“Three Vancouver neighbourhoods listed as threatened on heritage watch list”

May. 10, 2016 – The Province

chinatown

Development pressure in Vancouver is threatening landmark buildings as well as three vibrant neighbourhoods, earning them places on a new “Top 10 Watch List” released by Heritage Vancouver.

Commercial Drive, False Creek and Chinatown are part of the city’s history, their unique characters are at risk, says the organization.

“This year we are seeing particular threats to our neighbourhood’s character, culture and history ranging from a loss of individual architecturally significant homes to the potential loss of entire communities — and perhaps more importantly the community nodes that hold them together,” according to Heritage Vancouver’s site.

Here are this year’s top 10:

Bayview Community School, 2251 Collingwood St.

Bayview Community School in Kitsilano.

Bayview Community School in Kitsilano.

The Kitsilano school was built in 1913 in “Classical Revival” style and is listed on Vancouver’s heritage register. It is under threat of demolition, according to Heritage Vancouver, because it needs significant seismic upgrading. Despite a number of renovations, the school’s original window casings, panelled wood doors millwork have been preserved.

Crown Life Plaza, 1500 West Georgia St.

Crown Life Plaza in the West End.

Crown Life Plaza in the West End.

The postmodern building, with its pool and waterfall, was built in 1978 by Vancouver architect Peter Cardew and marks the western edge of the city’s “central business district,” according to Heritage Vancouver. A proposal has been made to remove the pool and waterfall, or alter them, for development of a residential tower.

Chinatown

East Georgia Street, in Vancouver's Chinatown.

East Georgia Street, in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Despite design guidelines that are meant to retain the look of Chinatown, they can’t protect the area’s authentic character, community and cultural activities and diverse mix of housing, Heritage Vancouver says.

“New infill developments are failing to engage with the intangible character of this important place, and may overwhelm it with out-of-scale and out-of-character developments.”

Salvation Army Temple, 301 East Hastings

The Salvation Army Temple.

The Salvation Army Temple.

The temple is one of the city’s significant Moderne buildings and is under threat of demolition to become part of a social housing project. It opened in 1950 and served as the Salvation Army’s district headquarters until the 1980s. Heritage Vancouver supports converting the building into a community arts and cultural hub.

St. Stephen’s United Church, 7025 Granville St.

St. Stephen's United Church.

St. Stephen’s United Church.

The church was built in 1964 and designed in a West Coast Modern style by architect Arthur J. Mudry. Due to declining attendance, the church may close and that would likely mean the property would be sold for development as housing.

“When heritage churches close, Vancouver communities lose more than places of worship, they also lose space for the countless social and cultural activities that churches host each week,” Heritage Vancouver says.

Alexander Street Red Light District

19th-century houses on Alexander Street.

19th-century houses on Alexander Street.

A group of buildings in the 500 and 600 blocks of Alexander Street are all that remain of the city’s early Red Light District. The buildings located in the city’s Strathcona neighbourhood and show the economic condition and social life of the community. The buildings date from 1911 and 1912 only one of the five known to have been brothels is listed on the heritage register.

Commercial Drive

Commercial Drive in East Vancouver.

Commercial Drive in East Vancouver.

The eclectic vibe of The Drive is reflected in the architecture in the area, which ranges from buildings that date from the early history of the city to postmodern developments from the 1980s. Few of the buildings have heritage recognition, but The Drive’s commercial strip has the highest concentration of potential heritage buildings that date back to the city’s earliest days.

Townley and Matheson homes, 1550 West 29th Ave.

A 1922 Townley and Matheson heritage home on West 29th Avenue.

A 1922 Townley and Matheson heritage home on West 29th Avenue.

The “Electric Model Home” was built in 1922 to showcase the fully electric homes of the future. The house, only of 63 remaining in the city designed by architects Fred Townley and Robert Matheson. The character home is about to demolished, and will join the list of homes the city has lost to new and bigger — and more expensive — houses.

Vancouver College, 5400 Cartier St.

Top10 Endangered Sites

The private Catholic boys school is a Shaughnessy landmark with buildings dating from 1924, 1927 and 1957. The three buildings are designed in the Collegiate Gothic style. The school is planning to upgrade its facilities, and demolish the three original buildings.

False Creek South

South False Creek, a community developed in the early 1970s.

South False Creek, a community developed in the early 1970s.

Created in the 1970s, the development transformed a stretch of industrial land into a residential neighbourhood with housing mixed with gardens and green space, gathering places, walking and cycling paths. The land is owned by the city, but lease agreements with owners of co-ops and condominiums begin to expire in 2025. A new community plan is under discussion, which might allow for increased density and infill development.

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