YMCA Departure Leaves Broken Heart at Pearson Dogwood Parcel C – Will UDP Support Mend that Wound?

There’s no question that the YMCA’s decision to abandon the Pearson Dogwood Lands left a huge hole in this building. That said, there are other lesser issues that have been well handled, as the applicants have created a road network that, while not complete is still functional, and includes dedicated space for HandyDART vehicles. The tree covered podium, with soil 3 meters deep, was designed to provide a calming forest experience for those using the therapy pool, and for the residents of the tower. The developer, Onni, intends to retain ownership of the retail units, and the team recognized the importance of keeping the plaza activated with events. Still, no site is perfect, and the panel provided a wide range of opinions.


The panel is never fully in agreement, and that showed in their comments. There were some related to the design of the building, as one member wanted less entryways, while another felt there was too many materials being used on the building. Other members were concerned about the landscaping, one questioning whether the white planters on the north side were needed. There was also an impassioned plea to save the Sycamore Trees on the site. There were many more remarks besides these, and it appeared that each member just wanted to make their mark on the building. Still, the project easily passed with recommendations.


First were the usual recommendations, that the canopies appeared too monotonous, and that the tower should connect better to the ground level and podium. However, there were also more unique recommendations, like the desire to see the facade treatment of the podium continued upwards and incorporated as guardrails. In regards to the public realm, there were concerns that site was too hard to navigate, as well as a desire to see the store frontages improved, especially the crowding of the south east corner unit. Of course, it was mentioned that the podium should be designed to be more activated, and a desire expressed for less hard surfaces.The panel’s biggest complaint was that 57th Avenue, where the YMCA would have been located, was now void of activity. In order to bring it to life, the panel suggested incorporating public art, varying the landscaping, and using a material other than just glass on that side of building. The last comments seemed beyond my understanding, as they highlighted concerns over the slab projection and whether the eyebrows were too shallow, numerous and negatively impacted the livability of the building.


The panel also came to the agreement that this was a very well handled building, which I agree with. I imagine that the urban forest element could be very inspiring to see in person. Having put in three hours of my time at this UDP, I was done for the day and missed the last project. Don’t miss out on your chance to tell the city what you think of the building either through the project website, or by attending the meeting on May 14th .

Onni Group has applied to the City of Vancouver for permission to develop this site with a 27-storey mixed-use building. The proposal includes the following:

• 171 market dwelling units;
• 6 Pearson supportive units;
• retail on Level 1, community health centre on Levels 1-4 and child daycare on Level 4;
• building height of 292 ft.;
• 330,593. sq.ft. of floor area; and
• four levels of underground parking accessed from a new internal stree


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