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mr.x Dec 10, 2007 8:23 PM

General Vancouver Updates
For discussion and updates outside of downtown in the City of Vancouver only.


Vanoc Update: Trout Lake Ice Arena
Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, December 10, 2007

What: Trout Lake Ice Arena

What's new: Park Board to approve second contract to Bird Construction.

Details: Trout Lake's existing arena is to be replaced with a new facility that will be used as a training facility for short-track speedskaters. Once estimated at $10.5 million, the project cost has ballooned to $15.94 million because of the hot construction market. It first went to $13.08 million last year. Then, in October the city agreed to pay another $2.86 million by diverting money from two other projects, the post-Olympic conversion of the Hillcrest Curling Centre and the Renfrew Pool change room project.

The Park Board split the Trout Lake project into two contracts. The first was awarded to Bird Construction in November for nearly $2.2 million. The board said Bird was also working to bring the overall cost down to $13.7 million, with the remaining $2.14 million for contingencies. In a report going to the Park Board on Dec. 10, staff now want to award a second contract for $11.53 million to Bird. Normally the board has to approve the contract award, but because the final contract negotiations won't be done before the board's Christmas break, the general manager wants to have the authority to sign the contract himself.

MistyMountainHop Dec 11, 2007 2:00 AM

Nice way to kick off the thread with a bang, Mr. x! :)

SpongeG Dec 11, 2007 2:11 AM

that Canadian Tire in east van has put up a sign with all the stores

there is Canadian Tire, Price Smart Foods, Mark's Workwearhouse, PetSmart, Boston Pizza and Starbucks - might have been another but i forget...

petcetera will have some competition - i wonder if locals will favour the Canadian chain over the US chain...

Architype Dec 11, 2007 3:22 AM

Construction of the VCC King Edward campus, photo by me Dec 7th. There are two more floors to be added.

officedweller Dec 11, 2007 4:09 AM

Thanks! That went up fast!

hollywoodnorth Dec 12, 2007 2:34 AM

Petcetera is shit......go to a PetSmart store there is no comparison its HIGHER end and clean and organized and well staffed.

hollywoodnorth Dec 12, 2007 8:29 PM

Business in Vancouver December 11-17, 2007; issue 946

Real estate roundup: Peter Mitham

Construction starts on project to create region’s “greenest” commercial building

$60 million Discovery Green aiming for LEED gold, but could hit platinum certification

Pouring green

What’s being touted as the greenest commercial building to become available in the Lower Mainland came a bit closer to reality last week.

With dignitaries from the province and the developer, Discovery Parks Trust, looking on, the foundation for Discovery Green poured into place.

The $60 million project is rising on the last available site in Discovery Place, Discovery Parks’ original Burnaby research park. An 80-acre parcel set aside by the province in 1979 for technology-oriented office space, Discovery Place is now home to 15 buildings occupied by companies ranging from Electronic Arts to Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The latest building aims to achieve LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) Gold certification on completion in 2009, but Tom Douglas, Discovery Parks’ director of leasing, notes that the initial results from energy modelling suggest that the building could meet the requirements for LEED platinum.

Total energy consumption could be cut by 79% compared with a conventional building, while a 45% reduction in water consumption is planned through rainwater harvesting. An ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions is also envisioned.

Douglas notes that several of the features being incorporated in the building’s mechanical and electrical systems are new to North America, but he sees no reason why they can’t work here. Better still, Douglas expects that tenants will enjoy overall savings from the building, citing a U.S. study that suggests one company in a similar eco-friendly building managed to pay its rent through lower employee turnover and productivity gains.

Morguard Investments Ltd. is handling leasing for the building, which will join its stable of properties on completion. The 147,162-square-foot building is estimated to be in excess of $60 million.

Green light

Shato Holding Ltd.’s bid to exclude approximately 28.5 acres from the province’s agricultural land reserve to accommodate redevelopment of the Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club recently won approval from the Agricultural Land Commission.

“The commission believes the exclusion will have no greater impact on the agricultural suitability of the land beyond that which currently exists,” the commissioners say in their decision.

Adjacent to the existing club property, the land will allow the club to be reconfigured as a residential community with upwards of 450 units of housing. The proposal drew strong objections from conservationists, some of whom mounted a boycott of Shato’s White Spot restaurants.

