City Shaping Land Use Workshop – addendum to previous report

I thought the two guest speakers were much more balanced in their perspectives and opinions in regards to development and density than the speakers at the initial CityShaping kick-off event held at the Pinnacle hotel some time ago.

 

The idea that just as much or nearly as much density can be accomplished with row housing rather than towers interests me. I also embraced the opinion of one speaker to not allow the “tail to wag the dog” – not allowing developers to drive city planning and development decisions.

 

It was quite obvious the number of developers at the workshop, and I would even say the forum was “stacked” to some extent.

 

The first speaker spoke about the need to base planning and development decisions on facts. Here is what I believe is a premise that seems to be disguised as a fact: That unless more dwellings are flooded into the City of North Vancouver, the price of all dwelling types in the City will increase dramatically. Show me the evidence that with 2% of the Lower Mainland’s population and a share of Metro land less than 0.5%, that adding 4,000 units to the City of North Vancouver will make a difference overall? It’s just not possible for one to ever drive – or as the City prefers, walk or ride a bike – from the District of North Vancouver across the boundary into the City of North Vancouver and see the price of a single detached house go from $1.2 million to $2.2 million. Sorry, I don’t buy that. If there is a lack of affordable housing in the City, or if we fail to keep up, people will buy elsewhere. The real estate market in the City is NOT an independent, isolated market from the rest of Vancouver.

 

There will be the argument that we (all municipalities) must do their share, but I would counter that with the fact that the City of North Vancouver has already done its share – it’s among the most densely populated municipalities in British Columbia.

 

The roundtable discussions and task was – inadvertently or deliberately (you choose) – set-up to attain the desired response. The instruction that there must be 4,000 dwellings added to the map by 2026 bypassed the larger discussion and debate that should have happened about growth. Instead of debating population growth, we had to accept the target and populate the map with the accompanying dwellings. These ARE the policy options that require comprehensive debate. Leading and Insulting.

 

Allowing the private dwelling count to increase to by 4,000 might be the equivalent to about 50 new residential towers (at 10 floors each, 8 suites per floor). Another 4,000 dwellings could be the equivalent of a total of 100 new towers. Absurd.

 

Why was it not shared and accounted for that there already are over 1,000 units across the City approved to be built?

 

Again, one of the main premises is that adding a substantial amount of dwellings to the City will help make things affordable – at least, prevent skyrocketing housing prices. Well, if adding dwellings to a market is partially intended to keep prices down, then why haven’t prices come down in the Lower Mainland over the past 10 years? Why are prices still astronomical in New York?

 

Disappointed. Disillusioned.

 

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