District of North Vancouver council gave final approvals to a controversial Edgemont Village seniors home project Monday night, earning a chorus of boos and heckles from a crowd who showed up to oppose the decision.
Council approved rezonings for the 115-unit, three-storey Edgemont Senior Living facility in a split 4-3 vote, with Couns. Lisa Muri, Mike Little and Doug MacKay-Dunn opposed.
The vote means six single-family lots on Woodbine Drive, Highland Boulevard and Canfield Crescent will be rezoned. The decision also gives the green light to the developer buying a portion of Canfield Crescent for the project.
Located adjacent to the commercial core of Edgemont Village, the seniors home is slated to include a minimum of 15 assisted-living units and 12 to 23 care rooms for seniors with mental health problems such as dementia.
But that wasn't enough to sway many residents, who criticized the proposal as too massive and out of character with the neighbourhood at a public hearing earlier this summer.
Since then, approximately 350 people have signed a petition opposing the project and asking council to reconsider.
Susan Hingson is one of the petition organizers who had hoped to present the petition to council Monday night but was told council couldn't accept any more public input after the public hearing.
Hingson, who lives across the street from the proposed seniors home, said after the vote, "My feeling is the council isn't representing the majority of comments that were received. This is a real warning and a wake up call to other neighbourhoods."
Many of those who showed up Monday night shared Hingson's feelings about both the vote to approve the project and the rejection of the petition, and made their thoughts known as they filed out of council chambers.
Mayor Richard Walton denounced the heckles as "the most incredible display of disrespect this chamber's seen in eight years," before continuing with the council meeting.
On Tuesday, Walton said votes on controversial projects like the Edgemont seniors home are "always difficult decisions."
Walton said those opposed to the project had a chance to voice their opinions at the public hearing - and did so, over many hours. "We listen to people's arguments," he said. "It's a question of the quality of the input as well as the quantity."
Walton said in voting for the project, "I took a longer term view of the opportunity for seniors to stay in the community."
Coun. Lisa Muri said she voted against the proposal because, "It's too big for the site. Clearly the majority of people were against it."
Muri said she was hoping council would reconsider.
"If it takes a little while to get something right, I think that's what we need to do," she said. "I fear we're going to walk down this path many more times with all the development proposals in this community."
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