Mountain Court, Harold Rd. redevelopments discussed

Two public information sessions regarding neighbourhood redevelopment proposals are being hosted by the developers. These are not public hearings, but presentations that describe the proposals, and offer the chance for discussion and questions.

Mountain Court redevelopment proposed

Polygon Development 251 is proposing to consolidate and redevelop the Mountain Court property at 1241‐1277 East 27th Street, along with the neighbouring triplex at 1295‐1289 East 27th Street. A public information meeting regarding the proposal is being held at Kiwanis Lynn Manor Auditorium (2555 Whiteley Court) on Wednesday, December 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The following is excerpted from the development information package:

The proposal consists of four buildings with five story massing and a total of 321 residential units. Three of the buildings will be comprised of 246 market condominium homes, and one building will be comprised of 75 rental apartment homes.

As per the Lynn Valley Implementation Plan, the development integrates the proposed road network with Lynn Valley Mall to the north. This road will bisect the site and create two new lots, which are further divided by an east/west pedestrian ROW. A new municipal street will run east/west along the southern end of the site and will ultimately serve as a connection between Whiteley Court and Mountain Highway.

The architecture of the development is defined as contemporary urban design in a West Coast context. It is designed to fit into the Lynn Valley community and provides a unique neighbourhood feeling. Parking will be underground accessed from two points.

For more details on the development, click here.

Homefield proposes Harold Road redevelopment

Another information night will be taking place on Thursday, December 11 at Mollie Nye House, at 7 p.m. The proposal concerns property at 1203 and 1207 Harold Road, and involves eight residential townhome developments.

For more information on this proposal, click here.


Lynn Valley Mall redevelopment gets seven thumbs up

After years of extensive public consultation and study, in the end it took North Vancouver District’s seven councillors less than an hour to unanimously approve four bylaws that will allow Bosa Development’s Lynn Valley Mall development to proceed.

YesA special council meeting was held on the evening of Tuesday, June 10 with only one order of business: to vote for or against the redevelopment project, which includes a complete overhaul of the mall, mixed residential-retail usage, two 12-storey buildings, a new High Street connecting Lynn Valley Road and 27th Street, and a variety of public amenities.


Learn about Keith Road Bridge replacement at Open House

Wondering what’s going on with the Keith Road Bridge project? For everyone who is anxious about traffic congestion up Mountain Highway, here is a great resource – a website with tons of info about the bridge replacement project (including a swishy video) and links to traffic studies and other info.

An open house regarding the project will take place Thursday, May 15 from 5 to 8 pm at the Holiday Inn on Lillooet Road.

Input on Argyle rebuild invited

A letter from North Vancouver’s Superintendent of Schools….

Dear Parents/Guardians/Residents in the Argyle Family of Schools Community:

On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to invite you to attend an Argyle Family of Schools meeting on:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Doors open 6:30; Presentation 6:45; Discussion, Wrap-up by 9:00 p.m.
Argyle Secondary School Small Gym
1131 Frederick Road
North Vancouver BC

The North Vancouver School District is actively working towards a full replacement school project for Argyle Secondary School. As a parent/guardian of a student(s) attending school in the Argyle catchment area, and/or a resident living in the community, you have a vested interest in this project. The Board wants your support and input.

A new replacement school will be designed to provide a safe and enhanced learning environment for students and may incorporate additional community amenities. The meeting will include:

• Background information on the Argyle capital project
• A status update on the Board’s efforts to receive approval for a full replacement of Argyle
• Funding needed for the project
• Potential enhancements to the site (fields, parking, etc.) and building (area and functions)
• Opportunity to provide input and ask questions
• Next steps to move forward on the Argyle full replacement project.

The Board of Education has successfully completed full replacement projects at Sutherland (2008) and Carson Graham (2012) Secondary Schools. Now it’s Argyle’s turn! Please join us to be a part of the Argyle project.

Yours sincerely,

John Lewis
Superintendent of Schools

Public speaks to mall redevelopment

Passion was evident at last night’s public hearing into Bosa’s proposed redevelopment of Lynn Valley Mall, a culminating point in what has been an exhaustive and exhausting journey for North Van District staff and council, the developer, and the community itself.

