Although questions of accessibility still loom in the air, District of North Vancouver council voted Monday night (April 25) to put out of action Deep Cove’s Naughton Avenue detour.
The fate of the detour has been top of mind for many Deep Cove residents, and after public consultation and an extra workshop by council in March, the detour will begin to be revegetated immediately with full removal slated for fall of 2023, after the Liveable Deep Cove project is completed.
The temporary Naughton Avenue detour was originally constructed to allow vehicle access to the Cove while construction to replace the 70-year-old storm drain under Gallant Avenue was underway.
In February, staff recommended the detour be made a permanent active transport and emergency services link; however, in public consultations, staff found 47 per cent wanted the area to be revegetated, with only 21 per cent asking for it to be upgraded to an active transportation route.
In his comments, Coun. Jim Hanson said moving forward with revegetation most closely matches the wishes of the community.
“I also believe that this is the recommendation which is consistent with the promises made to the community at the time that the detour was put in place in order to facilitate the culvert construction,” he said.
Coun. Jordan Back reiterated Hanson’s comments, saying revegetation with an unpaved walking path is “clearly what the immediate neighbourhood has asked for.”
“And I think really what they're looking for is certainty. They understand that this may need to be used as the Liveable Deep Cove project is happening, but they are looking for a decision that's going to give them that certainty to know what ultimately is going to happen with that detour,” Back said.
However, both Mayor Mike Little and Coun. Lisa Muri questioned the accessibility of the unpaved walkway, and the missed opportunity to make this link “all ages accessible.”
“That's our standard. … I hope that the unpaved material that [staff] use is resilient enough that somebody in a wheelchair could access the space and move through, and somebody using a walker is not going to lose their footing because of it. Because I do think that's our standard. [If] we try to make sure that any able-bodied person can enjoy these core areas, then anybody should be able to enjoy them,” Little said.
Coun. Mathew Bond broke ranks with the outcome of the public consultation, and advocated for a full transportation link to be included in future plans.
“I think there is an option here, where the full transportation link can actually provide some significant benefits, not just to people who live and work and come to Deep Cove, but to the greater community,” he said.
As a business owner in Deep Cove, Coun. Megan Curren recused herself from the vote, which had Bond in opposition.