From the North Shore News, Elizabeth James’ column “Council urged to go slow on density” : and quoting in part:
“Towers are the least energy efficient form of development because of their glass-wall, concrete construction and elevators.”
– Elizabeth Murphy, Vision and NPA: more of the same, Common Ground, July 2014
Beauty, as the saying goes, can be found in the eye of the beholder.
The problem is, despite endless public meetings and hearings, somehow community voices have lost out to the pressures from developers.
Too often over this term of North Shore — and Metro — councils, residents have had to settle for big-and-tall projects over broad-and-short in a desperate effort to retain views, gain green space and pathetically few “non-market” housing units from the deal.
And talking of “the deal” — as Steveston residents discovered earlier this year, conditional deals, as carefully described and approved by council, are not always deals — at least not when the developer finds he/she/they cannot sell as many of the mixed-use units as they’d counted on.
So it will be interesting to see what developers do if the commercial/residential market slows sales on the North Shore projects in Seylynn Village, on Lonsdale and on Marine Drive in North and West Vancouver.
What will councils do when developers return to renegotiate their deals in order to maintain their shareholders’ profit-margins?
Hazen Colbert, a North Vancouver risk manager and financial consultant, warns: “There have been too many condo projects approved through rose-tinted lenses.
“Some decision-makers are unaware that municipalities can be adversely affected by a bust cycle. I highly recommend (they) get their amenity contributions from current developments in hard cash — and now, not later.”
There are members of all three councils who are listening on behalf of the greater good — hence the “go slow” urgings of District of North Vancouver councillors Lisa Muri and Doug Mackay-Dunn and the four in the city who, on July 7, voted for 0.75 floor space ratio instead of 1.6.
But it remains to be seen whether North Shore councils as a whole will heed all the red flags and come closer still to my way of viewing those condo towers.
© North Shore News