BC Hydro is planning a major new building and works yard in North Vancouver for its crews to serve the North Shore and Sea to Sky corridor.
City of North Vancouver council voted unanimously Nov. 20 to approve the utility’s request for a rezoning of the property at 630 Brooksbank Ave. to be refreshed with a new three-storey, 56,831-square-foot building, which will be oriented to the east side of the property on Lynnmouth Avenue.
The building will include seven truck bays for Hydro’s local fleet, as well as underground employee parking, while the yard will house two covered storage structures, a covered vehicle storage building, plus areas to store supplies.
As part of the project, the city will receive a five-metre road allowance along Brooksbank “to facilitate future transportation upgrades.”
The project also includes a $250,000 budget for public art, which will go toward making the highly trafficked Brooksbank Streetscape more attractive.
Construction will be phased so the current facility can stay in operation while the new one is built.
About 90 per cent of the traffic accessing the site will do so via Lynnmouth Avenue.
In keeping with BC Hydro’s mission, the building will run purely on electricity with no gas heating, and the project’s stormwater capture plans exceed the city’s requirements. Over and above that, the building will include rain gardens designed to capture and attenuate runoff pollutants, according to city staff.
Council members reacted positively to the proposal, praising the building’s design and waiving the need for it to go through a public hearing.
City staff and council members both acknowledged the essential services provided to the North Shore from that location.
“This building is quite important for our community. It probably doesn’t get the recognition that it needs to,” said Coun. Tony Valente. “There are important jobs here, but perhaps much more importantly, these jobs are supporting our electrical system in the community. That means storm response. And obviously, there’s a big push to electrification that’s going on right now, as we try to meet our climate goals.”
Mayor Linda Buchanan said she was pleased to see Hydro’s crews getting a building that meets their needs, but she would have been open to even more density and different uses on top of Hydro’s plans.
“We don’t have a lot of industrial lands and they don’t get redeveloped very often, so when they do, it would have been nice to have more intensification,” she said. “I just think that’s a bit of a missed opportunity there.”
There is no timeline yet for when construction will start, but BC Hydro expects the work to last two to three years.
When it is completed, it will have room for 100 employees, which the utility says will accommodate future growth.