Organizers: Mike Smith, Omar Bhimji, Kerry Hamilton

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Heart of Davie Village Public Space Improvement Project – Open Houses April 25 (Sat) and April 27 (Mon)

heart-of-davie-village-project-map, COV

Source: www.vancouver.ca/heartofdavie

Online survey – public comment: https://www.talkvancouver.com/R.aspx?a=376

A new permanent plaza, decorative lighting, wider sidewalks, landscaping, public art, and a mid-block pedestrian crossing are being considered for the Heart of Davie Village at Davie and Bute streets.

OPEN HOUSES

Saturday, April 25, 2015 (11 am to 2 pm)
Heart of Davie Plaza, Davie Street and Bute Street intersection

Monday, April 27, 2015 (5 pm to 8 pm)
St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 1130 Jervis Street

These improvements are part of the West End Community Plan, which includes goals to:

  • Invest in Davie Village public spaces
  • Enhance the area’s distinct character as a hub for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community

As part of the improvements, the City is exploring:

  • Naming a place or asset after Jim Deva to recognize his life and legacy as a leader in the LQBTQ community
  • Celebrating the history and contributions of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community in the permanent plaza

Design consultant PFS Studio is preparing the conceptual and detailed designs for the public space improvements. The City wants to hear from residents, business owners, community groups, and the LGBTQ community through open houses and online feedback. They are also working with the West End Business Improvement Association, City advisory committees, and other stakeholders.

Project details (below is also copied from City website) Continue reading

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Celebrating the life of Eleanor Hadley, 1921-2015 (Sat, 25-April, 3 pm, Barclay Manor, West End)

Eleanor Hadley at Occupy Vancouver, October 15, 2011. Vancouver Art Gallery). Image courtesy Daniel J Pierce YouTube

Eleanor Hadley at Occupy Vancouver, October 15, 2011. Vancouver Art Gallery). Image courtesy Daniel J Pierce YouTube

This Saturday a  gathering will be held to celebrate the life of Eleanor Hadley, a long time advocate of public parks and government accountability.

Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 3 pm
Barclay Manor (in Vancouver’s West End)
1447 Barclay Street

Eleanor lived in the West End since 1960 and attended nearly every Park Board meeting for almost 50 years, while offering public input at many of those meetings. She ran for Park Board Commissioner in the November 2014 civic election but was hospitalized and passed away in her 94th year, on March 7, 2015.

Many more people became more familiar with Eleanor through Dan Pierce’s film “The Hollow Tree,” which documented Eleanor’s passion as an advocate and protector of Vancouver’s world-famous Stanley Park. After having interviewed Eleanor a number of times, Dan has created a new short film to share on Saturday of Eleanor speaking about her life.

Please RSVP if you plan to attend, and feel free to let others know of the event. Contact: Bruce Macdonald, c 778 858-5542.  Continue reading

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21 story tower at 1754-1772 Pendrell: Revised rezoning goes to Urban Design Panel on April 8, 2015

Model of 1754 Pendrell, on display at City Hall

Model of 1754 Pendrell, on display at City Hall

Further to our previous story, a revised rezoning application for a 21-storey tower at 1754-1772 Pendrell goes before the Urban Design Panel on April 8, 2015 at 3 pm (Town Hall Meeting Room).

The meeting is open to the public. We encourage concerned citizens and neighbours to attend and observe the presentation and discussion, in preparation for likely Public Hearing.

The original application resulted in community outrage in 2008, a 400+ person town hall meeting, and promises by politicians not to let tower development “turn the West End into another Yaletown.” Then the project went dormant after the UDP unanimously rejected it in 2010, though it benefits by being “grandfathered” as “active” during the West End Community Plan process. Now in 2015, under a new owner (Westbank) and new architect (Gregory Henriquez), the proposed project is even denser and bulkier. It looks like a great deal for the proponent. But what are the benefits for the West End community?

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Caption: Model of the proposed development, on display at Vancouver City Hall.

Below is some food for thought regarding density, affordable housing, parking, community amenity contributions, building frontages, building form — based on materials available for public comment in March. How have City staff and the proponents incorporated public input into the proposal?

Official details of the proposal are available here, and as of April 8, the City’s website still says “You can still provide comments by filling out our online feedback form.”

Overall: In May of 2010 the Urban Design Panel reviewed a rezoning proposal at a lower density on this site.  The conclusions of that review included:

“The Panel did not support the proposal noting that the density has a negative effect on the overall bulk, quality of amenities and open space and may be too large for the site.  The Panel did not have a problem with the height but were concerned with the amount of density and bulk for such a small site which had changed considerably since the previous review. Most of the Panel members thought the original scheme was better. They felt the proposal broke form with other towers in the West End and thought there was little benefit to the community.

