Following is a letter to the Editor of the North Shore News regarding the upcoming Town Hall meeting on March 10th. The application from Polygon development is for a mixed-use building, 10 residential floors above a 2 or 3 storey podium and an Official Community Plan amendment for height. The application also involves land purchases from the City, density bonusing and density transfers and variances to the zoning bylaw.
Summary of the developer information session in October is here: http://www.cnv.org/-/media/city-of-north-vancouver/documents/major-development/119—131-west-esplanade-and-120-carrie-cates-court/developer-information-session-summary-report.pdf
‘Site 8’ at Lonsdale Quay was designated as a special study area in the City’s updated Official Community Plan (OCP) and its future will be up for a town hall discussion on Thursday evening March 10. North Van City Voices urges the public to attend and cast their opinion as to how any development of the land can best serve the community.
The land – collectively comprised of land at 120 Carrie Cates and portions of a lane both owned by the City of North Vancouver and land at 119-131 West Esplanade owned by Polygon Homes – is currently designated as mixed-use, allowing for residential, commercial and institutional uses. However, Polygon has submitted an application to purchase the City’s portion of the land, and to consolidate the site for a proposed 11 storey residential tower on top of a 2 storey commercial podium. While our city council and staff may have at one time encouraged residential development on this site, they should now re-evaluate the merits of doing so and weigh them against the long-term merits of other possible land uses.
The case for residential development on the site is now weaker than ever. The revised OCP will soon be allowing even more land assembly and densification throughout the city – particularly in the Moodyville area where the number of dwellings is expected to increase from several hundred to over 1,000 units in the long-term. Development at Harbourside – already approved – will be bringing over 800 new housing units. Closer to Site 8, redevelopment in Lower Lonsdale continues at a feverish pace – there are just over 500 units currently under construction. Public sentiment is that the area had already become built-out long ago. It follows that the 100 or so market units that would come with residential development on Site 8 would add comparably little value to the City’s total housing stock, mix and goals. Yes, the development would be close to a transit hub – considered smart growth – but it would be such few units at the expense of all other possible land uses from realizing their full potential and enjoyment by all (not-so-smart growth).
Site 8 is a crown jewel among city-owned land. Its proximity to the waterfront, the Shipyards, Lonsdale Quay market, neighborhood restaurants, the seabus terminal and the forthcoming art gallery makes a strong case for many other uses of the land that are synergetic to the area and that would be valued by all residents and visitors. The land would better serve the public as a place for meeting and gathering, community recreation, cultural events, exhibitions, forums and tourism. The City itself says that to match population growth in Lower Lonsdale, it needs to acquire land in the area that could serve as a park – how about an urban park that could host any of these uses?
Through the OCP’s special study process, City Voices implores council, staff and Polygon Homes to engage and listen to the public as to how the land on Site 8 can best serve everyone. To borrow from the City’s own words, ‘like the community, the OCP must be flexible in responding to changing conditions and values’.
North Van City Voices