Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Arbutus Centre: Park impact

with 2 comments

Block D will replace what now remains of the existing mall. It is a three storey building. The Main Floor now houses the liquor store, bank, Safeway (pharmacy and convenience store only) and the dance studio. The top floor used to be offices but is currently unoccupied. The building sits on a basement car park with what used to be the Village Recreation Centre which is now used by the Dance Co with a pool now rented to a company which teaches children to swim. That part of the building although underneath the stores is at ground level on the park side.

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This view is taken from the path through the park looking south east. Immediately in front is the pool and the roof of the atrium between the liquor store and Safeway can be seen at the top of the building. Behind it is one of cranes in use to construct blocks A and B.  (UPDATE – those two large trees at the sides of this picture have now been cut down to allow for sewer construction.)

Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 12.30.11 PM

^

In the drawing, the point where I was standing to take the picture would be on the bottom edge midway, looking south east.  I have put a ^ mark in the title space which ought to line up no matter what screen you are using to view this.

So the pool block gets replaced by the row of town houses set in echelon along the path. Behind that looms Block D. Here are the elevations for that block – west and north respectively.

Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 12.34.48 PMScreen Shot 2018-07-14 at 12.34.12 PM

Block D will be twelve storeys high or 72m (236ft) geodetic datum. But sits on land one storey above the park ground level – to the right of the image above. The extended Yew Street is on the left of this view.

The crane is currently constructing blocks A and B which were granted permission for 8 and 6 storeys respectively. Since the crane has to work over the 8 storey structure, the tip of the vertical tower of the crane is probably a good indicator of where the roof of the proposed block D will be.

Unbelievably the design panel and staff reports both draw attention to the impact on the park – and use words like “massing” and “shadowing” to characterize the issue. But that is not enough in their view to stop the proposal. They both indicate that somehow this can be mitigated even though the developer will have been granted permission to proceed. I simply do not understand why this council would approve this proposal before any of the necessary changes have been designed. It is not at all clear how these impacts can be reduced. It is also not clear how staff will determine that the concerns have been adequately addressed.

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This building was recently completed at the SW corner of West Boulevard and 37th Ave. It is pretty typical of what has been approved in recent years.

The Ridge

This is The Ridge at 16th Avenue and Arbutus.

Both of these are four storey buildings on a major arterial. What is proposed now is a building three times this height, overlooking a park.

AFTERWORD

The tweet below appeared on my Tweetdeck feed on Tuesday July 17 around 2pm

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Written by Stephen Rees

July 14, 2018 at 1:19 pm

2 Responses

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  1. It’s been years since I travelled west through the 37th and Arbutus intersection so it’s a bit confusing to me of the caption …….. “the NW corner of …” shouldn’t that be SW corner?

    “This building was recently completed at the NW corner of West Boulevard and 37th Ave. It is pretty typical of what has been approved in recent years.”

    NVG

    July 15, 2018 at 7:44 am

  2. You are right. I will change that.

    Stephen Rees

    July 15, 2018 at 8:05 am


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