Cedar V theatre memories recalled

Just over two years ago, we wrote this post about the now-legendary Cedar V theatre, located next door to what is now the PetroCan station on Lynn Valley Road.

This week, we were happy to receive some more reflections, sent our way by Dave Whitmore, who lived at 2826 Crestlynn Place from 1958 till 1973. Thanks for the memories and the photos, Dave!

The Cedar V Theatre Years

I was born in 1950, and our family moved to Lynn Valley in 1959. At that time there was a small shopping centre with a Safeway, one elementary school, Eastview Elementary, and soon one high school, Argyle (finished in 1965, in time for me) and one theatre – the Cedar V Theatre.

cedar vThe theatre was Quonset Hut-style building with a covered wrap-around area for the line-ups that also posted the marquee of shows playing. They always showed double features, and on Saturdays a half-price matinee for kids. The price was 35¢, later 50¢, and snacks were cheap, too. Also, they had hot dogs, a snack that has since disappeared from theatres.

When one of the two features were considered ‘adult only’, us matinee goers would be given a raft of cartoons and a ‘Three Stooges’ movie in place of it. Because of this, I have seen every ‘Three Stooges’ movie at least twice, and know the names of all five ‘Stooges’ characters: Moe, Larry, Curly (bald), Shemp, and Curly Joe (also bald).

Between features, there was a ‘Birthday Break’ where birthday kids came on stage and were given applause, a ‘Happy Birthday’ sing-along, and a free ticket and a treat. In all those years, my birthday never happened on a Saturday. Damn!

In the rear of the theatre were two soundproof ‘Crying Rooms’ with their own speakers and big glass windows. They were used in the evening where adults that had crying kids could go and watch the movie without disturbing others. On matinee days, they were occupied by all the local “tough kids” as a sort of clubhouse. Most of them were members of a loose Lynn Valley gang that called themselves ‘The Lynn Valley Smiling Crab Society’ (or LVSCS for short). In there they would smoke up a storm and drink smuggled booze; but that left everyone else in peace – so it worked out well for everyone. I’ve never seen ‘Crying Rooms’ in any other theatre, though some other theatres must have had them, too.

Cedar V property today

– graphic by Dave Whitmore

The family that ran it was the Chisolm family who lived upstairs in the theatre, and one of their kids (John , I think) was often in one of my high school classes. I always envied a kid who lived in the theatre. He was a small, mild-mannered guy, but unlike other small, mild-mannered guys like me, he never had to worry about the many bullies from the LVSCS and others, lest they be banished from the Saturday gang get-togethers in the ‘Crying Rooms’. A sort of ‘Diplomatic Immunity’.

Despite the fact that because I was always the smallest kid in my grade and got bullied a lot, the years in Lynn Valley were the best in my life. The schools and houses were surrounded by woods and trails, and Lynn Canyon Park had the free suspension bridge. Most people lived in the new suburban ‘Westlynn’ and ‘Westlynn Terrace’ developments and were generally pretty well off. And watching all the ‘Sinbad’ and ‘Beard and Sandals’ epic shows (eg: Ben-Hur, Barabas, etc) in technicolor at the Cedar V Theatre was a big part of it. Notwithstanding the shadow of the Cold War, these were happy innocent times.

– Dave Whitmore, former Lynn Valley resident

Dave Whitmore still visits his old haunting grounds in Lynn Valley.

Dave Whitmore still visits his old haunts in Lynn Valley.

 

How Rapid Notify system was deployed in search for senior

 

Although the recent search for senior Joan Warren ended tragically, the event served to galvanize first responders and local citizens in an unprecedented manner thanks to the use of communication tools such as the Rapid Notify system, an automated system that broadcasts critical messages to listed telephone numbers as well as self-registered private numbers, cell phones and email addresses.

This week we contacted Dorit Mason of the North Shore Emergency Management Office (NSEMO) and Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP to learn more about some of the behind-the-scene practicalities of the Rapid Notify system and other factors that played a role in the search for Mrs. Warren. Their responses have been edited for publication.

To learn more about the North Shore’s plans for emergency response in a variety of situations, and the tools every citizen should employ to self-prepare for urgent eventualities, we encourage you to visit the NSEMO website.

LVL: How long has the North Shore had the Rapid Notify network in place?

Mason: The system has been in place for approximately 18 years, for use by the municipalities on the North Shore. It is funded by Canexus [the chemical manufacturing and handling company that has a terminal on the North Vancouver waterfront] as part of their Responsible Care program.

LVL: How many individuals were contacted in the Warren search?

Mason: On December 6, 2013, we identified  approximately 32,000 contacts within the initial area and roughly 39,000 calls were completed – this includes those individuals who self-registered and had multiple contact methods. On December 7, 30,000 calls were completed.

