Eye on Norquay has circulated this announcement on an open house on September 20, 2012, for a rezoning on Kingsway to build three towers, which we carry here as a public service. The neighbourhood watchdog has identified many concerns and problems with the proposal by prominent and controversial Vancouver developers Westbank Projects Corp. (“Canada’s Premier Real Estate Developer”) and Henriquez Partners Architects (subject of Towards an Ethical Architecture: Issues Within the Work of Gregory Henriquez), both of which are important political contributors in civic elections. Eye on Norquay’s efforts to follow the details and question where City Hall is failing to balance community and developer interests could be considered a model for neighbourhood response to a major rezoning. They have held community meetings, corresponded with the city, provided info to the community, and analyzed the application. Note ten questions for open-house-goers at the bottom. Text from Eye on Norquay follows.
This is to remind you that the single open house for the 2220 Kingsway development proposal (404 condo units in the heart of East Vancouver) is coming up:
Time: 5 — 8 pm
Place: Vancouver Alpen Club (Ballroom) — 4875 Victoria Drive
Appended below you can find the multiple detailed comments on 2220 Kingsway at Eye on Norquay boiled down into ten key questions. This application and planning materials overwhelm us, and we are sure it staggers you even more. Where to begin?
If you are able to attend the open house, to ask questions, and to make considered written comments, that is the most that you can do. We understand that for some this may not be feasible.
There is still a very important contribution that you can make. There is a way to communicate your written comment through the online feedback form, on the web site where the development permit application materials are provided in electronic form. The more you can put your thoughts into your own words, the better. If your time and energy and interest permit only a basic response, you could consider saying something like the following. (Bear in mind that questions and criticisms are not based on density or height, which have already been specified in the Norquay Plan as 3.8 FSR and maximum of 14 storeys.)
The form of development proposed at 2220 Kingsway raises many questions about respect for both the details and the intentions of the Norquay Plan. If the city’s own planning appears to be rendered meaningless, then the only meaningful comment possible is this simple expression of nonsupport for the present development permit application.
Even a brief expression like these two sentences sends an important message and offers substantial support to the residents of Norquay.
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Ten Big Questions about 2220 Kingsway
- Why have three 14 storey towers replaced the one shown in the Norquay Plan?
- Why is the entire site configured as an unprecedented large walled-off compound with a huge elevated private courtyard?
- Why does the lane on the east side of the site degrade pedestrian experience by allocating primary space to cars and delivery trucks?
- Why has the public plaza required by the Norquay Plan turned into a entrance area for a grocery store? Why does the “park” depend so much on city land, and function mainly as enhancement to the adjacent commercial space?
- Why is there no setback or transition or modulation of the 14 storey West Tower, a wall that faces Gladstone and an unrezoned single family area across the street?
- Why is there no variation in the glass-and-concrete materials? Where is the brick theme outlined in local planning and already seen realized at 2339 Kingsway and 2711 Kingsway?
- How will the impacts of traffic and parking on Gladstone Street (including the existing north-south bicycle route), East 30th Avenue, and the laneways paralleling Kingsway (especially to the east) be mitigated?
- Why does the East Tower overhang the required 24 foot wide sidewalk?
- Why is most of the greenery neither visible from the ground nor accessible to the community?
- How does the form of this development function as a “gateway” to Norquay or contribute to community life?