District of North Vancouver could give the local economy a $1 billion boost and generate 500 to 1000 jobs in the next decade if its approving officer gives the go ahead to a proposed industrial subdivision: That is the message the proponents of a new subdivision application have for the District of North Vancouver.
Wesbild proposes to subdivide a 27-acre waterfront industrial property at 1371 McKeen Avenue into seven lots, from 0.67 acres to 11.6 acres. Wesbild acquired the property in 2017, one of the last remaining privately held waterfront industrial site with 730 feet of waterfront frontage. Currently, it has Lions Gate Marina, Lions Gate Mini Storage and 15 other tenants operating there.
According to Wesbild, it saw in the ‘highly underutilized’ industrial site an opportunity to better contribute to North Vancouver’s industrial economy and employment base. If approved, the proponents say it would increase supply to the ‘starved’ industrial market and allow local and regional businesses to grow in the community.
“Currently, the Metro Vancouver region is experiencing acutely strong demand, record low vacancy and inadequate new supply of industrial space. This is contributing to higher sale and lease rates while challenging business expansion in the region,” said Derek Read, vice president for Wesbild.
The DNV’s industrial market, he added, is even tighter, with less than 1 per cent vacancy and average lease rates one-third higher than the Metro Vancouver average due to lack of Inventory. There is no new industrial product is currently being constructed in the DNV, which makes it extremely difficult for businesses to grow, which in turn effects job growth.
Read said DNV has only had a net job increase of 2.3 per cent between 2001 and 2016, well below Metro Vancouver average of 27 per cent. Subdividing the McKeen Avenue site will increase much-needed industrial land supply. The southern site, a large 10.8-acre parcel on the waterfront, could be used for heavy industry, marine purpose or port related uses, considering its proximity to Seaspan and other port industrial users, he noted.
These types of businesses could include high tech value-add manufacturers, suppliers, marine related companies and other high paying jobs including boilermakers, longshoremen, and ironworkers. Potential opportunities, the company says, also exist for operations such as the Canadian Navy, Coast Guard, coastal service providers, and other related agencies.
Wesbild says it will provide shuttle buses, car share as well as electric vehicle charging station for cars and ebikes, and would be willing to provide a significant financial contribution to the Pemberton Pedestrian Overpass for a better pedestrian connectivity. The application has met resistance from Port Authority of Vancouver, which says such a subdivision diminishes future potential to support goods movement and could introduces uses that conflict with trade and goods movement.
Meanwhile, Wesbild says it would be prepared to agree to a restrictive covenant on the southern 10.8 acres to protect the land for port related and more intensive trade. The company has been discussing the use of this portion of land with large industrial users.