Harbourside gets council approval

Harbourside gets council approval.

The largest single commercial/residential development to come before the city in recent years won its approval at City of North Vancouver council Monday night, years after it was first pitched.

Concert Properties’ Harbourside development, which will place roughly 800 strata and rental units and 300,000 square feet of commercial space on the waterfront property along Harbourside Drive at the foot of Fell Avenue over the next 10 to 15 years, passed 5-2 in a late-night session of council.

The city previously held a public hearing to rezone the property on April 1 but chose to defer the vote.

The motion passed 5-2, with Couns. Pam Bookham and Rod Clark voting against – the same split on council for each step of the project over the last two years.

For the two dissenters, the issues were poor access, a loss of land that could be commercial or industrial and the project’s isolation from the rest of the city and its services.

The only ways into the area are via Fell Avenue and Bewicke Avenue, which is home to an at-grade rail crossing. TransLink has no plans to run transit to the area and so the developer has promised to run a private shuttle linking the neighbourhood with the SeaBus terminal.

“It flies in the face of every planning principle that has guided where we put density. That is in Lower Lonsdale, Central Lonsdale and along the Marine Drive corridor because of that close connection between where people live and how they move about,” Bookham said, adding that the private shuttle plan is “no solution at all.”

“I find it hard to call it a neighbourhood because it is so far removed. There is no connection with other residential parts of the city. There’s no connection to any services. There’s no connection to any commercial area and I doubt very much the kind of commercial that will come in with the mixed use will be more than a place where you can maybe buy a quart of milk and a newspaper.”

However, Coun. Guy Heywood chose to champion the proposal at the late hour. With the project having been before council for both an official community plan ammendment and rezoning, it had, despite its challenges, had more vetting by the city than most projects that come forward, he said. And the commercial space at the site coupled with the housing will make it a community where residents can live and work in the same place, which is the best council could hope for he added.

“It’s never going to be classic industrial. It was never industrial before. It will never qualify as a truck terminal site because it’s not close to a highway,” he said. “There’s no way it’s going to be destination-commercial. It’s going to have to generate its own activity through the efforts of development that will have to promote a livework style of development.” Heywood added he was confident the area will eventually be served by transit.

Council must still pass one final reading of the bylaw.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/harbourside-gets-council-approval-1.965173#.dpuf

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3 responses to “Harbourside gets council approval

  1. There will be an election and there WILL be changes!

  2. I wish I could respond to Cllr. Bookham’s regarding a vote taken recently by Council following the Public Hearing and second and third reading stages of the Harbourside project bylaw. However, I understand that we can’t engage in a public debate on the issues after a Public Hearing is closed and before the bylaws are passed.

    The reason for this is to ensure that anyone advocating a position following the Public Hearing does not have an unfair advantage of influencing Council members after the public input process has concluded. I am not sure that applies to Councillors but it would make sense to me that it does.

    The issue Cllr Bookham raises was dealt with at a couple of points over the two years that this proposal has been in our process. All I can say at this point is that I respectfully disagree with Cllr. Bookham and will happily get into why after Council’s process is concluded.

  3. What distinguishes Harbourside more than its lack of access to public transit are the costs of servicing the site and the cost of mitigation against sea-level-rise.Because of the risk of flooding, costly measures must be taken to redesign the waterfront and elevate construction levels. These exceptional costs reduce the developer’s contribution to the City’s Community Amenity Fund, which should amount to 70% of the uplift in value.

    Even so, the flood mitigation will not work unless it is extended beyond the waterfront in front of the Harbourside-Knightsbridge properties. Who will pay for this additional work? The City taxpayer, who will also foot the bill for the upgrades to the sewer, water and L.E.C. connections needed to service the businesses and residents at this remote location.

    In other words, the City taxpayer must subsidize the project to ensure the developers profit.

    The question must be asked, why would Councillors Heywood and Bell support this project? Heywood has argued strongly and convincingly in regards to the Polygon proposal on Esplanade, that the uplift in property value due to the change from commercial to mixed use should benefit the citizens of C.N.V. rather than be used to offset the costs to Vancouver taxpayers for the Olympic Village fiasco.

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