UDP Looks to Car-Lite Future as it Supports the Jewish Community Centre

950 West 41st Avenue (Jewish Community Centre)

The applicant team for the Jewish Community Centre started this third UDP in three weeks by painting a vision of the future. They introduced their vision by reminding the panel that the tallest building on site will be similar to that allowed for its neighbours. While championing steps the site has taken to address the needs of tomorrow, it was highlighted that the new intersection will align with the plans for the former bus barns, and that space has been allocated for the new 91 B-line bus as well. It was acknowledged that while the site is being built with the ability to connect to a neighbourhood energy grid, it is also designed to meet the city’s environmental targets even if one isn’t built. In order to improve the streetscape of today, the aquatic centre has been sunken into the ground, though as a result parking will not be provided as it was deemed too hard to reach with a ramp. Fear played a role in this decision as well, as there were safety concerns raised over providing parking under a Jewish Community Centre. Lastly, in acknowledging the disruption caused by developing the existing parking lot first, it was revealed that interim parking will be provided on the OTC site across the road.

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Though outside of the panel’s purview, some members expressed hope that this development would allow for more height and density at the OTC site. While another panelist, perhaps feeling modest, expressed concern that the pool may not see as much activity due to the views from the public realm. In their consensus, the panel expressed appreciation for the quality of the information package. They felt that the project fit well with the emerging neighbourhood and were supportive of the height, massing and density. Though the panel acknowledged it was early in the process, it was felt that the emerging architectural expression was off to a good start.

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While the panel supported the project, it did provide some recommendations. One of which was that the design should be changed so that the tower expression could be brought to the street and better integrated with the podium. It was felt that the ground plane should be improved, especially with the traffic impact on pedestrians, cyclists, and the general open space. It was felt that the space for bicycles should prioritized, and there should be improvements to the livability between the street and courtyard. The panel expressed a view to the future in their recommendations, with a suggestion that there should be more skylights into the first level of parking so that space could be re-purposed as the need for parking declines. The next two suggestions were somewhat confusing. The panel expressed a need for the daycare areas to have immediate access to an outdoor space, and for the drop-off space to be relocated between the tower and community centre. In response, the applicant acknowledged that, while the daycare does not have immediate access to the rooftop amenity area, there is a partially covered outdoor space connected to the daycare. It was also pointed out that the drop-off point is located where the panel suggested. Perhaps the official minutes will clear up this confusion, which shows why a city staffer is assigned to professionally document these matters.

Read our opinion of the open house, and if you agree or disagree with it, make sure to have your voice heard.

  • A 9-storey replacement Jewish Community Centre, including:
    • recreation space, including pools and gyms;
    • ground level commercial space;
    • an Early Childhood Education Centre, including 104 private daycare spaces;
    • cultural arts, auditorium, and theatre space;
    • non-profit office space; and
    • a maximum height of 37 m (121 ft.).
  • A 13-storey replacement Louis Brier Home and Hospital Seniors Care Facility, with:
    • 266 senior assisted living, complex care and memory care beds; and
    • a maximum height of 48 m (158 ft.).
  • A 24-storey residential building with:
    • 160 secured market rental units; and
    • a maximum height of 80 m (263 ft.).

Underground parking, with 693 vehicle parking spaces and 250 bicycle parking spaces, is proposed. The application proposes a total floor space ratio (FSR) of 4.47.The application is being considered under the Oakridge Transit Centre Policy Statement.

Source

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