Public hearing on controversial Beach Towers rezoning set for tonight

City council will tonight hear from those interested in Devonshire Properties’ proposed redevelopment of the Beach Towers complex at 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood ...

City council will tonight hear from those interested in Devonshire Properties’ proposed redevelopment of the Beach Towers complex at 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street.

Keith Liddle, who supports the proposed development and who has rented an apartment in the Beach Towers complex for 20 years, told Business in Vancouver February 4 that he believes most residents oppose Devonshire Properties’ proposal.

“On the corner of Cardero and Harwood is where cars park. It seems to me to be a bad current use of the land,” Liddle said. “They want to put a building there so there can be rentals. I think that’s a much better use of the land.”

Opponents include members of West End Neighbours (WEN), which has also opposed other towers across the city.

Devonshire Properties plans to build a four-storey building, a nine-storey tower and townhouses, with a combined total of 133 units. Monthly rents on he units will be between $1,125 and $2,270.

The proposal was initiated under the city’s now-disbanded Short Term Incentives for Rental (STIR) program that encourages developers to build rental housing.

WEN distributed leaflets at apartment buildings in the West End urging residents to come to the meeting at City Hall at 6 p.m. tonight.

WEN’s objections include concerns that:

  • the new units will be expensive and push up rents in surrounding buildings;
  • the project has more parking than the city’s minimum requirement; and
  • the project affects a site that many consider a heritage resource.

Beach Towers is not in the city’s heritage register but has been identified in some city studies as having heritage potential because a key design feature of the site is the views beneath and between the towers.

The 600-unit, four-building Beach Towers development was completed in 1967 and designed by architect Ojars Khan, who will attend the public hearing.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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