Up next: Open house on Beach Towers, major rezoning of heritage site under STIR program

(Updated 30-May-2011)

  • Citizens’ Site Tour: Sunday, May 29, 2011 (start 4 pm). Meet at corner of Harwood & Cardero Streets. Organized by Beach Towers Neighbours. Download critique of application here: Critique of Beach Towers proposal, May 2011
  • Public Open House: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 (5 to 8 pm, with presentation at 6:30 pm). Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox Street (at Denman). (City is host of open house, but applicant is expected to attend and provide information about the application. People may write comments, but do not have to provide identifiable personal information. We are hearing that local residents, including people who live at Beach Towers, have not received notification of this open house, so please spread the word.)

Local residents report that a Class A heritage site at 1600 Beach Avenue  is under threat of spot-rezoning and indiscriminate redevelopment.  This rezoning and redevelopment proposal under the STIR programme (Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing) would create a wall of buildings in place of the current open space that provides public access to light and viewscape. The Beach Towers site, the second densest site in the West End, currently provides open space, views and sun light access thanks to its Corbusier-inspired concept.  It would be infilled with an 8-story mid-rise and several multi-story townhouses. Carbon-intense traffic congestion would dramatically increase on cycle-laned Cardero, Harwood and in the general area. The immediate neighbourhood would be impacted by greater traffic and almost permanent shading, but the entire West End would be affected by the cumulative effects of this and other major projects resulting in extra pressures on our currently over-subscribed community infrastructure.  Without the STIR program (adopted with no public consultation and giving developers major incentives in return for building market-priced rentals) this application would never have seen the light of day. This project is another example of the harmful effects of STIR on West End residents in the absence of a comprehensive plan. Eleven thousand five hundred people have spoken: No rezoning without a comprehensive plan.

Beach Towers, at 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood (at Cardero)
Official city website for this rezoning is here.
Local community website is   www.beachtowers.ca

IBI/HB Architects, on behalf of Beach towers Investments Inc., has applied to rezone to add 137 dwelling units to the existing 600 rental apartments in four towers (19 to 21 storeys) on two sites (1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street). The application proposes (1) along Beach Avenue, to add a five-storey residential building with two-storey townhouses at grade and three levels of housing above, and a partially submerged one-storey amenity building, (2) at corner of Harwood and Cardero Streets, to add an eight-storey residential building, and (3) along Harwood Street, to add two 3-storey structures, containing 9 townhouses, on either side of the existing Columbus House building. The proposal would add approximately 105,000 sq. ft. of floor space. This application is under the Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR) Program, which subsidizes the creatin of market-priced rentals by relaxing regulations and giving developers taxpayer-funded incentives. A majority vote in City Council adopted the STIR program in 2009 with no public consultation.

Local neighbours have provided this critique of details of the Beach Towers proposal. Download here: Critique of Beach Towers proposal, May 2011.

More details from WEN here.

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