Parking tax shifted

Despite concerns in some quarters that the new South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority that forms on January 1, 2008, diminishes citizen representation in the taxation process, business groups are applauding the approval of a bill that will see the former TransLink parking tax laid on the backs of businesses and residential taxpayers alike.

Passed in Victoria on November 29, Bill 43 restructures TransLink such that the board of elected municipal representatives that formerly governed it will be replaced with a nine-member board of appointed professionals. The interests of municipalities will be represented by a commission of mayors.

But the bill also provides for a system of variable tax rates that lays the burden of taxes to support regional transit service on all regional property owners, not just commercial property owners as the old TransLink parking area tax did. In addition, revenue garnered through the property tax is capped at $18 million a year.

The allocation of the tax burden is up to the appointed board, to be named in early 2008.

The Vancouver Fair Tax Coalition, an alliance of seven business groups, expects the allocation to be fair given the degree of opposition to the TransLink levy and feedback on drafts of Bill 43. One such draft could have hit Vancouver business property owners with a whopping 34% of the burden, according to Bob Laurie, the tax coalition’s co-chairman.

“The province is going to be watching them like a hawk,” he said of the new board.

And what of the democratic process?

Laurie thinks it will be an improvement on what existed before, as the legislation is specific in the parameters it sets for the board’s taxation powers, the province will be overseeing its activities, and the new board promises to eliminate much of the regional squabbling that hobbled the current governance structure that Laurie considers hardly democratic.

“You don’t have the governance model that promotes regional co-operation,” he said. “That’s not democracy. Democracy is the alignment of appropriate decision-making with the will of the people.

Jacques Dec 13, 2007 1:21 AM

Question has anyone seen the segment about the VAG expansion on globalTV, I do not watch the tube so I am seeking more info HERE?

hollywoodnorth Dec 25, 2007 3:42 AM

Business in Vancouver December 18-24, 2007; issue 947

At Large: Peter Ladner

Concerns over Canadian Tire store largely unfounded

Canadian Tire’s second-try application for a large-scale super-green retail store and four smaller retail stores, including Best Buy and Mark’s Work Wearhouse, on Southwest Marine Drive may seem perfectly reasonable to a business person. But it seized up Vancouver City Council for three nights due to a barrage of public reaction, mostly negative.

A lot of the negativity was from people who see this store as a precursor to Wal-Mart, which owns the adjacent property. That’s evident from the complete lack of protest and almost unanimous council approval of a comparable Canadian Tire store in a comparable former industrial area on the Grandview Highway.

Since no one could come out and say they opposed Canadian Tire’s application in the name of Wal-Mart, a storm of other objections was raised.Given that Canadian Tire had bought the property in good faith, under an existing policy of allowing big box stores on that location, the company’s $20 million investment in the development had to be respected if we want to be providing any certainty for companies investing in our city. So what arguments would be strong enough to override that concern?

•“The neighbourhood doesn’t want it.” This became the headline in the media based on presentations from anti-corporate activists from other neighbourhoods, but it doesn’t reflect the facts. A survey by Canadian Tire asking people in the immediate area if they would support a new Canadian Tire store and other retail on the site got a 77% vote in support, 9% against. Of the local businesses surveyed, 78% were in favour, 7% against.

•“It will kill small independent neighbourhood stores in local shopping areas.” The biggest retail impact from the Canadian Tire complex would be from clothing sales at Mark’s Work Wearhouse. (The only significant hardware merchandiser in the area is Canadian Tire’s existing small-format store a few blocks away, due to be closed.) An independent retail study concluded that a proposed 100,000-square-foot expansion at Oakridge Mall would be the biggest loser, so city staff recommended that clothing sales be curtailed at the Canadian Tire complex, mainly to protect Oakridge. Council turned this down.

“There is no expected impact on neighbourhood shopping areas, which generally support clothing stores that attract a different clientele,” the city staff reported. The exception was a faltering Field’s store on Fraser Street, but its possible closure “should not have a significant impact on the marketing appeal of the Fraser Street shopping area.”

•“It will increase greenhouse gas emissions from increased car traffic created by this auto-dependent format.”

