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Vancouver’s West End to get makeover: more housing, more open-air plazas

The City of Vancouver has released their draft community plan for the West End, and more people will soon be moving into the downtown neighbourhood.

The West End is already one of the densest neighbourhoods in the city, home to 45,000 residents, and the area is under significant development pressure as downtown runs out of development sites.

The neighbourhood makes up 35 per cent of the downtown peninsula and has a high concentration of singles and the elderly. It also has the fourth highest number of children per hectare in the city.

In the plan, the city proposes higher buildings on major corridors such as Georgia, Alberni, Burrard and the lower end of Davie Street, along with increased density across the neighbourhood.

Between 7,000 t0 10,000 new residents would be added under the plan, in a mix of ownership, social and rental housing. The City says they want to preserve the existing stock of rental housing.

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Increased density on side streets would come in the form of infill housing, according to the city’s draft report.

The city also wants to see the facades of businesses on major corridors upgraded, likely through redevelopment.

Heritage homes in the neighbourhood would be protected under the new plan, but infill could be added behind the homes and in alleys.

Several major intersections could be transformed into public gathering places.

The rainbow crosswalk at Davie and Bute could be enhanced with an overhead rainbow installation featuring a disco ball. A new mid-block rainbow crosswalk is proposed between Bute and Thurlow, to connect to the Nob Hill development.

On Alberni Street between Thurlow and Burrard, overhead lanterns could be added to the streetscape, and the area could become home to a future Christmas market.

The city has been working on the new community plan for the area since April of 2012. This draft plan will be presented to council later this year, and changes will start to take place in 2014.

You can still have your say by going to vancouver.ca/westend

Lanterns could be installed above Alberni Street. City of Vancouver
A new mid-block crosswalk will be constructed between Bute and Thurlow.
A new mid-block crosswalk will be constructed between Bute and Thurlow. City of Vancouver
Infill housing could be added behind existing buildings and in alleys.
Infill housing could be added behind existing buildings and in alleys. City of Vancouver
The existing crosswalk at Davie and Bute Street could be enhanced with an overhead installation. City of Vancouver
Higher buildings are proposed for the major corridors bordering the West End.
Higher buildings are proposed for the major corridors bordering the West End. City of Vancouver

To read the city’s draft plan for the neighbourhood, click here¬†(PDF)

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