NEW: Posted September 15th:
Full details for Council meetings: http://www.cnv.org/your-government/council-meetings
Growth in our little City has now surpassed the 2041 Regional Growth Strategy targets. We addressed a recent market rental development that had been granted an additional 10,888 sq ft of density that was originally valued at less than $100/ sq ft. These additional 18 units are now being offered for sale at $11,888,000. The brochure for the sale is here: http://macdonaldcommercial.com/_docs/30c8beb9fbd4ba98353d25633201f5da.pdf
The full script of our delegation is posted.
We state again:
Maintaining the livability of our community should be the City’s primary goal, not helping developers and speculators maximize their return on investment – particularly when those same developers are making campaign donations to members of Council. Ferris wheels and food trucks are fun, but they are no substitute for development policies that put the interests of residents first.
Our delegation focused on the following concerns:
· Recent residential developments which received density bonusing in return for including market rental show a serious flaw in the City’s approach to encouraging rental housing. We plan to highlight a recent development.
· We contend that a public good (the right to build beyond the Official Community Plan limits) is essentially being given away at a fraction of its true value, with no strings attached to ensure the City’s policy objectives (e.g. affordable rental housing) are achieved.
· Not only are City taxpayers not receiving full value for the sale of this public good, the effect of these gifts to developers and investors is having the perverse effect of making rental housing in the City less affordable.
· The City is growing too fast, outpacing infrastructure such as roads and transit, eroding green space, and detracting from its livability. We are already well ahead of the growth needed to meet our Regional Growth Strategy commitments. It’s time to pause and take a breath.
· Transparency and accountability of Council compare poorly with other municipalities. Too many decisions are being made behind closed doors. And why does CNV – contrary to common practice – hide its Statement of Financial Information?
The next general local government elections will be held on Sat October 20, 2018..
Recap of where we are after 2 years of city business dominated by the Mayor’s slate:
The building boom continues unabated. There seems to be no limit to this Council’s love of high-density high-rise residential development. As we have documented before, the pace of growth in North Van is already far beyond our commitment under the Regional Growth Strategy. Yet Council routinely overrides the limits of our Official Community Plan, using density bonuses and transfers to allow ever larger and taller developments.
The casino is back. Opposed by most residents and rejected by the independent majority on the previous council, a casino is back on the table. Residents aren’t asking for it, it’s not a needed community amenity, and many concerns have been raised about negative social impacts – but none of that seems to matter to the Slate compared with the expected financial windfall, much of which will come from the pockets of problem gamblers.
Public input has been curtailed. We have appealed to Council more than once on this issue, and been ignored. The right of citizens to speak at Council meetings has been severely curtailed by restrictive new rules.
Livability? What’s that? This Council’s preoccupation with cramming more and more people into our little enclave has not been accompanied by much care for its livability. Traffic gets worse and worse with no sign of relief – not only is there no concrete plan for improved transit, the City has failed to prevent the loss of North Vancouver’s only bus depot. The much-needed rebuild of Harry Jerome recreation centre will now be a new build with City land being sold for ‘high end’ towers.
We know that a great many North Van residents are concerned about these issues. We constantly hear from residents who are frustrated by the sense that the game is rigged and they are not being heard. All we can say is – keep yourself informed. Keep coming out to the public meetings and making your voice heard. Write letters to the NS News, and talk to your neighbours about the issues. Even if the Slate won’t listen, maybe the voting public will.
*we continue to track new applications and will respond to queries.
Posted May 30: Graham Harrop editorial cartoon, VancouverSun
Posted Jan 29:
Reminder from Voices: If you wish to speak at public input, be sure to arrive about 5.30 when the list first comes out – more than five speakers no guarantee you will speak, negotiation skills needed with others wanting to speak.
Also, evidence from last week’s meeting that the new regulation to speak once every three months on an item will be upheld.
Posted Jan 28:
This is the link on the City’s website to the package of Closed reports that Council authorized the release of at its meeting of January 25, 2016:
We note that the report is 668 pages without an index provided, and contains documents from 2012. We also note that the comparisons provided in the BDO report were Storyeum, the Vancouver Museum and the Squamish Railway Museum.
Welcome to our updated website. This “NEWS” page will have announcements of upcoming meetings, public hearings and other information we feel should be highlighted.
The “COUNCIL” tab will focus on gathered facts – expenses, salaries etc. We’ll have a section for “Questions We Couldn’t Ask” (concerns arising from meetings), and “Did They Really Say That”? (Shake your head moments).
The “ARTICLES” tab will have relevant published information from other sources.
The “SUBMISSIONS’ tab will list our submissions to Council at Council Meetings in Public Hearings or the Public Input portion.
The “STATISTICS” tab will summarize the Regional Growth Strategy to 2041 and where we are to date with planned projects.
The “ABOUT” tab has our contact information and history.
We recognize that our city (North Vancouver) is growing and will continue to grow. Growth is healthy. However, there is a big difference between managed, prudent growth and unfettered developer driven growth. We believe we are getting too much of the latter. The current Mayor and Council are in a rush to rapidly increase the population density by allowing developers to build beyond the limits of our Official Community Plan (a process called density bonusing). This is resulting in land speculation, a glut of oversized condo towers, growing traffic problems, and increasingly inadequate recreational and other community amenities. We’re trying to hold the current mayor and his Council majority accountable by doing research, speaking up at public meetings, and informing the public in any way we can. We note that this mayor and three councillors all receive significant campaign funding from the same developers who then come before Council applying for density bonuses and upzoning. Such a clear conflict of interest is illegal at all other levels of government, but somehow permissible at the municipal level.
This term will be interesting, with major projects to come before Council. In part, the OCP is complete but without a density bonus policy, Harry Jerome, Lot 5, Site 8, the Museum, the Polygon Gallery, Harbourside, Gaming, School lands and needed infrastructure and transit improvements. There is no evidence yet of the new majority voting independently. We would remind those Councillors that they do not have a majority of voters behind them.