Realtor warns of Shaughnessy decline with designation as heritage conservation area

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      First Shaughnessy has become Vancouver’s first heritage conservation area.

      City council approved Tuesday (September 29) a recommendation to designate the historic neighbourhood as a heritage conservation area to prevent the demolition of its pre-1940 properties.

      However, realtor Peter Saito claimed that the measure will ultimately ruin the character of the tony residential area bounded by West 16th and King Edward avenues and Arbutus and Oak streets.

      “I think we’re going to lose the uniqueness of First Shaughnessy,” Saito told the Straight in a phone interview.

      Saito explained that the district will cease to be the last large-estate, single-family neighbourhood in Vancouver as the city will allow development of additional dwelling units in properties designated for preservation.

      “First Shaughnessy becomes like Kitsilano,” Saito said.

      A media release from the office of Mayor Gregor Robertson notes that 315 out of the 595 properties in First Shaughnessy were built before 1940.

      “First Shaughnessy is one of our most historic neighbourhoods, and in a city as young as Vancouver it's important that we protect its unique heritage,” Robertson states in the release.

      “By designating First Shaughnessy as Vancouver's first Heritage Conservation Area, we are taking a balanced approach that will prevent the demolition of these historic homes while providing new opportunities to add very modest density where appropriate,” adds the mayor.

      The media release points out that additional density in the form of secondary suites, coach houses, infill developments, and others can “generate land value and would offset the impact of keeping the existing house”.

      However, Saito noted that putting in secondary dwelling structures will not work in First Shaughnessy: “In other places, yes, but not in First Shaughnessy, where everybody is already rich. They don’t need the income.”