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If the intention of the city’s “character home” policy introduced last June was to somehow protect these older buildings by slowing or even preventing their demolition, it appears to have been an abysmal failure.
There was a demolition moratorium in one section of Shaughnessy. But for the rest of Vancouver, the city offered density bonuses for owners who chose to renovate rather than remove pre-1940 character homes. Builders were also offered a break if they chose to “deconstruct” those houses and recycle the building materials rather than shredding them.
Neither option appears to have made much of a difference. If anything, the speed of demolitions has accelerated. In the first four months of this year the city issued 342 demolition permits. That is an increase of 20 per cent over 2014.
The city may take some pleasure in noting that no marijuana distribution outlet exists within 300 metres of my corner of Kits. But within a city block or so, I can count at least a half dozen “fences of doom.” Those are the orange plastic fences put up to protect any trees lucky enough to be outside the new building footprint while destruction of the old house and construction of the new one takes place. […]