Eye on Norquay

Looking Out for East Vancouver

Virtual Tour Spring 2019

 
Implementing the Norquay Plan: An Update on
New Housing Types and Public Space — May 2019

  
Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is the name given by the City of Vancouver to an East Vancouver area of approximately 1.5 square kilometers. The area centers on the 1.3 km of Kingsway that lies between Gladstone Street at the west and Killarney Street at the east. Norquay locates primarily in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver, with a small western portion running over into the Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood.

 

 

The Norquay Plan was developed to help carry out the intent of Vancouver’s CityPlan. Norquay is still the only area in Vancouver to have been completely planned as a neighbourhood centre. Except for Kingsway-fronting parcels, the entire area has been rezoned to low density housing forms suitable for families.

This review looks at the implementation of the Norquay Plan since it was approved by Vancouver City Council in November 2010.

 
Section A — Development
 
1 of 6 — Single Family Houses
 
2 of 6 — Outright Duplexes
 
3 of 6 — Small House / Duplex Zone (RT-11)
 
4 of 6 — Rowhouse / Stacked Townhouse Zone (RM-7)
 
5 of 6 — Four-Storey Apartment Zone (RM-9A)
 
6 of 6 — Kingsway Rezoning Area

 
Section B — Amenities and Services
 
1 of 7 — Community Facility with Indoor and Outdoor Space
 
2 of 7 — Ravine Way
 
3 of 7 — Parks
 
4 of 7 — Childcare
 
5 of 7 — Transportation
 
6 of 7 — Affordable Housing
 
7 of 7 — Heritage Preservation

 
Section C — Summary

1 of 2 — Neighborhood Improvements
 
2 of 2 — Ongoing Concerns


  
Section A — Development — Introduction

Norquay is the second area in Vancouver to have all of its RS-1 zoned single family homes — a total of 1912 — rezoned to include new low-density housing forms.

In March 2013 zoning regulations were approved for two new residential zones: RT-11 (small house/duplex) and RM-7 (rowhouse/stacked townhouse).

Also in 2013 a rezoning policy was established for a 4-storey apartment transition zone, most of it paralleling Kingsway. In December 2016 this policy was replaced by the RM-9A (4-storey apartment) zoning.

A rezoning policy for the Kingsway Rezoning Area sets a base height of 8-10 storeys, with up to 16 storeys on special sites.

  

  

Norquay Village Zoning Map


  
1 of 6 — Single Family Houses

 

 

     2010 Residential Streetscape
 

The residential areas of Norquay off Kingsway consisted almost entirely of single family houses in 2010. Redevelopment has been ongoing over the years, so that most streets include houses of various ages. Only three buildings in all of Norquay have been designated as heritage. Many pre-1940 houses are in poor condition and would not merit designation even as character houses.

 

 

     2238 Wenonah Street
 

A single family dwelling (with or without a laneway house and/or a secondary suite) may be built outright on a single parcel in any residential zone in Norquay, following the provisions of RS-1 zoning. For the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted 24 single family houses completed or under construction, 17 with a laneway house. None of these houses appear to have been advertised for sale. It seems probable that most of them are being built as redevelopments by existing owners.

 

 

     2422 Galt Street
 

In addition, Eye on Norquay has noted 11 major renovations of existing houses.


  
2 of 6 — Outright Duplexes

A duplex (with or without a secondary suite) may be built outright on a single parcel in the RT-11 and the RM-7 zones. For the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted 67 outright duplexes completed or under construction. Allowable FSR is 0.75. Construction began on approximately 40 of these in 2014 and 2015, with fewer new starts since that time.
 
 
IMG_7837
 
 
     2457/2459 Brock Street
 
 
On narrow, deep lots the duplexes are front and back.
 
 
IMG_7832
 
 
     2735/2737 Duke Street
 
 
Front doors of both the front and back units must face the street. Roofs must be pitched.
 
 
IMG_7816
 
 
     5444/5446 Clarendon Street
 
 
On wider lots the duplexes are side by side.

 
IMG_7829
 
 
     2795/2799 Horley Street
 
 
This duplex is situated on a corner lot.

 

 
 
     4670/4672 Clarendon Street
 
 
Where there is no back lane, garages are attached to the front of the house and the driveway takes up the entire front yard. In this case, a street tree was removed to accommodate the driveway.

 
 
 
 
     4516/4518 Earles Street
 

Duplexes vary in form as well as in the quality of construction.

