Southlands Voice

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

We were advised by bulk email, just after 2:30 today, that the City has postponed the Public Hearing tomorrow. Heres a copy of the Citys Notice to Registered Speakers:

Please note that staff have removed Item #3, 1920 Southwest Marine Drive (Casa Mia), from the Public Hearing agenda on March 13, 2014. Staff and the applicant were unable to finalize the legal agreement securing heritage in time for the Public Hearing.  A new date for the Public Hearing will be scheduled once the agreement is finalized.

We are shocked to learn of this indefinite postponement; particularly after the City and developer argued in Court just yesterday against any delay in this review to accommodate the Southlands Community Associations Injunction hearing.  This is yet another example of the haphazard and inconsistent approach the City and developer have taken to this spot rezoning proposal which is simply too big and in the wrong place.

While we hope the City will take this opportunity for serious and genuine second thought, we cannot assume this fight is over. 

We see no indication in the Citys last-minute email that they will be looking at the numerous and very serious issues we raised about inconsistency with Policies and Plans, the flawed and dismissive process, the reckless precedent this sets, and the Citys own Seniors Advisory Committees lack of support for the facility-which the Committee refers to as warehousing for seniors. Their disrespectful, 11th hour cancellation also exemplifies an ongoing lack of respect for our community .  We know that many of you planned time off work, changed schedules multiple times due to the confusion created by time changes and misleading information about dates.

The last two weeks have shown that our collective community voice can make a difference. Thank you for stepping up and for your sincere effort.  Thanks to many of you, the City has received more than 200 letters opposing this wrongful proposal.

We will continue to do everything we can to ensure your voice is heard by Council. We will keep you updated, and will let you know how you can continue to support our community.

We are committed to seeing this through-and we ask you to continue to stand with us.  Thank you again.


David, Sheryl, Joe & Naudia


March 11, 2014

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Our Injunction was adjourned – Public Hearing will proceed on Mar. 13

We are disappointed that the Judge felt he had no choice but to adjourn the injunction hearing this morning without hearing the merits of our case because the developer just returned from vacation in Mexico and had not retained legal counsel. We appreciate that the Judge found our submission clear and concise and are again disappointed that the City and developer were not prepared to discuss or address the flaws in their process or application.  We agree with the Citys own Seniors Advisory Committee that this application is simply too big and in the wrong place and will now turn our attention to preparing for Thursday’s Public Hearing.

The review process has been flawed and the application itself contradicts Council-approved policies, plans and guidelines; will create traffic and parking issues on local streets; does not have safe or adequate infrastructure for staff and visitors; and sets a dangerous precedent for other heritage homes.


Public Hearing Thursday March 13, noon

This is our last chance to stop this spot rezoning!  Please:

WRITE  a letter to City Hall.  Use our FORM letter here.

SPEAK at the public hearing. Call 604-829-4238 or email

JOIN US at the public hearing. Email for a ride.

In the News:  Seniors Advisory opposes Casa Mia proposal

Southlands Community Association has learned that the Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee – a committee that advises the mayor and council on issues affecting older adults in Vancouver – opposes the rezoning of Casa Mia.

Their website says “we have a major reservation about this redevelopment. We are opposed to the development of any new institutions, which by their very size and nature tend to ‘warehouse’ people.

Thank you, and please help us fight this flawed spot rezoning.



David, Sheryl, Joe & Naudia


January 7, 2014

We hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and all Vancouver has to offer at this special time of year.  We wanted to update you on three important issues the Southlands Community Association is following as we all start a new year.  We’ll start with the most urgent and precedent-setting threat first:


Casa Mia Rezoning Application

The Urban Design Panel advises City Council and staff about development proposals; they do not approve or refuse projects or make policy decisions. In late December, the Urban Design Panel met to review the revised application for 1920 SW Marine Drive, after having declined the previous scheme in May 2013.  This time, the panel voted 6 to 3 in support of the application, with supporters attributing their vote to the technical issue of density compliance.  There was little support from all panel members for the architecture and landscaping proposed.  The three panelists who did not support the proposal, and the Chair, expressed ongoing serious concern about the overall context of the proposal in relation to the neighbourhood and street. Panelists also cited more negative comments about the architecture and design than on the previous proposal.

