Letter to Mayor and Council re Yates Centre – Development Permit Variance/Heritage Alteration Permit
18 May 2022
Dear Mayor Helps and Council, The DRA LUC understands that the City is considering a Heritage Alteration Permit to install a new fence and gate at 836 Yates Street. The proposal requires a variance to the height of the fence. The DRA LUC has reviewed the applicant’s plans dated April 26, 2022 (noted as received by the city April 28, 2022) and letter to Development Services that are posted on the Development Tracker and we are providing the following feedback.
It is noted that the revised plans have reduced the height and location of the fence and gate to comply with Bylaw No. 93-112. Furthermore, it is noted that the applicant has indicated willingness to ensure the gate remains open for the hours of 7am to 10pm as a through-block pedestrian connection. In a previous submission for a gate and fence at this property, the lack of a public through-block access, and its importance within the framework of the Downtown Core Area Plan (DCAP) design guidelines, was noted as deficient in the application. This specific route is identified as a “Key Pedestrian Connection” in the Pedestrian Network. As such the General Design Criteria of Through-Block Walkways should apply, and the following should be secured or achieved:
- Year round public access
- A schedule of regular maintenance
- Maintenance of direct public access from adjacent commercial uses
- Minimum width of 5m clear
- A clear lighting plan to ensure functionality (lighting is currently not indicated on the plan)
- Architectural design and expression to indicate the through-block walkway is part of the roadway
The last note, integrating the through-block walkway as part of the roadway, is of particular concern due to the current condition and the proposed gate location on the Yates St frontage. Originally it was intended that the through-block walkway would be an integrated between the two properties and the gates at the same location. However, with the gates offset from each
other, and the current site condition of a rockwall separating the two properties, the through- block walk way instead appears to be two private entrances. To meet the DCAP design guidelines the fence and gate on the Yates St frontage should match the neighbouring property and better integration should be pursued, including removing the rockwall if necessary.
The developers of both properties made commitments to provide this small but significant public amenity and the community expects the City to ensure that it is fully executed and upheld as proposed.
Sincerely, Jordan Royer Co-Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association
Click below to download and read the full submission with photos of the gate.