Dunbar Re-Vision

See What Your Neighbours are Saying

October 28, 2012
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The news of the proposed development at the 4600 block of Dunbar is getting out into the community, and most people are very opposed to the project. Here are some of the comments that we have received from concerned residents of the Dunbar community.

See What Your Neighbours are Saying

Big Turnout at our Town Hall Meeting – UPDATED

October 26, 2012
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UPDATE – A new article in the Vancouver Courier

Our Town Hall meeting was a roaring success. We filled the hall to standing room only. Notable among the participants were current Vancouver City Councillors George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball, and Adriane Carr.

It was evident from those attending that there is STRONG opposition to the Pacific Arbour development proposal. We need to work hard to continue to apply pressure to City Hall and Pacific Arbour to stop this development from happening.

Passionate arguments followed a presentation of the methods required to make our position known with the City Hall. Additionally, speakers encouraged citizens to rally together with other resident associations to send City Hall the message that we demand to put the Community back in the Community planning process.

We encourage everyone who cares about their neighbourhood to prepare their letters to the Mayor, Council, AND Pacific Arbour.

Many volunteers stepped forward and participants donated generously .

Thank you to everyone who attended and made the evening such a success.

Check out  some media coverage

Dunbar 2015 appears to be here today!

October 23, 2012
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We have received modest criticism recently over the depiction of our artist’s rendering of the Pacific Arbour’s proposed dwelling in the 4600 block of Dunbar (see The Facts … blog below). We have been  called fear mongers. Really?  Well, here is a real building built by Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities. It is called The Westerleigh. (source: http://www.thewesterleigh.ca/news )

Our version:

Posted in News

Take The Next Step

October 20, 2012
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Our Volunteers have been out in the community gathering signatures for our Petition to the City of Vancouver.

If you haven’t already signed the Petition you can participate on-line

Please sign our on-line Petition

Join our mail list to keep yourself informed about our organization and our activities.

Please join our email contact list

Posted in News

Organizational Update – Dunbar Re-Vision

October 19, 2012
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The Dunbar Re-Vision group is delighted to announce the following:

If you wish to help with the petition, please call our newly appointed Petition Captain:

Mr. Bill Stott  604-266-9546

If you wish to make a donation, please call our newly appointed Treasurer:

Mr. Eric Pollock 604-228-0025

Posted in Admin

Suggestions for letters to the Mayor

October 19, 2012
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We again encourage, because it is so important in our view, you to write letters to the Mayor and Council (see addresses and emails in the post called The Letter). Current wisdom tells us that the Council ais more disposed to pay more attention to letters than to email or tweets. But by all means email and tweet as well.  They have to know how much opposition there is.

Preferably you should write a letter in your own words. But we do know that some people have problems finding words to express their thoughts on the topic. Several people have asked for suggestions.

So we set out below our own form of letter for you to consider using or amending. To hep you express your concerns we also add a few alternatives.

We believe that Pacific Arbour will themselves be encouraging people to write letters in favour of their proposal.  With these letters they will be making the case that the proposal has community approval. It is very important to rebut this.


  (your address)

Mayor Gregor Robertson,                           

3rd Floor, City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4                                                              


Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson,

                    I am opposed to the six storey for-profit seniors’ residence being proposed by Pacific Arbour for between 30 and 31st Avenues on Dunbar Street. This is inappropriate in Dunbar. What we need is up to three or four storey seniors’ residences planned together with the Community.  I also strongly object to the lack of community involvement and undue speed with which this has been introduced. So – No!



(Print Name)


Here are a few alternatives.

I am very angry that a change to our neighbourhood of this nature was done without any consultation with neighbourhood groups and community involvement. I am not against development but it has to be done with sensitivity and consideration. Ramming this monster on the highest point in Vancouver is not a good thing to do.


Some development is acceptable. But it has to be planned sensibly with community involvement. This makes no sense at all. None. I am opposed.


What happened to the City of Vancouver’s promise to use the Dunbar Vision Plan as a guide to what development was to be done on Dunbar? Did we all waste our time in putting that document together. I disagree with the City’s tactics and oppose Pacific Arbour’s proposal.


I am opposed to this proposal by Pacific Arbour. The traffic flow around the building and up and down the surrounding streets and lanes will be a nightmare for residents, whatever the experts say. With some kind of redevelopment of the Stong’s site there can’t help be increasingly dense and increasingly unsafe streets.


