Meeting Notes from February

We had another well-attended and packed-with-news meeting on Thursday evening.

  • Character House Review

Javier Campos, president of Heritage Vancouver, gave a short presentation and initiated a dialogue about the City’s new Character House Review process. Javier is opposed to what he considers “extreme” heritage preservation rules which, he believes, is forcing the city to push the majority of new density onto arterials. He wants heritage preservation to be “flexible” and for heritage enthusiasts to accept change. He cited Shannon Mews as an “atrocious” example of what can happen.

He and Heritage Vancouver are opposed to the character review proposal, especially as it is neighbourhood-specific rather than city wide.  They believe that many neighbourhoods will be de-densified by the City’s proposals at the expense of other districts. It was noted that the Review applies to RT5 zones of which there are none in Grandview. Javier seemed opposed to the concept of RT zoning, noting that while some large houses have been saved by it, the “constraints” imposed by the zoning have been “terrible” for the development of most neighbourhoods.

It was noted that “character” does not infer “heritage” and that “heritage” does not equate necessarily to “character”. It was further noted that the west side of Vancouver does not enjoy duplex zoning in the same way that we do here in Grandview, and ot was suggested that such a change would be helpful.

There was a wide-ranging discussion. There will be an Urbanarium debate on this subject on March 8th, with Michael Kluckner and Javier on opposing sides.

  • Eric’s monthly Neighbourhood Update included discussions on:
    • the new report on the thousands of empty properties in Vancouver;
    • Brookhouse, where the asbestos shingling is being removed;
    • ongoing work at the old Bottle Depot on Victoria and William;
    • more land assemblies taking place in the south of the neighbourhood;
    • the now-closed Wonderbucks property on the Drive;
    • 1145 McLean, a house built by James Guinet in 1909 which, Eric noticed during reconstruction work, was balloon-framed, unusual for such a small house;
  • Coming Events:
    • There are a number of Heritage Foundation events that may be of interest;
    • The Friends of Vancouver Archives AGM is on 19th March with Aaron Chapman as guest speaker;
  • Heritage Evaluation:  Michael took us through the new evaluation criteria for the heritage registry which now takes cultural and social history into account. It is a “values-based” approach.
  • St. Francis of Assisi Development:  There was a brief discussion about the meeting held at SFA regarding their school development. There is no further news on this.
  • Donato’s House:  We confirmed that we will be installing a plaque for the oldest existing house in Grandview. Ther wording of the plaque is still to be finalised but we agreed it should be completed by next meeting.
  • Database Expansion:  Jak spoke briefly about the new entries to the Grandview Database.

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