Architecture
April 18, 2019

The Infill Dilemma

In principle, the idea of infill in already built-out neighbourhoods is seen to be a good one, especially to broaden the choice of options.  At the community planning stage, there’s general acceptance.

Reality is tougher.  Two prominent cases for apartments on parking lots have received a lot of pushback – in the case of the Delbrook proposal in North Van District, council rejection; in the case of the Larch Street proposal in Kitsilano, considerable neighbourhood opposition.

Even in the West End, one neighbourhood you’d expect would welcome infill, the dilemma of scale and relationship to the existing fabric becomes apparent in these two examples.  The first – around five storeys, about the same as those examples mentioned above – was submitted almost immediately after the approval of the West End Community Plan in 2013 – a proposal for a rear parking lot at Cardero and Comox, as reported in PriceTags in 2014.  The comments detail the complaints.

Nonetheless, it is now under construction:

 

The other, a half block away, at 1685 Nelson, is considerably different in scale – actually an extension of to a heritage-quality house – but also meeting resistance.

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March’s featured storyteller is Kevin Dale McKeown, editor and publisher of The West End Journal.

As part of his “People’s Park” story, Kevin recalls the spring of 1971 when Vancouver’s Yippie movement occupied and built a tent city on the proposed site of a new Four Seasons Hotel at the entrance to Stanley Park – where Devonian Harbour Park is today.

Kevin was in the thick of the action, helping out at the camp kitchen. The protest lasted a year, Mayor Tom Campbell called it “a breakdown of society”, and obviously the campers / protesters won the battle.

Today the main attraction at the site is not a glitzy international hotel but the bronze statue of a woman sitting on a park bench, apparently searching in her purse for the glasses we can all see sitting atop her head. But things could have gone differently.

 

JJ Bean Cafe, 1209 Bidwell Street (Bidwell & Davie)

Wednesday, March 20

4:30 to 6:00 pm

Admission: Free, Complimentary coffee and tea thanks to JJ Bean

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How many Churches and Schools along Burrard Street can you identify?

February’s storytellers, educators and historians, Isaac Vanderhorst and
Janet Leduc will intrigue us with their story, “West End Schools and
Churches, 1890s to 1930s”.

Discover the central role schools and churches
played in early community life. Bring your stories and photos to share
with your neighbours.

 

JJBean Coffee Shop, 1209 Bidwell @ Davie

Sunday, February 24

4:30 to pm, story telling from 4:45 – 5:45

Admission: Free, Complimentary coffee and tea thanks to JJBean

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By Scot Bathgate:

Vancouver has gone to great lengths to develop a vibrant pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown core with abundant transit options for commuters and residents alike.  Those priorities have been so successful that the number of cars traveling into the downtown core is the same as it was in the 1960s.  In addition, we see all around the city centre the removal of large parking structures once vital to accommodating the flood of single occupancy drivers commuting into the city are coming down.

With such a successful planning approach, why is the City sabotaging this ethos by continuing to demand private parking spaces for residential development in downtown Vancouver’s largest neighbourhood, the West End?

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This month historian and researcher, Jolene Castillou Cumming will tell the illustrated story, “West End Newspaperwomen & Journalists”.
You are encouraged to listen, sketch and bring your own stories and historic photographs of the West End to share with your community.

 

Wednesday, January 16

4:30 to 6:00, story telling from 4:45-5:45

JJ Bean Cafe, 1209 Bidwell  (Bidwell & Davie)

Free, complimentary coffee and tea thanks to JJ Bean

 

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The Sun has picked up the Berkeley Towers issue and placed it (metaphorically) on the front page:

Tenants at Berkeley Tower in the West End are organizing to fight their planned evictions as Reliance Properties proposes to do extensive repairs on the 16-storey building in a prime location overlooking English Bay.

The company is giving tenants a long lead time and compensation that is almost double what relocation regulations require of developers, said Reliance president Jon Stovell.

But now, especially after the civic elections, there is talk of how community opposition might be able to snarl a developer’s plans even when they meet, and even exceed, the regulations. With housing issues key to so many high-profile municipal races, observers and tenants feel there is now greater pressure on politicians to protect existing affordable rental stock for long-term tenants.

Gordon Price, a former six-term Vancouver councillor, wrote in a recent post to his blog that “a strategy for community and housing activists emerged from the fight over 105 Keefer.”

He is suggesting Berkeley Tower tenants might want to follow the strategy taken by Chinatown community groups at 105 Keefer St.

Well, not exactly “suggesting”.  More observing the tactics used for 105 Keefer and then, noting its success, the likelihood that it will be used as a precedent.  Which seems to be happening.

For your reading convenience, Price Tags has repositioned the previous posts on The Berkeley following this one. (Regrets that in the process, we lost the comments to the second post.)

 

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Mini-golf at the corner of Denman and Georgia (1930)

Tales from the West End

October’s featured storytellers, educators and historians, Isaac Vanderhorst and Janet Leduc, will intrigue us with their story, “Recreation in the West End, 1890s to 1930s”

 

Wednesday, October 17

5:30 to 7:00, story telling from 5:45-6:45

JJBean Coffee Shop, 1209 Bidwell St., (Bidwell & Davie)

Admission: Free, Complimentary coffee and tea thanks to JJBean

 

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