June 14, 2023
Opening and Closing Remarks: Graham McIsaac, Moderator
Claus Jensen: Housing Inventory: Meeting and Exceeding Targets
Nancy Smeal: Neighbourhood Character
Maureen O’Brien: Imagine Ambleside
June 14, 2023
Opening and Closing Remarks: Graham McIsaac, Moderator
Claus Jensen: Housing Inventory: Meeting and Exceeding Targets
Nancy Smeal: Neighbourhood Character
Maureen O’Brien: Imagine Ambleside
ADRA Directors have been busy as bees, working on the Local Area Plan (LAP) for Ambleside. Directors participated in one of the stakeholder workshops in early March. Significant time was spent after the workshop working on the summary of our input which was submitted to Planning. Time has also been spent meeting with the Mayor and Councillors to discuss the summary results.
Please take the time to review and let us know your comments/feedback. ([email protected]) The current timeline with the LAP Ambleside shows a report from Planning will be presented to Council in July, 2023. If you were unable to participate in any of the in-person or virtual workshops, you may communicate your viewpoint to:
Planning: [email protected]
Mayor and Council: [email protected]
Mayor Mark Sager: [email protected]
Councillor Christine Cassidy: [email protected]
Councillor Nora Gambioli: [email protected]
Councillor Peter Lambur: [email protected]
Councillor Scott Snider: [email protected]
Councillor Sharon Thompson: [email protected]
Councillor Linda Watt: [email protected]
Ambleside LAP Stakeholder Meeting Summary: Ambleside and Dundarave Residents
Association (ADRA) 10 am – 1 pm, March 6, 2023 and follow up discussions with ADRA Board
LAP AMBLESIDE – East/west boundaries from 13th to 23rd Streets
-North/South boundaries from waterfront to Inglewood
The proposal to create capacity for 1,000-1,200 new housing units in Ambleside seems to be at the centre of each of the three Land Use Concepts presented in the meeting. We understand these numbers come out of the Official Community Plan (OCP) that was approved in June 2018 and these numbers were based on Metro Vancouver Regional Plans.
ADRA has serious concerns as to whether 1,000-1200 new housing units are wanted or needed in Ambleside, specifically.
We believe that before considering adding significantly more density to Ambleside there are a few key questions that ought to be answered:
1. How was the target of adding 1,000 to 1,200 housing units to Ambleside determined? Does the current Council support this target and if so, why?
2. What are the total number of housing units in all of West Vancouver built or under construction since the 2018 OCP target was set? Will these units not already go a considerable way towards meeting any Metro Vancouver targets for housing? (assuming West Vancouver even accepts these as reasonable targets.)
3. Do the residents in Ambleside (already the most densely populated part of West Vancouver) actually want more housing density and population fitted into the relatively small LAP designated area?
Our estimate is that just since 2020, 3,400 residential units have been APPROVED or BUILT in West Vancouver and a further 3,700 are likely to be approved in Cypress Village.* These alone will likely add approximately 16,000 to the population of West Vancouver or an increase of approximately 35%! This is without considering additional possible developments on Squamish Nation Lands, the North side of Park Royal, its parking lot, and the Taylor Way corridor. e.g. Baptist Housing proposal and various other land assemblies
*Note the Squamish Nation Land is included in the Metro 2040 projections for the District of West Vancouver. (Table A.1 of Metro 2040)
* We can provide you with a spreadsheet showing how we arrived at our total numbers and it
would be good to ask staff to do the analysis of all developments approved or built since 2018
and those they are aware are under consideration.
From our discussions with residents of Ambleside we know that most will not welcome significant new density or significant building height to their existing neighbourhood. In reviewing all three options presented for discussion, all add significant density and building height to the area because each of the options is predicated on fitting in 1,000 to 1,200 additional residential units. Residents are very concerned with preserving as much green space as possible and existing views and view corridors.
