Changes in Edgemont Village

In their recent AGM, Edgemont and Upper Capilano Community Association heard about some of the changes coming for Edgemont Village, which will be of interest to many in the Delbrook area. The following notes were taken from their (provisional) minutes, and cover three developments that are in the works in the Village.

CANFIELD

This will be a 130 Unit Independent Seniors Rental and is currently proposed for the north corner of Highland and Woodbine. They are aiming to provide 125-135 supportive/independent living units for rental for 75-85 year-olds. It’s going to be about 105,000-115,000 square feet (FSR 1.5), and the unfurnished units will range from 500 to 900 square feet. The building will be a mix of three and four storey blocks, with a central private courtyard. Food, laundry, maid service and entertainment will be available, as well as some sort of attendance, although no medical staff are planned.

So far, about half the residential lots have been acquired, and the rest are under option. The properties are presently zoned for single family residential, and would have to be rezoned to allow the development. The Official Commnity Plan would also want updating to identify the development as part of the village.

The developers are also considering transitional housing as a phase 2 on Ridgewood properties immediately to north of this site.

Garden Works

This project has been approved and is in progress (I only noticed Garden Works was gone last weekend). The property will be held for several years and used as a temporary home for North Shore Credit Union. It may be redeveloped into something else in due course. The former courtyard plant display area will become a parking lot for the credit union.

Commons Edgemont

In the block currently occupied by North Shore Credit Union, this development will be presented to DNV Council on March 26, with public hearing in April. They expect to complete in 2013-2014. It will be a three story commercial development with shops on the ground floor and offices above. The developer is proposing no residential use.

Advertisements

Federation of North Vancouver Community Associations

Tonight I arrived late to my first meeting of the Federation of North Vancouver Community Associations. 7:20 and they were still debating the agenda. Hopefully not all meetings begin with someone looking up the terms of reference and mandate of the organization!

To tell the truth, much of the evening was not all that useful to me, or you. But there were a few useful pieces of information:

  • You can now subscribe to dnv council agendas and minutes via their website, although none of the subscribers present had yet received anything, and so, the jury’s still out as to whether you can receive updates or only subscribe. This we think is thanks to counsellor Mike Little. Apparently City of NV has had this facility for some time.
  • There was a big discussion on what is the policy regarding freedom of information act requests for correspondence with District staff and council. Resulted in a decision to invite district to speak on the question of how staff should be dealing with letters sent to council. The basic question, I think, is whether letters to counsel are part of the public domain, and thus should not be redacted when obtained under FOI requests.
  • The Save our Shores Society will hold their annual walk this year on June 3rd (looks like their website is out of date). The walk is from Cates Park to Strathcona and return.
  • Edgemont CA presented some of the plans for changes in Edgemont Village. Corrie Kost sent these out to a distribution list, and I’ll get around to summarizing, but in essence there are a number of development projects planned. North Shore Credit Union is moving to the Garden Works space to make way for a new multi-story mixed-use building which will be similar to the Delaneys building. There is a Seniors development coming kitty-corner to the old garden works. And some sort of apartment complex will be coming near the library, which reminds me it’s been a long time since I last went to the Bakehouse.
  • There was discussion regarding the bike lanes on Capilano and the District’s desire to narrow from four lanes to two above Ridgeway. I noted that the room seemed split between some who were largely against the idea, and the others who are broadly for a sustainable, walkable, bike friendly community. You know I am for bikes and bike lanes (especially uphill!), and I am curious as to where you stand on the question.
  • Carol from Norwood Queens CA made a presentation on the lack of community consultation on the repurposing of Balmoral. Her main point was to ensure that the community associations are aware of the participation rate issue. Apparently there is a meeting coming next month on the issue. There is also a meeting next Wednesday possibly at the district hall to come up with a framework of principles between communities and North Vancouver School District to promote the quality of life for North Vancouver neighborhoods.
  • Finally, there were just a few minutes to speak about the sewage treatment plant. As it stands, this is going to cost each of us $500 per year, not per month as reported in the Outlook. The levy will be $1391 if we get no money from the province for the upgrade.

