District of North Vancouver council voted on Monday (Feb. 28) night to hold off on making a decision regarding the Naughton Avenue detour and seek further direction in a workshop before making a final decision in the coming months.
Six members of the community presented their thoughts to council during the meeting, with all wanting the detour to be revegetated back to its original state – contradicting district staff’s recommendation to make the detour a permanent active transport and emergency vehicle access link.
In public consultations, staff found that 551 respondents, 47 per cent, want the area to be revegetated, with only 21 per cent asking for it to be upgraded to an active transportation route. Council staff, however, noted that combined with those asking for a “full transportation link,” 53 per cent of respondents want some kind of permanent access.
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. Now that project has been completed, staff are seeking direction on how to proceed with decommissioning the detour.
Moved by Coun. Jim Hanson, the motion was amended to direct staff to implement revegetation, however, in those discussions, councillors were split with the intended outcome, with Couns. Mathew Bond and Lisa Muri, as well as Mayor Mike Little pointing to the need to future-proof the area.
Noting the problems with traffic in the area due to Deep Cove being a “dead end,” Muri said the area needs a traffic study north of Strathcona Road.
“It is challenging for me because there are so many issues in regards to the livability of Deep Cove with the amount of traffic that comes on a sunny day in the summer, or just a sunny day, period, and we have to put a little effort into looking at the circulation challenges, the parking challenges, for the broader area of Deep Cove and how we can reduce that,” Muri said.
A Deep Cove business owner, Coun. Megan Curren recused herself from the vote, which had Bond, Muri and Little in opposition.
Council will reconvene at a workshop, which was passed unanimously, on a date yet to be announced to finalize an amended proposal for the area.
Correction: March 1, 2022
This story has been updated from a previous version that said Coun. Jordan Back was in opposition to the vote. In fact, Back voted in favour, with Coun. Mathew Bond in opposition.