Monthly Archives: August 2018

Setting the Record Straight #1

You may have received the following ‘Stache Comic Relief’ today: https://mystacheonline.com/2018/08/29/mla-bowinn-ma-is-backing-linda-buchanan-as-our-next-density-nightmayor-wanting-our-city-to-be-further-consumed-in-traffic-and-development/

In our quest to do our part in calling out ‘fake news’ we reached out to our MLA for comment.  When questioned about the validity of her support for candidate Buchanan, this was the response from her office:

From: Ma.MLA, Bowinn <Bowinn.Ma.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
Date: 29 August 2018 at 12:42
Subject: RE: Fw: [New post] MLA Bowinn Ma is OMG supporting Linda Buchanan as our next DENSITY Nightmayor fornicating ‘more’ development leading to ‘more’ traffic congestion!

 <northvancityvoices@gmail.com>

Thank you for your email.

MLA Ma works very hard to ensure strong working relationships with elected officials across the North Shore, as evidenced by her work in INSTTP, which brought together people in all levels of government to work collectively on the issue of transportation on the North Shore in an unprecedented level of collaboration.

MLA Ma is not endorsing municipal candidates nor getting involved in the upcoming election except to provide briefings to candidates about the work of INSTPP. These briefings are offered to every mayoral candidate across the North Shore as well as all council candidates regardless of political stripe. She also regularly accepts requests for meetings from all municipal candidates and is always happy to speak to issues relating to the provincial government.

In your service,

Julia Bilinski

Constituency Assistant

Bowinn Ma, MLA | North Vancouver-Lonsdale

604 981 0033 | 5-221 W Esplanade, North Vancouver, BC V7M 3J3

 

 

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Metro Vancouver elected officials compensation (updated)

Further to this earlier post, we have received the following breakdown from a City resident,  with this comment: 

‘Two things come immediately to mind.  Look at the potential savings from a merger of the NV City and District.  Also, look at how well compensated the CNV mayor is relative to other communities with much bigger problems – like Surrey for example.’

 

2017 Pop Salary Per Person
Surrey 556,566 139,023  0.25
Vancouver 656,164 165,700  0.25
Burnaby 234,433 132,576  0.57
Richmond 219,273 132,426  0.60
Coquitlam 150,144 138,239  0.92
Langley, District Municipality 127,730 126,514  0.99
Maple Ridge 87,713 100,545  1.15
Delta 102,679 119,871  1.17
North Vancouver, District Municipality 85,842 101,796  1.19
New Westminster 73,928 108,592  1.47
Port Coquitlam 62,194 96,752  1.56
Port Moody 33,857 58,980  1.74
West Vancouver 43,802 84,479  1.93
North Vancouver, City of 53,816 107,185  1.99
Langley, City of 27,363 84,600  3.09
Pitt Meadows 19,580 71,000  3.63
White Rock 19,187 78,730  4.10
Bowen Island 3,623 22,920  6.33
Anmore 2,398 24,456  10.20
Lions Bay 1,319 14,085  10.68

Original post:

We ‘borrowed’ this Chart of the Week from Metro Matters (contact metromatters@cbc.ca), a CBC Vancouver newsletter:

The base salaries above do not include expenses, additional allowances for being ‘Mayor of the month’ $1350/ month served, Metro Vancouver payments etc.

‘Perpetual’ motion to give boost to City of North Van renters

From the North Shore News today:

Ten years isn’t long enough.

That was the verdict July 23 as City of North Vancouver council amended a policy aimed to help lower-income renters get a foothold in the city’s housing market – although not everyone agreed on the timing of the amendment’s implementation.

Currently, if developers want to build a midrise or highrise that’s bigger or denser than envisioned by city guidelines, city council only approves the project on the condition the developer rents 10 per cent of the building’s new units at 10 per cent below market rates for at least 10 years.

But as of Jan. 1, 2019, that policy will be changed to maintain that 10 per cent discount in perpetuity.

While council concurred on the merits of the amendment, they disagreed on its execution, with Coun. Don Bell pushing to implement the revised policy on Sept. 1.

“I would hate to see a flood of applications come in expecting to have the lower amount,” he said. Bell emphasized that currently, if renters move out of their discounted apartments within a decade, “the rents will jump up and we’ll lose those (units) as homes.”

Coun. Craig Keating disagreed, suggesting that while city staff process applications swiftly, “I don’t think they’re superheroes.” It would be improbable that a developer could conduct a land survey, finalize architectural drawings, submit their project to advisory bodies, deal with drainage and sewage issues and somehow get their project in front of council prior to Jan. 1, according to Keating.

