Density, parking and congestion were the reasons District of North Vancouver council voted to reject a Darwin project to build over 900 apartments at 1325 East Keith Road, the existing location of the North Shore Winter Club.
The project requires both a rezoning and an OCP amendment. The existing OCP designation is for commercial which limits residential uses, and the proposal is inconsistent with the existing zoning.
Darwin, as part of a land swap deal with North Shore Winter Club, was proposing two six-storey mid-rise buildings, one 32-storey tower, one 29-storey tower and one two-storey building. Also proposed was 5,000 square foot of commercial space and 1,133 underground parking spaces.
Councillor Lisa Muri moved the motion to reject the development, saying that district was in the early stages of an OCP review. “We are still dealing with the building out of our town centres and the discussion on the future of Maplewood. This isn’t a town centre. It is a significant development application, and it is way too early to discuss something like this,” she said.
Muri said she was doubtful the community would ever support the kind of density that was being proposed on Keith Road. “We are at the early stages of an OCP review, and we should go through that and work from there.”
Councillor Jim Hanson said the community would scoff at the suggestion of 930 apartment units with over a 1,000 parking stalls. “This is the most congested area in North Vancouver. This sits close to Highway 1, which becomes a parking lot, spewing out exhaust which would waft into the residences of the high towers. There would need to be very significant upgrades to our infrastructure for us to even think of this level of density,” he said.
Councillor Betty Forbes was also critical of the project. She said the area already saw a lot of traffic congestion. “We are not out of the woods here for a long time, as far as current development or transit infrastructure is concerned. To suggest we put 1,100 more cars when all of this is still going on, it blows my mind,” she said.
Mayor Mike Little said he didn’t think the financials of the project made sense. “It is a massive facility involving massive amount of money and when you work it back, it means you will have to net out $200 million dollars out of this project from the time of acquisition of new land to the construction of new buildings. I just don’t see this as being feasible,” he said.
Councillor Megan Curren also voiced her opposition to the project. “I am not supportive. Our policies will not get us ready for climate targets as condos are not well designed for climate emergency. I would support future development in the area with protection for the creek, but right now the rezoning is not supportable.”
The only voice of support came from Councillor Matthew Bond, who said transit infrastructure such as the rapid bus and interchange project would be complete by the time units were built. “I live closest to this proposal. From transportation standpoint, the section of the Keith Road actually flows quite freely,” he said.
However, he expressed his concern with the high number of parking spaces, but that alone shouldn’t be a factor in the rejection, he added. “The idea that we are going to reject homes for people because of one to one ratio of parking is a bit hollow for me.
The project could net high CACs and there will be a significant increase in rental units in the district, he added.
The proposal was rejected 5-2, with Councillors Bond and Back voting against the motion to reject.