Last gasp for St. John’s Church. Destruction equipment now on site.

Demolition equipment is onsite at 1401 Comox in Vancouver’s West End where a church has stood for over 100 years. Demolition appears imminent despite efforts to save the building for the community.

Neither owners Westbank Projects Corp (CEO Ian Gillespie)  nor Peterson Investment Group (CEO Ben Yeung) nor (Gregory Henriquez) Henriquez Partners Architects has notified the community of their current plans for this site, but workers have been dismantling the building from the inside for the past couple weeks. We have been receiving many inquiries about the site’s status. We understand that the City has issued a demolition permit, so the owners do have legal permission to demolish the church building. Some groups are negotiating to save the trees and vegetation (status not known). Regarding what goes up, there are still many steps ahead, including another open house (they must show the community their revised proposal), then a comment period followed by a public hearing. The site is zoned for 6 storeys and a floor space ratio of 1.5. Westbank/Peterson/Gillespie are asking Council to approve 22 storeys and a floor space ratio of about 7.0 (almost 5 times what is currently allowed) under the controversial STIR program.

West End Neighbours is interested in this case as well as many other spot rezonings and major development applications targeting the West End this year. Over 11,000 people have signed our petition “no rezoning without a comprehensive plan,” a meaningful plan that will ensure that the needs of current and future residents will be adequately considered before any major applications are approved.

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