Monthly Archives: July 2017

Letter: New condos leave us homeless

Following is a letter published in the Richmond News on July 28th, and speaks of a common concern in the City of North Van:

Dear Editor,

One hundred and forty families in central Richmond will have to move soon as our rental building is being torn down for condos ­— condos that we cannot afford to buy. 

Condos are so hot now that buyers are putting in offers sometimes $50,000 dollars over asking and without subjects. The loans the government is willing to lend first-time buyers only make the housing market more unaffordable. A 20-year-old two-bedroom apartment lists at almost half a million dollars.

I thought as a teacher I had a good job, but I can’t afford a home in Vancouver. The B.C. economy does not allow the average person to legally make enough money to buy an apartment. Notice, I didn’t say house. Those rarities are for investors or the lucky children of people who bought years ago.

There is a problem here. The high-rise condos that will replace my apartment building will not densify the neighbourhood because most of them will sit empty. 

The property speculators who are building these new buildings believe renting devalues them. When our buildings are torn down, there will be 140 families looking for accommodation. The vacancy rate is under one per cent in Richmond! Waiting lists for most co-ops are closed. 

Where are we to go?

Renters who work in the city will have to move farther afield. But now there’s another problem. The Liberals’ 15 per cent tax did not extend to outlying areas. So now homes in Maple Ridge and Chilliwack have gone up by 12 per cent from last year. Are we supposed to move to another province? 

A lot of young people who were raised in B.C. have moved away because of unaffordable housing. If the government cannot do something as simple and necessary as providing affordable housing — we’re not asking them to solve climate change here — then we really need to ask ourselves if they’re competent enough to manage the province.

Some people may think that since they own their house, none of this applies to them. 

Well, sorry, it does. 

I have friends who own houses and say they can’t move because the prices are too expensive to move up the property ladder. Their children have moved and they see their grandkids once or twice a year. No one wins, except for the property speculators who’ve turned what used to be affordable homes into lottery tickets. Our slogan should be Formerly Beautiful BC.

Lexy Clayburn



Delegation to Council Jul 17

Fred Dawkins represented North Van City Voices’ delegation to Council last night. The script follows:

Voices Delegation to CNV Council, 17 July 2017

Good evening Your Worship, Councillors.

I’m speaking tonight on behalf of North Van City Voices.

As everyone here is aware, the city has been undergoing an unprecedented building boom over the past several years. Council has been facilitating this rapid increase in population through density bonusing, consistently going beyond the guidelines that were established by our Official Community Plan just a couple of years ago.

Of course, bonusing is a tool that the city uses in an effort to achieve certain policy objectives. Is it working? We’ll get to that in a minute.

First some context. Voices has been monitoring the growth in housing units in the city, keeping a running total of new units built, approved, or otherwise in the development pipeline since 2011. We have on several occasions pointed out that the city is well ahead of the pace of development required to meet its long-term objectives for population growth. These objectives formed a large part of the rationale behind the City Shaping exercise and the revised OCP that emerged from it. So, how much are we getting ahead of our growth projections?

read more:  NVCV – Delegation Jul 2017

Development proposal 151 E Keith

Following is a copy of an email received today from a resident in a neighbouring building to this proposal.  The email is addressed to Council and copied to the development planner.   We have also received copies of the previous emails sent in November and May to which there has been no response.  

The proposal is an ‘infill’ project of 4 buildings in space around the existing tower, currently green space.  Of the 43 units, 31 are studio units, each less than 400 sqft.  Detail from the City website:

‘The City has received a Zoning Amendment application from Matthew Steyer of Urban Systems Ltd. to rezone 151 East Keith Road to support the development of 43 additional residential rental units to the existing tower. The proposed 43 units would be constructed in four separate infill buildings on the property and would consist of:

  • A 31 unit – four storey apartment building to front Keith Road;
  • A nine unit – four storey townhouse building to front East 6th Street;
  • A three unit – two storey townhouse building to front East Keith Road; and
  • A single storey recycling, garbage and bike storage building fronting East 6th Street to support the additional rental units. 

The proposed new infill buildings are to be constructed on top of the existing parking structure consisting of 93 parking stalls for the entire complex.  This Development Application does not propose any changes or modifications to the existing tower.’

Your Honourable Mayor, Esteemed Council Members and Mr. Johnson: 

Further to our e-mails sent November 14, 2016 and May 31, 2017, we have had no response from you.   As we have not been invited to speak before council, we attended last evening’s Council Meeting in support of North Van City Voices.  

While we were dismayed with the response to their presentation, the Council did make some very valid points.  The Mayor, particularly, seemed focussed on day care.  The building at 151 East Keith Road is within walking distance of several schools and would be a prime location for a day care centre.  

As well, earlier in the meeting an obviously distraught elderly gentlemen did try to speak with you about the severe lack of ‘affordable’ housing for care attendants for seniors in North Vancouver.  Again, we are in an area rife with seniors who have sold their houses and downsized to live by Victoria Park to be close to Lion’s Gate Hospital.   Building 34 x 400 sq.ft. studio suites at 151 East Keith and marketing them at $1,300 per month with no parking is obviously a money grab by Starlight Investments.  Adding the 9 multiple family suites is obviously just an attempt to appease the City to see if they can get more density. 

Again, the residents of this building are not against development next door but our feeling is ‘while life isn’t fair, it should be just’.  We would be happy to have a day care on the premises.  We would also welcome studio suites that have rents significantly lower than the $1,300/mo. suggested that are specifically built to accommodate care givers for the elderly.  However, we maintain the setbacks for the property need to be in line with the CNV OCP. 

As previously noted, we have endured the mind numbing noise, dust and disruption of traffic from the building at 161 East Keith for months.  We have ongoing issues with parking and, again, request that any approval for construction at 151 be held off until the building at 161 is fully occupied and a fair assessment has been made to determine if there is, in fact, parking available in the area.  We think we can pretty much guarantee the outcome of that survey. 

We feel we presented in our last e-mails very valid reasons why we oppose the development at 151 East Keith. We would appreciate your review of our concerns and request a meeting with Council to discuss same prior to the date being set for the Public Hearing. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Victoria Thompson,

#701-123 East Keith Road,

North Vancouver, BC  V7L 1V1

Telephone:  (604) 990-0309 

On behalf of the Owners

Strata Plan VR 2735 Victoria Place

Canada’s Best Places to Live 2017: CNV #72

Interesting comprehensive stats about our little City, rated #72 on the list.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A new report ranks Canada’s best places to live and affordability impacts many of the communities we live in here in Metro Vancouver.

The annual report from Money Sense named Ottawa as the top spot overall for the second straight year, but British Columbia was well represented near the top.

“BC actually does really well on this list. If I’m looking at the top 25, nine of those cities are in BC,” says Mark Brown from Money Sense. “No surprise, one of the things holding BC back is affordability. I don’t think that’s a secret.”

Oak Bay, just outside of Victoria placed third on the list, while North Saanich finished in fourth. Saanich and Central Saanich also cracked the top 14.

When it comes to Oak Bay, which happens to be the home riding for provincial Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver, Brown says, “It has access to all the great transit in the Victoria area but it’s also very well off. It’s a very high net worth community, homes are little bit more expensive but the residents appear to be able to afford it.”

In Metro Vancouver, the north shore boasted bragging rights.

“North Vancouver on the mainland does extremely well on our list. That’s a community that is extremely wealthy, has a very vibrant arts and community score. It also has access to transit. It comes in at number 20 overall on our list.” Port Moody, Delta and West Vancouver all cracked the top 25.

Population: 53,605
Economic Factors
Estimated Unemployment Rate 5.86%
Median Household Income $67,209
Average Value of Primary Real Estate $906,374
Average Rent $1,432
Average Property Tax $1,255
Average Income Tax $8,286
Mobility Factors
Population that walks to work: 6.8%
Population that bikes to work: 1.2%
Population that takes public transit to work: 13.8%
Weather Factors
Total Annual Rainfall: 1,698 mm
Days per year above 0ºC 297
Days per year above 20ºC 81
Health, Safety and Community Factors
Doctors per 1,000 residents: 3
Number of reported crimes per 100,000 residents 8,262
Percentage of residents employed in arts and recreation 3.9%



For a complete list of the rankings, click here.

Source: Canada’s Best Places to Live 2017: Create your own ranking