LVL: It took a few hours for that many telephone numbers to be contacted. Do you think people should avoid registering multiple telephone numbers for one household, so as not to unnecessarily slow things down?

Mason: The length of time for a callout is dependent on a number of factors. This includes the length of the message, how many times the number is redialed (up to three times in an attempt to reach the person), how many rings occur before it is picked up, as well as the number of calls being made.

The message that was delivered in this instance attempted to balance the length of the call with the need to provide enough information to the public to help them act (i.e., search their back yards).

We recommend that individuals self-register and include multiple phone numbers as they may be away from their home when an emergency occurs. The only access the system has to personal emails and cell phones is through the self-registration feature.

The public should also continue to obtain information from the media, social media (i.e., twitter/Facebook sites from the municipalities, police, NSEMO, etc.), agency websites, and so on.

LVL: How precise can you be in terms of what specific neighbourhoods are contacted when the Rapid Notify system is deployed? What was the scope of the Joan Warren call-out, and what factors played into that decision?

Mason: The decision by the RCMP was to encompass a radius of approximately 5 km from the care home on Friday night, and on Saturday to expand the callout to other parts of the North Shore.

LVL: The Rapid Notify telephone alert wasn’t as specific as to Mrs. Warren’s point of origin as was the original press release (the phone call alerted people to a senior missing in North Vancouver, while the press release was Lynn Valley-specific). Why was the phone message not as specific?

Mason: The decision was made to not include the location because we needed the community’s help to look for her throughout the North Shore. If a location had been given, our citizens may not have made the effort to search their properties because they felt it was not within their neighbourhood.

LVL: 

There were so many citizens who wanted to help. Were any lessons learned for the future as to the potential for efficiently harnessing this people-power? Did you have concerns about citizens out bushwacking in the woods?

Mason: During any emergency, members of a community come together to help each other. This is a fact that has been seen all over the world during disasters and is the first step for community recovery.

We were so grateful to the citizen action – our community banded together to search for a vulnerable individual and although the outcome was tragic, it is truly an example of how our community responded to the call for help.

The message instruction was specific to searching their properties/backyards because we did not want citizens to go into any areas that could put them into danger. Other efforts were being coordinated by the RCMP to search these areas.

Cpl. De Jong: There was a lot of public interest.  North Shore Search and Rescue also re-twitted our press releases and Tweets, which gave more exposure as well.

Most people kept to their residential area for searching; word got out amongst neighbors and friends.  There were no reports of large-scale confusion or disruption to the search efforts.

A safety message is always paramount in these situations.  Safety of all involved is key. There were no reports of ‘searchers’ getting in the way in the woods or getting lost.

LVL: What other means of communicating urgent messages might be employed? I’m thinking of portable digital roadside signs, for example, for people who aren’t tuned in to the media. Or are you confident that the Rapid Notify system achieves a good saturation of the populace?

Mason: Rapid Notify is only one tool within our toolbox to reach out to the populace. Other methods can include ‘door-to-door’ campaigns by responders, using loud hailers on response vehicles, using media/social media. Utilizing roadside signs is also an option that has been used during emergencies in other places.

We encourage people who live or work on the North Shore to self-register with Rapid Notify as it is one tool that may be used to communicate with them during emergencies. Individuals can sign up for Rapid Notify at www.nsemo.org and include cell phones and emails.

LVL: Any observations or comments about how the weekend search went; what worked really well or what tweaks might be considered for the future?

Mason: As with any response, we always review and tweak response actions after the fact so that it goes more smoothly in the future.

The feedback that we have had with regards to using this system to try and locate Mrs. Warren has overall been extremely positive. I have heard of examples where teenagers informed their parents that after they answered the call they searched their backyards, people were searching the bushes as they were out walking, and individuals took detours around the neighbourhood while out on errands.

Once again we thank the public for their assistance in trying to locate Ms. Warren. Although the situation ended in tragedy, the concerns of the citizens and their actions in trying to locate her were greatly appreciated.

Cpl. De Jong: Over all a tremendous show of community support and sympathy was shown for the Warren family.  We can always learn from past experiences and will debrief our successes and challenges.

 

 

Resident reflects on highjack of highrise conversation

This was submitted to LynnValleyLife by Dan Ellis; it is a copy of his recent submission to North Vancouver District Council.

***

I’m the Chair of the Official Community Plan Implementation Committee, who are 15 citizens appointed by Council to “watchdog” the process.

But I’m speaking tonight as a Lynn Valley resident of 34 years; not on behalf of the OCP Committee.

Change can be seen as opportunity or threat.  A threat to our sense of community means a threat to ourselves, so we can get really emotional.  I get that.

