In 2013, City Council passed this:

This community plan was a response to objections over the development of a few highrises (particularly the ones at Comox and Broughton, and at Bidwell and Davie) under a rental incentive program.  Opponents objected to the spot rezonings without the context of a community plan.  So they got one.

And they very likely got way more than they expected:

It is estimated that over the next 30 years, the West End will experience a population growth of 7,000 to 10,000 residents. While growth will happen incrementally, it is anticipated that approximately half of this growth might occur in the first 10 years …

Growth was cleverly accommodated on the edges, notably along the Alberni corridor and between Thurlow and Burrard, to allow highrises of a scale not seen before (over 50 storeys!). But the centre and slopes of the West End would essentially keep their scale and character, with allowances for infill.

One area, however, within the ‘traditional’ West End centre would be transformed – the so-called Lower Davie blocks between Jervis and Denman.  It was considered a ‘corridor,’ not a village, like the blocks uphill to the east – the centre of gay life in the community.  Indeed, the planners wanted to keep dense residential development out of that area in order to avoid night-life conflicts.  And so the development was shifted to ‘Davie West,’ effectively creating a new village with a new identity.

This is a plan for the next 30 years.  Except it’s likely going to be built out in the next 15.  And the first area to go through the fastest transportation is Davie West – now under construction on a scale not seen in the West End since the 1960s.

A rental highrise on what used to be a parking lot in the 1600 block


The single biggest change is across the street, on a full half-block where the Safeway used to be …


And which is now a very large hole: