It seems that we are living the war against low density on the North Shore.
Not a long time ago, an editorial by the North Shore News commented on the timing around resident input into proposed developments (Tower To The People, Oct. 21), saying that if residents did not complain - or voice support - during the allocated time, they would miss their opportunity to be heard. I couldn't agree more, with a covenant: That statement would be valid if North Shore municipalities only occasionally considered new high-density developments, but this is not the case.
In less than a year, more than 20 high-density projects have been put forward - for "consideration," they say - including Lower Capilano (Larco et al) to the Safeway site on Lonsdale Avenue (Onni), Seylynn Village in the District of North Vancouver (Seylynn (North Shore) Properties), Evelyn on Taylor Way (Onni) and Grosvenor's proposal for the 1300block Marine Drive in West Vancouver.
It is an open war against the lower density communities where we decided to live. The sad part is that these changes are fueled by the municipal staff and our elected officials, who once in power quickly forget that we voted them in to represent us and not the developers' interests.
I openly challenge the councils and staff of all North Shore municipalities to answer in an open letter the following questions:
What service and infrastructure improvements will be made to meet this new density, for example:
? Hospitals: We only have one. It's good but small, limited and overcrowded.
? Schools: They would need to be adequately sized with safe buildings (not portables) and teachers and staff located in the communities where the students live.
? Fire departments: They will need enough resources and the appropriate equipment to deal with new, taller buildings in the event of fires or evacuations.
? Police: More density will mean a greater need for policing services.
? Parks and recreation: The number of affordable recreational facilities is already limited and they are overcrowded.
? Water: Where is the water going to come from and at what cost?
? Sewer: Do we have capacity to collect and treat the additional black water?
? Roadways: They are already crowded and insufficient (is there a new Marine Drive in the works that we don't know about?).
? Public transit: In most areas, service is very limited.
? Urban interconnections: Both Lions Gate Bridge and Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing are already saturated, and line-ups keep getting longer.
Not one of the new proposals falls within the limits of the corresponding OCP. They are all trying to lure the people with "community enhancements," "sustainable LEED projects" and "designs that promote a car-free lifestyle."
It does not matter how nicely you dress them up, they are all unsustainable and will bring the North Shore to its knees.
Sooner rather than later, we the people who actually live in these communities and pay the taxes will have to move elsewhere, and this Golden Goose that we call home will have changed for the worse forever.
Elias B. Merkins West Vancouver