Ambleside Local Area Plan

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.


  • 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.

No Progress in Improving Ambleside Commercial Area

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. 

David Marley

West Vancouver, BC

Cypress Village / Rodgers Creek “Rezoning”

This Post is Re-printed from West Vancouver Community Stakeholders Association-
Massive 7 tower Rodgers Creek project – Public Rezoning Hearing – Nov 19 – 7pm
British Pacific Properties proposes nearly 700 for-sale condos and 250 rental units to bring total development to nearly 1,000 units (2,000+ people). Scant details include:Seven Towers up to 16 storeys including two 12-storey rental Towers. No details on parking for estimated 2,000+ cars.How many residents will use proposed private bus service to Park Royal?For higher density, DWV proposes BPP pay $7 million Community Amenity Contribution.$2 million of CAC reportedly to be used to build / lighting for trails in the development.And DWV is reportedly to own a rental tower.Think of Traffic Congestion on 22nd and 15th Streets, Taylor Way and Lions Gate Bridge by additional 2,000+ residents. What is Council doing about this #1 issue identified by residents?

Higher Density: 67% of West Van residents polled in recent Angus Reid survey were opposed to increasing our population by building more high-density apartment buildings and condos.

DWV’s Climate Emergency: Council already approved the tree clear-cutting (photo below) and 5 Creeks big pipe project to support this project. Concrete is a major contributor to GHG.

CACs in perspective: Carolanne Reynolds notes that this is more than twice the number of units in the two Park Royal towers currently being built. Park Royal offered $21 million in CACs for their development, BPP is offering $7 million. DWV staff refuses to provide their CAC calculations. 

If this massive project‘s density, traffic congestion and CAC calculation concerns you,please email [email protected]. Public input after Nov 19 will not be accepted.