Call for the City of Vancouver to uphold Agreements within the West End Community Plan
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We, the undersigned, call for the City of Vancouver and Mayor and Council to uphold key agreements they made with West End residents during development of the West End Community Plan, ("the Plan" which was adopted by Vancouver City Council in November, 2013).
WHAT ARE WE ASKING CITY COUNCIL TO DO?
IMMEDIATE ACTION: We are asking Council to formally adopt a motion stating the City’s commitment to honouring the 2013 deal it made with West End residents which was, i.e.: in exchange for acceptance of super-towers on the Burrard/Georgia corridors and lower Davie/Robson Streets, the City will uphold and enforce the 6 storey height limit in the four inner Neighbourhoods. Higher buildings will be an exception, to be permitted only if and when there is compelling public benefit. (Building more luxury condos is not a public benefit).
LONGER TERM ACTION: amend the zoning bylaws in the West End to integrate the core principles and intent of the West End Plan. This is key to assuring the preservation of the characteristics that make the West End one of the world’s great urban neighbourhoods.
WHY ARE WE RAISING THE ALARM?
The West End Community Plan was created through years of consultation with West End residents, (renters and owners), community groups and business owners, which resulted in a densification compromise:
• Super-towers (up to 60 storeys) along Burrard and Georgia Corridors
• 20-30 storey towers on the commercial streets (western/lower ends of Davie, Robson)
in exchange for: preserving a lower, more liveable scale in the 4 inner Neighbourhoods by mandating a six storey height limit.
Now, the City of Vancouver is interpreting the Plan in such a way that the 6 storey height limit is meaningless. The Planning department is denying there was any intention to prioritize the 6 storey limit in the 4 inner Neighbourhoods. The City is now approving developments in these inner Neighbourhoods that exceed the 6 storey height limit in the Plan, enabling developers to target the luxury condo market with higher buildings.
Example: 1150 Barclay Street: in April 2018, the City approved the replacement of a 3 storey walkup with an 11 storey luxury market condo tower: 19 affordable units replaced by only 21 luxury units, in a new building that is double the height limit and nearly triple the floor space limit.
Developers are taking note and the race is on to assemble land to build luxury towers in the 4 inner Neighbourhoods, extinguishing the character of the West End that the Plan was intended to protect.
West End Act Now is a group of West End Residents who were involved in the development of Vancouver's West End Community Plan. We know what we agreed to and we understand the repercussions of the City's current interpretation. We are concerned by what we are seeing.
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