Vancouver View Cone Review aka Tall Buildings Policy

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The debate over Vancouver’s coveted view cones has been raging for a long time and, every so often, significant policy changes are brought forward to change/review the policy. A draft motion was set out by the City of Vancouver in 2009 and the discussions are still ongoing, with the latest discussion set to go on January 20, 2011.

I will break down the view cones policy for those of you unfamiliar with it. Basically, in order to protect the view of the north shore mountains from certain vantage points (for instance the Queen Elizabeth Park observation area) the city restricted the heights of buildings downtown. In the past this was a hard stance, however, in the past few years Vancouver has relaxed its height restrictions.

I’m in favour of allowing taller buildings, especially in the Central Business District. I’m also in favour of increasing the height marginally in Chinatown and Gastown, not drastically, marginally, so you can keep quiet for now NIMBY’s.

Like it or not, the only way for Vancouver to accommodate all the people that want to live here is to build up in certain areas and the downtown core is one of them. I don’t see what the big deal is in allowing a few 700 to 800 foot towers in the core. Hell, I think the Broadway Corridor should have more highrises in the 18-20 floor range.

However, for some reason this notion of change startles people and if you’ve been to these council meetings you know exactly what I mean. Stretching the truth is what NIMBY’s do best. What’s even more interesting is the idea of “Vertical Sprawl” by the NIMBY’s at Village Vancouver. Although I agree that Chinatown and Gastown should retain its character.

The benefits and needs are great for the City to increase supply of housing and provide more office employment opportunities. Increasing the supply will prevent Vancouver from becoming ever more unaffordable. And let’s finally get some more jobs back into the core (see Telus returns to Vancouver).

Like it or not, taller buildings are one day coming to Vancouver. The Ritz-Carlton site and the new Toyota development on Drake are just the tip of the iceberg. Change is coming, sorry NIMBY’s.

Do you support the city in allowing a couple of taller towers in the downtown core?

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