District of North Vancouver delays decision on new 'Innovation District' until after election

Councillors decided to defer any decision-making on the Maplewood Innovation District until after the fall municipal election.

Sprawling development could bring in 1,000 housing units and 4,500 jobs

As depicted in this mockup, the North Shore Innovation District is meant to create 4,500 new jobs and 1,000 living spaces. (Darwin Properties)

A major development containing a mix of industrial, commercial and residential properties proposed for the District of North Vancouver has been shelved until after the municipal election. 

Darwin Properties and the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation wanted to transform an 18-hectare site near the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge into a mix of 18 buildings, which would house 1,000 residential units and 4,500 jobs.

But faced with the prospects of public hearings and contentious votes right before an election, council voted 5-2 on Monday to defer first reading on the rezoning necessary for the project.

"It is a large project that requires greater understanding," said Mayor Richard Walton, who is not seeking re-election on Oct. 20.

"An election should not be fought over one development issue in one part of the district and my fear is that it will."

Roger Bassam, a city councillor running to replace Walton, supports the project.  

"This will be the election issue. Do we continue with the [Official Community Plan], or do we stop what's coming out of this right now?" he said. 

"I would encourage everyone, those people right now who are concerned about development, start doing your homework."

Those against the project had frequently cited the strain it would put on the region's already congested roads, along with the clearing of forest at the site. 

In a statement, Darwin Properties president Oliver Webbe said they would be "taking time to regroup on what the next steps will be."   

With files from Meera Bains

As shown in this developer mockup, the North Shore Innovation District would be built alongside Dollarton Highway. (Darwin Properties)