West Vancouver Community Planning Update 2014

(May 06, 2014 , posted in West Vancouver)

One of the things I always look forward to are my meetings with North Shore City Officials and Planners. This year's meeting regarding West Vancouver brought some welcome announcements to the table. I anticipate seeing a lot of the changes heavily focused on the gateway areas - Taylor way, Park Royal and Ambleside. 
 Here are the highlights for you.. 

AMBLESIDE:  Finally the changes are underway for the Ambleside Streetscape revival plan. This includes 1300 Amblesideimproving the area with new development, friendlier sidewalks and more community enhancement. As the gateway to West Vancouver, Ambleside has been lacking for a long time the kind of welcoming atmosphere that one would expect when driving into the district, but that is all about to change.

The wheels are in motion for the 1300 Block of Ambleside. Grosvenor plans on starting construction in late 2014 on what will be a full block development. Replacing the WV Police Department and a series of dilapidated old buildings will be two low-rise towers of 6 and 7 storeys each. A total of 48 residential units with less than half of all units under 1500SF - finally bringing the kind of housing options residents in West Vancouver desperately need. The development will also include 30,000SF of retail and office space. The overall appeal will be a vibrant community and a beautiful entrance into our stunning West Vancouver neighbourhoods.  Read more here..

WV WATERFRONT: In other news, the city of West Vancouver has managed to purchase 29 of the 32 remaining waterfront homes along the Ambleside corridor. Plans to have one, continuous seawall with parks, food trucks and community events is still a priority as many residents feel this area is under-utilized and should be reformed to service all the people who live and visit the area. Restaurants and shops would all benefit from keeping more of the traffic local and in WV. 
John Lawson park has already undergone a major renovation and is full of families every day. Similar ideas are in motion for the bottom of 15th St with a focus on community events, food and entertainment. 

WV COACH HOUSES:  Currently West Van has aprox. 800 legal suites and the success of allowing legal Vancouver Coach Housesuites in WV has supported the effort to allow "detached legal suites" (or Coach Houses) on WV properties as well. Following North Vancouver's example, owners will be allowed to register either one, legal attached suite or one, legal detached suite, but not both on the same property. 
Forecasts are for bylaws to be passed as early as Summer of 2014 with application for permits to build being accepted this Fall. This is great news for families with seniors who want to keep their parents close and for investors and home owners looking for extra rental income. The availability of affordable rental suites in West Van is limited at the best of times.  The hope is that efforts such as this one will ease some of the financial burden of living in West Van, help Seniors age in place and protect our single family neighbourhoods from multi-family developments. 
Coach house permits will be for rental only (no separate titles) and will be allowed district wide.  The FSR standards will stay the same with design guidelines in place. 
More information on WV secondary suites is available here.

PARK ROYAL: Park Royal Shopping Centre has made an application for an Official Community Plan amendment. The amendment would allow two residential towers and additional retail on the Park Royal South site at 752 Marine Drive, where the White Spot restaurant used to be located.
The District has received an application for a development permit for improvements to the North Mall. The proposed improvements include a series of interior and exterior renovations, a roof-top parking addition and relocation of an existing vehicular ramp on the western portion of the property. The overall design concept is in keeping with the new appearance of Park Royal South’s village main street expansion.

MAISONS SENIORS LIVING: The proposed Maisons Senior Living facility is a two storey residential complex that will provide 103 beds in an assisted living environment at the corner of Taylor way and Keith Road. Final approval is still required with hopes of starting construction at the end of 2014. 
The proposal is for a private pay (i.e. not-publicly funded) seniors' assisted living and memory care residential facility with 103 beds within 91 bedrooms. The proposal differs from other senior housing projects in West Vancouver, as it would provide a housing option for people who require help with certain daily activities (i.e. taking medications, personal hygiene, etc.). There would also be a specialized service for those people with memory care needs (i.e. dementia or Alzheimer patients, etc.).

MARINE DRIVE & 23RD: A new low-rise tower has been approved for the 2300 block of Marine Drive. This will provide 37 new residential units in 16 storeys with construction beginning in the Fall of 2014. 

1495 CLYDE AVENUE: A low-rise three storey mixed use building will begin construction in Summer of 2014. This will provide eight new residential units on the second and third floor of the building with retail and office on the main. 

Other footnotes:
  • Shopper's Drug Mart on 16th and Marine has plans for a whole new store expanding in size to take over the parking lot that currently sits next to the store and move parking to on top of the new store similar to the Park Royal location.
  • A new "Green" Shell station is planned for the North corner of 13th and Marine Drive.  
  • The Masonic Hall on Bellevue has been sold to a Developer with plans to be announced but will likely include a residential tower. 
  • The West Vancouver Police Department is moving to a location across from the current WV City Hall. 
For a full list of proposals and updates visit West Van District Website.