Bosa planning a 'mountain village' theme for Lynn Valley

An artist
An artist's rendering shows a revised plan for Lynn Valley Centre that includes a series of low- and mid-rise buildings.
— image credit: Submitted image

Area residents got their first look on Thursday evening at revamped revitalization plans for Lynn Valley Centre — and, for the most part, they were pleased.

Former West Vancouver mayor Mark Sager, who has been tasked with gathering public input on behalf of mall owner Bosa Development Corporation, unveiled architectural drawings to approximately 150 people gathered in the old Zellers store.

"We are trying to capture the feeling of a mountain village so we are using a lot of natural materials here: a lot of stones, timber, peaked roofs — things that you would expect to find in other beautiful mountain villages, whether it’s Whistler or Banff or places like that," said Sager of Bosa's vision for Lynn Valley Centre.

Bosa has scaled down their plans after hearing from the public this past year. Included in the previous iteration was a 22-storey residential tower.

Sager said the new proposal calls for a series of six buildings ranging from two to 12 storeys — two of which are residential only, while the others are mixed use.

In terms of density, the floor space ratio (FSR) would be around the 2.5 mark, which is lower than what is set out in North Vancouver district's Official Community Plan (OCP).

While no development permit application has been filed with North Van district hall yet, Sager is eager to see the plans approved by council before the year is out.

"It has to be fairly soon, because you can't leave this much space empty," he said, referencing the old Zellers site, which has been vacant since March.

Once the development permit application is approved, the interior and exterior of the mall would immediately undergo an extensive facelift.  Lynn Valley Centre 2.0 would have glass storefronts facing the parking lot to create a transparent effect, and public gathering spaces outside the mall.

And while it is still premature to talk about new retailers, Sager did say there is a community desire to see a family restaurant come into the mall.

In the meantime, a "secret" business will open in the old Zellers store at Lynn Valley Centre in November, said Sager.

"[The store] is going to be quite fun," he adds.

At Thursday's informal session, Lynn Valley resident Linda Findlay stood up in favour of the entire Lynn Valley Centre revitalization.

“There has to be compromise. Not any one group is going to get everything they want," said Findlay, a mortgage specialist by profession.

Her wish list for Lynn Valley town centre includes green spaces, open spaces and offices for professionals such as doctors and accountants.

"After seeing the reworking of the plans here tonight, I think they might have just got it right," said Findlay, who drafted a petition that she will be forwarding to council, asking them to support the Lynn Valley Centre redevelopment.

Another proponent of the project, an Upper Lonsdale resident, said a lot of the discussion that has been going on in the municipality has been misinformation.

"I would hope that if you are supporters for something different than four-storey squat buildings that are going to cover every square foot of this municipality … that you will pick up the phone and phone council because they sure are hearing from all the ‘no’ people," said the speaker.

Theresa-Marie and Dana Rousseau also spoke to The Outlook at the meeting, saying they chose Lynn Valley to raise their family because of the good schools in the area. But, for them, the local mall has left something to be desired.

They like the idea of having a climbing wall inside Lynn Valley Centre, another part of Bosa's plan.

"I love that — a place for our kids to go to get them off computers," said Theresa-Marie.

When asked if there is anything about the proposal they don't agree with, the couple said, "The opposition to change."

Meanwhile, Lynn Valley resident Hazen Colbert, a vocal opponent of large-scale development in the community, has asked council to not consider applications for buildings taller than eight storeys.

Residents have yet to see if Safeway has revised their plans for East 27th Street. Their preliminary redevelopment application showed a 22-storey residential tower. Sager said he will meet with representatives from Safeway next week to learn more about their proposal.

And later this fall, council will take a closer look at densification in the area, with a consultation report on the Lynn Valley Town Centre Implementation Plan expected.

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