Category Archives: Development

Elizabeth Murphy: Vancouver city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning without giving citizens a say | Vancouver Sun

North Van City Voices has documented that the City of North Van has exceeded the 2041 Regional Growth Targets and is rushing to get through more density before the vote on October 20th: partial quote from the article:

The shift from the Livable Region Strategic Plan in 1996 to the 2011 Regional Growth Strategy has directed the emphasis to growth objectives. As land values have increased due to speculative inflation from rezoning for more density, demolitions of older, more affordable buildings have increased, with more people displaced, causing skyrocketing homelessness and unaffordability. Most of the new supply is unaffordable for both owners and renters and often left empty.

Now the enormous costs of servicing this growth agenda are emerging with the need for billions of dollars to upgrade utility services.

The city’s consultants confirmed as far back as 2014 that there is more than enough existing zoned capacity to meet population growth beyond 2041. Yet the city continues a manic rush to rezone.

The City of Vancouver is on a mad rush job to rezone Kitsilano and Cedar Cottage in a move that will only benefit developers.

read full article:

Source: Elizabeth Murphy: Vancouver city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning without giving citizens a say | Vancouver Sun

Advertisements

Setting the Record Straight #2

If you received the following ‘Stache Comic  Relief‘ https://mystacheonline.com/2018/09/05/density-darrells-i-o-u-legacy-shall-hamstring-mayors-forever-after-unless/  we are again attempting to correct the ‘fake news’.  This statement in part refers to Councillors Buchanan and Clark: ‘BOTH of these wannabe mayor city councillor records readily confirm i.e. that not only are they pro density zealots; they BOTH also favoured and supported the mayor’s $22million Black Necklace for the less than 2% who bike annually to work’ is not true. While it’s true that Councillor Buchanan voted in favour of the majority of development applications, Councillor Clark clearly voted not in favour with the minority 4-3 vote on applications. 

We recall Councillor Clark consistently referring to it as the ‘black necklace’ and initially threatening to lie down in front of bulldozers .  We reached out to him for a comment and received this response:

‘Stache is way out of line in saying I supported the Green Necklace. As you well remember, I stood at the Opening Ceremony with you having dubbed it the Black Necklace. I was, I believe the only voice against for years & finally gave up after the three strips of asphalt went up Grand Blvd. I supported the last links only because it seemed pointless/futile to resist further & completing it was the best option.
I would reach out to Stache directly but cannot find an email for him.
.
Anything you can post to get these facts out would help.’
.
Comment from Voices: If you hear or read anything that causes you to wonder and would like a little fact-checking, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

 

 

 

Vancouver’s high housing growth rate making homes less affordable | Vancouver Sun

Comment from Voices:  We have made this statement previously to Council about our concern that our excess development (exceeding 2041 regional growth targets in 2017) has not and will not result in ‘more affordable housing’. Elizabeth Murphy concurs with us in this article.  As we have stated below, and we note that the reference to Council* is to the votes cast consistently by the 4-3 block: Mussatto, Back, Buchanan and Keating. 

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. 

Quoting from the article in the Vancouver Sun:

The first job of the next city council should be to revisit all the growth plans and reconsider if this is in the public interest. With all the excess zoning capacity the city already has in the system, there is time to plan this more carefully. The problem is that most of the new construction is unaffordable and involves demolishing the older building stock that former occupants could afford but who are then displaced. More new supply is not making things more affordable — quite the opposite. Vancouver is in an affordability crisis of its own making that requires a rethink of current growth with consideration of all the costs and impacts.  Read more:

Source: Vancouver’s high housing growth rate making homes less affordable | Vancouver Sun

‘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

North Van gives go-ahead to $237 million Harry Jerome replacement | Vancouver Sun

Below is the Vancouver Sun’s article about the Harry Jerome replacement:

Source: North Van gives go-ahead to $237 million Harry Jerome replacement | Vancouver Sun

-which garnered this comment on their website:

Duncan James Beith

No mention  in this article about the real people running the show.

Richard White  and Darwin Development ..Mr. White now retired from his top position at City of  NV  enjoys a lucrative career getting developers projects passed in the C of NV.  Also Mr White sits on the Darwin Team who now will own and run this project. 

Under Mr Whites stewardship the trading or selling of community land to pay for projects always seemed to be the favoured route. While at the same time collecting funds from development in the manner of community ammenity conbributions seemed not to have been a priority . 

So who really runs the City of NV ? Well it is not council that is for sure .

Comment from Voices: The replacement is attracting much discussion around and about, we know that we’re nearing the end of a very long process. We found information on the CNV website going back to 2007: https://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/recreation/harry-jerome-rec-centre/harry-jerome-redevelopment-study-,-a-,-building-renewal

There is much built into the financial portion of the replacement, daycare, affordable housing and there will be cost savings as the project proceeds.  So what do we know for sure?

-the Director of Finance believes the risk is acceptable

-the residents of the City of North Vancouver are being packed into a very small, dense area and will need these recreation facilities

-Millions of dollars have been ‘given away’ by these same protesting Council members (Mussatto, Buchanan and Keating) for density bonuses and favourite projects over the past four years                                                                                                  -the Mosquito Creek completion of the Spirit Trail cost $7M, estimated in 2014 to be under $3M – how much has the “Green Necklace” cost to date?

