APRIL 7 AND APRIL 22, 1997

        A special meeting of the Council of the City of Vancouver was held
   at 7:30 p.m., on Monday, April 7, 1997 in the Council Chamber, third
   floor, City Hall.  Subsequently, the meeting was reconvened at 7:30 p.m.
   on April 22, 1997.

        PRESENT:       Mayor Philip Owen
                       Councillor Don Bellamy
                       Councillor Nancy Chiavario (absent on
                        April 22 due to Civic Business)
                       Councillor Jennifer Clarke
                       Councillor Alan Herbert
                       Councillor Lynne Kennedy
                       Councillor Daniel Lee (absent on April 22)
                       Councillor Don Lee
                       Councillor Gordon Price
                       Councillor Sam Sullivan

        ABSENT:        Councillor George Puil for both meetings
                        (Civic Business on April 7)

        CLERK:         Gary MacIsaac

        The minutes represent a consolidated record of the proceedings over
   the two evenings for ease of reading.


        Before Council was a Policy Report dated February 20, 1997 entitled
    Downtown Vancouver Skyline Study - Recommended Option .   The meeting
   was held to hear submissions from the public regarding this report.  


        The Policy Report before Council recommended a policy for downtown
   building heights to achieve a preferred profile for the Downtown
   Vancouver skyline.  A work program and resources for further work were
   also put forward for consideration.  The report contained the following
   recommendations from the Director of Central Area Planning:

        A.   THAT the recommended skyline and general policy for higher
             buildings, as detailed in Appendix  C  of this report, be
             approved as the basis for adjustments to the maximum permitted
             heights in the Downtown Official Development Plan (ODP),
             noting that in the area covered by this ODP: 
             -    buildings up to but not exceeding 600' high will only be
                  considered in the current 450' height area of the Central
                  Business District, north of Robson Street;
             -    buildings up to 400' high will be considered in the north
                  westerly current 300' height area of the Central Business
                  District, generally south east of Bute and Pender
             -    in no case will building heights be considered that
                  intrude into adopted view corridors (except the Queen
                  Elizabeth Park view corridor); and
             -    elsewhere, buildings significantly exceeding current
                  height specifications will generally not be considered.

        B.   THAT staff report back with text amendments for the Downtown
             Official Development Plan and design guideline amendments
             regarding the proposed changes to the permitted building
             heights and a process for considering higher buildings.

        C.   THAT buildings exceeding the current 450' height limit will
             not be considered until guidelines, zoning text amendments,
             review criteria and a process to enable the consideration of
             buildings at this scale are completed.

        D.   THAT the Skyline Study Advisory Committee be thanked for their
             time and effort and, further, that they be consulted during
             the implementation and follow-up work that is outlined in this

        E.   THAT the preparation of the text amendments and design
             guidelines for the implementation of the revised height limits
             be undertaken as soon as  staff resources become available to
             do this work, expected to be in 1998; and further that a
             budget in the amount of $6,000 be approved in the 1998 budget
             (subject to the availability of funds and priorities) for
             meetings and computer resources to do this work.

        The Director of Central Area Planning presented the following
   alternative to recommendation E:

        F.   THAT $18,000, as an addition to the 1997 Operating Budget, be
             approved for consultants, public meeting costs and computer
             resources to proceed with  preparation of zoning text
             amendments, design guidelines and the appropriate review
             process for immediate implementation of revised height limits
             in the Downtown District.

        The General Manager of Community Services noted the foregoing
   recommendations are adding further complexity to the regulatory
   environment, and submitted A-F for Consideration.  