Fire back in the comments if I missed anything you feel is important.

District’s Draft Transportation Plan

The District of North Vancouver has drafted a Master Transportation Plan and is seeking further input through an online survey. To help you, I’ve waded through this weighty tome, and have summarized the immediate impacts on our community here.

Key Goals

There is some great background information in the plan, which is worth reading for the trivia alone. For example, dropping the fact that transportation accounts for 43% of DNV greenhouse gas emissions will impress everyone at your next cocktail party. However, in the end, the plan boils down to six key goals:

  1. Provide Transportation Options for All
  2. Promote Physically-Active Transportation Alternatives
  3. Reduce Transportation Demand
  4. Create Places for People, Not Cars
  5. Make the Lowest-Impact Transportation Choice, the First Choice
  6. Make a Sustainable Transportation System Happen.

Overall, the district’s goal is to make 35% of trips by walking, cycling or transit by 2030 (compare with Metro Vancouver goal of 45%). Today about 63 percent of trips are made by driving, 17 percent as a car passenger, 9 percent by transit, 9 percent by walking, and 2 percent by cycling. In other words, today we make 20% of our trips by walking, cycling or transit.

Impacts on Delbrook

The DNV Official Community Plan places Delbrook squarely in between two villages — Edgemont and Queensdale — and nowhere near a town center. As such, we’re not much of a priority. Don’t expect major changes in our immediate neighborhood over the next thirty years, or at least, don’t expect planned changes.

Bounded as we are on the south side by the City of North Vancouver, it would be interesting to know their plans, especially for Westview. However, their OCP is still in the formative stages. It’s open for input via a forum, and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t get involved even though we don’t live in the City.

Walking

I guess the District either feels Delbrook’s pedestrian network is either fully built or our density makes us a hopeless case for walking. Watching my own family jump in the car to drive 1.2 km to school makes me believe it might be the latter.

In either case, the draft plan proposes no pedestrian improvements in our neighborhood. A little further afield, they propose extending sidewalks around Edgemont Village, and there is a critical sidewalk need on Upper Lonsdale.

Personally I feel that Delbrook Road, itself, is getting hard to cross safely. Even during off-peak times, it can take over a minute to find a good opportunity to cross. Downhill traffic (that’s us, by the way) is often going much faster than the speed limit, and distracted drivers seem to have difficulty stopping for the crosswalks.

I would love to see the crosswalks get safety islands in the middle of the street or bump outs to make traffic slow down, and make it easier to cross. Safety at the Evergreen crosswalk, in particular will become critically important with more students hopefully busing to the Community Learning Program at Balmoral.

Another improvement we could hope for is access to Mosquito Creek. There are several secret routes down to the creek, but the one I take, for example, is too treacherous for most people. Improving this might encourage walkers to Edgemont Village.

Speaking of walking to the shops, I’m sure most people who have walked to Westview Plaza along Westview would never do it again. It’s just not a pleasant experience. Sadly, there isn’t really much of an alternative for us Delbrook residents.

Cycling

As a lifelong cycle commuter, I must declare a bias here

Apparently unlike the pedestrian network, the cycling network is being coordinated with the City of North Vancouver. This coordination is important because gaps in the network really discourage riders. Imagine driving your car along a wide well-maintained road, and it suddenly changes to a dirt track barely wide enough for your tires with a cliff on one side and a 1000 foot drop on the other: that is how it feels to have your bike lane end abruptly on a busy arterial road.

But I digress. The plan proposes on-street bike routes for Delbrook, Windsor (between Delbrook and Stanley), Queens (west of Delbrook), Kings (Stanley to Lonsdale), Montroyal and Evergreen. It will be interesting to see how these routes turn out on Montroyal, which I find to be quite narrow.

East-West cycling is challenging everywhere on the North Shore, but I think Kings between Jones and Mahon is one of the steeper roads around, and I believe Windsor might be an easier ride.

Again, further out, the plan identifies a high priority improvement for Larsen. I’ve not been up past Westview recently, but the bike lane is already in at least that far. Sadly for us, there is nothing proposed for Westview, which is a dangerous route for bikes due to the slip lanes for the highway and the limited sight lines going up the hill.

