North Deltans got a chance to learn more about an apartment building development proposed for Nicholson Road during a public information meeting Thursday evening (Nov. 29).
The meeting, held at Pinewood Elementary, showcased architectural drawings and plans for the two six-storey apartment buildings proposed to be built at 6950 Nicholson Road.
The 181-unit medium-density proposal, which will be branded “Scott and Nicholson” after the nearby streets, includes a number of housing options.
Building A of the development would comprise 76 units and six townhomes, while building B would include 99 units. Between them, the buildings would have 58 one-bedroom apartment units, 37 one-bedroom units with a den, 42 two-bedroom units and 45 two-bedroom units with a den.
Forty-two of the units, ranging from one-bedroom to two-bedroom plus den, would be “adaptable,” meaning they are on the main floor and can be converted to accessible units for people with disabilities or mobility issues.
There would also be 248 parking stalls located in an underground lot — eight stalls less than Delta’s bylaw requirement. However, it would also have 198 bike stalls, something that Creative Transportation Solutions Ltd. manager Gary Vlieg said would help solve some of the potential traffic issues.
“This particular project on this location … has excellent access to the road network and it’s also got excellent access to the public transit network,” Vlieg said. He and his team researched what impact the development might have on traffic along 70th Avenue and Nicholson Road. “You’ve also got a good commercial core, so people don’t have to drive to get their groceries,” he continued. “All good things from a traffic perspective.”
However, that didn’t completely alleviate residents concerns about traffic. Delta planner Jimmy Ho said questions about traffic were one of the main concerns he heard about at the public information meeting. The development plan includes one entrance off Nicholson Road leading to a laneway inside the property.
| Site plan for the proposed condo development on Nicholson Road near 70th Avenue.
Keystone Architecture site plan
According to Vlieg, the area would see around 90 extra cars on the road during peak hours because of the development: 80 per cent of those would be leaving the parking lot in the morning rush, and 60 per cent of those would be returning in the evening rush.
“There’s still a fair bit of road capacity left,” he said, although, he added, in the future the city should consider expanding the intersection at Nicholson Road and 70th Avenue and add a southbound left-turn lane off Nicholson.
Traffic wasn’t the only concern people had about the proposal: privacy for nearby homes and an appropriate transition to the surrounding residential neighbourhood were also brought up during the meeting.
“Some of the residents here, because they’re already living there, they have some questions about how [the development] would look against their property,” Ho said. “I think there’s been a lot of discussion around this block over the years, and people are just curious to know what could come in or what’s being proposed.”
According to architect Steve Bartok, the idea was to have the development step back naturally into the surrounding community.
“We’re trying to achieve the density relative to the context of the neighbourhood,” he said. “There’s a lot of smaller scale buildings to the south across Nicholson. So what we’re trying to do with the architecture and the way the materials are used is really be sensitive to that, so it doesn’t start to step too high.”
This is something that had been on the mind of several residents at the public information meeting, especially because of past development proposals near the site — including a 2006 proposal for a 29-storey highrise on the site of the former North Delta Inn. (The site of the North Delta Inn is owned by a different person, and isn’t included in the current proposal.)
“We just saw it as a lack of privacy, it was huge congestion in the neighbourhood. And you know what, it just didn’t fit,” Michelle Weidema said. Weidema and her husband were opposed to the highrise proposal when it came forward in the past.
“It’s a neighbourhood of families, and then you have that sticking up,” she continued.
Scott and Nicholson, however, is closer to what Weidema was hoping for in the neighbourhood.
|A rendering of the proposed apartment building application at 6950 Nicholson Rd.
Keystone Architecture rendering
“I think it’s actually really good,” Weidema continued. “I think that part of Sunshine Hills needed to be redeveloped … and I think having more affordable-ish housing is a need in the neighbourhood.”
The proposal also fits into the short-term plan for the city’s Scott Road Revitalization Project, which would see increased density in certain nodes along the Delta/Surrey border.
“The higher-density nodes along Scott Road are meant to be, really, for highrises,” Marcy Sangret, Delta’s director of community planning and development, said. “The centre of the node is on 72nd and Scott Road, but because this is a site that we see would benefit from redevelopment … this generally falls within the area of the node.”
“We hope that we’ll get applications for the rest of the quadrant, and that would sort of complete the plan for this area,” she continued. “The hub of the node on 72nd has the big shopping centre, and we don’t see that redeveloping in the short term. So this area has more of a short-term redevelopment opportunity.”
Density increases have also started in other areas of North Delta, including along 72nd Avenue as well as on 84th Avenue at the location of the former Firehall Centre for the Arts, where work continues on the Delta Gardens development.
According to Scott Brown, president and CEO of Fifth Avenue Marketing, which worked on the market analysis for Delta Gardens as well as for Scott and Nicholson, the new development intends to pick up on some of the housing opportunities Delta Gardens missed.
“We had a bunch of people disappointed that we didn’t have more one-bedroom product at Delta Gardens that was priced between $300,000 and $400,000 so they could afford it,” he said. “Delta Gardens missed out on a bunch of first-time buyers, so we have a good portion of that product designed here.”
The majority of units would likely sell for between $300,000 and $500,000, Brown said, with a few going as high as $650,000. These prices are intended to bring in first-time buyers and some local investors looking to rent, but also older people looking to downsize, Brown said.
“We’re not trying to create some rich penthouse palace,” he said. “It’s for locals to be able to [buy] in the area, some to sell their home, others to be their first home.”
More than 50 people attended the first hour of the public information meeting, and many of them left written comments on the proposal. Those comments will be compiled with suggestions from Delta’s planning department and brought back to the developer for consideration.
A refined proposal will then be sent to council for first and second reading at a yet-to-be-determined date. If it passes in council, it will then go to a public hearing for additional public comment.