Tag Archives: Density

Development on the North Shore – By the numbers

In last month’s local government elections development, or the pace of development, was an issue in most Metro Vancouver municipalities. The North Shore was no exception.

During the election, however, in the North Van District there was a dispute as to just how fast development was happening. Pro-development candidates pointed to smaller numbers while other people produced numbers showing twice as much residential development was expected in the future, far beyond that which was anticipated in the Official Community Plan.

It might be difficult to get a handle on just how much growth there will be in the next few years. But we can find out just how much development there has been in the past and how fast it is growing.

British Columbia’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing collects financial data from local governments in B.C. through annual financial reporting. The information collected includes the value of building permits issued and the amount of contributions from developers received by local governments. This information can help us understand how much development there has been in recent years.

On the North Shore among the three municipalities the value of building permits issued increased by more than 60% between 2013 and 2017. For the three local governments, the value of building permits jumped from $590 million in 2013 to more than $1 billion in 2016, then fell back slightly to $964 million in 2017. The biggest increase was in the City of North Van which between 2013 and 2017 saw an increase of 126%. North Van District saw a jump of 68% and West Vancouver increased by 32%. In 2017 for the first time the District had the highest value of building permits among the three local governments – $373 million followed by $343 million in West Vancouver.

Building permits 2018

Looking at a different data set, the value of Developer Contributions to the three north shore municipalities increased even faster. According to the Municipal Affairs Ministry, Developer Contributions, “are charges imposed on developers to provide certain municipal infrastructure (including water, sewer, drainage, parkland and roads). These contributions are only recognized when the actual infrastructure works are performed.” Community Amenity Contributions are included in this figure.

Between 2013 and 2017 the value of developer contributions between the three municipalities increased by 240% from $22.5 million to $76.3 million. The District of North Vancouver showed the most dramatic increase growing from $1.7 million in 2013 to $29.1 million in 2017. Over the whole five-year period the City of North Vancouver had the highest value of developer contributions at $74 million. This was more than $20 million greater than the amount collected over the five years by either West Vancouver of the District of North Vancouver.

developer contributions

The numbers above are interesting and they make clear that there was a dramatic increase in the pace of development on the North Shore between 2013 and 2017 based on either building permits or developer contributions. By 2017 the District of North Vancouver had the highest dollar value of both building permits and developer contributions.

There are other questions to ask. How do these trends compare to other governments in Metro Vancouver? It is not helpful to just look at gross numbers. The DNV issued $373 million in building permits in 2017. Vancouver issued $2.2 billion worth of building permits. However, the population of Vancouver is more than seven times as large as the population of the DNV, so you would expect more building permits.

We can get a sense of the pace of development by dividing the value of building permits by the population. This gives us a comparable number: the value of building permits for each individual living in the community.

Looked at this way for 2017, the results are surprising. West Vancouver had the highest per capita value of building permits issued among Metro Vancouver cities with populations above 20,000. White Rock, with a population just under 20,000 was also included.

The District of North Vancouver was 9th out of 15 while The City of North Vancouver ranked 7th. All three of the North Shore municipalities had higher per capita values of building permits than Burnaby, Richmond and even Surrey.

Municipalities Type 2016 Census Total Building Permit Construction Value 2017 Total Building Permit Construction Value 2013
Burnaby C 232,755 848,855,358 553,961,045
Coquitlam C 139,284 475,311,012 347,336,704
Delta C 102,238 0 0
Langley C 25,888 124,450,013 312,453,953
Langley D 117,285 511,109,617 36,960,498
Maple Ridge C 82,256 291,356,000 135,383,000
New Westminster C 70,996 302,170,265 207,546,652
North Vancouver C 52,898 248,366,474 109,438,515
North Vancouver D 85,935 372,818,741 222,133,935
Pitt Meadows C 18,573 27,733,267 31,442,308
Port Coquitlam C 58,612 218,604,445 69,151,746
Port Moody C 33,551 18,851,270 11,006,271
Richmond C 198,309 709,103,784 679,234,283
Surrey C 517,887 1,506,900,142 1,133,466,788
Vancouver C 631,486 3,089,429,925 2,200,914,079
West Vancouver D 42,473 342,556,000 259,768,000
White Rock C 19,952 146,056,192 65,140,634

Source: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Schedule 305

Note: Building Permit Information is missing for Delta

For all 15 Metro local governments, excluding Delta, the average per capita value of building permits issued in 2017 was $3,497. For the DNV the figure was $4,338, the City of North Van was $4,695 and the figure for West Vancouver was $8,065.