 

 
 
     2156/2158 Mannering Avenue
 

A change in the roof line, as specified in the External Design Guidelines approved for duplexes on 02 April 2019, will eliminate unattractive designs like this.

 

 
 
     5097 Moss Street
 

The exterior design of this 1226 sf duplex unit on a small lot is attractive. However, the living area is too small to hold a dining table. And the eating area is three stools at the kitchen counter.


  
3 of 6 — Small House / Duplex Zone (RT-11)

More than 900 parcels were rezoned to RT-11/RT-11N under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are larger lots situated along the edges of Norquay. The number of permitted buildings depends on the size and the location of the site. All principal dwellings may have a lock-off unit; larger duplex units may have a secondary suite. Parking is in garages or open parking spaces, one per unit. Allowable FSR for a conditional application is 0.85. All units are strata-titled.

So far there have been 28 conditional RT-11 applications posted on the City of Vancouver web site. Of these, 7 have involved assembly. Most of the other applications have been sited on single large lots and consist of a duplex and a laneway house. There have been no conditional applications involving the retention of character houses.

 

 
 
     4515/4517/4523 Nanaimo Street – 1 of 2
 

On a standard 33 x 122 ft. lot, a duplex is allowed. If the units are side-by-side, they are very narrow.

 

 
 
     4515/4517/4523 Nanaimo Street – 2 of 2
 

A laneway house backs onto Brock Park. The colors are attractive.

  
IMG_9301-640
  
 
     5603/5613 Rhodes Street / 2746 East 40th Avenue – 1 of 2
  
 
This development is on a large corner lot. The duplex faces Rhodes Street.

 

 
 
     5603/5613 Rhodes Street / 2746 East 40th Avenue – 2 of 2
 
 
The laneway house fronts on East 40th Avenue.

 
IMG_9359-640
 
 
     2353/2355/2357/2359 East 41st Avenue — 1 of 2
 
 
On this large lot, a duplex is built at the front of the lot …

 

 
 
     2353/2355/2357/2359 East 41st Avenue — 2 of 2
 

… and a laneway house at the back of the lot. An infill house (approximately 1500 sq. ft.) is situated in the middle. The units took up to a year to sell and no projects with this configuration have been built subsequently.

 

 
 
     5283/5289 Nanaimo Street / 2293/2297 East 37th Avenue – 1 of 2
 

Another possible development scenario for larger sites in the RT-11 zone is two duplexes. This project is on a large corner lot at Nanaimo Street and East 37th Avenue. The larger duplex fronts on Nanaimo Street.

 

 
 
     5283/5289 Nanaimo Street / 2293/2297 East 37th Avenue – 1 of 2
 

The smaller duplex fronts on East 37th Avenue.

 

 
 
     5651 Earles Street
 

On wider mid-block lots, 2 front/back duplexes may be built beside each other.

 

 
 
     5432/5440 Rhodes Street – 1 of 2
 

A two-lot assembly permits 4 small houses, two at the front of the lot and two at the back.

 

 
 
     5432/5440 Rhodes Street – 2 of 2
 

Parking for all units is attached. This means that much of the open space is taken up by driveways to access the units at the front of the site. This is the only project with this configuration that has been built so far in Norquay.

 

 
 
     2885/2887/2889 East 41st Avenue and 5681/5683/5685/5687/5689 Killarney Street – 1 of 2
 

This development includes 8 units: a cluster of 6 small houses of 1230-1557 sq. ft. and 2 duplex units. It is situated on a self-contained site on the northwest corner of East 41st Avenue and Killarney Streets. To the west is Earles Park and to the north is a similar development. Units in this development were marketed in late 2015 and sold very quickly.

 
IMG_9276-640
 
 
     2885/2887/2889 East 41st Avenue and 5681/5683/5685/5687/5689 Killarney Street – 2 of 2
 
 
Parking is in garages or open parking spaces at the rear of the site.


  
4 of 6 — Rowhouse / Stacked Townhouse Zone (RM-7)

More than 700 parcels were rezoned to RM-7/RM-7N under the Norquay Plan. Most of these lots are situated near the centre of Norquay, fairly close to Kingsway. Typical area for stacked townhouse units in this zone is 1200 sq. ft. The width of rowhouses is specified as 12 ft. clear (wall-to-wall interior). Parking is on open parking spaces, in a ratio of 2 for every 3 units. Allowable FSR is 1.2 for assembled sites or larger lots, and 0.9 for smaller single lots. Buildings are 3.5 storeys. All units are strata-titled.

