The plan unveiled by Colliers International last week for the City of North Vancouver's waterfront district is a common-sense approach to creating a destination experience for shoppers and restaurant-goers.
It's now up to area residents and council to help refine that plan.
Colliers has gone to considerable lengths to assess how a restaurant/retail area might function to the east of Lonsdale Quay and whether or not such a district would compete for customers with existing North Shore businesses. The company has much experience in the field and will act as the city's leasing agent - much as Granville Island is operated.
While it exciting to imagine this area coming fully to life with repurposed heritage buildings after years of construction, local residents may want to consider just how a "destination" district functions. Will customers drive there and where will they park? The discussion over the use of Lot 5 is likely to be the most interesting. This vacant site is suggested by Colliers to house a hotel expansion, a banquet facility, a possible adjunct to Capilano University, a fitness centre, bike rentals, entertainment such as a movie house, theatre and/or a comedy club, and, finally, a waterfront park with an outdoor rink.
Each of these ideas has merit, but it's important to remember that Lot 5 was to have been the site of a public museum and the public feels the area should function for them. Mayor Darrell Mussatto is reflecting that with his idea for a giant Ferris wheel. In the end, leaving the Lot 5 options open as long as possible may well be the best decision to make right now.
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