Pearson Dogwood development plan. The 25-acre site is between 57th & 59th Avenues and between Heather & Cambie Streets, Onni is the developer. Image: CoV 2017
[Update: This Public Hearing went from 6 pm to about 10 pm. After presentations, about 17 speakers addressed council, some by video link. The final Council discussion and vote/decision will be on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 starting 2 pm as “unfinished business. See the Public Hearing link for documents and video. We have added more material and references. It is rather surprising that NO MEDIA have covered the public hearing, other than one generic article in the Georgia Straight a week before the public hearing. For such a huge project, this Public Hearing has been far below the radar of media and public attention.]
This is a huge project on the Pearson Dogwood lands, bordered by 57th and 59th Avenues, Heather and Cambie Streets. It is proposed by IBI Group Inc. on behalf of Onni Pearson Dogwood Holdings Corp. (of the Onni Group).
By the numbers: 25 acres, nearly 2.7 million square feet for 2,700 residential units (including market-rate condos, “affordable housing,” and supportive housing), child care, an adult day center, a 2.5 acre park, a one-acre urban farm, commercial space, health facilities, and more. More than 10 buildings, max to 28 storeys high. We make a very rough estimate that the total project could be worth five to ten billion dollars* on what was formerly public land.
Vancouver City Hall
6 pm, Thursday, July 20, 2017
Official documents and information:
Official rezoning information
The City of Vancouver has received a rezoning application for the Pearson Dogwood site at 500-650 West 57th Avenue. The proposal is to rezone and develop this 25 acre site from RT-2 (Two-Family Dwelling) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District based on the Council-approved Pearson Dogwood Policy Statement, for the purpose of developing a mixed-use development. The development will include:
- approximately 2,700 residential units totalling 250,619 sq. m (2,697,732 sq. ft.), including 361 turnkey social housing units and land available to construct 179 social housing units;
- approximately 114 Pearson supportive units totalling 8,430 sq. m (90,744 sq. ft.);
- 12,196 sq. m (131,281 sq. ft.) of commercial space;
- 19,835 sq. m (213,514 sq. ft.) of health related facilities including a community health centre and complex residential care facility;
- a 69-space childcare;
- a new adult day centre;
- a new therapy pool;
- a 2.5 acre public park;
- a 1 acre urban farm;
- a height of 91.0 metres (299 feet); and
- a floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.83.
According to the Georgia Straight, construction is proposed in phases to begin in 2018. “Phase one would be complete with the first residents moving in in 2021 or 2022. Phase two would begin in 2021. The third and final phase of construction would begin in 2024.”
The Georgia Straight (Travis Lupick) summarized a June 2017 city staff report, saying the project would consist of 2046 market-rate condos, 540 affordable-housing units, and 114 supportive-housing units. Residential buildings proposed for the site would number more than 10, the tallest of which could not exceed 28 storeys. The development replace aging facilities, with a new health complex operated by Vancouver Coastal Health.
There are some major some issues with the project. To name just two, the privatization of public land, and the lack of adequate or integrated transportation plans.
One is the privatization of what was previously publicly-owned land. It would be interesting to see an independent analysis of the short-term and long-term costs and benefits of the deal. Have the provincial government and municipal government politicians obtained the greatest possible value for the public in return for what they are offering the developer (public land at a good price, combined with a massive increase in density through rezoning)?
Reference: “The fine art of dissecting debt from contractual obligations” (Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, February 28, 2017). Excerpt: Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals have sold off more than $1 billion worth of government land and other assets in recent years, with another $1 billion in sales already in the works, says auditor-general Carol Bellringer. The independent watchdog on government finances reported on the burgeoning asset sales in her annual report on the public accounts, released Tuesday. Bellringer and her staff looked at the release of assets for economic generation (RAEG) program, launched in Clark’s first year as part of a drive to eliminate the operating deficit and balance the budget. The sell-off of surplus public land to private developers brought in almost $800 million in the first three years, with Vancouver’s Dogwood-Pearson and Little Mountain lands accounting for three-quarters of the proceeds.
