Council approves new transit-oriented development in Mt. Pleasant, with major changes on design

April 17, 2012 | Arts and Culture

City Council today approved a new 241 unit development at Kingsway and East Broadway, which will see $4.5 million invested in Mt Pleasant for arts and culture, as well as $1.75 million for affordable housing in Mt Pleasant.

Following several nights of public hearings on the project, Mayor Robertson and council directed staff to make several changes to the development based on concerns from the public about the size and shape of the building. Prior to a development permit being issued, the building applicant must work with staff to:

  •  Reduce the size of the front of the building on Broadway;
  •  Improve the pedestrian experience on Broadway in front of the building;
  •  Create smaller scale and expression on all facades.

Mayor Robertson, in his comments to city council today, laid out three reasons why he was supporting the project:

  • It fits with the Mt Pleasant Community Plan: the location of this development is at Kingsway and East Broadway, which is one of just three sites identified by the community plan for a taller building. It doesn’t set a precedent for the rest of the neighbourhood in terms of height or density.

The Mt Pleasant Community Plan was developed over two years starting in the summer of 2008, and was approved by city council in November 2010. You can read it here:

  • It supports transit-oriented development: Building taller buildings with higher density at transit hubs is a key part of how we build a greener city. Main and Broadway is a future location for rapid transit out to UBC, and it makes sense to build a taller building at this location.

On east tenth, one of the busiest bike routes in the City, car traffic will be reduced by converting the street to one way, and installing a separated bike lane. As well, the ground-level retail in the development is to be a large food co-op.

  • It secures major investment in the arts and affordable housing. By building a taller building at one of three designated sites in Mt Pleasant, the City gets the following community amenity contributions:
    • $4.5 million in money for community-based arts in Mt Pleasant
    • $1.75 million for affordable housing in Mt Pleasant

It’s important to remember that under the current zoning, the developer could build a 150 foot building, with no amenities – no money for arts, no funding for affordable housing – without having to come to city council.

Instead, with the project passed by council today, the city gets a major housing development that supports transit, invests $4.5 million for arts and $1.75 million for affordable housing in Mt Pleasant, and allows City Council to give direction over the size and form of the building.