It has been a busy Spring for Council, and I’m pleased to provide you with an update on our priorities, as well as other newsworthy items:
Public Safety Building – Open Houses were held in January and April to consult the community: first on four massing scenarios to determine the specific locations of the Fire and Police services on the Municipal Hall site; and second, on the preferred scenario (which placed both departments at the south end of the property with Fire on the west side and Police on the east). On May 6th Council approved this final layout so that the project could progress to Design Development.
Housing and Neighbourhood Character
a) A well-attended forum was held on May 8th to discuss “Coach Houses: Are they the right fit for West Vancouver?”. An examination of coach houses is identified in West Vancouver’s Housing Action Plan as one of five key actions for addressing limited housing choice and affordability. This work is currently underway, and should be completed with a report to Council by July 2013. If feedback from residents indicates sufficient interest in coach houses, draft coach house policies and regulations would be developed for further community review.
b) Council has also directed staff to include consideration of “housing bulk” and “boulevards” as priority items in their 2013/14 work plans. More specifically, this will include a report discussing the concept of housing bulk, reviewing how bulk is regulated in other municipalities and presenting possible approaches to address the issue in West Vancouver. A backgrounder report will be presented to Council in late 2013 and made available to the public, forming the basis of community engagement in early 2014.
3. Ambleside/Waterfront Development – On March 11th Council considered the results of the Ambleside Activation Consultation and directed staff to move forward on a number of initiatives including bylaws to integrate the Waterfront Plan and the Guiding Principles for the Waterfront into the OCP, a food and beverage establishment at 1468/1472 Argyle, a Commercial Market Study of Ambleside, a Farmers’ Market, food carts, and sidewalk dining. On May 13th Council adopted the Parks Dedication Bylaw for District-owned Ambleside Waterfront lots between 13th and 18th Streets; and set a Public Hearing for Monday, June 10 at 7 pm to hear from the public on changes to the Official Community Plan (as referenced above) and the Zoning Bylaw for the waterfront. The proposal is to rezone this area from “RD1 Duplex Dwelling Zone 1” to “Community Use Zone 5”, which would allow for parks and playgrounds, and a limited number of park accessory uses. These uses could include one restaurant with a maximum of 3000 square feet, limited expansion of the four existing arts and cultural facilities, and two recreational equipment rentals. Each project would still come before Council and, by extension, the public before it is approved. I encourage you to attend this important meeting to provide input, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org beforehand.
4. Environment, Parks, Upper Lands and Spirit Trail
a) A new Manager of the Environment and Sustainability was hired in May – Sandra Bicego, who brings graduate and legal degrees in environmental stewardship to her ongoing work in the field of sustainability.
b) Work is currently underway on the new playground at John Lawson Park with completion slated for August 2013. Visit www.westvancouver.ca/jlp for more information on the upgrade. Staff have also been working on the shoreline between 24th Street and the Dundarave Pier, placing some 250 – 300 large (donated) boulders to create tombolos for wave protection and habitat enhancement.
c) The Upper Lands Working Group, which was formed last year to develop a long-term vision for undeveloped land above the Upper Levels Highway, has been participating in site discovery tours and will be holding input forums for stewardship groups and interest holders this month. A full public engagement program is planned for the fall. For more information or to provide input, please see www.westvancouver.ca/ulsrwg.
d) Spirit Trail – The District has been engaging with the public about a portion of the Spirit Trail in the western part of the District between Eagle Harbour and Horseshoe Bay. Staff are moving forward on a proposal and conceptual designs that reflect the feedback heard during public workshops. No significant changes are being considered for the section along Seaview Walk (Zone 1), except for possibly improving accessibility in the parking areas at Eagleridge Drive and Falcon Road. But because the sections from Gleneagles Golf Course to Horseshoe Bay (Zones 2, 3, and 4) still require some work before staff have something to bring back, the next open house will likely be postponed until the fall. Visit www.westvancouver.ca/spirittrail for further information.
5. Municipal Services and Finances – Council approved the 2012 Audited Financial Statements last week, which are available for inspection at Municipal Hall between 8:30 and 4:30, and on the District’s website at http://www.westvancouver.ca/Level3.aspx?id=45192 . There will be an opportunity for submissions and questions from the public at the Council meeting on June 17th at 7 pm.
At monthly Council Meetings dedicated to financial matters, Council is reviewing each municipal division. The overall purpose of these Divisional Services Reviews is to provide an opportunity for Council, staff and the public to learn of the services provided through each division, to assist Council in determining key performance indicators (KPI’s) in preparation for the 2014 budget, and to provide an opportunity for staff growth. We have completed Parks and Community Services, and will soon complete Engineering and Transportation. Council begins the 2014 Budget process in July with adoption scheduled for December 2013.
Dr. Rajesh Tandon (UNESCO Co-Chair on Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education) and Martha Farrell will speak on “Shared Challenges and Global Solidarity” in the Welsh Hall at the WV Memorial Library on June 10th at 1 pm. No prior registration is required.
Open Houses regarding Rogers Communications Cell Tower Applications will be held on June 13th and 18th from 5-7:30 pm at St. David’s Church, 1525 Taylor Way.
After almost 35 years of public service – the last 5 of which were in West Vancouver – CAO Grant McRadu has announced his retirement effective at the end of June. Council thanks, congratulates and wishes him the best.
For Monday night agendas, visit http://www.westvancouver.ca/government/level2.aspx?id=3204 beginning on the Thursday afternoon prior to the meeting.