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Editorial: Small apartments a small step for West Vancouver

Insisting that every change meet everyone’s nebulous definition of perfection guarantees one thing: the status quo forever
West Vancouver council has approved a new all-rental building on Clyde Avenue at Taylor Way.| DA Architects + Planners

After a few months of will-they-or-won’t-they drama, West Vancouver council has given approval to a significant redevelopment on Clyde Avenue at Taylor Way – their first major decision about land use in the municipality since the election.

The 201 mostly-studio rental apartments will be just steps away from rapid transit, shopping and services. In any other municipality, this would have been a slam dunk, but it took years for the proposal to even reach a vote in West Vancouver’s council chambers, and even then, it was far from a guarantee.

Mayor Mark Sager noted that many well-respected people in the community would disagree with council’s decision. There was a lot of angst over whether the proposal was “right” for the community.

It’s true that smaller apartments are probably not as comfortable as larger ones. And market rental rates are indeed punishing for someone trying to get by on a 2023 salary.

But insisting that every change meet everyone’s nebulous definition of perfection guarantees one thing: the status quo forever.

And for 40 years, virtually no new rental stock was added to the community, which has meant, year after year, it’s become harder for anyone who couldn’t afford a single-family property to establish a home in West Van. It’s not good for local employers. It’s not good for commuters. And it’s not good for West Vancouver’s residents.

No doubt, this decision was being watched in Victoria where Premier David Eby has stated that municipalities will not be able to simply hold back new housing forever. It is far wiser to send the message that West Vancouver wants to be part of the solution, not the problem.

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