WEN News June 9, 2013: Public Hearing June 11, plus Community Plan updates

Download in PDF: WEN News 9-June-2013, West End plan, RCS, etc

Here is a copy of our e-mail newsletter. Please excuse formatting!

June 9, 2013

Happy Late Spring! The West End now is in its glory, and summer is quickly approaching. Nature is going through its natural cycles, but change is also afoot in many other aspects of our community. The new Comox Greenway is near completion. Sewer pipes have been upgraded, and there are a number of major construction projects underway around us. Meanwhile, a Public Hearing on June 11 is your last chance to provide comments on thecitywide plan, and the West End community plan process is entering its final stages — with talk about heritage, laneway housing, and scores of new towers — all to be presented atOpen Houses this month. Enjoy Car Free Day June 16. It is VERY important for you to follow the issues and to share your voice. How do you want your neighbourhood to be in the future? See below for details. WEN welcomes your tips and input at any time, by e-mail to info@westendneighbours.ca.

West End Neighbours

West End Plan – Open Houses June 19, 22, 25 – “Refined Community Plan Draft Directions” 
Work on the West End Community Plan continues. In April, City Staff hosted a number of open houses on the “Plan Directions” for land use in the West End over the next 30 years.

Refinements have been made to the plan directions, and a series of open houses are scheduled as follows:
Wednesday June 19, 4-7pm
Best Western Sands Hotel
1755 Davie Street

Saturday June 22, 1-4 pm
West End Strawberry Festival
Barclay Heritage Square

Tuesday June 25, 4-7 pm
Blue Horizon Hotel
1225 Robson Street
Official information: www.vancouver.ca/westendplan
In April  2012, the City initiated a new Community Planning process for  the West End. When completed, the plan will provide long-range guidance on a variety of issues – including  housing, transportation, parks and public space, social  issues, arts, culture, heritage and more. The new plan will  replace the older West End Commercial Policy Plan (1986) and  West End Residential Areas Policy Plan  (1987).
A key component of the “Plan Directions” is a set of development areas accommodating building heights as shown in the map below:
Staff-proposed West End tower heightsThese three Open Houses are exceedingly important. Staff have reviewed input received so far and incorporated input from citywide policies with input from the community, developers, and other sources. As we move forward, it becomes increasingly difficult to change the details, and that’s why it becomes increasingly important for residents to review the information and to share their opinions.
So please have a look at the Open House materials. And if you cannot attend, try to check the City website for the display panels and provide your comments.
The official schedule going forward is:
Drafting the plan: June – September 2013
Create draft plan
Open houses, walking tours

Plan approval: October – December 2013
Final public input on draft plan
Approval by City Council
Get involved through public presentations, open houses, Council meeting
What next after that?
WEN is trying to confirm in writing the City’s plan for what would happen next. Staff have presented the idea of laneway housing, many new towers in areas as shown in the map above, bringing many thousands of new residents into the West End. But so far, details have been scant regarding many aspects of the plan, including the density anticipated at these locations, and the amenities the City would require in return for this development.
Over 13,000 people signed our petition “No Rezoning Without A Comprehensive Plan.” City staff wrote to a resident that “zoning changes needed to implement the directions from the Community Plan would need to be considered following the approval of the Community Plan. This could potentially take place in 2014.” WEN is trying to confirm whether future rezonings are to continue to take place on a site by site basis or whether the City plans to do one massive rezoning of all the affected sites in one step. Stay tuned for the official word about that.  And please ask Planners at the Open Houses for clear answers on these types of steps moving forward.

For more information and questions you might want to consider as you review the “Plan Directions” information provided by the City, visit the WEN website at this link:


Public Hearing June 11 – City’s Official Development Plan for the next 30 years – Last chance for public input. 
Did you know about the Public Hearing on June 11 about the “Regional Context Statement – Official Development Plan”? If you did not, you are not alone. The City has been virtually silent about it, and so have the media. There has been very little public notification or media coverage.  The main coverage has been through articles by policy expert Elizabeth Murphy printed in the Vancouver Sun (“Vancouver Development Plan Lacks Public Input”) and

 .(Click links to read.)

Public Hearing at Vancouver City Hall
6 pm, Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Official agenda is here
Official web page is here:
Background: This is an important document – it is the master plan for the entire City of Vancouver. The City indicates that the RCS is simply a summary of existing policies on issues such as transportation, sustainability, housing and other policy areas – but many of the policies listed in the RCS have not been adequately explained to the public, and some were adopted with minimal public input.
As an example, the City’s “Interim Rezoning Policy” adopted in October 2012, resulted in developers being eligible to undertake on a site specific basis, “trial” rezonings for greater heights and densities on all arterial streets in Vancouver and within 100 meters of neighbourhood shopping areas.  The West End is included in the Interim Rezoning Policy, and more importantly in the longer term, the RCS includes the entire West End within the designation of  “Metro Core”  for the Vancouver region.  What does that mean for future land use decisions in the West End?   The impacts have not been shared with the public in a manner that allows for meaningful input..
Action: If you feel concerned about this, you may wish to consider speaking to the Public Hearing, or sending in a message to publichearing@vancouver.ca like this.
I am opposed to the Regional Context Statement and Official Development Plan as currently proposed. I request that this important document not be approved until a broad, comprehensive and meaningful consultation process has been undertaken.

West End Laneways 2.0 – Self-Guided Walking Tours – Online for Download  
City staff guided a sold-out laneways “walkshop” on June 5. Now self-guided Laneways 2.0 tour packages are available online to allow interested residents to review the issues around adding housing to laneways.

Click here to download the package <http://list.vancouver.ca/t/136759/141633/1435/0/>.Printed copies will also be available at the  West End Community Centre.
Take the tour today! Once you have completed the tour, you can complete the questionnaire by clicking here:
As indicated by the City in the “Plan Directions” for the West End Community Plan, the West End’s laneways are wider than most in the City at 10 metres or 33 feet. West End lanes accommodate a number of key service and utility functions but West Enders also use laneways as walking routes and shortcuts.  As part of the plan process, some have suggested adding laneway-oriented housing of 3 to 6 storeys in height where surface parking currently exists.

Comox Greenway Nearing Completion – Share your Opinions!  
Work on the Comox Greenway is close to completion. The project has including the installation of a new bike route along Comox, changes to intersections, traffic flows, and lighting. The City has asked for public input on the process around the Comox Greenway. Share your opinions about the construction and the results until July 5th at this link:

West End Car Free Day – Sunday June 16th  !  
June 16th makes another Car Free Day for the West End. Plan to visit Denman Street from noon to 6pm for community booths, music, great food, and to experience what is special about the West End and its residents! Look for West End Neighbours there too!

More info. available here:


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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