Photo courtesy of: Heritage Vancouver Society
This is a very critical decision that may affect an individual homeowner’s perception of what their homes may be worth now. As always, there are many threads to this discussion:
The desire to retain our Vancouver heritage, retain a sense of community, retain our neighbourhoods.
More and more, I hear the comment “I want to live in a neighbourhood that has a sense of community.”
Community is important, because without that sense of community: a neighbourhood is really only a bundle of houses in an area.
Now that the Heritage Conservation Area has passed, how and what will the plan be to augment and retain a sense of community. The City will allow development of additional dwellings in properties designated for preservation, which in my view is an asset. There are some very discreet, exclusive infills that augment the livability and hence a sense of community. it also allows for some to down-size and still live in the neighbourhood that they may have grown up in or raise their families in.
Five Shaughnessy homeowners have not succeeded in overturning Vancouver council’s decision last year to create a heritage conservation area.
B.C. Supreme Court justice Shelley Fitzpatrick dismissed their claim that it was beyond the city’s jurisdiction to prevent the demolition of homes in First Shaughnessy built before 1940.
The petitioners alleged in court that the bylaw was enacted in bad faith.
Specifically, they argued that the city could not have listed all pre-1940 dwellings in the neighbourhood in an appendix without conducting individual assessments to determine their heritage merit.
Fitzpatrick rejected this claim.
“There was no reasonable basis upon which any member of the public could have been misled to believe that the development of Appendix A4 was based on an actual assessment of each property on that schedule,” the judge wrote in her ruling.
First Shaughnessy’s boundaries are West 16th Avenue, East Boulevard, King Edward Avenue, and Oak Street.
What this decision means for other areas that could be deemed heritage conservation areas—such as Strathcona—was not addressed in the ruling.
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