Church for Sale

It seems that the Bridge Church at 515 West Windsor has outgrown their building.  Currently, they meet at the North Shore Credit Union Performing Arts Theatre at Capilano University, and keep only offices  at the building at 515 West Windsor.  Meanwhile, they appear to have been struggling with a leaky oil tank on the property.

For whatever reason, they have put the church itself up for sale.  Check out the virtual tour for some soothing music.


Public Assembly Land Review

The District of North Vancouver is undertaking a review of the Public Assembly (PA) zoned lands within the municipality. The PA lands include schools, churches and other broad uses such as recreation facilities and community centres. Using the District’s Official Community Plan as a foundation, the purpose of the review
is to determine whether sufficient lands are available to meet long-term community needs, and to establish criteria for considering changes to PA lands.

Sharlene participated in a well attended Faith Leaders Meeting hosted by the DNV on October 9th to discuss this issue. Church property zoned Public Assembly presents a very unique challenge for land use planning. The Mayor opened the meeting; Kudos to Mayor and DNV staff for a superbly managed and engaging discussion.

The DNV is discussing the PA land review with the School board and other ‘stakeholders’. In response to a participant’s query regarding the timeline, staff responded that it is hoped that Council will have a strategy/policy by the end of this quarter.

Should a Public Assembly Land Review be a district-wide initiative that engages not just ‘stakeholders’ but residents? Staff advised the public would have an opportunity for input, but no details were provided.


— by Sharlene Hertz

OCP Implementation Committee

The District of North Vancouver has an Official Community Plan Implementation Committee whose purpose is to encourage meaningful community engagement in the implementation of the new OCP and to provide comment to staff on the direction of implementation plans to ensure they support the community’s vision as expressed in the OCP.

Specifically, the OCP Implementation Committee is to provide advice regarding:

  1. Community engagement in implementing the OCP Network of Centres
  2. The direction of Centres Implementation Plans based on consistency with the OCP Vision
  3. Other key strategies related to the OCP Network of Centres Vision and policies (e.g. housing, climate action)
  4. A monitoring program to measure progress on OCP targets

The OCP Implementation Committee is made up of citizens appointed by Council. It held its inaugural meeting in June 2012. OCP IC has a two year term which ends in December 2013. Members are: Dan Ellis, Chair, Rory Bartlow, Chris Meyer, Jeanette O’Brien, David Mcleod, David Sadler, Kristin Selinder MacDonald, Paul Tubb, Elaine Grenon, Heidi Nesbitt, Adele Wilson, Fred Smith, Erin Black, Corrie Kost, Krista Tulloch, Eden Sterling. The OCP IC has held three meetings which are open to the public as observers.

The focus is clearly on the Network of Centres. What about the Delbrook area, which is not a ‘centre’. Will this committee monitor the much promised public engagement process for Delbrook and potential changes to the OCP involved with “equity transfer” from Delbrook?


— by Sharlene Hertz

Balmoral Update

The initial phase of conversion of the former Balmoral Junior Secondary School to the North Vancouver School District Learning Centre was completed in mid-September.

Phase 1 of the conversion included selective demolition and removal of hazardous materials. Phase 2 will reveal the new face of the District Learning Centre. Construction was scheduled to start in late October, with completion slated for the spring of 2013.

School District administrative staff met with the RCMP’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) specialists to review site concerns brought forward last spring by the Community Advisory Working Group. Following further feedback and discussion with the RCMP later this fall, the School District will be implementing recommendations. These include improvements to the security of the fields, trails, portables, and other buildings in the vicinity of the District Learning Centre.

The scope of work that will be undertaken will be communicated through the School District website and the Community Learning Program. During construction, the students attending the Community Learning Program and Distributed Learning School are being accommodated in classroom spaces that are outside of the zone of construction.

— by Sharlene Hertz

Whither Community Associations?

At an in-camera vote this spring, the District of North Vancouver Council cancelled its oversight of the 18 community groups operating in the district. Council’s decision has caused concern among the District’s Community Associations.
In response to this decision, the Federation of North Vancouver Community Associations has established a Task Group of FoNVCA representatives to recommend and implement a process for consulting community associations and the public on what community associations should be.
The Task Group [D. Curran, D. Ellis, S. Hertz, C. Kost] is currently working on a process to fully engage the community associations and the public. More details to follow – stay tuned!