We also point out that this Council since January has held the minimum number of meetings, many lasting under an hour.  Very typically they hold important hearings and votes in the middle of summer – hoping people don’t pay attention?

A strong public vote in October could bring changes!

 

 

 

 

 

New $237M Harry Jerome rec centre approved in split vote

Source: New $237M Harry Jerome rec centre approved in split vote

Despite a $237 million case of sticker shock, the new Harry Jerome rec centre won approval Monday.

Suggesting approval amounted to a blank cheque, Mayor Darrell Mussatto pleaded with his colleagues not to push the project forward without a more detailed cost estimate.

The centre is replete with curling and hockey rinks, a 50-metre pool as well as a seniors centre.

The rising cost will jump up and “bite us,” Mussatto said, explaining the tax hike that may hit city residents if the project goes sideways.

The city needs a more detailed estimate, but “not today,” Coun. Holly Back pronounced.

While the project’s cost means a risk, a further delay in replacing the 55-year-old cinder block structure will only mean a heftier bill in the end, according to Back.

After noting that the $237 million estimate would have to endure dips in the construction market, shifts in the labour market, and general inflation for five years, Coun. Craig Keating put forward a motion that would have delayed the new rec centre pending a more detailed cost estimate.

Keating’s motion, while understandable, would cause a huge delay, Coun. Rod Clark responded, noting that Harry Jerome rec centre renewal had been a civic priority since before his hair turned grey.

Keating’s motion was defeated, leading to council cast their vote on pushing the Harry Jerome project to tendering and construction.

“I am very, very enthused,” Clark said of the rec centre.

Prior to the critical vote, council got their first glimpse of the design of the new centre, which roughly resembles a giant Jenga game that eliminates the warehouse esthetic of older rec centres, explained project architect Paul Fast.

Coun. Pam Bookham praised the design and noted that the wood and glass esthetic blend seamlessly with the vibrancy that the city has been trying to create.

The motion passed 4-3 with Couns. Clark, Back, Bookham and Don Bell in support and Mussatto, Couns. Keating and Linda Buchanan opposed.

Full story to come…

Iconic reminder of railway history is being pushed from place to place in North Vancouver | The Global Canadian

From the Global Canadian:  for those wondering where our PGE Station is:

A rare railway structure dating back to 1913 lies forgotten and abandoned as a new glitzy city shapes up at the Foot of Lonsdale. The iconic reminder of BC’s railway history and pioneer spirit was temporarily moved to a city-owned vacant lot on Alder Street to make way for the new Polygon Gallery and other buildings at the Foot of Lonsdale in 2014.

This ‘designated municipal heritage building’ was supposed to be back to the Foot of Lonsdale in 2015. Three years later, this seminal structure lies neglected and forgotten by a council too focussed on developing and reshaping the city. A study by a city consultant even suggested the PGE building could be converted into an ice cream shop or coffee shop in efforts to keep it on the waterfront, but that never happened. Those who value history may have to wait another few years before the council decides what it will do with the PGE building.

Communications manager for the City of North Vancouver, Connie Rabold, said council decided in 2014 that the relocation of PGE Station be referred to the Waterfront Park Master Plan process, which is scheduled for 2020. The abandoned building is a painful sight for former journalist John Kendrick, whose accompanying picture documents the council’s broken promise on the building. “It seemed to have been conveniently forgotten and that is certainly no way to treat a key part of our community’s heritage,” Kendrick said.

“This iconic piece of North Van’s history has been getting treated like this for decades.  For the longest time, it sat on the grass in Mahon Park behind Burdett stadium (where nobody much knew what it was), being used as an annex to the North Van Museum, until it was finally decided to move it back to the its original site at bottom Lonsdale.  As we now know, that wasn’t to last very long. It’s now sitting in a lonely corner of the municipality overlooking the grain elevators, where nobody sees it.”

Railway historian and archivist at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish said the railway operated from the Foot of Lonsdale to Horseshoe Bay from 1914 until 1929. He said the old station has been moved several times since 1929 and faces an uncertain future considering the frenzied pace of development happening in the City of North Vancouver.

“CNV is having trouble keeping up with the development happening at the moment and there are hundreds of old homes being torn down in the name of progress. History and one old station are way down on the list of priorities. Look at how the North Vancouver Museum has been pushed around from one place to other over the years. It looks like they might now have a permanent home but it won’t be ready until 2020,” he said.

According to the Canadian Register of Historic Places, a resource funded by the federal government, the building’s heritage value is associated with its location in Lower Lonsdale, the ‘earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet.’

“The railway had an important role in the economic growth of North Vancouver, providing a link to the resources of the interior of the province as well as passenger services to Horseshoe Bay and West Vancouver. The streetcar, ferry to Vancouver and PGE railway all converged at the south foot of Lonsdale Avenue, the major transportation hub on the North Shore. The PGE station serves as a reminder to the area’s historic significance.”

For Kendrick and Mills and many others City of North Vancouver citizens who value history, the PGE station is now a reminder of something entirely different: of shameless neglect and political amnesia.

News, analysis, opinion and features on North Shore, Canada and the World. Politics, culture, lifestyle, crime, entertainment, travel and local news. Coverage of British Columbia, North Shore, and Vancouver.

Source: Iconic reminder of railway history is being pushed from place to place in North Vancouver | The Global CanadianThe Global Canadian