But I want to register my dismay that some of my neighbours feel it’s OK to:

  • proclaim that one point of view represents everyone – there are 7,500 households in Lynn Valley.
  • intimidate residents who’ve said they felt bullied to sign petitions.
  • largely block the doorways to public consultation meetings.
  • interfere with public meeting attendees – disrespecting their right to self-educate and decide for themselves.
  • tell attendees that input to public consultation surveys will be ignored by DNV.
  • threaten to disrupt Council and staff from conducting their daily business at the Hall.
  • spread other mis-information.

The folks doing this are mostly in my age group.  But isn’t planning supposed to be about the needs of children and grandchildren, as well as for ourselves in coming years?  Frankly I am ashamed at the tactics being used by some folks who, while understandably upset by the prospect of change, are in large measure uninformed about why the OCP says what it does, and weren’t among the thousands who participated from 2009 – 2011.

Emotion should be respected, but it won’t always get to the best solution.  Perhaps it might be helpful if folks in Lynn Valley read the 2011 OCP, ask a lot of questions, and think for themselves before exercising their rights to use political pressure tactics and protest.  What I see is that Council and staff really are listening – so you don’t have to yell.

B.C. Mills House: a step into the past

 

The B.C. Mills House Museum, a hidden reminder of Lynn Valley’s history, is located near the entrance of Lynn Valley Headwaters Regional Park.

Originally purchased from a 1904 catalogue of the B.C. Mills Timber and Trading company, it represents the first prefabricated house on the North Shore.  It was purchased and built in 1908 by Captain Henry Pybus as a home for his family.

Later, it was converted to a schoolhouse and still later became the political headquarters of the infamous Rhino party. After  many years of neglect, the building was to be torn down. However, Stella Jo Dean, a councillor of North Vancouver City at the time, suggested it be moved to the newly established Lynn Headwaters Park to serve as a historic reminder of the early lumbering days.

With the approval of the planning department and the physical resources of the 6th Field squadron of engineers, the building was dismantled, reassembled and refurbished in its present location.

Over the next few years, various hikers and interested persons started bringing  to the museum  a variety of artifacts found in the woods  – objects that dated back, in some cases, to the late 1800s!

Subsequently an inventory was created of all these items and became available about the time the museum opened in 1998.

Items have since been added and an update of our inventory is becoming a necessity. Although storage and display space is limited, the museum still lures visitors from a broad geographic region – many of whom have loggers as their forebears.

The museum is staffed by a few keen volunteers on Sundays and statutory Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. from May to September. If you’d like to join us, just see our notice, below!

– Ruth Sherwood, Lead Volunteer

Volunteer in beautiful Lynn Headwaters!

Spend the occasional Sunday afternoon in the park, and learn more about how our forebears first made their living in this part of the North Shore!

Join the group of avid volunteers at the B.C. Mills House Museum as an occasional host from May to September, on Sundays and statutory Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The volunteers’ aim is to provide information about the early logging and mining history in this area. Experienced volunteers help newcomers become oriented to the program.

Volunteers also provide park and trail information to the many hikers and dog walkers who head out into this large wilderness region.

To obtain further information about this opportunity, contact West-Area Metro Regional Parks at 604 224-5739, or just drop into the museum during the open hours.

 

Town centre proposal can bring vitality, says Gilmour

 

This email was sent by John Gilmour to LynnValleyLife and to many of the other Lynn Valley citizens in his network. We have reproduced it here to illustrate our story about the divergent views being expressed in the neighbourhood. Please see our story for links to background information and different perspectives.

As you may know, I am a big supporter of the Lynn Valley Town Centre redevelopment as a “Mixed-use Lifestyle Centre” concept with lots of community amenities.

A community developed in South Surrey by Larco called Morgan Crossing, has some videos on it’s web site, that explain the type of potential Lynn Valley has:

The month ahead may be our last chance to have a say on how Lynn Valley will re-develop and retrofit over the next 20 – 30 years in regard to building form, character and particularly height.  It’s all about the trade-offs.  The more open space we want, the taller a few of the buildings will have to be.  Despite the fact that the OCP was passed unanimously in 2011, height was not stipulated.  So now is the time to make that choice.   I don’t think anyone is against redevelopment of the town centre, it’s just a matter of what height.

Open the web site by clicking on the link and you can review the plans and see the various options.  There are 4 of them.  Option A, B, C & D.

In my opinion:

  • Option A – not enough open space and amenities. Streets are shadowed all day every day.
  • Option B – still not enough open space
  • Option C – gives quite a bit more open space.  Almost as much as option D, but with a few less 16 storey towers (16 stories is the same as the Kiwanis Tower at Whitely Court)
  • Option D – A bit more dense and would give more amenities… including affordable housing and more taxpayers to help share the financial load. (Did you get your property tax bill last week?  More taxpayers means less upward pressure on taxes). Includes one 22 storey building.

