Cheryl Chan in the Vancouver Sun  reports on the  Dunbar Ryerson United Church located in Kerrisdale that has  a bucolic setting in Kerrisdale. The land is currently zoned  for single family  housing and is a massive block and a half in size.  The church itself needs some major repairs and the congregation went to the City to change the zoning of its property along the east side of Yew Street beside West 45th Avenue from single family to a comprehensive development zone. After that change, Wall Financial would then develop an eight storey   forty unit condominium and scaled two and half level townhouses on that part of the site which now houses the church’s community centre and an income generating rental home.

Seeing that the church badly needed funding for a rejuvenation of their stone church’s roof  and for a siesmic upgrade, this made sense. It also would allow more housing choice for seniors aging out of their single family residences and for families trying to locate into Kerrisdale.  Reverend Debra Bowman stated Vancouver needs more housing and more density. “We need a stronger capacity for multiple generations to live in this neighbourhood.”

Well this did not go well with the residents in the surrounding single family homes. With an active “NO Ryerson Rezoning” campaign those folks think the project will attract traffic and parking, even though the location is close to good transit and shopping. A resident spokesperson who has lived in the area for 40 years states the classically expected line, that density is not needed in this location, and if it was just three or four stories, that would have been fine.

This is a block and a half of land in an old-established neighbourhood where something transformative could happen that could allow seniors to age in place and new families to transition in. The No Ryerson Rezoning group are saying that increased traffic on the 45th Avenue bikeway is  another reason not to allow 40 units of housing. These folks want that “gentle density” through more costly  to purchase laneway houses and infill, and  argue that three dwelling units-a basement suite, coach house and house can be built on one lot. At some point should we start looking at these rezoning opportunities as the potential to keep people in the community and have housing diversity?  How do you present change to the people in single family homes  in the neighbourhood with a single family lifestyle?  How can we embrace change and housing choice in these residential bastions?

City of Vancouver staff and church representatives are holding an open house Monday (today) from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday (February 27) at 2195 West 45th Avenue.