Today the city of Vancouver will be meeting to consider whether or not to adopt a community vision for the West End. Yes, you read that correctly, one of North America’s most dense neighbourhoods (if not the most dense) is officially without a vision to guide its future growth and city hall is still just in the consideration phase. A vision for the neighbourhood is necessary as population growth and urban renewal is inevitable despite some protests from West End residents about the recent tower proposals. Expect more down the pipeline.
Here is some demographic information on the West End:
Home to 42,120 people in 2001, 31.5% of residents are between 40 and 65, with 51% being between 20 and 40. The share of single-parent families in the West End is about 12%, compared to 17% for the City of Vancouver. Statistics also show that the West End is home to many children — the downtown peninsula now has more children than traditional family neighbourhoods such as West Point Grey or Kerrisdale. The West End has two elementary schools: Lord Roberts & Lord Roberts Annex. The neighbourhood is also served by one high school, King George Secondary.[source]
With further pressure to redevelop the existing low density sites into medium and high rise towers, the city would be foolish not to adopt a vision for the West End, because with an increase in population comes a higher need for community and educational institutions and resources. Furthermore, the proposals will likely go ahead as both contain a large portion dedicated to increasing the rental stock in the downtown core.
I can see why residents are wary of an increase in population without a neighbourhood vision. Besides with Cactus Club coming to English Bay, West End residents are already pissed at city hall and the fireworks aren’t even here yet. Regardless, the City of Vancouver owes it to the West End to have a vision going forward.