        Also before Council was a memorandum from the Director of Central
   Area Planning (on file in the City Clerk s Office), dated April 4, 1997
   which provided Council with an additional view of the recommended
   skyline from Choklit Park at 7th Avenue and Spruce Street, and responded
   to the point raised by the General Manager of Community Services which
   suggested these proposals will add complexity to the regulatory


        Mr. Larry Beasley, Director of Central Area Planning, advised staff
   and the consultant are recommending a skyline that would allow some
   higher buildings in the core of the Central Business District, north of
   Robson Street between Howe and Thurlow Streets, but would limit these
   heights to 600 feet to stay below the profile of the North Shore
   mountains.  Elsewhere, staff recommend taller buildings generally not be
   given further consideration.  

        If Council wishes to see increases in height considered as
   recommended in this study, important follow-up work will be necessary to
   adjust the zoning, develop the guidelines and finalize the exact
   approval process.

        Mr. Beasley provided the following summary of the overall findings
   of the Skyline Study:

        -    The build-out prototype is not flat from most vantage points
             but we have to      acknowledge that it will block many views
             that we enjoy today;

        -    The prototypes are not dramatically different from each other
             due to the limited number of development sites, particularly
             in the core, and the height restrictions of the view
        -    Landmark towers in the central business district core must be
             significantly taller (550 to 750 feet) to be noticeable in the
             skyline; and

        -    Achieving a highly stylized or geometrically structured
             skyline is problematic because there aren't many sites to
             develop, the view corridors create their own shape and the
             evolving skyline is very dynamic;

        -    The opportunities for buildings above 450 feet is particularly
             limited in practical terms.  Staff would expect about 5 sites
             with 3 of these buildings between 500 and 550 feet and only
             two buildings at 600 feet; and

        -    Given the market, staff do not expect all these sites to be
             developed in the short term.  These buildings will likely
             appear over a 15- to 20-year period.

        Mr. Ray Spaxman, consultant, with the aid of a visual slide
   presentation, reviewed the following prototypes for Council:

        -    A Build Out scenario, which shows what may happen should all
             development sites in the downtown be developed in accordance
             with current height limits, density allowances and design

        -    A scenario with landmark skylines which features two towers
             which punch through the skyline to a height of 600 feet;

        -    A second scenario with landmark skylines that includes two
             buildings near Georgia and Burrard at 750 feet;

        -    A gap tooth prototype which locates eight buildings between
             450 and 550 feet in height to create a number of towers rising
             above the surrounding buildings;

        -    A dome skyline which locates 12 towers between 450-550 feet at
             locations centred in the Central Business District and
             Triangle West (north of Georgia Street).  In this scheme the
             highest buildings would be located near Burrard and Georgia

        Mr. Michael Gordon, Planner, reviewed public feedback and advised
   the following messages were received from the open houses and public

        -    The skyline should complement, not compete, with the natural
        -    Blockage to mountain views should be minimized;
        -    The skyline is an important symbol to the city;
        -    Landmark buildings should achieve a variety of community
   In summarizing the views of those who attended the open houses or public
   meetings, Mr. Gordon advised the comments that were heard and recorded
   reflect three different perspectives:

        -    Some of the public believe that buildings should be no higher
             than current limits, and in some cases they should be lower;

        -    Others believe that some modest increases in heights are
             acceptable, if the blockage of mountain views is minimized;

        -    Others believe that a small number of dramatically higher
             buildings (750 feet) are needed to reflect the size and
             stature of Vancouver.

        Mr. Larry Beasley concluded that the recommended skyline is not one
   of the prototypes that was presented at the open houses but consists of
   several of them.  The recommendations before Council were intended to
   achieve the following:

        -    Contain buildings that exceed current height limits within the
             core of the Central Business District;

        -    Suggest that 600 feet, which is 150 feet or 12-16 storeys
             above current height limits, be the maximum height that might
             be considered; 

        -    Ensure adherence to the view corridor height limits, with the
             exception of the Queen Elizabeth View Corridor.  These limits
             mean that there will only be the potential for about two
             buildings at 600 feet and elsewhere there will be the
             potential for about three new buildings above 450 feet.