Action items:

  1. Attend one of the remaining open houses and vote using the iPad computers on site, or
  2. Use your computer at home to vote on the options, or
  3. If you are still undecided, the DNV has offered to hold small group meetings in the community regarding the proposals.  If you would like to attend a small group meeting, please let me know  and I will arrange one.

Either way don’t miss this opportunity to have a say.

Regards,

John Gilmour

(speaking on behalf of myself and not any group that I am a member of…)

C: 604-808-1171

 

Coach Janet’s Top 5 tips for delivering legendary customer service

If you have customers, you are in the customer service business. The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer base through delivering legendary customer service. Over 80 per cent of all sales in North America originate from the recommendations of satisfied customers. Dedicating yourself to excellent customer service is one of the smartest and most profitable things that you can ever do for your business.

 1.   Understand customer expectations

Do you know what’s important to your customers? Very successful salespeople are repeatedly referred to as friends and advisors by their customers. If you can explain the need, want or frustration better than the customer can, they will automatically assume you know how to solve the problem.

 2.   Exceed expectations

Disney calls this delivering a “WOW” experience. You want to be remembered, and it takes a lot for that to happen in the eyes of a customer. Expectations are high. Even if you are dealing with a complaint make it a “WOW” experience. Organizations are often remembered for how they deal with difficult situations more than how they perform on a daily basis. If you are not exceeding customer expectations then you are just like every other business out there.

 3. Create customer service systems

Set out to create internal systems that enable the consistent delivery of legendary customer service. Create simple processes, policies and tools to support the delivery of your quality service standards. Processes should never be hassles; they should be designed to remove barriers to providing legendary service.

 4. Make people happy to do business with you

People are predominantly emotional; we are greatly impacted by the warmth, friendliness, cheerfulness and helpfulness of others. Make sure ALL of your staff are capable of making a good first impression within the first 10 seconds of an interaction. It is very difficult to provide a legendary customer experience if YOU are not in a warm, friendly and personable mood.

 5. Do everything to make it right

When you mess up – and you will – how you deal with it will define your business. When faced with an issue, own the issue and promptly do EVERYTHING in your power to make it right. WOW your customer with how you deal with issues and you’ll be forever remembered as an organization that cares. Remember, you are in business not for just this one sale but for the many more to come from that customer in the future.

Janet Bonaguro is a Certified Business Coach with FocalPoint Coaching. She works with business owners and executives in order to improve revenue, profitability, productivity and teamwork. For more information please visit her website; for more of her coaching tips see her Merchant Profile on LynnValleyLife.

Seylynn Village investment has potential for great return

This perspective on real estate investment is provided to readers by Mortgage Dave, a longtime Lynn Valley mortgage expert.

Given the North Shore’s high prices, current investors sometimes wonder if buying in North or West Vancouver can possibly provide a decent return. In fact, a well-thought-out real estate purchase can provide not only a decent return, but also one that’s far more lucrative than many current stock and mutual fund portfolios.

I decided to take a closer look at the new Seylynn Village development being offered by Denna Homes in the Lower Lynn District.  The Beacon building will comprise the first stage of new development in an area that is ripe for change. Being situated close to transportation, recreation, the downtown bridge, and Capilano University, it promises to be attractive to renters in an area that is already one of Greater Vancouver’s strongest rental markets (North Vancouver has a current vacancy rate of 0.9%).

(more…)

Coach Janet’s Top 5 Procrastination-Busters

Procrastination eats away at our ability to achieve the success we want in our business and personal lives. It steals hours, days, months and years, and delays the benefits associated with completing our actions. Practice these five tips to start taking action today!

1.     Find Your Motivation

Think about the goals you are trying to attain. Spend a few moments visualizing what could be achieved and what you could gain if you take action. Then think about the consequences of NOT taking action. What fears could motivate you to take action today? Often the task that has the most negative consequences of NOT doing it is often the MOST important task to complete.

2.     Do The Worst First

Often the biggest, worst thing you need to accomplish will be the thing that causes you to procrastinate on it and everything else on your list. By procrastinating on the least enjoyable, most troublesome, or fearful activity you will only have it waiting there tomorrow, possibly even bigger and messier than it is today. Get the worst thing over with early so you free yourself mentally and emotionally to do other things more effectively.

3.     Start Small

Often just looking at a large task is enough to cause us to look in the other direction. The more apparent complexity there is to a task, the more likely we will procrastinate. Just as you would never try to drive across the country in one stretch, don’t try to take on all of a job from the start.

Sometimes the best way to stop procrastinating and complete a major task is to take a small slice and complete just that piece. In order to do this, you may first need to spend some time breaking down the larger project into smaller individual tasks so that you can see your progress and stay motivated. Completing one task motivates you to complete another. It’s a snowball effect. Commit to doing one thing today and you will find you will accomplish even more.

4.     Become Action-Oriented

Often once you take a step to complete a task, you find the momentum builds and you are able to continue. Get into the habit of not even having to think about getting started; build action into your routine every day so that you begin your day with the momentum needed to complete your tasks.

5.     Remove Distraction

We all have habits we revert to when we don’t want to begin a task: organizing our desks, going out for coffee, cleaning the house. If you know that you get distracted easily then schedule short burst of time, 30 to 60 minutes, to focus on an important task. Remove yourself from environments that pose distraction, shut your door, turn your phone off, turn off the TV/radio and focus for that short period of time.

“A journey of 1,000 leagues begins with a single step.’’ – Confucius

Janet Bonaguro is a Certified Business Coach with FocalPoint Coaching. She works with business owners and executives in order to improve revenue, profitability, productivity and teamwork. For more information please visit her website; for more of her coaching tips see her Merchant Profile
on LynnValleyLife.

Coach Janet’s Top Five Leadership Qualities

While there are several qualities inherent to good leadership, a handful stand out as being more impactful than others. The good news is that each of these qualities can be learned by practice and repetition.

Be Future-Oriented

“You become what you think about most of the time.” – Brian Tracy

Great leaders think about the future most of the time. They think about where they are going and the opportunities of tomorrow rather than where they have been and the problems of the past.

Average thinkers think only about the present, and about immediate gratification. But great leaders think about where they want to be in five and ten years, and then focus on what they have to do each hour of each day to make their desired futures a reality.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Great leaders inspire their colleagues, friends, customers, associates and even their children because they are inspired themselves.

Leaders see opportunities and possibilities in everything that happens. They look for the good in every situation and in every person. They never experience “failures” but see situations as “learning experiences”.

Take Personal Responsibility

One of the most important leadership qualities is the acceptance of personal responsibility. Leaders never complain, never explain.  They see themselves as victors over circumstances, rather than victims of circumstances. Instead of making excuses, they make progress.

Have Humility

Great leaders are those who are strong and decisive, but also humble. Humility doesn’t mean that you’re weak or unsure of yourself. It means that you have the self-confidence and self-awareness to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened. And it means that you give credit where credit is due.

Encourage Cooperation

People work harder for leaders they want to work for. Your ability to get everyone working together is essential to your success. Gain the cooperation of others by making a commitment to get along well with each key person every single day. This means developing meaningful relationships with the people you work with, at all levels.

As John Maxwell states in The 5 Levels of Leadership, “You can’t lead people until you like people”

The acceptance of leadership is a great responsibility. It is one of the most rewarding experiences in life and business. Take steps today to continue practicing each of these leadership qualities.

Janet Bonaguro is a Certified Business Coach with FocalPoint Coaching. She works with business owners and executives in order to influence positive change in business. For more information please visit her website.

Your views: citizens weigh in on town planning

We recently reported on North Vancouver District Council’s January 7 vote to extend the community consultation period regarding Lynn Valley town planning proposals. LynnValleyLife invited readers to familiarize themselves with the relevant issues and background information and then to fill out a feedback questionnaire for possible publication. We appreciate the responses we’ve received, and welcome them on an ongoing basis. 

The letters below may have been edited for clarity, grammar, length, and suitableness. We have made it clear that we wish to provide a forum for discussion that is both passionate and productive; inflammatory accusations may fulfil the first of those requirements, but rarely the latter. 

 

Town centre proposals will make for a vibrant community

From Darlene Clarke

1. What is your personal history here in Lynn Valley? I have lived in Lynn Valley for 14 years. I am married with two teenagers. We live close to Westover School (one of the reasons that we chose the house that we did). When my children were in their primary school years, Westover was closed due to declining enrolment. We love the Lynn Valley community and especially love living close to Lynn Canyon for hiking and walking.

2. How familiar are you with the town planning process? Did you get involved in any workshops or open houses, etc? Somewhat familiar. I have attended all the workshops and open houses that I was aware of and available to attend. Unfortunately, I did not hear about all of them so missed some that I would have liked to attend.

3. What are some of your greatest hopes or specific wishes for the Lynn Valley of the future? A vibrant, multigenerational and multicultural community with its roots in and support for the environmental amenities on the North Shore. A community that thinks like a Village within the larger North Vancouver and North Shore.

4. How well do you think the currently proposed town centre plan would fulfill those hopes? From what I know I think the impact of the proposed town centre plan would be positive. I would like my children to be able to find a home that they could afford within the community. When I am older and have to move from our single family home, I would like to have a choice to be able to stay in Lynn Valley.

