The District of West Vancouver is moving forward with plans to limit nail salons, real estate offices and financial services, like money exchanges, along Marine Drive.
At the Dec. 13 council meeting, councillors unanimously passed the directive to have staff prepare amendments to the bylaw that covers the types of business council feels the municipality has simply too many of.
Moved by Coun. Marcus Wong, the proposed amendment would “add financial services and nail salons to the list of uses which, combined, must not occupy more than 20 per cent of the width of the ground (sidewalk level) floor of each block face” in Ambleside and Dundarave.
Council passed the motion without any discussion but, according to staff and Mayor Mary-Ann Booth, the proposal stems from the district’s strategic plan, which takes “measures to support vibrancy, diversity, locality, and charm in commercial centres.”
Speaking to the North Shore News, Booth described vibrancy as “people, people, people.”
“[It’s] people having fun, and I think in our business district, it's about [having] engaging storefronts, beautiful spaces, activity, people gathering, and community,” she said.
Booth pointed to the Grosvenor development as an example of what the district has been able to achieve legislating for vibrant community spaces.
“It's about creating spaces where people want to go, and empty storefronts, gas stations, real estate offices, banks, nail salons, people go do their business and leave,” she said.
“I think about vibrancy and I think about arts, and culture, and entertainment. I think about a complete community that has spectrum of people, young, old, a cultural mix … a place for everyone to feel like they belong. And that's what I'm trying to build in the community as mayor and with council.”
When asked whether the proposed amendment would target sectors of the West Vancouver community inadvertently, such as new immigrants and new business owners, Booth said it was all about balance and the district is not banning those services all together.
“We're actually not banning [the businesses]. We don't need 13 currency exchanges. There was a time when I counted them, and there were 15 hair salons,” she said. “It's a question of balance. We have seven gas stations in West Vancouver. Downtown [Vancouver] has one.”
Booth explained that the amendment would only affect businesses from operating on the ground floor, fronting the street.
“The zoning change is going to be limiting it to 20 per cent of the width of the ground floor. They don't all have to be on the street level, they can be on the second level with an elevator,” she said.
Charlie Carey is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.
Charlie Carey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News