During the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted 34 RM-7 applications posted on the City of Vancouver web site. Up to this point, almost all conditional development in this zone has taken place on shallow lots having a depth of 110 ft. or less.

 
Traditional Rowhouse

 

 

     2759/2761/2763/2765 Duke Street – 1 of 2
 

During the planning process, residents expressed a strong preference that traditional rowhouses be the dominant low density housing form in Norquay. The rowhouse zone and the stacked townhouse zone were described as separate zones in the Norquay Plan. The two zones were conflated when the zoning regulations were written in 2013. So far only 3 applications for traditional rowhouse development have been approved in Norquay. The four traditional rowhouses pictured here are approximately 2000 sf each.

 

 

     2759/2761/2763/2765 Duke Street – 2 of 2
 

Each rowhouse unit may contain a lock-off unit. Parking for rowhouses is one vehicle space per unit in garages or open parking spaces at the back of the site.

 
Stacked Townhouse

Stacked townhouse is the housing form preferred by developers in this zone, accounting for 24 of 34 applications so far. Land assembly is generally required if the project contains more than 6 units. One lock-off unit is allowed for every 3 principal units. Required bicycle parking is 2.25 spaces for each principal unit and 0.75 for each lock-off unit. This requirement was recently increased.
 
 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 1 of 3
 

This project was the first to be completed in the RM-7 zone. It consists of 18 stacked townhouse units in three 4-level (3.5 storey) sixplexes on an assembled 132 x 110 site. There are 6 “garden” units on the lowest level, 6 units on the main floor, and 6 two-level units on the upper floors.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 2 of 3
 

Ground level open space behind the buildings is taken up with infrastructure: parking spaces (2 for every 3 units), garbage bins, an electrical transformer, and bike lockers. The small red buildings house 30 of the required 42 bike lockers.
 
 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 3 of 3
 

Twelve bike lockers are housed behind the white doors under the front stairs.

 

 

     2757-2763 Horley Street
 

The building housing this 10-unit project is close to the maximum length for a single building (70 ft.) in the RM-7 zone. All of the bike lockers have been incorporated into the main building. Units were advertised in late 2018 with prices ranging from $729,00 (for 773 sf) to $1,088,000 (for 1159 sf).

 

 

     2717-2749 Ward Street
 

All of the units are 2-level corner units in the two buildings of this 16-unit development. Space can be better utilized when long hallways are not needed. Unit size is 945-1070 sf. Units were advertised in late 2018 with prices ranging from $799,900 to $949,900, and all have sold.

The superior configuration of units was possible because the site is wide and shallow (132 x 102), there are 16 units instead of the 17 allowed, the bike locker requirement was relaxed to 1.25 (standard elsewhere at the time of application), and there are no lock-off units.

 
Triplex

 

 

     5189/5197 Clarendon Street and 2487 East 37th Avenue
 

A single lot can be developed as a triplex with an FSR of 0.9. Two triplexes have been completed in Norquay, both on wider corner lots. These projects have two units facing one street and one long, narrow unit facing the side street. Two applications with more functional configurations have been approved for mid-block sites, but construction has not yet begun.

 
Fourplex

 

 

     5150 Slocan Street
 

One application for a fourplex has been approved in the RM-7 zone on a mid-block lot with a 52 ft. frontage. Units are large, around 1600 sf.

 
Sixplex

 

 

     2661/2667/2675 Horley Street and 4784/4788/4792 Duchess Street
 

A 50 ft. wide corner site can sometimes be developed as a sixplex. In this project, three 2-level units occupy the lower and ground floors and three 2-level units occupy the third and fourth floors. Two of the units are long and narrow.

 

 

     5011-5021 Slocan Street – 1 of 2
 

On a 60 ft. wide corner site, a more functional design is possible. This development has four 3-level units above two single-level units. Maintenance of landscaping can be a significant problem where open space is shared.

 

 

     5011-5021 Slocan Street – 2 of 2
 

Metal bike lockers occupy much of the back yard.


