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New West Vancouver council comes out swinging in first meeting

Just moments after being sworn in, the new council passed five motions in about five minutes
WV landslideWEB
Crews inspect the slide area at West Vancouver's Capilano Pacific Trail.

The newly elected West Vancouver council isn’t standing on ceremony.

Immediately following their swearing-in Monday, the three returning council members and four new ones got down to the business of legislatin’, passing five separate motions on five unrelated subjects in about five minutes.

In each case, council members asked for staff to report back on new or already in progress initiatives. Most of the motions passed unanimously without any discussion or debate.

First up: Coun. Christine Cassidy has asked staff to prepare a pilot program requiring visitors to pay for parking at the district’s “major parks.” Staff were already in the process of coming up with such a pilot at the direction of the previous council; however, Cassidy’s motion specifies West Vancouver residents should be exempted from having to pay to park.

Council then voted to undo one of the last initiatives of the previous council. A motion from Coun. Linda Watt will formally unplug the district from an incentive program to make the purchase of e-bikes less expensive for low-income residents. Money left over from the $135,000 program would then be channelled into a program to mitigate the risk of storm damage, including removing items that could damage district infrastructure from the foreshore, as well as into mitigation of invasive species in district parks. Coun. Nora Gambioli was the lone Nay vote.

Coun. Sharon Thompson then brought a motion to repeal a section of the district’s fire rescue bylaw that relates to using underground parking garages for storage of household items. The district had been facing complaints from residents in strata buildings after inspections by West Vancouver Fire & Rescue flagged some storage areas as fire risks.

And council will be taking another look at re-establishing the Capilano Pacific Trail through an area washed out by landslides in January 2021. The previous council voted to reroute the trail through a wooded area farther away from the slide site, but Coun. Scott Snider’s motion seeks to add a pedestrian bridge across the geotechnically unstable area along with a new permanent sewer line.

Coun. Peter Lambur then brought a motion directing district staff to report back on “options and implications associated with the renewal of water lot leases at Pasco Road and Eagle Island.”

“It really is basically a safety issue with regard to access to properties,” Lambur said.

Lastly, Gambioli brought a motion directing staff to look into creating a formalized parking area on Pilot House Road in consultation with the leadership of the Anglican St. Francis-in-the-Wood Church.

“This may seem like a little detail, but that beautiful church deserves a little bit of attention,” Mayor Mark Sager said.

Also new for 2022: West Vancouver council will be holding weekly meetings, every Monday starting at 7 p.m. In recent years, the council has had meetings start a 6 p.m. every other Monday. The intent is to have shorter meetings with fewer items on the agendas.