Residents wary of dark side to plan
Residents of Westminster Landing Co-op are afraid of being left in the dark if a proposed Quayside development proceeds.
Bosa Properties has gone to the city with plans for two 26-storey towers on top of a seven-storey podium to be built on the parking lot adjacent to the Inn at the Quay and the Westminster Savings building. Six of the podium’s floors would be above ground and would accommodate parking, 48 rental units, townhouses and commercial space.
Gildo Aviso’s unit faces the property with a clear view down Quayside Drive and beyond. But not if this project goes ahead.
“You’ll be facing a wall,” said Aviso. “It’s not a livable space.”
Co-op resident Ken Wilkinson is most concerned for Aviso and his neighbours.
“That’s where they get their sunshine from.”
But he also shakes his head at how the podium would loom over their buildings and the River Market on the other side.
“It’s going to have a major effect on our complex with that tower of parking,” said Wilkinson. “My goodness that is really going to intrude upon the space, and really be quite invasive upon their light. As well, it’s really going to have an effect on the landscape of the Quay because there’s no example of that on the waterfront. [The current development] was so nicely done, it was so nicely stepped up, you don’t really notice that it’s above ground.”
In his opinion, the plans are too much like the above-ground parking and commercial space directly across the railway tracks from Quayside Drive, part of the New Westminster SkyTrain station.
“This is really using the Plaza 88 model,” said Wilkinson. “[Y]ou look at Plaza 88 and how intrusive it is. It would be reasonable to put something that was more in keeping with the waterfront example that is already here and has been here for 30 years.”
On Monday, city council got its first look at the proposal from Bosa.
It calls for 368 one-bedroom units of 526 to 646 sq. ft., and 220 two-bedrooms ranging from 758 to 857 sq. ft.
“There’s not a lot of how this interfaces with the little townhouse co-op next door,” said Coun. Jonathan Coté on Monday.
City planner Bev Grieve told him the west end of the podium would have townhouses to create a transition to the co-op, but added they are still working with the project’s designers to seek more detail on how the development would blend with its surroundings.
Council voted to allow the planning department to continue discussions with Bosa on its podium concerns—including the amount of parking being made available—as well as the proposed pedestrian connection from the waterfront to the McInnes Overpass.
“The quality of the pedestrian linkage has to be good enough to make it as appealing as possible for people to enter and not be concerned about safety,” said planner Barry Waitt.
In addition, Coun. Chuck Puchmayr wondered what effect the proposal would have on the financial viability of the River Market, and lamented the lack of three-bedroom units, which he said would support the city’s family-oriented Downtown focus.
“I would like to see more livable space.”
Mayor Wayne Wright, a Quayside resident, said he’s heard nothing but positive reaction to the proposal.
“We’ve been looking to have something in this piece of property for some time. The River Market needs people during the week … the more people we can bring there the better,” said Wright.
“The project in itself is quite exciting, especially for the people living down there.”