Resident Action Needed: Heritage Commission to Review “Beach Towers” June 20 (Monday)

WEN passes on this media release received from Beach Towers Neighbours. 17-June-2011

MEDIA RELEASE: Heritage Commission to weigh in on Beach Towers

Iconic Heritage Site Once Again Threatened by Developers.

This past May a yellow sign made it official: the city has kicked off its review of a proposal by Devonshire Properties Ltd. to rezone and add numerous buildings to the iconic Beach Towers site in the West End. After a Public Open House by the city, the proposal will now go before the Heritage Commission for consideration on Monday, June 20 (see details at end of release).

Devonshire Properties tried for a fifth tower in 2010 to no avail, and instead has now returned with plans to place luxury rental mid-rise apartments and townhouses in and among the towers.

At the City’s presentation of IBI/HB Architects’ proposal, over 300 Vancouverites attended and the vast majority protested plans to add more development to the second most dense site in the West End and a significant example of modernist architecture, awarded Category A heritage merit. Over 1200 residents are distributed between the current four towers, the IBI proposal includes units for hundreds more residents.

Beach Towers is an Category A listed complex in Vancouver’s post 1940 register, identifying it as the most important residential development of its type in Vancouver. Raised above the ground on two-story stilts, the towers allow pedestrians views of vessels in English Bay through their bases. These massive buildings appear almost to float above the street, their rounded corners allowing light and views far in excess of what traditional corners would have provided.

If this development is allowed to proceed, fountains, sculptures, and multi-level terraces overlooking English Bay will all be lost  The developer proposes to drive an alley through the property to provide access to luxury waterfront apartments and in the process removing the lower terrace level entirely, blocking views from and of Beach Towers, and destroying entirely the pedestrian experience around the block.

The Heritage Commission is scheduled to meet regarding the Beach Towers redevelopment Monday, June 20th, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the  Strathcona Room, sub ground floor at City Hall. For questions about the meeting (no RSVP required), contact Bonnie Kennett 604 873 7269. Members of the public are urged to attend and add their voice to the discussion.

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