West End Neighbours issued a letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Council requesting that they find ways to delay the demolition of St. John’s Church, which is at the centre of controversy about rezonings in the West End. They also ask the City to explore ways to find alternative uses for the property that have greater benefits for the community.
In today’s letter to Mayor and Council, Randy Helten, President of West End Neighbours, wrote, “This demolition permit request is another step undermining trust between the developer and the community, following a woefully inadequate consultation process and a flawed telephone survey.
“Can Westbank and Stratcom be trusted?” features the voices of two interviewers in a telephone survey commissioned by Westbank and implemented by Strategic Communications in October 2010 about this rezoning application. WEN has slammed the survey for conveying false and misleading information to the community. For the full text of the survey, see Stratcom Survey.
For more information about the problems encountered, see the Chronology of Neglect and Betrayal: St. John’s at 1401 Comox Street.
WEN calls on the Mayor and Council to use the community planning process to explore opportunities for the use of this building as a true community resource.”
- Westbank and Peterson applied in October 2009 for rezoning this church site from the current use to build a 22-storey residential tower under the controversial Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR) program, which gives large incentives to developers to build market-price rental accommodation.
- Soon after the rezoning application was made in the fall of 2009, the City informed the community that Westbank and Peterson did not intend to demolish the church “prior to council consideration of the rezoning application.”
- The WestEnder reported on January 26 that Westbank has applied for a demolition permit for St John’s Presbyterian Church, at 1401 Comox in the West End.
WEN Neighbourhood Walk: WEN will hold its weekly walk this Saturday (January 29) to celebrate the West End, starting 2:00 pm (Bidwell & Davie) and gathering at 1401 Comox for a public information session at 2:30.
Chronology of failure to secure the church: Our site lists Westbank/Peterson’s consistent oversights and failure to protect the church site, leading up to the recent claim that it has to be demolished.
You can see the media release and the letter to the mayor and council here: RELEASE, WEN on demolition, obtaining 1401 Comox church, 28-Jan-2011, for web.