The overflow crowd first heard a presentation from district staff, who explained key points regarding the proposed development that would include 399 residential units in six phased-in  buildings of various heights, and its context in the Official Community Plan adopted by district council in 2012.

Bosa  consultant Mark Sager and project architect Chris Dikeakos next spoke to the community support they have received for the “Whistleresque” design that features natural stone and timber building materials, a terraced-back building design, three open plazas and a $4.5 million public amenity package.

Lynn Valley updated drawing


Support was indeed evident from members of the public who addressed council about the development, most of whom said that the Lynn Valley core was in dire need of revitalization and the amenities that a higher-density usage of the area will bring. Some benefits quoted were more affordable housing that would give options to first-timers, downsizers, and the disabled; a more engaging, liveable town centre that would result in more people staying in the valley to do their shopping and socializing; and the preservation of our forests and single-family neighbourhoods through concentrating growth at the town core.

There were also detractors of the project and its two proposed 12-storey buildings, as well as those who liked the Bosa design but expressed concerns regarding traffic and increased density. Traffic has indeed emerged as a primary theme in this ongoing debate. Both North Vancouver District staff and Bosa Developments point to expert traffic studies indicating that new roads and other transit enhancements that are part and parcel of the project will result in a negligible impact on current traffic flow. For some people in the crowd, however, these studies were not enough to overcome their conviction that vehicular gridlock will be the inevitable result of the proposed densification.

Glenn MacKenzie stated that he is “proud to have been a critical voice” in the process, noting that community opposition resulted in Bosa’s originally proposed 22-storey buildings being drastically reduced in height. While he said that Bosa has made a good effort on its new design, though, he believes that there has been “blind acceptance” on NVD council for ongoing development and densification throughout the municipality.

Speaking in support of the proposal, longtime community volunteer Maureen Bragg said the town centre land “must be put to its highest and best use” and that “any decision we make must be an unselfish one.”

Presentations regarding what constitutes the “best use” of this valuable property continue tonight at District Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. in council chambers. The public hearing is expected to conclude this evening, with council scheduling a vote on the matter in the days to come. For more information about the public hearing process and the proposed development, click here.


Learn about Argyle school redevelopment plan

The Lynn Valley Community Association is hosting an evening information session for local residents wanting to know more about the planned redevelopment of Argyle Secondary School.

The event will be held on Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at the LV rec centre at the corner of Frederick and Mountain Hwy. All are welcome to attend.

In attendance will be provincial MLA Jane Thornthwaite,  Superintendent of Schools John Lewis, school trustees Franci Stratton and Lisa Bayne, DNV Councillor Robin Hicks, and federal MP Andrew Saxton.

Bring your questions and comments!


LV mall proposal goes to public hearing

This in from the North Van District website:

The rezoning proposal for the Bosa development (1175 Lynn Valley Road and 1280 East 27th Street) received first reading at Council on Monday, March 24, 2014. The development proposal has been referred to Public Hearing, which is the community’s formal opportunity to provide input to Council.

The Public Hearing will be held on April 15, 2014 at 6 pm at District Hall. The Agenda for the Council Meeting, including the Report to Council and attached bylaws, is available for review (Agenda Item 9.1) by clicking here [scroll to page 47]. For further information on the Development Application, click here.

(For our blog post about the recent public information night Bosa hosted regarding the project, click here.)

LV United Church hearing adjourned until April

A full house packed North Vancouver District council chambers on Tuesday, March 18 for the public hearing regarding the redevelopment of the Lynn Valley United Church property.

Proposed church renderingProposed church renderingAt stake is the rezoning that would allow the church to proceed with plans for a new church building facing Mountain Highway, bordered on the north and west by a four-storey multi-family complex. Included would be 75 one, two and three bedroom units, four of which would be sold to the North Shore Disability Resource Centre at cost for use as affordable, accessible rental housing for their clients. Also included would be enhancements to the riparian area around Hastings Creek.

At the outset, North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton apologized that the public hearing was inadvertently called during the spring break vacation, the result of trying to schedule an evening in between councillors’ other travel commitments. Having heard that some of the church neighbours living in the complex at 3275 Mountain Highway were unable to speak due to the school holiday, council voted at the end of the evening to continue the matter with further submissions accepted at a second hearing night on Tuesday, April 1.