People living on the North Shore have certainly sensed in recent years that development was rapid. The figures bear this out. The next question is, what will we see for 2018 and beyond?

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Part 2: Written answers to questions from DNV Mayor and Council Candidates


This post offers written answers to the remaining five questions from the Delbrook Community Association to District of North Vancouver Mayor and Council candidates. Wednesday we provided answers to the first four questions that can be found here:


While some of these questions were similar to those asked at our All Candidates Meeting on October 4th, several are new. We did not have time at the meeting to ask 22 candidates nine questions.

We felt we had a very good response to the questions however we did not receive a response from mayoralty candidate Dennis Maskell. We also did not receive response for council candidates Carleen Thomas, Sameer Parekh, John Harvey, Betty Forbes or Mitchell Baker. We realize how busy these candidates are and are grateful to the people who found time to respond.

Mayoral candidate Ash Amlani submitted her answers late and we were not able to include them in the earlier published first four questions. Her answers to the last five questions are included here.

In this blog post, we are posting answers to the last five questions dealing with demovictions, a moratorium on development, traffic, small business and the candidates’ vision for North Vancouver.

Today’s Questions are:

Would you oppose “renovictions” or “demovictions” which permitted new developments that forced existing residents out of the area? 

Answers (Press hotlink below)

5 – Demovictions

Would you support a moratorium on major developments until such time as a review of the OCP had taken place focusing on both housing and transportation and which focused on consultations with residents and community associations? 

Answers (Press hotlink below)

6 – Moratorium

Would you instruct the RCMP to commit more resources to traffic enforcement, particularly speeding enforcement, on streets such as Delbrook Avenue?

Answers (Press hotlink below)

7 – traffic

Some major developments in the District have caused financial hardship to local small businesses. Would you support measures to compensate these businesses for proven loss of revenue due to the projects?

Answers (press hotlink below)

8 – Small Business

What is your vision for the District of North Vancouver.  What is the municipality that you would like to leave behind? 

Answers (Press hotlink below)

9 – vision

If you are interested in watching the video from our all candidates meeting On October 4th you can find it here: https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/watch-first-north-van-district-all-candidates-meeting-in-video/

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Does higher density have to mean high rises in the DNV?

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The District of North Vancouver has been taking steps to increase the amount of housing in the District. In moves that have often been controversial and seen Council divided, these moves have often meant high rise towers targeted to high income buyers. People concerned about height have on occasion been met by condescending remarks from some councilors.


Areas in blue above being considered for “density bonussing” by the DNV

But does more housing and higher density necessarily mean high-rises? One of the options is a low rise, high density approach. “Modeled a bit after suburban homes, these low-rise high-density buildings reached their heyday in the 1970s. This type of housing serves two functions: 1) to intensify land use as urban growth escalates by providing higher density; and 2) to improve living conditions by using suburban housing characteristics such as more open space, more light, and a closer connection to the ground. These homes offered all the amenities of urban living—access to public transportation and cultural amenities—with a more open, less claustrophobic environment.” An article on this can be found here.

A 2013 article in an Australian publication found “Many studies and projects have demonstrated that big cities can work fine, better socially and environmentally with low-rise. Low- and medium-rise is greener, cheaper, and can achieve densities comparable with high-rise. Towers need to be spaced out to achieve acceptable sun, light and privacy; hence diminishing returns with height. Developers like high-rise in high-demand locations where they increase the yield and capture views, whilst externalising the impacts.”

The tough part is that this approach might require some gentle densification of single family zoned areas. But with real consultation home owners might find this approach benefits them. As another Australian article found, “At the same time we see a growing desire for what has been called an “urban village” lifestyle where residents can retain a sense of place within a pedestrian-oriented, medium-density neighbourhood. These “urban villages” are characterised by reduced car ownership, increased cycle use, pedestrian scale, and enhanced public transport facilities.”

