City to undertake more consultation in the West End

Comox tower proposal won’t proceed to public hearing, says Mayor

A proposed STIR rental residential project on Comox Street that has generated concern in the West End will not go forward to public hearing at this time, says Mayor Gregor Robertson, so that the City can work with the neighbourhood to first identify key planning priorities, issues and community needs.

“We’ve heard from the West End community that people are concerned about new development in their neighbourhood,” said Mayor Robertson. “There’s no question we need more rental housing, both in the West End and throughout Vancouver. However, it’s clear that we also need more discussion about how rental housing goals and other critical needs can be met in the West End.

“I’m inviting community leaders to engage with my office in a special advisory process about the West End,” Robertson said, “and I’ve advised the developer it would not be appropriate to move the project forward at this time until further engagement with the community is completed. We want to hear from people about their current priorities.”

Robertson said that Westbank and Petersen Group, who own the site of a now-closed church, have agreed with this approach. Westbank and Petersen Group have a solid track record of accommodating community needs into new developments, including Woodward’s. Westbank President Ian Gillespie said that their organization understands the need to work with the City and the neighbourhood to better understand community priorities.

“We want to keep working with the neighbourhood and the City to develop a proposal that reflects the need for more rental housing and is sensitive to other priority needs in the West End,” said Gillespie.

Mayor Robertson stressed the importance of new rental housing being created in a way that engages the public.

“Our council is committed to getting new housing built,” said the Mayor. “We’ve shown that we’re not afraid to look at creative options, whether it’s the STIR program to get new rental built, laneway housing, secondary suites or modular housing. But we need to do it in a way that also builds trust and public confidence in the way the city consults with neighbourhoods.

“That’s why waiting for more neighbourhood consultation in the West End is the right thing to do. We need to strive for a win-win.”

The Mayor’s West End Advisory Committee, which will be made up of 12 individuals from the West End, is taking applications up until September 10, 2010. It will be charged with gathering an updated list of community priorities. For more information, please visit www.vancouver.ca/westend.

Media contact:

Kevin Quinlan
Executive Assistant
Office of the Mayor
City of Vancouver
Office: 604.873.7232
Cell: 778.995.2264
www.mayorofvancouver.ca/blog

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