Category Archives: Development

2601 Lonsdale – developer payback?

Comment from Voices: We have received the following from a resident who went to the Council meeting last night hoping to speak at public input:

Source: I was at City Hall for five hours tonight. Did not get a chance to speak, unfortunately. Normal procedure is to allow five speakers on all agenda items. Three spoke on other issues. The two who got on the list for this matter were the developer’s folks. Council normally allows over five speakers, but they have to vote on that. Tonight, they voted against it. I got to City Hall an hour before the meeting started – I was seventh on the list. The two who spoke on behalf of the developer don’t live in the area. The developer of 2601 Lonsdale (where the fire was) wants to close 26th Street, permanently. One of his people got up and told Council that turning right onto Lonsdale from 26th is very dangerous. Crash statistics say he is wrong. After the meeting I told him so and that it was disingenuous of him to mislead Council with no supporting data. This is what we are dealing with. A developer who will get people to go before Council and try to mislead them. Council voted that the proposal go to public hearing. It is not what we wanted, but we will have a chance to speak, at least. The interested parties are: – the community, and our safety – ‎people who would like to move into the area – ‎the developer, who would like to make lots of money – ‎City Council If 26th Street is kept open: – people in the community will be safer – ‎a building can be built within existing property lines that will allow many people to move into the area – ‎Council members who vote to not close may lose some support from the development community The community and people who want to join the community are better off with the road open. Council members may not be. If the road is closed: – the developer will still make money, but less – Council will likely retain the support of the development community, which could enhance their careers. Only the developer’s bank account and Council members dependent upon the support of the developer community for their careers will benefit from the road closure. Several Council members said they need to look at the community benefits of the proposal. What community benefits? There are developer benefits and Council benefits, but there are zero community benefits. Bank accounts and career objectives should not trump the safety needs of the community. Holy Trinity Elementary School sits at the intersection most effected by the closure. The likelihood of crashes at that intersection will increase if everyone is forced to use an intersection already over-congested with cars and CHILDREN. For what? The developer’s bank account? The outcome of the next civic election? Not good enough reasons to risk the lives of children. Not good enough. We don’t oppose development. We want the developer to build. On his own property. Public roads should not be closed for personal gain. Full stop. Decisions have consequences. If this road is closed, there will be crashes that hurt or kill people, and they will partially be the result of money and power being valued over community safety. Closing the road is wrong for the community. Closing it for the personal gains of a select few is appalling and not a decision I will support with my vote this fall. The community needs this road open more than the developer needs money over and above what he’ll make building on property he actually owns. Councils and mayors should be elected based on the voice of the community and not by “payback” votes from the development community as a way of thanking them for putting their needs above those of the people who live here. I was born in North Van. My grandparents and parents raised their families here. My father was a civil servant his entire career (although District. He had to move out of the city he served for over 30 years because the housing costs were so out of control.) I am a North Vancouverite, through and through, and I know a lot of people here. We see what is happening. I will be voting in the civic election this fall and hope you will too. Please share if you live in North Van, especially the City, and especially if you live in Upper Lonsdale.

Lara Braithwaite Ramsay


Affordable Housing case study

One of the items on the agenda for Monday’s Council Meeting is a rezoning application for 365 E 2nd.  In the 1050 page agenda package are details of the application, for a new 42 unit rental building (with 4 suites at mid-market rates for 10 years).  This new building will replace an existing rental building with 15 suites.  The new building will be 6 storeys, existing is 3 storeys.

A report from Colliers (undated) details the sale of this building:

Westbrooke Apartments, a 15-suite wood frame apartment building located at 365 East 2nd Avenue sold in June 2015 for $3,750,000, or $250,000 per unit. In January 2016, the property sold again for $4,475,000, or $298,333 per unit, representing an appreciation in value of 20% in under seven months. Lack of product, influx of foreign capital and the introduction of the North Vancouver Official Community Plan can all be attributed to this insatiable demand for North Vancouver apartment buildings.

In the report (part of the agenda) are the results of the information meetings, attendees for the most part extolling the virtues of the new building, with particular emphasis to having rentals in the area. But the existing building is a rental building – with rents varying from $824 to $1650 (2 bed).  

Based on the City’s reporting: Generally the Mid-Market rates represent a discount of approximately 35 %- 45% from current market rates. Based on the 2017 average rents in the City, Mid-Market Rental Units are to be rented $1425 for a 2 bed – therefore the current market rent would be about $2000. 

Does it make any sense to continue replacing affordable renting housing with unaffordable new rental housing?  Should there not be proof of the demand?  Should there not be evidence of the neighbours supporting these new proposals? It seems as though 80% of the responses at the info meetings are not from residents in the area. How can a newly built building possibly complete with an existing building value of $300K/unit?


City of North Van delays decision on Upper Lonsdale development

Source: City of North Van delays decision on Upper Lonsdale development

Comment from Voices:  Article in the North Shore News re the 2601 Lonsdale development application summarizes the Feb 5th Council meeting when the application first came up to move forward. At that time a motion was carried to refer back to staff for further analysis, and we (Voices) commented that it appeared that it would not be approved at that time. The Mayor requested that it be brought forward again on Feb 19th (with no new staff report), and with the absence of Coun. Buchanan it was again clear that the vote would fail.  So, once again, he manipulated the process -the application will to be brought back at a later date when she is present.

We have commented on this previously (Nov): Question:  If a meeting is held and it would seem that the vote would likely fail, is it proper to wait two weeks for the items to be discussed?  Or is this manipulation of the vote?   To be discussed unless one of the Mayor’s team is absent?


Councillors that were present for the Feb. 5 meeting had previously rejected the applicant’s proposal to move the project onto the public hearing stage, instead directing the proposal back to staff to take another look at.

But Mayor Darrell Mussatto brought the proposal back to council for reconsideration Monday, citing the need to act quickly to do something on the Upper Lonsdale site.

The property at 2601 Lonsdale Ave. has been vacant for more than a year after a fire last February destroyed the previous three-storey walk-up apartment that was there.

“If we don’t do something, that building is going to sit and it’s going to sit in a very derelict way for a long time and we need to get the process going,” Mussatto said. “I want to see something happen here.”

Coun. Craig Keating agreed the project should be pushed through to the public hearing stage.

He acknowledged that local residents and neighbours took issue with aspects of the proposed development but countered that sending the project to public hearing, not back to staff, was the best way to address those issues.

“I don’t think we can even begin to sort through the issues that people have with this unless we have a public hearing,” Keating said. “I’m not in favour of that model that says what we’re going to do instead is after all this length of time, and with a decrepit empty building sitting there, is to go back to some kind of behind the scenes discussion between the developer and city staff.”

Coun. Holly Back said she would like to “hear from more people” regarding the proposed development and was in favour of seeing it move onto public hearing.

Nearly a dozen local residents spoke during Monday’s public input period, with several expressing concern regarding building height and how the proposed development could impact local parking and the flow of traffic.

Pezzente’s application, which also includes 36 stalls of underground parking, also calls for the sale of a city-owned stretch of road on West 26th Street adjacent to the property in order to facilitate the development of the six-storey building.

Coun. Pam Bookham, who was not in favour of seeing the proposal proceed to public hearing, noted the proposed development could impact a local green space nearby the site, the loss of which could negatively affect the community.

“It’s available for the public as a whole. And it’s much needed given the lack of green space along that Lonsdale corridor,” she said.

Coun. Don Bell wasn’t in favour of “dragging this out for the applicant” if changes to the proposal needed to be made and stated council should send it back to staff before proceeding to public hearing.

Coun. Rod Clark acknowledged the developer’s deep roots in the community but said the proposal in its current state wasn’t ready to move forward.

“The community has risen up here and is expressing grave concerns,” Clark said. “I think quite honestly we’re just too far apart – the developer and the community – at this point in time to go to a public hearing.”

Coun. Linda Buchanan did not attend Monday’s meeting, leaving council with a 3-3 split. Council has deferred voting on the matter until a later date.   


City of North Vancouver clamps down on short-term rental offering

Comment from Voices:  Article in the North Shore News today – this new building received a density bonus for providing purpose built rental. So is this another sign that so much additional density is not needed in the City of North Vancouver?  How many empty units are there in the City currently?  Is the planning department tracking?  Article follows below:

A Central Lonsdale apartment complex has been advertising units available for short-term rentals, despite short-term rentals like Airbnb not being permitted in the City of North Vancouver. In . . .

Source: City of North Vancouver clamps down on short-term rental offering


Five years later, all that remains is barren land | The Global Canadian

Comment from Voices:  This development application was pushed through with much opposition in 2012, Councillor Bookham once again is the voice of reason and common sense.

Source: Five years later, all that remains is barren land | The Global CanadianThe Global Canadian

If Councillor Pam Bookham had her way at a recent council meeting, a major developer would have lost a contentious change to OCP granted by the council five years ago. Concert Properties came before the council in 2012 to ask to rezone waterfront land from Industrial to a mixed-used commercial and residential on Fell Avenue and Harbourside Drive.

It was a controversial ask at the time but the council granted the go-ahead to change the OCP designation and allow for a mixed-use commercial and residential neighbourhood. But five years later all that remains is a barren land with no sights of a development that Bookham said was touted as a vibrant neighbourhood that would provide jobs and office space and revitalise the area.

“Vibrancy sold this project and it’s now in danger of never being realised and I don’t understand why we are not pulling the OCP approval for this. We move this forward or it reverts back to its original OCP designation, which was a place where jobs could be provided. I don’t understand why we would be supportive of Concert when they seem to be unwilling or unable to move forward and deliver the vision they sold to us against a great deal of resistance,” she said.

Coun. Rod Clark also expressed his frustration at the five-year delay, noting that city let go of industrial land to give way to a more mixed designation. “Well, if only I had a dollar for every time I hear Concert was going to do something there.

“Concert came here and said we are going to build a wonderful, wonderful industrial park and according to them that didn’t too well and then they came back and in a very contentious, drawn out process got residential and commercial. It’s been sitting there forever, I want to see some action and I want to see it soon. They have promised and they haven’t delivered,” he said.

The council recently heard from the developer but it wasn’t news about shovels hitting the ground. Instead, Concert came before the council for another ask: It wants to exchange land use and reconfigure commercial space. The company now wants to first build market rental housing on the lot where it first planned a seniors’ rental-assisted living facility and it wants to reduce commercial on two sites and move the commercial to the remaining sites.

“There is a very strong need for both rental housing and seniors’ rental housing in the City of North Vancouver. Delivering rental housing in earlier phases of the Harbourside development will help to address historically low rental vacancy rates,” according to the developer. Councillor Craig Keating agrees.

Keating said he shared the frustration of the council but also felt that Seaspan workers could benefit from housing in the location. Keating said he recently a steady stream of workers leaving work and joining traffic who could stay in the neighbourhood with the kind of housing being proposed by Concert.

“If anyone needs housing near that spot, it’s Seaspan because there isn’t any housing. It would be great if we could have some housing there so people working at Seaspan could live there. I saw hundreds of people today at Seaspan that could use this,” he said.

Councillor Pam Bookham said she recalled a Seaspan representative saying the workers won’t be able to afford the housing being built there. She asked Concert representative if the company has had any conversation with Seaspan over housing.

“Our intent is to provide rental housing and I don’t have any conversation with Seaspan and whether that is going to be affordable for their employees,” said Craig Water, a senior vice-president of the company. He said Concert plans to bring forward a development permit application soon. Council granted the company’s request with Coun. Bookham opposed.


Rebellion in the neighbourhood | The Global Canadian

Comment by Voices:  Comparison of current growth in the City of North Van, the target in the Regional Growth Strategy for 2031 was 28,000 dwelling units. Currently planned are 31,192 (exceeding the 2041 targets). All details are on our ‘Statistics’ page or here for specific details:

Article in The Global Canadian:

Residents built our communities but now see a decline in quality of life due to disruption caused by endless rebuilding By Corrie Kost I feel like an end of an era in municipal governance is about to take place. In my opinion, and this is a change I’d welcome, many municipalities in the lower mainland …

Source: Rebellion in the neighbourhood | The Global Canadian


Create policies that benefit the CNV residents | The Global CanadianThe Global Canadian

Quoting in part from Fiona Walsh in :

The Harry Jerome Recreation Centre was built in 1966, when the population was considerably less than today. Since then the John Braithwaite Community Centre was built in Lower Lonsdale, but the Harry Jerome redevelopment has been put on the back burner, for many years, for lack of funding. Why didn’t the City collect enough funds from all the developments that they have been approving — with density bonuses that exceed the Official Community Plan guidelines — to pay for this redevelopment?

The City of North Vancouver, governed by a slate of councillors who vote en bloc, seems to be running the city with an eye to the extra revenue from developers. Who benefits from that revenue? We’d like to see more consideration given to policies that benefit the residents.

Source: Create policies that benefit the CNV residents | The Global CanadianThe Global Canadian