Looking forward and planning for the future

The District of North Vancouver is reaching out to residents to think about the future of the district. It is in the middle of a “targeted Official Community Plan (OCP) review.” It has assembled background documents in four topic areas and is asking for feedback from residents. It’s a lot to take in and it may be intimidating but it is a chance to have your goals for the future of Lynn Valley. Our neighbourhood has seen rapid changes, many forecast by the OCP and still, the community seemed surprised at times. This is a chance to get out in front of community issues. 


What is the OCP?


The Official Community Plan (OCP) helps a local government describe its long-term vision for the future. The objectives and policies help guide elected officials and employees in land use, transportation, sustainability, and many other areas of managing a municipality.  According to the DNV our current OCP was completed in 2011 and over 5,000 people participated in its development.

“It works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centres’ Implementation Plans, the Transportation Plan, the Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan, and others,” said Justin Beddall, communications coordinator for the DNV. “Many of the changes you see today in Lynn Valley, Lynn Creek, and Lions Gate Village, for example, originated from the direction and policy in the 2011 OCP.”


Why should this matter to you?


A scan of local social media there is a lot of back and forth from residents about the changes to Lynn Valley. Some love the densification and the opportunity for more people to make this great community home. Others agree but find the growth puts the community financially outreach for a diverse community. Some don’t like the growth direction at all. For local mom, and now rental housing advocate, Kelly Bond wishes she engaged earlier in the OCP process. 

“As one who was in the throws of raising tots and teens during the years leading up to the OCP adoption in 2011, I didn’t take the time to learn or understand the importance of being engaged in the process. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know what an Official Community Plan was,” said Bond, even as a very active community volunteer, at the time the process didn’t grab her attention at first. “ If I had taken a moment to become fully informed, I might have understood that the very OCP being created put my (and that of 60 other) family’s purpose-built rental housing and its luxurious green space that surrounded it at extreme risk of redevelopment.  I would have more strongly advocated for a greater inclusion and protection of purpose-built rental units for town centres areas over the more widely considered strata and investment options.”

As Bond was forced into action to advocate for more diverse housing, it led to a better understanding of all OCP issues and how they relate to each and every resident. 

“While replacement rental housing is what brought me to be actively engaged in municipal action, I now see how intricately that transportation, economy, recreation, education and climate issues co-relate and I frequently choose to make my thoughts heard to the decision-makers as they debate resolutions and motions,” she said  


What is the review?


This current review process was requested by district council to take a closer look at four specific areas to ensure the OCP continues to support the current vision and goals for the community. 

“The targeted OCP review seeks to address the biggest issues facing the citizens of the District of North Vancouver – housing, transportation, climate emergency, and the economy and employment lands,” said Beddall. “This engagement is an opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions and views to help shape the actions the District will be taking to address the biggest issues facing this community.” 

The DNV is open to all residents, business owners, and employees that work in the district to give their input through May 16. 

“In particular, families, seniors, students, disabled, new immigrants, and renters should actively participate and add their voices into the four areas established for targeted review,” said Bond.

For the district it helps gauge the current climate which has moved on from 2011. 

“The goal of the targeted review is to ensure we account for emerging issues, challenges, and trends in these four areas, and set guidance through an action plan as we continue to implement the OCP through 2030,” said Beddall.

The district’s webpage dedicated to the review gathers documents on transportation, housing, the climate emergency, and economy and employment lands for residents to review and a survey to offer feedback. 

“We’ve made efforts to help people engage in ways that works for them, while staying safe during the pandemic,” he said. “District residents have told us that many people prefer to participate in civic matters when it works for their schedules, rather than at specific times, so people can participate in a survey online at DNV.org/OCP-review. We’re making an effort to be respectful of peoples’ interests and available time to devote to something like this, so participants can choose to share their thoughts about all four areas or choose the topics that they are the most passionate about.”

For Bond, it is an opportunity she hopes others will take, and it could have a direct impact in the years ahead as the district updates its direction within Metro Vancouver’s 2050 regional growth strategy. 

 “Public input in the targeted OCP review can potentially impact what share DNV commits to as far as growth and population for the immediate years ahead,” she said. “The questions are fairly self-explanatory and presented in layman’s terms. If you feel less strongly about one particular topic, but have strong opinions or new ideas about another, your comments are equally vital and valid. All feedback provided helps establish the direction the district will seek and which experts would need to be further consulted to ensure the community’s priorities are acted on in strategy and policy formation.”  

There were also a number of virtual workshops to join, the last occurring May 10th. Details can be found here: DNV.org/OCP-review.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Lynn Valley electrified

If you are still driving in Lynn Valley and managing to avoid road closures, construction delays and the chaos of the Lynn Valley Centre parking lot, you may have noticed a smaller project underway at the corner of Lynn Valley Road and Mountain Highway. Petro Canada has selected Lynn Valley for a new electric charging station.