This is a legitimate concern but is easily misunderstood in today’s passion about climate change. “Big-box store” evokes acres of parking at the edge of town, miles from downtown. Opponents played to this ugly image by citing “10,000 additional car trips a day” and speculating on resultant GHG emissions.

That’s the biggest estimate for the busiest day of the week, Saturday, and includes trips both ways. The actual number of cars is half that: 5,000 max. That compares to 3,770 cars driving past the store every hour on a Saturday.

Then you have to ask how many of these trips were “new” – the shopper wasn’t already driving by, or would have never left home if not for these new stores. Hardly any, I would predict. And how far would those shoppers have driven if they didn’t come to this store? If the new store is closer than the alternate destination, then these trips are reducing GHG emissions.

Because this store is on four bus routes, within three blocks of a new SkyTrain station, on a bike route and will offer home delivery service, its allowed parking footprint is less than half that of a typical suburban mall.

All in all, it’s easy to generate hysteria about increased GHG emissions based on unexamined suburban big-box stereotype thinking. But it doesn’t always make sense.

SpongeG Dec 25, 2007 4:26 AM


An independent retail study concluded that a proposed 100,000-square-foot expansion at Oakridge Mall would be the biggest loser, so city staff recommended that clothing sales be curtailed at the Canadian Tire complex, mainly to protect Oakridge. Council turned this down.
yeah like people are gonna abandon more selection of clothing stores in oakridge mall for Marks Work Wearhouse :rolleyes: i am sure all those west side mothers are jonesing for some Denver Hayes :haha: sweaters

East Van Dec 27, 2007 6:43 PM

theres some activity on the false creek flats area. does anyone know if this is for the hospital develpment ?

officedweller Dec 28, 2007 10:38 PM

Drove past Kingsway & 12th today - the "Stella" condo looks to be topped out - huge visibility down Kingsway, and tucked in behind is the "Sophia" condo which looks almost complete.

Hot Rod Dec 31, 2007 10:37 AM

I like this the most ^^

"Because this store ... ...., within three blocks of a new SkyTrain station, on a bike route and will offer home delivery service, its allowed parking footprint is less than half that of a typical suburban mall."

officedweller Dec 31, 2007 10:05 PM

Trevor Boddy's article from Saturday's Globe & Mail:


Vancouver's threatened legacy
Recently, some of the region's most historic buildings have fallen victim to the wrecker, smashing to dust an irreplaceable part of a city's soul. Is there any way to save the remaining architectural masterpieces?

December 29, 2007

It was downtown Vancouver's last building that could remind us of the 1930s - a whirling wedding cake of streamline stucco that most of us knew as the Fido outlet at Georgia and Richards, first built as the Collier Auto Showroom. It got knocked down early one morning during the civic strike, leaving one more empty-tooth slot in the mug's face of downtown.

Then, on Dec. 6, the wrecking crews went to work on one of Arthur Erickson's most world-renowned and influential houses, a grand sequence of portals and frames elegantly descending down a Horseshoe Bay cliffside. This 1963 house for David Graham was featured on the pages of Life magazine and leased as a love nest to Warren Beatty and Julie Christie when in town to shoot Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

West Vancouver resident Barry Downs, one of British Columbia's most-respected house architects and authors, says "the Graham House was Arthur Erickson's Fallingwater" - a reference to Frank Lloyd Wright's career-reviving, rural Pennsylvania concrete and brick house, which similarly cascades over rocks down a hill.

The Georgia Street Collier/Fido showroom was a vision in white from when modernism was new, and the West Vancouver Graham House was the evolution of these same ideas of seeing architecture afresh, but tempered to our climate, our building materials, and West Coast lifestyles.

Someone broke the law, surely, when these two got whacked?

Alas, no.

These losses draw attention to the weakness of British Columbia's heritage legislation, as neither building had meaningful legal protection, and their owners needed almost nothing except a perfunctory demolition permit to excise these two crucial visual reminders of how we lived in the 20th century. Heritage advocates worry that the loss of these high-profile downtown Vancouver and West Vancouver buildings will clear the way for an end-of-the-building-boom destruction frenzy for many more, a kind of demolition derby.

