Earlier today a resident sent me an email asking, “Doug, what is the answer on density, is less better, is more better?”
The question is not as simple as less is better …. more is better? What needs does the community have? What are effective strategies for countering these needs/deficiencies? What is realistic in terms of financial viability, or of the growing number of seniors, combined with the lack of people of working and family-raising age?
There is some density required in order to make a number of things actually work. If we can't build more or bigger roads (not an option), then we have to develop better rapid transit services (these are part of the plans). In order to make transit work we need to alter some of the road paths and width (this requires the cooperation of adjacent businesses).
Any plan has to be financially viable for a developer to begin and requires that they build to certain density in order to obtain the additional amenities that residents need and want. If we don 't want to raise taxes then developer offsets are the only means to extract these components for the community.
The existing motels are all aged, losing customers and operating below their level of profitability (break even point is 65-70% occupancy and currently they are operating at 60%). What will we do with these motel sites if they close and sit derelict? How will this affect our area?
One of the central issues with regard to the residential area is this simple fact: None of the four homes that have come up for sale on Belle Isle over the past four years have not been bought by people wanting to live here themselves. All the people with sufficient money to buy a home for themselves chose to buy elsewhere. Give this some thought and you will quickly see that the question is more complex than more density or less.
DNV Council, along with a large number of community residents have set themselves to the hard work and realities of creating a viable future for the District of North Vancouver. All environmental, economic and demographic projections require that DNV Council grapple meaningfully with major issues of infrastructure, sustainability and services for its population in the coming years. They, and we, have an obligation to do this. It is not merely a matter of choice.
Failing to do so would be like continuing to charge purchases on your credit cards with absolutely no idea on how to pay them off. There will come a day of reckoning.
How long into the future would some prefer that DNV Council and planners keep the world and its complexities at bay?