2312-2328 Galt Street
Comment on Development Application DE418823 under Apartment Transition Zone Policy
18 April 2015
The application is the first to come forward under defined policy for Apartment Transition Zone in Norquay. The location of the particular site raises area problems which cannot be divorced from the application. Genuine planning must address the context as well as the isolated building form on site.
A. Policy Framework
To layer Rental 100 policies on top of Norquay’s Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy seriously compromises the livability of this development and vitiates key standard design elements. The 12.5% increase of FSR (from 2.0 to 2.25) prevents achievement of the useful courtyard (minimum 30 ft. wide) as mandated by the Norquay Plan. The strict limits that Rental 100 sets on unit size results in almost no larger units with two major exposures. Two of the most attractive features of the family apartments intended for this zoning are being nullified.
B. Missing Sidewalks
Our greatest concern is that NO connective sidewalks exist in the area where this development is located. Areas shown in red on the map below have no sidewalk on either side of the street. The Transportation 2040 Plan states: “Pedestrians will continue to be the City’s top transportation priority.” (Transportation 2040, p.19) Yet currently no one can reach a bus stop or the SkyTrain from this building site without walking a busy street lined with parked cars. Without these sidewalks, children cannot safely access their school, their neighbourhood park, or the local daycare centre. The City needs to extend the sidewalk along Galt Street between this building and Nanaimo Street, and to install a sidewalk along one side of Baldwin Street between Galt Street and General Brock Park. These sidewalks need to be provided concurrently with this development, not imagined for some vague future date.
II. Specific Development Application
We like the simplicity of the proposed design of this building. We appreciate especially the following elements:
• Provision for interior ventilation and daylight by making it possible for air to enter the hallways via
grilles in the exterior walls of the stairways
• Balconies that do not protrude, but appear to be part of the building
• The dark colour of the building, which makes it appear smaller and cleaner
• The use of metal trim for better long-term maintenance (provided that the metal will not rust)
We are very pleased to see that all of the units in this building are two- or three-bedroom units, and that the increase in unit density is minimal. This respects the character of the Norquay area.
To form an objective and reliable judgment of architectural practitioners and rental real estate developer/owners is almost impossible. That said, we feel that both of these agents in the development proposal represent a standard that is as good as could be hoped for.
Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones