1188 Bidwell: Proposed big tree removal (maple, 7 storeys high) appears to violate City’s development permit conditions

Tree at risk at 1188 Bidwell Reliance, Aug 2017

7-storey maple on Bidwell was to be retained, but is now slated for removal. Why?

(Updated Sept 8, 2017. The original text below was posted on August 18, 2017. The tree was standing today, but the City has decided to let the developer cut it down.  See “Outcome: 7-storey maple to be cut down at Bidwell & Davie for Reliance tower project” dated Sept 8.)

A West End resident contacted WEN last night to give a heads up that a significant tree is scheduled for removal at 1188 Bidwell Street. This is connected with the construction of a 22-storey tower by Reliance Properties (CEO Jon Stovell).

Further investigation by West End Neighbours has found that retention of this and other trees near the site was an explicit condition by the City of Vancouver for approval of the Development Application (DE419087). See below for our findings.

It would seem inappropriate that the contractor is posting a notice of removal of this tree. If the City was considering back-tracking on its original position, there should be a public notification of this — from the City. It will disturb some residents to hear that this tree was officially shown for retention, but is now to be “removed and replaced.” The tree canopy in the West End is precious and should be preserved where possible.

We will report back if we hear more information, but this situation raises questions. Why did the City require tree retention and the developer agree to it? What has changed to now allow Reliance to remove the trees? Has due process been followed? Would planting of a young tree in the future really “replace” what risks being lost here? And on a larger scale what is the precedent and message here? Can explicit conditions for City approval of a major development application by a prominent developer be ignored or quietly reversed with the stroke of a pen, in a city that claims to protect its green cover and be the world’s “greenest city” by 2020?

Anyone concerned or with questions may wish to contact the parties involved (see bottom of post).

Shops on the site have been closed for some time and demolitions are under way (the Mac’s store on the corner was recently demolished; meanwhile, Safeway and the BC Liquor Store on the same block are slated to close this month for a separate two-tower development. The entire block will be demolished.).

1188 Bidwell tree removal notice Aug 2017

Letter from Urban One Builders (see bottom of this post for exact text).

A letter (right) from Urban One Builders has been posted nearby, saying that the maple tree will be removed soon and replaced at the end of the project, that the Park Board has approved already.

In cases like these, citizens can search for development application documentation and staff reports with specific references to trees being retained.

Unfortunately (as is often the case), the City has completely removed the project information (DE419087) from the official Development Applications web page:  http://development.vancouver.ca/

But the staff report to the Development Permit Board (which approved the project on September 8, 2015, under then Chief Planner Brian Jackson) is still available here:


Page 35 of the PDF document shows the trees on Bidwell, including the subject tree, as do the landscape plans on pages 43, 45, 46.

Page 17 of the report notes as part of the Public Notification section:

Street Trees on Bidwell: One respondent requested that the existing trees along the Bidwell frontage be retained.
Staff Response: The application includes protection of the street trees on both sides.

And Appendix A (Page 2 of 5) – Page 20 of the pdf indicates:

A.1.16 delete any notes regarding removal of street trees;
Note to Applicant: Per drawings, all trees on Bidwell Street and Davie Street are to be


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Developer open house for two towers (32 & 33 storeys) at 1066-1078 Harwood, 1065 Harwood & 1332 Thurlow in West End: Aug 17 (Thurs)

Thurlow Harwood tower concept Blue Sky Henriquez urbanYVR Jul2017The West End Planning Team sent out an update to subscribers today about this open house, copied here verbatim. WEN has already provided some information on this application: Two towers (32 & 33 storeys) proposed at Thurlow and Harwood in West End (Bosa BlueSky Properties + Henriquez Partners Architects): Demoviction of 98 units expected (WEN, July 20, 2017)


This is a notification regarding an upcoming developer-hosted open house for two sites in the West End.

Pre-application open houses are an opportunity for developers to share early plans and receive initial community feedback in preparation for a rezoning application.

1066-1078 Harwood Street
1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street

2 residential buildings with a mixture of market residential and social housing units

A developer-hosted open house to gather initial feedback will be held.
Thursday, August 17, 5 to 7:30 pm
Century Plaza Hotel
1015 Burrard Street

If a rezoning application is subsequently submitted to the City, there will be an official City-led public consultation process including a City-hosted open house.

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Two towers (32 & 33 storeys) proposed at Thurlow and Harwood in West End (Bosa BlueSky Properties + Henriquez Partners Architects): Demoviction of 98 units expected


Thurlow Harwood tower concept Blue Sky Henriquez urbanYVR Jul2017

Two towers at 32 and 33 storeys are being considered, enabled by the West End Community Plan. Image: UrbanYVR

UrbanYVR and Changing City Updates have just reported on a proposal for two new towers likely to go forward to the approval process. A developer’s “pre-rezoning” open house was apparently held on July 19, 2017, but we are not aware of any prior public notification.

