Vancouver approves Mount Pleasant rezoning application
Vancouver city council voted today (April 17) to approve a controversial rezoning application for a 19-storey tower and multi-use complex at East Broadway and Kingsway.
As opponents of the Mount Pleasant project watched from the public gallery, council members voted to impose some restrictions on the project, including requiring the developer to work with staff to improve the aesthetics of the building.
The motion was supported 9-1, with an abstention from Coun. Tim Stevenson, who missed part of the hearing. Green party councillor Adriane Carr, who cast the sole vote against the proposal, argued that the tower goes against the community plan for the neighbourhood, which identifies three sites in the area for taller buildings.
“It identified mid-rise and high-rise, and then it further identified two specific sites, not this one, around language referring to high-rise,” she told reporters. “Which can only lead you to assume that this was intended to be mid-rise, as the community has said.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement issued following council’s decision that the project does fit with the Mount Pleasant community plan, and also meets council’s goal for transit-oriented development.
“Transit-oriented development is a top priority for this council and a key piece for our city right now, and this site sits on one of the busiest transit nodes in B.C.,” Robertson told council.
“In the century to come, I think we’ll see this area continue to change, and the need to think long-term and ensure that we have lots of housing on the transit node is really crucial.”
Council’s vote today followed six nights of public hearings on the proposal, during which council heard from 139 speakers. The majority of community members who spoke at the hearings were opposed to the project, including members of the Residents Association Mount Pleasant (RAMP).
Randy Chatterjee, the director of RAMP, argued the design of the high-rise building makes it “impossible to make this affordable”.
“That building form doesn’t lend itself in any way, shape, or form to an affordable structure,” he told the Straight. “By going that high, you’re forcing yourself into the luxury condo business.”
In addition to the tower, the multi-use complex will include two five-storey buildings and a nine-storey building. The developer offered a $6.25-million community amenity contribution to the city in exchange for the increased density, consisting of $4.5 million for cultural use within Mount Pleasant and $1.75 million for the city’s affordable-housing fund.