In reviewing the three options, we note they include low rise and mid-rise towers and stacked townhouses:
9 storey buildings 1-3 new buildings
8 storey buildings 3-5 new buildings
7 storey buildings 6-11 new buildings
6 storey buildings 13-22 new buildings
5 storey buildings 0 to 15 new buildings
Other General Comments
SIX KEY THEMES:
Congratulations to the election of our new Mayor and Council:
MAYOR: Mark Sager
COUNCIL: Christine Cassidy, Nora Gambioli, Peter Lambur, Scott Snider, Sharon Thompson, Linda Watt.
The Inaugural Council Meeting takes place on November 7th. ADRA Directors look forward to working with our newly elected officials over the next four years.
THANK YOU TO BILL SOPROVICH!
ADRA would also like to salute the contribution to our community over the past 26 years by Councillor Bill Soprovich. Bill was elected for eight consecutive terms, the longest serving Councillor for West Vancouver. Bill is well known in the community as a “man of the people”.
Bill would go out to look at every project or land development site and meet with those concerned. ADRA looks forward to keeping in touch with Bill as a very valuable community resource person going forward. THANK YOU, BILL, for all that you have given to West Vancouver!
(AS SUBMITTED BY THE CANDIDATES)
The District has received a preliminary development application for a proposed infill development project at 2882 Marine Drive (east of the 29th Street tennis courts).
The applicant will be holding a preliminary public information meeting on September 28, 2022 to present/discuss the preliminary development proposal (see link below).
The proposal will be reviewed for compliance with Official Community Plan policy 2.1.4 which aims to increase infill housing options on appropriate sites along the Marine Drive Transit Corridor.
October 15th, local Election Day, is only two months away. Candidates for Council are appearing and beginning to make their presence known. Soon you won’t be able to shake them off your leg. This is, however, our only chance during the next four years in which to exert significant influence over those who may be setting the policies and priorities for our District’s government, ones which will have, as they have done up to now, a substantial impact on the quality of life in our community. We must make sure the various candidates are aware of our concerns and wishes.
Our community continues to face numerous challenges respecting housing stock, traffic congestion and struggling commercial centres among others. Many of these are complicated, of long-standing and require co-operation among various levels of government. One frustratingly continuous issue, something over which our Council has virtually sole control should they choose to demonstrate the necessary political will, is the worse than unacceptable, I suggest obscene, level of spending by the District. Local taxpayers’ wallets have long been, and continue to be, plundered, with seemingly never-ending increases, to feed a bureaucracy in which more than 80 percent of the operating budget goes toward paying employee remuneration and benefits. Who exactly is working for who?
The notion that the more things change, the more they stay the same is especially apt in government. I was reminded of this frustrating reality when I read the recently-released Fraser Institute study , which reveals that Metro Vancouver municipal budgets over the ten year period 2009 to 2019 (pre-pandemic) have grown continually larger, with the District of West Vancouver by far the greatest spendthrift.
As of 2019, adjusted for inflation (and after deducting the unique Blue Bus expenditures), the DWV evidently spent over 60 percent more per capita than the average for the twenty or so municipal governments throughout Metro and 28 percent more than the second highest spender (New Westminster). Astonishing! Outrageous! Pick your adjective. I recall the apposite observation of former US President Ronald Reagan that, “When it comes to money, governments are like a newborn infant: An insatiable appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”
According to Statistics Canada, as reported in last Friday’s Financial Post, between February, 2020 and last month our country added some 422,900 net new jobs. Sounds impressive. Not so much when it appears that fully 87 percent of these jobs are in the public sector. If one reads the DWV’s ‘Schedules of Remuneration’ for recent years, and for that matter the past decade or more, it becomes clear that our District has been doing its part to keep the Canadian bureaucratic establishment metastasizing.
And why wouldn’t you want to get yourself a public sector job these days? According to a column in the National Post, of last July 28th, our federal government shelled out $171 million in taxpayers’ money (more likely borrowed) to its employees since the COVID pandemic struck in early 2020 even as its various departments collectively failed to meet even half of their performance objectives. Meanwhile, since 2019 our federal government employees, many ‘working from home’, have altogether been paid $1.6 billion in overtime, and some 312,825 of them have also received a raise. What no ‘danger pay’? Reminds me of the Dire Straits’ tune, “Money for nothing…”.
