WEN NEWS (Jan 4, 2013): Community Plan, modelling, 1860 Barclay, Beach Towers, etc

Preserving the West End’s quality of life, distinct, diverse character, and heritage.

WEN (West End Neighbours) NEWS
Jan. 4, 2013

 West End Neighbours wishes everyone in the community a wonderful New Year in 2013. Today we send you some news items that affect our community. This year will be a very important one for the West End, with the community plan process now in Phase 2 and decisions to be made by City Council that will affect development and the quality of life here for decades ahead.

 We welcome input, volunteers, information, and suggestions. Let’s all stay involved and work together to make a bright future for all in our neighbourhood.

West End Neighbours

West End Community Plan — Update
The City’s work on the West End Community Plan appears to be progressing. Information on the planning work, including documentation of the open houses held in October is available here:


The City’s summary of the “launch survey” is located here:


We are all looking forward to more news from the City regarding what will happen in the next six months. Stay tuned.

Community Modelling Workshop Opportunity
It is anticipated that policy development work on the West End Community Plan – the “nuts and bolts” of the plan – will begin in the next months. This process may move quite quickly, and it is important that as many West Enders as possible participate in the work toward a new plan for the neighbourhood. The format and wording of the plan policies will form the basis for future land use regulation in the neighbourhood and will be used to evaluate future development proposals.

We know that development is coming – the challenge for the neighbourhood is to consider how they would like to see this development accommodated. Is it in bulky towers like the one approved for 1401 Comox Street? Slim mid-rise towers like those built in the 1960’s? Or shorter “fatter” buildings like those at the Olympic Village?

Many people have difficulty visualizing the outcomes of these options. To assist in visualizing these options, West End Neighbours is very pleased to be able to participate in a community modelling exercise led by McGill University Graduate Student Korbin daSilva. Residents who participate in a modelling workshop over the next several weeks will be in a much better position to provide input to the community planning process and the land use policies that will be part of the community plan.

Information on the workshops is below and additional information is available atwww.communitymodelling.com

Details of scheduling and location of the workshops will be finalized once the level of interest has been established. Please indicate your interest by sending an email to:info@westendneighbours.com

Or indicate your interest by contacting Korbin daSilva directly through the Community Modelling website (ensure you indicate your interest is for a West End workshop, as other neighbourhoods are also participating).


Community Modelling Sustainable Neighbourhoods – www.communitymodelling.com

  • Learn about and discuss sustainable neighbourhood design principles.
  • Experiment with different housing types (row/town housing, terraced, apartments, condos, single family detached etc.) while building a neighbourhood model with your fellow community members.
  • Vancouver and the Lower Mainland is under increasing pressure to build more sustainable developments and increase density.
  • Be equipped as a community member by knowing the different ways in which sustainable design can be manifested. Density for example can be expressed in many different ways.
  • See the visual impact of different interventions on the urban form while you build your model.
  • This knowledge is an asset when engaging with the city and developers.
  • Help contribute to research on how to improve community engagement in urban design and development.
  • This research is conducted through the McGill University Department of Geography in association with the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC.

Go to www.communitymodelling.com for lots more details and to sign up!

Korbin daSilva
M.Sc. Candidate – Geography – McGill University
B.A. Honours – Urban Systems – McGill University


1860 / 1862 Barclay – Re-development Project Conditionally Approved
The heritage revitalization and re-development project at 1860/1862 Barclay Street has been approved with conditions.

Information on the project, including the conditional approval letter is available at this link:


This project includes the construction of a 6-storey infill building between the existing residence and the laneway, retention of the existing “Mason Residence” on the site, and heritage designation of the existing residence. The project does not include a rezoning, as it fits generally within the “conditional” parameters of the site’s existing RM5B Zoning on the site.

The proponent and architect should be commended on their consultation with neighbours and neighbourhood groups well before an application was made to the City and for a development project that protects heritage and increases density in a relatively “gentle” manner.

