A controversial development project that would see an increase of 481 residential units to what was earlier approved is headed to a public hearing on December 3.
The public hearing on the Rodgers Creek project will be held at the West Vancouver council chambers tomorrow at 6 pm.
If approved, the Rodgers Creek project would allow for an increase in maximum height on a proposed tower from 12 to 16 storeys, and an increase in ‘for sale” units from 493 to 699. That increase will be possible by decreasing unit sizes.
An increase in density to allow up to 275 secured rental units, including up to 150 units on the district-owned lot is also planned.
These changes are all being proposed for Areas 5 and 6 and British Properties is also proposing to extend the Uplands Way to connect back to Cypress Bowl road in order to expand transportation options.
Council watcher and local businessman Nigel Malkin is opposed to the project, and a petition he started to oppose the project has 2,759 signatures.
Malkin says the biggest reason for council to reject the proposal is the fact that it the project has already been approved by previous council—without the additional units. Malkin said the uplands working group spent years working on the development plans for the area and West Van staff spent countless to ensure the project fit in with the needs of the community.
“Now after ten years with a minimal amount of consultation and a single public hearing the project could have nearly double the number of units. Some are rental that we do need, but in a location that is not at all desirable for families or for many who rent,” he said.
The council would set a bad precedent if it approved the additional units, he added.
“Allowing the change sets a very dangerous precedent in West Vancouver and soon every development will be going for an easy permit and then asking for more. It simply cannot be allowed to be changed,” he said.
Julia Zhou, a member of the British Properties Homeowners Association, is also skeptical about the project and its implications for climate change.
“What has been missing is the scientific fact that human activities, such as deforestation, change of land use or urbanization, are the major sources of GHG emission as well that contribute to Climate Change,” she said.
She said a significant amount of forest loss will be the cost of this expansion, and the project will add more commuting time and gridlock to the district and contribute to an increase in GHG emissions.
“The deterioration of our living environment and the loss of forest and biodiversity will be borne by the West Vancouver residents, homeowners, the forest resources, our natural environment and our future generation,” Zhou added.
Heather Mersey, a West Vancouver citizen who ran for council last year, said council needs to take a ‘very’ close look at Rodgers Creek.
Mersey said even though British Properties can be commended for retaining 55 percent of the Rodgers Creek site for green space, the community shouldn’t be misled on the environmental impact of the proposal.
“A proposed unit increase of 97 and an increase in parking spots is only going to add more traffic. This is the highest priority issue of residents on the North Shore and yet ignored by local politicians as we continue to add more and more density,” she said.
Adine Mees, CEO of West Vancouver Foundation, had a different take on the project. Mees said the project would be a new revenue source for West Vancouver, including CACs, and property taxes. Protection of green space, proximity to trail system, and an increased diversity of housing were other positive aspects of the project, Mees added.
“The project proposes an increase in the diversity of housing, including smaller homes, a 40 per cent reduction in the average home size and 125 purpose built rentals. Increased diversity of housing provides much needed options for residents to remain in the community or move back into the community,” Rees said.
Another resident George Pajari said Rodgers Creek is one among the best proposals in West Vancouver. For those opposing, he asked if they were suggesting that the community shouldn’t grow at all, and if that is fair to the rest of the Lower Mainland, which will have to accommodate more than its share of growth.
Pajari said those opposed need to come up with ‘viable serious alternatives’ that actually meet the present day realities of West Vancouver.