But that would mean real consultation from the DNV.

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Delbrook Lands project sees some questions answered

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Catalyst Developments, the DNV’s chosen developer for the apartment complex and seniors respite facility on the Delbrook Lands, held an open house to talk about the project on May 30th. Before that, however, Catalyst responded to a number of questions raised by the Delbrook Community Association (DCA).

Catalyst deserves credit for turning around those answers in about four days. That is a sad contrast to the District of North Vancouver itself which has refused to provide answers to many similar questions the DCA asked in January.

The DNV has said they “couldn’t” answer the DCA’s questions because the issues had been discussed “In Camera”. Does this mean the DNV can answer no questions at all about the project?  Is this is what passes for meaningful consultation in the DNV?

Catalyst was unable to answer some of the questions (some were DNV responsibility), some were not fully answered and some of the answers will be contentious. Still, Catalyst made an effort which the DNV has not and these answers will help people understand what is coming.

The following post is lengthy but worth the long read.

In coming weeks the DCA will dive more deeply into some of these issues and the response to these questions.

open house 5

Responses to questions received the Delbrook Community Association –

by email Thu May 24

 Question 1

While we recognize this is not a BC Housing project, one of the minimum requirements for BC Housing projects is “a Needs and Demand Assessment or Market Study that clearly establishes present and future needs and demand for affordable rental or ownership housing in the target community.” In a meeting between Catalyst and the Delbrook Community Association in August 2017, we were told “the project will be steered by District requirements that reflect specific needs of District residents and balances unit composition with the desired rates of affordability.”  We note that in the proposed Emery Village Project, 48% of market rental units are two bedroom or larger and in the affordable housing component 60% are two bedrooms or larger. Given that fewer than 30% of the housing units in the proposed Delbrook Lands building will be suitable for families (2 or 3 bedroom), was a market study done on the needs of our community? If so, will this be made public?

Answer 1

District staff refer to the Housing Continuum estimated demand for different types of housing in the District as a guide. See attached. District staff have reviewed the number of units available by type and location across the District and we recognize the need for workforce housing. Along with seniors, workforce housing is the focus of this project at 600 W Queens. Other non-market housing projects will focus on different needs.

Question 2

Will any of the units be specifically made available for people with special needs? What provisions will be made to support these units in terms of rent support (subsidies) and services?

Answer 2

10-15% of units will be accessible for people with special physical needs. In terms of income needs – the rents will be based on the affordability framework for the project – public meeting info board attached. The project is not arranging specific subsidies for specific residents.  However, Seniors may qualify for a “SAFER” subsidy.

Question 3

Originally, we understood the first floor services would also include 35 child care spaces, particularly for infants and toddlers. Is this no longer the case?

Answer 3

Correct, this is no longer the case. The site analysis, configuration, and project timeline made it very difficult to accommodate childcare. It is not because childcare is not a priority in the District, but that this specific project was determined to not be the optimal way to deliver childcare. The District is using CAC dollars and leveraging development across the District to create opportunities for childcare. District staff is also developing a childcare strategy that takes advantage of the emerging approach to childcare from the Province.

Question 4

We believe a five storey building is out of character for the neighbourhood. This would be the only five storey building in the Carisbrooke, Delbrook, Norwood Queens and Upper Capilano area. Five storey buildings are even rare on Marine Drive.

Does permission to build a structure of this size set a precedent for other areas in these neighboring communities and for other communities in the District?

Answer 4

There are a number of factors influencing this development:

  1. The 2011 Official Community Plan, Growth Management Section #1, Policy 3 “Establish a network of centres and corridors consistent with the Network of Centres Concept Map and direct residential and commercial growth to these areas”. Queens is a corridor identified in the Network of Centres map and is identified as being on the future Frequent Transit Network (FTN).
  2. This location is proximate to significant commercial activities, and located directly adjacent to a multi-story, multifamily (Seniors) building. The design of the building will fit in and enhance the character of the neighbourhood.
  3. There is significant demand for District-owned land. Using our land resources efficiently to supply non-market housing is a priority of Council.
  4. The 2016 Rental and Affordable Housing Strategy (RAHS) provides direction to consider additional density and height in order to achieve DNV housing objectives.

