UDP Plants a Forest of Tree Jokes – Approves of Pearson Dogwood Parcel A

500 W 57th Avenue (Pearson Dogwood Parcel A)

The February 14th UDP meeting started with the development application for the first phase of the Pearson Dogwood redevelopment. The applicant team introduced the project by  first discussing the need to fit in with the neighbourhood, and how they tried to accomplish this. They explained the brickwork was not only for insulating purposes, but also to match the nearby Langara College. Meanwhile, the metal panels within the window systems were designed to lighten the towers.
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For those unaware, the plan for the site calls for the construction to be done in phases. This ensures that new social and supportive homes are built before old ones are demolished. As a result, temporary modular homes were approved for the final phase of the site. They are located in the northwest corner of the property, which was already planned as social housing.
Unfortunately, this project is in danger of long delays, and even a major redesign due to changing city policies. The applicant team is still desperately working to get it’s thermal plans finished before the end of the year. If not, it is likely the current design will need to be completely reworked to comply with the new policy. This uncertainty is shown in the model, which provides rooftop provisions for building systems that could be moved into parkade.
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While most opinions were reflected in the recommendations, concerns about the amount of playspace for children, and a desire for a bike elevator didn’t make it into the consensus. Also omitted was a joke/suggestion that it would be better to use Dogwood Tree plantings instead of the proposed Maple Trees; I don’t think the minutes will reflect the groans that met that idea either.
The recommendations expressed concern that the courtyard will not engage the public, and suggested a redesign in order to encourage more activity. Also in need of improvement was the amenity space for the social housing, as it was felt to pale in comparison to the impressive space provided for the market units. Additionally, there was a need for improvement to the accessibility and expression of the social housing homes. Lastly, it was felt that the two towers were far too similar and needed to be reoriented and made more dissimilar in their expression.
The applicant responded defensively, believing that the buildings were distinctive already, but  admitted they could benefit from a brighter colour palette.  The applicant indicated the intended purpose of the courtyard was to funnel people to the central park area, not to hold onto activity. Thankfully, before more tree jokes were made, the meeting was over with the panel supporting the project.

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