Safeway site proposal design rejected
The proponent of the redevelopment of Marine Drive’s Safeway site has been sent back to the drawing board.
Monday night, West Vancouver council voted to encourage H.Y. Louie Group to carry out further community engagement and revise its development proposal.
Last spring, the international company unveiled two options for the 1.4-acre lot at 1650 Marine Drive. Both designs included a 41,000-square-foot food store below street level, 16,800 square feet of above-ground retail and office space and between 144 and 154 residential units.
The difference between the designs came down to the residential tower. Option A proposes a 15-storey building and option B drafted in a 10-storey structure.
While the district heard strong support for the revitalization of Ambleside, residents were not supportive of the design scheme, said Geri Boyle, West Van’s manager of community planning. From the 200 questionnaires answered by residents regarding the project and a petition with 224 signatures, people voiced concerns that the proposal did not fit the character of Ambleside’s village feel, she said.
Building height topped most residents’ worries. People wrote the tower would negatively affect views and consequently devalue uphill apartment units. The proposed public spaces were viewed as falling short of expectations. An unacceptable increase in traffic and too much density were also pointed out.
“[Staff’s] recommendation is that the plans presented not be considered further,” Boyle told council.
Recently the district has seen examples of proponents engaging with the community to draft development projects, Coun. Michael Evison said. International development company Grosvenor hosted a number of design workshops at which artists drew citizens’ visions for the redevelopment of the 1300-block of Marine Drive.
“I believe in taking a leaf from one or two other proposals,” he said.
Communication between West Van residents and H.Y. Louie Group is “paramount” to the proposal’s success, Coun. Bill Soprovich noted.