Drawing on Ambleside’s gateway
By the end of the weekend, there were 50 boards’ worth of ideas on the redevelopment of the 1300-block of Marine Drive.
On Saturday and Sunday, approximately 200 West Vancouver residents kept artists busy at a design workshop focusing on the future vision for Ambleside’s gateway. The event was hosted by Grosvenor, an international development company that owns the majority of private lands on the block.
“There were tons of ideas,” said Michael Mortensen, Grosvenor’s senior development manager. “It was just incredible to see all that output.”
The co-design forum, led by Vancouver-based architect Stanley King, saw a few recurring themes. The notion of a covered pedestrian arcade, of a similar size to the West Vancouver Community Centre’s atrium, was popular. The outdoor space would be open at both ends, with shops and other uses spilling into it, Mortensen said.
“A lot of people wanted to do something more creative with Bellevue Avenue,” he added, noting suggestions included a pedestrian walkway and other ideas which allowed flexible use of the avenue.
Participants made the designers aware that arts and culture are important components of the community, Mortensen said, adding Grosvenor is committed to using both elements in the development. The company has already created a temporary art and landscape installation on the vacant lot at 1392 Marine Drive. Artist Konstantin Dimopoulis’ “Blue Trees,” which recognizes 2011 as the United Nations Year of the Forest, will later be incorporated into the bigger project.
“More improvements are coming,” Mortensen told The Outlook. “So keep your eyes on the site over the next two weeks.”
Beside last weekend’s open public forum and an event with the Ambleside Business Association, Grosvenor also visited students at West Vancouver secondary school to get their take on what the block should look like. Like the adults, the youth wanted spaces in which they could be a part of the community, Mortensen said. They also requested a 24-hour coffee shop.
Next week Grosvenor is holding another set of forums on site planning and design options. The first is on Thursday, April 14, at the community centre from 6 to 9 p.m. The same workshop will be held the following day, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Sunday, April 17, Grosvenor is holding an open house at the community centre from 1 to 4 p.m.
To view drawings from the two Ideas Fairs visit www.amblesidewaterfront.com.