Category Archives: Articles

Developers to pay higher rates for bigger projects

Coverage in the North Shore News today of our delegation appearance before the City of North Van Council on July 17th.  The Anchor’s extra density (10,888 sq ft) is now for sale for $11,888,000.  Detail here: NVCV – Delegation Jul 2017
Article:

If you build denser you’ll pay dearer.

That’s the message in the City of North Vancouver where rates for community amenity contributions – which tend to be levelled on developers who exceed density guidelines – are set to rise 35 per cent in the city centre and 52 per cent on the outskirts beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

The city centre is sandwiched between Mahon and St. Andrews avenues and bordered by the highway and the waterfront.

The change is late, according to North Van City Voices, a watchdog group advocating a freeze on development given the number of housing projects in the pipeline.

By not charging heftier fees, the city has fuelled real estate speculation while “doing little to generate affordable housing,” according to member Fred Dawkins, who recently appeared at council to oppose the city’s density bonus rates.

Dawkins took aim at The Anchor, a 61-unit East Third Street development approved in 2012.

In that case, the developer requested 10,888 square feet be excluded from the city’s floor space calculations. In return, the developer pledged to fill that space with 18 market rental units and to pay the city a $100,000 community amenity contribution. The developer also funded infrastructure improvements and public art.

Given that those units are now selling for approximately $1,000 per square foot, the increase in value was essentially a gift to the developer “with no strings attached,” argued Dawkins.

The value of rental density on vacant land was approximately $100 per square foot in 2012, according to a city staff report.

“This value is not to be confused with the cost per square foot of improved land in today’s dollars,” the report noted.

If a project similar to The Anchor were approved in 2018, the developer would likely be on the hook for a $2.3-million community amenity contribution under the new rules.

Coun. Rod Clark sought to defer council’s July 24 decision on community amenity contributions, citing his desire to pore over a report from North Van City Voices in greater deal.

The deferral was narrowly defeated following an objection from Coun. Craig Keating, who emphasized the city’s role in addressing the regional housing crisis.

“When you talk to actual human beings who need real places to live and cannot afford to buy in this community, rental housing policy is absolutely crucial,” he said, describing the city’s 0.3 per cent vacancy rate as
“punishingly low.”

A “healthy” vacancy rate is between three and five per cent, noted a city staff report.

Low vacancy rates are leading to higher rents, according to a 2016 report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. New tenants in older buildings face 6.4 per cent rate hikes, more than twice as much as the allowable increase for established tenants.

For Coun. Pam Bookham, all new development “needs to make a financial contribution to the redevelopment of Harry Jerome.”

Bookham also backed deferral, suggesting developers already have five months to “get in under the lower, existing rate.”

Keating differed with Bookham on both the deferral and the primacy of the new Harry Jerome community recreation centre.

“Talking about the thing that people in our community need, I think a place to live is top of the list,” he said. “By the time you get to a pool and curling . . . you’re pretty far down the list.”

The city’s community amenity contribution rates are currently “a bit low,” according to staff.

The community amenity contribution rate of $190 per square foot in the city centre is a “fair price point,” according to an analysis from G.P. Rollo & Associates. The charge should allow developers to make a 15 per cent profit, assuming prices hover above $1,000 per square foot. Charges for projects outside the city centre are set to rise to $175 per square foot.

If the housing market remains strong, the city could pocket between $6 and $10 million per year in community amenity contributions. In 2016, the city collected $3.85 million.

The payment are meant to mitigate the impacts of new projects without reducing the rate of development, according to a staff report. The payments are also meant to encourage developers to build less expensive housing, and housing for residents with special needs.

Source: Developers to pay higher rates for bigger projects

Seller boasts of “NEVER LIVED-IN” 10-year-old condo in North Vancouver

Source: Seller boasts of “NEVER LIVED-IN” 10-year-old condo in North Vancouver

By Joyce Yip

For a mere $1.15 million, you, too, could be the owner of a 10-year-old North Vancouver condo with a unique selling point: it has never been lived in.

The three bedroom three bathroom unit at Lonsdale Pier is owned 366466 B.C. LTD., INC., whose ownership appears to be murky.

“Pinnacle Living at THE PIER Development: South facing 3 bedroom + den townhome, 3 full baths, NEVER LIVED-IN, functional layout, Main Level living, dining & bedroom with semi-ensuite bathroom, patio & balcony,” according to the MLS listing, which notes Anson Realty’s Grace Kwok as the primary agent.

The number of empty houses continues to grow sharply as Metro Vancouver grapples with an affordable housing crisis.

The percentage of “non resident” homes – empty or occupied by a foreign or temporary resident – double from 3% in 1986 to 7% in 2016 in the region.

366466 B.C. LTD was once a fully-owned subsidiary of the now bankrupt Shieldings Incorporated, a merchant bank partially owned by The Bank of Nova Scotia.

 

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

Richmond

http://www.richmond-news.com/opinion/letters/letter-new-condos-leave-us-homeless-1.21442532

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

 

 

Density for sale $34.88 per square foot

Source: Decision on Onni’s bowling bid delayed 

From the North Shore News Jun 21st, comment from Voices:

The ‘over-excavated’ space will be a commercial venture, probably leased to an operator.   Bargain price: $275,000 for 7,884 sq ft = $34.88 per square foot.  Another 4-3 vote with the developer-funded slate voting in favour.

