The North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce recently came out in support of Onni's 1308 Lonsdale development proposal and we would like to voice our reasons for doing so.
Central Lonsdale is the natural downtown core of North Vancouver with its established mix of restaurants, grocers, retail shops, medical providers and convenient amenities. It is pedestrian friendly, has close highway access and is connected to downtown through the SeaBus and transit routes east and west.
Urban density can bring lifestyle challenges like noise, traffic and reduced views, but there are many positive spinoffs as well, particularly for the small business community. As a chamber, we are concerned about the increase in "For Lease" signs, empty storefronts and deteriorating buildings on Lonsdale. Greater density is critical for the area to attract more businesses and to encourage entrepreneurs willing to take risks. The area needs more local residents to frequent the shops, restaurants and service providers. In turn, a diverse business mix will be a recipe for a more vibrant, convenient and desirable neighbourhood.
The negotiated 80,000 square feet of commercial office space will generate an estimated $370,000+ in annual property tax revenues for city services, create local employment opportunities and is sorely needed to attract the many businesses who want to be located in North Vancouver but can't find space, particularly medical practitioners who need to be close to the hospital and the new HOpe Centre.
At the public hearing on Nov. 19 we were reassured by the support expressed from residents of the condo towers closest to the development and their enthusiasm to see their neighbourhood revitalized. There were many young professionals who spoke to their desire to live and work in North Vancouver rather than move to other more affordable areas to get the convenient city lifestyle they want and can afford. Also, many community groups spoke passionately to the importance of the affordable housing component and the daycare space.
The chamber will leave the design and scope of the current proposal to the experts, but we believe the engagement and consultation process has been extensive and that Onni has been receptive to the community's concerns, reworking their proposal significantly over the last two years. We encourage all parties to find a way to get this development application back on the table and move forward.
Louise Ranger, president, North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce