Vancouver City Council


Director of Current Planning


Form of Development: 820 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver General Hospital Energy Centre





The Vancouver General Hospital Precinct Policy Statement was approved by Council in June 2000 as a policy framework to guide subsequent rezoning and development.

The Comprehensive Development District (CD-1) zoning was amended by Council November 2002 providing for residential, medical technology and commercial uses in addition to hospital and related uses previously provided for in the CD-1 zoning. Development Guidelines and a Preliminary Development Plan were also approved.


In accordance with Charter requirements, this report seeks Council's approval for the form of development for this portion of the above-noted CD-1 zoned site.


At a Public Hearing on June 26, 1969, City Council approved a rezoning of this site from Two Family Dwelling District (RT-2) and Multiple Dwelling District (RM-3) to CD-1 Comprehensive Development District. Council also approved in principle the form of development for these lands. CD-1 By-law Number 4472 was enacted on January 13, 1970.

Between 1984 and 1991 City Council approved various amendments to the boundaries and uses of this By-law and also approved consequential regulatory changes to the Comprehensive Development District.

At a Public Hearing on December 6, 2001, City Council approved further amendments to update the zoning and to guide future development of the entire Vancouver General Hospital precinct. These amendments permitted additional medical technology, service, retail, institutional, residential, cultural and recreational uses in addition to previously permitted Hospital uses and an increase to the permissible site coverage and floor space. Amending CD-1 By-law Number 8584 was enacted on November 7, 2002. Companion Guidelines (Vancouver General Hospital [VGH] Precinct) were also adopted by Council at that time, together with a Preliminary Development Plan and a requirement for a Preliminary Development Application to deal with the newly introduced uses and adjacent public realm and open spaces.

Condition (b) (I) (xii) established by Council as part of that rezoning required that: to ensure continuous provision of usable public open space at all stages during redevelopment, if a structure is to be erected on a site providing open space:

· west of Willow Street between West 12th and West 13th Avenues demonstrate that the open space shown in the Preliminary Development Plan fronting West 13th Avenue east and west of Willow Street has been completed;"

A further amendment was approved by Council on September 30, 2004, that clarified the definition and requirements of power plant development and repealed some setback requirements. This amendment (By-law No. 3575) was enacted on November 2, 2004.

This application is pursuant to a recent text amendment that was dealt with independently of the above noted Policy Statement. It is therefore appropriate to deal with approval of the Form of Development for this site without reference to the anticipated Preliminary Development Application dealing with changes introduced by the Policy Statement and rezoning.

The site of this proposal is located on the east portion of the block adjacent to the parkade and is bounded by West 12th Avenue to the north, Willow Street on the east and West 13th Avenue on the south.

A VGH precinct map and the surrounding zoning are shown on the attached Appendix A.

Subsequent to Council's approval of the CD-1 rezoning, the Director of Planning approved Development Application Number DE408368. This approval was subject to various conditions, including Council's approval of the form of development. The latter condition is one of the few outstanding prior to permit issuance.


The proposal involves construction of an underground power generation plant (steam) for Vancouver General Hospital. The structure will house three levels of underground mechanical equipment, as well as control rooms and staff facilities. Above grade will be access structures, exhaust stacks, a public park and a public art installation.

The overall strategy for re-development includes the requirement of VGH to deliver adequate replacement open space as sites that are currently providing this open space are developed. With respect to delivery of open space on this site, indications are that the open space will be completed in July/August 2006, which is a year ahead of the legal agreement obligation but 18 months after the power plant site is expected to be dug up. Therefore, the Council condition to provide "continuous" open space would not be met.

Staff have consulted on this with the Park Board and while the timing is regrettable, Park Board staff express optimism that redevelopment of the precinct is underway and notice further that the Energy Centre open space has been designed as a "very intricate, high quality, exciting open space that will be an asset to the entire community, both of the hospital precinct and of the adjacent neighbourhood". The total area of open space will be increased as a result of this project. The design quality including public art work exceeds what could have been reasonably expected. On this basis, staff believe the intent of the open space requirement is being met.

The proposed development has been assessed against the CD-1 By-law and Council-approved guidelines and responds to the stated objectives.

Simplified plans, including a site plan and elevations of the proposal, have been included in Appendix B.


The Director of Planning has approved Development Application Number DE408368, subject to various conditions to be met prior to the issuance of the development permit. One of these conditions is that the form of development first be approved by Council.


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