Ambleside could shed no-fun zone status
Ambleside could shed its “no-fun zone” status in the next few years.
An ad-hoc group of 30- and 40-somethings gathered at a council meeting on Monday to voice support for revitalizing Ambleside.
Among their wish list for improvements: a designated bike path to the waterfront, late-night restaurants, outdoor festivals and good selection of healthy food carts.
A dozen people spoke out in support, including Sophia Burke, a West Vancouver resident with young children who previously lived on Commercial Drive and in the U.K.
“Moving to West Van, you just don’t get the sense that there’s young people and that there’s an active vital core to the community,” she told council.
“Park Royal is the best that we have….Personally I don’t want to hang out at a shopping mall to get that sense of community.”
A few people at the meeting, however, were concerned certain projects, such as blocking streets to cars, would decrease the amount of parking, making it difficult for seniors to get to the waterfront.
But council mostly heard support for revitalization, which mostly fell in line with the outcome of public consultations. They voted to consider 17 projects including:
A new waterfront restaurant. After buying two waterfront lots in the 1400-block of Argyle Avenue, the District of West Vancouver was left wondering what to do with the space. Should another playground be built? The area left as grass? The potential perfect solution could be a full-service restaurant with a large patio.
Those opposed to the project, however, say the waterfront should be kept commercial-free and think the restaurant may be too expensive for most people. If all goes according to plan, an operator will be selected in July and August.
Healthy food carts. Besides Ambleside’s permanent concession stand and restaurants nearby, there is still a demand for fast food, say West Vancouver staff. The right type of food is key, including diverse and healthy options. Food carts are on council’s agenda next month.
Sidewalk dining. Ambleside has world-class views, so why not take advantage? Working with community groups such as the Ambleside Business Association, staff will encourage restaurants to start sidewalk dining to promote a greater sense of community.
“Fun” shops. Limiting the number of new banks, real estate offices and beauty salons will improve the sense of community in Ambleside, West Van staff suggest. Many people who took part in public consultations want more non-chain restaurants, small boutiques and high-end shops.
A new venue for art. Plans for a visual arts centre in a parking lot at John Lawson Park are tempered by concerns of capital and operating costs. The site is still be explored, however, and council is expected to make its final decision about the project in June.
14th Street farmers’ market. The foot of 14th Street in Ambleside could become the permanent home to a farmers’ market, which had a successful run last year, say West Van staff. Fresh fruit and vegetables could be available every Sunday throughout the summer.
Argyle Avenue closure. Should Argyle Avenue be closed to cars? Based on positive feedback from the annual summer Harmony Arts Festival, when the road is closed for 10 days, council members are considering banning cars on weekends. They will discuss this option at a meeting with the public on May 27.
For these revitalization projects to go through, council will have to vote on March 18 for both Official Community Plan and zoning by-law amendments to allow the new developments.