Three districts, composed of six “walkable and complete” neighbourhoods.
That’s the concept envisioned by the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road that was presented to council Monday night (Oct. 26).
Mayor George Harvie established the task force in early 2020 to address housing and development challenges and create greater certainty about future development along the Scott Road corridor, according to the report’s introduction.
Harvie announced his intention to create the task force in December 2019 following the defeat of a hotly-contested 35-storey highrise development proposed for the corner of 75A Avenue and Scott Road.
The task force was made up of 14 North Delta residents, Mayor Harvie and councillors Bruce McDonald, Dan Copeland and Jeannie Kanakos, senior City of Delta staff and consultants from MODUS and Calum Srigley Design.
It’s mandate focused on establishing a vision for future land uses in the Scott Road corridor, including major nodes near future RapidBus stops and transition areas, and recommending actions to promote and incentivize the development of diverse and affordable housing options, provide greater land use certainty, ensure the delivery of neighbourhood amenities required to support new housing, and seek broader public and community feedback on the vision and future for housing along the corridor.
The task force had a total of 11 meetings — both in person and online — over a period of eight months to discuss the mandate topics and develop recommendations for council’s consideration.
In its 43-page report, the task force laid out its vision for three major districts, comprised of six walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods, including proposed building heights and types for each. It also put forward 15 policy recommendations aimed at implementing the new concept.
The report notes that one of the task force’s main concerns were building heights and types.
“Whereas the current North Delta Area Plan applies similar building height maximums across mixed-use neighbourhoods, the task force explored each one individually,” the report says. “In general, the task force desired lower allowable heights [than what is currently in the area plan] and a focus on more midrise building forms, with each neighbourhood incorporating some ground-oriented building types like townhouses.”
The report was received by council for information and referred to staff for review.
Implementation of the recommendations would require amending several bylaws and the North Delta Area Plan, and staff will report back to council with a strategy to bring those amendments forward for council’s consideration.
Any proposed changes to the area plan and local zoning would also have to go through the public consultation process.
In the meantime, council approved a staff recommendation that, pending adoption of any bylaw amendments to formally implement the task force’s recommendations, current and new development applications for the Scott Road corridor be allowed to advance and be reviewed for consistency with said recommendations.
Vision for Scott Road
The report states that by creating three separate districts, each with its own mixed-use, walkable and complete neighbourhoods, the task force has developed a concept that “respectfully considers the varying geography and surrounding contexts along Scott Road to establish neighbourhoods that fit within their unique settings.”
The Innovation District/Townline neighbourhood would comprise the Townline Node area from 92nd Avenue to 96th Avenue, Scott Road to the railway line. The task force identified the area as one that could accommodate the highest densities and tallest buildings, with the biggest located near 96th and tapering down towards 92nd.
The plan calls for a mix of live/work townhouses, mixed-use and residential structures up to six storeys in height, and mid- to highrise towers up to 18 storeys high, with the possibility of building up to 29 storeys when developers provide contributions towards community and neighbourhood improvements.
The task force envisioned several features and amenities that would “contribute to the Townline Innovation District’s liveability,” including a new park central in location and surrounded by active ground floor uses to help animate the space, a multi-use greenway trail along the railway corridor and 119B Street that would help link the district to other North Delta neighbourhoods, and a community space that could potentially include a daycare, recreation space, gym and/or youth centre.
“Innovation in design permeates this neighbourhood, with its industrial chic identity recalling the nearby railway and gritty historic uses,” the report says, noting the area is an ideal place to spearhead new construction materials and take advantage of the province’s push towards mass timber technologies for midrise and highrise buildings.
“While the district redevelops and evolves into a fully realized neighbourhood, existing affordable commercial and industrial properties will be prime locations to attract entrepreneurship, light industrial and creative artisan uses.”
The Central District would the largest of the three new districts, comprising the neighbourhoods of Kennedy Heights (90th Avenue to 86th Avenue), Gateway (85th Avenue to 82nd Avenue) and City Plaza (82nd Avenue to 79th Avenue). Each neighbourhood would feature a new outdoor plaza located in a high-profile location or intersection, and would be linked by a north-south pedestrian shopping mews to provide residents “a vibrant shopping experience” with restaurant patios and shops.
“This district was identified by the task force as one that could accommodate a range of densities and building types, depending on the neighbourhood. The highest densities should generally be located adjacent to Scott Road and taper down towards more ground-oriented buildings in proximity to existing single detached neighbourhoods,” the report says.
Kennedy Heights is envisioned as a high-density neighbourhood that promotes gathering, entertainment, and festivals, providing a place for the community to come together to celebrate events, and is well served by restaurants and venues. The plaza in Kennedy Heights would be designed with weather protection and is intended to accommodate a public market space for potential farmers’ markets, food festivals and night time entertainment.
Similar to Townline, housing in Kennedy Heights would be a mix of townhouses, mixed-use and residential structures up to six storeys in height, and mid- to highrise towers up to 18 storeys high, with the possibility of building up to 28 storeys when developers provide contributions towards community and neighbourhood improvements.
Gateway, meanwhile, is intended to be the main link to the North Delta Social Heart at 84th Avenue and 112th Street and would include a smaller family-friendly plaza. The neighbourhood is intended to be less dense in order to “better reflect its surroundings” and create an inviting “gateway” to the Social Heart.”
Current land use regulations call for townhouses along 84th towards the Social Heart, and the task force proposed the same, capping their height at three storeys. Along Scott Road, the task force envisioned mixed-use and residential developments four to eight stories high.
Central District would also feature greenways along 84th, 86th and 88th avenues to connect it to the Social Heart.
City Plaza is meant to introduce medium density mixed-use development and promote a lively shopping experience. “Its high-quality urban environment with some midrise buildings [would help] contribute to a range of exciting new amenities, including a large urban plaza giving the feel of a small downtown,” the report says.
The task force envisioned a mix of townhouses and “stacked townhouses” up to four storeys, mixed-use and residential buildings up to six storeys, and mixed-use and residential towers up to 18 storeys.
The planned Garden District would be predominantly residential with public open spaces that emphasize nature and ecology while providing a range of commercial services for daily needs. Greenways would serve as active transportation connections into surrounding North Delta neighbourhoods and linkages to Cougar Creek and Watershed Park.
Comprised of two neighbourhoods, Scottsdale Town Centre (74th Avenue to Caribou Road) and Sunshine (properties adjacent to 64th Avenue), the district would primarily be made up of townhouses and lowrise apartment buildings, with some taller buildings at 72nd Avenue.
The district would also feature a new “neighbourhood facility” that could hold a library, recreation space and/or other needed community spaces for neighbourhood programs.
Scottsdale Town Centre would provide a “high-quality green public realm for the benefit of the increased residential population,” with a north-south green mews allowing residents access to the commercial activity at Scott Road and 72nd Avenue. A major feature of the neighbourhood would be a new urban plaza at 72nd Avenue meant, in part, to host celebratory gatherings like were seen in the intersection during the recent Stanley Cup playoffs.
The neighbourhood would be made up mostly of townhouses and stacked townhouses up to four storeys and mixed-use and residential buildings up to six storeys, but could include “a couple” of midrise mixed-use and residential buildings up to 12 storeys high at the intersection of 72nd Avenue.
The Sunshine neighbourhood would be equipped with quiet and leafy pedestrian networks, with a small-scale mixed-use village centered around a significant green space in Sunshine Village, recalling the character of the nearby Watershed Park.
The proposed form in this area would be low- to medium-density ground-oriented development, namely townhouses and live/work spaces up to three storeys high.