Proposed church rendering

Over the course of last night’s proceedings, council heard many presenters from the church passionately speaking about their vision for the church and its ministry in the future. Rod Pearce pointed out that the church members had not spent six years developing the proposal for personal gain, but to provide Lynn Valley with an amenity that will play many roles in benefitting the wider neighbourhood, from flexible meeting and performance space to community-building programming.

“Lynn Valley United [will] in reality [be] a community centre and community amenity. But it is a community centre that receives no public funding. In fact,” he said, pointing to amenity contributions and long-term residential tax revenues, “this project will provide significant revenue for the public coffers.”

Shauna Gringke says the congregation has been learning to “do church differently” over the past few years, through such offerings as the ongoing Friday Night Live musical improv nights. “We’re generating momentum on this journey,” she said, noting that local businesses are starting to proactively approach the church to sponsor upcoming FNL seasons, recognizing the shows as unique and uplifting community gatherings.

Other people speaking in support of the project included those advocating for local disabled citizens; Suzanne Klassen of the North Shore Disability Resource Centre noted that the Metro Vancouver housing waitlist for people in wheelchairs has increased 400% over the past seven years, and called the project a “tremendous opportunity” for people to live “comfortably and securely in their own community.”

LVUC blueprintWhile expressing support for the redevelopment, a number of parents from the Rainbow Corner daycare housed on the church property spoke to their deep concern about the potential loss of daycare spaces in Lynn Valley. They were informed by North Vancouver District staff, however, that the church’s developer, Marcon Developments, and North Vancouver District had worked together to plan for a new daycare on site at the Lynn Valley Recreation Centre at Mountain Highway and Frederick, with the modular building financed by the developer. Should the project be approved, it was noted that the new daycare would be in place prior to the demolition of the current church building.

“Branches” resident Hazen Colbert was concerned that without a re-look at the underground parking proposal, some residents of the new complex might end up relying on street parking. A reallocation of residential versus visitor parking stalls in the planned underground lot, he suggested, would “have considerable impact on public peace.”

During the latter part of the hearing,  council heard from some of the residents of the 36-unit Hastings Manor, located beside the church’s gravel parking lot. One resident brought a petition with 28 names on it, which he said represented those people in Hastings Manor who objected to the redevelopment.

Jonathan Lindsay said people in his building would be “highly affected” by the erection of a neighbouring complex, which would be half a storey in height above Hastings Manor, currently the tallest building in the area. Some of the impacts he described included the loss of sunlight, privacy, and some of the trees at the rear of the property, and an increase in parking difficulties, given that his own building does not have enough stalls and residents often rely on street parking.

Two other speakers claimed that the church trying to make money at the expense of its neighbours, and that although planners met with the Hastings Manor strata council on two occasions and had a neighbourhood information night, their concerns have not been adequately addressed. One speaker described the proposal as “ridiculous,” and said that the church should not be trying to force council to change bylaws to accommodate its vision.

As the public hearing was adjourned at the end of the evening, Mayor Walton advised the assembly that council may still receive written input on the matter. Oral presentations may also be made on Tuesday, April 1, when at 7 p.m. the hearing will take up where it left off. While people may not redeliver the same information they have already presented to the hearing, new speakers and previous speakers who have new information to impart will be accommodated. For more information about North Vancouver District’s public hearing process, and how to present, click here.

For project drawings, description, and a staff report on the proposed redevelopment, scroll to page 175 of these council minutes.

Crowd of 500+ hears Bosa proposal for Lynn Valley mall

Four hundred chairs had been set out, but they proved unequal to the task of seating the overflow crowd of residents who came out Wednesday night to learn more about the Bosa Developments proposal for the transformation of Lynn Valley Mall.

photo courtesy Maureen O'Brien

photo courtesy Maureen O’Brien

Some of them had previously attended an informal September presentation, during which Mark Sager outlined the new vision Bosa had developed based on months of dialogue with the community. (For an overview of the “mountain village” design, which includes a completely refurbished shopping mall and two 12-storey residential buildings, click here.)

