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Consultant hired for Edgemont Village makeover
What’s wrong with Edgemont Village?
It’s a question some North Vancouver residents are asking after learning the District of North Vancouver hired an urban planning firm to explore new streetscape and architectural design principles for the quaint business centre.
But before any worries abound over the loss of Edgemont Boulevard’s distinct red candy-cane lamp standards and laid-back café culture, residents can be assured they will have their say in the process every step of the way.
That’s according to DNV policy planner David Hawkins and community development manager Susan Haid, who spoke with The Outlook shortly after the District inked a $12,000-design consulting contract with Vancouver-based Urban Forum Associates.
The first phase of the 12-month project kicks off this month with a pair of community workshops geared to soliciting ideas from Edgemont residents and business owners about what changes they’d like to see afoot in the near term. Design amenities like better sidewalks, more retail space, a public square and redesigned alleyways are all fair game, according to Hawkins.
“We’re calling it Edgemont Refresh,” Haid added. “We want to make sure that any change going forward is shaped in a manner that’s really consistent with a refreshed vision from the community.”
Edgemont’s current community plan was hatched in 1999 and it has been responsible for retaining much of the village’s small-town charm since. That’s when the curled lampposts, wide boulevards and the colour red officially became de rigueur for the townsite.
“The intent is not to go in and change those things,” Haid said. “It’s really looking at — going forward, when there are redevelopment opportunities in the future — how do we ensure they’re all coordinated and consistent with the unique sense of place?”
The consultation plan comes not a moment too soon, as the Grosvenor development group announced its plans last month to buy and redevelop the Edgemont SuperValu site.
On March 11, Grosvenor will take ownership of the property and begin the process of up-zoning the site for a mixed-use building featuring a new grocery store in a retail podium topped with residential units.
“Edgemont Village is a special place with a special character that we respect and admire,” James Patillo, senior vice-president and general manager of Grosvenor, said.
Despite the future densification of the SuperValu site, Edgemont’s designation as a low-rise village centre won’t change, according to District staff.
“Two of the first shops that opened in Edgemont in 1947; one was a café and one was a pharmacy,” Hawkins said. “So half a century later we’ve got plenty of cafés but now there’s no pharmacy. So when we look to any redevelopment in Edgemont, if the community tells us that having a pharmacy is important, then that’s going to influence how we plan for retail space.
“So,” he continued, “design guidelines operate on a number of levels.”
Phase One of Edgemont Refresh kicks off with two community workshops at Highlands Church from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 and from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 19.
Then, in the second quarter of 2013, the District and Urban Forum Associates will come back to the community to verify their public input before drafting detailed designs and policies which will be adopted as part of the District’s Official Community Plan bylaw, likely by the end of the year.