2803 W 41st Ave – Crofton Manor
After over two years of attending various engagement events, Darren and I still cannot understand the hostility expressed at these meetings. We appreciate some are fearful of change, and others are outright opposed to it, but there is never a reason to expressed one’s thoughts in such a hateful manner. Then again, I do not think we have ever attended an open house at this venue without hearing something outrageous. Unfortunately, this night only continued that streak.
Darren hoped this would not happen again, but I worried any large increases in height could draw out the worst in people. So, as soon as I realized the four options all offered buildings ranging in height from four to fifteen stories, I prepared myself for the worst. Sure enough, many of the sixty attendees did not even get past the first information board, and one city staff member spent the whole night surrounded by various members of the public.
Option 1A (pg 11) was Darren’s favourite, as he appreciated how the road network aligned with MacDonald Street, as well as the centralized parks and daycare. In his opinion, it was the most fair option, as the buildings were well-distributed around the site, and created a feeling of openness. The smallest concept, Option 1B (pg 14), is very similar to 1A, but eliminates about 60,000 sq. ft. of living space to reduce the height of all but one building.
In contrast, Options 1A, 2, and 3 all offer the same FSR, but the later allows for slightly taller buildings in order to offer more public space. All four concepts provide public parks, daycare, space for a cafe along West 41st Avenue, and 20% of their homes at below-market rental rates. Also static is the 10 floor seniors care building, which has an indoor courtyard space, and steps down to match the height of the strata building to the west.
However, it was the owners of the surrounding single-family homes who were most upset. As one put it, Canadians buy homes in Vancouver to live in an ocean-side resort city. They criticized the care-aides who work here as lazy, entitled, millennials who wanted more compact floors, even if it ruined the character of the neighbourhood. Naturally, these people did not approve of how Options 2 and 3 shifted the height from the outer buildings to a centralized eighteen floor building.
Option 2 (pg 17) does the worst job at this, as the setbacks are only at the northeast corner. It does not even feel very welcoming, as all the green space has been crammed onto the eastern side of the property, and the daycare is stuck under the tallest building. In contrast, Option 3 (pg 20), my own favourite, actually provides three separate public areas; a plaza, a garden, and a green lawn spread between five buildings.
This version also creates the greatest transition to the neighbouring properties, as it steps down to four and six floors along the entire northern and western edges. Some felt this was enough to respect their community, and provide the new homes it needs, but acknowledged some of their neighbours would be upset no matter what was proposed. One individual demonstrated this in a series of outbursts, as they blamed the federal government for ruining our country by allowing immigrants to come here.
Sadly, this opinion is not unusual at these events, nor were the actions of another person who spent the evening spreading lies and conspiracy theories. The most popular was that the developer had purchased a large stake in this carehome provider in order to seize control, force this development, and avoid the property transfer tax. Even when it was revealed this company is actually owned by a pension fund responsible for our nation’s military and RCMP forces, they insisted their sources proved otherwise.
Despite the upkeep from this crown corporation, the nearly 50-year-old building is showing its age, and will require a significant amount of investment to replace. This was evident when one resident complained that, even in the winter, they do not have to turn on the heat as the degrading insulation on the water pipes keeps their room too hot. The families of residents in attendance also welcomed this proposal when they realized it would be phased-in to prevent disruption.
Those individuals, and their relatives, will get their own private presentation at another upcoming event. After all, having accurate, truthful information is important, and while I have done my best to convey it, there is just too much to cover. Thankfully, all of the information boards from the event can be found at this link, and, more importantly, you can easily leave your thoughts by filling out this short comment form, or emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org before October 30th, 2019.
Applicant Team Information:
Developer Partnership – Wall Financial Corporation and Revera Inc.
Seniors Building Architects – Number TEN Architectural Group
Buildings 2 – 5 Architects – Perkins and Will Architects
Landscape Architects – Hapa Collaborative