December 10th Public Hearing – East Van Residents Hope To Save Beloved School As Sonder Claus Plans To Visit Main Street

December 10th, 2019 Public Hearing

The first of two public hearings scheduled for this week is one Hannah and I expect to be over quickly and quietly. That’s because none of these applications have drawn the ire faced by a MIRHPP proposal in Kitsilano which will be on heard Thursday night. In fact, one has to wonder why any of these items were even subjected to this process as they’ve drawn little opposition, and didn’t receive any recommendations from the Urban Design Panel.

We imagine the first one, the expansion of the community facilities at the Alliance Française, will draw widespread support. Meanwhile, the second, a four-storey building less than a block from the Canada Line’s Langara-49th Avenue station, is born from a plan that failed to predict our city’s affordability crisis.

As the lack of family housing has lowered enrollment numbers at some schools to levels that have put them in danger of closing, it’s no wonder the residents of Kiwassa are eager to support the addition of a large amount of family housing to their neighbourhourhood.

This is probably why the last proposal, which will bring 49 strata homes and 37 spaces of city-owned daycare to Mount Pleasant, has also failed to generate any anger. That said, we don’t know what the reaction will be to a last-minute change which will see Sonder operate some of its strata homes as hotel suites for likely at least the next five years.

Backlash Expectations

Item #1 – 6161 Cambie St (Alliance Française)Very Low
A Renewal Of Vancouver’s French Culture Centre Won’t Cause Any Concern

Item #2 – 319 – 359 West 49th AvenueVery Low
A four floor building between Cambie and Main won’t see anyone bat an eye

Item #3 – 1102 – 1138 East Georgia StreetVery Low
Many in the neighbourhood hope these new homes will help save their local school

Item #4 – 1940 Main StreetLow
The provision of a city-owned daycare should calm any concerns.

6161 Cambie Street Render.jpg

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The First Item – 6161 Cambie Street (Alliance Française)

What is it?:
A plan to renew the Alliance Françiase in a new building the same height as the old one. Designed to promote the French language and culture, it will provide education spaces, a theatre, an auditorium, a cafe, and continue to provide the largest French library in our province.

Where is it?:
Here, in the Cambie Corridor, next door to the Oakridge Centre and halfway between two Canada Line stations (1, 2).

Is this the first concept?
No, after refining the concept, the applicant is seeking a small 1.5m increase in height to allow for a skylight to bring more light into the atrium.

What was the open house like?:
14 people attended this event, but no one bothered to submit any feedback (pg 9). Even we were otherwise occupied at an open house for a MIRHPP project along the Grandview Highway, but we have taken the virtual tour.

What are its strengths?:
It’s great to see our city’s community and culture facilities continue to grow, especially when the building has an attractive appearance.

What are its weaknesses?:
Some may dislike that this building is only seeking to rebuild at the existing height, rather at the full six floor its allowed (pg 6).

What is the opposition like?:
One person stands alone, with their only concern being that not enough parking has been provided.

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

IMG_9825

The Second Item – 319 – 359 West 49th Avenue

What is it?:
A four storey building with 51 strata homes and retail space at the ground level.

Where is it?:
Here, basically on the doorstep of the Langara Golf Course, on the same block as the Canada Line’s Langara-49th Avenue station, kitty corner to the Langara Family YMCA, and a short walk to Langara College.

What was the open house like?:
Though 1,290 were notified, only 17 people attended this event (pg 34). Though we attended it, there was literally nothing worth recapping.

What are its strengths?:
It’s in a great location, close to the Canada Line, schools, the facilities of the YMCA, and a huge golf course. The Urban Design Panel felt there were no issues that needed to be addressed at this stage.

What are its weaknesses?:
Despite its proximity to great amenities and transit, the Cambie Corridor Plan limits this side of 49th Avenue to four floor buildings (pg 102) and requires 56 spaces of vehicle parking,

What is the opposition like?:
The only concern expressed so far is that it may led to more people parking on Alberta Street (pg 34).

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

IMG_1890

The Third Item – 1102 – 1138 East Georgia Street

What is it?:
A unique concept that provides a mix of 37 strata homes and 10 social housing apartments above a ground level with creative production retail spaces connected by an internal mews.

Where is it?:
Here, across the street from Admiral Seymour Elementary, and two blocks north of La Cada Gelato‘s world record selection of flavours.

Is this the first version?
No, the configuration of the internal mews was altered from the pre-application concept, resulting in a simpler layout that has fewer connections to the laneway.

What was the open house like?:
It may have been freezing cold in the gym of Admiral Seymour Elementary, but the vast majority of the 65 people at this event gave a very warm reception to this proposal.

What are its strengths?:
At the open house, people expressed hopes these family homes will prevent the closure of their local school by bolstering its low 32% enrollment rate (pg 4). Its gritty look and manufacturing based retail fits well the neighbourhood’s character.

What are its weaknesses?:
This proposal is so well thought out, even the Urban Design Panel declined to offer any recommendations.

What is the opposition like?:
There’s not much, but some feel it should provide more social housing and vehicle parking (pg 40).

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

1940 Main SW View

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The Fourth Item – 1940 Main Street

What is it?:
At first glance, this seems like a typical mid-rise building under the Mount Pleasant Community Plan, but some of these 49 strata homes will likely be operated by Sonder as hotel suites (pg 6). It will also include a 37 space daycare that will be given to the city.

Where is it?:
Here, kitty corner to the Main Alley Tech Campus. In an area with a wide selection of good food and drinks, it’s only a short walk to Cartems Donuts, Earnest Ice Cream, and several breweries.

Is this the first version?
No, a last minute change means some of these strata homes may be run by Sonder as hotel suites for the foreseeable future under Vancouver’s Interim Hotel Development Policy.

What was the open house like?:
2,740 notice cards were sent out, but only 39 people attended this open house (pg 44). The night was relatively quiet, aside from a real-estate agent who felt there should be more three-bedroom homes.

What are its strengths?:
More daycare space is something our city desperately needs, and we really like how the ABC’s on the daycare elevator relate to the existing Tireland – ABC Auto Centre. The Urban Design Panel felt the project was so well handled, they issued no recommendations.

What are its weaknesses?:
The potential that some of the homes will now be used as hotel suites creates some uncertainty, as it could led to some slight design changes.

What is the opposition like?:
There hasn’t been much other than those concerned about impacts to their home’s view (pg 45), but it’s hard to know how its neighbours will react to potential of new hotel use. That said, it’s already won the support of the Downtown BIA.

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

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