Brissenden Park: proposal for expanding public parkland on the waterfront
The District has developed a proposed funding strategy to acquire the last two houses on Argyle Avenue for public parkland.
The municipally-owned lands at 2519 and 2539 Rosebery Avenue (also referred to as Brissenden Park), have been identified as an option to sell or long-term lease to fund the purchase of these last two privately-held properties at 1444 and 1448 Argyle Avenue.
The property known as Brissenden Park has not been generally used as a public park. It is zoned for single-family residential use and is and would continue to be governed by the District’s Interim Tree Bylaw, in the same way, the bylaw applies to any other residential property in West Vancouver (other than Development Permit areas).
In order to consider whether to proceed with this funding proposal, the District conducted public consultation on the proposed funding strategy, as well as neighbourhood consultation on the potential future use of the municipally-owned lands at 2519 and 2539 Rosebery Avenue.
Ambleside Waterfront Concept Plan
On June 13, 2016, West Vancouver Council endorsed the Ambleside Waterfront Concept Plan and specifically directed staff to “acquire the remaining two houses on Argyle Avenue”. These are the last two of 32 houses on the Argyle waterfront to be acquired for public park use pursuant to the Argyle acquisition policy which started in the mid-1970s. The intent of the Argyle acquisition policy was re-affirmed by Council in 1988, 2008, 2013 and 2016.
Acquisition of the two privately-held properties at 1444 and 1448 Argyle Avenue would allow the District to increase green and public spaces on the waterfront, and expand the foreshore path.
Brissenden Park is comprised of two lots at 2519 and 2539 Rosebery Avenue, which are immediately south of the Upper Levels Highway. Brissenden Park has not been generally used as a public park. There is a single family house on the property.
The property and house were donated to the District by Mr. and Mrs. Brissenden in 1990, with the stipulation that the land is used for public park purposes.
These lands have been identified as a possible option to sell or long-term lease to fund the purchase of the two Argyle properties. Various funding options have been considered and the District believes this is the most efficient use of the community’s assets, and best serves the overall community interest.
The proposed funding strategy also creates an opportunity to recognize the contribution of the Brissendens by naming the area around the two Argyle properties after the Brissendens, and installing a commemorative plaque to explain the Brissendens’ initial and ultimate contribution to the community.
These properties are the last two of 32 houses on the Argyle waterfront to be acquired for public park use.
Public purchase will complete the Argyle acquisition policy started in the mid-1970s.
The approximate cost to acquire both houses is in the region of $10 million.
Two lots and a house at 2519 and 2539 Rosebery Avenue, immediately south of the Upper Levels Highway were generously donated to the District by Mr. and Mrs. Brissenden in 1990.
A legal trust was created stipulating that the property be used and maintained for public park purposes. If this proposed funding strategy were to proceed, the District would need to apply to Court to vary the terms of the legal trust.
While referred to as “Brissenden Park”, the property has not generally been used as a public park.
The land consists of approximately 2.4 acres with one house on the property.
The land is governed by the District’s Interim Tree Bylaw which would both protect trees from being cut, and also allow development within the Permitted Building Envelope, driveway area and accessory building area.
It is zoned RS3 – Residential Single Family and is in an area of single-family houses. Any other use would require a separate statutory public rezoning process and a separate public consultation process.
The house at Brissenden Park was built in 1948 and is classified as a secondary heritage building in the book, West Vancouver Survey of Significant Architecture.
- In summary, this report introduced the Brissenden Park initiative and recommended that the District conduct public consultation. Council passed the recommended motion to conduct public consultation.
In summary, this report sets out the results of the public consultation and recommends that Council commence a Court application to vary the terms of the trust regarding Brissenden Park as set out in the report.
The District carried out public consultation on the Brissenden Park initiative from around the beginning of February to mid-March 2017.
Two public information meetings were held on February 7 and 8, 2017 and staff also met with interested residents.
Information was provided at the public information meetings through information boards, and staff from an interdepartmental team. Hard copy surveys and online surveys were used to gather public input.
The results of the public consultation are set out in the Council report which will be considered at the upcoming June 19 Council Meeting.
January 2020 update
The hearing date for the District's Court application is January 23, 2020, at Vancouver Law Courts at 800 Smithe Street.
November 2018 update
The hearing date for the District’s Court application (initially scheduled for November 13, 2018) has been postponed in order to carry out park improvements at Brissenden Park and to respond to concerns raised by the Ministry of Attorney General.
At the June 19 Council Meeting, Council considered the Council report dated June 5, 2017, the results of the public consultation and all submissions including those made up to the June 19, Council Meeting.
Council then resolved to commence a Court application to vary the terms of the trust with respect to Brissenden Park in order to:
- retain the northern approximate 50% of the property as park
- allow disposition of the southern approximate 50% of the property
- use all proceeds of disposition to purchase the waterfront properties on Argyle Avenue
Council further resolved to:
- retain the name "Brissenden Park" at the existing location
- recognize the contribution of the Brissendens by naming the area of the Argyle properties "Brissenden Waterfront Park"
- install signage and plaques at both the existing Brissenden Park and at the future Brissenden Waterfront Park
In July 2017, the District filed the Court Application by way of petition to vary the terms of the trust with respect to Brissenden Park. On August 1, 2018, the District filed an Amended Petition to revise the District’s Court Application. The Amended Petition improves the District’s Court Application by proposing to, among other things:
- reduce the size of the land to be sold/long term leased from approximately 50% to 43% of the existing Brissenden Park
- retain a covenant area on the eastern edge of Brissenden Park to allow construction of a new trail
- create a tree protection zone to separate the northern part of Brissenden Park from the proposed single family residential lots to be created to the south
- increase the size of Brissenden Park by closing a portion of the existing 25th Street road allowance and adding that to the park area
- create a new walking trail starting from the corner of 25th Street and Rosebery Avenue, proceeding north approximately halfway up the property, then proceeding generally diagonally to the northwestern corner of Brissenden Park, to connect to 26th Street and then the pedestrian overpass across the Upper Levels Highway
- double the size of the proposed new Brissenden Waterfront Park to 17,200 square feet on the Argyle Avenue waterfront
Work will be commencing in September 2018 at Brissenden Park to dismantle the house to make way for the new trails mentioned above.