It’s no secret that Lower Lonsdale is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver. The walkability, independent shops, natural beauty and proximity to downtown are all huge selling points for current and future residents looking to call this amazing place home. The future is undoubtedly bright for LoLo with numerous public projects and real estate developments on the launch pad. Business owners are also setting Lower Lonsdale in their sights as a place to open new locations to take advantage of the growing population and shifting demographic.
Obviously, we couldn’t be more stoked for the the years to come. Who wouldn’t be? When the main construction projects such as The Central Waterfront Development, Wallace & McDowell, and The Presentation House Gallery are in the review mirror, the neighbourhood will have some of the most modern and beautiful venues in all of Metro Vancouver; with more offerings and activities than ever before.
But what about RIGHT NOW? Ongoing construction means, well: construction. Those tell-tale blue fences mean progress, but they’re also a huge pain the ass for local business owners and residents. Noise issues aside, there’s been a handful of grassroots shops uprooted as a result of development. Moodyville Cafe, Second Wave and Big Petes are just a few of the local indie stores that have had to either move or close.
The impact of development and density has never been more obvious than now. Take traffic for instance. Traffic in North Vancouver is disgusting. I’ve lived in North Van for 20 years and I’ve never seen it this bad. My daily commute is super mellow–from 4th and Lonsdale to Harbourside Drive, down near the North Shore Auto Mall–but some days it takes me 20 minutes to drive the 2km journey, and riding my bike is often quicker.
Experts anticipate that Metro Vancouver will be home to another MILLION people by the year 2040. That seems like a long way off, but let’s do the math: that’s 25 years from now, which means an average of 200,000 humans every five years. Even if we make an ultra-conservative estimate that a measly 5% of these new residents will be setting up in North Vancouver, that’s still 10,000 people every five years taking up more space; more people on the roads; more stress on public infrastructure. The population of the City of North Vancouver was 48,196 in 2011.
One of the biggest and scariest developments threatening the sanctity of The Shore and flow of local traffic is Seylynn: three 24, 28 and 32 story towers with nearly 800 condominiums at the North end of the Second Narrows Bridge. The towers are scheduled to finish in late 2017 and the District of North Vancouver is championing Seylynn/Lower Lynn as their new urbane City Centre. There’s a $50 million traffic fix planned for the bridgehead to improve local traffic flow, but that’s not going to finish until 2018.
At the end of the day, development is a positive thing. It creates construction jobs, succeeds in boosting local economic activity and when done right, can leave wonderful legacies. It means that your city, town or neighbourhood is a desirable place and helps bolster real estate prices. Yes, it’s exciting, new, modern, fresh, cutting-edge, diverse and all the other marketing rhetoric you’ll find in the pages of the latest and greatest condo proposal.
But, if we’re being honest, the growing pains in the short term kind of suck.
A North Van local with a fetish for cheap wine and words. As editor, his job is to make sure that everything posted is useful, entertaining or awesome.
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