Saturday, April 09, 2011

Say goodbye to North Van's character

By Jerome Irwin, North Shore News April 7, 2011

Dear Editor:

A seriously flawed communication process over development exists between the District of North Vancouver's mayor and council and many of its homeowners and community resident associations -- especially those opposed to what they contend has consistently been a hidden agenda that time and again favours excessive, unwelcomed development, often in arrogant defiance of the community's expressed wishes and overwhelming objections.

Examples abound of the severe disconnect that exists between mayor and council and those they're supposed to represent: 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 tower in Parkgate, approved despite an almost riotous public hearing; a high-rise apartment complex at Capilano Road and Paisley in Edgemont, opposed by 98.6 per cent of the community; are a few of many glaring examples.

Yet the district's mayor and council continue to deny that any hidden agenda exists behind its numerous pro-development decisions. Yet there is a serious breach of trust between Mayor Richard Walton's council and those who've all but given up trying to petition the district to truly listen and respond to their frustrated desire to protect and preserve their ever-diminishing iconic North Shore way of life, one that originally drew them to live here and cherish, passionately, the heritage and rich character of their single-family neighbourhoods, the lush trees and pristine natural world around them, and their quiet, traffic-calmed residential streets.

My Lower Capilano neighbours tell me: "We won't waste our time anymore objecting to the district's development plans, because they've already made up their minds." "Development's a slam-dunk." "Nothing we can say or do will change anything." "You can't trust them." "We have the weakest council we've ever had when it comes to fighting for a liveable quality of life." "The district's bylaws, building codes and development plans are designed to be twisted in favour of development."

The recent unveiling of the goals and objectives in the second draft of the district's new official community plan should be the subject of a district-wide referendum -- hopefully rescinding them, or the pressure for high-density development will ramp up big time.

The OCP's sweeping neighbourhood and housing action plans and its proposed village and town centres in the Lower Capilano-Marine Drive, Lynn Valley and Maplewood areas suggest a potentially nightmarish reality, one that will seriously challenge the West End of Vancouver for the title Canada's densest urban environment.

If things go as dreaded, it's goodbye to the North Shore way of life beloved by hopeful dreamers.

Jerome Irwin

North Vancouver

© Copyright (c) North Shore News


Anonymous said...

Yeah, saw the article... zzzzzzzzzzz...

Remember the "car line" street car from Lonsdale to upper Lynn Valley?

Wooden sidewalks in Lynn Valley and parts of Lonsdale?

Treed acreage and huge residential lots all over the place?

Quiet forests without mountain bikes?

Stedmans, Dewhursts, The Delmar, Janz's, Tomahawk Drive-In, Marshall Wells, Lion's Burgers, Paine's Hardware....

Look folks, we live in a great place and lots of people want to live here so lots of pressure to build multi-family.

I drive by multi-fams everyday where I used to play in the woods as a kid.

You think goodbye to North Van's character now??? It's been destroyed over the last 50 years and it will continue to evolve.

It's not the cool private spot that it used to be and it will be less so in the future.

Been there, seen that. Change happened, is happening, will continue to happen.

Anonymous said...

It's always shut the door right after you arrive right? Issue is the district is running a huge deficit. Your lifestyle isn't being paid for by your taxes. The district requires density, so people in condos will pay the share of taxes that folks who own houses refuse to.

Anonymous said...

Grow up folks it's the year 2011. Gone are the drive-in theatres and payphone as well. If you want to live in the 1950s, you might want to smoke some of that new high quality pot and take a ride on the Reading Railroad ~ do not pass go - you're in la la land.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Saturday, April 09, 2011 10:55:00 PM!

People who live in multi-family dwellings have no business posting against densification. If it weren't for multi-family development, John, you probably wouldn't be able to live here. So rather than railing against it, start looking at and encouraging smart growth in locations that make sense for the community. Densify around the commercial and transportation corridors while leaving the majority of single family neighborhoods alone. It's so easy and so sensible.

Anonymous said...

Letter applies to the CNV as well. So if all the density being planned has no benefit for City residents what then? Taxes being increased passed the rate of inflation. Metro target for population increase in 2021 is 56K, 2031 is 62K. With projects underway and in the process of being approved we already surpass the 2021 target. Election year!

Anonymous said...

The CNV is a completely different animal. That letter has no bearing whatsoever. The CNV is pushing for density where it makes sense. Lower Lonsdale and up Lonsdale - commercial and transportation corridors. If you already live in a tower and are whinging because another tower is going to block your view, then you're an hypocrite. If you're in a single family home, located away from the planned zones for density, what's the problem? People want to live here and it's that desire that is driving up home values. If we don't build to meet demand, home prices will continue to rise to the point where very few of us will be able to afford to stay in our own homes, never mind our children being able to buy in the community in which they grew up.

