North Vancouver City Council is taking their summer break, and so are we*. In the meantime, let’s recap where we are after almost 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. Next up: 1301 Lonsdale, which goes to public hearing in the fall.
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 languishes near the bottom of the priority list.
We know that a great many North Van residents are concerned about these issues. Our humble website has had more than 11,000 views since January. 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. Next Council Meeting will be held on September 12th.