Posted: Mar 7, 2008, 6:01 PM
Site 8 Lives
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Vancouver's North Shore
City kills 400' waterfront tower plan
Council cites significant opposition
North Shore News
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
The Millennium Group proposal for the foot of Lonsdale Avenue included a new waterfront home for Presentation House Gallery and a floating swimming pool in return for a 36-storey residential tower.
The controversial 410-foot tower development for Site 8 at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue will not go forward.
In a 7-0 vote, City of North Vancouver council voted unanimously Monday to terminate Millennium Group's application.
"What we've heard is very loud and clear," said Coun. Craig Keating. "There is significant neighbourhood opposition to the current proposal."
"I was opposed to this proposal from the start," said Coun. Barbara Perrault. The height is excessive and not compatible with its surroundings, and combined with overwhelming opposition this proposal should not go ahead, she said.
"If we are ever to look at another proposal for this site, I will need to see a building with less visual impact, a substantial reduction in density transfer and a concentration of good design that is compatible with other buildings in the area," said Perrault.
While she regrets no new home for Presentation House Gallery will result from the withdrawal of this application, the Site 8 proposal was too high a price to pay for public amenities, she said.
In addition, parking and transportation issues in the area need to be addressed before another proposal comes forward, Perrault said.
Millennium Group estimated that the proposed 410-foot tower would generate some $36.7 million in additional revenue to the city. In a decreasing scale: at 250 feet that revenue would amount to $15.5 million; at 200 feet, $10 million; at 150 feet, $4.3 million; and at 75 feet, $2.4 million.
"It's very clear the majority of our citizens expect our OCP to provide some degree of certainty as to what kind of development will take place, where the density will be placed and the scale of that density," said Coun. Pam Bookham.
"This proposal was so far beyond any perimeters the public had envisioned," she said.
The city needs to establish limits on density transfers and density bonusing, said Bookham. "I think we created fear and loathing. I think there's a lot of animosity toward this council for the way we allowed this process to proceed.
"There's an expectation on the part of the community that we should know when a proposal simply doesn't in any way merit consideration," she said.
"That council somehow broke some kind of faith would be overwrought in the extreme," said Keating. Every council member on Oct. 15, except Sam Schechter who was absent, voted to bring this development forward, said Keating. All members were aware of the proposed height and amenity benefits, he said.
Council needs to use the redevelopment process to advance the type of amenities that are important to the city, he said.
Millennium is a good company that does good things in the community, said Coun. Bob Heywood. This is a difficult site to develop, and it should be developed in the context of a greater vision for the entire area, he said.
"We haven't got a clear vision on how best to maximize that whole Lower Lonsdale area," said Heywood.
With the Maritime Center, this will be the major tourist hub in the Lower Mainland and the city needs to maximize its opportunities here, he said. This is an important site and we don't need to jump at the first proposal that comes forward, he said.
It's difficult to gauge public reaction, said Mayor Darrell Mussatto. "We didn't know what the reaction to this building by the community would be. We thought, go talk to the people."
To have stopped this process before it started would have been incorrect, he said. The public has been involved in the process the entire way, said Mussatto.
"There's been nothing done behind closed doors. It's all been a public process, it's all been there in front of us," he said.
City staff will add Site 8 to its 2009 work plan to develop and refine options for the future development of the site.
© North Shore News 2008