Public Hearing – March 3rd, 2022
As the civic election nears, it seems city hall is going to be getting considerably busier, as the Broadway Plan, Jericho Lands, and Vancouver Plan’s fates all remain undecided. The April public hearings will likely drag on for multiple nights alone, as the proposal to provide 244 rental homes at the future South Granville Broadway SkyTrain station has already garnered over 400 comments. Which might be why yesterday Councillors Hardwick, Bligh and Kirby-Yung voted against letting its rezoning process continue.
So as it will probably be their last calm night for awhile, Hannah and I hope every councillor rests up during this meeting. After all, there’s nothing controversial on this agenda as the only significant application, Item #1, is essentially the second half of a rental building they approved 11 months ago. Item #2 similarly, builds upon their past actions, as it will allow for an air ambulance heli-jet landing pad to be added onto the new St Paul’s Hospital.
Some may wonder why this core service needs to undergo this process, but as Item #3 demonstrates, a second look can be beneficial. It will fix several mistakes caused by the last revision of the East Fraser Lands plan. Historians will probably struggle to understand that document one day, though at least Item #4’s heritage designation could let them appreciate the Standard Building for years to come. Their future could be shaped by your thoughts, so make sure they’re heard.
The First Item – 277–291 W 42nd Avenue – Very Low
What is it?:
The darker half of a project city council passed last year. This side will provide 211 rental homes, including 42 that will be rented at below-market rates, and a new public mid-block connector on its eastern edge.
What will it contribute to the community?:
It will pay ~$3.6 million for things like upgrading sewer lines, and provide another ~$255,000 for public art. That said, if the rents are below a certain level, these fees will be reduced by ~$2.4 million (pg 13).
What has changed since it was first proposed?
Once again, the Urban Design Panel’s recommendations have led city staff to require enhancements to the public realm, and modifications to make the tower look slimmer (pg 17).
What are its strengths?:
It doesn’t displace any renters, aligns with the community plan, and starts the process of creating a pedestrian link between Columbia Park and Elizabeth Avenue. Uniting the rooftop amenity between this and the adjacent building will help residents of both build a stronger community.
What are its weaknesses?:
There’s hardly anything unique about the look of this tower, or its partner, but the blame for that lays with the overly-prescriptive Cambie Corridor Plan.
What is the opposition like?:
Despite the near identical building next door, and the Oakridge Centre just down the road, some feel this is out of scale with the community (pg 38). In fact, one person suggests that if this is approved, the entire city may as well be demolished.