The location is on the east side of Thurlow Street, with two towers, one on the south side of Harwood Street and one on the north. The properties at 1065, 1066 and 1078 Harwood Street, as well as 1332 Thurlow Street, were all sold and assembled within the past two years. Existing buildings on the development site include rentals, so this development will result in “demovictions.”

City Council’s adoption of the West End Community Plan in November 2013 has unleashed a land rush. Less than four years have gone by, but the number and scale of projects coming forward by big-name developers has been astounding. Did the City make enough effort during the consultation process to help residents understand how the future would unfold in the neighbourhood? Are the objectives of protecting livability and “deepening” affordability being achieved?

Below are excerpts from both articles.

North tower: 33-storeys
– 61 market residential units
– 98 social housing units

South tower: 32-storeys
– 143 market residential units
– No social housing units in south tower

* 60 per cent of the market units suitable for families
* 50 per cent of social housing units suitable for families
* Range of unit sizes, from one bedrooms to two and three bedroom units Continue reading

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Two towers proposed for 1616 West Georgia (White Spot site, Shato Holdings) at 33 and 39 storeys

1616 West Georgia, Shato Holdings, White Spot site, July 2017

Two towers proposed by Shato Holdings, at 33 and 39 storeys. Image credit: Shato Holdings via UrbanYVR.

1616 West Georgia Street
Proposal for two market residential buildings
A developer-hosted open house to gather initial feedback will be held.
July 12, 2017, from 5 to 7:30 pm
Westin Bayshore Hotel (1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver)

As far as we know, further details were not made public prior to this open house. The only public notice of the open house as far as we know was the West End Community Plan update from the City of Vancouver, e-mailed just a few hours before the event.

Subsequently, we notice that the Changing City Updates blog carries an image showing these two towers, at 33 and 39 storeys. The short article indicates that Shato Holdings (owners of White Spot) is proposing two condo towers. They would have a three-storey podium and 350 condo units, 75% of them two bedrooms or larger.

Later, Peter Meiszner reports in UrbanYVR (July 14) “White Spot on West Georgia to be redeveloped into condo towers: Gateway to downtown Vancouver to be transformed through several new condominium proposals.” He also says that three-level townhomes will front onto Alberni Street, where the lobbies for both buildings will also be located, one-bedroom units will be approximately 502 sq ft., and two bedroom units between 855 and 1,342 sq ft. Architects are IBI Group and PWL Partnership.

Both article state that the proposal is made possible by the West End Community Plan.


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West End Community Plan Newsletter (COV)

Here is the plain text version of the City of Vancouver West End Planning Team Newsletter issued today.

For online info visit http://www.vancouver.ca/westend. Note some upcoming important developments including an open house announced just today.

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32-storey tower Strand/Intracorp proposal for 1055 Harwood goes to UDP meeting July 12 (Wed)


32-storey tower proposed for 1055 Harwood. Image from ChangingCityBook.com

WEN has covered this project before (New rezoning proposal for 32 storey tower 1055 Harwood Street (at over 10 FSR): Open House June 26).

It will go to the Urban Design Meeting on Wednesday, July 12. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend as an observer. Often information is provided here that is not otherwise available to the public.

From the UDP agenda:


Urban Design Panel (UDP)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Time: 03:00 pm
Place: Town Hall Meeting Room, Vancouver City Hall

03:15 pm Address: 1055 Harwood Street
Permit No.: RZ-2017-00024
Description: The proposal is to develop a 32-storey residential building with 82 market residential units and 44 social housing units; for a total floor area of 54,539 sq. m (178,974 sq. ft.) and density of 10.35 FSR; a height of 91.44 m (300 ft.); over four levels of underground parking accessed from the lane, with 156 vehicle parking stalls and 158 bicycle parking stalls.
Zoning: RM-5A to CD-1
Application Status: RZ
Review: First
Architect: NSDA Architects
Staff: Linda Gillan, Danielle Wiley

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First Baptist Church project (969 Burrard Street & 1019-1045 Nelson Street) with 57 storey tower: Public Hearing July 18 & 25 (Tues)

969 Burrard First Baptist Westbank, elevations, application 2017 rev

A 57-storey tower is proposed by Westbank to be built beside a restored First Baptist Church on Burrard

Outcome: City Council voted 7 vs 1 to approve this proposal during a Council meeting on July 26, 2017.

1st Baptist Westbank 57-storey tower votes 26-jul-2017 

On June 27, 2017, City Council referred this application to Public Hearing based on a staff report.

Public Hearing
Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 6 pm
Vancouver City Hall, Council Chambers

Official rezoning full information on the application: http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/969burrard/index.htm

Staff report and recommendation to Council (June 27), including Policy Report and Appendices: Click here and look for “969 Burrard.” “This report evaluates an application to amend CD-1 (445) for the site at 969 Burrard Street and 1019-1045 Nelson Street to permit a development which includes a 57-storey market residential tower, expanded program space for The First Baptist Church, a seven-storey social housing building, and seismic upgrading and interior restoration to the existing heritage church building.”

