July 22, 2019

Lonsdale: The Shipyards – 2

The Shipyards has been launched.   It’s just east of Lonsdale at the North Vancouver waterfront – a mixed-use commercial development at the centre of the City of North Vancouver’s Central Waterfront  

The commercial offerings (the restaurants, the boutiques, the Cap U extension) are still to come.  Nearly complete, however, is a great new public space that will serve not just Lower Lonsdale (LoLo) but the whole North Shore.

The Shipyards replaces the bloodlessly named Lot 5 in the plan below.  The green-coloured Commons’ fulfils almost exactly the vision that informed the project from the beginning.  The Commons is a covered year-round public space big enough, at 12,000 square feet, to accommodate major events while still providing a flexible intimacy needed to give sparkle to what mayor Linda Buchanan calls ‘the jewel in the crown.’

The design is by Dialog, among whose principals, Norm Hotson and Joost Bakker, were the architects of Granville Island.  This space is not just what’s on the floor and at first level.  There is also the spectacle of the walls and ceiling: a cathedral-like industrial legacy above, a retractable roof extension over the water park alongside, with galleries surrounding the space to the east and south.  There’s constant animation around, over and above, with people looking down, up and across.  Irresistibly moving around to capture views and Instagrammable moments both front and back.  It’s dynamism in three dimensions.

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At our live Price Talks recording on June 26th, Gord introduced the idea of a “grand bargain” having been struck on the North Shore (episode available here).

Price Tags contributor and North Vancouver writer Barry Rueger explains the theory, and gives it some shape and colour:

During the Q&A that followed the Price Tags taping at the North Vancouver District Public Library moderator Gordon Price asked Holly Back, a member of the City of North Vancouver council, how she felt about the “bargain” that had been struck between the City and the District.

The bargain is straightforward: the City will build lots of new housing, more than a thousand new rental units, and low income and supportive housing, while the District will do nothing, in order to preserve a suburban community of single family detached homes.

As the City grows, the District will remain unwelcoming—to both outsiders and population growth.

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She’s the new Mayor of the City of North Vancouver, a former councillor and school trustee with a life of public service in her community. He’s a first-time Council member, who’s devoted countless hours in recent years to advocacy for better cycling policies and more public spaces.

And while they didn’t run on a ticket — few candidates for public office in Metro Vancouver do — Linda Buchanan and Tony Valente are singing from the same song sheet.

Among other ambitions, they want to invite more density to the 6th-densest municipality in Canada. They support car sharing and the new e-bike share program coming to the North Shore, in a city where 30% of residents already don’t own a car. And, seemingly in contrast to many of their political counterparts in the districts of North Vancouver and West Vancouver, they embrace the recommendations of INSTPP, the North Shore Transportation Planning Project led by TransLink and multiple levels of government.

Buchanan and Valente brought the Price Talks team to CNV library recently, a 10-year-old facility just a few steps from City Hall, boasting a new recording studio. They spoke with Gord at length about their adjustments to their new roles, their early priorities, and the opportunities to bring new housing, transportation and employment options to residents in their beautiful, diverse and growing city.

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This week, the City of North Vancouver posted an opening for a new management position — Manager, Central Waterfront Public Realm.

The successful applicant would be responsible for the planning, programming and operations of the city’s Central Waterfront Area, which has quickly become one of the go-to family-friendly public spaces in the Lower Mainland.

A specialized degree and 10 years of related experience are being sought, as well as passion for placemaking and shared values. And a whole bunch of other stuff – check out the posting here.

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This week, we’ve been posting excerpts from our first Mayoral Exit Interview, featuring City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto.

Part I covered his perception of the public’s judgement of his time in the Mayor’s seat (13 years, spanning the 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 elections), and his achievements.

In Part II, Mussatto discussed do-overs, changes in the city during his tenure, and the challenges he believes the next Mayor will face.

Now, we conclude with Part III — on advice for this year’s candidates, what citizens need to know about civic governance, and his plans for the future.

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Yesterday, we published Part I of our chat with Darrell Mussatto, Mayor of the City of North Vancouver, which included his take on accomplishments during his four terms in the role.

Which, by the way, is only half of his time in City Hall; Mussatto’s political career began as councillor with the 1993 election, the same year:

  • Ground broke at Vancouver’s Library Square
  • Surrey became a city
  • MP Hedy Fry defeated then-incumbent Prime Minister Kim Campbell in her own riding
  • The Clinton-Yeltsin summit at UBC
  • Launch of Mosaic, the first World Wide Web browser

We begin Part II of the Mayoral Exit Interview with this magic question:

What would you do over again?

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At last count, 11 Metro Vancouver mayors will not be returning to council chambers in the fall; with some mayors having served multiple terms, the changeover accompanying the October 20 province-wide municipal elections represents a unique, and perhaps unprecedented, loss of institutional memory at city hall after city hall.

As such, Price Tags will publish exit interviews from mayors wishing to share their lessons learned from their public service.

Our debut Mayoral Exit Interview features Darrell Mussatto of the City of North Vancouver; this is the first of a three-part post from our chat.

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Lonsdale and 13th is becoming the anchor intersection of Upper Lonsdale in the City of North Vancouver – at least on the east side.  The urban-design techniques of mixed-use high density are now apparent.  Where once there was a Safeway parking lot, there is now this on the northeast corner:

On the southeast side, one of the more attractive street treatments in Metro:

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Long-time residents of the North Shore refer to crossing Burrard Inlet to go to big ol’ Vancouver as heading ‘over town.’  So I’m told.

I guess I’ll find out next week when I’ll be at the new Pinnacle Hotel in the City of North Vancouver on Thursday evening to speak about  City Shaping as part of their OCP review.  If you’re around about there, why not join me?

About CityShaping

We are currently in the second stage of a four stage process to update our 2002 Official Community Plan by late 2012/early 2013. CityShaping Stage 1 – Issues and Awareness ran from June through October of this year (for details click on ‘what we heard’ on righthand sidebar of CityShaping website).

A Stage 1 Survey on Issues and Priorities revealed housing affordability and transportation as the top two key issues in the community with highest priority and public safety, financial sustainability and economic development rounding out the top 5.

One question: What does one call going over to North Vancouver if one comes from big ol’ Vancouver?

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