Category Archives: Council

Delegation scripts and correspondence

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

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

EDITORIAL: Health and wealth

Editorial in the North Shore News today:

Source: EDITORIAL: Health and wealth

We celebrate this week with the District of North Vancouver and the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture on the (phased) opening of the new Delbrook Community Recreation Centre.

A community with a busy rec centre is a healthy community.

The district initially intended to pay some of the $53.5-million cost by selling off some of the old Delbrook land but, facing blowback from the community, council scrapped that plan and citizens will pay down the $28 million in debt and the accompanying interest largely through their taxes.

As municipalities go, rec centres are big, big-ticket items. The City of North Vancouver could be spending three times as much on a replacement for the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre depending on what amenities it will include.

Plenty of people in the aquatics community have questioned the wisdom of building two 25-metre pools within walking distance of each other when pool users from both sides of the city/district boundary say they’d prefer one (much more expensive) 50-metre one.

It’s a crystalline example of how, even with shared services like the recreation and culture, North Vancouverites’ interests are divided by silly borders.

But, as we saw with paying for Delbrook, a council can be persuaded.

On Monday night, the city council is holding a special meeting just to listen to presentations from Harry Jerome’s user groups.

On Tuesday night, the wider community is welcomed to offer their input at a town hall meeting at the Pinnacle Hotel. We encourage everyone to show up and help shape the rec centres that will keep them in shape.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-health-and-wealth-1.19669793#sthash.oVwJCmny.dpuf

Full CNV report details: http://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/recreation/harry-jerome-rec-centre

 

 

 

Housing talk gets louder and angrier in Vancouver

Article in The Globe and Mail today and quoting in part:  one conclusion  “that more supply is nothing but fuel for the unaffordability crisis”

 “The only group at fault are politicians who want growth without having to pay the requisite cost.”

Because the majority of our infrastructure was built before 1990, we are continually drawing on that value with massive new developments. Government should be tapping the “vast fortunes being made in real estate” to ensure equal access to public infrastructure,” he says, echoing Mr. Hudson’s argument for far heftier taxes on speculative buying.

“The growth has not paid for itself. Much of the infrastructure is relatively dated and paid for by a generation that was far more generous, and we are drawing down on that, compromising the quality of life without growing the infrastructure. We are creating congestion, whether it’s traffic, or at the hospitals or universities, whatever. There is plenty of money in private growth, so the growth should at least pay for itself. Why should government and the people in the middle foot the bill?

“Somebody doesn’t spend $4-million on your house alone. It’s the region they are buying, not the house. It’s the community that makes it special. It wouldn’t be worth anything if the community were to decay. That’s what we don’t understand.

“Obviously something terrible is happening – the money flooding in is not a sign of a healthy functioning capitalist market.

“The only group at fault are politicians who want growth without having to pay the requisite cost.”

Source: Housing talk gets louder and angrier in Vancouver

City of North Vancouver council green-lights Green on Queensbury

Source: City of North Vancouver council green-lights Green on Queensbury

Comment by Voices:   Another lost opportunity to fulfill the earlier plans for Moodyville. Three four-storey buildings that mirror most of the buildings further  west along Marine Drive:

 Proposed Development looking southeast from East 3rd Street and Moody Ave

What happened to “With the community’s participation, these guidelines have been developed to advocate for a welcoming and attractive neighbourhood. They illustrate multifamily development that frames local, tree-lined streets. A range of building forms and housing types create a diverse streetscape, unified by the pedestrian-scale rhythm of front doors with paths to the sidewalk. Lanes and greenways further promote a living streets approach with fine-grained access through the neighbourhood. Buildings follow the natural slope, and considerations of view impacts and neighbourliness temper the apparent scale of development. Contemporary architectural forms support placemaking and comfort through well designed frontages and enhanced energy efficiency, noise reduction and adaptability. The Moodyville guidelines will support efforts to increase family-friendly housing in the community through designated densities that allow for a diversity of ground-oriented townhouse and low-rise apartment housing forms. Buildings are commonly arranged around a courtyard, and, in almost all forms, each dwelling benefits from a front door opening onto the street, lane or mews” (ref: http://www.cnv.org/Property-and-Development/Projects-and-Developments/Major-Studies-and-Projects/Moodyville-Development-Controls-Process)

Affordability?  Suggested prices in excess of $700,000 for a two bedroom unit is not helpful to keep young families in the City, and is as ridiculous as Councillor Back’s comment speaking about the Grand Boulevard application that smaller lots in the Boulevard  area could be “great starter homes”.    Thanks (again) to Councillors Bell, Bookham and Clark for not supporting the project.

