British Columbia

There are 2 North Vancouvers, but politicians are considering merging them

The District of North Vancouver is going to continue looking at the idea of uniting with the City of North Vancouver after a unanimous council vote on Monday night.

District of North Vancouver councillors vote unanimously to look at combining municipalities

A Vancouver SeaBus makes its regular trip from Waterfront station to the North Shore. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

At the moment there are two North Vancouvers — but some councillors think the North Shore isn't big enough for both of them.

In a unanimous vote on Monday night, District of North Vancouver councillors voted to look at amalgamating with the City of North Vancouver and make the two municipalities one.

North Vancouver has been split into a district and a city for decades. The district is a far bigger area, surrounding the city on three sides; the bridges to Vancouver connect to the district to the east and west of the city.

The city has a denser, more urban population, while the district doesn't have much of a downtown core at all. Instead, it's characterized by suburbs with single family homes. Each municipality has its own government, fire department and other city services.

In their motion, district councillors said North Vancouver residents would be better served if the district and the city pooled their resources.

"Our borders are artificial," the motion read. "A unified North Vancouver will have a stronger, more cohesive voice at the regional table."

Councillors also said traffic and community planning would be better handled if the municipalities combined. Congestion on the North Shore has long been a massive problem — especially with a recent boom in construction — to the point where it became an issue for a provincial MLA.

The province warns drivers to expect heavy delays on the bridge between 8p.m. Saturday July 20 and 8 a.m. the following morning. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

With the vote, the district will move forward with an open letter and survey to residents of both municipalities to gauge response to the idea of amalgamation.

It's not the first time the district has proposed to the city. In 1968, the bigger municipality held a referendum on the issue for both district and city residents to vote on.

District residents were overwhelmingly in favour of unification, but city residents were split 50/50 so the proposal didn't go through.

Neither the district nor the city mayor is seeking re-election in the fall, each after serving four terms in office.

District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton announced he wouldn't be running again last month. City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto said he's leaving politics to take on "new challenges."

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