Neighbors, Zoning Board Concerned Over Proposed Buddhist Temple Expansion

September 18, 2004

Source: The Vancouver Sun

On September 18, 2004 The Vancouver Sun reported, "A proposal to enlarge an already sizable Buddhist monastery and temple to a huge 165,000-square-foot walled compound, with five separate temples situated around a common courtyard, fronted by a 700-stall parking area, backed by a water garden and fruit orchard and anchored by one massive central temple housing a Buddha... One hundred feet . . . that's the height of a 10-storey building, and high enough to make it the biggest Buddha in the Western Hemisphere... It will be nowhere near, however, the height of some of the bigger Asian Buddhas... But the East is east, and the West has zoning bylaws, and a 100-foot-tall Buddha housed in a 140-foot-high temple will compromise more than a few of them. The temple would rival Richmond city hall for height (and be 55 feet lower than Vancouver city hall). It would also be massive, what one Richmond planner estimated would be about 250 feet wide. It would dwarf any other structure around it, and be one of the first things people coming through the George Massey Tunnel would pass as they went down Highway 99 toward Richmond... But that part of Richmond -- the Shellmont neighbourhood -- is composed almost entirely of single-family residences or townhomes, and the Assembly zoning area has a height restriction of 40 feet. Some of the religious structures have been allowed slight height variances -- the main dome of the mosque is 60 feet high. But the roof line of the proposed Main Temple would be more than twice as high as the mosque's dome and with a vastly greater profile."