The District of North Vancouver has approved two new condo projects, despite some misgivings from members of council.
In two separate votes Monday night, council gave the OK for a six-storey building containing 63 condo units over six commercial storefronts at 467 Mountain Hwy. and a 22-unit apartment building on Crescentview Drive near Connaught Crescent in Edgemont.
The lower Mountain Highway project by Wanson Development had provoked consternation at council in the past over the potential loss of the existing 9,000-square-foot industrial space at that site, but when it came down to a final vote Monday night, five of the seven council members voted for the rezoning.
The project was meeting the balance of providing housing in a neighbourhood where there is currently a shortage, Mayor Richard Walton said.
“We’ve got companies like Arc’teryx and Capilano University ... both of whom have 70 per cent employes who do not live in North Vancouver. They have to cross the bridges,” he said. “Housing is a very, very loud call that we’re getting on top of having more light industrial lands. You can’t look at light industrial without having housing.
You can’t look at housing without having job lands as well. You have to build a community that considers both and tries to find that right balance, which is what we’re doing.”
Couns. Lisa Muri and Jim Hanson both voted against the project, however, on the grounds that it would erode a piece of the district’s threatened light industrial land base.
“Even though it’s a small development, I think it’s triggering one of the worst decisions the municipality will ever make,” Muri said, noting the North Shore was once a destination for blue-collar residents looking to start business.
“Sustainable communities are not built on condos and housing. They’re built on mixed use and they’re built on jobs. And in this community, you need high-paying jobs,” she said. “Light industrial offers that and we’ve just said goodbye to even more light industrial land in our community with this application.”
The vote split along similar lines for the Crescentview development.
The project had a measure of neighbourhood support at a recent public hearing and it is in keeping with long-held plans for that corner of the district, its supporters on council noted.
What endeared it most to council, however, was the agreement by the developer to hold off on starting construction until the spring of 2018 to allow a number of other projects in Edgemont to be completed, giving residents a reprieve from construction fatigue
“I really believe we should reinforce good behaviour on the part of developers,” said Coun. Doug MacKay-Dunn. “If they really do understand the community and are prepared to delay the construction until other projects are completed, that’s to be commended. For those developers who are not prepared to do that, they can take a position at the back of the bus, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Still, that wasn’t enough to win a unanimous vote, with Muri and Hanson both voting nay, largely over the concerns that its approval would have on North Shore roads.
“Its too much, too fast. It brings too much congestion. It creates to many uncertainties with the respect to traffic and it flies in the face, I say, of the need to take a pause, take stock before we continue with development in this area,” Hanson said.