British Properties project plan grows by 456 units

A long-approved but largely dormant development plan off Cypress Bowl Road is back before council, albeit with some major tweaks.

In 2008 – four council terms ago – the District of West Vancouver agreed to rezone 87 hectares of land owned by British Pacific Properties on the slopes of Hollyburn Mountain to allow condo towers, townhouses and more single-family homes. But the 10-year development agreement for the western-most section expired in 2018 and today’s council sought to renegotiate.

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Under the latest version presented to council Monday night, the total number of strata units would go from 493 to 699, although the square footage of the buildings they occupy wouldn’t change – the units would just get smaller. Similarly four of the towers on the site would get taller and skinnier, keeping the same square footage. The new plan also calls for two new 12-storey all-rental towers, one of which would be owned by the district, adding another 250 rental units to the plan. Also, four single-family lots big enough for large mansions have been subdivided into 10 lots for smaller detached homes and Uplands Way would be changed from a cul-de-sac to a through road that connects back to Cypress Bowl Road.

The latest iteration of the proposal stoked little controversy at the council table where support to send the project to public hearing was unanimous.

“This is not really a new project. It’s a renewal of an expired agreement,” said Coun. Peter Lambur, introducing the motion. “It was council who wanted to revisit it and take a look at opportunities for additional density … but the essence of what was initially proposed is still there. It’s just in an improved form.”

It did, however, find mixed reviews in the council gallery.

Council watcher George Pajari said he believed the $7.14 million in community amenity contributions the district would receive may not be enough and that staff need to be more transparent about how they arrived at that figure.

Staff countered that the district had the contribution vetted by an independent consultant, but Pajari challenged council to hire their own assessor to come up with an independent proforma, which he said should also be made public.

“It’s not a matter of justice being done. It’s a matter that justice be seen to be done. The CACs need to be seen to be fair and a secret process doesn’t permit that,” he said.

West Vancouver Community Stakeholders founder Nigel Malkin said allowing the developer to apply for more units than were originally approved would be an abuse of process.

“Is this becoming routine for West Vancouver? First Park Royal, now British Pacific Properties. Who will be next?” he said.

Christine Banham, however, reminded council of their stated goals in creating more housing diversity.

“I like this. It’s what people want. They want the smaller units. It’s rental. That’s what people want. It will allow people to downsize in the community and hopefully attract younger people who work here,” she said.

The project goes to a public hearing on Nov. 19.

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