Transit

The plan admits that low density makes transit challenging throughout the District, but Delbrook’s continued low density means there won’t be much change for us here.

Southern residents can hope for a high frequency transit corridor along Queens. That means you might be able to hop on a bus every fifteen minutes all day long that would take you to either Edgemont Village or Queensdale, or even the world beyond.

For me, the 246 works fine; I especially appreciate the good connections with the Seabus. Mind you, I wish it had one more good connection at the end of the evening peak period. I quite often miss that one and find myself waiting half an hour at Lonsdale Quay.

Cars

As per the key goals, cars take something of a back seat to walking, cycling and transit in the plan. Automobilists should take heart that the plan does state that maintenance of our existing infrastructure should take priority over building out new bike lanes and crosswalks. There are some interchange improvements planned, around Mountain Highway and the Upper Levels, and a few other big projects out there, but largely, we are focusing on sustainable, healthful alternatives to cars.

Here in Delbrook, the plan proposes some improvements to the intersection of Queens and Delbrook. Personally, I can’t imagine what these improvements might be. The intersection seems to work well today. Perhaps they are planning to add a second north-bound lane on Westview, or perhaps clarify the whole left-turn lane there. When I bring a taxi home, they are often confused when they suddenly find they were in a left-turn lane.

The plan proposes no changes to our neighborhood road designations (Delbrook is minor artery, Queens is major artery). Due to the limits to further expansion up the mountain, the District forecasts only low traffic growth on Delbrook itself.

Feedback

As I mentioned at the start, the District is looking for feedback on the plan. You can either go directly to them or contact delbrookca@gmail.com if you would like the Community Association to address something in particular.

Traffic, Seismic Safety, Transparency are Your Top Issues at Balmoral

The Meeting was Chaired by Barbara McKinley and Rick Danyluk – both members of Norwood Queens Community Association.

Intro – Barbara McKinley (Secretary) – provides brief summary of the Balmoral issue – the history and where we are now.

10,000 people in upper Lonsdale (combined population of 3 territories: Norwood Queens, Carisbrooke, and Delbrook). This represents a loud voice should we successfully reach out to the many concerned citizens.

Barbara made a special request and “Caution” – to continue to show respect and caring for all learners within the North Vancouver School District.
She summarized and reviewed the 2 motions that School Board had to vote on at their last Public Board meeting: Narrowly defeated (4 to 3) to spend $2.5M now on Balmoral renovations, but then approved a budget of $250K which gives the architect the ability to proceed with necessary studies and drawings for Balmoral site.

April 24th – Public board meeting – we suggest a motion will be repositioned with the Trustees to spend the balance of total funds needed to upgrade Balmoral and prep for Community Learning Program (CLP) – and all other programs and services that will be recommended for Balmoral based on CAWG proposals (see the 3 listed below).

Presented slide from School Board meeting (look at page 5) which broke the costs down which are associated with Balmoral renovation and the potential different services and programs which may be moved to Balmoral in the future, showing the $2.292M cost for the CLP.

Within the District Learning Center (DLC), some students will be taking courses through the Distributed Learning program. This is an on-line environment where students travel to a school site for tutorials and invigilation of exams. The School District plans to run this on-line program out of the Balmoral site. Not all students taking DL courses will travel to Balmoral; some will take exams in their own school. At present approximately 50 cars per day travel to the Lucas Center for this program. No additional costs were shown for this program as they are included in the $2.292MM.

On the same slide, the other programs suggested for Balmoral site are:

Item Cost Notes
District Services $216K 1 van / per day
Adult Continuing Education $480K (Morning only ) approx. 200 adult students – most drive based on current Lucas Centre – to meet the parking needs an additional parking of 80 stalls is planned
Joint Use/Recreation $420K for modifications to support those services
Total $1.116MM

The Question posed next – “What is important to you as a community member and which issues do you wish us to pursue as your representatives?”
Participant Question: What does “joint use mean” ? Krista Tulloch (CAWG participant) answered by cautioning the group that “no official conversation with Rec Commission has occurred “so not sure what this really means.