I am not against development in Dunbar. But I am against this proposal by Pacific Arbour between 30th and 31st Avenues. The six or seven or more storeys are out of place in an area zoned for single residence. I also object to the lack of consultation with which this has been adopted and is now being implemented.


This type of development is all wrong – the wrong building in the wrong place. Let’s have sensible seniors’ housing in Dunbar, not this proposal by Pacific Arbour.


Can you please explain to me why more rental units at market rates (and $5,000 plus at that) will lead to more affordable housing.  There aren’t enough units in the Pacific Arbour building to make any difference whatsoever. Until you convince me of that I remain convinced that this Plan will fail and am therefore opposed to it. Involve the communities affected.


This Plan has the potential of totally changing the nature of Vancouver and in particular Dunbar. It was published in the Vancouver Sun on Thursday September 27 for public consultation and adopted by Council on Tuesday October 3, a scant three business days later. On Wednesday October 4 the City issued a notice informing the public of an information meeting on October 17 and that the process of approving developments for re-zoning would commence on November 15.  As far as I can tell there has been no discussion with neighbourhoods and there is effectively no time for appropriate consideration. This is not the way democracy at a local level is supposed to work and shows a worrying disrespect for the electorate.


One of the proposed developments is a minimum of six storey for-profit seniors’ residence in an already traffic-tight area- on Dunbar between 31st and 30th Avenues. Where is the parking? Where is the driveway that such residences need? What is the traffic flow analysis? How is a six (or more) storey building compatible with the neighbourhood. Where has the public consultation been?  This will be a six or seven storey building at one of the highest points in Vancouver. The visual impact will make it utterly inappropriate in Dunbar. I oppose the Pacific Arbour proposal.


This is an area zoned for single-family residences.  That is the basis on which people have moved into the area. The impact of this building on the neighbours will be huge. This Plan has been sprung on the neighbourhood with precious little time to review and consider it and precious little hope that City Council will not permit it.  I oppose the Pacific Arbour proposal.

Posted in Admin

The Site

October 17, 2012

This video blog introduces the physical site that is proposed for the Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities senior’s housing project.

Posted in News

The Mailer

October 17, 2012
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Today we produced a 1,500 household mailer to acquaint the neighborhood with the Pacific Arbour proposal and our Town Hall Meeting.

Here is the mailer:


Posted in Admin

The Letter

October 15, 2012
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Letter writing (not email writing) is an important method of conveying your opinion. By taking time, and personally stating your point of view, the recipient is charged to read it. A form letter is highly recognizable and will have far less weight.

Dunbar Re-Vision needs your help in voicing opposition to the Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities proposal. Please write as soon as possible, like how about today?

Here is a sample letter and the council addresses for your quick reference:

Sample letter

City Council Addresses 

Vancouver City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Mayor  Gregor Robertson,

3rd Floor, City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Phone: 604-873-7621


twitter     @mayorgregor

facebook: VancouverMayorsOffice



George Affleck 

email: clraffleck@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7248

fax: 604-873-7750

Elizabeth Ball

email: clrball@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7240

fax: 604-873-7750

Adriane Carr

email: clrcarr@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7245

fax: 604-873-7750

Heather Deal

Phone: 604-873-7242

Fax: 604-873-7750

Email: clrdeal@vancouver.ca

Kerry Jang

email: clrjang@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7246

fax: 604-873-7750

Raymond Louie

email: clrlouie@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7243

fax: 604-873-7750

Geoff Meggs

email: clrmeggs@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7249

fax: 604-873-7750

Andrea Reimer

email: clrreimer@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7241

fax: 604-873-7750

Tim Stevenson

email: clrstevenson@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7247

fax: 604-873-7750

Tony Tang    

email: clrtang@vancouver.ca

phone: 604-873-7244

fax: 604-873-7750

Posted in Admin

The Facts about the Pacific Arbour Proposal

October 14, 2012
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The meeting on October 4, 2012 at St. Phillips Gymnasium hosted by Pacific Arbour Retirment Communities introduced the Dunbar community to a proposal to build a minimum six story seniors home in the 4600 block of Dunbar Street.

