British Columbia

Rezoning for 8-storey condo in Vancouver west side neighbourhood passes unanimously

It was a relatively rare sight at Vancouver city council on Tuesday: a unanimous vote in favour of building a tower.

A local church is selling adjacent property it owns to fund improvements and build community housing

The Dunbar Ryerson United Church hopes a proposed redevelopment can pay for the revitalization and renovation of its nearly 90-year-old building. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

It was a relatively rare sight at Vancouver city council on Tuesday: a unanimous vote in favour of building a tower. 

By a 10-0 vote, councillors approved rezoning parts of two blocks at West 45th Avenue and Yew Street to allow an eight-storey residential tower and five-storey addition to Dunbar Ryerson United Church. 

"It has met the test, which is not easy to do in these times, but we appreciate the extra that's been gone to" said Mayor Gregor Robertson moments before the rezoning passed.

"Lots of good combination of benefits to the community and a really important part of Vancouver that will be taken care of for many generation to come."

The church has partnered with Wall Financial to demolish current units it owns next to the church to build a tower with market housing. Proceeds from that will fund renovations to the church, along with the building of a community centre and 32 units of social housing.

Less divisive than other recent projects 

The proposal sparked some backlash in Kerrisdale, with the group Ryerson Neighbours campaigning against the project, making the argument the "negative impact this precedent-setting rezoning and redevelopment will have on the neighbourhood."

But 74 per cent of correspondence the city received from residents prior to a public hearing was in support of the project, and 20 of 29 people who spoke at the public hearing also supported the project. 

"It's been through many iterations, extensive consultation," said Susan Haid, assistant director of planning for Vancouver South.

She credited the project's success to that extensive work over the course of five years and says construction on the project could begin in a year.

"It's the first social housing project in Kerrisdale for many decades, in terms of the first approval, and it is very much geared towards seniors," she said.

"Our staff team is very pleased with the decision of council." 


Justin McElroy


Justin is the Municipal Affairs Reporter for CBC Vancouver, covering local political stories throughout British Columbia.