Another problem is transportation. The Georgia Straight reported that “Challenges derail arrival of new Canada Line station on Cambie Street in South Vancouver” (Carlito Pablo, June 26, 2017). (http://www.straight.com/news/929446/challenges-derail-arrival-new-canada-line-station-cambie-street-south-vancouver) The Cambie Corridor has attracted thousands of units of development, with the City of Vancouver proclaiming the importance of “transit-oriented development” (TOD). But it looks like this application is going to end up with thousands more residents here — giving us a transit-oriented district with one key element missing: transit. Mr. Pablo refers to a future Canada Line station to be here as part of the broad policy statement adopted in 2014 by the Vision Vancouver-dominated city council for the redevelopment of the disctrict. “The Onni Group has purchased most of the 10-hectare property from Vancouver Coastal Health for condo development…. A report to Council by Susan Haid, city assistant director of planning for Vancouver South, (June 27, 2017) says: “Though it is desirable to achieve a future station at 57th Avenue there are a number of key challenges…. Currently, the station is not considered in regional transportation plans and is not considered a regional priority such as the Broadway Corridor line…. Existing transit access and the lack of east-west bus connectivity is also a challenge…. While the existing design of the Canada Line considered future stations at 57th and 33rd Avenue, the design provided no access or tunnel connection to the line and construction is anticipated to be technically complex and highly costly.”
As this tweet below shows, at least one person spoke about this at the Public Hearing (Mike Burdick, President of the Marpole Oakridge Community Association).
Apparently, Onni, set to make millions of dollars in profits if the rezoning is approved, doesn’t want to foot the bill. Separately, Onni was on the receiving end of an “accidental” waiver of $1.5 million dollars in development fees on another site, uncovered by a reporter and eventually paid.
Most people would tend to think of this as being in the Cambie Corridor, but it is technically referred to as being in Marpole.
We are not aware of much media coverage of the Public Hearing tonight, July 20, 2017, at a time when many people are away on vacation. It is perhaps not surprising that just an hour before the meeting began, only 27 letters to Council were listed on the rezoning.
*Note on 5 billion dollar estimate: Very roughly calculated at 2.7 million sf x $1800/sf = nearly $5 billion in development potential — admittedly very rough as this only includes the residential units, but at least an indication of the order of magnitude.
Content of rezoning web page (as of July 20, 2017)
Revised Parcel C Design (April 6, 2017)
In March 2016, the applicant informed the City that despite following a three year process to find a feasible approach to the development of a new facility, the YMCA had decided to respectfully withdraw as a partner in the Pearson Dogwood Project. Going forward, the YMCA will work with the City to pursue other development options in support of its ongoing commitment to South Vancouver and the Marpole community. The proposed building on parcel C has been redesigned without the YMCA resulting in a reduced massing. As the Policy Statement allowed for the exclusion of the YMCA’s floor area the overall density of the site has not changed. The therapy pool remains in the podium level of parcel C.
A summary of changes includes:
- The removal of the YMCA facility
- Reduction in height and massing of the parcel C podium
- Redistribution of floor area and heights between parcels C, D, H and F (overall gross floor area remains unchanged)
- Retail units added at the ground level of parcel C to provide actives uses on the plaza edge
- Reduction in heights of affordable housing buildings in parcel H
Revised Parcel C Design Package (April 6, 2017)
Revised Application (February 10, 2017)
The City has received a revised application package which responds to comments received by staff, the public and Urban Design Panel. There are no changes to the site density, public benefit package or overall heights. Major changes from the previous application (December 24, 2015) include:
- an increase in affordable housing units from 411 to 540
- an increase in market residential floor area
- decrease in the footprint of underground parking structures to increase opportunities for tree retention and stormwater management
- clarification of the vision for the overall site, the urban farm and neighbourhood precincts
- redesign of public spaces including the plaza and high street to accomodate a more diverse range of uses
- a redistribution of building heights in parcels G and H to minimize shadowing on the urban farm and to provide better height variation.
Revised Application Package (February 10, 2017)
Application (December 24, 2015)
Advisory Group and Community Meetings
- Community Open House: February 23 and 27, 2016
To view additional plans, please make an appointment with the rezoning planner.
City Contact: Graham Winterbottom, Rezoning Planner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-829-4217
Applicant Contact: Jamie Vaughan, Onni Group, email@example.com, 604-602-7711