One longtime West Vancouver restaurant is getting a second lease on life.
On Monday, district council approved a rezoning proposal for 2229 Folkestone Way, where Salmon House on the Hill has served diners since 1976. The new plan includes a refreshed version of the iconic dining establishment, alongside eight family-oriented townhomes, office spaces and a facelift to the surrounding landscape.
But the vote wasn’t unanimous, with Couns. Linda Watt and Christine Cassidy dissenting because they didn’t believe there would be enough parking at the future site.
When completed, the current two-storey building with the Salmon House and some offices will be replaced by a three-storey residential building on the west side of the 60,000-square-foot lot, and a two-storey commercial building with the restaurant upstairs and offices on the lower level.
The redevelopment will also include underground parking for the townhome residents, as well as 23 parking spots for restaurant customers and staff.
Given that the new Salmon House will have around 150 seats, the amount of parking is insufficient, Cassidy argued.
“[In the past] I used to go there when the restaurant was very active, you used to beg and plead to somebody in the skies that there would actually be a parking spot for you,” she said. “I think restricting ourselves at this point to the current suggested number really is creating the potential for a significant headache in that area.”
In response, Coun. Scott Snider said that traffic engineers provided a report suggesting the amount of parking was reasonable.
“I’m no parking expert, that’s for sure,” he said. “And I don’t know how you’re able to qualify yourselves as that when all of the experts say that they believe that it’s sufficient parking, and there is other parking in the area.”
'I didn’t run on a platform of being worried about a couple of parking spots'
Mayor Mark Sager said that he suspected some staff would take public transit to the restaurant.
“I beg to differ,” Cassidy said. “To the best of my knowledge, there is no public transportation up to there.”
West Vancouver Transit’s 256 bus stops nearby on Skilift Road, a three-minute walk to the restaurant, according to Google Maps. That bus leaves Park Royal on the hour from 6:05 a.m. to 7:05 p.m. on weekdays, between 7:05 a.m. and 9:05 p.m on Saturday, and between 9:05 a.m. and 8:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Coun. Nora Gambioli noted that council’s discussion was overlooking that the proposal is also about housing.
“This is about creating eight new three-bedroom apartments as rentals, and this community needs new housing," she said. “I for one ran on a platform of creating more attainable housing. And I didn’t run on a platform of being worried about a couple of parking spots.”
At a public hearing Jan. 22, representatives for local residents and the business community spoke generally in favour of the proposal.