With this revised application, the bulk of the tower has increased significantly. If the UDP previously rejected the proposal for having too much density and bulk for such a small site, how can it possibly support the revised proposal with more bulk and density? And, honestly speaking, what are the benefits of this tower proposal for the community? Stay tuned.

Density:  The previous rezoning application proposed a density of 6.17 (floor space ratio, or FSR), while the current FSR proposed is 6.55.  (The current zoning permits 2.55 FSR — the jump to 6.55 is what Westbank is now asking for.) The previous proposal included affordable housing to be deeded to the City of Vancouver, and the project is proceeding on the basis of being “grandfathered,” supposedly having been “active” during the West End Community Plan process (which ended with adoption of the Plan in November 2013). Citizens, the UDP, and City Council needs to why the City should consider any density above the previously proposed FSR of 6.17. It seems there is no compelling reason.

Affordable Housing: The previous proposal included the creation of 26 affordable-rate rental units to be owned by the City of Vancouver.  The current proposal is entirely for market-rate rental units with no controls on rentsThe elimination of these 26 units from the proposal could be considered a serious flaw in the revised proposal. Those 26 units would have been a much-needed and valuable asset.  The creation of expensive luxury rental units does little to address housing affordability challenges in a neighbourhood where already over 80 per cent of housing is market rental.

Should the proposal be revised to have a minimum percentage of the rental units secured as truly affordable rental units — at rents tied to income levels in the West End? To do otherwise would be inconsistent with the nature of the previous rezoning application, noting that the current proposal is benefitting from being “grandfathered,” as mentioned above.

If the City negotiates to secure some rental units at below-market rates, this information should be made available to the public well in advance of any public hearing for this project.

Parking: It appears 82 parking stalls are proposed for the 171 residential units in the project.  At the time of the West End Community Plan consultations, parking was identified as a key issue for the community, and was included as one of the objectives for resolution for the plan.  This item was later deleted from the plan objectives with a commitment to addressing the issue at a future date.  Has any resolution been reached on resolving parking challenges in the neighbourhood? Has any analysis been done regarding the need for parking arising from other recently-constructed projects that have reduced parking (e.g., 1221 Bidwell Street, and 1051 Broughton Street)? We are not aware of any. Before a Public Hearing, can the City give the public additional information on actual parking needs arising from the high end of market units being proposed in this application?  Given the fact that existing on-street parking is “fully subscribed” it is not reasonable to expect that some residents of the proposed building will indeed park on the street. How are these issues being addressed.

Community Amenity Contribution:  The City’s policies indicate that a CAC should be applicable where increased land values result from rezoning (i.e., “land lift”).  In the past, the City has taken the position that rezonings for rental housing create no land lift, and accordingly no CAC is applicable.  But information from the BC Assessment Authority for recent projects like The Lauren at 1051 Broughton Street (which happens to have been developed by the same Westbank developer, with Henriquez as architect) shows significant increases in land values arising from rezoning.  In accordance with City of Vancouver policy, the community has a right to share in this increase in land value.  The pro forma information reviewed by the City should include an accurate estimation of rental revenues.  The “actual rents” being charged by Westbank at 1051 Broughton Street are much higher than the “proposed rents” in the Report to Council for public consideration at the time of the rezoning for that project.

Building Frontages: The Pendrell Street frontage has no doors on the street. If this is built, people on the street will probably feel that the podium element has little in the way of a positive relationship to the street.  Moving west along the frontage, the public will experience an increasing sense of detachment, created by the artificial “plateau” created on the property.

The lane frontage might be even worse. The approach to frontage on the lane might be seen by observers as unattractive. In addition, the proposed design is inconsistent with the objectives of the recently-adopted West End Community Plan, which encourages walkability and a residential character on rear lanes.  The previous proposal for this site had residential units facing the lane, helping to create a comfortable walking environment and “eyes on the street.”  The currently proposed concrete wall — reaching 10 feet in height at its west end, and punctuated with vents, emergency exit doors, and garage gates — will do little to assist the residential character and pedestrian comfort on the rear lane.

Building Form: The previous proposal for this site included a low-rise podium element and a slim tower.  The tower and podium format of previous proposal was more successful in responding to the neighbourhood context and the lower buildings to the north, east, south, and west.  The current design approach maximizes views and rental revenues in the new building at the expense of the neighbourhood.

 Revisions to the project design to re-instate a podium element could help to improve the pedestrian experiences on the rear lane and on Pendrell Street, “slim” the tower to reduce impacts on nearby residential units, and reduce shadowing on existing and future park areas to the south-west.

 

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City forgets to notify renters re Open House: WEN lobbies City to notify ALL residents of major developments in West End (re Open House for 19-storey tower tonight)

1177 Jervis east elevation Feb 2015Today WEN wrote senior staff at the City of Vancouver asking them to notify tenants (renters), not just property owners, regarding developments in the West End.

