Community space disappears at 1401 Comox

by jenstden

Rendering of proposed development 1401 Comox

On Feb. 10, I wrote about an open house for the proposed 1401 Comox development. The developer had made some changes based on community feedback, and was presenting the changes at the open house.

The changes included lowering the height by one story and reducing the amount of space the building takes up on the lot. The developer had also removed a community space which had been in the original proposal, which City of Vancouver planners had described as “a little gem on the site.” The site had housed St. John’s United Church, which had provided space to many community groups.

I contacted Pottinger and Associates, a real estate consultancy firm who is working with the developer, Westbank. They sent me this explanation:

The feedback from the general public during consultation on the earlier plan was that the inclusion of the community space wasn’t perceived as a benefit for the entire community, and it did not outweigh other considerations felt to be impacting the immediate neighbourhood like the adjacency of the
proposed building to nearby, existing buildings.  As a result, the design has been modified with the removal of the community space (Westbank met with both Agencies to discuss this) which resulted in a smaller building with larger set-backs and a proposal to close off Broughton to Comox Street to cars, creating an extension to the existing Broughton mini-park and a large open, gathering space in front of our site to be used by the general public.

Does a tiny park with a tiny playground make up for the loss of a community space? I also have to wonder how “large” and “open” the gathering space would be, and how exactly this would be different from a park.