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Sewell’s towers plan to get public input

Massive development touted for Horseshoe Bay revitalization

After more than six years in development purgatory, a massive project that would sandwich six buildings between the mouth of Howe Sound and a Horseshoe Bay cliff is up for discussion July 4.

The plan includes 159 apartments and townhouses spread over six highrise, mid-rise and low-rise buildings, as well as 13,700 square feet of ground-floor commercial space earmarked for offices, restaurants and retail businesses.

West Vancouver council voted unanimously to send the project to a July 4 public hearing, much to the delight of Dan Sewell, who spoke on behalf of the 85-year-old, family-operated marina, which has partnered with Westbank Projects Corp. and Merrick Architecture.

After recalling the days when Horseshoe Bay was a fishing mecca and a stop on the road for travellers heading to Squamish and Britannia Beach, Sewell stressed the need for housing diversity.

“We don’t get traffic today like we used to get,” he said. “The commercial core is really hurting.”

The collection of towers would spring up in the northwest corner of Horseshoe Bay village, with buildings as tall as 12 storeys easing against Telegraph Hill and the complex terracing to three-storey structures closer to the waterfront.

The 113,000 square foot site – which is currently home to an office building and a parking lot - is bounded by Wolseley Street to the west and Horseshoe Bay to the east. The floor area ratio – which measures total floor space against lot size – is 2.8.

If approved, the marina would be shifted to a separate waterfront parcel. All the tenants are slated to be retained.

The site includes 493 parking spots tucked inside a four-level underground parkade. The plan is to reserve to 255 stalls for marina users.

A “modest increase” in traffic volumes is expected as a result of the development, but “no changes to the existing street network are required,” according to a district staff report.

West Vancouver council would need to amend their official community plan before shovels could hit the ground.

However, a staff report credited the project for aligning with the OCP objectives of bringing vibrancy to Horseshoe Bay while lessening the community’s dependency on B.C. Ferries.

If approved, the applicant would pay the district a community amenity contribution of $8.4 million, money that could be spent on streetscape and park improvements in Horseshoe Bay or the establishment of an affordable housing fund, according to the staff report.

The deal also preserves unrestricted public access to the boardwalk, the pedestrian bridge to Madrona Island as well as public plazas.

West Vancouver council has been mulling the project off and on since 2009.

An impasse between the province and West Vancouver over the foreshore head lease led Sewell’s to withdraw the initial proposal. West Vancouver and the province eventually signed a new lease in 2014.

Businesses such as bowling alleys, pool halls, casinos, night clubs, pawn shops and social escort services are not permitted to be part of the project.

The applicant might be on the hook for $1.69 million in water reservoir and water main upgrades if the project is approved.

Sewell’s will host an info meeting June 21, 4-7 p.m. at Gleneagles Community Centre, Seaview Room. Presentation starts at 5 p.m.

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