For those who don't want change, are you prepared for the consequences of that decision?

Barry Rueger said...

North Van "character."

What exactly would that character be?

Warm milk comes to mind.....

Griffin said...

Barry, if you don't understand what the "North Van Character" is, you are truly out of place and out of line.

Why are you living here? If you can answer that question with more than, "it seemed like a good idea", or "my mother had a spare room", then maybe you'll understand. Until then, kwitcherbitchin!

Barry Rueger said...

OK - what is the "character" that we need to preserve? Tell me.

Griffin said...

Oh, let's see. What do all my friends from other parts of Canada and the world say when they get here. Big trees, clean air, no traffic (that's relative, BTW), mostly nice homes, fairly well educated population, lots of nice gardens and houses that aren't too crowded together, it's safe to walk at night, people are friendly, lots of parks, the ocean, good recreational opportunities to keep us healthy.

If what you mean by character is uniqueness, hmmmm. A this time of year, you can ski in the morning and play tennis in the afternoon - not many places where you can do that. Compared to many "unique" places in the world, North Vancouver may not stand out that much, although many may disagree with that statement.

I guess it's too easy to take it all for granted when you live here, but if you don't, it's truly special to behold.

How do YOU define character, Barry?

John Sharpe said...

...near the city but doesn't have that big city feel- a community feel, a distinct lack of high-rises, quiet streets in the evenings, on Sat. and Sunday mornings (and especially on long weekends), lower crime rates(due to lower density), lots of rain, wonderful access to the forests by foot and my bicycle, 'mountain air' noticeable during breezy warm summer evenings(totally unique),...c'mon Barry, I can't even believe you're asking.

Barry Rueger said...

I don't see anything on those lists that would change markedly with increased density.

If anything, "character" is defined by things like "Stedmans, Dewhursts, The Delmar, Janz's, Tomahawk Drive-In, Marshall Wells, Lion's Burgers, Paine's Hardware..." -- all long gone and replaced by Rona, Save-On, McDonald's and Starbucks.

Sounds to me like you two are describing a local character that really is like warm milk.

Kind of like Toronto people taking a strange pride in telling people how clean the city is.

Chicago has character. New York has character. Montreal, London, San Francisco have character.

North Vancouver (nature aside) is, well... nice.

Griffin said...

Well, how about trees being razed to increase density. How about loss of privacy or noise shields. How about diminished air quality due to more vehicles.

Barry, I think this is really about semantics and perception. But if not, move to Chicago or San Francisco if you think you'll find more character there. I think you'll get bad air, crime and traffic gridlock.

North Vancouver is relatively young in the overall scheme of things and hasn't got a sufficient stock of old buildings and history to develop much character. But God was good in terms of our geography and natural beauty.

Every big city that I've visited is different than where I live, and this becomes the city's "character" . Believe me, someone from Chicago would definitely find something unique about North Vancouver. They might even describe its character as being a little different than in their city (as in you can walk down the street at night and not be afraid of getting mugged!

Anonymous said...

Many years ago I was in Lynn Canyon Park walking alone to 30 foot pool. It was a sunny brisk April day and in those days you might not see anyone else there as it was still very chilly outdoors.

I saw a guy, all by himself staring into the deep pool. All of a sudden he stripped off all of his clothes and dove into the freezing cold water.

He swam back to shore and dressed and I walked up to speak to him.

As I live in N. Van I know that no local would swim in the canyon in April.

I asked him where he was from and he replied, "New York City."

He asked me where I was from and I replied that I live here. He said, "Oh, you live in heaven."

True story.

Anonymous said...

Yo Kobe - what are your thoughts on this?

Anonymous said...

I think Barry character is a kind of a Disneyfied, Mayberry, Whitebread place - I suggest you keep watching The Truman Show.

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that if there was accountability in local government there would be less pressure on higher density.

Accountability within local government will lead to greater voter turnout

Accountability within local government will restore services and deliver services using cost effective methods

Accountability within local government will curb the misappropriation of taxes collected

Eliminating waste within local government, engaging the constituent, and prioritizing the effective delivery of services will provide well balanced neighbourhoods.

Lack of accountability within local governments will result in higher taxes, density, crime, etc. and an overall disintegration of neighbourhoods.

Barry Rueger said...

Somehow I thought that election day was when municipal politicians were held accountable.

Did I miss a memo?

Anonymous said...