Herb Stovel - head of heritage studies at Carleton University and one of Canada's leading preservationists - says B.C. heritage legislation and programs are strong in the soft strategies of convincing and cajoling owners to preserve our history, but weak on legal guarantees to prevent demolitions like these. Prof. Stovel says B.C. is having some success with the "nurture and support" of conservation efforts, but cautions, "Governments need to preserve and protect buildings, too." He notes that heritage-protection efforts are significantly blunted by a clause in B.C. heritage legislation requiring public compensation if designation reduces potential private redevelopment profits.

Heritage designation - or as the Americans call it, the "landmarking" of private buildings without owner's approval - is commonplace in the don't-tread-on-me capitalist United States, and a crucial historic preservation tool in every other nation of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

American preservation efforts are powered by the private sector, in large part because of tax incentives instituted under former president Ronald Reagan. With this public intervention into private real-estate markets in the name of preserving Mom-and-Apple-Pie America, maybe the Harper government will come to realize it can please Bonspiel and Tim Hortons Canada through similar tax changes here (starting with the brewing controversy over an entirely non-elitist construction, Kingsway's 2400 Court Motel.)

Canada's federal historic-sites protection for private buildings is even weaker than our provincial laws, in large part because of resistance to our central government asserting powers over heritage. Heritage preservation straddles land use and cultural concerns, and federal activism is seen to threaten entrenched constitutional rights of the provinces, especially Quebec. Federal political systems, however, have not stopped Australia and Germany from implementing strong heritage programs at both national and state levels.

B.C.'s weak heritage legislation is the legacy of both Socred/Liberal and NDP governments, right and left both eschewing perceptions of cultural elitism in preserving our best buildings at the cost of private development rights. Consequently, we all lose a common good - a sense of our own past. With every demolition, Metro Vancouver comes closer to status as a muscular and aggressive zombie-town, with no brain and no heart.

At both municipal and provincial levels, heritage efforts are understaffed and underfunded, with most current efforts devoted to research on sites and creative advice to owners and developers, backed up with modest grants (available to designated properties only) for their upkeep and occasional restoration. This means many micro successes - the replacement of rotting eave ornaments on many Edwardian former doctors' residences, for example - but a few macro failures, such as the recent demolitions, and those which are likely to follow in the current regulatory climate.

At a level below official designation is the largely honorific category of heritage registers - West Vancouver's is currently being compiled, while Vancouver's is being updated - which are listings of potential heritage sites. Heritage registers are useful tools for heritage and urban planners to flag properties, so the soft arts of persuasion can be applied in the context of other land-use approvals. Some B.C. municipalities require the approval of owners even to be listed on their heritage registers, which seems to me the architectural equivalent of asking words if they want to be in the dictionary.

The District of West Vancouver debated adding the Graham residence to its draft heritage register shortly before it came down, but was reluctant to do so without the support of owner Shiraz Lalji, and everyone involved knew this would be symbolic, not actual protection. West Vancouver city planners and politicians did everything they could to hang on to the Erickson masterpiece, but in the context of current provincial legislation and funding programs, they had no arrows in their quiver; when it comes to heritage preservation, the province owns the whole armoury.

Soft strategies of moral suasion have had some success, notably the campaign led by Arthur Erickson Conservancy founder Cheryl Cooper to protect his Evergreen Building on West Pender. But crucial to this soft success, says Ms. Cooper, was some hard cash, in the form of valuable Transfer of Development Rights, which can be bought, then moved to another piece of downtown.

But even this device is not available today, as earlier this year Vancouver city council placed a moratorium on the issuance of new TDR agreements, while it examines the large stock of existing credits yet to be plunked down on a downtown peninsula already subject to hyper-development. Vancouver is the only municipality in British Columbia that has developed a density bank system, and incentives like these only work in building-hungry boom times, seemingly about to end.

With the Graham house now gone, preservationists' worries have moved on to two even more important West Vancouver residences - houses-cum-painting studios with important gardens for artists B. C. Binning and Thomas Gordon Smith.

The self-designed 1942 Binning house - a National Historic site, and arguably the first residence in Canada entirely shaped by the European Modern Movement - was thought to be safe when Jessie Binning's will stated a first preference to donate the house and garden for permanent use as a scholar's residence or house-museum preserving the pioneering works of her predeceased husband.

