OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN (“OCP”)
PUBLIC MEETING REPORT of Kerry Morris
ISSUES OF PRIMARY CONCERN
PRESERVATION OF RENTAL STOCK IN RELATION TO ACCESS TO DENSITY BONUS PREVISIONS
This is a supplemental submission to my earlier document delivered by electronic
method on Monday June 16th 2014.
The OCP sets out both a proposed baseline density, as well as a density bonus cap to which access is provisional upon compliance with certain policy initiatives of the City. These initiatives include but are not limited to provision of public area’s within a development site, building energy standards, attachment to LEC, provision of social housing units, to name just a few.
As all of council is aware, having received my many Town-Hall handouts, Metro
commissioned and subsequently released a study which consider the current and future availability of the City’s rental stock, and the degree to which these rental units are under attack by developers for redevelopment, especially in the Lonsdale corridor. The report highlighted that currently 23% of these rental units were redevelopment candidates, but that by the year 2021 a full 40% of these rental units would be under attack from developers.
As is full well known to all of council, the City is one of the largest rental enclaves in the Lower Mainland having one of if not the single largest per-capita rental populations. Many of these renters, for a variety of reasons, are single and elderly, living on a ﬁxed income. Their ability to suffer displacement and/or radicle rent increases outside the Residential Tenancy Branch protection limits is not an option. In such an event, many would become homeless, compelled to fall back on family. In most cases, these people have lived in our City for most or
all of their lives. They have been and continue to be valuable contributors to our community and its diversity. Yet the OCP does nothing to ensure provisions limiting development unless these people are protected from the resulting carnage. Its as if by its silence, the OCP commits to throwing gramma and grampa under the bus, to make way for our new friends, the hit and run
I believe we have an obligation and an opportunity to write provisions into the OCP that clearly set out that in order to access the density bonus cap levels, developers will be required to make clear provisions for replacement of rental inventory, together with ﬁrst right of return provisions, and rental protection plans in accordance with RTB legislation, as if the rental relationship between old and new space had remained unaltered, and interim measures to deal
with displacement during redevelopment construction. If the speciﬁc individual affected does not want to avail themselves of the rights provided as part of the redevelopment application, then the developer would be off the hook on those aspects particular to an individual renter. But there would still be provision made for a replacement rental suite to maintain the City’s rental inventory stock.
I know this proposed provision is frowned upon by the City’s Development department. Mr. Penway told me so himself in a recent face to face meeting. I also know they claim it tests he limits of the City’s authority under the Community Act. And I also know that the development industry is lobbying the province to ban various amenity contribution programs being pursued by municipal governments throughout BC. But currently, the City has made a habit of looking after
its own needs, seeking compensation for infrastructure, together with millions in cash payments. These programs have allowed the City to extract millions of cash dollars and and other forms of social initiative for the bureaucracy despite the allegation that the City is limited in what it can do. It has seen ﬁt to do what it can do, when it comes to itself. Why then can it not show the same degree of concern and interest for its residents.
At the third Town-Hall, in answer to these issues, Mr. Penway went on a rant in respect of the division of power and the limits of the municipal government authority under the Act. He used this explanation to explain why we could support market price protection provisions in exchange for density bonus when it serves to beneﬁt non-proﬁts, such as the 260 west Esplanade project. As I pointed out to him at that same Town-Hall meeting, the renters we need
to protect are not renters for proﬁt. They are renters to fulﬁl a basic rental need, affordable housing. The density bonusing provisions being considered and the availability to access the increased density cap, work at cross purposes to affordability objectives unless some provisions are put in place to protect these City residents, as I have proposed above.
The very Metro report to which I made earlier reference itself called for the development of policies which would seek to protect these vulnerable rental stock assets, and the product and price they make available to many of our most vulnerable City residents.
The OCP should set a condition that access to the density bonus provision cap levels, which is entirely discretionary and thus within the exclusive jurisdiction of the City council decision making authority, will be contingent upon the developer applicants compliance with the City’s Rental Stock Preservation Policy. To this end, council should task City staff with the immediate development of such a policy.
RICHARDSON’s GRAIN TERMINAL EXPANSION NOTICE
I am advised that council has received a report from staff, signed by Mr. Penway
stipulating the City did not receive Notice of the Richardson’s grain terminal expansion until September 12th 2012.
There is a dramatic and important difference between “notice” and “knowledge”. While the ofﬁcial paperwork likely arrived conﬁrming the intent on or about September 12th 2012, we know for a fact that Richardson’s delivered to Port Metro Vancouver design drawings and geotechnical reports completed much sooner than the September 12th 2012 date. The better question for Mr. Penway to answer is; when did the City ﬁrst learn that that Richardson Terminal
was a candidate for an expansion, and that the Low Level Road redevelopment was a necessary ﬁrst step in converting that candidacy into an actual application? My sources tell me that the City had unofﬁcial knowledge which arrived prior to the September 12th 2012 ofﬁcial notice to which Mr. Penway’s report to council makes reference.
ALL OF WHICH IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED by Kerry Morris this 18th day of June 2014.