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Vancouver neighbourhood group launches petition, bus ad opposing seniors housing project

Click to play video: 'Dunbar residents fight proposed seniors residence'
Dunbar residents fight proposed seniors residence
Some residents of Vancouver's Dunbar neighbourhood are fighting a proposed development for seniors, saying it's too tall. Cassidy Mosconi reports – Apr 9, 2024

Vancouver city council has approved a new housing development for seniors in the Dunbar neighbourhood, despite opposition from some neighbours.

Council gave the project a green light Tuesday evening, though ultimately lowered the project’s height by two metres (seven feet) in response to residents’ concerns.

The proposal is to rezone 3329-3429 West 41st Avenue and 5649-5683 Blenheim Street from residential inclusive to comprehensive development to permit the construction of a six-storey, 232-unit community care home.

A group of Dunbar homeowners are fighting the project, saying the building is too high and will tower over nearby homes, blocking out the sun.

More than 250 people have signed a petition opposing the project and the group has also taken out ads on bus shelters.

Resident Reiner Lessman said he supports about half of the development but feels the current proposed size would be too big.

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“I feel that they will be so isolated because of it,” he told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Opposition to dense Jericho Lands high-rise project'
Opposition to dense Jericho Lands high-rise project

Emily Nixon lives across the road from the proposed site.

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“I am generally in support of senior housing. I think that’s the positive change,” she said.

“I just questioned if enough is being done to make our busy corridors inviting and safe places to walk. I think that the six-storey facade is going to result in a really loud public realm.”

Nixon has been a landscape designer for about 15 years and said she has worked on projects of different scales.

“You do see them get built, you know, right to the property line,” she added. “So there isn’t always a lot of green space left over for people.”

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Nixon said green spaces are important to make cities walkable and inviting and liveable.

Nearby resident Jessica Atari wants to see the development built.

“Seniors housing, new development,” she said.

“We need more. We’re so far behind on it, just all development in general. I’m very pro-development, but pro-housing, pro all levels of housing, especially, low-cost housing, seniors housing.”

Atari said the city needs to catch up when it comes to population growth and housing requirements.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver neighbours oppose daycare expansion'
Vancouver neighbours oppose daycare expansion

In a statement to Global News, Alison Keller, the site development ambassador for Amica Senior Lifestyles said with residents in the City of Vancouver aging, there is not enough senior’s housing and care available to meet current needs.

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“As our population has aged, demand for purpose-built seniors’ housing and care has increased,” she said.

“Amica is proposing a six-storey private-pay seniors’ retirement residence that would offer a continuum of care including assisted living, long-term care, and memory care. The proposal will bring much-needed senior’s housing and support services to the Dunbar community and aligns with City policy.

“The West Side and Dunbar, in particular, has an older population compared to the rest of Vancouver.”

The City of Vancouver would not comment on the issue before the project goes to a public hearing Tuesday night.

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