Holding the line in Central Lonsdale

Shops, Fourteenth Street, North Vancouver

Bakery front, Lonsdale Avenue, North VancouverCentral Lonsdale sits east and west of Lonsdale Avenue, the “spine” of the City of North Vancouver. North and south, it extends from Upper Levels Highway down to 8th Street.  The area offers advantages as an urban village: good public transit,  independent shops and services, recreation and culture, and proximity to downtown Vancouver (with  Shopfront, Lonsdale Avenue, North VancouverBurrard Inlet serving as a buffer.)

But the neighbourhood and the city  government face development pressures, and  controversy came to a boil in December 2012. Onni, a major developer in the region, said it would withdraw an application to construct two condo towers (24 and 17 storeys, with 350 units), a six-storey office block and ground-floor retail space, citing “public abuse” and a “smear campaign” on the part of two members of Council. Continue reading

Knocking down the Lions Gate Bridge

The bridge from the north shore of the Burrard InletBy the mid-1990s, the Lions Gate Bridge was rusting badly. Just three lanes wide, one  of only two routes into the City of Vancouver from the north, it was often congested.  British Columbia’s Premier of the day, Glen Clark, looked at the options and approved the destruction of the 1930s-era iron bridge and its replacement with a new, bigger  crossing.

Lions Gate Bridge detail, seen from the east side of the deckI’ve worked on road and bridge projects that turned out well, but this was not one of them.  We had done an opinion survey, and as I remember the results were quite cheerful. Three quarters of respondents across Metro Vancouver were prepared to support a four-lane bridge with tolls, including half the respondents in the City.  However, as soon as the project team was settled into offices on West Georgia Street, that support melted away. Continue reading

In search of the village at Edgemont Village

Edgemont Drive, North VancouverFew neighbourhood shopping centres in southwest B.C. are as cute and prosperous-looking as Edgemont Village.  Set deep in an affluent residential zone of the District of North Vancouver, Edgemont offers 90 or so shops and services — a kids’ bookstore, gift shops, a high-end produce market, and a dozen banks and financial offices to help residents manage their money.

My co-tourist, Fred Armstrong, used to live down the hill and he brought me here for the Fred Armstrong at The Bakehouse, North Vancouverfirst time in my life.  We ate a fresh, home-made lunch at The Bakehouse, looking out on the front lawns of some detached houses, and enjoyed it.  As a tourist from faraway Maple Ridge, I decided that I can recommend Edgemont as a place to visit and stroll through.  Fred pointed out that even the Edgemont Drive gas station, with its two-bay car repair shop, manages to fit into the charming streetscape. Continue reading