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West Vancouver council streamlines some housing rules

The amendment of five housing bylaws was discussed in West Vancouver’s council meeting June 5
Amendments to bylaws were given the go ahead in West Vancouver council chambers June 5. | Nick Laba / North Shore News

West Vancouver council has amended a number of housing development bylaws in a bid to help clarify current regulations and streamline the development process.

On Monday evening council gave second and third reading to a series of bylaw changes that will allow greater flexibility for where electric vehicle charging equipment can be placed on single-family lots, allow the installation of heat pumps within multi-family buildings, and allow the installation of underground storage in existing parkades in multi-family buildings.

During both the meeting and public hearing prior, the only concerns raised among members of council and the public regarded the proposed revisions to the Soil Removal, Deposit, Blasting and Rock Breaking Bylaw. The proposed amendment related to the amount of rock allowed for the construction of a home, garage, coach house, driveway or parking area, and whether or not that would be allowed to increase, up to a maximum of 15 per cent.

“This was a really big issue the last time we passed an increase to this blasting and rock breaking bylaw. That was a number of years ago and I was already concerned that it was too much and I think that new developments, especially on big lots, is just too invasive and intrusive,” said Coun. Nora Gambioli. “If we want to preserve neighbourhood character, this is not the way to go about it.”

Coun. Christine Cassidy, adding how she agreed with all of Gambioli’s comments, said “I do feel it is time we build with the topography.”

Voicing favour of the proposal, however, was Coun. Linda Watt.

“I’m going to have to unfortunately disagree with my two colleagues, because I look at the pressure that we’re under from the provincial government to increase density … and there’s going to be a greater need going forward to be more creative with the land,” she said. “I don’t know if the style of building that we were doing in the past will necessarily work.”

The second and third reading was passed, with only Cassidy and Gambioli voting against.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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