October 14th, 2021 Public Hearing – Shaughnessy Rental Housing Undergoes A Careful Resurrection

Public Hearing – October 14th, 2021
When Hannah and I first moved to Vancouver we didn’t plan to stay long, as the “big city” felt overwhelming, and the transformation the Olympics triggered sure didn’t help. Admittedly, we laugh about that sometimes, as while there’s nothing wrong with a suburban life, we’ve grown to love the flexibility our home offers us. Life often forces us to adapt, and our city’s growing demand for industrial services has led to a similar response along West 2nd Avenue.

Only weeks after city council allowed more job space across from the Olympic Village, Item #1 seeks to take advantage of it. That same process makes it nearly impossible to summarize, as only a general form is provided at this stage, much like townhomes are under the Cambie Corridor Plan. Item #2 comes under that policy, but departs from it slightly in order to provide a better response to the community around its neighbouring Canada Line station.

Conversely, after its prior concept was rejected by city council in 2019, Item #3 underwent a significant evolution, and satisfied its biggest critic. Which shows even the hottest places can cool over, and that businesses need the freedom to accommodate this. Item #4 seeks to provide just that, as it simplifies the review required when retail spaces go to change the services they offer. After all, the only consistent thing is life is the importance in making your thoughts heard.

Backlash Expectations

Item #2 – 427-477 West 49th Ave. – Very Low
There’s very few people who would oppose 14 floors next door to a Canada Line station.

Item #3 – 4575 Granville St. – Moderate
Several major changes have calmed its biggest critic, but a few vocal dissenters remain.

The Second Item – 427-477 West 49th Ave. – Very Low

What is it?:
This 14 story building will provide 128 strata homes, along with retail stores, and a 37 space city-owned daycare.

Where is it?:
Here, right next door to the Langara-49th Ave. Canada Line Station, or roughly a block from the Langara Family YMCA, Langara Golf Course, and Tisdall Park, Vancouver’s 90th best.

What will it contribute to the community?:
The total values comes out to an equivalent of ~$14.6 million (pg 53), which includes the transfer of a turn-key daycare to the city valued at ~$5.4 million. There will also be ~$3.1 million levy for city-wide improvements, ~$5.8 million towards creating addition neighbourhood amenities, and a ~$230,000 public art fee (pg 12).

What has changed since it was first proposed?
Though the Cambie Corridor Plan envisioned two towers with ten and eight floors (pg 101), city staff suggested this form as it provides more separation from the neighbouring towers, casts less shadows on the nearby single-family homes, and avoids the complex process of incorporating the transit station.

What was the open house like?:
Almost 1,700 household were notified about the event, yet less than 250 took more than a second glance at this virtual open house. While there were no questions, 28 feedback forms were submitted, with 19 expressing support, 7 opposed and 2 self-identified as mixed (pg 42).

What are its strengths?:
Whether you’re a student, raising a family, or just enjoy a game of golf, it’s hard to imagine a more convenient place to live. Those who take the 49 will likely appreciate the larger plaza, and new retail stores.

What are its weaknesses?:
A rooftop amenity on the tower would have offered residents some pretty nice views. In contrast, that big, blank, boring wall facing this transit focused intersection feels like a missed opportunity for a larger mural.

What is the opposition like?:
Despite being virtually on top of a Canada Line station, some feel it should be scaled back as it offers too many congestion causing homes, and not enough vehicle parking. (pg 43).

Want to speak up?:
You can submit your comments using this online form, or register to speak by phone here.

The Third Item – 4575 Granville St. – Moderate

What is it?:
This is the second attempt to convince city council to allow a four floor building that will offer 24 stacked rental townhomes in Shaughnessy.

Where is it?:
Here, adjacent to the Vancouver Hospice Society, and about a 10-minute walk away from Shaughnessy Elementary, as well as the private girl’s-only Little Flower Academy, and York House School.

What will it contribute to the community?:
According to those opposed, these rental homes will lower property values in one of Vancouver’s most expensive neighbourhoods. It will also pay at least $ 110,000 in fees used to improve city infrastructure, like sewer lines (pg 15).

What has changed since it was first proposed?
Since the previously rejected iteration, the building has been rotated 90 degrees, and the internal courtyard has been eliminated. The addition of a larger green barrier, slightly reducing the height, and reducing the amount of parking has eased the concerns of the formerly opposed adjacent hospice.

What was the open house like?:
This virtual city-led meeting was nowhere near as contentious as the previous version’s event, as almost 75% of the 212 comments submitted were in support (pg 35). However, there was a bit more variety in the tone of the questions that were asked, which you can view here.

What are its strengths?:
In the words of the Vancouver Hospice Society, “it has the least impact on hospice operations” which is important, as their residents deserve dignity. Of course, so do their caring medical professionals, who are far more likely to rent a home here, than buy one of the nearby mansions valued at ~$5.7 million.

What are its weaknesses?:
It’s a shame the children’s play area is located so close to Granville Street, though at least its frequent transit service means it won’t take too long to access the retail services clearly missing in this community.

What is the opposition like?:
With the hospice’s abstention, their numbers are dramatically smaller, and far more blunt. These voices claim rental homes would ruin the area’s historic exclusivity, may lower property values, and would rather the nearby schools be replaced instead (pg 1). Increased traffic volumes are also an issue.

Want to speak up?:
You can submit your comments using this online form, or register to speak by phone here.

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