A new group called Dunbar Re-Vision is worried about a proposal for a six-to-seven-storey seniors facility just south of Stong’s Market.
The group is hosting a meeting about the plan at 7 p.m., Oct. 25 at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, 3737 West 27th.
“We feel it’s a breach of the governing Dunbar Vision Plan that had been agreed to by city council,” explained Dunbar Re-Vision spokesman Terry Hislop, adding the group fears if council ultimately approves such a development, it would set a precedent for further development in the West Side neighbourhood. “So it would pretty much be changing the face of the Dunbar community and this is what we are trying to bring to light.”
The Dunbar project, by Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities, which owns and operates other residences for seniors in Metro Vancouver, is in the development stage. An application has yet to be submitted to the city, but the building site is on the east side of the 4600 block of Dunbar Street between 30th and 31st avenues.
Peter Gaskill, the company’s president, said it’s developing the proposal with community input — it held a public meeting Oct. 4 and is planning two workshops in November—but it must consider financial constraints given the cost of the land, construction and labour.
“So we need to get a certain-sized building and we figure around 125,000 square feet would be sufficient for us to make it worth while so we can provide the services to seniors at a price that Dunbar residents would be able to afford,” he told the Courier. “We think it could be a six or seven-storey building. We’d like to keep it as low as possible and we may be able to get it to six storeys, but a lot of that has to do with the work we intend to do in the community in terms of finding out what their needs are in terms of possibly other space for programming that they may want. And also what their sensitivities are in terms of building massing.”
Gaskill said it could be designed so floors are stepped back to prevent it from looking like a giant block and making passersby feel like they’re standing beside a wall.
Pacific Arbour will likely file a letter of inquiry with the city after the community design workshops, followed by a more formal application in the new year.
Hislop said his group wants to ensure the community knows about the proposal before it moves closer to approval.
He said members oppose the height being considered for the facility — the Dunbar Vision Plan calls for maximum four-storey developments in the village — and they’re concerned there won’t be enough consultation. He added that Dunbar Re-Vision doesn’t object to a seniors centre in Dunbar.
“We feel that probably the developer could have looked at more in the commercial area of Dunbar without moving it into the residential area,” he said.
For information about Dunbar Re-Vision and its meeting, go to dunbarrevision.com. Pacific Arbour’s workshops are set for Nov. 3 and Nov. 8. Pre-registration is required and seats are limited. See pacificarbour.ca for more information.
The City of Vancouver confirmed an application hadn’t been filed.