Category: Correspondence


City Living Room project: March 11

Hello there,

I’m designing a new kind of mobile library for Vancouver parks and orphaned spaces and I need your help!

The City Living Room is a pilot project expected to launch late this summer in the West End. It’s about recreating the library as a “third place”, or a comfortable public place that fosters informal community interaction. The library collection will change according to community input and interest.

What would you like to see in your neighbourhood park?  Would you like a workshop on how to grow a vegetable garden? Or are you interested in string theory or motorcycles? Would you like workshops, community conversations, screenings?

Join the conversation at the Roundhouse Community Centre on Monday, March 11th from 6-8PM.

RSVP at:


Katie Mah

I’m a 4th year Emily Carr design student and this is my graduation project. Vancouver Public Library is prepared to supply materials and support. Supported by Vancouver Public Library, the West End Community Planning Team, and the Vancouver Foundation Small Neighbourhood Grant

Feel free to pass this on to whoever you think might be interested! 


Minister of Health responds to WERA about St. Paul’s

On October 25, 2012 the West End Residents Association wrote to the Minister of Health, the Hon. Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, in regard to the renewal of St. Paul’s Hospital.

st paulsYou can view WERA’s letter here.

WERA wrote the letter seeking clarification of the renewal process and asking questions about opportunities for stakeholder engagement in the process.


The Premier made a spending announcement at St. Paul’s Hospital on May 13, 2013, stating in very strong terms that Provincial Government supported the renewal of the hospital and that $500 million had been allocated for the project.  While the Premier’s statement was welcome news to St. Paul’s Hospital, which has been seeking to secure government funding for the renewal of the hospital since 2002, there was confusion around the process of the project.

The Minister’s response to WERA’s letter (published below), outlines a four part process reiterating what the Ministry of Health had posted on their website from June 20, 2012.

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WERA writes Minister, concerns for community engagement in St. Paul’s renewal

WERA has written to BC Minister for Health, the Hon. Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid asking for clarification of the Premier’s funding announcement for St. Paul’s Hospital in June.

Since 2002, WERA and other stakeholders have advocated with Providence Health Care in a cooperative manner to see this important health care asset redeveloped. 

WERA has been a vocal proponent of transparency and accountability to the stakeholders of the community around St. Paul’s Hospital.

WERA is advocating for a rigorous community engagement plan in the redevelopment of St. Paul’s Hospital. 

In our letter, WERA asks:

  1. At what stage is the business case for the redevelopment of St. Paul’s Hospital in the planning process?
  2. Has a project board been established for the redevelopment project and how much funding is being allocated to this process?
  3. What plans have been made to include community involvement in the planning process to ensure full accountability and transparent to stakeholders of St. Paul’s Hospital, and how much is being allocated to this process?
  4. What is the full amount being allocated for the redevelopment of the hospital including business case development, project board funding, community engagement process, design and construction?
  5. What are the estimated time frames for component process of the project?

We’ll keep you updated when we get a response. In the meantime, why not take our short 10-question survey?

WERA in the News: Courier updates on the Cactus Club story

WERA president Christine Ackerman was quoted in the Courier newspaper discussing the Cactus Club exit/bike lane issue (see WERA story here).

An excerpt:

From opening day on March 2, black vinyl ropes were often set up outside the restaurant directing patrons departing on foot straight into a busy two-way bike lane. But as of the past weekend, the ropes were relocated to contain customers to the pavement immediately in front of the restaurant and along the sidewalk parallel to the route used by cyclists. “We’re really happy to hear that. It looks like our letter has had some positive impact,” said Christine Ackermann with the West End Residents Association.

Do you rent in Vancouver?

We’re a group of West End renters interested in building a web site and undertaking related activities to provide information to BC renters.

In order to make sure the site meets a wide range of needs, we need input from apartment renters in Vancouver. So we’re holding a series of focus groups to present the ideas and get feedback on the proposed web site, its content and other potential services and activities.

Would you be interested in participating in one of these focus groups?


Seaside bike route disrupted by new bistro at English Bay

Congestion and conflict has significantly increased on the Seaside Bike Route since the Cactus Club English Bay Bistro opened. This is disappointing as pedestrians, cyclists and skaters have just endured 16 months of disruption during the construction of the Bistro.

The Bistro entrance furniture directs customers directly onto the Bike Route

The congestion and conflict are a result of a number of factors including:

  • The Cactus Club is directing their customers to line up and exit directly right onto the bike route instead of adjacent to the bike route. Customers are disoriented and often do not recognize they are crossing or walking on the bike route.
  • The loading zone for the Cactus Club is a pull-out from Beach Avenue that is being misused as a valet and passenger drop-off zone. This creates safety issues for both motorists and passengers that are dropped off.
  • Signage is poor and installed from the perspective of motorists. Signage needs to be installed from the perspective of pedestrians, cyclists and the Cactus Club customers that would include pavement treatment and signage.