        -    Allow the potential for two buildings to be at about 400 feet
             near Melville,  Pender and Bute Streets;

        -    Ensure these higher buildings would only be permitted in
             extraordinary circumstances and  require a special review
             process and Council approval to ensure a high level of
             architectural excellence is attained;

        -    Ensure these buildings offer significant community benefits
             including significant additions to downtown open spaces, or
             assist with the retention of heritage buildings or the
             provision of low-cost housing.

        Prior to the commencement of the second meeting on April 22, 1997,
   Council was in receipt of a memorandum from Mr. Larry Beasley (on file
   in City Clerk s Office), which responded to issues raised by the public
   at the April 7 meeting.  Mr. Beasley outlined the contents of this
   memorandum for Council.  The intent was to respond to some confusion
   over the implications regarding densities and resulting development
   impacts in the Downtown that will result from staff s proposal for
   increased building heights.


        The Mayor then called for speakers, and a total of 23 delegations
   addressed Council over the two evenings.

        The following speakers were not in favour of the recommendations
   before Council:

        -    Lin Bhompas, Fairview Slopes Residents Association
        -    Gail Davidson
        -    Jezrah Hearne
        -    Jean Gerber
        -    Eleanor Hadley
        -    Stacey Nixon
        -    Isabel Minty
        -    Claire Hurley
        -    Sheryl Dawson, Strata Plan LMS 2064
        -    Connie Fogal
        -    Dr. Linda Buhrenne
        -    Ian Gardiner
        -    Jamie Lee Hamilton, City Hall Watch
        -    Barbara Swiebs
        -    Gerry Altman
        -    John Parker
        -    Hazel Ackner
        -    Jack Singer

   The foregoing opposed the recommendations before Council on one or more
   of the following grounds:

        -    Residents of Vancouver love the current setting with mountains
             as a backdrop, and do not want to see the City ruined by
             thoughtless development;

        -    Page three of the staff report states that  various people
             have commented that Vancouver s skyline lacks visual interest
             and there is a need for some taller buildings that reflect
             Vancouver s contemporary image .  Who are these various
             people, and why has staff not stated their identity?
        -    Residents and visitors find Vancouver spectacular because of
             the mountains, not because of  tall buildings which will
             obscure the mountains.  People visit Vancouver because of its
             natural beauty, not because it has tall buildings;

        -    The development industry is behind the recommendations
             contained in this  report, and developers are motivated by
             greed and profit, rather than preserving Vancouver s

        -    The open houses and public meetings were sparsely attended and
             only 221 people submitted comment sheets, of which 17 of these
             respondents gave no response to the preferred skyline.  This
             is not statistically representative and should not be used to
             formulate public policy;

        -    The recommendations in the Council report were never publicly
             presented at the open houses or public meetings.  The hybrid
             option was developed by staff, and this Special Council
             meeting is the only public consultation on this option;

        -    The options presented to the public at the open houses implied
             that taller buildings were a given, and the only issue was the
             manner in which these taller buildings would be assembled;

        -    The public process associated with this Special Council
             meeting was flawed, and inadequate advertising and
             notification was conducted.  Also, the staff contact list for
             this meeting and the open houses was selective and favoured
             those who prefer taller buildings;

        -    Council appears to be serving the interests of a small group
             of developers, rather than the electorate at large;

        -    A plebiscite should be conducted on this question to hear the
             true voice of the electorate;
        -    The public should be consulted through the public hearing
             process, prior to Council deciding on such a significant

        -    It appears as if a final decision on this matter has already
             been made, and Council is going through the motions of
             conducting a public process;

        -    The City Planning Department appears to be representing the
             development community, and not the citizens of Vancouver;

        -    Any further height relaxations in the Downtown core will
             detrimentally impact the residents of Fairview Slopes;

        -    Residents with vested interests in Vancouver s future should
             not be considered as NIMBY s;

        -    Tall buildings will result in negative environmental effects,
             and the Policy Report fails to take this into consideration;

