- 4 - South False Creek, Granville Island & Pennyfarthing Area
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- Strata Company:
- On Site Manager:
- Arthur Bell Holdings 604-730-5717
- James Bussey of Formwerks 604-683-5441
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Developer defends Shaughnessy townhouse plan
Arthur Bell Holdings Ltd. says resident
|Lisa Smedman, |
May 08, 2009
A developer who's putting up 15 townhouses on a Shaughnessy property at the corner of Granville Street and McRae Avenue says he wishes the "smear campaign" against the project would stop.
"People have a genuine concern for Shaughnessy, and I appreciate that," Brian Bell of Arthur Bell Holdings Ltd. said "I'm a resident of the neighbourhood as well."
But the anti-townhouse campaign, he added, is both "overblown" and "out of proportion."
"To say that this is going to be the ruination of Shaughnessy is a gross misrepresentation of what we're trying to do here," Bell said.
The development involves 2.3 acres at the southeast corner of Granville Street and West 16th Avenue, across from Hycroft Towers. It would see 11 townhouses erected in a curve stretching around the northwest corner of the property, at McRae and Granville streets, and another five townhouses closer to the Nichol House, which dates to 1913. In return, the A-listed heritage home would be protected by a heritage revitalization agreement that would prohibit alternations to the exterior of the home.
Architect James Bussey of Formwerks said the townhouses will be flat-roofed Georgian-style buildings, with plenty of landscaping and eco-friendly features like geothermal heating, and "green" appliances and plumbing. The buildings will be finished in "enduring" materials such as stone and brick. The 41 parking spaces will be underground, with access from McRae Avenue.
"We provided roughly double what the parking requirements would be to ensure there would be no impact on the neighbourhood," said Bussey said.
A portion of the property has already been rezoned, subject to the final details of a development permit.
The project has received intense criticism from members of the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners' Association, who say it will destroy the single-family character of the neighbourhood, increase traffic, and cause the loss of mature trees. SHPOA has erected dozens of signs on Granville Street and in Shaughnessy opposing the project.
Bell said he understands change can be "upsetting," particularly when it involves a property that's sat vacant for 100 years and on which trees have grown. He added it's "unreasonable" to expect the site would never be developed, but asks whether it makes more sense to erect a single "mega-home" on the lot.
"Is that a better use of the property in today's day and age?" Bell asked. "I don't think so... We have to try and make better use of dwindling land which is available to us."
Bell, who's lived in Shaughnessy for 27 years, said he faced a similar outcry to an infill housing development of his a decade ago near Macdonald Street and West 45th Avenue.
Angela Woo, president of SHPOA and prominent in the campaign against the townhouse project, is his neighbour. "I'm trying to do my best to do a quality development... because I'm going to drive by that site every day for the rest of my life, likely, too," he said.
Bell hopes to start work on the townhouses this fall. Construction could take 18 months.
© Vancouver Courier 2009