4545 West 10th Avenue
To say I was excited when I saw renowned journalist Frances Bula tweet out a notice about an in-person pre-application meeting in West Point Grey would be an understatement. I was worried this event could be a heated affair in light of the backlash to the Jericho Lands, which includes a GoFundMe campaign. However, I have genuinely missed these meetings, so as soon as I got off work I followed the advice of the Village People, and went westward.
It turns out I was not alone in that sentiment, as by the time I arrived at this church the line to get in stretched for about a hundred feet. Luckily the time went by pretty quickly, and often I would hear those leaving remark they had already taken part in the virtual presentation the night prior, and just came to ask a question. Still, I was certainly surprised by what I saw when I got into this room.
There stood Darren chatting with a former member of the Urban Design Panel, having skipped the end of that body’s meeting to attend this open house. I promised my husband I would keep that discussion private, as though this professional lives nearby, this was a personal conversation. What I will say is that, contrary to my expectations, generally the voices I heard were extremely eager to welcome this mix of market and moderate income rental homes into their community.
Do not get me wrong, many were quite unhappy to see these two 14 floor towers, and even the 5 floor podium had some saying this was way too tall. Yet almost everyone I observed was willing to hold their noises and support this form as it meant their neighbourhood would once again have a grocery store. Like one person stated, the only reason they missed living in Fairview was because it was such an active area.
Others feared this would eventually lead to these blocks being transformed into something that resembled Cambie Street. This group concluded they could accept this project as it replaced the old Safeway, but firmly believed plans for a six floor rental building proposed at 10th and Highbury was completely out of place. That said, city council’s decision to route the UBC SkyTrain through the Jericho Lands was warmly received, as it meant there wouldn’t be one located at Sasamat.
Another individual agreed those stations often bring an undesirable element, which seems to ignore the struggles of the nearby businesses. This was something the applicant team tried to stress, often noting these 424 market and 106 moderate income rental homes would bring more customers, while helping to address the shortage of workers too. It was also nice to learn that, regardless of what these residents’ income levels are, they’ll all have access to what looks like a really nice rooftop amenity.
There will be private patios too, as the towers have been terraced to avoid shadowing the neighbours along 8th Avenue. These single-family homes are unlikely to change anytime soon, as they’re outside the Secured Rental Policy, which divides this large site with an imaginary laneway (pg 13). Fortunately they are buffered by a row of tall trees, unlike the apartment buildings to the east and west whose residents were among those most upset this evening.
Despite committing to fight the good fight, by the end they convinced themselves their efforts would be futile, and this would be approved anyways. What they did not realize is very few MIRHP proposals ever move ahead, and this one was first submitted over two years ago in the original group. Whether you want to halt it completely, or like local MLA David Eby think it should be significantly taller, make sure express your comments here before July 1st, 2022.
Applicant Team Information: