We have been sent a copy of this email to the owners (Starlight Investment) of the rental property at 151 East Keith. There was a ‘private open house’ held last week to inform some of the neighbourhood. So now it seems that any green open space is a target for increased density. Full details of the application are not yet available.
This e-mail is being sent to:
Daniel Drimmer, President and Chief Executive Officer
David Chalmer, Vice President, Asset Management
Honorable Mayor Darryl Mussatto and City of North Vancouver Council Members
Posted for all OWNERS of: VICTORIA PLACE
Messrs. Drimmer and Chalmers:
As you are aware, on November 10th, 2016 an ‘Open House’ was held at St. Andrew’s Church in North Vancouver. The purported purpose of this meeting was to open a discussion with the residents of our building. The notice stated: “As valued neighbours, Starlight wishes to invite residents of Victoria Place to a private Open House to preview our proposal and solicit your initial input.”
Infill developments face several challenges. The projects are more expensive to build; infill sites are sometimes constricted in available space; additional transportation and vehicle parking issues have to be addressed; and the need for architects and developers to “respond to the context” of the neighborhood – in other words, to create a development that fits into the “character” of the neighborhood.
How does one define the “character” of a neighborhood? A neighborhood’s character goes well beyond how the buildings look – it’s about how people live and work there, how people move around, the scale of the neighborhood, and many other factors. Architects and planners should be asking themselves how people live in and interact with a place – and how they can support people living with broader, longer-term changes in the economy and environment.
When the Starlight Investments proposal was shown to the owners of this building, without having a representative from Starlight there to address our concerns, it was evident that you intend to proceed with presentation for approval to the City of North Vancouver with a total disregard as to how the neighbours really feel.
We realize that neighbors, too, have a responsibility to be more open-minded about the design of new developments. However, there are several negative factors in your proposal that we were previously not aware of. The property currently under development at 161 Keith Road East was approved in spite of huge opposition from the residents of this area. Your proposal has “assumed” Starlight will be granted the same concessions and have indicated the intention to build from property line to property line all the way around the development.
Architects can also get it wrong. Unfortunately too many of them don’t understand enough about the neighborhoods they’re building in, or the legacy they will leave. The biggest mitigating factor against your development is the misguided conception that there is ‘already sufficient parking’ under the current building at 151 East Keith to allow for the additional cars that will need parking for the proposed new tenants. This is definitely not the case and, since the onset of the construction at 161 East Keith, parking has become significantly less easy to find on either 6th Street or Keith Road.
Obviously, there has not been enough discussion on infill. In light of the many projects currently in the works in North Vancouver, our neighbourhoods are concerned the City or the developers might not ‘do it right’.
To us, it now seems apparent that the infill solution is designed to satisfy the greed of the developers at the cost of ruining the few neighbourhoods with character left in this city.
In your presentation, the theme seems to be more about why we should accept infill rather than what we would like to see. Meeting with the neighbourhood ‘face to face’ would have certainly been more productive than presenting a proposal with ‘no face’ from your end and no input from ours.
This e-mail will confirm that the owners of Victoria Place are unhappy with your proposal and we fully intend to voice our concerns to the City.
I trust you can empathize with our position.
Terry Lehouillier, President
On behalf of all Owners
Strata Plan VR 2735 Victoria Place
Left is 161 E Keith new tower underway; middle is existing building at 151 E Keith (proponent of new application) and right is existing building at 123 E Keith