 

 

 

 

Stupid/can’t believe it/weird/ruining/ eyesore/shameful/dumb-ferris wheel

The comments above are part of facebook comments posted to the North Shore News coverage of this news: http://www.nsnews.com/news/ferris-wheel-approved-for-waterfront-next-summer-1.20573170.  

The article was posted yesterday and so far more than 200 people have chimed in with their thoughts.  We do note that the report that “Council united in support” can be taken with a grain of salt.  Councillors Bell, Bookham and Clark have previously expressed concerns.  For those Council watchers lately concerned with the seeming lack of engagement by residents, these comments prove that people are indeed paying attention.  The comments are exactly in the order posted on facebook, nothing positive yet.

For the benefit of those not on facebook these are the comments (names removed) to date:

 -What a stupid idea!! First they get rid of all local parking for the restaurants, now this which will interfere with driving in the vicinity. If actions speak louder than words it seems the developer driven CNV council is determined to drive all the small businesses out of the area. Why? To free up the space for developers?

It really can’t believe this idea has gotten approval. Practically every city has a Ferris wheel these days; the novelty is no longer there. I can’t imagine tourists coming to the Shore just to ride an overpriced wheel in the sky. Why don’t we build something for residents, like an outdoor pool or have a beautiful park instead? And where is this money coming from when the City somehow couldn’t find the money to restore the Brazenhead or the other shipping cranes as originally planned and promised? I, for one, am not a fan of this Ferris wheel.

-That photoshop looks weird. How can a Ferris wheel fit between Anatolis, Tap and Barrel and the new Presentation House? I thought counsel had ditched the original concept. (Where the Ferris wheel would be run by private biz and would be situated dockside (way south of drawing )! Something fishy here.

-I don’t think the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Assoc……really has the money for covering the expense or part of the expense….there is no big business in Lower Lonsdale….

-City Council is ruining Lower Lonsdale, 1st that ugly silver cube building that blocks the view of Vanc. waterfront, now a huge ridiculous ferris wheel???? Hope everyone remembers this next election time but by then it will be too late.

-What an eyesore. Is NV not getting enough attention? Enough taxes from the addition of thousands of homes? Do people not love NV for its natural beauty and tranquility? Why turn it into a cheap circus for the few people who can’t occupy themselves with something more meaningful than a silly ride? I just don’t get it..

-North Vancouver isnt the nice beautiful community i grew up loving.its gone all city n now this!ppl cant even afford to live here anymore hth do you think we could afford a ride on ferris wheel n wth would we want to???This is ALL FOR TOURISM isn’t there enough attractions?? THIS IS AN EYESORE!!!

-If people wanted a ferris wheel they could head over the bridge to the PNE. Except maybe the traffic situation is so bad they can’t get there anymore. Shameful and tacky.

-We need someone to run in the next election that will win the votes!!! Mussatto has been in office since 1995 and look at what he has created. This is ridiculous.
Local decisions brought us here not provincial, like people complained in the recent election. Who will run against Mussatto?

-Is this a joke? I live in that area and there is no room in that spot. Tap and barrel deck nearly done and the new arts building??!!

-dumb, dumb, dumb. I want to see mountains and trees, not skyscrapers and ferris wheels.

-no…no …please no…we don’t need this in our local community!! We have enough for attractions for tourists!!!! Please no!!!!

and more: Why not? They’ve already ruined the waterfront with all the condos and their atrocious “art gallery”.;We already have too much congestion on the North Shore we don’t need anymore.;Stupid idea…. ruins the view and not even original….; they are trying to turn lonsdale into a California feel fo sho;nother program that should assist with solving the transportation and housing affordability issues on the North Shore.;Y’all need to write letters rather than rant on fb posts. It’ll be heard a lot louder.;Seven seas should still be docked there; Ridiculous waste of money;Oh noooooo….I hadn’t heard about this in a long time. Thought it was history; 

and more.

 

Sky-high condo prices aren’t a supply problem

From the Globe and Mail (Gary Mason), quoting in part:

‘No, there is lots of “supply” in Vancouver and Toronto. That isn’t the issue. It’s who’s getting access to that supply that is a big part of the problem. And it’s also the type of “supply” being built.

Many of the condos being constructed are designed to be purchased by wealthy investors, the Lamborghini crowd. They aren’t being built for a couple of young professionals starting a family. Not unless you consider $1-million for 1,000-square-feet on the 10th floor of a tower in suburban Burnaby, B.C., reasonable. No, somehow, some way, governments need to encourage developers, through incentives or whatever it takes, to start building housing that the middle class can afford.

Right now, developers are getting everything their way. They are putting pressure on local politicians to speed up the approval process so they can erect more towers, more quickly, but they are doing nothing – nothing – about the costs of the units they are constructing. In fact, you could argue they are engaging in activity that is helping ensure the costs keep going up.

It’s ridiculous.’

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/sky-high-condo-prices-arent-a-supply-problem/article35091277/