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Local group of business owners calls Vancouver's new zoning changes a 'mistake'

Last Updated Mar 21, 2017 at 8:18 am PDT

(Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

Members of the tech industry have invited city planners to come to Vancouver's Railtown neighbourhood

A Railtown group of business owners want an amendment to the city's proposed zoning amendments

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A group of local tech companies and property owners in Railtown is trying to convince Vancouver city planners to reconsider zoning changes for their neighbourhood.

They say proposed zoning amendments are, “intended to recapture the neighbourhood’s industrial past,” but are ill-considered and putting the community’s future in jeopardy.

The area is currently home to a number of software manufacturing and live-work art studios.

Local business owner Steven Fast says the technology and creative industries have breathed new life into Railtown.

According to Fast, the city’s proposed changes would make it impossible for them to stay. “If there’s a reason that they’re doing it, they’re not saying it… and they’ve said that they’re not trying to kill tech, but that’s not what their policy speaks to.”

New zoning rules scheduled to go before city council in about a week will try to encourage more industrial manufacturing in the area. Fast adds it doesn’t fit the neighbourhood given how the buildings are set up. “It’s going to tear the guts out of what’s already a really interesting and unique little couple-block community… it’s been productive for this city.”

He points out new zoning would put a stop to any tech sector growth at a time when property taxes are doubling or even tripling.

The Railtown Group got city planners to tour the neighbourhood earlier this month and is hopeful they’ll see their plan is the wrong way to go.