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North Van District could add 60 to 90 affordable homes in Maplewood

Public hearing set for Nov. 23 for potential six-storey rental project on Riverside Drive
riverside drive lands
Four undeveloped lots owned by the District of North Vancouver could become affordable housing.

District of North Vancouver council is clearing the way to host 60 to 90 units of affordable housing on municipally-owned land in Maplewood.

Council gave first reading Monday night to a bylaw that could see four undeveloped lots on the northeast corner of Riverside Drive and Old Dollarton Highway house a building of up to six storeys with below-market rentals as well as a potential child-care centre or space for community service providers.

Metro Vancouver Housing is currently offering capital grants for municipalities that can provide land but the deadline to apply is at the end of December.

 “It has been a goal to get a Metro Vancouver project on the North Shore and I hope that this can be the site for that,” said Mayor Mike Little.

Little added that approaching Metro with the land already zoned for affordable housing is the best strategy to get the grant, although he would prefer something shorter than what the six-storey zoning would allow.

“I probably would lean more toward four or five stories than the full six just because I think the heights would be so stark on that point on Riverside Drive,” he said.

The district’s official community plan foresees medium-rise apartments on the site.

Other members of council praised the location because of nearby jobs, shopping and services.

First reading of the bylaw, which triggers a public hearing tentatively scheduled for Nov. 23, passed without any nay votes, although Couns. Lisa Muri and Betty Forbes both raised concerns.

Muri said council should review its entire plan for the Maplewood area given the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s application to the federal government to add the nearby18.2-hectare Maplewood North lands to their reserve. The Nation has partnered with Darwin Properties to build a mix of light industrial, commercial, rental housing and market condos on the site, a project known as the Innovation District. If their request to the federal government is approved, district council will no longer have jurisdiction over the land use there.

“We have no idea what the Tsleil-Waututh, if they are successful with the addition to reserve, are going to bring forward in regards to that project, and we are already backed up again with traffic,” Muri said. “We need to understand what is happening with the whole area instead of planning and making decisions in silos.”

If council is approved for the funding, they will seek out a non-profit to lease the land to at a nominal rate.

As part of the agreement, the district would also waive the development cost charges developers typically have to pay.