One of four


The new “Electric Highway” will eventually stretch from coast to coast. Currently there are four stations planned for the Lower Mainland. Two are operational in Langley and Abbotsford, and two more in the works – one in downtown Vancouver and one in Lynn Valley. We reached out to Petro Canada for more information and opening dates but they chose not to respond to LynnValleyLife.

The project is bringing a fast charge station with both the CCS and CHAdeMO connectors with the capacity to charge most vehicles in under 30 minutes. 

From Victoria, B.C. to Stewiacke, N.S., electric vehicle drivers have access to 50 locations along the Trans-Canada Highway. The initiative is supported by $4.6 million in funding from the federal government Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative. 


BC hotbed for EVs


B.C. leads the way in Canada for the shift to electric vehicles. There are already over 30,000 electric vehicles on the road and over 1,000 public charging stations. The push in B.C. for electric vehicles is supported by B.C.’s supply of clean energy. More than 95 percent of B.C.’s electricity is from clean sources (unlike many jurisdictions which burn fossil fuels for electricity).

In 2018, there were 44,000 zero-emission vehicles sold in Canada. Double the sales of 2017. It works out to less than one percent of vehicles on the road nationally and just under two percent in B.C.  For the year 2018, in British Columbia, Tesla made up the largest block of zero-emission vehicles sold at 2,500, followed by the Nissan Leaf at 1,019 and the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid at just under 1,000.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Lynn Valley on two wheels

Lynn Valley is heading out of some significant road construction as the 29th St. bike lane nears completion and another bike lane project scheduled to come up for summer 2020 on Lynn Valley Road. Without a doubt, cycling is part of the culture of North Vancouver. The District OCP goals aim for 35 percent of trips tol be made by public or active (cycling, on foot)  transportation by 2030. We spoke with Jay Jardine, Lynn Valley resident and vice-chair of HUB North Shore


Bikes, bikes and more bikes


With access to world class mountain bike trails and half-decent transit, many families in Lynn Valley make do with just one car. 

“Many people have more bikes than cars at their house,” said Jardine. “As an advocacy organization, we know people want to use them more but the infrastructure isn’t there. We go up into the mountains and ride on all these stunts but are afraid to ride on city streets.” 

The community’s proximity to accessible outdoors attracts a certain kind of resident.

“We are an active community and that goes hand in hand with active transportation, people want to put effort in to get a bit of a workout,” he explained. “There are also people who are environmentally conscious and it’s a priority for them to be environmentally conscious with their transportation footprint.”

Both HUB and the District of North Vancouver are seeing trends of more cyclists on the road and especially more cyclists commuting.


Technological advances


One of the biggest changes to cycling is the rise of e-bikes. The motor-assisted bicycles are seeing technological advances and price decreases making the North Shore hills less daunting and more accessible. 

“We see from our count stations at Bike to Work Week the proportion of e-bikes is going up,” said Jardine. “We like to say it ‘flattens the shore.’ It’s no longer an ordeal to get home at the end of the day, it really opens the range of ages and abilities that can use the network.”

In the fall during an interview with Mayor Mike Little, he shared he has noticed a distinct increase in e-bikes and cycle commuters amongst District staff. So much so they have increased the number of District fleet vehicles as staff no longer use their own vehicles for work. Adding that the climbing numbers of all cyclists – especially e-cyclists – that makes him inclined to support projects like the 29th St. bike lane, as an essential east-west connection.

There are also trends to make cycling more family friendly with European-style cargo and longtail bikes becoming more common on North Van streets.

“People used to ask how they can bike or be car-free with kids,” said Jardine. “Of course some need to get their kids and gear to hockey practice in a mini-van but you also now see parents with two kids on the bike doing errands at Lynn Valley Mall.”


Infrastructure


With numerous projects on the books, HUB still continues to lobby for a more continuous network of cycling routes. 

“Compared to Vancouver we just aren’t there yet,” said Jardine. “When we look at the profiles of riders we are very interested in the ‘Interested but concerned’ – that’s who we want to target with more infrastructure. What we would like to see are ‘class A’ facilities, almost always separated from traffic where the volume and speeds are too high. Almost always separated from pedestrians because cyclists can be a hazard, and a network of traffic calmed neighbourhood streets.”

Casano-Loutet rendering. Supplied.

Vancouver has an extensive network of bikeways where there is a comfort for all ages and abilities to ride, said Jardine. North Vancouver has some obstacles to master with no continuous grid system and challenging geography but there are opportunities to improve.

According to the District’s website, most cycling infrastructure is completed during large and small road improvement projects. 

“[The District looks] for opportunities to include new bike infrastructure where individual project budgets allow (the bike lanes on and around the new Keith Road and Montroyal bridges are examples of this approach). Because of the project-by-project approach we take to building bike lanes, new lanes don’t always connect to existing lanes, nor do they always lead to our most popular destinations. While this may be true in the short term, over time, these individual sections will begin to knit together into a complete system, as we continue including lanes in our infrastructure and road improvement projects,” says the District. 

Jardine says HUB is happy to see what is happening in the Lower Lynn area and the forthcoming overpass linking Cedar Village and Loutet Park.

