I’ve always been confused by the city’s Heritage policy, not just the vying between progress / development versus preservation / culture – but really how the city approaches these issues with their proposals and policy. I mean, what on earth is Heritage B classification, it makes no sense and I cannot even rationalize why it was developed this way.
VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL has voted in favour of several steps to protect First Shaughnessy heritage homes and pre-1940s character houses.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we’re moving forward on these,” Brian Jackson, general manager of planning and development services, told the Georgia Straight by phone. “We have received lots of letters.”
First Shaughnessy—roughly bounded by Arbutus Street, West 16th Avenue, Oak Street, and King Edward Avenue—has 329 homes built before 1940. Of those, 80 are listed in the Vancouver Heritage Register, according to a staff report that went to council before yesterday’s vote.
The report also reveals that about one-quarter of Vancouver houses in all of the city’s single-family zones were built prior to the Second World War.
Council approved three recommendations in the report, which Jackson brought forward.
The first is a one-year “Heritage Control Period” in First Shaughnessy. This will prevent demolitions of pre-1940 buildings while the city undertakes a review.
Jackson said that the city has issued a request for proposals to hire a consultant to provide advice.
He expects this work will begin in September.
“We’re really excited about getting two or three bids on this for doing the major upgrade to our heritage inventory that hasn’t been done since 1986—as well as provide that professional advice based on experience throughout North America on what other jurisdictions have been doing to protect their heritage resources,” he said.
Jackson pointed out that under provincial legislation, the city cannot protect heritage and designate buildings without “fair compensation”.
This, he suggested, puts Vancouver at a disadvantage in protecting older buildings in comparison with other cities.
“I think between ourselves and the consultant we can come up with creative ways through density bonusing, fast-tracking, and other incentives that we can offer to make it easier and faster and less complicated to save a heritage or character home than it is right now,” Jackson stated.
Council also voted to eliminate the requirement for a development pro forma on permit-retention proposals adding up to 10 percent more floor space.
Jackson said that this is intended for single-family areas where someone is asking for additional density to save a house.
In the past, the property owner had to hire someone to submit a business case so that the city wouldn’t be granting too much density in return for heritage preservation.