North Vancouver district begins town centre redesign
North Vancouver district is entering “a new era” of development, says community planner Ross Taylor.
He’s talking specifically about the district’s active call-out to landscape architects and neighbourhood planners to remake the Lower Lynn area into the Lower Lynn Town Centre, set out in last year’s Official Community Plan.
The neighbourhood will become the southern hub of a new dual-axis district; the counterpart to the already underway Lynn Valley Town Centre to the north.
Mountain Highway is to be the town centre’s “high street,” anchored by a new town plaza or square near Fire Hall No. 2.
The district hopes the changes will rejuvenate the light-industrial neighbourhood and create a community hub of residential density, transit access and walkability near the northern approach to the Second Narrows Bridge.
The district issued a request for proposals last week for a “pre-design” plan that sets an architectural theme for the new town centre, while also providing space for approximately 3,000 new residential units, 120,000 square feet of “new locally oriented retail space” and up to 50,000 square feet of new office space over the next 20 years, according to the RFP document.
“We want to get a bit of design continuity and a ‘look’ to take through the whole area,” Taylor told The Outlook in a phone interview.
He gave as an example the “early logging days” theme of the Lynn Valley Town Centre and how it informs the centre’s building materials and motifs.
Whatever theme is ultimately decided upon for the area — bounded by Highway 1 to the north, Orwell Street to the east, Railway Street to the south and Lynnmouth Avenue to the west — it has to adhere to seven rules laid out in the RFP.
The plans must all respond to the climate and geography of the North Shore; reflect the history, culture and natural heritage of the Lower Lynn area; create an enhanced pedestrian and public realm; respect the value of and integrate the industrial lands; create a unique identity and character for the Lower Lynn Town Centre; encourage design quality and innovation; and incorporate best practices in sustainable design.
“Connecting Lower Lynn to nature,” will be an overall guiding theme, Taylor said, adding he favours the rustic design motif of the new Mountain Equipment Co-op building in the area.
“We quite like that design they did there and how they’re trying to fit it in with the outdoor recreation theme and Lynn Creek itself,” he said. “We just need a little help, I think, translating that onto paper.”
The Lower Lynn streetscape design RFP closes mid-January and staff will bring successful design plans to the public via district council some time in the early spring, Taylor predicted.
“We want to really work this through quite thoroughly before we take that last plunge.”