West Vancouver zoning proposal encourages breweries, food processors

Commercial zoning change will address the district's lack of light industrial space

Dan Toulgoet/files

New zoning policies are on tap in the District of West Vancouver that will see craft breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries allowed on some commercially zoned lots.

The proposed changes will allow alcohol manufacturing in the C1, C2 , AC1 and AC2 zones, most of which are located along Marine Drive and in Horseshoe Bay. The zoning changes will also allow food manufacturing to take place in these areas engage if the company also offers retail or wholesale sales.

Most municipalities require breweries and distilleries to operate on lots with light industrial zoning. West Vancouver has no light industrial zones, however. Council is serving up the cocktail of changes in hopes of stimulating more economic activity and vibrancy in the district.

West Van is the only Lower Mainland municipality to have missed out on the decade-old craft beer revolution, despite having been home to the first micro-brewery in Canada. Horseshoe Bay Brewing opened in 1982 in the basement of the Troller Pub. It closed in 2000, but the founders went on to start other breweries that still exist today.

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth said she’s already received an enquiry from an entrepreneur hoping to open a craft brewery in what is today an auto repair garage on Marine Drive at 25th Street.

The changes proposed in West Van mirror those in other Lower Mainland municipalities that have allowed craft breweries and small-scale food processors to thrive in traditional industrial areas.

Vancouver updated its zoning bylaws for the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in 2017 to create additional opportunities for craft breweries and other manufacturing businesses. The changes supported the revitalization of the area as a destination for tech companies.

Similar benefits have been seen in Burnaby, Port Moody and other municipalities over the past five years.

Other proposed changes to West Vancouver’s zoning bylaws include a rule that limits financial institutions (include currency exchanges), beauty salons and real estate offices to no more than 20 per cent of the ground-level commercial frontage in Ambleside and Dundarave and Royal Avenue in Horseshoe Bay. The rules will also be tweaked to allow businesses that manufacture products on-site, like bakeries, to wholesale to other businesses, which is not currently permitted.

Home-based artist studios will be given the district’s blessing to offer retail sales of their art from home. And the district will allow home-based daycares for up to eight children to operate on residential properties that also have a secondary suite – as long as the operator lives on site.

Changes to the zoning bylaw are subject to a public hearing, scheduled for March 29.