Our West Van Council gave 2nd and 3rd reading to the Marine Drive Local Area Plan and Design Guidelines on June 7th, with adoption scheduled for June 19th. Thank you to those who attended or wrote Council regarding the Public Hearing on June 5th. For those who missed it, I’ve included links to press coverage from Jeremy Shepherd and Catherine Barr. I’ve included a note discussing the reasons for my support below.
Also, on June 19th Council will consider directing staff to apply to court to vary the trust relating to Brissenden Park on Roseberry Avenue, and there will be an update on the review of the Official Community Plan. [Link] to agenda.
One More Thing — Our North and West Vancouver Soroptimist Chapter will be hosting a Symposium on Gender Equality, Saturday June 17.
Marine Drive/Taylor Way Local Area Plan Debate – June 7, 2017
Thank you everyone who wrote in about and attended the public hearing. Many were in support of the proposal and many were not. There is no right or wrong answer here. Every opinion and perspective is legitimate.
Having said that my job is to listen, read, review, study and based on fact, evidence and data, apply my best thinking to make an informed decision.
Here is my thought process:
- We are in a housing affordability crisis and that fact is reinforced every day.
Yesterday, according to Miloon Kothari, the former UN special rapporteur for housing, who was speaking on CBC radio, Vancouver is becoming an “apartheid city” in terms of the divide between rich and poor.
The housing crisis, like climate change is an “inconvenient truth”, and if we all don’t take steps now to address both, we will end up in a sorry state. West Vancouver is well on its way to becoming either a Ghost Town, where young people aren’t replacing the aging demographic, or a Resort Town where only rich international buyers can afford buy and leave houses vacant most of the year. We need a diversity of housing across the entire sprectrum, and according to recently revised estimates by Metro Vancouver, that amounts to 2000 units over the next 10 years in West Vancouver, or around 150 in owned units and 50 rental units per year. Where is that housing going to go?
- Smart growth principles dictate that housing should be near transit and amenities.Where is our best transit, close to amenities?Along Marine Drive and especially at Park Royal.
- Traffic studies indicate that mixed commercial and residential use will contribute 1/3 less traffic than the large format commercial zoning in place right now.
- Residents in this area, especially if parking allocations are reduced, and a significant component is rental, are less likely to drive through this intersection than any other resident in the District.
- Council is committed to improving mobility for everyone, especially those using transit and have formed a North Shore wide committee of professionals to advise on all elements, including advocacy to other levels of government.But governments alone won’t solve the problem.Everyone is going to have to make some changes in their behaviour, which doesn’t mean giving up their cars entirely.
- Otherwise, planning staff have responded to the other most-cited areas of concern throughout this multi-year process: height and massing of buildings at this intersection.
- If we don’t approve this Local Area Plan, traffic congestion will still occur because it is largely due to factors beyond our borders. If we do approve it, it bolsters are request for more transit, because as Councillor Lambur recently reminded me “Transit follows development”.
For these reasons, I’m in support of the proposal, with the following requests to staff if we move to the negotiating the three specific development applications:
- Maximize the rental component in each, including for those with disabilities on low income.
- Minimize the parking allocations at each site.
- Ensure green construction that is better than the Building Code at each site.
- Encourage designs of the Clyde and 752 Marine sites which create a coherent Gateway that we can all be proud of.
- Complete the Spirit Trail over the Capilano River that separates those who cycle and walk from those who drive.
- Include affordable child care in at least one of the sites.
- Address transportation challenges at each site, including access/egress for the West Royal Towers – in the 1989 summary of the Public Hearing for that project an underground bypass was discussed?
Just as there is not one silver bullet for housing, there is no one silver bullet for transportation. There never is one silver bullet to solve complex problems, but doing nothing is guaranteed not to solve anything. Staff have provided there best thinking on this area and now Council must take the tough decision.
Press For OCP Marine Drive Local Area Plan
West Vancouver council splits on future of Marine Drive, Jeremy Shepherd / North Shore News, June 8, 2017 – http://www.nsnews.com/news/west-vancouver-council-splits-on-future-of-marine-drive-1.20492223
BREAKING – West Vancouver’s Mayor breaks tie vote on new Local Area Plan, Catherine Barr June 7 – https://www.facebook.com/vancouver.events.girl/posts/10158884418385323
Last night, West Vancouver council held a public hearing for the “Area Plan”, Catherine Barr June 6 – https://www.facebook.com/vancouver.events.girl/posts/10158877648575323
For Reference — Marine Drive Local Area Plan – https://westvancouver.ca/home-building-property/major-projects/marine-drive-local-area-plan-and-design-guidelines