By John Meekison
While the Horseshoe Bay area faces many issues such as development of a local area plan and the BC Ferry terminal expansion, the more immediate concern for 2019 relates to public safety, specifically the uneven cobblestone sidewalks. For several years now, the sidewalks have been a tripping hazard, particularly with the elderly and, in the evening hours when visibility is poor, a danger to all.
The sidewalks have been slated for repair by the City of West Vancouver as part of an overall streetscape plan. The implementation of the plan is expected to take place over three years. However, only the first year has budget funding in place due to the funds received in connection with the Westbank development project.
While “beautification” is certainly a community goal, safety is the higher priority. The streetscape plan (scheduled to begin in October of 2018) was designed to go in phases block by block, starting with Royal and Bruce Streets. This left the sidewalk sections closer to the water untouched with no budget for future repairs.
Thanks to prompt intervention from Craig Cameron, Councillor for West Vancouver, the Horseshoe Bay Business Association and the Western Residents Association (WRA), the streetscape plan was put on hold pending a review. At this point while the streetscape plan is on pause, it is important to bring the entire community and City of West Vancouver together to re-consider the plan and implementation of that plan. The sidewalks and safety must come first and aesthetics later.
We will begin discussions around funding and implementation of the streetscape plan in January of 2019. The other planned upgrade to our community in 2019 will be the Horseshoe Bay Park revitalization. As highlighted on the District of West Vancouver website: “The revitalization of the park will create a gathering space for residents and visitors alike. The goal is to create a free-flowing connected park space from the pier all the way to the ferry terminal that can be integrated with the upcoming streetscape improvements.” Currently the district of West Vancouver on its website (link: https://www.westvancouverite.ca/ hsb) is hosting an overview of the proposed park upgrades along with a survey soliciting input from residents and park users.
I encourage people to review the information and respond to the survey. It is important to note that while these two community upgrades are the most imminent projects, they also represent a longer-term vision for the Gleneagles and Horseshoe Bay neighbourhoods. This will also include the BC Ferries terminal expansion, the Westbank condominium development project, and the district’s local area plan.
All these plans and community initiatives will need to be woven together into a cohesive fabric that is a reflection of the village community in which residents and businesses wish to live and operate. The change is coming, and we all need to ensure that we provide feedback and guidance to maximize the outcome for all stakeholders.