Low density, although desirable for some, is the least efficient option. It's wasteful and unsustainable.

I'm with Sam Sullivan on this one:

Opinion: Don't want density? Perhaps you should pay for that right

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, link got screwed up. Go to today's business section of the sun and read Don Cayo's story.

Anonymous said...

Jane Thornthwaite pleads guilty to a lesser charge. What a fine example for our community. Where's the accountability here? She apologizes for drinking and driving then she refuses to plead guilty to the appropriate charge... What a class act.

"Thornthwaite was sentenced to a $500 fine and a one-month driving prohibition."

Anonymous said...

And she hopes her constituents will forgive her. She's a vacuous twitt and if there's a viable Conservative candidate in her riding, I hope people vote AGAINST her in droves... Or she may decide to do the right thing and decide not to run....dream on!

Anonymous said...

That's our justice system. One for the politicians and the wealthy and another for the poor.

Mocrael said...

"Quiet forests without mountain bikes? Don't get me going there (too late):

I haven't posted on this blog for a while. I wish we had a DNV Council that would honour their environmental assessments. This DNV Council has to be the most anti-environmental one we have had in years! I'm not the only person who has complained about DNV in this regards. Many have given up trying.

DNV lies to us, telling the public that they only "matched" the grant funds given to them by the feds. They actually doubled the funding -- adding over 1/2 million dollars catering to Walton's pet project: the destructive freeride over the taxpayers backs on our mountains! Never ending MTB Trail building. Does anybody have a clue how destructive that all is? Many do not. It is out of control,and probably worse than when it was unsanctioned! Closed trails are being reopened. How ignorant is that?

Now DNV is allowing the NSMBA to adopt trails on Seymour. Did other forest users/stakeholders have a fair and democratic say about that yet? It probably won't matter much, as they did not listen to the general public for Mt. Fromme, either.

The present MTB sprawl is unsustainable. Say goodbye to the forest's character for good. Much of the interesting wildlife is already gone, and it is the annoying cry of the freewheeling yahoos that reverberates in the woods, instead. Sad...

This is just the kind of "leadership" you can expect when only 17% of the people show any interest at all in the voting process. This DNV Mayor and Council has become "too long in the tooth" for re-election. Just my two cents worth!

We need a real change, but it won't happen until a few of those Councillors do us a real favour and not run again,opening the door to new faces and hopefully better choices.

I just fed up with the ongoing ignorance (and silence about environmental issues) on Council. They are apathetic, and too complacent to make for good leaders.

Mayor Walton has destroyed the character and ambience of my neighbourhood in order to cater to this frivolous, nature-deficit thrillsport in the woods.

Yeah, I'm not very happy and intend to reflect that sentiment at the polls in the fall! Hopefully, that will not mean spoiling my ballot for lack of good candidates.

Just my two cents worth!

Anonymous said...

Well this has been the #1 story for a few days now while we have a federal election.

Guess is at the best on s hiatus of usefulness, or worst yet become totally irrelevent.

John Sharpe said...

Anon above,

Feel free to become a registered poster and write one post per week up to 500 words.

John Sharpe

P.S. I really don't want to be one of the only posters.:)

John Sharpe said...


It does seem insane.

Don't think there is anyone I would place a vote for this time around either. I did support MacKay-Dunn last election but, don't think I will this time. There are no environmentalists on council any more, if in fact there ever was. (And I've got nothing to lose by saying so). Harris was 'perceived' by some as a lone voice on council but, she was quelled and sometimes out voted as was Ernie.

Money-money-money, build-build-build, pro-develop-pro-develop-pro-develop is the mdntality of today's council.

They will never step aside because they think what they are doing is right and they basically all agree on most issues.

Anonymous said...


As you say only registered posters can post a thread.

I think that is right as you have to retain some level of control over the blog.

On the other hand I far prefer many of the Anon contributions over those of certain registered posters.

Can one register as Anon?

Anonymous said...

I've lived and grown up on the North Shore all my life. It certainly is not the place it used to be, and for the worse, not the better in my opinion. from the people I know here, the article written by Jerome relects the opinions of many, not few.

Unfortunately the North Shore is also a comfortable place to live so the majority do not really see the change and destruction going on around them. 17% at the polls reflects this. When the majority wake up, it will be too late - likely is already.

The concept of centers is an interesting way to try to keep much of the single family zoning and I see some benefit in it. However, if you live in one of the single family zoned neighbourhoods (like I do) that is about to change drastically because of the establishment of a new centre, the concept stings differently.

I keep thinking there must still be a better mix of environmental protection and densification other than the current OCP offers. Council needs to explore further options to protect what we have, and get off the development bandwagon.

I don`t think the OCP is quite there. Development for the sake of development is not a good thing, and some of the proposed densification appears to be just that.

John Sharpe said...

Mayor and council have responded to Jerome Irwin's April 8th letter to the NSNews editor via a letter to the editor in today's North Shore News.

In fairness I will post this letter when The North Shore News updates it's website. As of 9:00 AM today only Friday's NSNews was on their site.

Anonymous said...

Do a bit of research folks! If you want to protect the environment, you'll be pushing for density. It is the most environmentally form of development there is. The sprawl that you seem so attached to is wasteful and unsustainable. Do some reading about development and density, rather than listen to a few local mouthpieces. They are doing the environment no favors.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the Super Slate of:

John Sharpe
Jerome Irwin

Mocrael said...

Mayor and Council's letter in today's NS News is case point. If DNV Council has to defend themselves perhaps they are admitting that Jerome Irwin may be closer to the truth than they are comfortable with?

DNV Council should understand that "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." ~Abraham Lincoln

Anonymous said...

That letter merely countered Irwin's letter and his incorrect assertions. A simple check of the actual applications exposes his misinformation. Mocreal, do always blindly believe what you read in the paper, or do you bother to check the facts first?

Come on people, time to start paying attention to the facts, rather than make them up to suit you.

Anonymous said...

Do a bit of research folks! If you want to protect the environment, you'll be pushing for density. It is the most environmentally form of development there is.

I'm not convinced the growth numbers being projected by the DNV are real. If they aren't then the amount of proposed development isn't needed. Dont assume people that post opinions that differ from yours don't research...

Lyle Craver said...

I am skeptical about the proposed numbers for North Vancouver as well and strongly dislike the Regional Growth Strategy because the way I read it there is little in there about protecting jobs on this side of the water.

Folks, our city has lost 1000+ jobs in the last decade and at the rate we are going more and more people are going to have to either move or commute across the water.

How any reasonable person can describe that as "sustainable" is beyond me.

John Sharpe said...

To Anon of April 15th 5:15 PM,

My apologies for the delay in answering. Being somewhat of a blog admin-neophyte I wasn't positive of the answer.

Your question was;
"Can one register as Anon?"

Yes ad no. As the administrator I know the identities of the Authors to some degree. At the very least I will know a required email address you provide me when you accept the invitation to be an author. This doesn't mean you have to use your full name when you post like some authors do. Some authors use fictitious names so they are anons for all intents amd purposes to the public.

Anonymous said...

The new OCP could be cut and paste from Gregor Robertson's book and can be boiled down to:
Cars are EVIL! Density is HOLY!

Unfortunately, density means a lot more people and that means a lot more of everything else about people including crowding, cars, demand for more services, crime and more crowding. Just look at the West End of Vancouver. THAT is ecodensity. It used to be called urban blight but ... that's ecospin.
Lane/carriage houses you say? look at how they are coming out in West Point Grey in Vancouver...

It all boils down to developers and builders wanting MONEY and evironmental true believers..believing they are right above all else.

Our new OCP calls for 45 percent ATTACHED housing ie. Row housing, appartments, high rises etc. in densified centres like Lynn Valley.
Developers and builders are just DROOLING at the prospect. More people per square foot = more units = more PROFIT!! yay!!!

Not so good for you and me since they wont be required to provide enough parking ( cars are evil donchya know ) and it wont be long before dedicated bike lanes ( rarely used ) will manufacture the traffic congestion needed to implement 'road pricing'. Not heard of it? oh well Mayor Walton favours it. It means you cannot get your car insured unless you have a GPS monitoring device installed so you get charged per kilometre. That's right, government can monitor your whereabouts every hour of the day or night to charge you for driving an evil car. It's going into Holland in 2012.
The thing is, that the OCP is built around a so called 'sustainable' model that assumes you are not going to want to use a car and that it shouldnt be a choice of yours to do that. We are saving the planet after all..right?

Maybe, but I suspect that ANY reduction in North Vancouver gasoline consumption will immediately provide an opportinity to sell a surplus supply to the USA or CHINA where the fuel will NOT be sequestered, but converted to CO2. So much for our GHG targets.

The basis of the OCP is builders can make MONEY and the justification is 'we are saving the planet'.
Think about how flawed that is.

Oh and one more thing, if you took ALL 1.6 million cars in ALL of metro Vancouver off the road forever, and you DIDNT sell the gasoline to the USA or China but left it in the ground, it would amount to a GHG savings of about 20 percent of the emissions of a coal fired electric plant. China adds a new one of those every single week.