Here are the facts:

Dear Neighbour,

We wanted to make you aware of the proposed redevelopment of the 4600 block of Dunbar Street (just south of Stong’s) that if approved would set the standard for all new developments in and around Dunbar Village and would dramatically change the look and feel of our community.

What is being proposed:

  1. The 6 single-family homes in the 4600 block of Dunbar Street will be redeveloped into a 6 to 7 storey rental apartment complex.

2.  The building will exceed the height guidelines set out in the Vancouver City Council-endorsed Dunbar Vision by two to three storeys and will fill the entire block.

3.   The building will house a private, for profit, rental residence for seniors which will be rented at market rates.

The following is a Q & A about the proposed redevelopment of the 4600 block of Dunbar Street:

1)    The proposal is for a 6 to 7 storey building where six houses are currently located.  I thought Dunbar has a limit of 4 stories for new developments?

Dunbar residents came together a few years ago to decide what their shared vision was for future redevelopment of Dunbar.  That work resulted in the ‘Dunbar Vision ’ which was endorsed by Vancouver City Council and put height restrictions for redevelopment in DunbarVillage at 4 storeys.

However, on October 3rd, 2012, Vancouver City Council rezoned single-family home neighbourhoods in Vancouver so that they can be transformed into high-density condos and rental apartments.

Under something called an ‘Interim ReZoning Policy,’ developers are allowed to apply to redevelop single family home neighbourhoods into mid-rise condos and rental apartments of up to six storeys in height (and in special circumstances even higher) on transit arteries within 500 metres of neighbourhood centres (i.e. 4600 block of Dunbar Street).  Developers are also allowed to apply to redevelop single family home neighbourhoods into duplexes and row-housing of up to 3.5 storeys in height on streets within 1.5 blocks of transit arteries.

Furthermore, the City of Vancouver is giving the go-ahead to 2 redevelopment projects per major transit artery (up to 20 citywide) before it plans to review the new ‘Interim ReZoning Policy.’  There are strong indications that the proposed redevelopment of the 4600 block of Dunbar Street is one of the projects expected to be approved by City Hall.

2)    This sounds like a pretty big change for Dunbar. How come I’ve heard so little about it?

The developer, Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities, held an introductory meeting on Thursday, October 4th at St. Phillip’s Anglican Church.  Pacific Arbour had mailed invitations to Dunbar residents who live near the proposed redevelopment.

3)    You’ve mentioned the development will house a private, for-profit rental residence for seniors.  Can you provide more information about services and cost?

The estimated cost to rent an entry level one bedroom suite in a Pacific Arbour Retirement Community property is approximately $5,000 per month for single occupancy and $5800 for double occupancy.  Rent includes three meals a day, utilities, some recreation and 24 hour a day security. Pacific Arbour would not provide estimated rental costs of two or three bedroom suites.

4)    How does Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities pricing compare with other private retirement homes in BC?

According to SunLife Financial’s October 2011 report on Long Term Care Costs in British Columbia, the average cost of a private room in comparable senior’s residences in BC is between $995.00 to $3,500.00 per month. The average cost of a private one bedroom suite in comparable senior’s residences in BC is between $1,595.00 to $5,400.00 per month.

5)    What is the difference between what Pacific Arbour Communities is offering and what is offered in a nursing home?

Nursing homes provide 24-hour professional nursing care and supervision for people who can no longer be cared for where they currently live (i.e. an independent living residence).

Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities own and operate ‘independent living residences’ that do not have nurses on staff.

Pacific Arbour says residents are allowed to arrange for some private care in their suites (at additional cost to the resident) but if residents become seriously ill or develop serious medical conditions like dementia, they will have to move out of the residence.

6)    Why does the developer want to build in the 4600 block of Dunbar?

As mentioned above, Vancouver City Council has rezoned single-family home neighborhoods like Dunbar so that they can be redeveloped into high-density condo, rental apartments and row housing.  As Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities is proposing a 100% rental apartment building, the company is confident that City Hall will approve the development.

Pacific Arbour also believes there is a strong market in Dunbar for its product.  Pacific Arbour President Peter Gaskill said that Dunbar seniors who have become ‘land wealthy’ and are ready to downsize, can spend their retirement in Dunbar by selling their homes and moving into the Pacific Arbour Retirement Community.  However, he also admitted that about 50% of residents of the retirement community would end up needing nursing care and therefore would be forced to move to another facility outside of Dunbar.

