AN irate group of British Properties homeowners besieged West Vancouver council on Monday to demand a halt to a two-year school construction project on Morven Drive.
Collingwood school is planning to build a 7,000-square metre wing that may include two levels of underground parking.
Plans for the private Grade 7 to 12 school also include demolition of the Glenmore wing, the parkade, and the cafeteria on the east side of the site.
The project is scheduled to be finished by November 2014.
Collingwood "camouflaged" their intentions, according to resident Andy Lepiarczyk, who said the neighbourhood has been disenfranchised by the district.
"The district staff decided to ignore our voices," Lepiarczyk said. "There is only one way to restore some trust in your government: this construction must be stopped."
Mayor Michael Smith reprimanded Lepiarczyk after the resident said council's failure to stop the project would make them: "Scum, scum, scum."
Council's debate was interrupted by several catcalls and impromptu speeches from residents who were seated in the council gallery.
The school was initially registered as a single family zone, but a switch to a community use designation in 1989, now called a comprehensive development zone, afforded the school the opportunity to rebuild and expand.
While Coun. Craig Cameron expressed sympathy for the "very regretful" communication with neighbourhood residents, he said that Collingwood has had the right to maximize their property for 23 years.
"It's what they're entitled to build," he said, a statement repeated by Smith.
Karl Losken, a landlord who said he owns four properties in the area, said the project caught him by surprise two weeks ago, shortly before excavation was slated to begin.
"The reason I was not notified was because I do not live on the property I own," he said.
"I feel that the due process has failed the immediate stakeholders."
Three neighbourhood meetings regarding the construction were held at Collingwood school between October of 2011 and June 5.
"I find this unbelievable that this could be in the public interest," said neighbourhood resident Alistair MacLennan. "I'm going to be woken up at 7: 30 in the morning by heavy machinery every morning for the next two-and-a-half years."
Collingwood is currently performing excavation work on the site, which is scheduled to wrap up at the end of August.
The excavation involves the removal of 40,000 square metres of dirt, requiring approximately 2,000 truckloads, or 40 truck trips per day.
With workers on site from 7: 30 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, the project is slated to take nine weeks.
The truck route uses Stevens and Southborough drives, as well as Bonnymuir, Glenmore, Glengarry, and Morven drives.
When Collingwood is in session, trucks will be barred from entering the neighbourhood between 7: 30 a.m. and 8: 30 a.m. and between 2: 45 and 3: 45 p.m.
"My back garden is where 200 trucks are going to be," said neighbourhood resident Jennifer Goodwin.
Goodwin complained that the quality of life was being ripped from residents.
"I just don't get the sense we're doing all that could be done," said Coun. Michael Lewis, who asked if trucking could be limited to five days a week.
The school will consider running trucks for five days a week during the first two weeks of excavation and then reassessing the situation, possibly extending the duration of the excavation, according to Collingwood project manager Harp Hoonjan.
Coun. Bill Soprovich put forward a motion to withhold Collingwood's building permit pending a public hearing, but received no support.
Collingwood currently has an excavation permit, and expects to receive a building permit in the next few weeks.
"If I was living in the neighbourhood, I wouldn't be at all happy," said Coun. Mary-Ann Booth, a statement echoed by several councillors.
Booth suggested Collingwood consider a conciliatory gesture, such as contributing a new sidewalk to repair its relationship with the neighbourhood.
Council passed a motion to facilitate a meeting with area residents and Collingwood representatives to discuss traffic and long-term measures that could mitigate the project's impact.
"I want to see that we get at least a public meeting," Soprovich said.
District officials will visit the site to ensure noise bylaws are obeyed and the district's good neighbour practices are followed during construction, according to director of planning, lands and permits Bob Sokol.
Only resident parking will be permitted in the neighbourhood during construction.
Enrollment at the school is currently scheduled to be limited to 600 students.