If you’ve been patient enough to read this far, I’ll end on a humourous note by referring to the ‘Update’, of July 25th, which our District’s CAO provided to Mayor and Council. Evidently, DWV Council, in its ‘Strategic Plan 2021-2022’, among other objectives wishes to see “municipal services delivered efficiently” and the creation of “vibrant and vital commercial centres”.
Well, I’ve banged on long enough about the “efficiency” of our District, and will do so again, but as for our poor, beleaguered businesses, under the heading ‘Local Economy’, our District’s top apparatchik claims the bureaucracy has “restructured its economic development portfolio”. Hmmm? What does this mean I wonder? Not more hires surely?
He goes on to claim the District has “supported local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Hmmm? I bet this will come as news to our struggling merchants and restauranteurs (no doubt our multiplicity of currency exchanges are doing just fine), as the District has raised their property taxes, along with those of residential property-owners, three times since March, 2020.
But, what of our Mayor’s “Task Force on Economic Renewal”, announced with solemn intent by DWV Council on June 8, 2020 and charged with helping local businesses weather the pandemic’s impact? As far as I have been able to ascertain, it has yet to make a single recommendation. Hilarious, no? I’m sure its got our hard-pressed business owner-operators rolling in the aisles. What’s our District’s “restructured economic development portfolio” doing exactly? Something to ask candidates.
Seems like before we’ll see any revitalization of our commercial centres and the rest of our community we must first revitalize our District’s Council. We’re supposed to be a self-governing society. October 15th is our next opportunity to prove it.
Poet, Grammarian, Monarchist, Community Advocate, and Curious Learner Carol Ann “Carolanne” Reynolds passed away peacefully July 14th, 2022, while on vacation with her beloved husband of 40 years, George Pajari.
A proud second-generation Vancouverite, Carolanne was born October 4, 1939. Predeceased by her parents Arthur Reynolds and Anna “Ann” Marie Reynolds née Baumann. After earning a degree in languages and political science at UBC (including time at Carlton and Keio University in Tokyo), she set out to fulfill her lifetime ambition to travel and over the next two decades visited over 100 countries. This included navigating the Mekong in a dugout during the Vietnam War, travelling overland around most of India, translating wine laws in France, and teaching in countries including Australia, South Africa, and the UK.
While paused in Vancouver after her third global circumnavigation, the life-long learner met her husband at a wine appreciation course at UBC. They married in 1982 and shortly after George finished a consulting engagement with the World Bank (IBRD) in Washington, DC, they settled down in beautiful West Vancouver.
World travel had made Carolanne sincerely appreciate Canada, and she became a passionate advocate for her community and heritage in all its forms. She was elected Alderman in 1988, and worked tirelessly to protect her beloved West Vancouver from insensitive development and to preserve the heritage of the community.
After leaving Council, she continued as a dedicated Council watcher, publishing her newsletter, WestVanMatters, for more than 20 years, the last issue being sent out the day before she passed. Always open to innovation and passionate about making information accessible, she set up the first website covering West Vancouver issues well before the District’s.
Her continued community involvement was recognized by a Heritage Award from the District of West Vancouver in 2001 and a second award for Civic Commitment in 2015.
In 2000 she started the West Vancouver RoyalTea-bythe-Sea to commemorate the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday and to advocate for the monarchy. The 23rd annual RoyalTea will be held August 13 in Dundarave Park. Visit RoyalTea.ca for details.
Her tireless community involvement included countless committees, boards, foundations and societies making her a well known community force. So much so, her husband would jokingly introduce himself as “Mr. Carolanne Reynolds”.
Her interest in language in general, and correct usage in particular, was renowned. Misplaced or missing apostrophes were Carolanne Reynolds’s bête noire. She felt language misuse was a disservice to newcomers learning English and felt civil servants and journalists in particular should set a good example. Many received notes gently reminding them about points of grammar and pronunciation. When Lynn Truss’s book on grammar (Eats, Shoots & Leaves) was published, the Vancouver Sun returned the favour by asking Carolanne to write the paper’s book review.
A talented poet, her haiku have been published both in Canada and Japan. One of her last poems was written shortly before her death:
Enjoy, cherish ev’ryday
No one ever knows
which will be the last
A memorial and celebration of life will be held at 2pm, September 9th at St. Stephen’s in West Vancouver. Donations to the charity of your choice would be appreciated in lieu of flowers.
