THE controversial Harbourside development south of the North Shore Automall will go to an official public hearing in June following a Monday night decision by City of North Vancouver council.
Council voted 5-2 in favour of moving the project forward to a formal official community plan amendment process, after the developers made changes to the original plan and council gathered public feedback in March.
The most significant change in property owners Concert Properties' and Knightsbridge Properties' application is an added commercial building on the west side of the development as a buffer between the residences and Seaspan's shipyard. The development as a whole could add 800 residential units to a possible 370,000 square feet of commercial development.
Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 25 to hear comments from the public on whether the city should amend its OCP for the proposed redevelopment.
Mayor Darrell Mussatto spoke in favour of going forward, noting that it had been more than a year since council originally voted to send it to a public hearing. "It's been a very long process for the applicant, the city and the residents. I think everyone wants to get to some resolve," he said.
Couns. Rod Clark and Pam Bookham voted against the motion. Clark said he was skeptical of the developers' belief that the land could be better used for residential towers than commercial space, and public opposition was high enough to justify refusing to amend the OCP.
"If you look at the two town-hall meetings and the statistics generated and before us this evening, based on the community input, you say, 'No. Get rid of it right now. We heard enough' and that's how we should be proceeding," he said. "As a fallback position, because I smell this going ahead, I think at the very least on our laundry list of things that we're asking from the developer at this point in time, is a second overpass down there."
Several meeting attendees from citizens group North Van City Voices addressed council before the meeting, urging them to scrap the project entirely, arguing North Vancouver is growing "too dense, too fast."
If the OCP amendment goes ahead, Concert and Knightsbridge will still have to apply for a rezoning, which will include more detailed studies on traffic, parking and noise as well as amenities for the neighbourhood to be negotiated by the city and developers.