This unfortunate decision makes it even more important that residents speak up about our concerns about the inappropriateness of this large-scale hospital-like facility in our single-family community, the precedent-setting threat this presents to other significant heritage homes along SW Marine Drive, its contradiction with mutually agreed policies and guidelines and the City’s rushed and dismissive process around this application.

We are very concerned that this will now proceed to a Public Hearing without considering our valid and significant concerns.

Click here to access an easy tool to help you email Mayor and Council right now to voice your opposition.


Southlands Trails Project Update

Just before the holidays, the City sent a letter to local residents providing an update on the Trails Project.  The City is planning construction of a network of roadside and trails to connect equestrian destinations (stables, riding club, riverfront, etc.) as well as “around-the-block” riding circuits for both pedestrian and equestrian use.  A copy of the letter, which includes a map of existing and recommended trails and cross-section diagrams showing trail width and scale relative to adjacent roads is available here.

Please share your thoughts, if any, on this proposal and we will work with other local groups to ensure our community’s voice is heard at City Hall.


Wilmar Estate, 2050 SW Marine Drive

We’ve also been seeking an update on the status of the development application for the Wilmar Estate for some time.  We’ve learned that the property has been sold; the City advised us that the applicant has informed them the development will not proceed.  The permit will remain open, however, until it is withdrawn by the applicant or until the Director of Planning concludes that it has been open for too long to be viable. We will continue to follow this and to try to find out the new owner’s plans for the property and any potential impact on our Southlands community.

We will continue to keep you informed about these and other issues affecting our community.  If you have anything you’d like to share with us, please email us at







Sept. 13, 2013

Dear Neighbour

In our last Southlands Voice, we promised to update you on our recent communication with the City of Vancouver about the ongoing threat to our single-family residence zoning here in Southlands.

The proposed rezoning of 1920 SW Marine Drive from single-family residential to CD-1 comprehensive development poses a threat to all single-family properties on SW Marine Drive and neighbouring communities. Such a change in zoning would be precedent-setting and could have a ruinous impact on the livability, character and culture of our neighbourhoods.

CD1 is lot specific zoning which allows the developer and the City to negotiate specific density, height, street setbacks, parking, etc. which is typically not consistent with our agreed plans and guidelines. Shannon Mews at Granville & 57th Avenue is one example; and the new Safeway re-development at Granville & 70th Avenue is another. A specific detail about these two CD-1 developments is available here. A fuller list of CD-1 rezonings is available here.

The City’s recent letter to the developer does not go far enough to comply with current zoning and guidelines mutually agreed upon by Council and residents. They do not respond to the overwhelming concerns that hundreds in our community expressed about this precedent-setting application through letters, emails and other outreach or the concerns expressed by the Urban Design Panel.

We have twice asked the City for more information and to help us understand their rationale for such a precedent, but were dismissed. (We have shared all correspondence between the Southlands Community Association and the City here, and encourage you to review it.)

We believe our community should have a real voice in what happens here in Southlands. We believe the City of Vancouver should respect our opinions, address our concerns and honour our Council approved neighbourhood plan, Southlands Policies and Guidelines.

If you agree, please share your concerns with staff and our representatives at City Hall now – before it’s too late. Here’s how:

  • Write a letter to the City of Vancouver stating your view on rezoning properties in our single-family neighbourhood to comprehensive development zoning (CD-1). Be sure to include your name, address and contact information. We have prepared a sample letter for you, to make it simple and easy for you. Click here to write a letter.
  • Get involved – forward this email to friends and neighbours; contact SCA to help spread the word.
  • Connect with us – share your stories about our neighbourhood, photos or blog on our website and follow us on social media.

Southlands Country Fair, September 15 from 10 am 4 pm

The Southlands Community Association will be participating in the Southlands Country Fair.  We’ll have a table with Southlands tattoos, fresh fall apples and information on our activities.  The fair has activities for all ages, all day long. Shopping, learning, petting animals, riding ponies, playing games, and watching horses and riders perform…you will be entertained from the moment you enter the gates.  For more information visit our events page or the fair’s own page.

