It could be weeks or months before Pacific Arbour decides whether to submit a revised application to the city for a senior’s facility it hoped to build on property on the east side of the 4600 block of Dunbar Street between 30th and 31st avenues.
Earlier this month, the city rejected its rezoning application to build a six-storey seniors residence south of Stong’s grocery store. City staff cited concerns about affordability and how it fit into the Dunbar Vision Plan, which envisions buildings up to four storeys.
President Peter Gaskill told the Courier Pacific Arbour is not working on a revised application at this time and that, in the company’s opinion, a four-storey building is not financially feasible at current land prices.
Pacific Arbour owns two of the six lots on the block in question, while the other four lots are under contract. “We still have varying lengths of time left on the contract on the houses. One of the houses is coming up fairly quickly, but the others we have a fair amount of time left. So we don’t have to make a decision as to whether we’re going to purchase the houses or not [right away],” he said.
“It’s very much slowed down right now, I can tell you. We need to figure it out because the project can’t proceed with the current guidelines that the city’s provided us. We cannot proceed. Maybe others can figure out how to do it economically but we certainly can’t. Something has to change and at this point we can’t see any solutions, so we’re working on different ideas… We’re not forced to make a decision yet, so we can continue to discuss things and to look [at it].”
Gaskill noted Pacific Arbour looked at assembling various sites in the neighbourhood, including ones more in the centre and retail sites, and for various reasons couldn’t. “The Dunbar vision document doesn’t allow for anything greater than four storeys anywhere in Dunbar, so it doesn’t matter where we would have gone.”
Mike Andruff of the group Dunbar Re-Vision, which fought the rezoning application, said its members were thrilled but surprised by the city’s decision.
“We’re of the view we’d pay tribute to Mayor Robertson for listening to our program of putting community back into the community planning process. We felt that both he and his staff used the letters and emails and all of the material in the blog that we had provided on DunbarRevision.com to look objectively at the circumstances and they found in favour of our stated case,” he said. “That thrilled us. We were no doubt happy, but I think the way I evaluate it they have thrown the community a bone here to give the impression that they have let the community win one… This isn’t Christmas time — he’s not going to be doing this with Norquay. He’s not going to be doing this for Little Mountain.”
The group plans to remain active in case a revised application is submitted for the Dunbar project.