  
5 of 6 — Four-Storey Apartment Zone (RM-9A)

 

 

     2688 Duke Street
 

Approximately 250 parcels were rezoned to RM-9A/RM/9AN under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are located within the half block immediately adjoining the Kingsway Rezoning Policy Area. The buildings in this zone are to be “alphabet-shaped” with an entry courtyard, so that there are more than four corner units on each level. Parking is underground. Maximum allowable FSR is 2.0. One lock-off unit is permitted for every 3 principal units. These apartments are intended to provide “family housing,” with mainly 2 or 3 bedroom units. Typical unit size is specified as 800 sf.

During the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted seven applications submitted in the RM-9A zone. Four projects are under construction; three have been approved but construction has not yet begun. Most of the sites are assemblies of 3 or 4 lots. One project on a 6-lot assembly was approved recently.

 

 

     2328 Galt Street
 

This site was rezoned for a 28-unit development under the Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy approved in May 2013. Most units are 2-bedroom. Built under the Rental 100 Policy, this project is the only purpose-built rental in Norquay so far.

 

 

     4888 Slocan Street – 1 of 2
 

On very deep sites stacked townhouses may be built behind the apartment building, separated by a 24 ft. wide “garden courtyard.” This project has 53 units, 37 in an apartment building at the front of the site …

 

 

     4888 Slocan Street – 2 of 2
 

… and 16 in stacked townhouse units at the rear of the site. There are 28 3-bedroom units and 25 2-bedroom units.

  

 
 
     2298 Galt Street
 
 
One 4-unit project was built on a single lot in 2012, before any regulations were written for this zone. It consists of two side-by-side duplex buildings, one at the front of the site and one at the rear, separated by a garden courtyard. Under RM-9A zoning, construction of similar projects will be restricted to orphan lots.


  
6 of 6 — Kingsway Rezoning Policy Area

 

 

     2010 Kingsway Streetscape
 

Prior to 2010, the properties along Kingsway were zoned C-2 for 4-storey mixed use buildings. The Norquay Plan (Gladstone Street to Killarney Street) changed the Kingsway base height to 8-10 storeys. Five large sites are allowed additional height in exchange for providing public space in the form of plazas or pedestrian connections to break up long blocks. FSR for the entire Kingsway Rezoning Area is 3.8.

 

 

     2300 Kingsway (Kingsway at Nanaimo) – 1 of 2
 

This site-specific rezoning was approved in 2006, just before the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre planning process began. It consists of 342 residential units, most of them studio or 1 bedroom units, in one 22-storey tower and two 7-storey buildings. Unfortunately, the sidewalk width along Kingsway falls far short of 24 feet. Retail includes a drug store, a bank, and a liquor store.
 
 

 
     2300 Kingsway (Kingsway at Nanaimo) – 2 of 2
 

Two low-rise buildings on this site include townhouses and a daycare. Rumour has it that the planned neighbourhood pub was not permitted because it would have been too close to the daycare facility.

  

 
     2689 Kingsway – 1 of 4
 

This project consists of 129 residential units in two buildings. The brick finish respects the strong preference expressed by Norquay residents for a brick finish on buildings on Kingsway.

 

 

     2689 Kingsway – 2 of 4
 

A 12-storey tower is separated from a 4-storey building by a 40-foot-wide pedestrian connection, which will function as the entrance to Ravine Way. At present the city-owned Duke Street Daycare Centre occupies the site immediately north of this project. (See further detail on Ravine Way below under Amenities.) The public art is engaging.

 

 

     2689 Kingsway – 3 of 4
 

Maintenance of the inner row of street trees on the 24 ft. wide sidewalk is the responsibility of the property owner. Several of these trees have died and not been replaced.

 

 

     2689 Kingsway – 4 of 4
 

Parts of the public sidewalk on the property have sunk and been patched over with asphalt.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 1 of 7
 

This 2.3 acre site on the extreme western edge of Norquay was formerly occupied by a Canadian Tire store.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 2 of 7
 

This massive project, completed in Spring 2019, consists of more than four hundred 1, 2 or 3 bedroom units in three 14-storey towers and a 5-storey building on Kingsway. These buildings enclose a raised courtyard with an outdoor swimming pool, situated on the third storey in the centre of the site. The first and second storeys comprise a podium that covers most of the site. Many of the units were marketed to and bought by overseas investors.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 3 of 7
 

To a pedestrian, the development looks out of scale for the neighborhood.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 4 of 7
 

A T&T grocery store provides Asian foods to the large Asian population in Norquay and the surrounding area. The Norquay Plan allows for 4 additional storeys of height in exchange for a public plaza of 6000-8000 sf. The entrance area at the corner of Kingsway and Gladstone became defined as the “plaza” benefit. The 24-foot-wide sidewalks and the double row of street trees make walking along Kingsway more inviting.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 5 of 7
 

Seating often backs onto noisy and smelly air ventilation grids that serve the underground parking.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 6 of 7
 

The corner of 30th Avenue and Kingsway was planned as the site of a 7500 sq. ft. “park” — but much of this space has been clawed back to function as an outdoor seating area for the adjacent dim sum restaurant. Landscaping of this project lacks imagination – skimmia is widely used. (This low quality choice mimics the landscaping already in use at the nearby Esso filling station at the Kingsway and Victoria intersection.)

