Land sale a ‘windfall’ for West Vancouver church: neighbours
A church in the British Properties wants to sell its land to a developer
What could be built in place of a church in the British Properties has caused quite a stir.
If the church’s land is sold, duplexes and single-family homes could go in the large lot. That’s 19 homes, consisting of 11 detached dwellings and eight duplexes, to be exact.
The congregation at North Shore Unitarian Church isn’t satisfied with the aging space, said representatives from the church. There’s no bus service so many seniors can’t make service by themselves and the 43-year-old building isn’t wheelchair accessible.
So the congregation should move somewhere else on the North Shore that’s more accessible, said a delegation of church members at a West Van council meeting on Monday. If the land at 370 and 380 Mathers Ave. is rezoned, the buyer, Darwin Construction, wants to develop the area.
The proposal is to build The Residences on Mathers, a plan that both outraged and delighted people at the meeting. Single-family houses would go for around $1.5 million, while duplex units would cost around $1 million each.
“It is seen by the neighbourhood as a ‘windfall’ for the church,” said neighbourhood resident Dave Lust about the amount of money the church would make from selling the land. “Nineteen homes right through the centre of our neighbourhood just doesn’t feel like character to us. It feels like an invasion.”
People opposed to the development said the density is far too high for their neighbourhood, which isn’t close to amenities or on a bus route, and would cause unmanageable traffic.
“This is clearly not appropriate. We live in a very isolated area,” said Bob Thompson, who lives beside the church.
The proposed development, however, is in line with part of West Van’s official community plan (OCP) which calls for more diverse housing options, said a representative from Darwin Construction.
Since the church already holds a preschool, daycare and community gatherings, Coun. Craig Cameron said he wasn’t convinced traffic would get worse if the houses were built. “I do think that there’s a middle ground that can be reached of less than 19 [homes] and more than 12 or 10 as some of the residents have written is acceptable.”
For the development to go through, West Van’s OCP will have to be amended. A public meeting about the project will take place in April.