On Monday, April 18th, North Vancouver District Council will decide the next steps in determining what will happen to the Delbrook lands, the current home of the Delbrook Community Centre, a daycare and exercise facility and a home for a number of community groups.
The process, after being stalled since the 2011 local elections, has been moving ahead since January when a facilitated consultation process sought input from 177 people as well as on-line surveys. The results of that consultation went to Council on March 7th. The written report was included in an agenda package that can be found here:
The report to Council lists more than 1,000 ideas that came out of the consultation raising concerns the process will simply throw so many ideas at the wall that Council would be able to choose whatever it wanted.
Despite the mass of individual comments, some ideas came through more strongly than others. The report says more than 300 ideas were provided for community programming on the location. More than 200 ideas came forward for some sort of park and outdoor recreation. Housing was mentioned in 163 comments, including those that said there should be no housing at all on the site.
The SFU Centre for Dialogue, the consultant on the project grouped the comments from the consultation under a number of different headings. Each of the following received more than 30 comments:
Low intensity recreation 69
Park/General Green Space 67
Multi-use community centre 51
Community gardens 42
Open space for community 32
Keep land public/don’t sell 31
People were asked if land developers should be involved in the discussion of what to do with the Delbrook Lands. The response was split with 19 respondents saying no and 19 saying yes. An additional six said if developers were involved their involvement should be limited. The consultant did not break this group down to show how support for involvement by developers was spilt between those people who live in the Delbrook area and those who do not.
The document going to Council from the Centre for Dialogue on Monday night outlines a proposal for the next round of consultations. The document is part of the Agenda package URL below:
This consultation will be limited to 100 selected individuals, half from the Delbrook area and half from the larger community. This model is something of a break from the way in which planning has taken place in other areas of the District where there has been more of a focus on local residents.
As well, no attempt has been made to narrow the scope of discussion based on input received from the January consultation. Once again, everything is on the table from green space to market housing for the site. In the January consultation market housing received seven comments from the more than 1,000 submitted.
The consultation group will be made up of 37 randomly chosen local residents and property owners and 37 resident and property owners from outside of the local area. As well, a further 13 seats have been allocated for groups currently using the Delbrook site and local community organization. A further 13 seats are reserved for groups outside of the local area. There is no outline in the report as to how these groups will be chosen, including whether or not they will include developers. The Delbrook Community Association was denied a role in the January consultation so it will be interesting to see who is chosen for this discussion.
Just to make sure the people being consulted don’t get carried away the consultation will be using, “expert knowledge to ground the exercise in real world technology and financial constraints.” Any ideas not now identified as a District priority “would likely require external funding sources. Examples of additional funding include selling or leasing a portion of the Delbrook lands, development proceeds, requesting funding from other levels of government, or partnering with other organizations.” Apparently, the idea of changing District priorities is not being considered.
And if the District does have priorities for the Delbrook lands that are in its priorities, it would be helpful for them to let us know.