The citizens and the business community in Horseshoe Bay are asking the District to West Vancouver to reconsider a rezoning application that would replace a community-amenity zoning with residential zoning.
Quma, a development company, has applied for a 14-unit multi-family development at the site of St. Monica’s Church on Wellington Avenue in Horseshoe Bay. The church site was sold in 2015. Owned by Peter Nilsson, Quma is proposing to build ‘Tantalus Garden’ as a pocket community”- a tight-knit residential area of duplex and coach house connected by pathways and garden spaces.
“Tantalus Gardens is the missing middle. It is a collection of duplexes and coach-houses. Tantalus Gardens addresses the need for housing diversity and variety that the community of West Vancouver is looking for as outlined in the Official Community Plan,” Nilsson said.
Nilsson said the Tantalus gardens will appeal to seniors who want to downsize or “right-size” or better yet “right-live” as we like to say, as well young families or anybody else for that matter who wants to “right-live”. “It’s at at-grade living in modestly sized homes with both private and community outdoor spaces that are all maintained by a strata,” he said.
The proposal, however, has left citizens concerned about the loss of a community space, parking and extra traffic that is anticipated with the proposal. Writing to the district, Holly Kemp, the president of Horseshoe Bay Business Association, said the community doesn’t support the development being proposed.
“We don’t want it. The property at this time has a community amenity zoning and we don’t have any other community amenity other than Gleneagles. The development being proposed will create high-end homes that sell for $1 million and over and we don’t need that in this area,” Kemp said.
Kemp said the development is close to a thoroughfare and it will create more congestion and parking. She said there is a strong sentiment in the community to retain this as a community amenity property. “There hasn’t been much public consultation with the community and there is a strong and loud opposition to this new development,” she said.
There have been several letters to the district expressing concerns that a community gathering space will make way for homes in the area. “The church was used by the community for many other events such as preschool, playschool, day care, and many other events. The new Gleaneagles Community place is in most cases too expensive and poorly placed to be our focus point,” said one local.
Another citizen said many people move to the community because of its low density and relaxed community atmosphere. The citizen said in the past single-family lots in Horseshoe Bay have been demolished to build two or more homes, and it’s the kind of density the community has come to see as inevitable.
“This new proposal, however, is a whole different ball park, and the size of the proposal is alarming.” Another resident said the piece of land is rare and needs more time and consideration before the council could move forward with the proposal. “
There are many painters, writers, artisans, musicians, and professionals in the arts and entertainment field who live in this area. What about an art centre with facilities bringing nature, community and the arts together? That would truly enhance and serve this wonderfully unique place we call home,”
Meanwhile, the developer says he knows through the public consultation meeting that was organised in October that many people didn’t like his proposal. He said, however, that there were several supportive responses as well from those who recognized that Quma could have proposed a higher density form of housing but didn’t.
“Yes an underutilized community-meeting space will be lost but there are two more modern, more accessible and more affordable community meeting spaces less that one kilometer away from the site; Gleneagles Community Centre and the recently renovated and expanded Gleneagles Golf & Clubhouse,” Peter Nilsson said.
The rezoning proposal has yet to go before the council.