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Harbourside public hearing expected soon
The proponents of a proposed large-scale, mixed-use development on the Harbourside waterfront still have a few more hoops to jump through, but are essentially on the path to a public hearing next year.
Concert Properties will need to provide information on an adequate public transit plan for the Harbourside area and finalize some community amenity contribution details with City of North Vancouver staff before a public hearing can be called.
On Monday, CNV council voted 5-2 in favour of scheduling a public hearing once those conditions are met, with Couns. Rod Clark and Pam Bookham opposed.
Concert says it has met with TransLink staff and there are two transit service options under review. The preferred option is for a new rapid bus service that would run along West First Street and pick up passengers between Lonsdale Quay and Park Royal mall. As a fall-back plan, Concert is exploring the possibility of bringing in a private shuttle.
As for community amenity contributions, city staff have bumped the cash contribution requirement up to $5 million from $3.69 million.
This is in addition to the developer paying an estimated $30 million in public amenities, bylaw-required works and other costs associated with the redeveloping the land, which is currently zoned for light industrial and commercial uses, to accommodate residential.
Because the redevelopment of the land is being rolled out over many years, the city will also have the option to convert monies earmarked for public works projects that are no longer required to a cash contribution.
Concert Properties’ and Knightsbridge Properties’ 10-year plan for Harbourside is to create 800 strata and rental housing units, while setting aside 372,000 square feet as commercial space.
Clark, a stark opponent of the development proposal, told council too much is unknown about the plans to send it to a public hearing.
“I, as a council member, can’t point to exactly what’s going on, so how can the public?” questioned Clark.
Bookham echoed Clark’s sentiments and added her own concerns.
“And I have to say, in all my time on council, I have never seen a development proposal that is so challenged by the context in which it’s located,” said Bookham.
She said introducing a new residential development that is far from a transportation corridor doesn’t make sense.
“I don’t know why, and have never understood why, we have made such exception for this particular proposal when we have had such a long-standing pattern that our community has for the most part supported,” said Bookham. “It makes sense to increase density where the option of public transit already exists and can be built upon.”
Speaking to the transit issue, Coun. Linda Buchanan said Marine Drive is a five-minute walk away from the proposed development. She reminded council the current Official Community Plan states neighbourhoods should be created where residents will have a five- to 10-minute walk to any transit line.
“So this is not unrealistic for this particular project,” said Buchanan.