Anyone with comments about this application (support/opposed/other) can e-mail to Mayor and Council on record at publichearing@vancouver.ca, or request to speak.

Note: A group of local residents says they will meet in the church parking lot for a short exchange of information at 5 pm on Sunday, July 9 [note date correction]. Feel free to show up, or write info@westendneighbours.ca for more information.

For earlier visual images and description of the project see Changing City Updates.

969 Burrard First Baptist Westbank, site plan 2017Key parameters of the project from March 10, 2016 application (from rezoning page, but note further changes below):

The City of Vancouver has received an application to rezone 969 Burrard Street & 1019-1045 Nelson Street from CD-1 (445) (Comprehensive Development) to a new CD-1 District. The proposal includes:

  • restoration of First Baptist Church;
  • new church ancillary spaces, including a 37-space child daycare, a gymnasium, a counselling centre, offices and a cafe;
  • a new eight-storey building [revised to seven] containing 66 [revised to 61] social housing units, owned by the church;
  • a new 56-storey tower [revised to 57 storeys] containing 294 market strata [revised to 331] residential units, with a cafe at ground floor [cafe later removed];

Other key parameters of the proposal include:

  • a combined total new floor area of approximately 561,881 sq.ft. [Note: figure needs to be updated to reflect revised application]
  • a floor space ratio (FSR) of approximately 11.27 [Note: the rezoning web page indicates 10.83, but 11.27 appears to be the revised number. See below.]
  • 497 underground vehicle parking spaces [needs updating?]

WEN comment on FSR: Referring to beginning of the June 27 staff report, the applicant seeks “… to increase the permitted floor space ratio (FSR) from 2.87 FSR to 11.27 FSR and the building height from 75.6 m (248 ft.) to 169.5 m (556 ft.)

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1488 Robson Street goes to Development Permit Board (Mon, June 12, 2017)

1400-or-1488-robson-changingcitybookThe Development Permit for 1488 Robson Street is scheduled for 3 pm on Monday, June 12, 2017. This is the current site of the Empire Landmark Hotel (previously known as the Sheraton Landmark Hotel), which is to be demolished. No Public Hearing will occur. Agenda for meeting:

Projects covered at the meeting:
– 1236 Bidwell Street
– 401 W Georgia St
– 1488 Robson St

Town Hall Meeting Room (1st Floor, City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue ). To address the board, call or write the DPB Assistant (604-873-7469, camilla.lade@vancouver.ca).

Report and appendices:

Search the WEN website for “1488 Robson” for previous coverage.

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1444 Alberni Street & 740 Nicola: 43 & 48 storey towers – Open House June 7 (Wed)


Image of proposed towers at 1444 Alberni and 740 Nicola, credit ChangingCityBook.org. Final designs could be different.

Piecing together bits of information…


1444 Alberni Street and 740 Nicola Street
[Also listed as 1488 Alberni]
Prezoning Open House before submission of application to the City of Vancouver
Wednesday, June 7, 2017, from 5 to 7 pm

Two towers of 43 & 48 storeys with approximately 491 units (approx. 358 strata units and 133 market rental residential) including a mix of townhomes and family size units (2+ bedrooms). [West End Planning Team update June 1 says this is 44 and 49 storeys…]

According to the ChangingCityBook.com, “A cluster of rival luxury condo towers is rapidly emerging in the small area around Alberni and West Georgia where the West End Plan contemplated higher towers. The latest design is about to head to a pre-rezoning open house, before submission to the City for consideration. This isn’t the first pair of towers designed for this site; it was initially assembled by Wall Financial who commissioned a more contemporary design for a pair of towers, before selling the site on to Landa Properties and Asia Standard for twice what they had acquired it for. The new owners have commissioned New York architect Robert A M Stern (with Vancouver’s MCM) who have produced this initial design. It’s a very retro design, looking like New York towers from the 1930s, and also a very similar tower designed by the same architect in Toronto. If these are approved (after the many steps they face) they will look very different from the much more contemporary designs proposed so far in this area…” Continue reading

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West End Community Plan Update (June 1, 2017): City’s planning team lists rezonings, developments, events

West End aerial view, in CoV WE Plan draft 22-Oct-2013Here is a copy of the June 1, 2017 newsletter from the West End Planning Team at the City of Vancouver. For up to date details about the implementation of the West End Community Plan please click vancouver.ca/westendplan.


Here’s our latest newsletter to keep you informed about the implementation of the West End Community Plan, future events, and other important updates.


Gabriola Mansion (1523 Davie Street)

  • Proposal to restore significant interior and exterior heritage features of the mansion
  • Convert the mansion into 16 market rental units
  • Construct four 3-storey market rental townhomes on the northeast corner of the property
  • A community open house will be held with the applicant team and City staff available to answer questions

Thursday, June 8, 5 – 8 pm
Best Western Plus Sands
1755 Davie Street

1055 Harwood St Continue reading

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