April 14th, 2017 — Two large trees on city property next to a construction site at 34th Avenue and Carnarvon Street in Vancouver’s westside were cut down just before the Easter weekend. There’s no outside indication the trees were dead or diseased. According to city hall, however, the trees had become unstable and dangerous because of extreme root damage which occured during construction of the house in the background. The fine to the builder could be tens of thousands of dollars per tree but in a new five million dollar home that’s peanuts.
February 26th, 2017 — Construction fence in the 3800 block of West 26th Avenue in Vancouver.
October 31st 1973 — The Pacific Center tower on the north side of Georgia Street under construction photographed while doing a story on men washing windows on the TD Tower at Georgia and Granville Streets.
August 10th, 2015 — A house at King Edward and Carnarvon Street in Vancouver was demolished today in a matter of hours to make way for a new, bigger, and more expensive home that will take advantage of the view over downtown Vancouver and the mountains beyond. The debris from the house will by next week be HERE.
January 29, 2003 — Empty lot waiting to be developed in the 1100 block of Granville Street in Vancouver.
June 2nd, 2015 — House raised and moved to the rear of a lot on 5th Avenue near Maple Street while undergoing extensive renovations.
January 22nd, 2015 — Vancouver’s Continental Hotel at the north end of the Granville Street Bridge is being demolished for development. The last 86 people to live in the crumbling 1911 single room occupancy building were moved to a newer hotel last year.
November 18th, 2014 — Construction site on the north west corner of Drake Street at Howe in Vancouver soon to be a new high rise condominium.
June 5th, 2014 — Until a few months ago residents of Vancouver could remove one tree a year from their property. City council then passed a bylaw saying no tree can be cut without it being certified by an arborist as dead and then the tree has to be replaced with something similar.
All this came about because satellite mapping technology showed that the tree canopy in Vancouver had decreased significantly in the last 10 years. The blame for the decrease was put onto homeowners who were renovating or rebuilding on city lots and removing trees so they could build a bigger house. Vancouverites, however, love their trees and no one really complained about the new bylaw. I didn’t but I’m thinking maybe I should after driving by this development on Marine Way near Boundary Road. Twenty acres of trees gone for a housing development. There’s a sign saying they’ll plant a lot of trees as the development progresses but after 15,000 people are crammed into the area (this number from a sign on the property) how much room will be left?
So who caused the reduction in the tree canopy in Vancouver; homeowners or developers? Developments like this are not common in the city because most of the land already has housing on it but there was a similar situation at the University of British Columbia a few years ago where thousands of mature cedar, hemlock, and fir trees were cut for a condo development. They had a portable saw mill on site to handle the volume. You can see pictures of the UBC logging operation HERE.
Below is a picture from Google Maps showing what the area above looked like a few months ago and had looked like for at least the last 30 years.
May 29th, 2014 — This is the stuff that dreams are made of. The pile of wood and styrofoam dumped by the side of a dirt road is an architect’s scale model showing what a proposed development of 309 homes and condominiums with 75,000 square feet of commercial space in a self contained village would look like after it was built on 830 acres of land on Salt Spring Island’s Channel Ridge. I first photographed this development when the clear cutting began almost ten years ago. The plans were ambitious but the locals who had lived on the island most of their life thought it a folly. They turned out to be right. People don’t come to Salt Spring to live in a condo on a mountain with a view of a pulp mill. They come here to live as close to the sea as they can. The development ran into money troubles early which were compounded by the 2008 crash. It’s now bankrupt and offered for sale with the incentive of being useful as a “significant non-capital tax loss”. More pictures below.