This letter was written by an ADRA member, Judy Chalmers, – to Christie Rosta, Manager of Cultural Services, (et al)
To: -Christie Rosta, Manager of Cultural Service, AFAC Staff Liaison for AFAC members
AFAC Council Representative -Donna Powers, Director of Communications -Mayor and Council
As a member of the public I attended the March 16 Arts Facility Advisory Committee ( AFAC ) meeting. Thank you to Councillor Lambur and Councillor Thompson for also attending. I now have a number of comments, concerns, and questions about the Arts and Culture Centre that I am hoping you will answer/address.
From the very beginning the community was told that in order to develop detailed plans, cost projections, raise funds from the private sector or other levels of government, a site must be selected. The site selection survey last year was determined to be inconclusive.
Now it appears that a governance model and funding plan can be done WITHOUT a site. Christie Rosta, Manager of Cultural Services, in a reply to a letter in correspondence to Mayor and Council wrote , …”explore potential models that would work for the kind of facilities needed in West Vancouver. To do this work, we do not necessarily require a confirmed location which is why the next phase of work is not visiting site selection or confirmation.” It concerns me that this turn-around is confusing the issue of site selection for the community.
It also seems to be confusing the issue of what the additional community consultation this year will be going forward.
*Q1- Is exploring potential models for governance and fundraising ( scenarios ?) for an undetermined site (s) vs. a specific site, an effective and productive use of time and money?
Mayor Booth stated at that meeting – #1 that it would be on District owned land, and – #2 , that it would not be Klee Wyck, commenting regarding Klee Wyck ‘to put an end to it right now ‘.
But in my email correspondence last year with Donna Powers, Director of Communications, after the results of the site selection survey, she wrote to me “ options that were ruled out in the former process could potentially be reviewed again.” Further saying , “For example, the solution of two smaller facilities was not pursued for various reasons. The reasoning behind decisions made along the way will be reviewed and the community will be able to weigh in on those decisions and share their priorities.” These comments were in reference to further community engagement.
My concern is that these statements from Mayor Booth and Donna Powers come across as contradictory.
Christie Rosta has also written that, “once the work outlined in the current ToR is completed, we ( or the next iteration of the AFAC ) can return to site selection and the process to determine that, as directed by Council.”
It concerns me that Mayor Booth is giving direction to the AFAC when it is not direction coming from Council.
*Q2- What is your understanding on the status of site selection ?
*Q3- Will the community have the opportunity during the next round of community engagement to again voice their preferences on a site(s) for an Arts and Culture Centre?
*Q4- Will other site options besides the two at Ambleside Park be offered to the community?
*Q5- If site selection and the process to determine that is not in the current ToR, what will community engagement entail later this year?
One of the scenarios that Mayor Booth spoke about was the potential to co-locate a hotel and Arts Facility , or Arts Hub as she now called it, as opportunities for capital funding. She said the feasibility of it had been discussed with Michael Geller, Gary Matheson, and Min Kim ( apologies on spelling) who I thought she said were part of her Mayor’s Task Force. She also said she had spoken with Larco , and that they would be happy to build it!
She was asked by a member of the public if she could see it being built at Ambleside Park and her answer was ‘yes’.
Since the Mayor stated at the AFAC meeting that the Arts and Culture Centre would be built on District owned lands:
*Q6- How would that work? Does the District go into the hotel business?
*Q7- Does the community in essence give up public and/or park land for a private business to build and operate a hotel?
*Q8- If the community engagement for the site selection survey was inconclusive for the two sites at Ambleside Park, do you believe the community would embrace a hotel also being built there? The height and density for a co-location would most likely not be 2 storeys!
*Q9- What other District owned sites would now be considered for a co-location option?
The ToR was approved by Council for an Arts Facility, not a co-location with a boutique hotel.
*Q10- Does researching best practises in capital fundraising for an Arts and Culture facility, as stated in the ToR, also include a business model for a boutique hotel combined with an Arts and Culture Centre?
