A North Shore municipal update

District of West Vancouver


Mayor Mary-Ann Booth told Realtors, West Vancouver:


1. is seeing a decrease in its population, unlike most Greater Vancouver municipalities;

2. is rated as the least affordable city in North America;

3. is seeing 1,700 or 10% of all its homes sitting empty;

4. has the worst traffic in the region; and

5. has an aging population: 28% are age 65 and older, while just 2% of the population is age 25 to 40.


West Vancouver’s official community plan (OCP), adopted in 2018, envisions local area plans for: Ambleside Town Centre, Marine Drive, Horseshoe Bay, Taylor Way, Upper Lands, Cypress Village, and Cypress Way areas.

West Vancouver has completed its 2021-2022 Strategic Plan and its Housing Needs Report which calls for approval of 25 new housing units per year, 100 market or non-market rental, 75 infill or missing middle, and 75 strata apartment or mixed use.

Council is increasingly concerned about livability and well-being, and housing is a major component.

Marine Drive

West Vancouver is implementing the Marine Drive local area plan which will include mixed tenure residential units including market ownership and rental units, commercial space, and care space. In some buildings council is allowing additional floors in exchange for amenities.

Density will enhance the public realm since homes will be close to businesses and shops which will see increased activity and transit.

Horseshoe Bay

The local area plan was approved in June 2021. The plan expands housing diversity, supports history and a sense of place, and is sensitive to the wider context. Residents want kookie (creative and interesting) instead of cookie cutter.

Nearing completion is the 200-to-300-unit Horseshoe Bay residences in six buildings and ground-oriented townhouses with 500 parking spaces for residences and commercial businesses along with a new beach park.

Cypress Village

The goal is to reduce the footprint by 50 per cent which means more density in a mixed-use village core with 3,700 units of multi-family and low density residential, a community centre, fire hall, sports field, school, and independent transit including cycling and walking paths.

Ambleside plan

West Vancouver is starting work on this plan. Multiple opportunities for engagement and feedback will be coming. Five gas stations will be gone.

Taylor Way plan

The planning process begins in 2022. The city is developing city-owned land at 2195 Gordon Avenue into 217 residential units and an adult daycare in two six-storey rental buildings and one eight-storey condominium tower. Rentals are targeted to professionals - teachers, firefighters, and police with incomes of $50-$100,000 a year who can’t afford to buy a home or find a home to rent here. There’s a North Shore homelessness action initiative. Homeless residents tend to have grown up in West Vancouver and want to stay.

There is a neighbourhood working group focusing on redistributing density on lots by reducing 30 per cent for the principal residence and the remainder of density in coach houses and laneway or suites or infill. West Vancouver doesn’t need more 10,000-40,000 sq. ft. houses.

Enabling housing options

Zoning amendments will diversity housing type and character, apply to single-family zones, redistribute density, streamline approvals for one-storey coach houses, and expand opportunities for subdivision.

Hotel

There is interest in a boutique hotel with a rooftop deck on the waterfront.

Transportation

West Vancouver is a member of North Shore Connects, a partnership of five North Shore local governments - three municipalities and two first nations. Their goal is to improve mobility and reduce congestion to and in the North Shore.

Economic development

West Vancouver has hired an economic development officer who will look at where industry and commercial activity can best be located.

Read West Vancouver’s official community plan.

Read Mayor Booth’s presentation.

North Vancouver City

Mayor Linda Buchanan’s goal to make her city the healthiest in the world. Council has been leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to building a prosperous, vibrant, diverse community everyone can call home.

Council’s strategic plan, the roadmap to achieving this, is the official community plan.

Housing

The City of North Vancouver is one of the only cities in Metro Vancouver meeting their housing needs.

Construction activity has been strong throughout the pandemic with new towers and the redevelopment of three-storey apartments at the end of life. The city is supporting a mix of housing including coach homes, duplexes, row houses, townhouses, infill, basement suites in duplexes, and multi-family to meet community needs. Three units are permitted on single family lots. The city leads Metro Vancouver with the most coach house permits issued. Density is hidden using landscaping.

Homeownership continues to be out of reach for many first-time buyers, so the city is exploring shared equity and rent to own models to encourage middle-income workers and new immigrants.    

Community Centre

The city is moving ahead with the Harry Jerome Community Centre, the single largest capital investment city has ever made, which includes seniors centre, daycare and more.

The Shipyards

This area has undergone a massive transformation in the last 25 years and the Shipyards has received top honours internationally in waterfront redevelopment, winning over giants like London, United Kingdom.

Waterfront Park, which is adjacent to the Seabus, is being redesigned. There will be more livable space including walking and cycling paths.

Transportation

The city is expanding transportation options and is launching an e-bike share. Bike lanes are good for business. There’s more economic activity and growth where there are cyclists and walkers, so the city is reallocating roadspace from cars. The city is also a partner in North Shore Connects. The city will also hide parts of the Upper Levels highway with a park over the highway. There will be a new Ironworkers Bridge, but it won’t be bigger. Instead, it will have options for cyclists and transit. The Seabus needs to be more effectively used to take away congestions from the Upper Levels highway.

Economic strategy

The city is creating an economic strategy to ensure economic benefits are shared more fairly.

Development permit process

Both West Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver are looking at ways to speed up the process.

Read North Vancouver city’s official community plan.

Watch a recording of the session.

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