Heritage Vancouver has released this year’s Top 10 Watch List, their 16th annual list that accompanied a bus tour this past weekend. This year they are seeing particular threats to neighbourhoods’ character, culture and history. They range from a loss of individual architecturally significant homes to single-family neighbourhoods, to the potential loss of entire communities along with those community nodes that hold them together.
Chinatown, False Creek, “The Drive” and areas of the Downtown East Side are all present on this year’s list. Each represents a unique piece of Vancouver’s history and remains the heart of distinct cultural communities, yet all are also facing the same threat: development pressure.
Schools continue to be threatened as several have just been demolished in the last few months — Sir Sandford Fleming has just been announced. Churches as well continue to grapple with declining congregations and revenues, and increasing land values. As the churches are sold for redevelopment, Vancouver loses crucial community gathering space.
Heritage Vancouver Top 10 Watch List for 2016
1. Bayview Community School (1913-14) – Heritage Schools
2. Crown Life Plaza (1978) – Recent Landmarks
4. Salvation Army Temple (1950) – Community Gathering Places
5. St. Stephen’s United Church (1964)
6. Red Light District of Alexander Street
7. Commercial Drive – Our Main Streets
8. Townley & Matheson homes – Demolition Derby
9. Vancouver College (1924, 1927, 1957)
10. False Creek South – The ideal planning community
Heritage Vancouver reports that it’s not all grim news. In 2015, the City of Vancouver introduced the Heritage Conservation Area policy tool, with the first HCA established in First Shaughnessy. We look forward to the selective use of this tool to manage threatened neighbourhoods well into the future.
2016 will see the continuation and implementation of the Heritage Action Plan, including Heritage Register and Building Code updates as well as recommendations to address the neighbourhood character crisis. There are many ways to participate in this ongoing process and Heritage Vancouver looks forward to seeing community members at their community engagement tours, lectures and events in support of Vancouver’s heritage. Follow Heritage Vancouver on Facebook for the latest news.