The following excerpts taken from the Official Community Plan (OCP) clearly demonstrate how Aquila directly aligns with the OCP that was carefully crafted by the residents of West Vancouver. According to West Vancouver’s district website, the OCP had “four phases of community engagement, including over 100 events and meetings, over 1,000 surveys and submissions, and a review process that included approximately 4,500 instances of engagement, the Official Community Plan was adopted by Council on June 25, 2018.
(Page 8 OCP)
In 2016, West Vancouver was home to approximately 42,500 people (2016 Census). While our community growth rate has fluctuated over time, it has remained relatively low in comparison to the region. This slower growth is related to our aging population, as the community has fewer births and our housing stock has limited options for seniors to downsize or for young families to move here. The following chart illustrates our historical and projected growth
In designing Aquila we strived to provide varied sizes, layouts and price points of homes. That is we have smaller lower priced homes to attract younger families as well as homes suitable for downsizers.
(Page 9 OCP)
A Handful of key factors define West Vancouver’s population today:
Within two generations, West Vancouver’s demographic profile has shifted from a population of younger families with children, to a more distributed demographic, to the community of today that is primarily older residents. While this trajectory is not new, the result is increasingly pronounced if we consider the life of this plan. By 2041, half of our population will be over 55 years old, and one in three residents will be over the age of 65.
Aquila’s varied home sizes and lower price point will attract the “missing generation” of younger adults who previously did not have the option of living in West Vancouver. In addition the Eagle Harbour neighbourhood is prime for young families with its proximity to schools, parks, beaches and forests all within walking distance.
(Page 10 OCP)
“Housing affordability is a principal challenge across Metro Vancouver. Within this context, West Vancouver has the highest average housing costs for both homeowners and tenants. The median household income in our community—the highest in the region—is only half that required to finance the average apartment and roughly one-sixth that required to finance the average single-family home….. Nearly two-thirds of our housing stock is single-family dwellings, with apartment options mostly limited to aging buildings constructed in the 1960s and 1970s. The result is that there are not enough options for seniors to downsize, adult children to stay close to their families, or young families to move into West Vancouver. Put simply, the housing choices presented to people today are increasingly expensive single-family homes or increasingly aging apartment buildings.” Page 10 OCP
Aquila proves varied options through ways of diverse floor plans and varied price points. Aquila’s price points between $1.1-$1.9m are far below the norm in West Vancouver and will allow those who have been struggling to find a home in West Vancouver to either stay in their community or be welcomed to West Vancouver.
(Page 11 OCP)
The limited supply of affordable and diverse housing directly impacts our transportation, environment, economy and social well-being. Nearly three-quarters of our workforce and approximately one-quarter of our school students commute into West Vancouver every day. This contributes to traffic congestion, road maintenance costs, pedestrian safety concerns, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially when considering the additional impacts of West Vancouver residents who work, close to 80% of whom drive to work in and through the community.
The dearth of local housing options accessible to our workforce creates a perennial challenge for local schools, services and businesses to hire and retain staff—and indeed the community has been losing jobs at a time when there has been robust economic growth at the regional level. The result is reduced services available to residents since employment options elsewhere in the region offer similar wages but shorter commutes.
The resulting trend has led to concerned community voices expressed throughout the Official Community Plan (OCP) Review process and a desire for actionable policies. Although housing affordability in the community and in the region are driven by a number of factors, including market economics and demand, this OCP can help reduce the pressure of constrained supply and enable the development of desired forms of housing to increase housing options in our community.
Over the life of this plan, a focus on housing diversity can deliver smaller homes—ranging from coach houses, duplex, triplex, townhomes and apartment units and including seniors, market and non-market rental—that are relatively more attainable than our housing stock today and that better match our evolving needs.
Aquila’s smaller homes and varied floor plans provide the necessary housing diversity that West Vancouver is lacking. Aquila is offering the homes first to essential workers of West Vancouver as we appreciate the service that those people provide and understand the importance of having those individuals integrated into our community.
(Page 14 OCP)
West Vancouver’s population is expected to increase by approximately ~10,000 people by 2041, which represents an annual growth of 0.74%. West Vancouver will require approximately ~5,000 additional dwelling units to accommodate this growth. While this increase is one of the lowest housing growth projections in the region (where over 500,000 new units are projected by 2041), it does represent a shift for West Vancouver, which has been resistant to change and growth in past years.
Aquila is being created on the notion that subtle and careful change is what is required in order to ensure that West Vancouver remains a community that welcomes new members and allows existing members to continue to reside in their community. Building large, single family homes similar to what has been done in the past is no longer viable. We believe that Aquila can achieve the desired results set out in the OCP with minimal neighbourhood impact due to the unique site conditions.
(Page 15 OCP)
This plan indicates how ~5,000 new housing units could be accommodated by 2041. These 5,000 new units are estimated to be comprised of ~500 infill units (e.g., coach houses), ~1,000 ground oriented multi-family units (e.g., townhouses), and ~3,500 apartment units, which would include ~500 seniors’ housing units. Around 20% of all units are expected to be rental units.
Aquila has a mixture of duplexes and townhomes along with 30% of the homes having suite potential.
(Page 17 OCP)
The OCP reflects the community’s long-term vision. It is a guide for working through existing and foreseeable changes and presents a framework for current and future actions required to maintain and enhance our quality of life.
Aquila is on the forefront of change. Through careful neighbourhood integration and timeless design Aquila can an example on what the future holds. Aquila is situated on a site that is bordered by Westport Road, CN Rail and dedicated park/wetland buffers and therefore is a unique site as it has a lesser impact on the neighbourhood than most other sites in West Vancouver.
(Page 22 OCP)
While our housing options continue to be limited, there has been a long-standing community interest in increasing the variety of available housing options. Seniors and young families alike are unable to find the right housing to meet their needs—such as accessible, single-level living options close to amenities and transit, and smaller, relatively more attainable options near schools. These and other key trends in our community demand actions to address our current and long-term needs.
Aquila’s mix of housing styles and floor plans aim to provide all demographics an option in West Vancouver. Furthermore, Aquila is situated close to schools, beaches, community amenities and along the Marine Drive Transit corridor.
(Page 23 OCP)
As a land use planning document, an OCP is legislatively required to guide housing development throughout a community. To address the needs of the present and future generations in our community, this OCP seeks to:
Together, these combined OCP actions seek to fill missing gaps for housing and housing choices in existing neighbourhoods and centres, and to provide for more and ongoing seniors and rental housing options. (Page 23 OCP)
Aquila is located along the Marine Drive Transit corridor, is close to shops, schools and amenities and has a variety of housing options catered towards the “missing middle” housing options in West Vancouver.
(Page 27 OCP)
Aquila has utilized the duplex as well as traditional rowhouse design. We have chosen to avoid the use of “stacked townhomes” as we felt it would not fit seamlessly within the Eagle Harbour community. We have however prepared a plan with “stacked townhomes” where Aquila could achieve 84 homes conservatively.
Eagle Harbour is a community where walkability and family is key. Aquila is designed in such a way to attract families as well as provide a connector trail to Westport Road to allow greater movement and access to all the community has to offer. Aquila has been designed with the surrounding architecture in mind. Aquila has utilized the classic West Coast Modern architecture style that is prevalent in Eagle Harbour as a foundation for design.