I write regarding the Sept. 28 North Shore News editorial, A Day Late, and the story Highrises Proposed for Lynn Valley. Contrary to the positions of the editorial writer, Brian Bydwell of the District of North Vancouver and Dan Ellis of the Lynn Valley Community Association, there is massive, unwavering community opposition to highrises at Lynn Valley Shopping Centre. That opposition is well documented and dates back to at least 2006. District council has simply turned a blind eye to the opposition as it did to the recent opposition to highrise development at the base of Mount Seymour.
Residents do support the official community plan, specifically the requirements that any redevelopment at Lynn Valley centre integrate with the existing character of the neighbourhood, be set back from East 27th Street, attract long-term sustainable investment in high value-added commercial enterprises, create business tax revenue and expand post-secondary educational institutions including partnerships between business and education.
The two preliminary applications for Lynn Valley Shopping Centre, put forward last week from Canada Safeway Inc. and Bosa Development Corporation, do not meet any of the requirements of the OCP as specified above. The applications simply propose several glass-and-steel highrise towers, built to the sidewalk, adjacent to low-value added retail, surrounded by discount outlets, bars and 24-7 beer stores. Bydwell is correct that redevelopment will be a catalyst, but he fails to mention that the present applications will not attract new business investment or high-value employment opportunities required by the OCP.
With respect to the suggestion that highrise towers will absorb the projected population increase over the next 30 years, there is absolutely no demographic trend towards increased population in the district, and certainly no interest in people moving to the district to live in towers. There is virtually no chance that these towers will succeed economically as proposed. It is unlikely any financial institution would finance the building of these towers, an unproven concept with no favourable demographics, absent any improvements in traffic, health care and elementary and primary educational infrastructure.
Lynn Valley residents want Lynn Valley Shopping Centre redeveloped. However, they want the redevelopment to be sustainable, fit into the existing character of the neighbourhood, attract investment and create opportunities for high-paying, value-added employment. Half-empty, glass-and-steel towers with Granville Street type bars on the ground floor, casting shadows, being rented at rock-bottom rates, surrounded by five-and-dime stores, and with students being bussed into Burnaby to attend school will not result in meaningful employment opportunities, business investment or tax revenue expansion. They are not the brand image of the District of North Vancouver.
Hazen Colbert North Vancouver