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 7 of 7
 

This 120 foot “ladder to nowhere” is located in a Kingsway median in front of the development. The value of this public art contribution was estimated at $697,000 in the rezoning report to Council.

 

 

     2395 Kingsway – 1 of 2
 

This project, now under construction, will consist of 126 units with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms in a 12-storey tower flanked by 4-storey buildings.

 

 

     2395 Kingsway – 2 of 2
 

A formally defined and required pedestrian connection crosses the site. The inappropriate “bridge” that would have shadowed the connection was removed from the final design.

 

 

     2725-2751 Kingsway
 

The site of Harvey’s Furniture and Appliances, a long-standing community retail fixture at 2751 Kingsway, was bought by a developer several years ago. The purchaser has since acquired the neighbouring Tire-O-Rama site. No formal application has yet been submitted. A “for-lease” sign appeared on each building in mid-spring 2019.

 
IMG_8946-648
 
 
     2768 Kingsway – 1 of 2
 
 
This assembled site was rezoned for a 30-unit Rental 100 project in 2014. The buildings were vacant for about 5 years and demolished in spring 2019. Construction was delayed while the owner tried to assemble two more properties on Earles Street.

 

 

     2768 Kingsway – 2 of 2
 

Sites that sit empty for long periods of time attract litter and large garbage items. This site has just been cleaned up, and the debris filled a dumpster.
 


  
Section B — Amenities and Public Space

  
New development brings population growth, and an increased population requires increased amenities and public space. The 2004 Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision made proposals for any new housing form “conditional … on an increase in community facilities and programs needed to serve any population growth generated by the new housing type.” (p. 31) The Norquay Plan states: “As the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre grows and evolves over time, new amenities and facilities will be needed to ensure the continued livability and desirability of the area.” (p. 70)

The Norquay Public Realm and Transportation Improvements Plan was approved as part of the Norquay Plan in 2010. The Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy was approved in May 2013. The Norquay Village Public Realm Plan was released in April 2016. These documents provide more detail about the amenities and services that are to be provided as the population grows.

Development is taking place rapidly in Norquay, especially along Kingsway. Projects that have been completed, are currently under construction or are in process are already bringing approximately 2500 new residents to our neighbourhood. This number amounts to 50% of the new residents that are expected to be living in Norquay by 2040.

But very little progress has been made on delivery of the amenities and services promised by the Norquay Plan.


 
1 of 7 — Community Facility with Indoor and Outdoor Space

 

 

     2400 Kingsway – 1 of 2
 
 
The Norquay Plan specifies 15,000 sq. ft. of new indoor community space and 20,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space as part of the redevelopment of the 3.5 acre site on Kingsway currently occupied by the 2400 Motel. The new development is expected to include 100 units of non-market housing as well as 400 units of market housing. CACs worth $3M from the development at 2220 Kingsway have been reserved, to be delivered when the 2400 Motel is redeveloped.

 

 

     2400 Kingsway – 2 of 2
 

One 16-storey tower and one 12-storey tower can be built on the site. An additional 10-12 storey tower is possible if the corner site now occupied by Church’s Chicken can be incorporated.

Community space on this site was rated the number one amenity choice of Norquay residents. Our neighbourhood has no community centre or neighbourhood house, no library, no skating rink or swimming pool. Gladstone High School, whose catchment area includes most of Norquay, is being considered for closure. So is Cunningham School, one of our two elementary schools. The need for community space in Norquay is urgent.

The City of Vancouver already owns the 2400 Motel site. During the planning process Norquay residents asked the City to retain ownership and to develop housing and amenities. We urge the City to proceed as quickly as possible with redevelopment in order to deliver our most essential amenity.


  
2 of 7 — Ravine Way

Ravine Way is the name given to a proposed linear park that would follow the undergrounded portion of Still Creek flowing through a culvert from Norquay Park to Slocan Park. Most of the properties that would be incorporated into the park are already owned by the City of Vancouver, but City social agencies currently lease purpose-built buildings on some of these sites. Two of the properties currently function as a community garden and a community orchard. Two properties still need to be acquired.
 
 

 

This amenity was rated the number two choice by Norquay residents. The City of Vancouver describes Ravine Way as a “long-term vision.”

Two ongoing concerns are (a) the amount of land that will be allocated to Ravine Way, and (b) the temporary use of the land until assembly is completed. The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy states: “Prior to completion of the entire park route, sections would function as pocket parks, mid-block connections or … community gardens.” (p. 10) We encourage the City to allocate all of the land it now owns along Ravine Way to the proposed park, and to repurpose the sites for public use as leases expire.


  
3 of 7 — Parks

Norquay encompasses three neighbourhood parks: Norquay Park, General Brock Park, and Earles Park.

Increasing densification does more than increase the number of residents who use neighbourhood parks. It also transfers many activities that have traditionally taken place in private backyards to these parks. Norquay’s new housing forms leave very little room for green space on private property. Neighbourhood parks are becoming the “shared backyard” where residents are looking to play, exercise, garden, and socialize.

New developments along Kingsway are having a significant impact on Norquay Park and General Brock Park. The area around Earles Park has experienced much less densification at this stage.

 

 

     Norquay Park
 

This park received a substantial upgrade in 2011. The Park Board’s initial $300,000 budget was supplemented by a $500,000 grant of federal stimulus money for “shovel ready” projects. This made possible construction of a new playground, a basketball court, a water park and picnic tables. The park is very well used.

 

 

     General Brock Park – 1 of 2
 

The renewal of General Brock Park was the number three amenity choice of Norquay residents, and is identified as a priority in the Public Benefits Strategy.

Several large developments are being built close to this park: 2300 Kingsway (completed), 2239 Kingsway (completed), 2220 Kingsway (completed), 2395 Kingsway (under construction), 2153 Kingsway (approved). Numerous smaller developments are also located near Brock Park.
 
 

 

     General Brock Park – 2 of 2
 

The Park Board has begun to assemble four adjacent properties on Wenonah Street to expand this park and to make it more visible. Funding to develop a concept plan for renewal of Brock Park has been included in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan. Actual construction will likely come in the following 2023-2026 Capital Plan.


  
4 of 7 — Childcare

 

 

     Terry Tayler Early Learning and Care Centre
 
 
Redevelopment of 2300 Kingsway included the construction of 37 childcare spaces, funded by the $2.4M CAC generated by the development. The CAC of $105,846 from 2689 Kingsway was allocated to the adjacent Duke Street Childcare Centre on the stated basis of mitigating new overshadowing of the play area. Beyond the simple fact of fund transfer to the daycare, an Eye on Norquay FOI was unable to confirm how these funds actually were applied.


  
5 of 7 — Transportation

 

 

     Clarendon Connector
 

The Clarendon Connector, one block of Clarendon Street at the north end, now extends the street from East 34th Avenue to East 33rd Avenue. This project was initiated prior to the Norquay Plan.

 

 

     New Traffic Signals
 

Two new traffic signals have been installed on Kingsway near Norquay Park. A third new signal on Kingsway between Nanaimo Street and Gladstone Street was required by the development at 2220 Kingsway. Other signals have been installed at the intersections of Nanaimo Street and Brock Street, and at East 33rd Avenue and Gladstone Street.

 

 

     Kingsway Median
 

Kingsway streetscape improvements have included a new centre median (in five sections), several curb bulges on intersecting streets, new lighting and street furniture, and new median and boulevard street trees. Approximately half of the street trees in the median died several years ago. The dead trees have been removed, so far without replacement.

 

 

     Baldwin Street
 

A few short sections of new sidewalk have been installed. There are still numerous locations in Norquay where no sidewalk exists on either side of the street. This situation is particularly evident in the Galt Street area west of Nanaimo, despite a heavy concentration of new development in that area.

 

 

     Kingsway Sidewalk in Front of 2689 Kingsway
 

The new 24-foot-wide sidewalks in front of new developments along Kingsway make walking safer and more pleasant, although the state of upkeep and repair on the private property side is deplorable.

 

 

     Gladstone Traffic Diversion
 

This traffic diverter was funded from CAC contributions as a public amenity. It diverts traffic from the Kensington Gardens development at 2220 Kingsway away from residential Gladstone Street and onto Kingsway.


