Momentum to build upwards has become a skyscraping race across Metro Vancouver
The Province, Sept. 28, 2013, by Kent Spencer
File photo: Skyscrapers are giving Metro Vancouver a markedly different look, one which wouldn’t have seemed possible only a generation ago. “The proliferation of highrise construction is a cultural shift which creates some concern,” said UBC Community Planning Prof. Larry Frank on Friday. “Skyscrapers dominate the skyline.
Photograph by: Ric Ernst file, PNG
Skyscrapers are giving Metro Vancouver a markedly different look, one which wouldn’t have seemed possible only a generation ago.
“The proliferation of highrise construction is a cultural shift which creates some concern,” said UBC Community Planning Prof. Larry Frank on Friday.
“Skyscrapers dominate the skyline. People are bonded with our beautiful environment. They do not want to live in a concrete jungle. They want something to connect them with nature,” he said.
Highrise construction, which was popularized in downtown Vancouver during the last century, is migrating to the suburbs in a big way.
UBC Prof. Patrick Condon said so many tall buildings are being proposed and constructed in the suburbs that no one has yet counted them all.
“The success of concrete high-rises has made them the most desired product in the marketplace,” said Condon, chair of UBC’s urban design program.
“But I have reservations. They come with unique problems. A study has shown they are significantly more difficult to heat and cool. They are exposed to much more sunlight and wind,” he said.
Condon said high-rises do not utilize land as efficiently as is generally perceived.
He said they are spaced “fairly far apart” so they don’t infringe on each other’s views.
The momentum to build upwards has become a race.
A quick look at projects shows heights which were unheard of only a few years ago.
A 52-storey tower has been approved in Surrey Central; North VancouverCity has given approval for a 24-storey tower on Lonsdale; Vancouver has a 31-storey office tower coming forward on Howe St.; two 60-storey towers have been approved in Burnaby; and Delta is announcing a 37-storey tower on Wednesday. The Delta project will tower over its low-level neighbours on Scott Rd.
TinyPort Moody is in the process of changing its official community plan to accommodate massive zoning changes for tall buildings.
As the rezoning is considered by council, Port Moody residents have spoken out in support of their present-day lifestyle.
“We will not be able to see the mountains if the towers are built,” said Hazel Mason, president of the Moody Centre Community Association.
“People move here for the small-town feeling. They say they will leave if this goes through,” she said.
Frank believes towers are a good thing if green space, community amenities and shops are provided.
“We don’t want to do this like West Toronto where towers are surrounded by flat ground. A lot of work needs to be done with softening the visual effects. The issue is doing it right,” he said.