THE proposed redevelopment of the 1300-block of Marine Drive should come with modest density and include buildings no taller than three storeys, according to the majority of respondents of a recent survey.
A delegation from the Ambleside and Dundarave Ratepayers' Association released the results of their survey of 110 West Vancouver residents at a council meeting July 23.
Approximately 82 per cent of survey respondents favoured a three-or two-storey limit for buildings in the area, according to the group. Only four of the 110 respondents cast their lots in favour of four-storey buildings, they said.
Nearly 85 per cent of those surveyed opted for buildings with a total floor area no greater than 1.75 times their lot size, while only three said the buildings should have a floor area ratio above that limit.
The survey, conducted at a June 20 meeting hosted by ADRA, was in response to a recent decision by council to sell the municipality's roughly 60 per cent share of the site - currently the home of the West Vancouver police station - to Grosvenor development group, subject to an acceptable plan for redevelopment. Although the company, which already owns the remainder of the parcel, has not released a detailed proposal, many residents have voiced concerns the project would involve a substantial increase in density.
Grosvenor is expected to submit a plan for consideration some time in the fall.
The 1300-block of Marine Drive is categorized as a special site in West Vancouver's official community plan, meaning buildings could exceed four storeys if approved by council.
While stressing the need to revitalize the "shantytown," Mayor Michael Smith has said no one wants the area to turn into another Coal Harbour or Yaletown.
The ADRA's survey results were intriguing, but not necessarily representative, according to Coun. Bill Soprovich.
"This (project) is for the greater good of the entire community; I would like to see something a little bit larger," said Soprovich, referring to the number of people surveyed.
"More than 50 per cent of those respondents were non-ADRA members," said Keith Pople, one of the group's directors.
A number of speakers at the meeting where the survey was conducted expressed concern that insufficient safeguards are in place to preserve the village character of the area, according to Pople. Parking was also a key issue, as 70 per cent of those surveyed said there was inadequate parking in the Ambleside business district, he said.
Other residents who attended the meeting wondered aloud if citizens' opinions on height and density are taken into consideration when neighbourhood developments are planned, said Pople.
Approximately 64 per cent of those surveyed disagreed with the district selling municipal land, with another 12 per cent adding the district should only sell land in order to buy more land.
"A majority prefer lease to sale," said council watcher Carolanne Reynolds, speaking later in the July 23 meeting.
Council's position that the deal's complexity doesn't allow for a lease with Grosvenor is "an insult to our intelligence," she said.
The district owns 58 per cent of the block, including the police station, parking lot, and laneway on the south side of Marine Drive. Because Grosvenor owns the rest of the block, district staff have said a long-term lease would force Grosvenor to convert its land to a lease, or else the project would be a mixture of purchased and leased land.
The sale is expected to put approximately $37 million into municipal coffers.