The Association represents the owners of property in the area shown on the outline map on the home page of this website.  It has been in continuous existence since April 1939 as a neighborhood organization concerned primarily with residential property matters. 

Shaughnessy is a predominately single-family residential enclave. The original part, First Shaughnessy, between 16th and 25th Avenues, was founded by the C.P.R. at the turn of the century. In recent years in addition to addressing concerns, the Association has initiated and worked with the City to bring about area specific zoning - First Shaughnessy Official Development Plan in 1982 and RS-5 One-Family Dwelling District for South Shaughnessy in 1993. These district schedules were put in place with the intent of encouraging retention of existing development and landscaping, along with ensuring the compatibility of the new development. Over the years neighborhood concerns have ranged from traffic to tree removal to subdivision to barking dogs. However, the unique characteristics of this desirable urban neighborhood have led the Association to pay close attention to enhancement of these characteristics.

A brief background - The Great Depression and the Second World War led to serious neglect and tax sales of many of' the largest mansions in First Shaughnessy. Rooming houses proliferated. The City of Vancouver inventory of 1957 indicated that 30% of the buildings were in multiple occupancy use. Decay was rampant and in 1967 the Board of the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Association explored a scheme whereby a fund, subscribed by the residents would purchase rundown properties, restore them and offer them for sale. The proceeds would be applied to continuing restoration. Escalating real estate value caused this plan to collapse . The Shaughnessy Heights Building Restriction Act expired in 1970, at which time the RS-4 District Schedule was enacted. A plan of subdivision was intended to be adopted but was not approved.

In the 1970's development pressures threatened wholesale demolition and several fine heritage properties were destroyed. Heritage consciousness was becoming a force and the Directors of SHPOA alerted the City. The then Director of Planning agreed that action must he taken. One demolition, that of the H.R. MacMillan residence, was the event that brought about a leap of faith and awareness that something unique must be done in order to stop the destruction of an important historical area of the City. In 1976, a consultant was retained by SHPOA to advise on means to preserve Shaughnessy. The plan was submitted in 1978 and the Association wrote a critique based on thorough analysis of the neighborhood done with census tracts and polling lists. The Director of Planning, Council and SHPOA supported the general thrust of the plan but noted that further study was needed. The First Shaughnessy Planning Study Working Committee was organized and this action can be recorded the close cooperation between the City and SHPOA. The planning process lasted two years, during which time the City froze demolition permits. Large Properties were the norm in First Shaughnessy and an obvious magnet for intensive development. Proposals came forward to end literal subdivision and replace it with infill/strata development options. The sanctity of the single-family detached home was recognized, yet the largest mansions were out of keeping with contemporary lifestyles and too costly to maintain, SHPOA recommended to the City that within strict numerical limit of size of Conversion to multiple dwelling units be allowed. This engendered bitter opposition from some residents. However, in 1982 City Council approved the First Shaughnessy Official Development Plan by a majority of one vote.

City Council recognized wide discontent and directed the Planning Department to institute a planning study that would address the possibility of design guidelines aimed at bringing about compatible and harmonious new development in Shaughnessy, as well as a number of' other RS-1 districts. However, because of a great deal of research having been financed by the Association, The Planning Department was able to proceed first with South Shaughnessy. The Board of the Association had retained a heritage consultant, who presented a study of the area in September, 1990. This study formed the basis for a door-to-door survey by a committee of SHPOA and the opposing group, known as the Shaughnessy Ad Hoc Committee. After two months of earnest discussion and meaningful debate it became possible to work towards a compromise that would suit both parties. Once the proposed guidelines became available to the working group the approach was seen to be reasonable, flexible and workable There was good will on all sides. The Planning Department rewrote the bylaw and in January, 1993 support was affirmed by all delegations at a public hearing, Council approved the RS-5 bylaw together with attached design guidelines. The bylaw appears to be working well and calls for regular review by the Planning Department and residents. More recently, The Association worked actively with other groups to mitigate the impact of the Rapid Bus Project along the Granville corridor.