January 23rd, 2020 Public Hearing – A Landmark Decision, Will Vancouver Sour On 2,000 New Jobs Or Make Lemonade?

January 23rd, 2020 Public Hearing-

Update 01/24/20 – The public hearing has recessed and will resume on January 30th at 3pm. As a result, one can still send in correspondence or sign up to speak on Item 7.

To give people enough time to sign-up or write a letter for a public hearing, we try to get our expectation posts up a couple days in advance of the meeting. Ultimately, due to prior commitments and a need to sleep, that wasn’t possible this time. Then again, the city itself has been relatively slow to update the correspondence received, perhaps because these projects all face a relatively low risk of trouble.

However, theses items are anything but boring, as not only do some of them look really unique, they’ll provide valuable uses too. After all, anyone who’s had family visit knows our city is critically lacking hotel rooms, and adding them near Vancouver General Hospital makes sense, even if a couple people are upset that Item 7 will result in the loss of their favourite pub.

That might become the most creative looking building on Broadway, but the Urban Design Panel felt Item 6 has the potential to be a landmark in the False Creek Flats. Of course some are opposed as it might impact their views, but the potential effect the new headquarters for Lululemon Athletica could make on Vancouver’s economy is much larger, as it as it will allow for the hiring of two thousand new employees by 2030.

While that economic area might be booming, it’s the River District that seems to be adding the most housing. Some are growing tired that long-promised amenities still haven’t been realized, but are unlikely to derail Item 5’s 83 strata homes, and donation of land for affordable housing. As big as these transformations are, Item 4 in the Grandview-Woodland will see much more, as its conditions for approval will require a large retooling of this standard mid-rise.

While the rest of the agenda consists of a small text amendment and two (1, 2) Cambie Corridor townhome projects, it’s safe to say this should be an early night. Which might give our elected officials the rest they need to continue on with the meeting from January 21st, which will resume next week on the 28th.

Backlash Expectations

Item #4 – 2209–2249 East BroadwayLow
Unlike other projects that have draw ire in this area, this one is entirely on Broadway.

Item #5 – 8240 Kerr St & 3104-3130 Southeast Marine DriveVery Low
Its amenities may be long overdue, but this community generally remains open to growth.

Item #6 – 1980 Foley StreetLow
A few neighbours, including a local realtor (pg 1), are upset this new office building will impact their view.

Item #7 – 878-898 West BroadwayVery Low
The creation of new hotel rooms next to Vancouver General Hospital, and a future SkyTrain station shouldn’t draw much opposition.

IMG_7844

The Fourth Item – 2209–2249 East Broadway – Low
What is it?:
A fairly typical six floor building with 87 strata homes. At the lane it drops to three floors in order transition to the single-family homes to the north as called for by the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (pg 122).

Where is it?:
Here, almost directly across the street from Laura Secord Elementary, and a 10 minute walk from the Commercial-Broadway transit station.

What was the open house like?:
This was one of the few open house events in 2019 that neither Hannah nor I attended. Based on the staff report, it seems it was rather calm, as out of the 1,228 people notified about the event, only 24 came out, with about third of the later bothering to submit a comment card (pg 36).

What are its strengths?:
It replaces six single-family homes worth an average of roughly $1.1 million each. All of the current residents were aware of this rezoning application when they started their tenancy (pg 8), so it’s hard to call this displacement.

What are its weaknesses?:
Even if it’s approved, it will need a lot of work as the applicant’s requested relaxations at the lane, and along Broadway have been rejected by city staff (pg 7). Given its proximity to SkyTrain, it feels wrong to require 95 parking spots for cars, and only 109 spaces for bikes.

What is the opposition like?:
Though far smaller than other projects in this area have faced, the claims that the height, density, and look will ruin the character of the neighbourhood remain all too familiar (pg 37).

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

IMG_0722

The Fifth Item – 8240 Kerr St & 3104-3130 Southeast Marine Drive – Very Low
What is it?:
Filed back in June 2018, this application will create 83 strata homes in a 7 floor building, and provide the city with property south of the extended Pierview Crescent to allow for an affordable housing development in the future.

Where is it?:
Here, on a steep slope at the southeast corner of Kerr St and Southeast Marine Drive.

What was the open house like?:
Like the first item, neither Hannah nor I attended this project’s open house, located in what might be the furthest southeast venue in Vancouver. We didn’t miss much, as only 16 people out of the 2,415 who received notice cards bothered to come out (pg 41).

What are its strengths?:
This project will have amazing views of the Fraser River Delta, and it’s great part of this property will be given to the City to allow for non-market housing.

What are its weaknesses?:
Despite the recent announcement of the new Route 80 and proposed Route 31 bus lines will better connect this area to the rest of the city, it still feels isolated. In short, if you can’t / don’t want to drive, this isn’t the neighbourhood for you.

What is the opposition like?:
Traffic volumes, and a lack of parking are concerns, but there isn’t any real opposition (pg 41). Most simply want to see the area’s long promised amenities finally delivered.

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

IMG_5287The Sixth Item – 1980 Foley Street – Low

What is it?:
This text amendment will permit a height increase so this office building can reach the density it’s allowed under the False Creek Flats Plan and still provide space for China Creek, a bike lane, and the Millennium Line extension (pg 3) . The building will become Lululemon Athletica’s new headquarters, or as the company describes it, their “Store Support Centre.”

Where is it?:
Here, less than a ten minute walk away from the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station, in the heart of the False Creek Flats employment lands.

What was the open house like?:
This was easily one of my favourite events of 2019, as the food was amazing. When it comes to how people reacted, most of the 48 attendees welcomed this huge employment opportunity, but a few were more concerned about potential impacts to their view (pg 48).

What are its strengths?:
By 2030 it will create up to 2,000 thousand new jobs within walking distance of a SkyTrain station. This design is not only sustainable, but the Urban Design Panel felt it could become a landmark for other architects to inspire to.

What are its weaknesses?:
The addition of this many employees demands a daycare should be either included in the building, or funded nearby. Whether this project is approved or not, expect to see several days full of yoga pants jokes.

What is the opposition like?:
Aside from those concerned about their private views, there’s not much. That said, a former COPE city councillor is rightfully upset about the lack of childcare (pg 8).

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

IMG_7919

The Seventh Item – 878-898 West Broadway – Very Low
What is it?:
Submitted back in May 2018, this beautiful looking building will provide over 437 hotel rooms, 35% of which will contains kitchenettes to facilitate long-term occupancy.

Where is it?:
Here, one block north Vancouver General Hospital, and across the road from the future site of the Fairview-VGH Broadway Subway station. It will replace the Park Inn and the Fairview Pub.

What was the open house like?:
Though 4,000 people received a notice card, only 28 attended the open house (pg 28). As you might expect, this event was fairly quiet, aside from a couple patrons of the local pub.

What are its strengths?:
The long-term rooms will provide respite for families that have a loved one in hospital due to a critical illness or injury, and the short-term stay rooms will be perfect for visiting doctors and tourists. The removal of three driveways on Broadway should ease traffic congestion, and the design in unique for the area.

What are its weaknesses?:
The flight path of the air ambulance that rushes seriously-ill patients to life saving treatment, limits the height of this building (pg 7), but we’re not complaining. As there were concerns raised about the privacy and livability of the room on the east side, city staff are requiring some changes to be made (pg 8).

What is the opposition like?:
This is one of those rare occasions where some of those who have concerns actually want to see more height and density offered here (pg 38). That feeling is not unanimous, as some feel the design looks too good for the area, and others are just upset that their local watering hole will close (pg 38).

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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