The densification that the town centre would provide should give our community the economies of scale to be able to receive much more effective transit.

I think the Lynn Valley Centre/Village is the heart of our community. Currently Lynn Valley mall is slowly decaying. Once Zellers leaves, the mall will go downhill even faster. The town centre plan would allow revitalization of this critical area of our community.

I support the proposed town centre plan.

5. What concerns might you have with the high rises, or other aspects of the town centre proposals? Conversely, what do you see as their potential benefits? Benefits are listed above. Concerns are solely with the issues related to increased transportation. Even with better transit, there will be many more cars and the need for more parking spaces. I would also want the new buildings to be built to LEED standards and include charging facilities for electric vehicles. I would like North Vancouver to take a page from the City of Vancouver’s development requirements.

7. Any other comments you’d like to share? I would like to be added to a mailing list that lets people know when meetings/events are being held regarding Lynn Valley development. Does such a thing exist? [Editor’s note: Yes, such a thing exists! Send a note to identity@dnv.org and ask to be put on the email distribution list for Lynn Valley town planning.]

A friend of mine is planning to move into a condo from a single-family dwelling and would like to stay on the North Shore. Since she is planning to purchase an electric vehicle in the near future, she requires EV charging in her condo parking area. She has not been able to find a single condo on the North Shore that has electric vehicle charging capability so she is now looking at having to more to the City of Vancouver. We can do better than this!

 

Future requires vision and cooperation

From Janet Dysart

1. What is your personal history here in Lynn Valley? I have lived and worked on the North Shore since 1975. My children were born North Vancouver and attended school in beautiful Lynn Valley.  As an immigrant to Canada many years before, I have found friendship here and a home from home . This is a community that flourishes and cares for its natural beauty, wildlife and mostly for its people….A place such as this is very special and we must do all we can to preserve it while allowing for some change.

2. How familiar are you with the town planning process? Did you get involved in any workshops or open houses, etc.? The OCP was a huge learning process for us all, but along the way we had some laughter and gained new ideas. It was a chance to understand local politics and policies and maybe alter some of them! I attended almost every workshop and open house, and was allowed to give my views as a community member easily and without criticism.

3. What are some of your greatest hopes or specific wishes for the Lynn Valley of the future?  Lynn Valley must adapt to the future. What we have is precious, and we can keep it and value it, but we must also provide some economic, employment and livable opportunities for our younger population to give them the chance to stay here or move here to work and play. It would also be wonderful if we enabled the generation that helped build Lynn Valley to stay here, to perhaps downsize, or to move closer to shopping, and gathering/meeting places.

4. How well do you think the currently proposed town centre plan would fulfill those hopes? If the planning is done as we all hoped there will be a chance

to live well here. Public transit, road safety, road usage, and lack of cycling lanes (in what is a cycling community) are a problem and must be addressed. Environmental issues to be considered are more pervious grounds, preservation of our famous streams and ponds and urban forests, pollution reduction and accessibility for all. Green roofs, green living walls, green areas within the town centre, trees (not just deciduous but also coniferous) and less cemented parking lots will help. We do not want to see a concrete jungle as we have now again.

5. What concerns might you have with the high rises, or other aspects of the town centre proposals? I personally believe there are too many high-rises planned as the design stands today. I do understand that we need higher density, but just how much can this community accept? There has to be a happy medium that we collectively can reach.

Too much has been incorrectly stated by those people opposing any change; those who probably did not attend any of the LV Town centre design and planning workshops; and those who think that change is simply not acceptable. The developer will not build if both sides do not compromise and come to an understanding together.

6. What do you see as potential benefits of the proposed higher density residences (high rises), or other aspects of the town centre proposals? There is a huge opportunity to have a community centre as a feature of this development, somewhere that all age groups can meet, learn, share their interests/knowledge and create a focal point for Lynn Valley residents to enjoy their community. Higher density may mean our shopping area will become more vibrant with employment opportunities for all. It desperately needs modernizing and has to appeal to young and old – right now it is “boring”. I’d like to see more walking space and fewer roads in the centre!

7. Any other comments you’d like to share? Certainly have a youth centre at Karen Magnussen Rec Centre, but a seniors centre must be an integral part of the new Town Centre for accessibility, community growth, and centralization of seniors services. They need to be able to walk to shops, coffee houses and doctors, rehab etc. Show our residents that we can have it all if we become involved, cooperate instead of oppose, and above all enjoy what we have. Resistance to densification is damaging locally as we plan collectively to move forward.

