I have been a West Vancouverite since 1949, and I love West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park. That’s why I am expressing my views here.
Ambleside Park extends a long distance to Vancouver Port. Much of the land which has become park was privately owned. Previous councils of West Vancouver determined to buy that private land so that a park could be constructed for the benefit of all.
In our park, a building was built for the ferry which previously ran to Vancouver harbour. The Ferry Building has been kept in reasonably good condition and has grass on both sides and is a great historic building admired by all.
Some time ago, Ambleside Park was zoned for park purposes, and an allowance for a building of about 3,500 square feet was made.
A recommendation dated July 30, 2019 was made by municipal staff to our Mayor and Council making reference to the 2012 Parks Master Plan which set the “direction for the management, protection, enhancement and community engagement within West Vancouver parks and open spaces”.
We now find that, without mention or consideration to West Vancouverites, the Council has been urged to agree to construct a building, or buildings, for Arts and Culture Facilities in Ambleside Park in 21,000 to 25,000 square feet which the staff suggests might be built on the grass immediately adjacent to the west side of the Ferry Building.
Locating a building adjacent to the Ferry Building would badly detract from the Ferry Building’s presence. This is not something one does to a historic building. An art building does not need a waterfront location but residents need the park to be used as a park. If the present road fronting on the waterfront is going to be created as a path for people and bicycles and called ‘Spirit Trail’ with no vehicular traffic, no parking could be readily available to any site next to the Spirit Trail.
How can one consider an ‘Arts’ building as part of a park? The intention of all our past councils which considered buying waterfront park property was to create a park and not construct buildings.
John Seddon is a long-time resident of West Vancouver.