Map of the proposed development site.

The original 2017 proposal for a substation at Lord Roberts Annex.

Public Consultation
Tuesday May 1
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Century Plaza Hotel (1050 Burrard)
No registration required

Small Group Discussion
Thursday, May 3
6 to 8 p.m.
Lord Roberts Annex (1150 Nelson)
Call 604.341.1304 or email to register.

Participate online at

Last year BC Hydro held public consultations on a proposed  underground substation at the Lord Roberts Annex property on Nelson Street. Several unanswered questions at the time prompted BC Hydro to withdraw the proposal for further study and evaluation of the options. This month BC Hydro and the Vancouver School Board are coming back to the community, promising some fresh ideas.

According the BC Hyrdo the aging electricity system in downtown Vancouver is in serious need of upgrades. A new substation in the West End would replace Dal Grauer Substation and ensure that customers in downtown Vancouver continue to have access to reliable power.

The traditional approach to developing new substations is to determine where they're needed, search for appropriate sites, and then build them above-ground. But downtown land is scarce and expensive, and over the past year, BC Hydro has explored all available options for a new substation in the West End, which would take up almost half a city block if it were built above-ground. Most suitable and available properties in the West End are currently being used for housing, which would need to be removed if purchased for a future West End Substation. "If the proposal at Lord Roberts Annex is approved", read the announcement from BC Hydro, "we'd be building underground, eliminating the need to purchase private property and potentially take away housing stock from the area, while also providing significant funding to the downtown Vancouver school community. 

"Any agreement would provide significant benefits to the community," stated a release from BC Hydro, "including funding to build a new Coal Harbour School sooner than expected, a new playing filed at the Lord Roberts Annex site, and space there for a full-sized elementary school after the substation is complete."

In response to the announcement West End / Coal Harbour MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert stated in a Facebook post: "If the project gets School Board approval I will be asking for a commitment that all funds from BCHydro stay in the West End. King George Secondary will need to be rebuilt soon, as the number of kids and families downtown continue to grow. And the impact of the construction of a new substation will be wholly felt by our community, so I think it makes sense that the money stays with us."

According to Spencer Chandra's post, if the project is not approved by the School Board, BC Hydro's plan is to purchase and demolish a condo, or rental building so it can build an above ground substation in the West End. 

There will be several opportunities for public input through the month of May, including the Open House and small group discussion noted above. Join the conversation!

Survey of Families In Apartments

Living in an apartment with kids? The city has some questions for you.

The City of Vancouver is seeking input from apartment-dwelling families with children in an effort to help plan for spaces that better meet their needs.

City planners are updating the High-Density Housing for Families and Children guidelines, and are looking for feedback from families who live or who have lived in apartments to better understand their current situations, needs, values, preferences and issues with the aim of producing guidelines to help create homes and buildings that are functional, sociable and inclusive.

The guidelines were first drafted more than 25 years ago and since then the housing market and how people live in the city has changed significantly.

“Today’s families face complex trade-offs between affordability, space and lifestyle,” a press release from the city stated. “Families are key to a growing economy and vibrant society. Having suitable housing choices is important for keeping families in Vancouver and attracting more families to live in the city.”

Households with children under 18 years of age can fill out the city’s online survey at

City staff will also be "popping up" at various locations in the West End and Downtown on Saturday, May 5 between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Specific locations were not available from City staff as recently as April 30, but we are told that information will be posted on City of Vancouver social media streams. You could email them at to request further information, or call 311 if you are prepared to spend a fair bit of time on-hold. 

The survey runs until May 22 and staff expects to complete updating the design guidelines in the fall.

Strawberry Festival.jpg

Tea For Two, But No Wine For You At Strawberry Festival

Last year the West End Seniors Network (WESN) conducted a survey to gauge public response to the idea of having alcoholic beverages available at their annual, very popular, Strawberry Festival. How did you feel about having a the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine with your strawberry shortcake? The survey included emails to WESN members, paper copies available at Barclay Manor and Kay's Place in Denman Mall, and Facebook and Twitter outreach. 

It was a three-way tie. One-third of respondents were all for having beer and wine available at the event, one-third were opposed, and one-third indicated that they didn't mind either way. 

The deciding factor in this less than definitive survey result was that only one-third of respondents indicated that they would be likely to buy an alcoholic beverage at the Festival, while nearly half said they were unlikely to do so.

While at least one survey participant suggested that strawberry beer would be a big hit, there was a strong feeling from many that alcohol could possibly spoil the family fun nature of the Festival.

 Since the whole idea of offering wine and beer was to provide another revenue stream for WESN, and the survey response strongly indicated that there wouldn't likely be much money made after all the expense and effort that would go into setting up for and offering alcohol, the final decision was easy to make. There will be no wine and beer at the 2018 Strawberry Festival this June 23.

A Park Board worker cleans up after the April 20 4/20 party in the park.

Sunset Beach May Be Closed Until Canada Day

Park Board workers continue to remediate the damage done April 20 when tens of thousands of pot smokers descended on Sunset Beach to protest, celebrate, and party. 

According to Park Board's original estimate, Sunset Park Field could be blocked off to the public for up to 10 weeks following Friday’s event, with a projected reopening in time for Canada Day. 

Organizers of the event did lay down mats across the field to reduce any potential damage to the grass, but Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon called the coverage on the ground “limited,” and while he admits that it helped, he also pointed out that water pooled underneath the mats. “And the rest of the field that was not covered has been torn up" he stated. "The 4/20 people did a select area and not even completely… where they put their cables and things. They didn’t put covering and those are the areas where the most damage is now.”

According to Mackinnon there considerable damage and the next step is to let the field dry out after recent rainfalls. “After that the field will have to be aerated, topped, dressed, seeded and then left to grow back.”

Got picnic plans? Try Second Beach.