News / Vancouver

Horseshoe Bay condo development touts ‘locals first’ policy

The project received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community

An artist's rendering of a future development in Horseshoe Bay that will sell to locals first.

Courtesy Westbank

An artist's rendering of a future development in Horseshoe Bay that will sell to locals first.

People who live or work in West Vancouver will get first dibs on the 159 units in the Sewell Marina development, thanks to a ‘locals first’ policy.

City council negotiated with the developer, Westbank, to ensure it will only sell units to people who either live or work in West Vancouver for the first 30 days, and only to people who live or work in the Lower Mainland for the 30 days after that, according to West Vancouver Coun. Nora Gambioli.

It was the right move for the close-knit community, she said.

“The feedback from the public was at least 80 per cent or more in favour of the development, which is really high compared to what we hear most of the time.”

Council, who unanimously voted in favour of the six-building project Monday, also negotiated a 5 per cent discount off the advertised price for West Vancouver residents.

All buyers will have to sign a statutory declaration that they or a family member will live in the unit and that they will not flip or re-assign the property, according to Westbank’s presentation slides to council.

Westbank could not be reached in time for comment.

The locals-first idea played a big part convincing the community to accept what will be the district’s biggest housing development in recent history, said Gambioli, a life-long West Vancouver resident.

“I think it did [help] – I think it made it easier to swallow for sure.”

But another clause in the agreement states that the future strata council of the apartment buildings cannot restrict rentals, said Gambioli.

“We have some rental stock in West Vancouver but not enough, not enough for young people, young families,” she said.

“This is a way for allowing for rental in Horseshoe Bay, essentially without us having to build it.”

She hopes other municipalities will follow West Vancouver’s lead and use the locals-first policy as a “template” for other developments.

“I’m hoping this becomes the new trend.”

But Horseshoe Bay is also a unique situation because the Sewell family, who has owned the marina for generations, has the community’s trust, said Gambioli.

“The community does trust this family to do the right thing and to develop it in harmony with the community.”