DNV Council hears Delbrook Lands proposal and presentations

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District of North Vancouver Council has had its first discussion on what to do with the Delbrook Lands site.

On Monday, May 24, Council received a preliminary proposal from staff that would see a five floor complex, one floor of community services with 80-88 units of not-for-profit housing above on four floors.

More information on the proposal can be found at the Delbrook Community Association (DCA) blog post here: https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/preliminary-report-on-delbrook-lands-calls-for-5-floor-complex-first-floor-services-with-80-88-apartments-above/

There was a consensus among DNV residents on the need for the services that would be provided on the first floor – child care, adult day care and overnight respite. There was less agreement on what to do with the residential part of the project.

Councillor Mathew Bond questioned the idea of locating the project in the south parking lot on Queens Road suggesting it would be difficult for residents to live on an arterial road. Relocating the site would push it further into the residential neighbourhood.

Councillor Roger Bassam reiterated he had always wanted a much bigger development taking up the site to permit the sale of homes to subsidize any services. This would directly contradict consultations that had called for much of the property to be used for park space.

DCA executive member Jim Gill addressed Council asking why a DCA proposal for the site to give priority to first responders who live in the District to ensure they would be here at a time of emergency had not been considered. More details on the DCA proposal can be found here: https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/delbrook-community-association-submits-proposal-for-the-delbrook-lands/

DCA executive member Keith Reynolds spoke to Council saying that while the DCA had not taken a formal position on the project there were a number of questions and concerns. Two of the most important concerns were the size of the project and the lack of consultation so far. At five floors, the project will be the only five floor project in Delbrook, Norwood Queens, Carisbrooke, Edgemont Village and Upper Capilano. He suggested a project of this size in a residential neighbourhood might be contentious. The entire presentation is printed below.

Monday’s Council meeting will be rebroadcast on Saturday morning on Shaw Cable. The discussion on the project is early in the meeting. The issue will be considered further in the fall.

Presentation to District of North Vancouver Council

24 July 2017

Your Worship and Council, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this evening about the preliminary report on the development of the Delbrook lands.

My name is Keith Reynolds and I am on the executive of the Delbrook Community Association. While we only saw this report four days ago and have not at this point taken a formal position as an executive, we do have a number of questions and concerns that we hope you will consider in your deliberations.

We also express out thanks to your staff who met with us on Friday afternoon to discuss some of these issues.

  1. The DCA submitted a proposal with ideas for the use of the property. We understand staff was not able to include this proposal in their considerations. We hope it will be considered going forward. Another member of our executive will speak to this.
  2. Catalyst and Care BC have been proposed as partners for this project. We would like to view some successful examples of projects delivered by Catalyst and think it might be useful for Council to do the same. Can we know about these examples?
  3. The proposal anticipates a broad range of tenants including those based on income and those with other needs. What will be the level of support, particularly for tenants with special needs? Will there be a full-time manager on site?
  4. What will be the composition of the tenants in the building? We understand this will be a decision of Council. This will affect the composition of the units. Delbrook is a family neighbourhood and we hope a substantial portion of the tenants will be families. The current proposal anticipates an average of just over 500 square feet per unit. Family units with three bedrooms would take up more than 1,000 square feet. A few larger units might even be required if we were to anticipate units for refugees with larger families. If we have these family units a significant number of the units will be reduced to 250 square feet or less.
  5. What will be the catchment area for tenant? Will BC housing manage the selection and if so will they draw from the entire metro area?
  6. There are currently 95 parking spaces in the entire south parking lot. Presumably, the footprint for one floor of underground parking, which we understand is the target, would be smaller. Given the services on the first floor and the possible selection of tenants, a number of these would be larger, handicapped parking spaces. Presumably, there would also be some visitor parking. The Queensbrooke Building next door has 26 parking spaces for 22 units. Clearly, available parking may not meet demand pushing residents and guests onto neighbouring streets. Will this lead to permit parking in the neighbourhood.
  7. Finally, we are concerned about the decision to recommend a five-floor building. To the best of our knowledge, this would be the only five floor building in the Delbrook, Norwood Queens, Carisbrooke, Edgemont or Upper Capilano area. They are at least rare in Lynn Valley. We are concerned this size does not fit with the neighbourhoods and question if it would be used as a precedent for other developments. Council may find this is the most contentious issue they must deal with.

Again, the DCA recognizes this is a preliminary proposal and we will have more to say in the future. But these are important issues we hope Council will consider. We also hope that the level of consultation with the community will happen in a more timely way as this process continues.

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