My brother lives in a European town with a town centre in which heritage buildings have been preserved, but the centre is mostly composed of wonderful walking streets with big and small stores, several offices, and restaurants with tables and colourful umbrellas outside on the plaza shared by all businesses. (Photo above)

I’d like to finish with quotes from Peter Simpson and Mayor Richard Stewart (Coquitlam) in January 12, 2013 Saturday’s Vancouver Sun:

Peter Simpson: Many thousands of people will move to Metro Vancouver over the next few years, and they will need a variety of housing options. We can’t be building moats and pulling up the drawbridges.

Mayor Stewart: Metro Vancouver is in a unique position. We can draw a hard line around development, as we have, or we can continue to allow urban sprawl. But if we don’t want urban sprawl, then our neighbourhoods will have to evolve. People must understand that planning principles involve greater densities in our futures. We must respond to housing demand, and anyone who thinks we can ignore housing demand is wrong.

 

High rises would destroy neighbourhood integrity

 From Terence H. Winkless

1. What is your personal history here in Lynn Valley? We moved to Lynn Valley from Fairview because we were seeking a less dense, peaceful environment, close to nature and with less traffic, smog, congestion and crime where we could raise our daughter.   We chose Lynn Valley because of the limits on building further into the mountain, which meant to us, less density and more peace.

 2. How familiar are you with the town planning process? Did you get involved in any workshops or open houses, etc?  I am not very familiar with the planning process.  I was not involved with it.  I saw no advertising for it in my local press or on the Internet, my primary news source.

 3. What are some of your greatest hopes or specific wishes for the Lynn Valley of the future?  My greatest hope is that Lynn Valley can grow without imploding.   The Branches building on 27th [across from Safeway] is an excellent example of what belongs in LV.  It is discreet and exquisite.  We’d like to see more of that on a gradual basis.  Simultaneous building of many structures is a nightmare.

4. How well do you think the currently proposed town centre plan would fulfill those hopes? It would demolish that hope.

5. What concerns might you have with the high rises, or other aspects of the town centre proposals?  The proposed town centre would destroy the integrity of the neighbourhood, leave a massive carbon footprint, and create traffic gridlock beyond repair, especially considering the project at the bottom of the hill.  It portends wrecking the entirety of North Vancouver for the inability to access it.  Clearly one hand is not talking to the other.

6. What do you see as potential benefits of the proposed higher density residences (high rises), or other aspects of the town centre?  There are no benefits to putting more people into the same amount of space as before, especially considering there will be no additional road improvements.  Mountain Highway is already chaotic and deadly.   Putting five rats in a cage designed for two results in a lot of dead rats, finger-pointing, blame being laid, and elections being lost.

7. Any other comments you’d like to share?  We moved to this suburb because we wanted a suburb.  If we wanted a dormitory, affordable by young people with minimal education and money, we would have gone to Metrotown or stayed in Fairview.  We will fight these towers with every legal means available.

 

Town plan would foster diversity and amenities

From Barry Rueger

1. What is your personal history here in Lynn Valley? I haven’t lived here for 22 years, didn’t buy a house here in 1987, and don’t have fond memories of what Lynn Valley may have been 30 or 40 years ago.  Instead I moved here about five years ago after living in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Whitesburg, Kentucky.  What this means is that I’ve seen a lot of cities; rural, urban, and suburban, and can look at Lynn Valley with fresh insight.

2. How familiar are you with the town planning process? Did you get involved in any workshops or open houses, etc? Although I haven’t been part of the workshops and information sessions, I expect that my understanding of planning processes is as good or better than most people.  I’ve been part of projects in other places that involved re-inventing or revitalizing neighbourhoods, and no matter where I lived I’ve been a keen follower of local government and planning.

 3. What are some of your greatest hopes for the Lynn Valley of the future? I look at the Lynn Valley Village that surrounds the Library, and think that this is exactly the kind of development we need.  I expect that many people groused and complained as it was developed and built, but don’t think that anyone can say it is less than a great success.

In particular I look at the crowds that visit during any event or concert, and think that this is the kind of development that builds a community.  The Village offers a really nice collection of “urban”-type businesses and services – the kind of things that you won’t see in a mall. It provides a great meeting place for community events like the farmers’ markets, pet days, and concerts; and thanks to Browns and Delany’s it especially provides a destination place for coffee or dinner.

4. How well do you think the proposed town centre plan will fulfill your hopes? I’ve actually looked over the proposals on the DNV website, and I think that the proposed developments will build on the success described above. As nice as the amenities are in The Village, they also require a population that can support the type of businesses that you find there. The residential community that would be developed would be a perfect complement to the kinds of stores and services that have appeared since the Village opened, and would encourage the development of more, similar businesses.