Question 5

Catalyst describes the apartments they are building as non-market, rather than using the term affordable. The District’s “Rental and Affordable Housing Strategy” calls for “the expansion of the affordable rental housing inventory through the implementation of the OCP and other relevant bylaws and policies…” Canada Mortgage and Housing says, “In Canada, housing is considered affordable if shelter costs account for less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income.”

What is the difference between “non-market” and “affordable” housing?

What is the proposed rental cost for each of the different configurations (studio, one, two and three bedroom)?

For each of the different configurations (studio, one, two and three bedroom) how many of the units on the Delbrook Lands will meet the definition of “affordable housing”?

For each of the configurations, what percentage below market will the units be?  How will Catalyst ensure that this will margin below market will be maintained over the long term?

Answer 5

Yes there are so many terms being used by all the different levels of government – for Catalyst there is no difference between affordable and non-market – they are just different words.  Specifically on this project we are targeting the initial rents in the attached public meeting board. The homes are below market and rents are based on a maximum of 30% of household incomes as shown on the board. Affordability is secured by the terms of the lease and also by a housing agreement.  As a non-profit, Catalyst is committed to increasing affordability over time.

Question 6

In 2016/2017, the Province announced the new Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing Program. Over the next five years, the Province is committing a total of $355 million to create upwards of 2,000 new affordable housing units under the Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing.

What is the involvement of the provincial government or its agency BC Housing in this project?

Answer 6

Catalyst is investigating BC Housing and CMHC funding and financing and will pick the most appropriate support for the project.  Any external grant funding will result in more affordability.

Question 7

Will the units in the proposed development be offered first to current District or North Shore residents?

Answer 7

As the project gets closer to occupancy, Catalyst will build a database for those interested in living at 600 West Queens Road. This will be done through local advertising, site signage, referrals, and online portals. This locally focused marketing results in many applicants from the North Shore.  The homes will be available for renting by others as well.

Question 8

The proposal suggests 60 parking spaces for the 80 housing units and another 8 visitor parking spaces which appears to include visitors to the respite care facility. We anticipate this will create a significant parking overflow onto neigbouring streets.

What are the current assumptions being used by Catalyst with respect to parking numbers? What are these assumptions based on?

Will there be a charge for parking?

Is the District considering parking permits to control parking in the area?

Answer 8

Please see the attached memo from Bunt which includes the proposed parking numbers and rationale.  Yes there will be a separate charge for residential parking.  We are not sure at this time if the District is considering parking permits to control parking in the surrounding area.

Question 9

What provisions are being made in the project for bicycle parking? Will there be a charge for this?

Answer 9

There is bicycle parking outside the building for visitors and in the parking area for residents.  The residential bicycle parking required is 16 spaces.  The project is providing 20 spaces.  There is no plan currently to charge for the residential bicycle parking.

Question 10

The child care centre currently on the Delbrook Lands has a lease until 2023. Does the District plan to continue this lease?

Answer 10

The District communicates regularly with Little Rascals.  The 600 W Queens project is independent of these discussions.

Question 11

What will be the new zoning for the south parking lot? What will be the actual height of the building both at the front and the back?  What provisions will be made to transition to the 12 m maximum in PA 1 and PA 2?

Answer 11

Answer 11

The existing zoning of the 600 W Queens site is PA Public Assembly.  The proposed new zoning is CD Comprehensive District.  The proposed height on the south east corner is 66’7″ (20m) and on the north east corner is 55’1″ (16.8m).  The architectural drawings show efforts being made to transition and interface with the surrounding area.

Question 12

What changes are planned for transit along the Queens corridor and when?

Answer 12

Queens is identified in the North Shore Area Transit Plan (NSATP) and the Regional Transportation Strategy (RTS) and the regional growth strategy (Metro 2040) as future Frequent Transit Network (FTN), which means it will be served by frequent transit.

Question 13

Where can we view the plans for the park?


Parks staff will be in attendance at the open house to answer questions about the parks planning process.