Bell’s motion also failed to curry favour with Coun. Pam Bookham, who noted that the new policy represented a significant change for developers.

“In the spirit of co-operation and respect for those are putting their money into rental housing in this community . . . perhaps the date suggested by staff might be best,” she said.

The sooner the new policy can be implemented, the better, responded Coun.
Rod Clark. “If it’s impossible to get through the process by Jan. 1, then what’s the big deal about making it Sept. 1?” he asked.

Bell’s motion to push the start date to Sept. 1 was defeated 5-2.

Coun. Holly Back welcomed the change, suggesting the in-perpetuity policy was needed to keep low-cost housing. “I definitely had some concerns on what’s going to happen 10 years from now,” she said.

In 2017, Clark advocated for council to revise the policy so that 20 per cent of new units would be rented at 10 per cent below market rents. However, the change would not be financially feasible in most developments, according to a city-commissioned analysis from Coriolis Consulting Corp.

As of June 2018, average rents in the city ranged from $1,500 for a studio to $3,825 for a three-bedroom. Given that approximately half of city households are renters, Clark said he hadn’t given up on doubling the amount of discounted units on certain new builds and strata developments.

“This whole conversation is to be continued.”

While the policy should help, Mayor Darrell Mussatto emphasized that municipalities need a boost from the senior levels of government that “basically abdicated” the responsibility to build affordable housing.

While there were 7,138 rental units built in the City of North Vancouver over the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, Coun. Linda Buchanan noted there were zero rentals built in the 1980s and ‘90s and 146 built between 2000 and 2010.

The reason rental construction flatlined was because: “there was no absolutely incentive for them to be built,” she said.

A city staff report attributed the stark decline to the elimination of federal funding and tax incentives as well as the introduction of strata ownership in 1966.

The discounted rentals aren’t just for workers in menial jobs, they’re for entry level nurses and teachers, Buchanan emphasized. “These are the people in the community that also can’t afford to live here,” she said.

While the policy is designed to encourage affordable and alternative housing forms, Keating reminded his colleagues the policy is essentially a tool to assist construction. “There’s certain limits here,” he said. “The City of North Vancouver is not itself going to build any housing.”

However, Clark pointed to a plot of city-owned land on East First Street that he called a: “perfect location for affordable housing.”

In the last eight years, 1,030 rental units have been built or approved in the City of North Vancouver including 41 mid-market rentals.

The July 23 motion also charges city staff with investigating how zoning might be used to require below-market rental units or cash contributions from new strata developments.

Source: ‘Perpetual’ motion to give boost to City of North Van renters

Amalgamation – alternative perspectives

The Global Canadian has published two viewpoints of amalgamation of the City and District of North Vancouver.  Two Councillors:  Rod Clark (current) in the City of North Van and Mike Little (former) in the District.  Here are their viewpoints:

https://www.theglobalcanadian.com/cnv-dnv-amalgamation-bad-idea-needs-soundly-rejected/

https://www.theglobalcanadian.com/amalgamation-mean-savings-residents-efficient-delivery-planning/

Comment by Voices:  We believe that most residents would support a study.  Lots of articles on this site if you do a search under amalgamation.  We are reminded of an article written by Elizabeth James in the North Shore News addressing the new Auditor General for Local Government: https://www.nsnews.com/news/no-shortage-of-projects-for-the-new-aglg-1.355968

‘In that regard, if you should schedule a review of the City and District of North Vancouver, I urge you to consider the two municipalities concurrently because, as residents support mirrored councils and staffs for a combined population of only 131,000, many of them want to see a facilitated dialogue on the pros and cons of amalgamation – no matter what some politicians would prefer.

I agree and suggest that a politician who denies citizens that opportunity is in a direct conflict of interest.’

 

 

Stewart: Time to get big money out of Vancouver City Hall for good | Vancouver Sun

Article in the Vancouver Sun by Kennedy Stewart: ‘Four new measures would go a long way to assure voters that city hall is making decisions for the public good. It’s time they were enacted.’

(1) Introduce Cooling Off Rules (2) New Conflict of Interest Rules (3) Implement a Lobbyist Registry (4) Daylight Campaign Financing.

Full article:

Source: Stewart: Time to get big money out of Vancouver City Hall for good | Vancouver Sun

The new campaign finance rules prohibit donations from organizations, corporations and unions. We previously published: https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/city-of-north-van-council-legitimacy-impaired-by-disclosures/