COPE Candidates Call for Preservation of Avalon LandsFor Immediate Release: October 8, 2011

With a rich 100-year history, the original location of Avalon dairy, BC’s oldest functioning dairy, was sold last week. Although it is still unclear what the land will be used for, it was advertised in Colliers Itl. as a “prime redevelopment opportunity”, a notion concerning the local community.

COPE City Council candidate, RJ Aquino, School Board candidate, Allan Wong, and Park Board candidate, Donalda Greenwell-Baker, have no intention of sitting back and watching: “We will do everything possible to make sure that this historic agricultural land retains its integrity and doesn’t succumb to the high-density condominium development that so characterizes many newly developed Vancouver areas,” said Aquino.

COPE is calling for this historic piece of land to be awarded heritage status. While the original turn of the century house that sits on the land is already designated as a class ‘A’ Heritage building, COPE is pushing for that designation to be extended to include all 1.26 acres of the land that the dairy sits on.

“This land plays an integral role in the South Vancouver community and has such a rich history. You can count on COPE to do everything in its power to keep it that way,” said Greenwell-Baker.

Nestled in South Vancouver’s Fraserview/Killarney neighbourhood, the historic dairy site sits right in between the Vancouver School Board’s nursery, which serves as a growing, storage and learning centre for Waverley annex, and the Park Board’s Avalon Neighbourhood Greenway.

“With the VSB nursery on one side, and the greenway on the other, there is an exciting opportunity to use these in conjunction with the dairy to develop a learning farm and community garden, that could potentially contribute to local farmers’ markets, all the while preserving the land’s history,” said Wong. “The School Board, Park Board and City Council are all committed to issues of food security and environmental sustainability. Working across boards, we have an exceptional and rare opportunity to develop a comprehensive educational tool and community amenity that could contribute to the local economy while addressing issues of history, agriculture, food security and environmental sustainability.”

The land is currently zoned as ‘single family’ but is advertised as having the potential for higher density development through rezoning or through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. All rezoning applications however, have to be approved by city council. “To see this incredible piece of Vancouver’s history be developed into something other than agricultural land would be a real shame, and a loss for the neighbourhood. Once this land is lost to developers, it is gone forever,” said Wong. “Putting neighbourhoods first is COPE’s philosophy and we plan on including the south Vancouver community in deciding their own future,” added Greenwell-Baker.

COPE Candidates Call for Preservation of Avalon Lands