The City of Vancouver has unveiled its preferred option for redevelopment around the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station.
Subject to approval by council in the spring, the conceptual plan includes a pair of new high-rises that will dwarf everything else in the neighbourhood.
An almost 100-metre building may sprout at the site of two popular shops, Bamboo Café and Super Great Pizza, right next to the station. A 90-metre tower may rise north of the transit hub, where a Tim Hortons is located.
Both will be taller than existing high-rises in Collingwood Village and the nearby towers under construction as part of the Wall Centre Central Park development on Boundary Road.
At another corner next to the SkyTrain station, where the city may approve an 80-metre building in a future rezoning application, Westbank Projects Corp. has proposed to develop an adjacent 29-storey tower.
The city plan also includes three new towers on the St. Mary’s Parish property on Joyce Street. One will be a replacement for—and twice the height of—the 11-storey Columbus Tower, which currently provides affordable housing for seniors.
In other areas around the SkyTrain station, apartment buildings of four and six storeys are envisioned.
The city presented its favoured option for the redevelopment of lands in the immediate vicinity of the station in open houses on February 3 and 6.
At the February 6 open house, senior planner Paula Huber stressed that a new Joyce-Collingwood plan represents only “opportunities”. “This is not the city going out and forcing change,” Huber told the Georgia Straight.
Huber also said that the plan incorporates affordable housing, improved pedestrian connections, and childcare as priorities.
“In this tight area, there is a significant opportunity for affordability,” the city planner said.
According to Huber, three sites can provide a range of new mixed-income rental housing. One is the existing B.C. Housing site of two-storey townhouses, which may be redeveloped into taller apartment buildings. Another is city-owned land at Vanness Avenue and McHardy Street. The third is the St. Mary’s Parish property.
Outside the Collingwood Neighbourhood House hall, where the open house was held, Arielle dela Cruz Yip and other organizers with the Joyce Area Residents Association held up placards protesting the plan. They are worried that redevelopment of the neighbourhood will displace long-term residents, particularly renters.
“A lot of people just want to hold on to their sense of community here,” dela Cruz Yip told the Straight. “A lot of them have lived in Renfrew-Collingwood for many years, so they’re feeling like the impacts aren’t communicated and their concerns aren’t actually being heard.”