District of West Vancouver council has given the OK for two more condo towers on the lower slopes of Hollyburn Mountain.
The project is within the long-approved Rodgers Creek area plan for more single-family homes and condos on 87 hectares of land off Cypress Bowl Road, which was passed more than a decade ago.
The new buildings will contain 15 one-bedroom, 41 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom units, about 45 per cent of which are less than 1,000 square feet.
For parking, the towers will share 133 vehicle spots and 141 bicycle parking stalls. Although the area and the adjacent plans for Cypress Village are not yet serviced by transit, planning director Jim Bailey said both BPP and the district are working on plans to make sure the people living there aren’t so car dependent.
“They recognize if they’re going to put a number of diversified and more units up on the mountain, then the automobile is not the way we’re going to go. Both parties have been engaging in very proactive conversations about … the provision of a different transit service on the mountain to provide for access for folks,” he said.
The development permit was approved with little debate from council.
Coun. Nora Gambioli praised the project for its 49-megawatt solar energy system and Level 4 energy step code design and air-to-air heat pump. “I really appreciate the sustainability features of this proposal. They’re getting better and better,” she said. “I was really impressed.”
But Gambioli noted the irony of no one taking issue with the 133 parking spots. “Not one person is here to speak about the extra traffic that’s going to generate as opposed to recent developments we have talked about, which are actually right at bus stops, and people have been here and sent us emails by the hundreds saying we shouldn’t support those developments because they’re going to create traffic.”
At least one member of the community questioned the wisdom of approving the towers without a full integrated stormwater management plan.
“I cannot help see, every time I look up there on the side of the mountain, the amount of stripping that’s going on for the development. Now that’s fine. I’m not against development. …However, I do think, in regard to stormwater management, the creeks, which are the main conveyance channels are underestimated and undermanaged,” said engineer Tom Field, adding that two creeks cross the development but the district staff report is scant on details.
BPP president Geoff Croll, who started his career as a summer student in the district’s engineering department, designing storm sewers, said the plans are designed for small and frequent storms that are to be expected. Peak flooding, he said, will soon be addressed with a massive project to build a new storm sewer from the British Properties all the way down to the ocean.
“It’s a big project. It’s probably one of the biggest infrastructure projects we’ve done since we built the Lions Gate Bridge,” he said. “Managing water is one of the most important things that we do on a day-to-day basis.”
Work on that project is slated to begin next month.