New village centre planned for Capilano and Marine in North Van
Today the neighbourhood around Capilano Road and Marine Drive is lacking parks, meeting spots and a defined town square. But a major overhaul of the area will change that with the construction of new shops and a community centre.
The heavily trafficked area is being dubbed the Lower Capilano Marine Village Centre, and could soon have a more “neighbourly” feel like the Lower Lonsdale and the Lynn Valley town centres if development goes according to plan.
The heart of the village, containing a community centre and coffee shops, would be built around Fullerton Avenue and Capilano Road, a few blocks north of Marine Drive.
Because of the design, going for a stroll or meeting up with friends isn’t encouraged in the area right now, said District of North Vancouver planner John Lancaster, but that will change where more small shops open and pedestrian-friendly walkways are built.
“We want to make this place have a more fun, active environment so people will want to walk places instead of driving,” said Lancaster at a packed meeting about the future development July 19.
Barring any changes, the community centre will be built on a four-acre, empty plot near Capilano Road and Fullerton Avenue.
Property owners Larco Investments would build the centre for the District of North Vancouver, in exchange for a rezoning of the property. The owners would then be able to build apartments and condos, supporting the district’s aim to incorporate different housing types into the community.
The district is expecting a detailed rezoning application from Larco. Barring any delays, construction could begin by 2014.
“The fastest possible scenario would see construction start 2014, with an opening in 2016. But it could take until 2016, depending on how the rezoning process goes,” Lancaster said.
Larco is working to support the district’s Official Community Plan by planning for mixed-use construction, said Art Philips, the company’s director of development.
“Development would be condominiums and town homes, as well as limited retail space, along with the community centre,” he said.
Lower Capilano Marine Village Centre is one of four town centres in North Van. Lower Lynn Town Centre, around Mountain Highway from Main Street to Keith Road, and the Maplewood Village Centre, around Dollarton Highway between Riverside and Seymour River Place, are also in the works. Lynn Valley Town Centre has already been built, and is considered a template for other areas to follow. Once construction is complete, the goal is to link the centres together with efficient transit service.
Lancaster predicts most of the motels on Capilano Road will disappear within 10 years, making room for more neighbourhood-oriented buildings.
“[The motels] are not really viable anymore. All five are renting at about 56-per-cent occupancy, that’s below the break-even point. Unless this year picks up, we won’t see them around much longer.”
He says many tourists prefer to stay downtown instead, where the rates are around the same.
But a couple hotel owners want to stay open, he added, and the district is willing to work with them to create more viable businesses.
The Lower Capilano Marine Village Centre includes residents of the Woodcroft apartment towers, who don’t often shop in the neighbourhod, Lancaster said.
To fix this, the new village centre is planned so they could easily walk to buy groceries and meet friends.