In 2013, City Council passed this:

This community plan was a response to objections over the development of a few highrises (particularly the ones at Comox and Broughton, and at Bidwell and Davie) under a rental incentive program.  Opponents objected to the spot rezonings without the context of a community plan.  So they got one.
And they very likely got way more than they expected:

It is estimated that over the next 30 years, the West End will experience a population growth of 7,000 to 10,000 residents. While growth will happen incrementally, it is anticipated that approximately half of this growth might occur in the first 10 years …

Growth was cleverly accommodated on the edges, notably along the Alberni corridor and between Thurlow and Burrard, to allow highrises of a scale not seen before (over 50 storeys!). But the centre and slopes of the West End would essentially keep their scale and character, with allowances for infill.
One area, however, within the ‘traditional’ West End centre would be transformed – the so-called Lower Davie blocks between Jervis and Denman.  It was considered a ‘corridor,’ not a village, like the blocks uphill to the east – the centre of gay life in the community.  Indeed, the planners wanted to keep dense residential development out of that area in order to avoid night-life conflicts.  And so the development was shifted to ‘Davie West,’ effectively creating a new village with a new identity.
This is a plan for the next 30 years.  Except it’s likely going to be built out in the next 15.  And the first area to go through the fastest transportation is Davie West – now under construction on a scale not seen in the West End since the 1960s.

A rental highrise on what used to be a parking lot in the 1600 block

The single biggest change is across the street, on a full half-block where the Safeway used to be …

And which is now a very large hole:



  1. The Sutton-Brown model was to put density off of the arterials. The Post Sutton-Brown model was to put people who live in high density on arterials or industrial land, the least liveable. It looks like the West End is getting what Sutton-Brown always opposed. The role of those who live in high density is to block unpleasant things from the low density real citizens.

  2. “Growth was cleverly accommodated on the edges, notably along the Alberni corridor and between Thurlow and Burrard”
    It probably wasn’t seen as “clever” buy the hundreds evicted from affordable low rise buildings to make way for these highrises with their false promise of affordable rentals, at $1,900 for a one bedroom! The lack of empathy for these residents is shocking.

    1. The pretense that cheap rental units should remain in the best located part of Vancouver is also shocking.
      Leaving ugly 50+ year old stucco boxes is highest and best land use, and good urban policy, on land that is worth $100M an acre ?

      1. These words can equally be used in defense of up zoning every single family neighborhood in the city to multifamily.

      1. Free housing for everyone, beachside ? Or merely 70% below market ?
        CACs levied onto these new “shiny towers” could provide new, subsidized rental accommodation, but elsewhere, where land is far cheaper, say Burnaby, New West or E-Van !

  3. Why not zone everything 50 stories?
    Massive CACs that could be used for rental housing – both market and non-market like Butterfly – for thousands of units?

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