Update: Second night of the Public Hearing ended after 10 pm on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. City Council is slated to vote on this item as “unfinished business” in its committee meeting on Wednesday, July 26.
Many questions should be answered before City Council can vote on this application returning to a Public Hearing for its second night tonight (969 Burrard and 1019-1045 Nelson Street ).
While the City was still consulting with the community, nearly a year before the West End Community Plan was adopted in November 2016, Westbank CEO Ian Gillespie was already proclaiming to insiders that a tower beside First Baptist Church at Burrard and Nelson was a “done deal.” At that point he was talking about 35 storeys. The application before City Council tonight has risen to 57 stories, on a lot that is currently set at a maximum of 24. He is asking for a dramatic increase in height and density, yet the math used to calculate the corresponding Community Amenity Contributions is not available for public or independent verification, and he is asking for a departure from City policy, with delayed CAC payments (see detailed comment on this by Pete Fry).
Meanwhile, comments on social media have pointed out that even well before the Public Hearing, “VIP Access” and “Early Buyer Incentives” were already available through Agnieszka Stryjecka, including pre-selection of floor plans and priority pricing, before public gets to see it. See: http://vancouver4life.com/burrard-and-nelson-by-westbank/
And over in Asia, a Malaysian/Singaporean article is already mentioning the planned global sales launch of the “Burrard and Nelson” development. Besides Vancouver House, the the article promotes Kensington Gardens, Joyce Collingwood, and Horseshoe Bay, which to get the rezoning approvals the developer pitched to local elected officials as serving local housing needs. See: “Westbank’s luxury residences in Vancouver have global appeal, by Cecilia Chow & Lin Zhiqin, The Edge Property Singapore, July 24, 2017), http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/westbanks-luxury-residences-vancouver-have-global-appeal
When it comes to the vote, by showing its enthusiasm for developers and projects like this, will our elected officials on City Council be helping or hindering efforts to address the housing crisis in Vancouver?