Managing growth and change on the North Shore
Every community in Metro Vancouver is feeling the pressures associated with regional growth, and North Vancouver is no exception. The perfect storm of proximity to downtown Vancouver, rising real estate values, and the attraction of the North Shore mountains at our back door make North Vancouver an increasingly attractive place to live.
We can choose to view this negatively, or seize the opportunity to make growth and change work to the benefit of our community.
Improving housing affordability while preserving our neighbourhoods
One of the challenges we face in the District is the 'missing middle'; 20-40 year olds who are unable to remain in, or return to the District, given the cost of housing.
Not only is this an issue for society, it's an economic issue, as local businesses are increasingly unable to retain young up-and-coming employees as they leave for jobs south of the Inlet to avoid long commutes.
And while the lack of affordability is having an impact on the makeup of our community, it's even contributing to our traffic concerns.
In 2016, we issued 1300 permits for renovation or rebuilds of single family homes. The majority of the tradespeople working on these projects cannot afford to live in the District, so they commute from municipalities across the Inlet.
Every day you can see the army of panel vans from small contracting companies flooding across the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to come to work, and they all land on the north end of the bridge and the Highway 1 interchange just as District residents are making their morning commute to work and school.
Here's how we're managing the 'growing pains' that are inherent in working to provide homes for everyone in the District.
The Official Community Plan (OCP)
Our Official Community Plan (OCP) provides a well-thought out and broadly consulted upon roadmap for shaping change in our community.
We have taken some definitive steps towards the execution of that plan, while keeping our eyes and minds open to the need for adjustments as we progress. Our OCP seeks to maintain the character of our low density neighbourhoods — traditionally home to 70 per cent of our residents — by focussing growth in the town centres of Lions Gate, Lynn Valley, Lynn Creek, and Maplewood.
The Rental and Affordable Housing Strategy
Council recently adopted a new Affordable and Rental Housing Strategy. It provides a foundation to enter into partnerships for development of affordable housing within the four town centres, and Council is now assessing opportunities to deliver on this strategy, including assessing three recent development applications with over 50 affordable rental units.
The Highway 1 interchange was not designed for the volume or speeds of today’s traffic and it is no longer serving the public well.
An agreement with the Province of BC and the Government of Canada to fund the long-awaited and much needed improvements to the Mountain Highway overpass, and Ironworkers Memorial Bridge interchange area has been reached. The work to fix this troublesome bottleneck in the midst of our community will take several years to complete, but it will separate east-west traffic from Highway 1 traffic. Part of the District’s contribution was the replacement and expansion of our Keith Road Bridge, which was recently completed.
At the same time, we’re continuing our work to realize the other transportation infrastructure improvements needed to increase options for residents, contained in the 10-year plan from the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation.
Moving toward a shared vision for the future
The work to shepherd change is challenging, can be slow, and is oftentimes not easy for the public to visibly discern amongst the daily business of keeping a municipality running. Council is indeed paying attention to these bigger picture strategic needs, and is providing thoughtful guidance as we move towards our shared vision for the future.
- Learn more about the Official Community Plan
- Learn more about the Rental and Affordable Housing Strategy
We welcome lively debate on our blog. However, to ensure that conversations remain respectful and positive for everyone, we review all comments prior to publishing them, to ensure they meet our community guidelines. Those that do not will not be published.