Mayor Booth also commented that there was lots of community support for a hotel from the survey done by the ADBIA. The results of the Imagine Ambleside survey to the question of ‘ would you like to see a boutique hotel in Ambleside? ‘ was Yes 55%, Neutral 21%,and No 24%. 55% is not really overwhelming support. And the question did not ask if anyone wanted to see a boutique hotel in Ambleside ‘Park’.
The respondent demographics for this survey were 62% West Vancouver neighbourhoods, 14% North Vancouver, and 24% Other.
*Q11- of the 55% Yes votes, what percentage of those were from West Vancouver?
The results of a poll (survey) by Angus Reid ( during the Park Royal additional floors) were not accepted by the District. As it was a survey done by a 3rd party, the District said 3rd party surveys would never be accepted because unless it was a survey done by the District the results could not be verified.
*Q12- Should the results of the survey done by the ADBIA be accepted by the District if it is a 3rd party survey?
AFAC 2022 WORK PLAN:
The AFAC 2022 Work Plan is being presented to Council on March 29. Part of the work plan is ‘Facility concept / vision planning and engagement with community art groups’
*Q13- Has this not already been done?
On westvancouverite it states: “ After rigorous data collection, analysis, and forecasting, consultation with local stakeholders, community groups and business leaders and careful consideration of local aspirations as express in the Official Community Plan and Economic Development Plan, the findings revealed that West Vancouver requires a new building of approximately 25,000 square feet to replace its unsuitable facilities and to meet future demands.”
There has been a tremendous amount of work done in this area included in the 2018 Arts and Culture Strategy, the 2019 Arts and Culture Facilities Plan, and the 2020 Arts Facilities Site Identification Analysis. From a statement made last year on social media, by the previous AFAC co-chair, it is apparent that stakeholder groups have in fact given their vision. She wrote, “ It’s stated in Core Principals developed to inform the 2019 Arts Facility Site Identification Analysis that any new build would need to ‘ be able to provide ample, high-quality public space that complements existing public space.’ This means that exactly the same, the kind of outdoor activities ( festivals, concerts, painting classes etc ) now taking place in/through/from old, rundown facilities like the Silk Purse and Music Box would be accommodated in any new build. More than 80 stakeholders ( users, instructors, administrators, practitioners, audiences ) participated in the 2018 Arts Facilities Needs Assessment, and we heard from them loud and clear that they appreciate the proximity to the beach and the park, and want that experience replicated in a new build. “
The Work Plan shows that community engagement will take place during June, July, August, and September. I have, previously in this letter, asked many questions as to what this community engagement will entail. I am also concerned that this engagement will take place during July and August, two summer months when many in the community could be away.
*Q14- Will Council consider changing this so that community engagement does not take place during July and August?
The Work Plan shows that the AFAC will report back to Council in September with an Engagement Summary / Update Report, but according to the Work Plan community engagement will still be taking place in September.
*Q15- How will the AFAC report to Council give an accurate accounting on the community engagement?
I have been closely following the AFAC since Cornerstone Consultants began exploring potential public District owned sites, and private sites. I am unsure now, and with some confusion, where the AFAC is headed.
Thank you for your time, and thank you in advance for answering my questions and concerns in a timely manner.
Resident of West Vancouver
A recent letter to Council from an ADRA member, David Marley
During the almost 32 years in which I have resided in West Vancouver I have witnessed what appears to be a steady deterioration in each of our District’s three main commercial centres, most markedly in Ambleside and Horseshoe Bay. Generally, with rare and welcome exception, the structures and street-scapes have become increasingly dilapidated, while more and more storefronts have been vacated. This latter phenomenon would be all the more evident but for the proliferation in more recent times of less than desirable currency exchanges, nail salons and realtors’ ‘pitch-parlours’. In Ambleside, we now even have a massage parlour. I’m anticipating the arrival of a payday loan outfit soon.
Over the past three decades various Councils, each no doubt with good intentions and sincerity, have proclaimed a commitment to a revitalization of Ambleside and our other commercial centres. In my observation, very little, if any, such activity actually takes place. What does happen is the hiring of more District staff or more consultants, the conduct of more studies and the generation of more reports to Council. We’ve come to a point at which it is more appropriate to be talking about the resuscitation of our commercial centres, especially Ambleside and Horseshoe Bay.
