There are some surprises in the City of Vancouver’s Northeast False Creek rezoning plans for 750-772 Pacific Boulevard (the Plaza of Nations site, or Sub-area B), and the 777 Pacific Boulevard site (1 Robson Street, or Sub-area 10c) — previously covered by Price Tags —which appear to favour the developer, not the public.

The BC Pavilion Corporation — or PavCo, the public developer and a BC Crown Corporation under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture — is exceeding the recommended square footage for the sites laid out in the guidelines by nearly twenty per cent.

The plan insists on a “gateway” of three over-height towers, well above the established heights for the site of 300 feet. Instead of three 30 storey buildings, the plan is asking for two tall towers of 42 storeys and a “smaller” tower of 40 storeys.

What the plan does not say is that the padded extra storeys are equivalent to another full 32 storey tower. These towers will privatize, for the condo developers, the view of the north shore mountains from locations along Cambie Street and from Queen Elizabeth Park; these are views that have been protected for future generations under the city’s View Corridor Policy. and View Protection Guidelines. The developer PavCo has already submitted an alternative to the 42 storey tower which, at 26 storeys, provides a better street form and does not corrupt the protected views.

Advocacy group Save Our Skyline YVR has been formed to respond to the rezoning applications which will be going to Public Hearing on Tuesday July 10th. The group states:

If city council votes to let PavCo’s tower through, this will set precedence for other real estate developers to pressure the City to allow them to penetrate the view cones too. This will be the end of Vancouver’s unique mountain skyline as we know it. We cannot let city council and crown corporation Pavco privatize our free public views.

For the Pavco tower, there is currently another alternative proposed that does not impact the view corridors. The recommended zoning and the draft Design Guidelines from the City allow for a lower tower with 26 storeys of residential use that will be 300 feet in height, provide a better street form, and will not corrupt the view corridors. This form is a better alternative though the bulk proposed is still a form that follows finance.

Save Our Skyline YVR is asking people to sign up to consider speaking at the public hearings on Tuesday July 10,  or consider writing a letter, signing a petition, and sharing this information on-line. You can find out more by following this link.

Images: SaveOurSkyline YVR


  1. There is an element of slippery slope to this argument, that by allowing some incursion which still retains view of the mountains, that the precedent is set for larger buildings which do block the mountains.

    One could just as easily draw this and have altogether less sturm und drang.

    I think the discussion should be more based on the quality of the buildings, and whether they are actually decent to look at, than simply having slightly shorter blah everywhere.

  2. Newsflash to Save Our Skyline YVR:

    The buildings ARE the skyline.

    I think the organization needs a new name: TableTop YVR

    1. The mountains are the skyline. Looking at Vancouver House you can see how very quickly a few “exceptions” will lead to the mountain view being blocked permanently.

      1. The view was already blocked by the several dozen other highrises around Vancouver House. I’d rather focus on making the city just as impressive as the land around it, rather than making more hedge-trimmed cookie cutter James Cheng condos just to save a few millimetres of blueness for somebody’s selfie.

        Or if we’re just going to arbitrarily say “no, you can’t build this big here” whenever City Hall feels like it, could we please get a viewcone for the “East Van” cross and Fir Street off-ramp? Both are pretty amazing at sunset.

  3. Too much time and energy has been invested in view cones. It’s time for an equal or better investment into the architecture, urban design and streetscapes of the city itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *