How Long Will It Take?

June 14, 2013

I was speaking with a planner the other day. He told me we shouldn’t be worried about all the upzoning they are proposing for Grandview. He said that even if they approved everything in the current map, it would be many years, decades even, before we noticed much change. There would be the occasional new building going up soon afteer the change came in, but most of it wouldn’t be built up for a long time.

The argument they like to pull out is the example of Commercial.  They note that the Drive has been zoned four storeys for a great many years now and yet there are still very few buildings on the Drive that have sought to expand in that way.

What they don’t bother to add is that the Drive has Drive-specific issues with building up the buildings to four storeys; major issues with parking requirements, historic lots, and building sizes that make it difficult for the bottom line to swallow. The newest demolish/rebuild construction on the Drive is the two-year old Famoso Pizza on the corner of Kitchener and Commercial. It could have gone to four storeys but the more profitable option is a scant two storeys.

The more illustrative example is the West End, which was a single family house neighbourhood.  The zoning was altered in 1956 to allow for high rises essentially anywhere in the peninsular. By 1970, just 14 years later, the West End that had gone before was mostly no more; it was buried beneath the tall towers that dominated every block.

If a fresh rezoning throughout our neighbourhood cleared away some of the present obstacles, then I could see Nanaimo, Hastings, First, Broadway and parts of the Drive quickly becoming shadowed canyons.

Zone it and they will come.


Come Talk To the Planners — July 8th

June 14, 2013

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