“I don’t know if you realize how much your input has shaped this,” said Sager as he finished his slide presentation. “We have done our best to try as hard as we can to address the community’s wishes.”

Knowing that traffic is a big issue for those people concerned about increased densification in Lynn Valley, for example, Sager announced that Bosa Developments has offered to finance the addition of an extra lane at the entrance to the Trans-Canada Highway, at the highway overpass marking the end of Lynn Valley Road, a proposed improvement that has been met with enthusiasm by all levels of government involved.

The audience question-and-answer period that followed Sager’s presentation took place under the direction of Catherine Rockandel, an independent, third-party facilitator who described her role as ensuring that all voices were heard in an environment of “respect and civil conversation.” She noted that all comments coming from the floor would be recorded and included in her report to North Vancouver District Council – though at least two council members were spotted in the audience, taking in the evening for themselves.

Comments from the floor were very largely positive, with even those opposed to increased density in Lynn Valley tipping their hat to Bosa Developments for the compromises they have made in response to community feedback. Glenn MacKenzie, one of the founders of the “Stop Hirises” campaign in Lynn Valley, called Bosa “a great developer”, and focussed his criticism not on the plans themselves, but on the whole issue  of densification in Lynn Valley.

Most, people, however, seemed to think that a redevelopment of the area is long overdue.   Ron McLean and his wife moved to Lynn Valley almost 50 years ago, when a house cost three times his annual teacher’s salary. Now, he says, a house costs about 15 times the typical teacher’s salary, and the eight houses around him, which used to house 23 children between them, are now home to only four children. His own kids have had to move away, with the result that he and his wife don’t see their grandchildren more than three or four times a year. “I have to agree that high rises are appropriate,” he said. “We have to share the wealth of our community.”

Bosa proposalIan Jarvis was next to the microphone and waved across the crowd to Ron McLean. “I used to play soccer with your son, Cam,” he said. “We were often ‘those kids’ who hung out at the 7-11.”  He, too, wishes he could live back in Lynn Valley, and expressed his appreciation of the efforts being made to achieve greater housing diversity. When he saw the signs protesting the addition of high rises to the community, he assumed that 30 or 40-storey towers were being planned. “But 12 storeys, are you kidding me?” he said, prompting laughter from the audience. “That’s a high rise?”

While it is not uncommon for older, well-established residents to resist change in their neighbourhoods, many of the people speaking in favour of the proposal have in fact lived in Lynn Valley for decades. They pointed to increased community amenities, options for downsizing their housing, and the walkability of the Bosa redevelopment as attractive features of the proposal.

A resident of Craftsman Estates, who lives across the street from the mall and would be directly affected by the construction plans, also spoke in favour of the development. “I’m thoroughly impressed with the Mountain Village look and the willingness of Bosa to work with the community,” said Hazel Boyd, noting that the mall should offer a more robust business environment and that the District of North Vancouver needs more of a tax base to ensure future economic health.

There is still much to be discussed as the project is negotiated, however, including the best use of the allocated community amenity space, and ongoing dialogue about traffic management plans, aspects of which are already under way. This latter issue, of course, is not solely specific to the Bosa proposal, but an overall part of the District’s implementation of the Official Community Plan for Lynn Valley Town Centre. (Click here and scroll down to #4, Additional Information, for a link to the Lynn Valley transportation study commissioned by North Vancouver District.)

photo courtesy Maureen O'Brien

photo courtesy Maureen O’Brien

Feedback from Wednesday’s public information meeting will go back to North Vancouver District staff, who will prepare a report for council either recommending that the application be denied, or that it proceed forward to public hearing. For a step-by-step look at the whole approval process, read this post; we have just completed Step #5.)

If you haven’t yet had a look at the plans and drawings for the proposal, visit the Bosa storefront in the mall in the former pet store space, or click here.  Your feedback can be sent directly to Mark Sager by clicking the orange tab at the left of the screen on his Lynn Valley Connect site.

On February 13, the District of North Vancouver’s Advisory Design Panel unanimously passed a motion of recommendation to the District Council in support of the proposed re-zoning. Public input will be taken at the public hearing stage, should the application proceed.