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
- This would be a significant increase of density and height in Ambleside not likely to be well received by residents.
- Residents will likely accept gentle densification in certain areas through coach houses, duplexes and modest 2 storey townhome developments that architecturally fit into the existing neighbourhood.
- Residents also likely to accept ( and this was evidenced by ADBIA Imagine Ambleside) that development in the business district is desirable as long as over time we create a more vibrant Ambleside Village largely within existing height zoning of 37.5 feet.
- There seems little urgency or appetite to significantly change the zoning in the residential areas of Ambleside so perhaps the Local Area Plan should be split in two: the Business District coming first, Taylor Way Corridor and then the balance of Ambleside.
Other General Comments
- Support for creating a more vibrant and pedestrian friendly commercial area.
- Interest in seeing more focus on north-south connections, between Ambleside’s neighbourhoods and the waterfront, with better pedestrian transportation connections (e.g. walking paths ) and buildings oriented to the north-south streets.
- Support for taking a holistic view to creating an age-friendly community – for example, considering accessible paths (streets, laneways) , access to green space, and housing types that are “future proof” and support aging in place.
- Consider future of older, lower rise buildings in the apartment area on an individual, case by case basis.
SIX KEY THEMES:
- Needs to be defined in feet or metric, i.e. a specific measurement above the normal grade.
- There is too much variation in the definition of a “storey.” i.e. it can be 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet, etc.
- Any height increases should be focused where there are minimal private view impacts. View impacts need to be considered as views impact the value of an owner’s property. View properties are assessed at a higher value for property taxes.
- Ambleside commercial area between 13th and 19th should remain at the current zoning of 37.5 feet.
- Avoid height near the waterfront.
- Feedback was that taller heights would be better situated higher up within the Ambleside LAP boundary.
- Concern and interests with housing diversity around scale.
- Supportive of duplexes and townhouses, but not stacked townhouses.
- Supportive of gentle infill. e.g. coach houses
- Retain neighbourhood character.
- Recognize historic neighbourhoods. i.e. Hollyburn, Ambleside
- Retain current rental stock.
- Avoid monolithic approach to densification.
- Merit in new development which is done to contemporary environmental standards.
- Not supportive of single family homes between two bands of townhouses. (Option 2)
- Zoning for two Care Center locations should be retained.
- North/south connections have merit. Anything we can do to connect the upslope with the waterfront is valued.
- Greenspace, landscaping should be a mandatory part of any new development.
- Access to nature is highly valued for mental and physical health.
- Plans should include efforts to protect and revitalize the creeks.
- Support the idea of reintroducing creeks into peoples’ lives again; desirable in all areas. For example, in existing single-family areas, could rely on existing environmental regulations without additional density.
- Add new public trails, daylighting, etc. to larger sites in commercial/apartment areas. i.e. remove culverts
- **ADRA will revisit a past project that included Village Walks through Ambleside and beyond.
- Support concept of Public Realm, support creation of new gathering places, pedestrian areas.
- Support for Ambleside Village beginning at 13th and ending at 19th.
- Allow subdivision of larger properties to 33 foot wide lots as a way of adding new housing.
- Support any opportunity to create walking paths in the community that connect north/south and east/west through development seen as a positive.
- Support for enabling duplexes as an option for diversified housing.