By Colin Metcalfe
As we welcome in 2018 I would like to take the opportunity to thank the neighbours of Pemberton Heights (PH) for helping make our neighbourhood one of the best neighbourhoods in all of Canada. In the 16 years I have lived in PH I can honestly say a day does not go by where I am thankful for living here. We have a great IB elementary school. We have a wonderful Cornerstone coffee shop/bistro – and thanks to some of the folks over at the DNV, we have a refurbished gym, daycare and pre-school at what used to be the Capilano United Church. Our children have safe playgrounds to play in. Our families have wonderful homes to raise their children and care for our elders.
With all that being said, as the President of the PH Community Assoc., there are always things where I hope we can see improvement.
- Traffic– always an issue in the neighbourhood. If it is a random car speeding or blowing through a stop sign, a Canada Post van racing through the streets to get off their shift, or a mom or dad late in getting their child to school, traffic is the number 1 complaint I hear about. We will need to manage this on-going issue to ensure our children are safe. With more people moving to the area each year, this concern will only get worse. My wish for 2018 – SLOW DOWN and LOOK UP!
- DNV– when you ask for our opinion – LISTEN! For years, our Association has worked with the Dist. of North Vancouver on a wide range of issues and concerns. Traffic, trees, crime, density and redevelopment to name a few. Often we meet in the middle and come up with a good solution or resolution. Unfortunately, it seems that the DNV Planners do not seem to hear us. As a community, we are willing to take on additional density in and around our neighbourhood where it makes sense. But the attempt at MASSIVE densification along Marine Drive a few years ago or the pending OVERWHELMING densification that will be happening in the Marine Dr/Capilano Rd area are two examples where planners seem to pit neighbourhoods against developers. I understand the need to grow our area to accommodate new residents, but extreme high-rises and massive condo-buildings will continue to erode the fabric that makes our communities so great to live in, while making our #1 issue much worse! Stick to the OCP. That is the long-term community document that should only be altered in the rarest of occasions. We went through the pre-planning meetings held by DNV planners several years ago for Lower Cap. We said that we see the need for moderate densities in this area. The planners called it a ‘village’ and offered a ‘moderate’ option. Instead, what is being built a classic bait and switch. It is far from moderate nor is it any village I would want to live in.
- The Car/SUV – for fear of sounding as if I am contradicting myself (re: Traffic). I will add the car to my list of hopes. I hope that municipalities on the North Shore will understand that when they plan a new building lot or high-rise, they need to ensure that adequate parking is included in the development. The reality for my family is that we need our vehicle. In fact, we have two. Between soccer, volleyball and basketball practice, getting to and from Doctor or Dentist appointments, picking up the groceries, and getting to and from work – WE NEED OUR VEHICLES. I cannot realistically use the bus to get my daughter’s basketball team from Carson Graham to Deep Cove or to a tournament in Surrey! So plan for this need instead of waging a war against the vehicle at every opportunity! We can all do our part to keep the car parked in the garage as much as possible, but don’t make it impossible for me to get to work on time or to an appointment.
- Involvement –As new residents move into the neighbourhood, I hope they get involved with the neighbourhood. When I moved into PH I was asked to get involved with the neighbourhood assoc. My wife was encouraged to get involved with the Moms Group. We attended the PAC meetings. I want to encourage new residents and residents who have lived in the neighbourhood for years to GET INVOLVED! Every year PH has a Canada Day bike parade, picnic and BBQ. We have an amazing group of volunteers that coordinate the event. I would love to see new faces getting involved and taking over from those who have worked the event for years. This is what keeps our wonderful community going. It is what allows us to brag about how great our neighbourhood is.
So as we look to 2018 and hope things change for the better, I want to be mindful of how lucky we all are to live on the North Shore. This is truly a special part of the world and we are blessed to be able to call it our home. Ultimately, my hope is simple – be kind to your neighbour.
If you see something that should be fixed, be part of the solution to getting it fixed. When you see something that might require a few hours of your time, please volunteer. Together we make up our neighbourhoods and together is the only way they will become better.
Happy New Year for 2018 and God Bless the North Shore!