Mountain Views Trump the Needs of Health Care – St. Paul’s Hospital to Become Vancouver’s Newest Table Top (New SPH)

As Darren was born in the Lower Mainland, he is used to some of Vancouver’s more quirky planning policies, which continue to fascinate me. Some feel designed for a city very different from the one we live in today. As many of them originate from the 1980s, we can only assume that, at one point, it made sense to prohibit buildings from casting shadows onto sidewalks, or to ensure views of the North Shore Mountains were maintained from the middle of our city’s busiest roads.

Those strict guidelines were relaxed last year, as allowing the provincial government room to build rental housing was felt to be worth the slight impacts to the view cones originating from two intersections on Cambie Street. So, I am puzzled why the future growth and expansion of one of our province’s most important hospitals does not qualify for a similar relaxation.

Approved in 1989, View Cone 22 feels like it was meant only for those brave enough to stand in the middle of the intersection at Main and 6th Avenue. While its western half was eliminated in 2011, the eastern half remains. As a result, the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus will be forced to pay homage to Vancouver’s former table top skyline, restricting its height, and limiting its phase three growth to bulking out at the expense of the public realm.

Read the full story here.