7)    Do Dunbar residents have an opportunity to provide feedback about the proposed project?

Under the City of Vancouver’s new ‘Interim ReZoning Policy,’ developers only have to demonstrate three main things in order to get their development approved. They are:

(1) maximized level of affordability in the project.

(2) urban design performance (i.e. consideration of shadow analysis, view impacts,          frontage length, building massing, setbacks).

(3) demonstrate a degree of community support.

Therefore, Pacific Arbour is only looking for community feedback on the design of the condo complex.

Anyone interested in providing input on how the 6 to 7 storey building will look is invited to attend one of two workshops.

  • Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 9:30 a.m.  to 12:30 p.m. and
  • Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Registration is by phone at 604.742.3211 or via email at jmarzolf@marzolf.ca. Space is limited to 45 people per session.


8)    Do Dunbar residents have an opportunity to provide feedback about whether a 6 to 7 storey, block-long building is the right fit for the community?

Pacific Arbour says it is in the early stages of the development process and has not yet made a formal application with the City of Vancouver.  Once a formal application is made, a public hearing will be held at City Hall (date to be determined). Anyone who considers themselves affected by the proposed by-law amendments may speak to the Public Hearing provided they register individually prior to the hearing via email, phone or in person.  More information is available by calling 604.873.7038 or Vancouver.ca/rezapps.

9)    Should Dunbar residents wait for a public hearing to voice their opinions about the project?

No.  You need to act now. Here’s why:

(1)  The City of Vancouver is implementing a plan to fast-track development applications for rental housing.

(2)  The Mayor of Vancouver has already endorsed the redevelopment of the 4600 block of Dunbar Street even though the developer, Pacific Arbour, says it has not yet made a formal development application with the City of Vancouver.

(3)  The Mayor of Vancouver thinks Dunbar residents who are concerned about the proposed development are afraid of change and are being selfish.

Here is a transcript of an interview Mayor Gregor Robertson did on the Bill Good Show on CKNW radio on October 4, 2012:

            Bill Good: “I’m trying to get my head around why a six storey seniors’ home would          be problematic in a place like Dunbar?”

            Mayor Robertson: “Well, any change can be problematic for some people. That’s           the reality. When we are dealing with changes in neighbourhoods, when we are         trying   to get something as beneficial as affordable housing into a neighbourhood centre,       on a transit route, it’s going to affect somebody and some people will be upset about it    … and they’re / we have to adapt to that change. When we have an affordability             crisis    of this magnitude, we have to do something about it.  It’s not OK to just sit back. There      are a hell of a lot more people that are impacted by the lack of affordability than would             be by some of these places adjusting, adapting and embracing some new housing.”  


    10)  Pacific Arbour is a private, for profit seniors’ residence, how is it related to affordability?


Pacific Arbour says that in order to offer rooms that start at on average $5,000 per month in rent, and for the company to be profitable, the residence needs to have a total floor area of approximately 125,000 square feet (e.g. the building must be 6 to 7 storeys high).

     11)  I’m not against seniors housing in Dunbar. But what I am against is having a section of Dunbar Street which is now single family homes, transformed into a six to seven story high, city-block long, commercial, mega apartment complex.  What can I do?


Make your voice heard:

Write, email, Tweet, Facebook and call the Mayor of Vancouver to voice your concerns (contact information is below).

All you have to do is include your name, contact information, your opposition to the proposal, and signature on the letter and then mail it.

Mail/In person        Mayor Gregor Robertson             Phone: 604-873-7621

3rd Floor, City Hall     Email: gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca

453 West 12th Ave                      Twitter: @mayorgregor

Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4       Facebook: VancouverMayorsOffice

     12)  What else can I do?

Get Involved:

Attend a Dunbar Town Hall Meeting.  Thursday, October 25, 2012, starting at 7:00 pm at St Phillips’s Anglican Church, Gymnasium, 3737 West 27th Ave.

Connect with Dunbar Community Members (voicemail) 604.264.7444.

Learn more about the Dunbar Vision Implementation (Peter Sven) 604.263.7529.

Add your name to a petition calling for the City of Vancouver to comply with the Dunbar Vision plan.

Talk to your neighbours.  Get their opinions and encourage them to get involved too.

Thank you for your time,

Dunbar Re-Vision