“It will be a game changer. This is infrastructure that allows for walking or riding your bike from one side of the highway to the other without interacting with traffic. It provides a whole new range of options to get around – to access CapU, the emerging town centre, the bridge.” 


Challenges


Selling more cycling infrastructure and opportunities is always a bit of a challenge. From complaints about lack of car parking to weather, HUB is even hearing how poor residential planning and strata bylaws are making cycling more difficult. 

“It’s come to our attention that people want help around restrictions like moving bikes in elevators and creating more secure bike parking,” he said.

Where weather is concerned, Jardine points to other infrastructure that is only used part of the year – like beaches. 

“Looking at Snowmageddon a couple of weeks ago – no one liked it,” he said. “Cars weren’t driving, parks and schools were closed, we don’t limit those infrastructure projects because they are shut down in poor weather. There are at least seven months where riding is ideal. When you add the comfortable lanes, the direct routes, the wayfinding signage maybe new technology, like e-bikes, you will see that riding in the rain isn’t as difficult as fighting through car traffic. 

“Even if the bulk of ridership comes seven months of the year, that is seven months we see the benefits of better air quality and less congestion.”

What’s coming up

Two large forthcoming projects  are on the City and District’s agendas to improve cycling infrastructure around Lynn Valley: the Casano-Loutet Bridge over the cut and a dedicated bike lane on Lynn Valley Road from Mountain Hwy to Kilmer. Both have start dates scheduled in 2020.

Lynn Valley bike lane


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Highway Interchange Update

Some big progress is taking shape on the Highway and Mountain Highway/ Keith Road intersections. We’re excited to see some of these new improvements in use soon. For example, the new bridge connecting the Seymour area to Lynn Valley, removing the need to get on and off the Highway heading westbound.


Cranes positioning girder for installation

A new onramp from Mountain Hwy onto the highway heading westbound is also coming along nicely and will ease the pressure off the Lynn Valley Road onramp. Highway 1 will also be widened with the construction of additional lanes including the construction of two 2-lane bridges on either side of the existing 4-lane Lynn Creek Bridge.

The Mountain Highway/Lynn Creek, Keith Road/Seymour Parkway and Main Street/Dollarton Highway Interchanges will be upgraded in four phases. Improvements will address safety, queuing and delays and will help to improve travel times along Highway 1 and the Lower Lynn Interchanges.

Meet the town planner, and join the LV Community Association!

The Lynn Valley Community Association annual general meeting is coming up on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Please consider getting involved as a member – or even a board member! – to help keep Lynn Valley a community that is vibrant, welcoming and supportive of citizens of all ages and stages. Here is the press release from the LVCA:

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Emery Village development info session planned

LV Community Association president Gillian Konst asked us to pass along an invitation to learn more about the redevelopment proposed for Emery Village (the rental housing area that is currently east of Mountain Hwy and 24th Street, off Emery Place). Proposals for the layout of the property, the multifamily low- and high-rise building, and amenities are here

Lynn Valley Community Association is facilitating an information session on the new development plans for Emery Village.  Our role is to encourage everyone to help shape change in their community.

This is a second opportunity for you to learn more about the proposal, and consider such questions as:

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Keep your finger on the pulse of development in Lynn Valley

Mairi Welman, North Van District’s communications manager, recently let us know about two new online tools you can use to keep abreast of issues affecting your neighbourhood.

If you’d like to receive email notifications of new development applications in Lynn Valley, or across the entire District, just sign up here.

And if you go to this link, up will come a map of the District with icons representing the major development applications that have been submitted but not yet approved by council. This info is updated once a week. Once projects have been approved, they are moved over into “Traffic Impacts” (a separate tab on the map), which shows road improvements that are under way as well as how each development under construction is handling traffic and any re-routing or disruptions are scheduled.

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Open Houses held to demo highway improvements

With the recent announcement about increased funding that will allow for a smoother flow of  traffic up to and around the Ironworkers Memorial bridge, two meetings have been scheduled to update the public and answer questions. Please see this Lynn Valley Community Association press release for details:

News on the recently announced east-west local connection
and improved highway interchange in Lower Lynn

The Ministry of Transportation will be hosting two Open Houses to present in more detail the plans for the enhanced highway interchange project in Lower Lynn, along with the new east-west connection for local traffic.

The new interchange will give Lynn Valley residents direct south-bound access to Highway #1 and on to Second Narrows Bridge. Local traffic travelling east or west over Lynn Creek will have a new, direct and entirely local connection.

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Argyle school replacement subject of open house

The community has long been awaiting news of the fate of Argyle Secondary. The school district is inviting local citizens to an open house and presentation that will explain the proposal and offer the opportunity to ask questions and put forward your thoughts on several community-related aspects of the project. It’s on Thursday, November 24, and takes place in the Argyle school gymnasium.

6:30 p.m. – Doors Open
6:30 – 7:15 p.m. – Open House
7:15 – 8:30 p.m. – Presentation

From the School District press release:

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