November 2, 2018

The Berkeley Goes Precedential


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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The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is hosting a brand new event that explores Vancouver’s diverse West End neighbourhood. The self-guided tour offers an exclusive look at 15 sites between Robson Street and English Bay, and Burrard Street and the edge of Stanley Park.

For one day only, explore the buildings and sites that help tell the story of the West End.  The tour is well-navigated by foot, bike, transit or car. Tour goers will have access to private residences, gardens and commercial spaces as well as community buildings and sites.

For those who missed the Queen Charlotte Apartments on our 2015 Heritage House Tour, or for those who loved the building and would like another chance inside, this historic residence will be open including an apartment not previously shown. Ticket holders can also explore the Leslie Lane House, spaces within the Mole Hill Housing Society, the Mid-Century Modern interior of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation office, two churches, private gardens and more.


Saturday, September 29

12 pm – 5 pm

To purchase tickets visit www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org or call 604 264 9642.

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Brian Gould and Kathleen Corey are urbanist filmmakers well-known to Price Tags readers, and anyone else following Vancouver’s progress with its growing bike network.

Seacycles (2014) could be considered their flagship video which, when released, gave the world a proper introduction to the multi-modal improvements at the south end of the Burrard Bridge. That video also includes a wondrous pairing of then vs now picture-in-picture comparisons, and drone fly-overs.

Now under the banner small places (“tiny plazas – quick transformations – big ideas”), Brian and Kathleen are back, this time with a companion piece to show how far Burrard Bridge has come in the intervening years.

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“Tales From the West End” is an evening of story-telling where we explore and experience our community through stories about our common past.

September’s featured storyteller is heritage consultant, Donald Luxton who will intrigue us with his stories entitled “Curl up and Dye”, the Tonsorial Arts as practiced in the barber shops and beauty salons of early Vancouver.  He will include stories from Maxine’s Beauty School, the current location of JJBeans”.

This November 20,1931 photo shows students and instructor’s from Maxine’s Beauty School  [Stuart Thomson. Photographer. CVA 99-4100]


Wednesday, September 17

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

JJ Bean Coffee Shop, 1209 Bidwell Street

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

Bring along your photos and stories to share with your neighbours.


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John Atkin lives in the architectural and heritage weeds.  As an historian and city insider, he knows the details on how this city has changed.  Here, for instance, is an excerpt by John (with Elana Zysblat, James Burton and Denise Cook) from the West End Heritage Context Statement for the West End plan. 

This section provides a summary of zoning changes in the West End as new forms of development emerged, particularly the highrise tower, and how the city planners both encouraged and responded to redevelopment.  (I’ve added the illustrations.)

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Vancouver continues to repurpose public space for people.

More examples, this time from Davie Street in the city’s West End. One is private, and the others are part of a 3-year pilot study by VIVA Vancouver.

The study will test a number of things, including modular design elements and curbside patios that are away from the building. These measures will test innovative features to support a vibrant patio culture and make better use of public space.

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