Comment from Voices: We have received the following from a resident who went to the Council meeting last night hoping to speak at public input:
Source: I was at City Hall for five hours tonight. Did not get a chance to speak, unfortunately. Normal procedure is to allow five speakers on all agenda items. Three spoke on other issues. The two who got on the list for this matter were the developer’s folks. Council normally allows over five speakers, but they have to vote on that. Tonight, they voted against it. I got to City Hall an hour before the meeting started – I was seventh on the list. The two who spoke on behalf of the developer don’t live in the area. The developer of 2601 Lonsdale (where the fire was) wants to close 26th Street, permanently. One of his people got up and told Council that turning right onto Lonsdale from 26th is very dangerous. Crash statistics say he is wrong. After the meeting I told him so and that it was disingenuous of him to mislead Council with no supporting data. This is what we are dealing with. A developer who will get people to go before Council and try to mislead them. Council voted that the proposal go to public hearing. It is not what we wanted, but we will have a chance to speak, at least. The interested parties are: – the community, and our safety – people who would like to move into the area – the developer, who would like to make lots of money – City Council If 26th Street is kept open: – people in the community will be safer – a building can be built within existing property lines that will allow many people to move into the area – Council members who vote to not close may lose some support from the development community The community and people who want to join the community are better off with the road open. Council members may not be. If the road is closed: – the developer will still make money, but less – Council will likely retain the support of the development community, which could enhance their careers. Only the developer’s bank account and Council members dependent upon the support of the developer community for their careers will benefit from the road closure. Several Council members said they need to look at the community benefits of the proposal. What community benefits? There are developer benefits and Council benefits, but there are zero community benefits. Bank accounts and career objectives should not trump the safety needs of the community. Holy Trinity Elementary School sits at the intersection most effected by the closure. The likelihood of crashes at that intersection will increase if everyone is forced to use an intersection already over-congested with cars and CHILDREN. For what? The developer’s bank account? The outcome of the next civic election? Not good enough reasons to risk the lives of children. Not good enough. We don’t oppose development. We want the developer to build. On his own property. Public roads should not be closed for personal gain. Full stop. Decisions have consequences. If this road is closed, there will be crashes that hurt or kill people, and they will partially be the result of money and power being valued over community safety. Closing the road is wrong for the community. Closing it for the personal gains of a select few is appalling and not a decision I will support with my vote this fall. The community needs this road open more than the developer needs money over and above what he’ll make building on property he actually owns. Councils and mayors should be elected based on the voice of the community and not by “payback” votes from the development community as a way of thanking them for putting their needs above those of the people who live here. I was born in North Van. My grandparents and parents raised their families here. My father was a civil servant his entire career (although District. He had to move out of the city he served for over 30 years because the housing costs were so out of control.) I am a North Vancouverite, through and through, and I know a lot of people here. We see what is happening. I will be voting in the civic election this fall and hope you will too. Please share if you live in North Van, especially the City, and especially if you live in Upper Lonsdale.
Lara Braithwaite Ramsay