The biggest item on West Vancouver’s agenda didn’t make it through council doors Monday.
The application for a six-building Horseshoe Bay megaproject was shelved just hours before a scheduled public hearing and council debate.
Council had voted unanimously to send the project to public hearing and were poised to vote on the development that evening. However, recent meetings between district staff and developer Westbank Projects Corp. as well as Sewell’s Marina revealed the price of the project’s 159 apartments and townhouses may be too rich for locals, according to district planning director Jim Bailey.
“Over the last few days, it’s come to our attention that there are significant concerns being expressed regarding affordability,” he said, adding the “ability for local residents to purchase units” was also a concern.
A revised application for the swath of land between Howe Sound and a Horseshoe Bay cliff is set to come before council Sept. 19.
“The applicant is really taking these concerns very seriously and has agreed to work with the district to ensure that these concerns are addressed,” Bailey said.
The project’s 159 units ranged from 570 to 3,000 square feet, and were intended to add to West Vancouver’s housing diversity.
As West Vancouver council attempts to foster greater housing affordability, it’s important the Horseshoe Bay project is “totally in-step with the desires and the needs of the community,” according to Jill Killeen, spokeswoman for the development.
Initially, the project was proposed to provide housing options for Horseshoe Bay residents, according to Killeen.
Asked if there was a concern the units would be too expensive, Killeen replied: “We know that the bigger conversation around housing is out there at every turn.”
The two-month delay should allow for greater community consultation, according to Killeen.
The withdrawn application includes six high-rise, mid-rise and low-rise buildings, housing 13,700 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
The collection of towers would rise in the northwest corner of Horseshoe Bay village, with buildings as tall as 12 storeys terracing to three-storey structures.
The 113,000 square foot site – currently home to an office building and a parking lot – is bounded by Wolseley Street to the west.
The project was meant to rejuvenate flagging Horseshoe Bay businesses, according to Dan Sewell, who spoke to council at a previous meeting on behalf of the 85-year-old, family-operated marina.
“The commercial core is really hurting,” he said.
If approved, the marina would be shifted to a separate waterfront parcel. All tenants would be retained.
Council would need to amend their official community plan before construction could begin.
A staff report credited the project bringing vibrancy to Horseshoe Bay while lessening the community’s dependency on B.C. Ferries.
This is the second time a proposal for Sewell’s Marina has been withdrawn.
After sketching out a proposal in 2009, Sewell’s Marina withdrew their application after negotiations between B.C. and West Vancouver came to an impasse over the foreshore head lease. That matter was resolved in 2014.