DNV Passes motion on Griffin and Delbrook Sites

District of North Vancouver Councillors passed a motion on future plans for the Griffin and Delbrook Rec centre sites at their October 15th meeting. The motion says:

  1. Proceed with detailed design of the WGCC and initiate the process of obtaining the necessary borrowing authority to a maximum amount of $28 million; and,
  2. Begin a public consultation process to consider options for future use of the Delbrook site.

The original motion was successfully amended by Councillor Hicks to remove wording that stipulated redevelopment of Delbrook, to remove any “nuance of prejudice that the decision had already been made.”
There was very little notice that this subject would be discussed at the meeting but several members of the public spoke:

  • Is council talking about a consultation or a mandate? Not selling the property should be one of the options discussed.
  • Why was the community association kicked off Delbrook property when they tried to distribute material informing the public of the council meeting? Where is the democracy?
  • The Delbrook Community Association has no knowledge about plans for the site.
  • Concern was expressed for the loss of public assembly lands. Council was reminded they had previously advised the NVSD trustees of the importance of preserving PA lands at which time Councillor Bassam had also expressed concerns about even establishing long-term leases of PA lands.
  • The District is facing other large expenditures in coming years. There has been no prioritization of spending needs.
  • Council places great emphasis on the importance of the Official Community Plan, yet is contemplating redeveloping the Delbrook property – which would be contrary to the OCP.
  • Council should make the discussions from closed meetings public so the public knows what is being planned. We have seen no design scopes to tell us what is planned.
  • A district resident for 20 years – very concerned about traffic.
  • We have had no information on the proposed equity transfer. The community does not understand the whole story of the William Griffin project; there is lack of clarity describing the new facility. The June Open House was a good start; however one page of text is inadequate to describe a $40 million project; the 12 hour response time unreasonable. The community does not know what it is getting or giving up.
  • Does Delbrook require a $40 million recreation center? The West Vancouver facility costs were only slightly higher; West Van serves a population of 45,000; DNV’s population of 75,000, has two other major centres plus Harry Jerome.
  • Equity transfer is like death and taxes, there is no going back. The next generation will not thank us.

During debate on the motion councillors made the following comments:

  • Mayor Walton said he was baffled by comments referring to secret meetings and decisions already being made. He said at this point ‘there has been no decision on Delbrook’.
  • Councillor Nixon ‘bristled’ at the comments on secret meetings and a lack of transparency. There are legitimate reasons to consider various options; council has had “brainstorming” sessions after consulting with the Rec. Commission. These discussions led to an engineering study; Council came up with concepts that will be clarified in the design phase. Only then will we be able to talk about money. It would be disingenuous to take (Delbrook) re-development off the table. It might mean single lots, town houses, apartments, or low income housing. He is not prepared to go ahead without some element of equity transfer.
  • Councillor Hicks The proposed Griffin structure expanded because of the needs study. There needs to be a balance with the City of North Vancouver. There was originally no pool proposed but it was included because of pressure from the Edgemont and Delbrook communities. Should one small community have no development in their area?
  • Councillor Muri raised issue of traffic study for Griffin. She noted Delbrook is an old school and energy inefficient and the ‘services you use at Delbrook’ will be put in the new facility at Griffin. DNV has an excellent reputation for engagement with the community and that this would continue; she volunteered DNV staff to meet with Delbrook CA.
  • Councillor Little indicated status quo is not an option. What configuration / uses do we want to allow?
  • Councillor Bassam is absolutely committed to the Griffin project. Delbrook is linked to the Griffin project but the project is not contingent on redeveloping Delbrook.
  • Councillor MacKay-Dunn was absent.

At a municipal all candidates meeting in 2011, two Councillors acknowledged the lack of public engagement regarding the Delbrook/Griffin project. In the past year, how would the residents of Delbrook rate the DNV public engagement process regarding the Griffin/Delbrook consolidation project? Has there been an improvement? Councillor Muri volunteered staff to meet with the DCA, but councillors have not met with local residents.

By Sharlene Hertz