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Community voices support for Salmon House rebuild in West Vancouver

Concerns over sufficient parking were expressed at a public hearing on Monday

Instead of shuttering for good, one longtime West Vancouver restaurant is likely to get a second lease on life.

At a public hearing for rezoning 2229 Folkestone Way – where Salmon House on the Hill has served diners since 1976 – representatives for local residents and the business community spoke in favour of the proposal.

If approved, a refreshed version of the iconic dining establishment would be built, alongside eight family-oriented townhomes, office spaces and a facelift to the surrounding landscape.

Currently, the roughly 60,000-square-foot lot is home to a two-storey building with the Salmon House and some offices. The new plan is to build two structures: a three-storey residential building on the west side of the lot, and a two-storey commercial building with the restaurant upstairs and offices on the lower level.

During a presentation, staff said that public feedback so far was mostly positive, with comments received that focused on existing trees on the site. Some locals called for retention of as many trees as possible, while others were in favour of more pruning or topping to improve views. Some concerns were also expressed around peak-hours traffic at the nearby intersection of Folkestone Way and Skilift Road.

Staff recommended that council approve the proposal, based on retention of the restaurant with a mix of residential and commercial uses on the site, said senior planning manager Michelle McGuire. The project would carry a community amenity contribution of $264,000.

In his applicant’s presentation, PJ Mallin said his team has been working closely with the Salmon House, which he called “a long, historic, famous restaurant building in West Vancouver.”

But the building has come to its end of life, Mallin said. “It’s becoming a bit of a maintenance problem … so the ownership group felt it was high time to do that replacement.”

Councillors, nearby residents question amount of parking

Addressing some concerns about noise, he noted that sound from planned heat pumps on the residential side would be well below acceptable levels, and that all the exhaust systems for the restaurants would be pointed away from neighbours.

Coun. Christine Cassidy asked what the capacity of the new restaurant will be and how many parking stalls will be available. Mallin replied that there will be around 150 seats and 23 parking stalls on site, for customers and staff.

“So the rest are going to go out on onto the road,” Cassidy said.

“There will be some use of the Skilift Road parking stalls that are there today,” Mallin said. “Staff heavily encouraged us to actually decrease the supply of parking as best we could.”

“Oh, that’s very nice of staff,” Cassidy said. “I’m sure the people on Skilift will be happy.”

Because most people will be driving to the site, Cassidy questioned if the amount of parking would be sufficient. Mallin replied that the traffic engineer and restaurant group were both comfortable with the amount of parking.

Rick Ryan, strata president from the building directly overlooking the site, said that in the Salmon House’s busiest days, some drivers would park in his guest parking. Aside from asking for more parking, he also expressed concerns about demolition and construction crews accessing the site from Folkestone versus Skilift. But Ryan said he was supportive of the project overall.

Also speaking in favour of the project was Elaine McHarg, vice president of West Vancouver Chamber.

“It preserves a much-loved, cherished and some would say legacy restaurant with a refreshed look,” she said, adding that it preserves the commercial office space while adding new residential units.

“It ticks all the boxes for what we look for from a Chamber point of view,” McHarg said.

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