March 1st, 2022 Public Hearing – Vancouver Explores New Heights To Heal The Hole In Its Wooden Heart

Public Hearing – March 1st, 2022
If you know the difference between a text amendment that fixes a simple error in a city bylaw vs one that allows for hundreds of rental homes, well then you’ll understand how important this night is. Conversely, if you’ve been doomscrolling the Russian invasion of Ukraine, like a normal person, then you might appreciate this post. Either way, Hannah and I think you could probably skip Item #1, as it remedies a previously approved set of bylaws.

Though be warned. you might miss Item #2, as this plan to transform a couple detached homes beside Women and Children’s Hospital hasn’t drawn any public feedback (pg 6). Which is typical for these Cambie Corridor Plan projects, and why Item #3 is so unusual. It’s drawn not only the ire of those who feel townhomes are too tall to be located near VanDusen Botanical Garden’s south parking lot (pg 8), but also those who worried it displaces too many renters.

Their solution is that our elected officials should reject this proposal, and permit a taller project that could let these residents return home one day. They have a point, as Item #4 is a perfect example of how a couple extra floors can result in hundreds of affordable homes. After nearly a decade, this “text amendment” might mark a fitting end to this 15 year long process (pg 2), yet that will be determined by your comments if you make them heard.

Backlash Expectations

Item 4 – CD-1 Text Amendment: 650 West 41st AvenueLow
Most of the opposition has dropped away on this long road, as they think it’s too congested

The Fourth Item – CD-1 Text Amendment: 650 West 41st Avenue – Low

What is it?:
This would add 413 rental homes, with 130 set at rates affordable to middle income earners, as well as 386,000 sq. ft. of office space to Oakridge Park. In exchange, 151,000 sq. ft. of strata housing, and 178,000 sq. ft. of retail space will be eliminated (pg 6), however some buildings will grow taller, with two increasing by nine floors (pg 1).

Where is it?:
Here, at the massive construction site once known as the Oakridge Centre shopping mall. If you’re on the R4, you can’t miss it next to the Oakridge- 41st Avenue Canada Line station.

What will it contribute to the community?:
It will pay $1 million to create more daycare spaces in the neighbourhood, ~$10.6 million to improve civic infrastructure, and ~$800 thousand for public art (pg 18). This is on top of the previously required development fees, and amenities like the nine-acre park, civic community centre, public library, and 290 city-owned social housing apartments (pg 4).

What has changed since it was first proposed?
To be approved, city staff have instructed that the apparent depth of Building 5, the tallest on the site, will need to be reduced (pg 21 -22). Buildings 12, 13, and 14 will also need to be made to look less similar (pg 22).

What was the open house like?:
Despite ~4,500 households being notified about this virtual event (pg 46), just seven questions were submitted, which you can view here. Fair warning, they include long rants about traffic, and the “blight on the Vancouver skyline.” Oh, and one simple question about why a larger grocery store isn’t included.

What are its strengths?:
This modest addition that creates hundreds of more affordable homes, and provides millions of dollars to pay for childcare and infrastructure upgrades sorta speaks for itself.

What are its weaknesses?:
This remains far shorter than the structures at the Brentwood, and Loughheed town centres, yet it’s understandable that some want to see this process come to an end already.

What is the opposition like?:
They’re a mix of those who opposed this project in 2014, and are naturally angry to see any further housing added, as well as those upset about how the ongoing construction impacts local traffic (pg 47).

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

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