British Columbia

Vancouver City Council approves controversial 56-storey tower in West End

The development was given a green light despite protests from West End residents.

Development was given a green light despite protests from West End residents

The development would include a 56-storey tower with over 300 condominium units and a seven-storey tower with 61 social housing units. (Bing Thom Architects )

After two days of public hearings, Vancouver City Council has approved the construction of a controversial highrise development in the city's West End.

Set to be located at the intersection of Burrard and Nelson streets, the development will include 56 storeys with 300 condominium units and a seven-story tower with 61 social housing units.

The proposal, developed by First Vancouver Baptist Church and Westbank, is modelled to look like two giant pipe organs reaching towards the sky.

Last week local residents raised concerns about the project, saying it would drastically change the neighbourhood and reduce green space.

Residents of the neighbouring Patina building at 1028 Barclay said the highrise would block natural light, making their apartments cave-like.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson Robertson said that while the "shadow affect" might affect some West End residents, he hopes potential side effects of the project won't be as drastic as some fear.

"Certainly some light and airspace is lost to the south to some of those units, but I'm hopeful it's not as bad as it may look," he said.

West End residents expressed concern that the development would block light and drastically increase traffic. (Bing Thom Architects)

Coun. Tim Stevenson responded to criticisms of the development saying it is "well within the West End plan demanded by westenders."

The West End Community Plan outlines key principles for developing the area, including sustainable and green development and fostering "resilient, sustainable, safe and healthy communities."

The proposal would also bring critical renovations to the 107-year-old First Baptist Church, and would expand the church program to include daycare and a counseling centre.

With files from Angela Sterritt