History of view protection
In 1978 and 1979 the City conducted two surveys to capture the public's goals for Vancouver. In the surveys, residents identified their highest priorities including preserving the views of the shoreline, the downtown skyline and the North Shore.
In the late 1980s, the City began plans to develop in the south side of downtown and along the north shore of False Creek. It was possible that - without a structured approach to building height limits and location - views of the downtown, the mountains and the False Creek waters could be blocked by buildings.
In 1988, the City began the Vancouver Views study to better understand the public's perspective. The study resulted in a proposed view protection policy and established the City's protected view corridors.
View protection guidelines
In 1989 the City of Vancouver approved the View Protection Guidelines containing 26 protected view corridors. The policy protects the view of the north shore mountains, the downtown skyline and False Creek from a number of public view points along the south shore of False Creek, arterial roadways, and from the Granville and Cambie bridges.
Since then, a number of new buildings have been added to the downtown skyline. The protected view corridors help determine the site location and design of buildings, resulting in the retention of panoramic and narrow views downtown.
Benefit capacity is additional density - approved by Council through a rezoning - that the City also gets public benefits from.
Public benefits are amenities a city needs like day care facilities, affordable housing, parks, cultural facilities, and historic building restoration.
The need to assess benefit capacity was highlighted in July 2007, leading to the Metro Core jobs and economy study and the Heritage Building rehabilitation program and transfer of density bank report. These reports showed a short term supply of benefit capacity in the downtown official development plan area. There was approximately 3 million square feet of benefit capacity available.
Downtown capacity and view corridor study
Based on this information, City Council requested a study to identify longer term development capacity in the downtown.
The study reviewed existing height limits and view corridors looking for places to add new development capacity. View corridors ensure that mountain views are not blocked by buildings.