I’m very concerned about the future of the existing Lynn Valley Mall. The loss of Zellers as an anchor tenant will likely hurt the other stores in that end of the Mall.  These are all Mom and Pop businesses, and they rely on walk-through traffic for a fair bit of their income. Once Zellers goes, some of these stores will also be forced to close. Save-On-Foods customers alone are not enough to keep all of those businesses alive.

Once Zellers has closed there will be a two or three-block stretch of 27th with nothing but vacant buildings on the north side of the street.  That is not a good  thing.   The faster those properties are redeveloped, the better for everyone.

 5. What do you see as benefit(s) that would come with the higher density residences (high rises)? Benefits would include more people, probably younger people, and a demand for the kinds of amenities that Lynn Valley lacks.  As much as I love the butcher and the baker in the Mall, the truth is that I find myself travelling elsewhere for an awful lot of my shopping because the selection of goods and services in Lynn Valley is just too limited.  I would love to see another couple of mid- to high-end restaurants, and perhaps a bar with live music.

 6. Do you have any concerns that stem from the town centre proposals? Honestly, we have a planning process in place, and a staff at the District to oversee these things.  I’m prepared to assume that they’ve looked closely at questions like traffic, parking, transit, and such, and don’t see the point in second guessing them on those things.

 7. Any other comments you’d like to share?

Two quick things:

1) Traffic? TRAFFIC? In Lynn Valley??  In an average week I travel several times from the top of Lynn Valley Road to Grand Boulevard, and from Lonsdale and Osborne across to Mountain Highway.  A two-minute delay driving from Save-On to Sutherland Secondary is not “traffic.” Traffic is 90 minutes each way on the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto. Traffic is solid grid-lock at Georgia and Burrard.  Traffic is any major freeway in Detroit, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

2) I’m baffled by the pamphlet from the the anti-highrise folks, who on one hand want Lynn Valley to stay “family friendly,” but on the other hand complain about adding more homes because schools would be “overcrowded”.  Does this mean that they only want childless couples to move here?

 

Studies indicate fears are groundless

From Barbara Dodimead

1. What is your personal history here in Lynn Valley? I have been a resident of Lynn Valley since 2000.

 2. How familiar are you with the town planning process? Did you get involved in any workshops or open houses, etc? I wasn’t involved in any workshops or open houses but I was aware of the Lynn Valley Community Plan and the potential for re-development in this area.

 3. What are some of your greatest hopes for the Lynn Valley of the future? Housing which is more affordable than is currently available in Lynn Valley and housing options for residents of Lynn Valley who choose to  downsize from their larger homes.  I also want a “town centre” with lots of green space.

4.   How well do you think the proposed town centre plan will fulfill those hopes? I think this development will fulfill my hopes.

 5.    What do you see as benefit(s) that would come with the higher density residences (high rises)? More green space, housing which will be more affordable than what is currently available and more housing options for seniors. While searching for a single-level condominium for my mother three years ago in Lynn Valley the choices were very limited. There were some lovely townhouses, but as they had multiple levels this was not ideal for someone with mobility challenges.

6.   Do you have any concerns that stem from the town centre proposals? I was initially concerned because many local residents felt that this project would bring greater density,  more crime, more pollution, and more traffic. But when I did my own research, I discovered that researchers have looked at higher density and crime statistics and there is no link between higher density developments and an increase in crime.

Studies have also shown higher-density developments decrease pollution. A recent study by J.S. Miller (2011) determined that “higher density actually decreased carbon dioxide emissions by about 14% per person as compared to low land use developments.”

Furthermore, high-density developments have a greater efficiency in use of public service and infrastructure. It is a common misconception that higher density increases traffic.  In areas where a transit system is already in place, traffic actually decreases. Studies in downtown Vancouver have proven this.

7.    Any other comments you’d like to share? I am frustrated that many local residents  seem to be reacting as if this project has been thrust on us with no consultation.  Council began community-based planning in the mid-1990s, leading to the 1998 Lynn Valley Local Area Plan which brought us the Library Town Square, plus changes in the housing options in the area (eg. duplexes, triplexes and apartments).

We all need to get  involved in our community by looking at the North Vancouver District website, attending council meetings, or meeting  Mayor Walton at the local library so that we can all understand the challenges faced by our community and some of the tough decisions that need to be made rather than just being critical of change without offering any alternative solutions.

Furthermore, I  applaud the Lynn Valley Community Association (of which I am not a member) for not allowing people to attend the (formerly proposed) November 21st meeting unless they were members before November 1st.  People on these and other committees have worked countless hours to make our community better, and there has been ample opportunity for people to be involved in the process.  I personally think that many of those coming to the table at this late date will not be offering any solutions, but simply will be critical of decisions proposed by those who have taken the time to try to understand and offer solutions to some of the issues facing our community.