January 5, 2016 11:34 pm
Updated: January 9, 2016 12:51 pm

26,000-square-foot monster home in West Vancouver proves to be last straw for city council

WATCH: West Vancouver is promising bylaw changes because of a 26,000-square-foot house that's being built next to a high school. John Hua explains why some people are so upset.

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It was once the selling feature Torie Yang couldn’t resist.

“We bought this house because of this yard,” he said of his West Vancouver home. “Privacy, many trees. Very good and quiet.”

Now, the yard overlooks a behemoth of a house being built just metres away.

Vancouver businessman Ge Chen is building a 26,000-square-foot home on two adjoining lots on Mathers Avenue in West Vancouver’s Ambleside neighbourhood.

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READ MORE: Packed city hall meeting in West Vancouver over ‘monster homes’

“My gosh. Who’s going to need all that room? It’s ridiculous,” neighbour Joan Howey said.

Howey moved to the neighbourhood from Vancouver 20 years ago to get away from megahomes. Now, she says history is repeating itself.

“It ruins it,” she said. “I’m getting to the age where I don’t want to move, but sometimes I feel it’s not the same.”

What can you fit in 26,000 square feet? Some of the home’s features include an indoor and outdoor pool, badminton court, movie theatre and a virtual golf room.

READ MORE: Take a tour of a tiny house in West Vancouver

West Vancouver’s council says while the project is completely within its zoning bylaws, they never expected a house this large to be built in that neighbourhood.

“We’re sorry we didn’t catch this earlier,” West Vancouver councillor Craig Cameron said.

“To have something 26,000 square feet is just massively out of scale with the neighbourhood and we are concerned about neighbourhood character.”

It’s the kind of size and luxury comparable to Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s Point Grey home and other premium postal codes in this province.

“There are some areas of West Vancouver — the British Properties, Caulfeild — that have large estates and large houses. This is an area of Ambleside where the houses are comparatively more modest,” Cameron said.

READ MORE: West Vancouver home sells for $1.1 million over asking price

Council is looking to change the rules, limiting the maximum size of a property even on a consolidated lot.

Howey says such changes come too late.

“They should have been doing this a long time ago,” she said. “I have the feeling that they thought that people wouldn’t do that.”

WATCH: Global News compares the 26,000-square-foot home to other Metro Vancouver structures

– With files from John Hua

© 2016 Shaw Media

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