These ideas come from the perspective of the Seymour Community Association – so while many of our hopes are similar to all of the District of North Vancouver, some have a “Seymour Angle”. Why would those two be different?
Two reasons really – first, Seymour is more isolated with only two roads in and out – one being Dollarton Highway and the other Mount Seymour Parkway. Area residents cannot head west without getting forced into “bridge traffic” even if we’re not going across the bridge.
The other thing that makes us a little different – Seymour has a high component of social housing, co-op housing and a few remaining purpose-built-rental properties. So we tend to see the DNV through the lens of understanding the benefits that all types of housing bring.
Our new Council is just barely into its four-year mandate, and in terms of new faces, likely represents the most significant change in decades. Given the learning curve, we obviously need to realistic about what can be accomplished in the first twelve months, however, we are hopeful that we will see significant changes in how DNV conducts its business.
During the election, the big topics seemed to be development (pace and type), traffic and how the municipality deals with the citizens. So let’s talk about those things.
Development: The DNV is at Year 9 of a 20-year Official Community Plan. That plan forecasted 10,000 new housing units that were intended to both satisfy demand and take “our share” of density in order to “earn” our share of Translink funding and infrastructure. Many don’t agree with these numbers, because they don’t want to count units proposed but not approved, or basement suites.
But these numbers have been reconciled with DNV’s Building Department. If DNV approved– and built– all the units either approved, or under construction, or submitted but not yet “before Council”, we would reach 10,000 units, yet be 127 units shy of our “market ownership” forecast.
Conversely, we would be over 2,900 units short on our Non-Market/Social/Rental Housing goal. We have underway 98.2% of our market ownership forecast, but only 72.6% and 44.6% of our Non-Market Rentals and Market Rental goals respectively. So in our minds, the way forward is to approve the current rental units in process and continue to encourage rental projects with less emphasis on market-priced ownership units. Going forward, we would like to see Council prioritize rentals and give the Rental and Affordable Housing Strategy more priority to ensure this.
Traffic: There is a lot of discussion about the INSTPP (Integrated North Shore Traffic Planning Project) – but INSTPP didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know back in 2011 when our Transportation Plan was completed. Its goals?
To raise the level of walking/transit/cycling from 21% in 2011 to 35% by 2030. What’s being done? The first is the massive Lower Lynn Interchange Improvement project – currently behind schedule. I can fairly say that people east of the Seymour River hope, but are skeptical, that this will bring the improvements that are so desperately needed.
The other big change: The promised B-Line from Phibbs to Dundarave. Many are hoping for a miracle here – that the B-Line will move people from East-to-West and back again so efficiently that they willingly switch from cars to transit. But at the same time, the B-Line will see much of Marine Drive reduced to one lane each way, but not even that if you consider the B-Line’s articulated buses will have to pass the regular buses in order to achieve shorter travel times. Given the negative impacts, has anyone actually determined expected ridership? How many area residents even WANT to go to Lonsdale, Park Royal or Dundarave on a daily basis?
What do we hope for 2019? Well hopefully, a faster pace on the Lower Lynn Interchange and perhaps a reality check on B-Line Planning. If the goal is to raise transit/cycling numbers from 21% to 35%, leaving 65% in cars, how will those cars get around if you cut capacity from four lanes each way (two on Highway #1, and two on Marine Drive) by 25%? Please show us how this improves things.
What else do we hope for in 2019? Hopefully some changes in DNV culture. With a new Mayor, three new Councilors and a very capable CAO, we hope to see better communication, and a different attitude in how staff regard DNV’s citizens. We would also recommend that the DNV website be improved to be more user friendly, intuitive and easy to navigate. Right now, any search engine is better at finding the information you’re after!
Lastly, in 2019 we would like to see DNV Council and Staff implement a series of regular Town Hall Meetings organized by the community associations in each major neighbourhood with all members of council in attendance.
Our newly elected Council has lots of work ahead of them, and much is expected. If we work together, the District will become an even better place to live and work. Let’s get started!
A resident of the district for over 30 years, Teevan is the vice-chair of Seymour Community Association.