We hope to see you there!

We’ll be in touch again very soon with more information on our ongoing activities to protect and preserve the character and culture of our Southlands Vancouver neighbourhood.  In the meantime, please let us know what you think about our new website.


Sept. 6, 2013

Dear friends and neighbours – we hope you had a fabulous summer and are gently easing back into your daily routines.

While we’ve been enjoying the sunshine, trees and gardens here in Southlands, your community association has also had a productive summer.  We’ll be telling you more about our work with the City very soon but, in the meantime, we wanted to share our brand new website.  With your help, will give our community a voice and nurture our unique community culture.

We encourage you to check it out and help make our website a success by:

  • Listing community and local events (that we’ll post here)
  • Writing a guest blog on an important aspect of life here in Southlands – or sharing a link to a third-party story
  • Share your favourite Southlands photos in Southlands Musings
  • Sign-up for email updates here or register for RSS updates
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Southlands Country Fair, September 14 from 10 am 4 pm

The Southlands Community Association will be participating in the Southlands Country Fair.  We’ll have a table with Southlands tattoos, fresh fall apples and information on our activities.  The fair has activities for all ages, all day long. Shopping, learning, petting animals, riding ponies, playing games, and watching horses and riders perform…you will be entertained from the moment you enter the gates.  For more information visit our events page or the fair’s own page.

We hope to see you there!

We’ll be in touch again very soon with more information on our ongoing activities to protect and preserve the character and culture of our Southlands Vancouver neighbourhood.  In the meantime, please let us know what you think about our new website.


July 26, 2013

Dear Neighbour,

We hope you’re enjoying the fabulous sunny weather and all the sights, sounds and activities of summer in Vancouver.

While we don’t want to interrupt your summer, we wanted to provide an update on the Southlands Community Association’s ongoing work to preserve our community and make sure it remains a great place to live and play.

We met with City staff in mid-June to follow-up on their ongoing review of the rezoning application for 1920 Southwest Marine Drive. We remain very concerned about this application.

We have learned that Planning and Development Services sent a letter to the applicant on June 10 summarizing their preliminary assessment of the application for a large 99-bed care facility, following the City’s Urban Design Panel and Heritage Commission reviews which were not supportive of the application, and “overwhelming community response” indicating that the neighbourhood does not support the application as proposed. The City’s letter of June 10 recommends extensive revisions. In summary, the City has asked the applicant to revise the proposal to 62 care beds and:

  • Retain and re-purpose the heritage garage with a minimal connection of a new building to the heritage building at the first and second storeys;
  • Limit the height of any addition or new building to two storeys;
  • Preserve the rear yard setbacks without additional new buildings or structures in that location;
  • Off set the underground garage structure from the west property line to protect the existing cedar hedge and to provide for their future replacement;
  • Limit the proposed overall (total) density to no more than 0.7 FSR.
  • Our collective voice on this proposal has had some impact on the City’s, but it is your community association’s conclusion that the City’s recommendations outlined do not go far enough in complying with the current zoning and guidelines or in responding to your concerns.

These amendments would still exceed the current zoning and guidelines and would result in significant traffic, noise and aesthetic disruption to our single-family neighbourhood. Simply put, this is not the right location for a large, obtrusive care facility and we feel neither the applicant nor the City are acknowledging or respecting the community’s completely valid and clearly stated concerns.

We subsequently requested that City staff explain the rationale behind their surprisingly specific recommendations to the applicant, but the response we received was not forthcoming. We are currently reiterating our request and related concerns in a subsequent letter.

The Southlands Community Association will continue to present our collective concerns about this ongoing threat, and to advocate for the protection of our community. We will also continue to provide you with more information as and when it becomes available and thank you, again, for your ongoing support.

We thank everyone who took the time to call, email or write the City to express your views, interests and concerns about this very aggressive rezoning application. We believe we are, together, making small but important progress and we will continue to ask you to get involved and have a voice at City Hall on behalf of our community.

If you know of anyone else who wants a voice in this, and who would like to receive these updates, please feel free to forward this along, or join us here.

Thank you,

Southlands Community Association