West Kitsilano Residents' Association

Our Community, Our City

Our History

Our organization was created as a registered non-profit society in 1989.

Our first major effort was during a Local Area Planning process to assist the City in amending the RT by-law for our area so that it would encourage retention of our character houses and streetscapes. Until the new by-law was adopted in 1995, demolition and redevelopment was resulting in the loss of many of our heritage houses, the loss of the character of our streetscapes, the loss of rental accommodation and the loss of green space and sunlight in backyards. Faced with rapid and unwelcome change, hundreds of residents joined together to support changes in the by-law. The current by-law distinguishes between sites where compatible new development is appropriate and those where renovation and re-use of the house is strongly encouraged.

In the last several years, we have:

  • Worked to save Broadway’s street trees
  • Help to stop big box stores on Broadway
  • Advocated for the retention and seismic upgrading of our heritage schools, including General Gordon Elementary and Kitsilano Secondary
  • Advocated for the City to conduct more thorough public consultation on proposed changes to the Point Grey Road/Cornwall corridor
  • Reviewed and provided the city with comments on many development and rezoning applications.

We have been successful in some of our efforts (such as amending the RT by-law and saving the street trees on Broadway) and have had ongoing input into individual development applications and rezonings that have sometimes, but not always, resulted in improvements in neighbourliness and design. However, we have also sometimes had little impact on outcomes.

One of the most disappointing outcomes has been with respect to General Gordon School. At the moment, after years of work by Kitsilano community members, including the WKRA, this 100 year old school and the “little yellow school house” on the south-east corner of the school grounds are slated by the Vancouver School Board for total demolition. We continue to actively push for the retention of at least the “little yellow school house” that is such a good example of the frame construction of its time and has been an integral part of the school that has played such a pivotal role in our community for more than 100 years.

Several WKRA members were very active in the struggle to keep Point Grey Road open to through traffic and, like many West Kitsilano residents, were extremely discouraged by the City’s decision to ignore the enormous numbers of people who opposed this proposal. City Council made a decision to proceed with the road closure and other aspects of the Point Grey Road/Cornwall transportation corridor plan, closing PGR on January 18. 2014. However, the WKRA will continue to closely monitor the situation.

One comment on “Our History

  1. radha bello
    April 21, 2014

    My husband and I are happy to be living in this city with so many community outlets for discussion and feedback.

    We are incredibly pleased with the on-going development of the pt grey rd greenway and watch the public begin to discover this lovely quiet throughway to the parks.
    Lately I’ve seen more children and accompanying adults using the playground in the Hastings Mill park. The playground is very dated and in bad shape and it would be great if we could figure out a way to update and make it a destination for everyone.
    Any suggestions?

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