Frequently asked questions

    What is a Local Area Plan (LAP)?

    An LAP is a framework to guide positive change and strengthen the identity (or “sense of place”), livability, and success of a particular area. It outlines the long-range vision for Ambleside as a whole, provides more detailed regulations and guidelines to shape the form and character of new development, and confirms the local policy response to planning topics like housing, commerce, mobility, sustainability, and public realm.

    What do we mean by “options” for the LAP, can I share my own ideas?

    The options are draft illustrations of how the future of Ambleside could take shape. They are not final, serving as an engagement tool to encourage dialogue and collect community feedback. An approach could combine elements of each, and additional ideas are very welcome to further contribute to the community discussion.

    How does an LAP relate to the Official Community Plan (OCP)?

    An LAP, once adopted, would become a component of the OCP. More specifically, an LAP would create local land use policies and development permit requirements for the area, and outline the District’s expectations for new development (e.g., built-form, design, character, etc.). LAPs provide a significant opportunity to advance neighbourhood-specific responses to District-wide goals, objectives and policies, and are an important OCP implementation tool.

    Are the draft options the final plan?

    No. The draft options are intended to illustrate that there are different ways of considering how Ambleside could evolve, and to place ideas on the table for the community to collaboratively consider and provide feedback on. No single option is prioritized, no particular community response is prejudged, and no outcome of engagement is predetermined.

    What happens with rezoning applications at this time?

    The OCP provides formal policy guidance for Council’s consideration of development proposals, for sites outside and inside the LAP boundaries identified in the OCP. For sites outside of LAP boundaries, and where there is relevant District-ride OCP policy, rezoning applications may be considered by Council. For sites within OCP-identified LAP boundaries, applications may be considered by Council before adoption of a new LAP, in accordance with the following policy:

    2.1.15  Prior to the adoption of a local area plan, consider proposals within the local area plan boundary by:

    a.  Applying relevant District-wide policies contained in this plan and any existing area-specific policies and guidelines; and

    b.  Requiring the proposal’s contribution to rental, non-market or supportive housing, or its ability to advance the public interest or provide other community benefits as determined by Council.

    What is happening with the other LAP processes?

    The OCP provides for the development of LAPs for Ambleside, Marine Drive, Horseshoe Bay, and the Taylor Way Corridor. The LAP processes for Horseshoe Bay and Marine Drive have now been completed.

    How can I get involved?

    Staff will be engaging with local stakeholders and the community to gather input on the draft LAP options through in-person and virtual workshops. To find out more, you can subscribe for project email updates in the “stay informed” panel on the right. If you prefer, you can also contact staff at or 604-921-3459.  However you choose to share your ideas, your feedback matters and will be summarized and presented back to Council.

    How do each of the three options respond to existing Official Community Plan (OCP) Policies?

    The OCP—shaped by 100 public meetings, 1,000 completed surveys and submissions and 4,300 instances of engagement—emphasizes Ambleside as the heart of West Vancouver. It defines the LAP boundary to be considered and directs the creation of a plan for 1,000 to 1,200 net new dwellings, both to be confirmed through this process. The options serve as starting points to consider densities, heights and building forms that respond to context and character, as well as varied approaches to meet the OCP directions to prioritize mixed-use and apartment forms in core areas and to transition to surrounding neighbourhoods with ground-oriented multi-family forms.

    How will Ambleside’s character be respected or changed?

    Ambleside today is multifaceted. It is the civic and commercial heart of West Vancouver and our “main street”; a seaside village, destination waterfront park and focus for arts and culture; and has many other identities to its residents, workers, and visitors. The LAP creates the opportunity to have community discussions about how to enhance those qualities that create Ambleside’s unique identity, and it provides direction to ensure that investment builds on this character. As it has in every generation before, Ambleside will continue to evolve, and the plan with your input will help guide its identity into the future.

    Why is the potential for new mid-rises, but not new high-rises, being explored?

    A range of policies, regulations, and studies related to Ambleside over recent decades have identified height as a sensitive topic. The LAP considers where height could make sense and what scale could be appropriate for new construction. There are more than 80 existing buildings greater than four storeys in Ambleside with the majority between 5-9 storeys. The use of options supports a respectful, responsible and transparent approach to consider the impacts related to the height of potential new buildings that could be constructed under the LAP.

    Why are rental, seniors, and “missing middle” housing included in the draft options?

    The options consider a range of housing to enable residents to stay within their community as their housing needs and preferences change over their lifetimes, as well as options that could allow new residents to move here. Some types of housing are well represented in Ambleside, but within aging building stock that will likely require renewal within the life of the plan: 90% of West Vancouver’s purpose-built rental stock is in Ambleside, and three of four of these buildings are over 40 years old. Similarly, the majority of West Vancouver’s seniors housing is located in Ambleside, and almost one in two residents today are over 65. Other types of housing are underrepresented: notably, “missing middle” housing such as rowhouses, and apartments in mixed-use buildings, comprise very little of the existing housing stock in Ambleside and could be better provided.

    Would an LAP be the cause of demolition and redevelopment?

    Demolition and redevelopment would be expected under current regulations as the building stock nears the end of its expected lifespan. An LAP provides greater predictability for owners, residents, and neighbours alike. Having this discussion today allows for the community to consider and shape the preferred future for Ambleside, and to direct development over the next two decades to deliver the housing, shops and services that meet community goals. Change is expected to be gradual over time, and the redevelopment of any particular building will proceed when the owners decide that it makes sense to do so.

    What is the process for implementing the Plan and how long will it take?

    An LAP creates the framework within which more specific direction can be made to guide future building and public realm investments. This can include: renewal of Development Permit Areas with form and character guidelines; zoning amendments; infrastructure plans; and street, boulevard and public realm standards. It is a 20-year plan, and its implementation is expected to be gradual over time – not everything would happen at once. The community and Council will have the ongoing opportunity to monitor and, if necessary, amend the plan to ensure that investments continue to contribute to the LAP vision of Ambleside.

    How would a new LAP contribute to the District’s social, environmental and economic goals?

    As envisioned in the OCP, a future Ambleside would allow more residents close access to services and amenities. It would continue to direct investment into a complete community where residents live, work and play. Development would enable the permanent protection of sensitive ecological assets and support both environment awareness and outdoor recreation. New economic opportunities would benefit the varied business base and expand local shops and services. And a diversity of housing forms would enable residents to stay within their community as their housing needs and preferences change over their lifetimes.

    Has West Vancouver looked at housing needs for the future?

    In 2020, a Housing Needs Report was completed to better understand existing and anticipated housing needs across West Vancouver as a whole, over a five-year time frame.