  
6 of 7 — Affordable Housing

 

 

    
Lock-Off Units at 5005 St. Margarets Street

 

The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy targets achieving 100 units of non-market housing on the 2400 Motel site when it is redeveloped.

The new housing forms introduced by the Norquay Plan were expected to provide affordable housing for families. The steep increase in Vancouver land prices since 2010 has rendered this goal a mere aspiration.

One 28-unit Rental 100 project is near completion at 2328 Galt Street. A second 27-unit building has been approved on Kingsway, but construction has been delayed.

Secondary suites and lock-off units are expected to produce additional rental accommodation. However, lock-off units can be used for short-term rental and many of them appear purpose-built for that undesirable use.


 
7 of 7 — Heritage Preservation

 
Only three buildings in Norquay are on the Vancouver Heritage Register. Two development applications in Norquay have involved heritage preservation. Neither of these projects has begun construction.

 

 

     5771 Wales Street
 

This 1920s house was on the Vancouver Heritage Register before planning began in Norquay. An application for development of a two-lot site that included moving and preserving this building was submitted in June 2015. No work has begun. Eye on Norquay understands that the amount of bonus density requested by the developer is at issue.

 

 

     2308 East 34th Avenue
 

A development application that involved restoring this building and adding two infill buildings on the site was also submitted in 2015. A subsequent rezoning designated this building as Heritage. The developer has been trying to sell the site for several years.
 


  
Section C — Summary

 
Nine years into the 30-year Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, implementation receives mixed reviews.


 
1 of 2 — Neighborhood Improvements

 

 

     Sidewalk in Front of 2689 Kingsway
 

1 of 3 —  Improved Kingsway Boulevard
The public realm along Kingsway is becoming more attractive and functional. Noteworthy are the 24-foot-wide sidewalks in front of new developments and the 3 new traffic signals. These improvements make it more pleasant to walk along Kingsway and may have contributed to more pedestrian traffic. New street trees have been planted.

 

 

     Shoppers Drug Mart in 2300 Kingsway
 

2 of 3 —  New Retail
It is easier to buy groceries and personal care products in Norquay …

 

 

     Demise of Harvey’s Furniture and Appliances
 

… but more difficult to buy household goods and hardware. Up to this point, Norquay has lost as much as it has gained.

 

 

     “Before” at Killarney Street and East 41st Avenue
 

3 of 3 —  More Varied Housing Forms

 

 

     “After” at Killarney Street and East 41st Avenue
 

Low density multi-family housing forms provide a needed type of housing that previously was unavailable in Norquay. Some of these projects have improved the streetscape. Many residential properties that have been redeveloped were formerly occupied by older houses in poor condition.


 
2 of 2 — Ongoing Concerns

 

 

     2400 Motel
 

1 of 4 —  Slow Delivery of Amenities
The promised community space connected with redevelopment of the 2400 Motel site is urgently needed. No staff seems to be assigned specifically to monitor and encourage timely implementation of this aspect of the Norquay plan.

 

 

     5005 St. Margarets Street

2 of 4 —  Lack of Affordability
The new family housing units are not affordable to many Vancouver families. Older, more affordable housing has been replaced by new but less affordable housing. A 933 sf unit in this stacked townhouse complex was advertised at $899,900 in spring 2019. Very little purpose-built rental housing has been constructed. Lock-off units meant to provide low cost housing for singles are often being used as short-term rental.

 

 

     4521/4523/4529 Nanaimo Street
 

3 of 4 —  Small Room Sizes
Multi-level housing units with individual ground-level entries often result in long, narrow units with too much space allocated to stairs and bathrooms. Staff is currently working on guidelines for room sizes.

 

 

     Landscaping Approximately One Year After Planting
 

4 of 4 —  Lack of Landscape Maintenance
Green space is at a premium. In many cases, new landscaping both in the public realm and on private property is not being adequately maintained. Pavers are sinking, plantings are not being watered, and street trees are dying and not being replaced.

 
Conclusion

 

 

Norquay Assembled and Targeted for Massive Rapid Redevelopment
 

Norquay’s single family housing is rapidly being replaced by new low density housing forms. This experiment will succeed only if problems are addressed as they become evident and if new amenities are delivered in a timely manner as the population grows.
 
 
 
 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

24 May 2019 at 2:41 pm