Fact Check: Information about Gateway Residences at Park Royal – Public Hearing July 16

Jun 25, 2020

Public Hearing rescheduled to July 16

The public hearing regarding proposed: Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 4985, 2018, Amendment Bylaw No. 5064, 2020; and Zoning Bylaw No. 4662, 2010, Amendment Bylaw No. 5065, 2020, previously scheduled for June 23, 2020, has been rescheduled to July 16, 2020, in order to correct the rendering of the proposal provided in the public notice and advertisement. A public meeting will be held concurrently.

More information proposal

Updated: June 25, 2020

On July 16, a Public Hearing will be held to consider a proposal to revise the development at Park Royal. Some inaccurate statements regarding this proposal have been circulating in the community. Please read on for additional information and context:

The proposal

To consider five additional stories on each of the two buildings (from 11 & 14 stories to 19 & 16 stories) that would provide:

  • 95 additional rental units, 89 secured in perpetuity and six secured for 20 years
  • 23 new units built to level two adaptability standards.
  • 4 new accessible parking stalls, for a total of 232 parking spaces. No new parking is proposed; the additional accessible stalls are created by reconfiguring space in the parkade.
  • 119 additional bicycle stalls for a total of 403
  • additional $10 million CAC in cash, for a total $31.3 million in cash and on-site amenities

Statement:  Approving this project means that “all” future projects run the risk of developers asking for “more”, regardless of previous decisions, results of community consultation.

Fact: Where Council is the decision-maker for major development applications it carefully considers each proposal on its own merits. Council has a Strategic Plan that outlines their specific goals and objectives for the community; those strategic goals and objectives guide Council’s decision-making.

Statement:  Adding additional units = more cars = more congestion  |  Visitors, ridesharing and taxis will increase traffic.

Fact: Studies show that housing placed close to transit and amenities can reduce automobile travel and reliance. More affordable housing within West Vancouver offers workers an opportunity to live closer to their place of employment and reduce commuting congestion throughout the region.  As the terminus of both the new RapidBus and a connector for many West Vancouver Blue Bus routes, this location provides reliable public transportation for residents in this neighbourhood.

There are 232 underground parking spaces, and no additional parking spaces are being considered. Parking spaces are decoupled from the units. This means that parking is not included in the cost of housing, tenants can choose to rent a parking space, or not. Bicycle parking/storage is increased by 119 for a total of 403 bicycle spaces.

Statement:  Larco has already laid the foundation in anticipation of the extra floors being approved.  This is a done deal.

Fact: It is not a done deal. Council has not yet approved the application. The applicant made the decision regarding the foundation in the hopes of approval and at their own risk. It does not influence the process for consideration.

Statement:  This project benefits the developer only.

Fact: The original project, as already approved, brings a number of benefits to the community. In addition to expanding the tax base, it supports Official Community Plan priorities by creating density with pedestrian connections near transportation.

The revised proposal is not consistent with the specific built form, design and density parameters of the Local Area Plan contained within the Official Community Plan. However, Council is considering it because it fulfills goals in Council’s Strategic Plan, specifically:

Strategic Goal: Significantly expand the diversity and supply of housing, including housing that is more affordable.

Objective 1.1: Ensure that 250 housing units are approved per year over the next 5 years, of which approximately 50, are rental units and include accessible housing units.

The proposal, as revised, supports other objectives as set out in the Official Community Plan: it increases the number of secure rental units and accessible units; it also supports Council’s sustainability goals with green building features and reduced energy requirements, at Energy Code Step 3; accessibility goals are supported with 23 new units built to level two adaptability standards, and four additional accessible parking stalls.

Statement:  There is no shortage of rentals in West Vancouver.

Fact: There IS a shortage of secure rentals in West Vancouver, which at 1.2 % has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the region (a healthy vacancy rate is considered to be 3-4%). Purpose-built rental projects provide secure rental stock. The vacancy rate measures the availability of secure rental stock. It does not account for the “secondary rental market” which is privately-owned homes or suites offered for rent. These do not provide long term security for tenants and they could be removed from the rental market at any time. West Vancouver has around 1900 purpose-built rental units, 96% of which were built in the 1960s and 70s, making them vulnerable to redevelopment. The current proposal would add a new, secure, and needed supply.

Statement:  Since this project was approved in 2018, there have been hundreds of rentals approved and being built.

Fact: In 2017, Hollyburn Gardens was rezoned to allow for two low-rise infill buildings containing 41 new rental units. The existing 16-storey tower constructed in the early 1970s remains and contains 126 rental units. As part of the rezoning, the existing tower was secured as rental housing for 20 years, and secured the infill buildings as rental for 40 and 60 year periods. As a result, there will be 167 secured rental units at this site once the project is constructed. This project was the first purpose-built rental approved by Council in 40 years.

In 2018, Earls was rezoned to allow for 141 residential units within a 26 storey tower and a townhouse building. The proposal secured 54 units for rental housing: 48 rental units in the tower, and the 6 townhouse units will be owned by the District as supportive (non-market) housing. Earlier this year, Council rezoned the site which increased the number of strata units. The number of secured rental units (market and non-market) did not change. The site is not yet under construction.

In 2019, Amica Lions Gate (formerly known as Maison Seniors Living) received a rezoning to construct 48 independent seniors living secured rental units.

In early 2020, Rodgers Creek Areas 5 and 6 were rezoned to allow up to 275 secured rental units, including up to 150 units that will be District-owned. However, both of these recently-approved rezonings are several years away from being built and available for rent.

Park Royal is targeting to have the units at 707 and 723 Main Street available for rent in 2021.

Statement:  WV residents were polled and 72% oppose this project / 95% opposed.

Fact: The District of West Vancouver did not conduct a survey. Polls by a stakeholder group cannot be verified.

The original approved proposal will fulfill many goals of West Vancouver’s Official Community Plan, which was created with extensive community input, over 4,500 instances of engagement, with regular reporting back to Council and the community throughout the process.

The revised proposal is not entirely consistent with the Official Community Plan, which is why an OCP amendment is required and a Public Hearing is being held.

Statement:  Council is using COVID to push through projects without adequate consultation.

Fact: No. There is a new provincial order regarding public hearings, and we have developed a system for members of the public to continue to provide feedback in-person, as well as in writing and by telephone during the public hearing. With the addition of telephone participation to attending in-person or writing to Council, the public’s ability to participate has been enhanced.  Learn more about how to participate, and sign up in advance to an electronic speakers' list at www.westvancouver.ca/publichearings.

Statement:  The additional storeys being considered, five on each building, can be sold by the developer right away or anytime.

Fact: No. Eighty-nine of the proposed 95 rental units are secured in perpetuity and six are secured for 20 years. Of the total proposed 298 units, 138 are secured as permanent rental, 57 are secured for a 20-year period, and 11 are owned by the District as supportive (non-market) housing – meaning nearly 70% of the units are secured as rental housing.


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