Update on Beach Towers — Rezoning Proposal
It is possible that Council consideration and a public hearing on this rezoning proposal could occur as early as February. An open house was held on November 14, 2012 for the rezoning proposed at 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street Harwood Street. This rezoning would add just under 100,000 square feet of new residential floor area in the form of rental apartments and a private recreation facility. Full details on the re-development proposal can be found at this link to the City’s website and residents are still eligible to fill out the online survey:


More information on the project is available at WEN’s website here:


A basic question the public should ask related to developments like Beach Towers (being considered under the Short Term Incentives for Rental – STIR – program) is about the tradeoffs. Should the City of Vancouver forego the regular charges developers would pay on a development, in order to create market-priced rental units, particularly by adding more density to a block that is already one of the most densely developed blocks in the West End.

Meanwhile, some tenants have created a website for tenants to communicate with each other. Beach Towers Tenants Association

Comox Greenway Approved
 On December 12, 2012 City Council approved construction of Phase I of the Comox-Helmcken Greenway. Phase I runs from Stanley Park to just east of Burrard Street. Survey work has begun and construction work will begin in January. It was noted in the report from staff that the construction costs of the greenway are in the order of $5.46 million. An additional $320,000 in annual operating costs and lost revenue (from parking) is anticipated on a yearly basis. While the greenway is likely to be an attractive addition to the neighbourhood, it comes with some functional trade-offs such as access and loading for the properties fronting on Comox Street, as well as increased traffic anticipated on other streets, such as Pendrell and Nelson. Emergency responders will also need to resolve how best to attend to situations at various buildings as a result of the new mixed one-way and two-way road system, as well as the potential for narrowed driving lanes.

Details on the design of the greenway with plans showing the changes block by block are available at the “documents” tab on the page below:


West End “Development Capacity, Zoned Capacity” – Data Now Available
At the beginning of December, the City of Vancouver released long-awaited data on the West End’s “development capacity” and “zoned capacity” estimates. Neighbourhoods have been asking for this kind of information for a couple years as it is crucial for community planning processes. The paper explains, “The residential development capacity of a neighbourhood, or how much new housing could be constructed in the area, can be estimated in two ways – by looking at development capacity or zoned capacity.” WEN will report in the future about the significance of these numbers.

Download the document here:

West End Community Profile now online
Part of the West End Plan process, the City’s profile for the West End has recently been updated and finalized to include a comprehensive range of information and data regarding demographics, housing, character, heritage, transportation and local economy. 2011 census data have been included where available.
Visit the West End Community Plan website (www.vancouver.ca/westendplan) under “Documents,” and look for “About the West End.”

West End Community Centre Association AGM Sat, Jan 5, 3 pm
WECCA will hold its annual general meeting at 3 pm at the community centre at 3 pm on Saturday, January 5, 2013. All WECCA members are welcome. Learn about WECCA and what was done in the past year. Elect new board of Directors. More information 604-257-8344.
Also, the Community Centre will hold an Open House from 10 am to 2 pm on the same day. Come by and check out the free classes, demos and performances, plus information tables of local groups.

Call for Donations and Volunteers
 WEN’s work in the neighbourhood requires many volunteer hours AND volunteer funding. WEN has no access to public funds or grant money, so our activities are funded through people like you. If you can contribute something to help fund WEN’s work, please use the “make a donation” button on the website at:


You can be confident that donated funds will be put to good use in raising awareness of planning development issues in the West End and helping to ensure our West End neighbourhood continues to be a great place to live, work, and play.


Who are West End Neighbours?  A group of volunteers dedicated to preserving the quality of life of our neighbours and the unique and distinctive character and heritage of our neighbourhood. Our inspiration and support comes from people in the community, especially the  13,000 who have signed our petition, including renters, owners and business people from all walks of life and all ages: working people, young families, seniors, children and youth, etc.

The West End is currently facing spot rezoning applications for buildings with major departures from height, floor space, and design permitted under current zoning and the existing community plan. They will have a major long-term impact on our neighbourhood, and the City is failing to look at the big picture of the West End’s residents’ needs. We need to challenge these rezoning applications and ask what we envision for our community into the future.

 You are receiving this e-mail because you provided your e-mail address to one of our activities or petitions. Thank you for your interest.

 More news to come soon!  Thank you, neighbour!

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