January 15 2018
“I am confident that we can deliver a restaurant in a way that is completely consistent with our mandate to protect and preserve parks and green space,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon
Later this year, the Park Board and Stanley Park Brewing Company will open a new restaurant at the site of the old Fish House near the tennis courts in Stanley Park. Since 1949, generations of Vancouverites and visitors have enjoyed food and drink along with spectacular views from the outdoor Heron and Bay patios at the restaurant.
There will be no change to the building footprint in the new restaurant. The outdoor decks will remain in their current locations in the renovation of this historic building. We are confident the project will activate this public space in a beneficial way to the park and residents and construction has already begun.
In November 2016, after going through the City’s procurement process, the Park Board approved entering into a lease agreement with Stanley Park Brewing Co. for a restaurant, with small batch brewing on site and retail use as approved under current zoning at the former Fish House restaurant site. This has been an operational restaurant, with two active patios for almost 70 years.
Restaurant consistent with Park Board’s mission
“I am confident that we can deliver a restaurant at this historic location in a way that is completely consistent with our mission and mandate to protect and preserve parks and green space in the City of Vancouver,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our partners at the Stanley Park Ecology Society have reassured our Board that the magnificent Pacific Great Blue heron colony at 2099 Beach Avenue will not be harmed by the careful and continuing use of this space as a restaurant.”
The approved concept and use has received public, stakeholder and First Nations support. During our consultation last fall, it was endorsed by the West End Business Improvement Association and the Stanley Park lawn bowling and tennis clubs. Our restaurant partners have committed to continuing working with Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) and residents to protect wildlife and mitigate risks to the park ecosystem.
SPES has advised us that, remarkably, the heron seem to thrive in the existing urban environment with tennis courts, high-rises and tour buses in the vicinity. SPES has indicated they are more concerned about increasing popularity of drones than they are about the continuing use of this location as a restaurant.
No risk to heron colony
A Park Board biologist points out that nesting herons are typically at the Stanley Park colony from mid- February to the end of July and are most sensitive to disturbance during the beginning of the nesting season. Use of the two existing outdoor patios at the new Stanley Park Brewery restaurant will be greatest in the warmest part of summer after the herons have left for the year.
“Nesting herons are tolerant of urban activities once the colony settles in. The Stanley Park nesting colony co-exists with constant use of the surrounding area by people, dogs, tennis, lawn mowing and other park recreation and maintenance activities. In fact, some heron colonies benefit from urban locations because human use can reduce eagle predation on eggs and chicks,” says Park Board biologist Nick Page.
The Stanley Park Brewing Company has made a $4.5 M investment in developing the property and will establish the following uses on the site.
- Restaurant offering a full service menu designed to complement the beers brewed on site
- Small Batch Innovation Brewing – fully contained: no extension to building footprint
- Retail space/ Growler fills – growler fills for unique beers brewed on site in small batches. Locally sourced Stanley Park Brewing merchandise
- Private function space – a unique venue for corporate and special events adhering to noise and operating hour by-laws
- Education & Activation – will draw locals and visitors to the park year around with beer training and education
With the exception of the limited, small batch, on site brewing of beer, the activities associated with this restaurant will not be much different than others within the Park Board’s portfolio such as Cactus Club on English Bay, Stanley’s Bar and Grill in Stanley Park and the Boat House at Kitsilano Beach. The majority of Stanley Park Brewing products are made at a large facility on Annacis Island in Delta.
Stanley Park Brewing is committed to sustainability in the manufacturing of their small batches of beer at this site. The brewing system will be fully contained, with no extension to building footprint, and no venting of smells to the outside. Installing a vapor condenser will effectively condense the steam created by the brewing process and send it to a drain as hot water. There will be no venting of steam directly to the outside. Their system will largely eliminate odors and as an added benefit, the hot water created by condensing the steam will be captured and used in the brewing process the next day, thus reducing water consumption.
The proposed hours of operations for this site are consistent with other restaurants within the Parks system. As per licensing requirements, the window of operation will be from 11am-midnight, Monday to Friday, and 9am-midnight, Saturday and Sunday. In recognition of concerns raised, Stanley Park Brewing has agreed for the first 6 months of operation, they will close by 11pm, and weather permitting, close the patio by 10pm.
To further minimize impacts on the park and surrounding neighborhood, Stanley Park Brewing have taken these steps to minimize potential noise coming from the restaurant:
- No entertainment or music on the two existing deck patios
- Properly insulating the building
- Replacing the single pane windows with double glaze
- Strictly adhering to noise and operating hour bylaws
- Signage to encourage customers to be mindful of neighbors when leaving
On Wednesday, January 17th City staff will present a report to Council recommending that they endorse a Limited Liquor Primary License to facilitate growler re-fills for the restaurant. This recommendation is the latest step following the approval by Park Board for the lease and the completion of the development permitting process.