        -    Tall buildings will further impinge upon safety, quality of
             life and mental health of Vancouver residents;

        -    Activity on the street is necessary to ensure safety in the
             downtown core.  Taller buildings do not encourage activity on
             the street and could lead to a vacant downtown core on the

        -    The rate of growth needs to be slowed down.  Growth is
             resulting in increased crime, pollution, and taxes and
             decreased livability.  Council should not consider this change
             until it has improved transit.  Otherwise a bad situation will
             be made worse;

        -    The potential for growth exists only insofar as it is allowed
             to be accommodated;

        -    The present trend of Vancouver s development appears to be
             based on off-shore models in the Pacific Rim such as Tokyo,
             Macau and Hong Kong, which are polluted concrete neon jungles. 
             Council should look to other urban centres in the world using
             low-rise models, when enhancing the downtown core;

        -    Approval of these recommendations will set a dangerous
             precedent and pave the way for future relaxations and more and
             taller buildings.  This is the thin edge of the wedge which
             will result in view blockage of the City s mountains;

        -    The general policy for higher buildings described in the
             report is ambiguous and leaves room for loop holes.  In
             particular, the statement that taller buildings must be of
             architectural excellence is open to abuse, as architectural
             excellence is difficult to define and is subject to

        -    The current skyline, with its tall buildings, is more
             monotonous than it was 20 years ago;

        -    If Council favours landmark buildings, it should ensure that
             space in each of these landmark buildings is allocated for
             low-cost housing;

        -    This study should look at all of Vancouver, and not just the

        The following speakers expressed support for the recommendations in
   the Policy Report before Council:

        -    Peter Phillips
        -    Doug Williams, Downtown Vancouver Association
        -    Peter Busby

   The foregoing supported the recommendations on one or more of the
   following grounds:

        -    Staff should be complimented for the informative and
             professional manner in which this skyline study has been

        -    What is missing from the skyline is the visual drama that
             needs to be added to change this city s skyline from being
             just an interesting profile with numerous non-descript 35
             storey buildings, to being a truly spectacular one, with a few
             60 storey superior architecturally designed towers,
             strategically located around this core, which are respectful
             of all of the terms and conditions currently in place;

        -    The issue of view protection has been properly respected and
             addressed as existing view corridors will be protected;

        -    The recommendations in the staff report are a breath of fresh
             air to the development community because they represent a
             definitive move in another direction that will result in
             significant public benefits;

        -    The eloquent, powerful and well organized lobby from South
             False Creek/Fairview that attended the public information
             meetings does not represent the majority of Vancouverites;

        -    Approval of these policies with the opportunity to develop
             landmark towers will help stop the trend of businesses moving
             to the suburbs;

        -    Approval of these recommendations will foster heritage
             retention and green space.

        Two additional speakers addressed Council.  They were:

        -    Marc Venot
        -    Mark Hasselbach

        -    One speaker expressed support for the concept of landmark
             buildings which will withstand architectural review and
             suggested that Council give consideration to a forest option,
             which would see all slender buildings, which widen at the top,
             similar to a forest.

        -    One speaker advised that while growth and subsequent
             development is inevitable, wise, far-sighted planning and
             stringent guidelines regarding these buildings is of the
             utmost importance.  Ill-placed buildings cannot be removed,
             but conversely elegant and well designed structures which are
             well placed and infrequent will add to the City.


        The hearing of the public having concluded, Mayor Owen advised that
   a final decision on this matter would be made at an upcoming Regular
   meeting of Council, under Unfinished Business.


   MOVED by Cllr. Bellamy,
        THAT the Committee of the Whole rise and report.

                                      - CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY


   MOVED by Cllr. Bellamy,
   SECONDED by Cllr. Clarke,
        THAT the report of the Committee of the Whole be adopted.

                                      - CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

                                    * * * *

     The meetings on April 7 and April 22 both adjourned at approximately
   10:00 p.m.