Question 14

Who will own the Care BC facility?

Answer 14

The land will remain under District ownership.  There will be a lease to Catalyst for the residential air space parcel and a lease to Care BC for their facility air space parcel – both leases with the District directly.  Care BC will purchase/lease their space in the building from Catalyst.

Question 15

Will the tennis courts remain lit after the proposed development opens?

Answer 15

The project at 600 W Queens is not a factor in this.  We are unaware of any plans to change the tennis courts.

Construction Period

Question 16

In a meeting with the Delbrook Community Association in August 2017 we were informed that construction of the project would take 20 to 22 months. We also understand this will be followed by demolition of at least the North Building. What is the projected date for the development of the park and riparian area as this will require further excavation to demolish the parking lot?  When will the park be built?  Does this mean the community will see three to four years of continuous construction traffic?

Answer 16

The duration for the project construction is still scheduled to take 20-22 months. The District is reviewing timing of the other items. Park staff will be at the public information meeting to answer any questions about the park planning and development process.

Question 17

Has a construction mitigation report been completed?

What is the maximum number of heavy trucks you anticipate will access the site on a day including removal of debris (concrete from the current parking lot and material dug out for foundations and parking lot, cement trucks etc.?

What plans have been made for staging and parking these heavy industrial trucks? Which streets are anticipated to be used for this purpose? What route will the trucks travel to get to the site?   Will there be assigned parking for contractors / construction workers and if so where will it be?  What are the staging plans for the cranes?

Which streets are planned for use as access to the construction site?

Answer 17

We will work on these plans as we approach construction.  Goal is to minimize disruption and noise for neighbours.  We are not a market developer that walks away from the project site afterwards.  We are your new neighbours and will operate this building for the next 60 years.  We are very much interested in making a good first impression.  That said, we appreciate that construction across the street from or nearby to your home can be annoying.  We will do what we can to lessen this burden for you and will keep you updated along the way.

Question 18

At a maximum, how many people do you expect to be working on the site on a day?

What plans have been made for where these people will park?

Answer 18

We have not determined number of site workers yet. We appreciate your concerns and will do what we can to not have construction workers causing parking problems in the neighbourhood.

Question 19

The South building on the site is currently being rented out for movie shoots which is already causing parking pressure in the neighbourhood. Will it continue to be used for this purpose during construction of the new facility?

Answer 19

The District has not currently considered continuing the use of the building for filming, but this could be a decision at a later date, on a case by case basis.

Question 20

A number of streets adjacent to the Delbrook site are used by significant numbers of children both to attend schools and for recreation. In addition, the area immediately north of the site is used by the Little Rascals daycare.  What steps will be taken to ensure the safety of these crossings and the environment during heavy construction traffic?

Answer 20

Catalyst will work through this as part of our construction traffic management plans which will be prepared close to the start of the construction.  Pedestrian and bicycle passage and safety is a high priority in this planning – particularly given the other activities going on in this area.

Question 21

Queens Road is a major traffic arterial. It is also a transit route. It is the future site of a Future Frequent Transit Network. What steps will be taken to ensure Queens Road is not disrupted by construction and to avoid lane closures and loss of parking? When will the bike lane on Queens Road be installed?

Answer 21

The District is currently reviewing timing for bike lanes. Queens will unlikely be used for staging.  However, lane closures will periodically be required for any work required to District services in or on Queens itself.  We will make best efforts to minimize disruption and will follow the requirements of doing work on a transit route and major traffic arterial.

Question 22

Construction on the site will be close to the riparian area of Mission Creek, a salmon bearing stream. What steps will be taken to ensure this area is protected from dust and other pollution during construction?

Answer 22

During construction, dust and erosion and sedimentation will be controlled within the site boundaries.  Projects are not allowed to pollute the site or anywhere off the site.  Catalyst take this very seriously and provincial government regulations are in place to ensure the stream is protected.

Question 23

What safety improvements will be made to the intersections of Windsor and Stanley (site of a pedestrian-vehicle collision in 2015) and Windsor and Delbrook to mitigate construction traffic, and afterward?