But according to one of her will's executors and former Erickson partner Geoff Massey, there has been no luck in convincing the likes of the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University or Emily Carr College of Art and Design to take on stewardship of this modest but sublime nexus of art and architecture. "If there was a half million dollars on the table, it could be done," said Mr. Massey of the funds needed to endow repairs and property taxes, "otherwise, it is going."

Similarly, and somewhat unbelievably, there is no heritage designation protection or conservation plan in place for the 1964 house designed by Arthur Erickson for Marion and Thomas Gordon Smith, recently named by his architectural peers as one of the top five buildings constructed in Canada in the entire 20th century.

The Smiths still live there, and unlike the willful decline of the Graham property, it has never looked better. However, the Smiths have talked of willing the house and garden to the Vancouver Art Gallery. With VAG's announcement of their planned construction of what could end up being a quarter-billion-dollar new gallery building, there will be strong pressure to extract the maximum benefit out of the property - by demolishing the house or building on its integral garden.

I know and have chatted with all of our remaining stalwarts of heroic modernism, most well into their 80s: Erickson, Massey and Downs as architects, and the Smiths and the late Jessie Binning as clients. There is often a sheepish tone of resignation in their voices, as if it was inevitable that these markers of their lives and times will be destroyed, the self-consuming monster of modernism moving on to new challenges. These sentiments are understandable, but the duty to preserve these and similar buildings is not for those who made them, but for all of us.

Like many people his age, 83-year-old Arthur Erickson has good days, and he has bad days. I talked to him in both modes recently, and there is one strong word he voiced both times about the demise of the Graham house: "Tragic."

nathan6969 Dec 31, 2007 11:39 PM

^^As someone who lives right near the graham house i can't see what all the fuss is about, the place was a wreck, and just the fact that arthur erickson designed it, doesn't necessarily mean its the greatest architectural triumph this city has ever seen. If it had such architectural value how come no one was interested in paying for it. I'm sick of my fellow west vancouver residents pissing and moaning about this house, there's certainly enough money here, why don't they put it where there mouth is.

SpongeG Jan 2, 2008 11:37 PM

that building with the Tim Hortons on Terminal is looking close to finishing the outside

does anyone know whats going in the lot next to it? A LEASED sign has gone up

the MINI dealer is getting up pretty fast too

SpongeG Jan 2, 2008 11:38 PM


Originally Posted by East Van (Post 3247892)
theres some activity on the false creek flats area. does anyone know if this is for the hospital develpment ?

i saw that the other day - if its the same area i saw - looks kinda far back to be the hospital

jlousa Jan 9, 2008 5:10 AM

Details presented by Emaar to the neighbours on November 19th are as follows:

• project to extend from West 41st to the north edge of the current Fellowship Centre property.
• 5 concrete buildings varying in height from 3 to 8 storeys in a stepped arrangement
• site coverage will be nearly 90%
• senior oriented complex (senior-friendly market housing)
• plus/minus 50 units
• average unit size 1,400 sq ft
• majority of units 2 bedroom/2 bathroom
• 120 underground parking spots for residents plus 20 for church (likely with mechanical car park system)
• traffic to be oriented northbound to West 39th
• green space on roofs
• pool at southwest corner (facing West 41st)
• EcoDensity friendly
• external elevators
• geothermal heating

excel Jan 9, 2008 10:38 AM

^nice. thanks for the info.

officedweller Jan 9, 2008 8:43 PM

Thanks. I dug this up with a google search:

Architect is Adrian Smith (Chicago. FormerSOM, architect of Burj Dubai, hence the connection with Emaar)

The Dunbar Resident's Association's view is:

The view of the DRA Board is that the project as described is objectionable and clearly does not comply with the Dunbar Community Vision. For example, both the significant extension of the project northward beyond the lane and the excessive height of some of the buildings are patently inconsistent with approved Vision directions.

The Board is further concerned with the guidance City Planning is reportedly providing the developer to encourage increased density and greater building height than is supported in the Vision.

The Board relies on the Dunbar Community Vision -- which was developed as part of a City planning process engaging neighbourhood residents -- when making its comments, and urges that any development submission respect the Vision and reflect the desires of the community.

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