Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mayor and council respond to Irwin's letter.

OCP process a careful balancing act
North Shore News April 16, 2011

Dear Editor:

This letter is written in response to the April 8 letter to the editor, Say Goodbye to North Van's Character.

The District of North Vancouver's official community plan engagement process began two years ago with one of the fundamental goals being to encourage community participation and input. In response to this invitation more than 5,000 participants from across the district have been involved in over 75 consultation events. Based on that input and with the guidance of a citizen's advisory group created to ensure that the draft plan reflected the input received, a draft plan has been prepared that council will be soon be considering through the public hearing process.

With any updated OCP, there is bound to be a variety of views, however the discussion should be based on the facts, not misrepresentations. In last Friday's letter, the author refers to approvals of "a 600-unit high-rise project in Seymour pushed through despite the support of a meagre four per cent of the residents, an 11-storey high-rise in Parkgate approved despite an almost riotous public hearing, and a high-rise apartment complex at Capilano Road and Paisley in Edgemont, opposed by 98.6 per cent of the community."

The 600 medium- and high-rise complex which includes rental and affordable housing units is in Lower Lynn, not Seymour, and was well supported by the local community. The 11-storey building in Parkgate is a much needed seniors complex and there were both supporters and detractors for the project at the public hearing, which was quite civil rather than "almost riotous." The Edgemont project was three stories consisting of 14 units on Capilano Road, a major transit route.

The author of the letter goes on to allege a hidden agenda in favour of development, sweeping plans to change single-family neighbourhoods, and an unwillingness to listen to the residents. Council's recent down-zoning of two commercial areas in Seymour in response to resident concerns; the intent of the OCP to focus any significant density and growth to four village/town centres in the district in order to meet housing needs while preserving the single-family character in the balance of the district; the integration of the current nine area plans into the OCP and an unprecedented community engagement process simply don't square with the allegations.

Council is very mindful of the careful balance that must be achieved in order to make changes that preserve and sustain the quality of life our residents are so passionate about. Many who have participated in the OCP process to date believe that it will achieve just that. There is still time to learn more about the OCP and get involved. Find out more at

Mayor and council


John Sharpe said...

I think the Mayor and council are splitting hairs and playing semantics.

I was at one of the public hearings and it may not have been almost rioto but, it was very emotional. Irwin made reference to a 600 unit high-rise in Seymour and it is in fact just on the border of Lower Lynn and Seymour. No mention in the District's letter that the much needed seniors complex is for well to do seniors and firmly against the LAP.

5000 participants is a start but, only a fraction of eligible voters in the District.

There is still time to learn more about the propsed 40 some-odd page OCP proposal and that is the best point in the Mayor and council letter.

Lyle Craver said...

Council seems to be building a record of going against local area plans. I do not say this as a good thing.

The Marine Drive Plan took 5 years to push through with building height limitations being the most heavily fought over item. At the end of it they reached what was thought to be a 'win win' that all could buy into.

Except they obviously DIDN'T get developer 'buy in' because of 4 proposals brought forward, 3 have included height variances and Council approved every one.

Meaning Marine Drive doesn't have much of a plan does it? It was devised as a compromise all could live with but it is being overturned on a project by project basis.

So in fairness John, it's not just Seymour is it?

What I'm saying is that local plans seem to be dying the death of 1000 cuts at the hands of the present Council and voters will have to judge in November whether or not local plans are worth the paper they are printed on.

Variances are supposed to be unusual to deal with special circumstances that don't fit the local plan - but the present trend is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

Jerome Irwin's letter must have hit a nerve. Interesting to see Mayor and Council respond.

I notice they don't even address the neighbourhood opposition to the Capilano Rd development but do try to "talk around" that development by stating it's on a busy bus route. So?

As for the other two developments Mr. Irwin had pointed out, I agree, splitting hairs and simply attempting to discredit the author.


Mocrael said...

When DNV Mayor and Council write to defend themselves against a citizen, you know that their lips are moving...

"Council is very mindful of the careful balance that must be achieved in order to make changes that preserve and sustain the quality of life our residents are so passionate about."

I had to laugh wryly at this "over the top" bit political spin. We sure haven't seen much of that so-called "mindfulness from Council" in Upper Lynn Valley over the past several years. Tsk!

Anonymous said...

What, they're approving high rises in upper lynn?

All I see is the District responding to a private citizens spin. I'd be more disappointed if the District didn't respond.

Anonymous said...

Having attended those meetings, I am pleased that Mayor and Council responded to the letter with facts. The first Parkgate meeting was very heated but I thought the second follow up meeting at the Seymour Golf Club was very civil.

I disagree with the statement that 5000 participants is merely a start. Everyone has been given ample opportunity and I would expect that 5000 are more than sufficient to stand as a statistically sound representation.

I don't think the scaremongering is helpful nor persuasive. When I mention that some are describing the Mt. Seymour seniors tower as the "Kingswayfication" of the Parkway, I get a laugh, every time.

I know many seniors who are anxiously awaiting the ribbon cutting for this amenity which has been long overdue.

Vincent Santacroce

Anonymous said...

The very fact that District is having their OCP Public Hearing at 5pm on a Monday (rather than the usual 7pm on a Tuesday) speaks volumes about District's interest in public input.

For anyone at District Hall reading this I say "Don't you people know that the average taxpayer is on his / her way home from work at 5pm? Don't you care that even if we CAN make it for 5 you are forcing us to appear for a meeting with no time limit with no opportunity for dinner before the meeting?"

The day and time of the meeting says to me that District is having a public hearing because the Community Charter says they have to have one but they don't give a damn about whether anything is actually said and by choosing that time intends to close the public hearing as quickly as possible!

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely correct.
They DONT care. They have decided already that there is a lot of money to be made in supposedly greening North Vancouver with overdensity.

Goodby North Van. You were a lovely place to live.