Answer 23

The District has construction management staff and will assist in coordinating construction activities. The construction management plan will incorporate pedestrian safety at nearby intersections.

Question 24

Will the tennis courts remain open during construction?

Answer 24

There are no plans to disrupt the use of the tennis courts.

Question 25

What will be the construction hours?

Answer 25

The District’s Noise Bylaw lays out the expectations for hours of construction-related activity that carry any sort of noise.  Catalyst will operate within the noise bylaw hours.

Question 26

Given the consultation was District-wide, why have notifications of the public information meeting only gone to those properties within 100 m?

Answer 26

The District also sent out notification to the entire Delbrook Deliberative Dialogue series participant list and those that have indicated their interest in keeping up to speed on the Delbrook project.


Responses to questions received from Sharlene Hertz, DCA – by email Tue May 29

Question 27

How are you funding the building costs?  see Question #6 in original document concerning provincial funding, but what other funding does Catalyst have lined up?  And at what interest rate?  Which agency[ies] are providing loans?

Answer 27

Construction costs will be funded primarily by a construction loan. This loan will likley be from CMHC, BC Housing and or Vancity. The specific interest rate is to be determined but will likely be somewhere between 2% and 3.5%. To date Vancity has provided predevelopment funding loan of $200,000.  Interest rate for this loan is 2% p.a.  The next stage of funds to pay project costs will likely come from Vancity pre-construction loans or BC housing predevelopment funds.

Question 28

What is the minimum amount ‘Investors’ can invest?

Answer 28

There is no minimum amount but to date the smallest amount has been $100,000.

Question 29

What is the rate of return on these investments?

Answer 29

Interest rates for social equity on other projects have ranged from 2 to 6% p.a.

Question 30

What is the equity share that VanCity has in the project?

Answer 30

Vancity does not have an equity share in the project. The funds are loans and are repaid.

Question 31

How many ‘investors’ do you have for the Delbrook lands? Or, how many are secured / how many more do you require for this project?

Answer 31

We have no social equity investors lined up yet. The number of investors and the amount of investment required will depend on the final construction financing terms.

Question 32

Where does the money come from to pay back the investors?

Answer 32

The interest on the loans (social equity investors, Vancity pre-development funds, CHMC or BC Housing construction loan) is paid back at the end of construction with the long term “take-out” mortgage. The interest and principal payment on the take out mortgage is paid using the rents.  The assumption in the proforma is that it will take 35 years to pay the interest and principal of the take out mortgage.

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Vancouver asks, should we abandon park space for housing? How about the DNV?

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For those of us who live in the District of North Vancouver, and particularly in the Delbrook area, these thoughts about Vancouver sound familiar:

Vancouver is designed to have neighbourhoods with parks, community centres and schools on large historic sites that make communities walkable and sustainable. These amenities and open green spaces will become even more critical as the city densifies over time, as they are the heart and lungs of the city.

However, rather than being protected, they are increasingly under threat of being sold or redeveloped for housing. Astonishingly, we are moving in this direction now.

Those thoughts come from a September 8th article in the Vancouver Sun by Elizabeth Murphy, a private-sector project manager and was formerly a property development officer for the City of Vancouver’s Housing and Properties Department and for B.C. Housing.

The whole article can be found here:

Opinion: Are amenity spaces destined to become housing development sites?

This question arises in the DNV where the District is committed to building housing the the former Delbrook Recreation Commission site. While housing was supported by the commuity, the idea that got the most support was park space. On the subject we have not heard a word from the District.

The article also calls for more involvement by community associations, another idea we might wan to examine.

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North Van District Council looks at impact of our official community plan on traffic, development etc. Time for a change?

Correction: The workshop on the OCP is on Tuesday, May 2, not Monday as we originally reported.

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The District of North Vancouver’s 2011 Official Community Plan (OCP) is aimed to shape the way our community grows for the next 30 years. It was the result of an intense planning process and six years later has once again become a controversial issue.

The discussion continues in Council Chambers at 5:00 pm on Tuesday May 2. Details of the agenda, with more information than is provided below, are here:


The OCP had originally called for a review after five years. Council had originally thought to delay this; however, in recent months many DNV residents have been raising questions about their quality of life because of traffic and development issues. Recognizing this, Council decided to proceed with a review. Just how public consultation should take place around the review also became an issue.

