West End development proposal draws dozens of speakers



Controversial Beach Towers plan would see 133 luxury rental units on site.

Dozens of people packed into Vancouver city hall last night to voice their concerns over the proposed rezoning of a West End property.

Council hosted a hearing to decide the fate of Beach Towers along Beach Avenue and Harwood Street, where Devonshire Properties wants to build 133 luxury rental units on the existing site.

Many of the speakers were West End residents who asked the city to reject the plan or force affordable housing into the rezoning application.

Sarah Isaacs, who lives across the street from the proposed rezoning site, says the application lacks community input.

“It's such a beautiful block. It's a whole city block. We really feel that any changes to this site should be made after a community plan, a comprehensive plan,” she said.

“It’s a waterfront block on the West End and it's really cherished by the community. There's opportunities for changes to the site but it should be part of a larger plan and there should be more public input into it.”

Christine Ackermann, president of West End Residents Association, was one of the only supporters of the project who spoke last night.

An artist's rendering of the proposed development.An artist's rendering of the proposed development. (IBI Architects)

But she also wants council to address the issue of its affordability.

“This development is representing 15 per cent of all rentals in the West End so it's a huge opportunity for council to make some changes,” she said.

“Our suggestion is going to be that the developer allot … a third units for affordable housing, a third of units for market rental and a third of units for luxury rentals.”

The meeting continues tonight.