As you will know, in January, 2018, District staff, evidently after two year’s effort, produced an ‘Economic Development Plan’ for West Vancouver (copy attached). It was filled with public relations bafflegab, such as building a “more vibrant, thriving and sustainable local economy over the long term”, flawed assumptions and little, if anything, of substance. Twenty-six months later, the COVID pandemic was acknowledged to have arrived in North America and our province’s chief health officer responded, in part, with the ordered lockdown of many, if not most, commercial enterprises.
Slightly over two months after many of our local businesses were put under lockdown order, on May 25, 2020, District staff produced an update to the earlier Economic Development Plan. This document was thin gruel at best. It contained a mere two recommendations: firstly, a blindingly obvious suggestion that local restaurants, where their location and other circumstances were appropriate, be permitted to open or expand patio seating, and, secondly, that an ‘Economic Recovery Task Force’ be established by Council. The mandate and responsibilities of this task force were specified in some detail in Appendix “A” to the updated Plan, as was the suggested ten person membership. According to this document, the task force was expected to complete its work within 18 months.
At a Council meeting, held on June 8, 2020, this task force was evidently established, with Mayor Booth to be in the chair. A quote in the June 11th NS News was attributed to our mayor, saying “I take this matter very seriously. I want to hear from businesses and we will do whatever we can to support them.” Since then, the only concrete action that I’ve seen DWV Council take in ‘support’ of our local businesses has been to raise their property taxes three times.
According to the DWV web-site, as part of the District’s Strategic Plan for 2021-22, Council wants to encourage a local economy which features “vital and vibrant commercial centres”. Working “in conjunction with the Mayor’s task force”, the District intends to “support existing businesses and incentivize redevelopment” and will “take measures to support vibrancy (that word again), diversity, locality (whatever this is) and charm in commercial centres.” Quite an impressive agenda! Again, it’s mere bureaucratic bafflegab.
Given the prominent reference to the economic recovery task force in the District’s strategic objectives for 2021/22, it seems strange to me that neither the composition nor, more importantly, the recommendations of the task force are to be found on the District’s web-site.
In a recent e-mail, Mayor Booth advised me that an informal advisory committee was established, which had been “productive and constructive” and which has resulted in certain unspecified “suggestions” that “have or are being implemented”. That’s good I suppose, depending on the suggestions. What is the content of these suggestions? Which ones have to date been implemented? Which ones are being implemented? For that matter, which ones have been put on the back-burner or ignored entirely? Do you know? If not, why not?
There’s an old Japanese proverb, one to which I subscribe wholeheartedly: “Fix the problem, not the blame.” During the watch of numerous DWV Councils over many years our three commercial centres have been steadily deteriorating. Their current state is truly appalling. In slightly over six months, as I’m sure you are more than well aware, our next municipal election will be held. As a central part of the debate and deliberations throughout the campaign leading to this election, ought to be the condition of our District’s commercial centres, about as far from vital and vibrant as one can imagine, and what various candidates for election or re-election to our local Council propose can and should to be done by our local government to assist with significant improvement to this situation in a timely fashion. As a starting point, the residents and business owner-operators of West Vancouver deserve to know what to date has been done by this Council to address this situation, particularly with regard to the recommendations, whatever these may be, of the economic recovery task force established by Council almost two years ago.
If you aren’t yet aware of the recommendations or, for that matter, the composition of the Economic Recovery Task Force, will you inform yourself and thereafter advise me? Or, even better, instruct staff to put this information in a prominent position on the District’s web-site and do so promptly in order that all local residents and business owner-operators might see what is, and is not, being done on their behalf or, at least, at their expense?
Apparently, the District has recently hired a “senior community planner-economic development”. I have twice requested a copy of this individual’s job description but have yet to be provided with it. Will you instruct staff to e-mail a copy to me?
My apologies for banging on at such length about this matter. I have a sincere concern about what is happening to my community respecting its commercial centres and a great desire to see a concrete plan articulated for remedial action of a timely nature.
West Vancouver, BC