On July 24 City of Vancouver Council will be reconvening the public hearing for 777 Pacific Boulevard, otherwise known as Site 10C (1b) in the Northeast False Creek Plan. There is a lot of contention with the proposed density and with the tower heights. Despite the fact that there are 163 pieces of correspondence to Council opposing the application, a petition with over 1,000 signatures and only 9 letters in support, will this Council listen?

Some of the optics are troubling.


The View Protection Guidelines which have been carefully stewarded to ensure that citizens would always have the iconic views of the mountains and the sea were silent on towers for Northeast False Creek. The guidelines never considered a Cambie Street “gateway” until February 2018 when Council hastily added a site height limit of 300 feet specifically for this development.  Not only did the developer exceed the square footage allowable on the site, the developer also exceeded that height limit established only four months ago.  As  Price Tags has previously reported:

City staff are  recommending three tall towers that will be way, way over the 300 foot height limit-The rationale for the two 425 foot, 48 storey towers at the intersection of Georgia and Pacific (and these are the words of the Council report) are to provide a “counterpoint”and a “gateway”. Just to balance things out another over height 400 foot tower is also proposed, as if to make the two 48 storey towers less obtrusive. You can view the plan here. 

The whole point of the View Corridor Policy and the establishment of view cones was to ensure views of the mountains, sea, and adjoining areas from different vantage points in the city.. You can see what former planning Director Larry Beasley said about the view corridors here. Why congest up space and block views when density can be spread over the site or in other locations?

Vancouver was one of the first cities to develop a view protection policy, believing that the right to iconic views from street level should be the right of every citizen, and not privatized for developer profit. It also enhances wayfinding, and the extraordinary views are available to everyone. And it is not like this is an “either or” for the developer~a second option is within the report. This second option stays within the height limit and results in the building having  a stronger built form with the street.

It is people like urbanist Melody Ma and Save Our Skyline YVR that are showing not only the massing of these too tall towers, but shepherding a petition to keep the towers within the established view corridor height limits. The petition has been signed by previous Directors of Planning for Vancouver, and other notable Vancouverites, like past city Councillor Marguerite Ford. You can access that petition here.

 

Comments

  1. The guidelines protect the view of just some of the mountains from select points on Cambie St between 10th and 12th avenues (among other select points); they don’t guarantee an unbroken horizon of mountains from any and all random spots along Cambie Street itself. Exactly which cones are endangered by this proposal?

    1. The view cones were set back in the 80’s. Perhaps, they should be reviewed after so much time.

      The 10th & Cambie view-cone should be reviewed and possibly deleted as it is strictly auto-oriented, and only visible for a few seconds as cars pass this through the intersection. On the other hand, new view cones should be established. Perhaps some of the auto-oriented cones could be deleted and in favour of new ones from transit. For instance, there are NO view-cones set from Skytrain, which carries more people daily than in cars on Cambie. (490k vs 30k)

      Plus, as the developers are creating a new “waterfront entertainment district”, undoubtable attracting 100s of thousands of people a year. New view cones could be added FROM this new waterfront destination.

      Let’s stop thinking like rigid policy wonks and start thinking like designers. Opportunities abound!

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