WEST Vancouverites are strongly in favour of Grosvenor's planned development at the 1300 block of Marine Drive in Ambleside, according to a recent survey by market research specialists the Mustel Group.
But opponents of the project say they're not buying the numbers, pointing out the polling company was hired by the developer.
The proposed development features terraced midrise apartments peaking at eight storeys on the west block and seven storeys on the east with a covered galleria bridging the space between them. Plans for the 88-unit development are currently in flux, with a motion to reduce maximum building heights in the area by 30 feet scheduled to be debated by council March 4.
In a telephone poll of 500 West Vancouver residents conducted from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, the Mustel Group found twice as much support as opposition for the project, with 49 per cent of residents in favour of the development and 24 per cent against. Another 20 per cent were neutral.
The margin of error for the survey is 4.4 per cent, but at least some residents suspect the error rate is much higher.
The survey produced slanted results due to deliberately pointed questions, according to "infuriated" former councillor and editor of West Van Matters, Carolanne Reynolds.
After asking if the respondent was in favour of the project, Reynolds said the survey illuminated the strong points of the proposal, such as housing diversity and affordability. "Then, after they say all that, they say, 'Now are you in favour of the building?'"
Mustel Group principal Evie Mustel called objections to the survey the equivalent of shooting the messenger. "It's certainly not unusual for surveys of this nature, if the results don't reflect their views of the proposal, they look for faults with either the methodology or the questionnaire design," she said. The Mustel Group was hired by Grosvenor, but Evie Mustel said her company has an extensive track record of unbiased surveys.
The survey results are in stark contrast to a July 2012 poll released by the Ambleside and Dundarave Ratepayers Association.
In a survey of 110 West Vancouverites conducted at a meeting hosted by the group, approximately 82 per cent of respondents favoured a three-or two-storey limit for buildings in the area, largely due to concerns about setting a precedent for future neighbourhood developments.