On November 21, 2016 Council voted to have a “high-level review” of progress made with respect to implementation of the OCP to be conducted in the first quarter of 2017. On January 9th Council voted to carry forward with an Official Community Plan bylaw implementation review based on a report to Council from staff. That report called for the creation of a document providing data on transit and traffic, housing and development, and changes in industrial land. It called for public consultation with members of the former OCP implementation committee and North Vancouver community associations.

In the last two weeks Council held two two-hour workshops on the OCP with lengthy data presentations and in some cases tense exchanges around the Council table. It was agreed at the outset there would be no public input at the April 18 meeting, however, public participation was then cancelled at the April 24 meeting with a promise there would be room for the public at one more Council workshop on the OCP on May 2nd.

Housing and Development

In the OCP the DNV has called for a network of centres where 75% to 90% of growth is expected to take place to 2030. A number of developments have already happened in these areas and the report to Council said surveys had been sent to 1,000 new residences. The survey found 83% of these households had people working full time and that for most driving was still the most common method of transportation. Nearly half do use transit sometimes however more detailed information will not be available until TransLink does its trip diary study in 2018. These units were three times as likely than the District as a whole to have someone living there from the “missing generation” of younger people.

Two Councilors raised issues about the survey. Lisa Muri sought information about people who had been displaced by new developments.

The report to Council showed the DNV was facing change in its single-family home stock. Nearly two thirds of single family homes are 40 to 70 years old and it is believed housing stock gets renewed every 40 to 70 years. In the 2011-16 period 2% of houses underwent construction or renovation every year and this trend is expected to continue. Interior renovations are not tracked.

In discussion Lisa Muri raised the issue of concentrated redevelopment raising issues in some neighbourhoods. She noted 11 properties being redeveloped in a small area near Edgemont Village. She asked about the number of houses sitting empty in the community. Staff responded this data was missing but hoped Census report releases would provide this information.

The report to Council found there were 4,367 secondary suites in 2016, roughly ten per cent of housing units in the DNV. Staff reported that 75% of new homes in the District had a secondary suite. Mayor Walton noted he thought the actual number might be even higher and compared this to the tiny number of laneway homes being permitted.

At the April 24 meeting Councilor MacKay-Dunn raised the issue that while older housing was affordable, what was being done to protect it this stock? He cited the example of an owner who let affordable housing decay and council permitted its replacement.

At the April 24 meeting Mayor Walton said massive rebuilding of community is part of a natural cycle: our community, which was built from nothing in 1950s.

Attached vs detached housing

In 2011 69% of housing in the DNV was made up of detached units. Attached units of all kinds made up 31%. The OCP anticipates that by 2030 the proportion of detached houses will fall to 45%.  The DNVs development centres already have significantly higher numbers of attached homes. Attached is anything from a duplex to an apartment. Between 2011 and 2016 there were 980 new units in the District. Of these 748 were in the town centres. Staff told Council in the April 18 meeting that the DNV was behind in its development plans but expected to “accelerate at the back end.” They noted that TransLink was using “dollars to enforce density” by refusing to provide new services unless density targets were met.

Rental, Affordable and Non-Market Units

The April 18 staff report showed that most rental units in the DNV had been developed in earlier decades when there was support from senior levels of government for the projects. The staff reporting to Council said, “we need to, very clearly the data are showing us, that we need to accelerate the rental and affordable housing strategy. And staff are already developing an approach to the non-market housing components that we also acknowledge that we need to address.”

Councilor Bond expressed concerns about the 20 to 30 year gap in rental housing.  He said we’re going to need to be very aggressive. Unless community and council are willing to look beyond town centres, were not going to be able to help very many people.

Councilor Hanson said we need the intervention of senior levels of government. He said if we are going to treat housing as a human right rather than a commodity to be traded. Richard Florida (a writer on urban issues) notes the huge influx of people to urban centres was pushing out people who have been there all their lives. We’ve got to get used to that and be flexible.

Both Councilors Bond and Muri raised the issue of how affordable housing would be defined.

