Dunbar Re-Vision

An Open Letter to the General Manager, Planning & Development, City of Vancouver

December 31, 2012

Dunbar StreetDear sir:

When considering a proposal for a zoning/land use change, how does one weigh the interest of a business, in relation to the interest of the homeowner?

I cite the case of the Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities’ Letter of Enquiry for their proposed land use for the 4600 block of Dunbar Street. This comes at a time when the City appears to be focused on increased land use density, in the interest of housing affordability.

Our community based Dunbar Vision Plan calls for land use of the nature proposed by Pacific Arbour to be built to a maximum of four stories in the village of Dunbar (commercial area).


Your planning group, in weighing this proposal, obviously will look to the adjacent commercial area for context. They will see one story commercial  zoned structures lining Dunbar, offering plenty of viable commercial potential. What might be less evident is the economic viability of this current land use. Businesses in Dunbar face the retail challenges of a changing buyer demographic, of big box retailers in the suburbs, and more recently a greater assault on “bricks and mortar” establishments, online, in home buying eg. Costco Online. Existing Dunbar businesses are dealing with an ever increasing rental burden, in the face of declining sales.

Is the commercial sprawl to the 4600 block of Dunbar warranted, when common sense suggests a revitalization of the existing commercial area is necessary, even crucial, to avoid a pending economic ghettoization of Dunbar Street. Even the City, as a landlord,Dunbar Apartments has its retail space at 16th and Dunbar  vacant since the building opened back in September. (Perhaps the wisdom of ground floor retail could be reconsidered for a seniors residence in the village given existing vacancy rates.)

Should the homeowners in and around the 4600 block of Dunbar be subjected to land use change in their neighbourhood, for the sake of a business proposal which is clearly in the wrong location? The fact that this concern has managed to assemble a parcel of land should have less significance, than the need for revitalization in the village proper. One can merely walk through the village to see that the proposed development located within the village would fit like the proverbial “hand in glove”.

Land use policy has long term implications for the community. It should not be based solely on how and where the simplest land assembly was achieved. We strongly urge your decision making group look at the community’s changing socio/economic fabric. The Dunbar Vision Plan reflects a keen sense of the community’s needs, and it wisely directs future development to the village.

Will your decision making be guided by practical land use policy, or by political will?

Mike Andruff

Dunbar Re-Vision

604-644-0056 (more…)

The Rally Mailer

November 9, 2012
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Downloadable version: Rally4

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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:

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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:


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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

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