The Cactus Club English Bay Bistro had clear direction from both the City and Park Board to mitigate any impacts to all users of the Seaside Bike Route. This direction included that the loading bay was not to be used for other purposes, in particular for a valet service.

Valet Parking in the loading zone and with sandwich board obstructing pedestrian area

The Development Permit Approval included a requirement for the Cactus Club to provide a Loading Management Plan that “should commit to use the approved loading so as to not impact traffic, pedestrians and cyclists and solely for it intended loading purpose” and that “the permit holder is to be responsible for all costs related to the installation of the lay-by and all costs related to any sidewalk and bikeway changes necessary for the lay-by installation.”

Why was a passenger zone sign installed when this was prohibited in the Development Permit Approval?


WERA suggests that the City direct the Cactus Club to honour the requirements associated with their Development Permit including:

  • Realign the Bistro Beach Avenue entrance furniture to channel customers along the side of the building instead of directly into the Bike Path
  • Cease using the loading bay for a valet service and to put out traffic cones during non-loading hours to prevent unauthorized passenger drop-offs.

The Park Board and City also needs to further review the signage to ensure it is directed at pedestrians and cyclists. In particular consideration should be given to pavement markings and signage that alert all users that this is a conflict zone. Current signage that designates the loading zone as a passenger zone should be removed to reflect the intention of the approved Development Permit.

The Seaside Bike route in the 1700 – 2000 blocks of Beach Ave will continue to be a source of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists with its current configuration. Perhaps an alternative solution might be to move the route onto the road as a separated two-way facility, but that is a different debate. The Cactus Club knew about the requirement to mitigate impacts to the Seaside Bike Route with the current configuration, including the intended use of the loading bay and they accepted these obligations. As such the Cactus Club should honour their obligations.

Read WERA’s letter to the City: English Bay Bistro – Park Board – May 2012

Also see Price Tags posting on this topic: Cactus Club bike path: More conflict by design



Komagata Maru Memorial – your feedback welcomed

The Vancouver park board is seeking public feedback on two proposed sites for the memorial to the 1914 event, which saw more than 300 passengers of South Asian descent denied entry to Canada due to a racist federal law.

Read the Dec.2nd Georgia Straight article here.

Email  received by WERA on Dec. 6th from Vancouver Park Board:

Stanley Park & Harbour Green Park Stakeholders:

The Vancouver Park Board is seeking public input with regards to the potential sites for a proposed commemorative monument to the Komagata Maru incident.

Please find attached memo for further information and send your comments to: (email)

2099 Beach Avenue, Vancouver BC V6G 1Z4 (mail)

by January 3, 2011.

download 2010-11 Komagata Maru flyer

WERA’s letter to Mayor and Council

July 8, 2010

Mayor Robertson and City Councillors
City of Vancouver

Dear Mayor Robertson and Councillors:

Re: Motion B.4 – Mayor’s West End Community Advisory Committee

WERA is writing to express its support for the West End Advisory Committee. As you may already be aware, WERA has held a number of community forums on visioning and other matters related to housing, development, affordability and livability.

From our consultations with West End residents it has become apparent that there is a real concern with what many termed “Yaletown creep”. Most residents feel the diversity of and human scale of the built forms in the West End contribute significantly to the overall livability of the neighbourhood. An increase in high-rise developments would add to the “fortress” feeling often used to describe Yaletown.

Furthermore, many residents are concerned that the development of new high-rises would result in the loss of housing affordability. Rising rents in the neighbourhood pose a real threat to the population diversity which is identified as a strong community value. Many residents raised concerns that increased density may not include provisions for affordability.

We would appreciate receiving further information on how this committee will work and in what capacity it will advise the Mayor. We are pleased to see the members appointed will represent a diversity of interests and needs in the community.

We hope this new committee will serve to have a closer connection to the community and improve neighbourhood consultation with respect to future development proposals in the West End.


Brent Granby,

WERA’s letter to Mayor and Council on Parking

23 March 2009

Mayor Gregor Roberson and Council
City of Vancouver
Third Floor, City Hall
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5Y 1V4

Subject: City Parking Regulations for New Developments

Dear Mayor and Council,

The West End Residents’ Association (WERA) is frustrated at the delay in the review of city parking regulations for new developments, in particular as it relates to the West End. WERA believes the existing parking regulations are a significant contributor to the high cost of housing and encourages car ownership, therefore working directly against the city sustainability objectives. WERA would like the City to consider maximum parking requirements instead of minimum parking requirements and to give developers the option to provide no parking.

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