NEIGHBOURS of the now-defunct Ridgeway Annex school have had their first peek at who their new neighbours might be as the North Vancouver school district is looking to unload its surplus properties.
The district hosted a meeting Nov. 20 for the board and the public to hear pitches from three real estate developers and one private childcare firm, all of which have been shortlisted for buying or leasing the land on Ridgeway Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets.
Darwin Construction is floating the idea of nine residential lots and up to 27,000 square feet of new park space for the property, depending on how densely the homes are packed together. Atti Group is pitching either 15 single-family lots or 28 units of duplex housing alongside new park space. Anthem Properties has put up four potential development options that would have between 24 and 60 units of housing depending on use of detached homes, laneway houses and townhouses, or the option of creating a "pocket neighbourhood."
North Shore-based Kids Land Childcare Centre is asking to lease the property and make improvements to the existing building to expand its childcare services, and to offer other children's programming for arts, sports and music.
According to school board chairwoman Franci Stratton, there is still a long vetting process to play out before deciding who will get the land, and the City of North Vancouver must conduct its usual process before any changes are made.
"It was very high-level from the proponents' perspective. They didn't really provide too much detail because this was just a preliminary meeting for them to meet and introduce themselves to the community and show them some very high-level innovative ideas - nothing concrete," she said
The proposals drew a lot of good questions from the approximately 75 people who attended the meeting, most of whom live in the nearby area, Stratton said. Most of the questions centred around how they new developments would affect traffic and parking in the neighbourhood, and what benefits the community would get in exchange.
"It was very good. There was a lot of positive feedback both from the proponents and from the audience as well. I think they appreciated that it was open and transparent - something that hasn't really been seen much before," she said.
Attendees were asked to fill out feedback questionnaires that will help the school board in deciding who should be able to buy or lease the land.
The form, which asks residents what proposal would be best for North Vancouver students and the community, is posted at on the district's website at nvsd44.bc.ca, and the district will keep taking feedback until Nov. 30. The board and district staff will do further research on the proposals until mid-to late-January when the board will make its decision, Stratton said.
Plymouth elementary, which has also been put up for divestiture, will have a similar meeting on Dec. 4. The four proponents requesting that property are Polygon Pacific Homes, the Lions Gate Christian Academy, Darwin Construction and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which wants to open a skills training centre for aboriginal and non-aboriginal kids.