The housing stock in the Dunbar area of Vancouver has undergone significant change in the past five years. Originally a working class neighbourhood with many quite modest homes surrounded by lovely gardens, it is now a neighbourhood that 99% of the people working in Vancouver cannot afford because the replacement homes are built to the maximum footprint and cost millions. Greenspace has been reduced. Included on this website are photos of many (not all) of the disappeared houses.
View Teardowns in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, BC in a larger map

Demolitions West of the Dunbar Community Centre

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On My Way to the DRA AGM

In July, the house at 4445 Wallace Street was demolished. That block borders the west side of St. George's Junior School, and I continued to glance down the street when I would walk by on 29th Avenue because there are five houses of a modern design built in the 50's that I thought could be vulnerable for demolition. But in my carelessness, I missed that a second house, the house just north of 4445, had also been torn down. When I walked by last night on my way to the AGM of the Dunbar Residents' Association, I was surprised by this second demolition. The address is 4435 Wallace. According to the web, it was for sale for $2.188 million at some point, $450,000 over the assessment. I regret not having a photo, but I remember it as one of those typical 50's one storey houses, like its neighbour at 4445 and like the originals between Crown and Camosun and 27th and 31st Avenues. Oddly, the land assessment is $200,000 lower than the other 50-foot lots on the block, perhaps due to "sewer easement in back yard" mentioned in one of the for-sale ads.

PS of November 2014: a reader of this blog sent me some Google Street Views of 2009 of both 4435 and 4445. Here they are, both typical bungalows:

The DRA meeting included an interesting Q and A session with politicians. Written questions submitted beforehand included 
  • How to retain heritage homes in Dunbar
  • The problem of vacant properties
  • Lost green space (needed for the welfare of children among other things) due to larger homes replacing smaller ones
  • Saving character homes
  • Providing housing for seniors to age in place 
No one argued with Adrienne Carr's statement that the greenest house is the one that is already there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Another Disappearance

Often when a house is demolished, trees and other mature landscape plants are removed. The City requires that the trees be replaced, and adding new plantings to the landscape is required. However, the soil is usually nearly totally disturbed by the demolition and construction process. Does that cause anything  to disappear? Right now we are having quirky weather, extra warm for this time of year, leading to the growth of many kinds of mushrooms. Here are two of a group of four that appeared in my front garden this past week near my 1938 house. I also saw a crop of them today near a 1950's house two blocks away.

I am not a botanist, but I doubt that these mushrooms will grow near a newly-constructed house. Unlike the requirement for trees, no one thinks about replacing the soil so there are favorable conditions for mushrooms. I wonder how many other native species, both plants and animals, cease to thrive near new construction. Appearing along with the native vegetation are specific insects and animals. There's at least one animal that likes to take small bites from "my" red mushrooms!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Across From St. George's Junior School

This one was a surprise for me because I never noticed that it was for sale. Suddenly, I saw the protective fencing appear, and luckily I took this photo on Sunday, September 28, 2014 because the house was demolished sometime during the following week.
The house was built in 1938 on a 33x130 lot, and the 2014 assessment was just over $1.5 million. Since there was no for sale information that I could find, perhaps this is a family's project. Not absolutely every demolition can be assumed to be by developers or for investment purposes. I've come across at least two so far, and there could be more because remodeling an existing house is often more problematic than starting over, due to complex city regulations.