Another participant brings up the concern that a Church runs out of Lucas Centre now – have we been told about this – does it fall under “education” ?? Will this move to Balmoral?

Krista Tulloch recommends we look closer to minutes from last CAWG meeting to make sure Mark Jefferson’s assurances are adhered to re: Discussion of ensuring Institutional memory as discussed at CAWG meetings.

Ron Polly – lives in the Hamilton Heights neighbourhood – home of current Lucas Centre – he says, “Your Biggest headache will be the cars coming and going in your community.” He also disputes the 1 school board van per day comment – he sees more coming and going daily. He gave brief summary of his neighbourhood and what he’d like to see – full learning / multi-use facility – 12.5 acres available for making it something special (ice rink, field hockey fields …etc…think outside the box). He also said we should really make sure we do not get storage and adult education to Balmoral.

Important upcoming dates for community to be aware of and attend:

  • April 2 – DNV presentation
  • April 10th – CAWG report done – and presented at public meeting
  • Tues April 24th – School Board makes further budgetary vote and future use of Balmoral site recommendations.

Topic came up tonight – many were very disappointed with how the Board of Education handled the last Board meeting – it was recommended that we, NQCA, request a larger location for April 24th meeting. Barbara is pursuing this.

Meeting participants then divided into 5 smaller groups – The Task: to uncover 3 top issues. This was the outcome:

  1. Increased traffic and street parking (DE, AE), change of use, late night use
  2. Why no seismic upgrade, safety concerns, why a lesser standard for CLP
  3. Lack of transparency, respect for community

Following this – we went back into our groups to brainstorm possible “strategies” to achieve a win/win with NVSD with the proposed use for Balmoral.

The General Meeting was concluded at 8:15 pm.

It was agreed that the executives of both the NQCA and Delbrook Community Association would meet on Sunday March 4th to develop a Strategic Action Plan based on the community’s findings from tonight’s General Meeting. This will be shared with the community so that we may get as many participants and volunteers to see the Action Plan to successful completion.

North Van School District Replies

Today’s North Shore Outlook contains a letter from NVSD trustee, Franci Stratton. You can save yourself a trip to the recycling bin by reading it online. The article she references is also available online.

She asserts that the community can have their voice heard by feeding into the Community Advisory Working Group process, but of course, offers no suggestions as to how you might do that. Fortunately, any email to delbrookca@gmail.com will make it to Troy Vassos, who is the Delbrook Community Association’s representative on the CAWG.

Whether the CAWG turns out to be an effective community engagement process, or whether our voices will be drowned out by the board-friendly representatives, remains to be seen.

Having said that, we have found individual trustees very accessible and willing to listen to our concerns for traffic safety and parking in the neighborhood. So, go ahead and contact Troy to feed into the CAWG process, but I recommend you also call or email the trustees.

Official Response to Flyer Complainant

Here is the content of a letter written on behalf of the Delbrook Community Association in response to one of the speakers at last week’s school board meeting. Incidentally, several community members indicated they approached the speaker in question and she could not identify who had delivered her flyer.


I was not able to attend the meeting on February 21st which I understand was such an overflow meeting that many would-be attendees were forced to wait outside in the rain, did not receive a copy of the Agenda, and could not hear the proceedings.

It is my understanding that a speaker reported hearing derogatory remarks about the planned transfer of Keith Lynn students to Balmoral School made by a person delivering fliers and purporting to be a member of a Community Association.

I wish to make it clear that the person responsible for those remarks is not a member of the Delbrook Community Association and did not speak for us. In our over fifty years of working to improve the quality of life within our small neighbourhood, the Delbrook Community Association has never condoned discrimination of any kind.

Our only issue is the impact which planned changes in the Balmoral School programs will have on traffic volume, traffic safety, and parking in our neighbourhood, which is already under considerable stress from traffic and parking generated by nearby Braemar Elementary School.

We understand that the District of North Vancouver has commenced a traffic study to research these problems and we await their report.

Diana Bellhouse
President
Delbrook Community Association