Disappointing (again).

 

 

Why Real Estate Developers Are Ignoring the Middle Class | The Tyee

Comment from Voices:  We have been watching with increasing dismay as the overbuilding continues in the City of North Van.  We are watching new buildings being constructed with starting prices for one bedroom units in excess of $600,000 (Kindred $649+).  We are watching sales being announced in new buildings when the projects have not yet had a public hearinghttps://www.buzzbuzzhome.com/ca/canada/cities/bc-north-vancouver-new-homes.

In the meantime, we note that there have been six Council meetings in 2017 to date – total time for six meetings has been less than 9 hours!  Is it too late for Council to meet with residents in a Town Hall setting to ask residents if they’re happy with this direction?
.

The following article was published in The Tyee today and quoting in part: ‘But many of the experts quoted in the report spoke candidly about the industry. Some of them are concerned about the direction it’s heading. “We’re not paying enough attention to affordable housing, and I don’t mean low-income or government-subsidized. Just regular rents. No new buildings are providing that kind of product,” said one CEO. “Time will tell if that’s going to come back to haunt us. Not everybody makes $75,000 to $100,000 a year.”’

Source: Why Real Estate Developers Are Ignoring the Middle Class | The Tyee.

Kerry Morris has written to the Mayor and Council expressing his concerns:  Kerry Morris opinion on Tyee article  Quoting in part: ‘

When Darrell Mussatto began as Mayor, the City of North Vancouver was still an affordable place to live. There existed an abundance of large liveable well maintained apartment buildings providing nice accommodation for the more than 50% of City residents who live in our community but do not own a home.

We also note this letter to the Editor, North Shore News today:

Dear Editor:

Recent letters to the editor have prompted me to write.

We have been extremely wasteful with our land, a precious commodity that we buy and sell. However, when it becomes in short supply, we cannot manufacture any more. When a commodity that is in great demand becomes scarce and hard to get, the price skyrockets – a situation we now find ourselves in.

The North Shore has arrived at a point where it is necessary to accommodate a different style of building and people must open their minds to change, as our community planners wrestle with the necessity of smaller footprints, which mean building up in our core centres and with more creative infill in our surrounding neighbourhoods.

It is also time to take a break from the building of high-end market homes and concentrate on building housing for those who live, work and serve our North Shore.

These are the people who give life and vibrancy and caring to a community, the average and low income earning people. They form a large section of the North Shore and certainly deserve the dignity and security of a home, be it rental or freehold, without having to fight tooth and nail to get their homes built in the neighbourhoods they serve and protect.

The North Shore has always been home to people from all walks of life, all levels of income and all forms of expertise. Let’s keep it that way.

Maureen Bragg
North Vancouver

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-housing-should-serve-the-needs-of-those-who-live-here-1.12483976#sthash.kGLXXNsG.dpuf

Ferris Wheel back again?

Coming up at CNV Council on Monday is a motion from Councillor Buchanan:

Ferris Wheel in Lower Lonsdale – File: 13-6740-20-0014/1

Submitted by: Councillor Buchanan

RECOMMENDATION: WHEREAS the development of the Shipyards is moving forward; WHEREAS the programming of the Shipyards has proven to be highly successful; AND WHEREAS the original plans for the Shipyards included a Ferris Wheel; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT staff investigate the feasibility of the City hosting a Ferris Wheel attraction in Lower Lonsdale during the summer of 2017 on a cost recovery basis.

This was previously considered and discounted in April 2015: https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/shipyards-plan-moving-ahead/

Quoting from the North Shore News: ‘Gone from the plan, however, is the ferris wheel at the end of the pier, which had been a lightning rod for criticism by opponents of the plan’.

There seems to be no mention of the ferris wheel in the City’s December 2016 update: http://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/city-waterfront/the-shipyards-lot-5.

Does this mean that the Casino could surface soon?  Many mentions in various media back to 2013 along with the ferris wheel.