News Local


North Van looks to develop transit hubs

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

North Vancouver District's vision for the proposed new road network of the Lower Lynn neighbourhood. (NORTH VANCOUVER DISTRICT RENDERING)

North Vancouver District's vision for the proposed new road network of the Lower Lynn neighbourhood. (NORTH VANCOUVER DISTRICT RENDERING)

Cities around Metro Vancouver have designated soon-to-be developed neighbourhoods into "frequent transit" development areas with the intention of building communities suited for sustainable transit. Developers have already arrived in droves.

For the first in a weekly series, 24 hours looks at North Vancouver District's ambitions for the Lower Capilano and Lower Lynn neighbourhoods.

North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton believes there are two schools of thought when it comes to attracting transit.

You either grow your population to pressure the demand for more transportation investment, or you put the brakes on development until the money comes.

Like many other cities, the North Shore municipality has decided to take the proactive approach.

“We have a huge problem of increasing highway congestion,” Walton said on Sunday. “From the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge leading right up to our community, it affects people getting to and from work and (those) who aren’t even using the highway.”

He believes it’s unlikely the North Shore would ever get speedy rail services such as SkyTrain and instead prefers increased rapid bus service.

The answer to attract more service seems to lie in approving applications for new residential towers, according to the district’s plans.

The development would be focused in the Lower Capilano and Lower Lynn neighbourhoods, as both areas sit at the foot of bridges leading into the municipality.

Over the past year, according to the district’s numbers, development applications for 896 residential units in those two areas have already been issued. Those applications include more than 28,000 square feet of new retail space.

And there’s more on the way.

Grouse Inn, for example, has yet to receive a development permit, but is attempting to turn its relatively small operation into two towers, 19 and 23 storeys tall, according to the property’s consultant Michael Geller.

“The idea is to create a whole new gateway,” he said. Plans include 262 residential units and an enormous 36,000 square feet of retail and office space.

“What we see is an opportunity at (Capilano and) Marine for use that would certainly include a café, a bank, maybe a small community general store, restaurants and dry cleaning.”

Feedback from the public obtained through a variety of consultations have mainly been positive, added Walton, with the exception of some residents who were startled by the tall plans.

The project timelines are expected to be two to three decades.

(The square footage of the Grouse Inn development has been amended for correction. The previous number was provided by the municipality.)



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