Transportation and Transit

In the April 18 meeting staff reported to Council that an analysis by TransLink found that by 2040 half of every trip needs to be made by something other than an owner occupied or shared vehicle. Staff reported on existing and planned transit. Planned transit and traffic improvements, such as a new Seabus and work on highway interchanges have been funded. In terms of vehicle traffic, traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge has remained relatively constant while the Second Narrows Bridge saw a significant jump in traffic following the opening of the new Port Mann Bridge. Mayor Walton described traffic as a regional issue. Councilor Muri noted that commercial truck traffic on the Second Narrows had increased by 14%.

Industrial Lands

Most of the discussion on industrial lands happened at the April 24 meeting. The staff reported there had been an increase in industrial lands which raised questions from Council on where these were.

The need for more and better data

Throughout the two workshops a number of Councilors asked for more and better data, particularly in the area of housing on such issues as empty homes. In Vancouver, this issue has led to the call for a tax on empty houses held for speculation.

This issue arose particularly around the number of new housing units coming forward. While the number of new built and in process units is relatively small, Councilor Muri at the April 18 meeting said, she had seen numbers that suggested 5,700 units were coming. At the April 24th meeting, she said she wanted to see numbers all the way from preliminary applications to occupancy and complained she was not getting the number of units.

Councilor Bassam said, there were dozens of data points. Councilors will choose data points they want. He said he was worried they were heading into analysis paralysis. Going down rabbit hole. He said it was just more data, data, data and “let’s just get on with it.”

Consultation with the community

On April 24th Councilor Hanson observed the District since 2011 had seen major changes on housing costs and daily traffic congestion. He said “we need to know from my point of view how those changes are felt by members of our community.” He said we need to be careful that rising land prices doesn’t drive out workers and services from the North Shore. He said with these changes we have every reason to do a rethink. He said these must be observed in the context of the perceptions of the community and that these perceptions were important.

Councilor Bond observed that Council discussions had seen an intense focus on the 1,000 to 1,500 people who had recently moved into attached housing units in the community and suggested this concentration might be making people feel unwelcome. He suggested far more people were moving to single family homes in the community and asked why they were not being asked the same questions.

At the April 18 meeting Councilor Muri pressed for a more robust consultation with the community. She felt two two-hour meetings with two groups had been inadequate and called for the terms of reference for the OCP Implementation Committee to come back to Council sooner rather than later. At the April 24th meeting staff said they were still seeking input on the terms of reference and promised they would come back to Council on May 2nd. Muri asked for the two co-chairs of the previous committee to speak to Council. Mayor Walton said he would talk to staff and consider this. Councilor Muri said, I hear what council thinks, I hear what staff thinks, I never get to hear what the community thinks. That’s the problem with this.  Mayor Walton pointed out there was no guarantee on any night of public participation in workshops.

You can watch these two nights of debate on the District website here:




and you can see the presentation here:


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Interested in how the District of North Vancouver is developing? Come to the Council workshop Tuesday night

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Do you have issues or questions about the pace of development in the District of North Vancouver? Is the traffic driving you crazy? Is construction making your neighbourhood unlivable and has your neighbour’s bungalow turned into a monster home?

All of this arises from decisions in the District’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and on Tuesday (November 29) District Council will be holding a workshop at 6 pm to discuss the OCP.

The meeting agenda sets aside 10 minutes for public input so if you have something to say arrive early to get your name on the list.

Even if you don’t wish to speak we encourage people to come to the meeting to demonstrate we think this is an important issue.

You can read the whole agenda package for the meeting including the report from Councilor Lisa Muri whose motion at the Council meeting last week made it possible for this review to take place. The Agenda package can be found here.


The day before, on Monday, November 28, the regular Council meeting will discuss the Districts Affordable Housing Strategy.

In an in-camera meeting before the official Council meeting at 7:00 pm Council will discuss several different rezoning applications and an amendment to the Official Community Plan. The public is not permitted to attend or know the results of in-camera meetings.

Follow the Delbrook Community Association by subscribing to this page, or

Following us on Facebook at Delbrook Community Association, North Vancouver, or

Following us on Twitter @delbrookca