As we have written previously (for details, see “19-storey tower proposed at Davie & Jervis: Open House“), the City will hold an open house for a major new development on Monday, March 2, 2015. (Addresses of proposed tower: 1301/1309/1315 Davie Street and 1177 Jervis.) The proposal is for 62 market residential units (i.e., strata condo units) and 28 “social housing” units.

Blue building at centre  is in 3-D image in West End Plan

Blue building at centre is in 3-D image in West End Plan

But it has come to our attention that — contrary to previous commitments by the City to notify ALL residents of upcoming development proposals — the notices went only to owners. This has left many renters out of the process of providing input into a major development that could affect them directly, including views, shadowing, and their enjoyment of the neighbourhood.

We asked the City to respond and to take action by contacting all renters in the vicinity and ensuring that they too have a chance to provide input.

As we have written on our other post on this development, this is the first large development application submitted under the new Community Plan.

This application will NOT require a rezoning or the associated public hearing, since this area of Davie Village (along with other large areas of the West End) was rezoned en masse in the January 2014 amendment to adjust zoning to implement the Community Plan, which was adopted in November 2013. Since there will be no public hearing, and this Open House is one of the only opportunities for West Enders to provide any comment on the proposal, it is all the more important that everyone gets a fair opportunity to know about it and provide input.

WEN encourages all West End residents — regardless of their form of tenure — to participate in this process and observe how it works. This proposal is a real example of how the West End Community Plan will direct development from here on. Click below to read our letter to the City today. Continue reading

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City Council considers new housing definitions affecting West End, Downtown, and Downtown Eastside community plans (Tues, March 3)

West End aerial view, in CoV WE Plan draft 22-Oct-2013On Tuesday, March 3, Vancouver City Council will consider  “Proposed Amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP) including new housing definitions applicable to all areas within the DODP and including amendments to implement the West End and Downtown Eastside plans

Download the 44 page document here:  http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150303/documents/p3.pdf

The discussion will be during a Regular Council meeting starting at 9:30 am meeting on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Here is the agenda for the meeting:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150303/regu20150303ag.htm

This document was just released a few days ago, and we have not yet analyzed it for implications in the West End. (We welcome your analysis and comments.) City Hall is apparently planning to send these amendments to a Public Hearing in late March.

The background story is covered in this recent article in the Vancouver Sun:

“City of Vancouver embarks on extensive public consultation plan” (Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, 25-Feb-2015):
http://www.vancouversun.com/City+Vancouver+embarks+extensive+public+consultation+plan/10843060/story.html

Excerpts:

  • In an effort to fix three little but troublesome words in its guiding downtown overall development plan, the City of Vancouver is proposing one of the most extensive public consultation and notification programs ever. 
  • From postcards and ad mail delivered to the approximately 23,000 property owners, 13,000 business license holders and 30,000 renters in the downtown districts, to accessing email lists and social media, the city is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to make sure people understand why the words “low-cost housing” are being replaced with “social housing.”
  • The extraordinary efforts, which will cost taxpayers about $60,000, stem directly from a stinging B.C. Supreme Court ruling last month that quashed two major New Yaletown developments, related public hearings and the guiding downtown overall development plan.
  • The Brenhill case, as it is known, has had wide implications for municipal governments, which are now examining the extent to which they must consult the public.
  • In his ruling, Justice Mark McEwan said Vancouver did not adequately notify residents living in the downtown overall development plan area or DODP, which covers much of the downtown. 
  • In quashing the DODP and ordering new public hearings for the Brenhill developments, the judge’s findings also exposed a similar flaw in the West End and Downtown Eastside area plans.

Additional information Continue reading

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19-storey tower proposed at Davie & Jervis: Open House Monday, March 2

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At 1301, 1309, and 1315 Davie Street there are currently three heritage houses on the north side of Davie Street, west of Jervis – an interesting 1940s three-storey walk-up sits just to the west, with a number of generally affordable rental apartments existing in the four buildings. A development application has been submitted under a new RM-5D zone created by the new West End Community Plan. The proposed development by Intracorp (see other projects in the region) is for a 19-storey tower with an FSR of 6.61. (Note that the address for the application has been changed to 1177 Jervis though the Davie Street addresses may appear in some documents).

PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE
Monday, March 2, 2015, 5 to 8 pm
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
1130 Jervis Street (Just north of Davie)

This is the first large development application submitted under the new Community Plan. It appears that this application will NOT require a rezoning or the associated public hearing, since this area of Davie Village (along with other large areas of the West End) was rezoned en masse in the January 2014 amendment to adjust zoning to implement the Community Plan, which was adopted in November 2013. WEN encourages West End residents to participate in this process and observe how it works, as it is a real example of how the West End Community Plan will direct development from here on. Continue reading

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