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Polygon shifts park plans in Richmond development

A developer of 1,200 units in Capstan will consider saving mature trees on the property.
Sharon MacGougan (forefront) and Yvonne Bell are advocating to preserve more than a hundred mature trees at a Capstan development. Photo by Maria Rantanen

After a public hearing on a residential property development in Capstan, the developer, Polygon, is considering retaining more natural landscaping on the property.

When the rezoning application for Polygon development at Garden City and Cambie roads — which will eventually have more than 1,200 residential units — came to council for the public hearing in late October, council sent it back to staff to look at the trees, review the proposed park location and possibly increase the number of rental units.

Polygon is in the process of working to shift the location of a previously planned park in the centre of the development in order to save “a good portion” of the trees, said Neil Chrystal, president of the development company.

The original plan was to raze the properties, including 154 mature trees, to make way for the development — the developer would have to provide funds to compensate for the loss of the trees on this property.

The original park plan was for a more active park, Chrystal explained, but the new idea, of creating it where the mature trees are situated, would be a more natural landscaped park.

A group of Richmond residents is advocating to preserve the northeast corner of the property where the mature trees are located, saying they provide habitat for owls, hawks and other birds.

Sharon MacGougan, president of the Garden City Conservation Society, is one Richmond resident advocating to save the forested area.

But for MacGougan, the main goal is to save the trees and natural habitat.

“We want to be part of the solution to bring our birds back… and integrate our life with natural life,” she said, referring to the fact that birds are in decline worldwide.

The property is designated for density in the Official Community Plan and there are dense residential developments to the north and west of the property.

Richmond has been transforming from a suburban to an urban city for many years, Chrystal pointed out.

“This is just one more community where it’s disruptive... we’d like to think we’re working with the community to come up with the best plan,” he added.

Polygon hopes to submit its new plans before the end of the year, Chrystal said.