The Future of North Vancouver School Lands (Ridgeway & Lucas Ctr)

The Future of North Vancouver School Lands (Ridgeway & Lucas Ctr).

from Guy Heywood’s blog: “Thoughts of a ‘retiring’ Councillor”:  Nov 18th:

I sent the following comment to the North Van School Board since the fate of these lands was coming up on their agenda tonight (November 18th). When land is determined to be surplus to the requirements of the School Board and the requirements of K-12 education, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be privatized immediately. 

To the SD44 Board of Education

There is an agenda item dealing with next steps for the disposition of the various parcels of SD44 land in the City of North Vancouver on your agenda. I would urge you to take more time to consider the appropriate next steps. As I won’t be part of the future discussions and I have a North Shore Neighbourhood House board meeting this eveing, I can’t make it to your meeting. Here is what I would like to contribute to your discussion:

Ridgeway:

I understand that the School District had a public process to decide whether or not the land fit within its responsibility for K-12 education. The City has not gone through any process to determine whether changing the use of this land to 100% private use for single family housing makes any sense at all.

The City directed five million dollars worth of amenity benefit to put new daycare space in a high rise at the Onni project. It just doesn’t make sense that it would want to miss the opportunity to get ground oriented public space working for the community below Keith Road (which is where most of the new families are).

Surely something more creative than simply letting 100% of that parcel of that public land to create private single family housing so close the core of a dense City must be possible.

Lucas Centre & the history of Harry Jerome:

The last time the School Board transferred control over a significant parcel of land to the City, was the transfer of the old North Vancouver High School lands and buildings (Memorial Gym, Mickey McDougall and Norsemen Field) to the City and District jointly in order to augment the Harry Jerome Complex. This made sense since the School Board has a North Vancouver-wide mandate and the properties were supposed to support a North Vancouver-wide community amenity controlled by the City and the District.

However, the City subsequently bought out the District’s interest. It was apparently an opportunistic decision made in the mid-90s to be in a position to harvest the development potential of the lands.

The unfortunate by-product of this is that those lands and public facilities will not be developed in the future with the interest of all North Vancouver in mind. If the City ever gets to the task of rebuilding Harry Jerome,  it will be done with only only to extent of the interest and political will inside the boundary of the City.

Because the property is at the boundary between the City and District, and at least half or more of the users are District residents, to the average citizen of either the City or the District would make more sense to see it re-built with a North Vancouver-wide perspective.  However, since the School Board gave up it’s stewardship responsibility over those public lands, and the District relinquished its interest, its future is solely in the hands of the City. Whatever does eventually happen to rebuild it, regardless of the larger community it serves, it will only be done serve the interests inside the City and not the community it was originally built to serve – North Vancouver as a whole.

Similarly, Lucas center properties are also on the City/District boundary. If their potential as public lands to serve the whole North Vancouver community is to be realized, whatever that is, they should remain in the control of the North Vancouver School Board which has the interests of the whole North Vancouver community in its mandate.  To relinquish control over that site to the City is to once again do a disservice to the North Vancouver-wide public interest that you are supposed to serve.

 

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