Voices submission to Council re City Shaping land use

CNV Council Public Input Presentation, 18 March

 

Thank you Your Worship, members of Council. My name is Fred Dawkins, 827 West 19th Street in the City of North Vancouver, and I’m speaking tonight on behalf of North Van City Voices. I wish to comment on the staff report, “City Shaping Stage 3: Developing Draft Land Use Scenarios for Public Discussion,” which is on tonight’s agenda.

 

We note that Planning Staff now admit that meeting the Regional Growth Strategy targets for population growth in North Vancouver is “within easy reach.” After they have been disputing our own growth projections for months now, it is gratifying to see they seem to have come around to our view, that we’re already well on our way, and in fact at the current rate of development we’re going to meet our Regional Growth Strategy commitments ahead of schedule.

 

But we’re less pleased that staff seem to be taking a new tack by now calling the growth targets “minimums”, which Council can exceed by any amount in pursuit of policy goals. We disagree with this interpretation of the RGS – at least, the spirit of the strategy, which is to manage growth in a carefully planned, sustainable manner.

 

Combined with the fact – reiterated by Mr. Penway at last week’s Public Hearing – that the current Official Community Plan places no limit whatsoever on the amount of density that can be added to a development proposal through density bonusing – it leaves us wondering: what are the limits to the pace and extent of densification in North Vancouver? Shouldn’t an Official Community Plan give residents some assurance on such an important aspect of our quality of life?

 

We hope sometime soon – perhaps at the upcoming April 29 City Shaping event – the public will be given the chance to validate this Council’s apparent policy of using ever-increasing density as a social policy, to achieve certain social goals such as daycare and supported  housing for people with special needs. Some might argue that these goals are more the Province’s responsibility than the City’s. Or perhaps the citizens of North Vancouver support this approach. But we submit that they have not been asked if they do. And we suggest Council should find out before committing us to an open-ended process of increasing densification.

 

Thank you.

 

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