(Update, 26-Feb-2013) Today Vision Vancouver approved the Beach Towers rezoning, against votes of the opposition Councillors from NPA and Green Party. We will make a further comment later.
Beach Towers Public Hearing ended on the third night, February 20, 2013, at about 10 pm.
The Public Hearing for this application ended late on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Council is expected to debate and make a final decision on the rezoning on February 26 in a regular Council meeting.
From our initial analysis, of correspondence received by City to Feb 19 there were 23 letters in support, 126 opposed, 12 “other.” Of speakers at the hearing, 6 were in support, 31 opposed. In addition, over 13,000 people have signed the WEN petition calling for a halt to spot rezonings and the development of a comprehensive plan for the community. And more than 300 people signed a petition specifically opposed to the Beach Towers application.
It’s clear that the voices of the community were largely opposed to the project — for many substantial reasons.
The outcome of the Council vote on Feb 26 is an open question. We are hopeful they will show good discretion by rejecting the application, based on the compelling reasons presented. Many in the community will be disappointed if the project is accepted at all, and it could sour the neighbourhood’s relations with City Hall in the current community plan process. The main criticisms were about how much the building size and form would negatively affect the neighbourhood, to allow for the construction of expensive rental units which are expected to do little to address housing affordability challenges. If Council approves the rezoning, the property owner will gain at a great cost to neighbours and the broader community. City Council could earn goodwill by rejecting this application now.
Congratulations to all who spoke or submitted items – some very powerful statements were made. Thank you to everyone who contributed the the future of the West End.