Below we reproduce verbatim the communication sent recently to the Mayor and Council of West Vancouver by a local citizen:
Submitted to Mayor and Council 25/2/2021
Horseshoe Bay Local Area Plan
It seems apparent to me that the Horseshoe Bay LAP has been prepared to find a way to obtain the preconceived 200-300 housing unit targets, controversially allowed to be included in the OCP, rather than to ensure that future potential growth, over and above the major Sewell development, will be managed to guarantee protection and preservation of the fundamental seaside village, Horseshoe Bay neighbourhood with its rare sense of community and unique character.
But again we see the call for “a vibrant community” which, as usual, appears undefined as in almost all our planning documents and is frequently called for by a few density-prone Councilors…if useful as guidance, this term needs to be defined and must clearly fit the area for which it is being claimed to be aspirational…surely it does not mean the same in Park Royal, Ambleside, our waterfront, Dundarave and Horseshoe Bay.
Furthermore, the LAP offers, once again, increased height (5-6 storeys) and density under “limited circumstances and with demonstrable community benefits”. We have seen this developer safety valve used before to give us 7-8 storeys at Grosvenor Ambleside and more at Park Royal Gateway…but, since the specification of community-endorsed Amenities and priorities has never been tackled by this Council, we have no idea as to the rationale, spurious or not, that can be accepted by only 4 Councilors with a penchant for density and maximizing financial contributions eg. a child care facility in the Park Royal Gateway valued at $6 million.
The Plan specifies that “low rise forms are prioritized” and particularly the “missing middle where each unit has a front door to the street”. I totally agree with this but how does each unit of a 4-6 storey building have a front door to the street?
During the course of this LAP’s preparation, the Neighbourhood Character Working Group report, with recommendations, has been submitted? How does this Plan conform in every way to its recommendations?
From the maps, it is not clear to me the zoning for the St. Monica’s Church site. If this Plan is to encourage young families and seniors, groups with maximum need for opportunities to play and socialize, I believe the community use zoning for that site must be preserved. I would argue the same for Tantalus Park, although the use and character of the Park may need a reformulation to achieve increased use.
With the diverse housing types, heights, and densities, and variety of commercial development being facilitated by this plan, how will the LAP ensure that the development proposals being approved over the next 20 years will consistently protect and strengthen the key “charming and funky seaside village” character and guidelines for Horseshoe Bay, as it has been consistently achieved in the “ski village character” at Whistler. I believe this will require some unusual specifications and controls in the Plan but they must be specified to achieve the character objectives of the LAP and the will of WV residents. One element that I think needs to be modified is the “land assembly” dimensions. Funky charm is encouraged by variety…heights, roof lines, building frontage and others…allowing 40m and 65m lot consolidation is not consistent with the “funky charming” objective. I believe these must be reduced.
5498 Greenleaf Road
West Vancouver, BC
*please do not redact my name
Since submitting my comments to Mayor and Council on the Horseshoe Bay LAP yesterday, and in rereading aspects of our OCP, I have realized another very critical piece of information. Our OCP targets growth of approximately 5000 housing units on the current 17,000 units in overall WV. This represents a 29% increase over the next 20 years. While in Horseshoe Bay, it targets an additional 300 units on the current residential 300 units in the Village: a target adopted by this LAP and a 100% increase in residential units and, if you add the massive 160 unit Sewell Development, we have a 153% increase that Council would be telling Horseshoe Bay residents to absorb…a completely disproportionate impact on this “charming and funky” closely knit neighbourhood community. And while some would say OK but that is over 20 years…there is nothing in this plan to stop that from happening over 10 years or even less…it is totally dependent on the vagaries of the private housing market and the will of this and future Councils to facilitate excessive density and growth.
While an LAP planning engagement process found levels of community endorsement for a variety of individual aspects of this Plan, when they were presented in stages and in isolation, the scale of development being proposed for Horseshoe Bay in this Plan, when seen in its totality, is obviously inequitable and is totally inappropriate. To believe that this will not have severe impacts on the very qualities of life that make Horseshoe Bay Village a gem among our West Vancouver assets, is insensitive to the potential social and environmental impacts of inappropriate development. Many of the concepts in the Plan are excellent but it needs to be scaled back and, if possible, timing safeguards provided.
5498 Greenleaf Road
West Vancouver, BC