British Columbia

One of Vancouver's wealthiest neighbourhoods could be protected from density, development

With the first-in-Vancouver Heritage Conservation District designation, the city would be able to stop tear-downs and maintain heritage in the neighbourhood known as First Shaughnessy.

City of Vancouver would have power to say 'no' to development with Heritage Conservation District designation

A new Heritage Conservation District designation from the City of Vancouver would restrict tear-downs and density in the First Shaughnessy neighbourhood. (Heritage Vancouver)

The City of Vancouver plans to protect a Shaughnessy neighbourhood from density and re-development with a new heritage conservation district designation.

If passed, the heritage designation would prevent a scenario similar to the Cambie corridor where dozens of single-family homes will be demolished for density. 

Brian Jackson, the city's general manager of planning development, says the bylaw would allow the city to say 'no' to tear-downs without the necessity of offering compensation. 

"Right now we take somebody through a process ... but ultimately they can tear down the house," he told Rick Cluff on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.

Brian Jackson, the City of Vancouver's general manager of planning and development, says an increase in requests for tear-downs in First Shaughnessy has led to a Heritage Conservation District designation for the neighbourhood. (CBC)

"If we don't want them to, and we want to designate against their will, we would have to compensate them."

Jackon says there are 595 houses in First Shaughnessy, and 317 were built before 1940. Those homes were initially protected under the First Shaughnessy official development plan, but an increase in interest to tear down homes — there were 19 applications for demolition in 2014, up from 3 or 4 a year before that — forced the city to act. 

Jackson said the plan is not designed to protect the city's wealthiest citizens from density, and argues it may actually anger those who seek to cash in on their valuable land.

"The very wealthy property owners may be the ones that are opposing this because they don't want the kind of protection tools we're imposing," he said. 

"We're doing this because First Shaughnessy has this significant concentration of heritage assets."

Jackson says some density would come to First Shaughnessy in the form of additional laneway housing and the possibility of stratifying existing structures. 

City council has voted to send the report to a public hearing process. 30 other communities in B.C. have Heritage Conservation District designations. 

To hear the full interview with Brian Jackson, listen to the audio labelled: One of Vancouver's wealthiest neighbourhoods to be protected from density, development.


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