Council Update #11
I hope you enjoyed our long, hot, and dry summer and are settling into fall routines under much-needed rainy skies. The recent water-use restrictions reminded us that water is neither infinite nor free. West Vancouver leads the Metro area with its water metering program, and I encourage everyone with automatic sprinklers to take this opportunity to review their settings to ensure they are turned off for the winter.
Here are some quick highlights on several of Council’s priorities, and other news of interest to the community. Please visit www.westvancouver.ca for more information on any of these topics.
Built Form, Housing and Neighbourhood Character
On July 6th, Council received a report on the results of community consultation on the “Single Family Housing: Siting, Form and Character” matter. Certain neighbourhoods have been particularly impacted, and before year-end, recommendations will be coming to Council around boulevard design, retaining walls, fences, gates, grade and highest building face calculations, basement definition, lot consolidations, landscape standards, and soil deposit and removal.
Public Services Building
On June 22nd, Council approved the exterior design of the new combined Police Services Building and Municipal Customer Service Hub to be built next to Municipal Hall; and demolition of the current plaza and parkade began in August.
A hybrid funding model has been approved for the $36 million dollar cost of the facility, consisting of $7.743 million cash from the Endowment Fund, and $28.257 million (plus borrowing costs) to be financed by a 30-year loan from the Municipal Finance Authority. On September 14th, Council determined that the loan payments will be fully covered by earnings in the Endowment Fund, primarily interest earned on the proceeds of sale of the 1300 Block Marine Drive, without the need for an additional tax levy or encroachment on capital in that fund.
Ambleside Village and Waterfront
On June 22nd, Council recommended that the application regarding 1763 Bellevue (Masonic Hall site) for a mixed-used building with 7 storeys (plus mezzanine/deck level), 20 residential units, 2,904 square feet of ground-level commercial space, and 15 dedicated public parking spaces move to bylaw preparation and public hearing.
On July 20th, Council heard from representatives of the Ambleside and Dundarave Business Association on a proposal for a Business Improvement Area (“BIA”), and gave approval to proceed by “Council Initiative”. Under this method, Council gives formal notice of its intent to establish a BIA to the owners of parcels that would be subject to the local service tax, and unless a petition against the service is presented within 30 days, Council may approve establishment of a BIA on proof of local community support.
Our staff, lead by a new Director of Planning (see below) continues to work on a conceptual plan for the waterfront, including existing arts facilities, the Spirit Trail and walking path, parking, the Hollyburn Sailing Club, the boat launch, and a proposed Centre for Art, Architecture and Design (to replace programming/exhibits at the WV Museum). A preliminary proposal will be presented to Council by mid-October, with stakeholder and public consultation following that. There are no plans to close the Hollyburn Sailing Club, only discussions around upgrades to facilities and improved access to the waterfront.
Official Community Plan Review
On March 30th, Council received the final report of the Upper Lands Study Review Working Group; and requested working meetings to discuss and prioritize the recommendations, which seek to protect environmental features and beauty, enhance recreation opportunities, and inform planning for compact neighbourhoods that work with nature. Ultimately, this work will be used as a framework for policies in the Official Community Plan, including recommendations to protect lands west of Eagle Creek and maintain the 1200-foot restriction on development.
Former White Spot Site (752 Marine Drive) - Based on feedback from the public, on April 13th Council resolved to table the application for two residential towers pending the determination of a number of issues including traffic management through the Marine Drive and Taylor Way corridors; reduction in building height; clarity around office, rental and childcare space; and confirmation of financial and other benefits such as property taxes, community amenity contributions, and a movie theatre. Given the timing of the imminent OCP Review, this matter will also be considered as part of the Taylor Way local area in that process.
Natural Environment and Climate Action
Trees, trees and trees – After a bit of a false start, a bylaw setting out penalties for the destruction of trees in parks and lands over which a development permit applied, was withdrawn before adoption because of a number of technical questions. A clear and comprehensive plan will be coming to Council in two stages this fall and next spring, addressing the protection and management of trees in parks and on boulevards, and on private land, respectively.
Arts, Culture and Heritage
Under a relatively new initiative which seeks to incentivize the preservation and protection of our architectural heritage, on May 11th Council approved a Heritage Revitalization Agreement for the “Toby House” at 2055 Queens Avenue, which enabled the subdivision of the property into two fee simple lots, with the Toby House to be retained on one lot and a new house to be constructed on the other lot. Council will be considering two other HRA applications in the coming months - the “Staples House” on Isleview Road and the “Vinson House” on Gordon Avenue.
At our July 27th meeting, Council considered a development permit application (form and character) with variances to building width and parking for the Cressey Development at 2290 Marine Drive. No zoning amendment was sought as the site is currently zoned to allow for the proposed 15-storey residential tower. The application was deferred for further refinements.
We are pleased to welcome Mr. Jim Bailey as our new Director of Planning, Land Development and Permits who comes to us from Vancouver where he spent 7 years as a senior planner. Some of you may remember Jim from his many years in West Vancouver’s planning department prior to that.
A building permit was issued on September 8th for the Hollyburn Lodge Restoration project, and construction has begun with plans to open by Christmas. $1,037,399.45 has been raised of a $1.1 million goal. Donations will be accepted until February 1, 2016 at http://hollyburnridge.ca/.
Council has received a report regarding fall consultation for a comprehensive redevelopment of Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay, including 171 residential units in six buildings with four levels of underground parking. http://westvancouver.ca/home-building-property/planning/major-applications/sewells-marina-6695-nelson-avenue
The District greenhouse facilities at Klee Wyck on Keith Road is a District asset that is currently underutilized. EcoUrbia, a North Shore not-for-profit organization and community-based sustainability portal, has proposed to use the Klee Wyck nursery for an EcoCentre, to be called Klee Wyck Farm. The programming at Klee Wyck Farm would produce food, demonstrate gardening methodologies, provide community garden space, host educational workshops, and offer sales of fresh produce.
And finally, be sure to check out the newly-opened Appleback Grill at the Gleneagles Golf Course. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner...and the food is excellent!
Mary-Ann Booth Councillor, District of West Vancouver email@example.com 604-340-8490