Category Archives: Letters

Unsettled Place of Transience?

Comment from Voices:  We have received the following version of a letter sent to North Vancouver City Council from a long time resident:

Is North Vancouver Now an Unsettled Place of Transience – Not A City? 

One issue about population growth: the enormous stress on the hospital. 

It is the only hospital on the North Shore and serves, as we know, the entire area from Deep Cove to Squamish and the Sunshine Coast: developments at 13th St and also along the entire Marine Drive and also 3rd street from St. George eastward etc. and at the foot of the cut grow buildings like mushrooms. 

Calling us a “City” is a misnomer; this is not a “city” anymore; it is an enclave that is a lacework of different kinds of settlements, small neighbourhoods, suburbs and bridge ways, which give it its character. 

The character now: sprawl and barely manageable growth. It is place of ‘transience’ and unsettled growth. 

As Council knows working people come to the North Shore from all over the Lower Mainland because they can’t afford to live here. 

For many the place has become little more than passageways from one place to another. 

This Transience! 

The dislocated renters will learn about ‘transience’ very quickly when they are forced to move. 

Who represents them? 

I’ll tell you a story perhaps representative: our Dr. in the Lower Lonsdale area moved his practice to Vancouver. We experienced what happens in finding a Dr. that is not a walk-in clinic. 

Most Dr.s on the North shore are not taking new patients unless in a walk-in clinic. We found out. 

Yet “we” are piling the people in. Who is the “We”? 
Especially one can add when so few voters in the City or District actually vote? Where is the “we”? 

The increase in population for example. Rrcently the rise in flu cases; many took their flu to the hospital because they don’t have a Doctor. 
Canadian statistics show this. 

The increase in population will further stress the lifeworld facilities. 
We know that the increase in population has moved beyond the predicted optimum that was planned. 

Yet development continues? 

We have experienced first hand the waiting time and the stress of the staff at the hospital who do their best. 
We eventually found a Dr. after many weeks of searching; this is a marker that is indicative of the reality. 

The Planning Department can produce a study of the indicators of the quality of the everyday way of life 

and see where ‘we’ stack up? 

-From a Very (very) Long Time North Vancouver Resident.

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Eastern Ave- 13 storeys, 225 units

Developer’s Information Session coming up: January 31 6-8pm 125 West 15th (Legion) for a new proposal by Anthem Properties at 1600 Eastern Avenue.  The Mayor and Councillor Keating were recipients of campaign donations from Anthem in 2014.  The proposed density is 3.3 FSR.

We (Voices) have received a copy of the following submission from a concerned resident in the area, which has been submitted to Anthem:

Dear Emily Howard
Community Relations Manager
Anthem Eastern Apartments LP
cc. Planning cnv.
__________________________
I will be attending the Information Session on January 31 to hear about your proposal for the new massive development in our neighborhood.
I’m sure other residents of The Sovereign will be there and will want to know about your plans.
This message is directed to both Anthem and Planning CNV and several Council members.
Here are some questions which you might want to address:  
1. What is the rent scale that Anthem proposes? 
2. Will there be options for affordable rent for the renters who will be affected who now live in the apartments on the East side of Eastern Ave.?
3. What kind of traffic survey and analysis has been done? What does it show?
   The traffic in this area is circumscribed by through-arteries to Grand Blvd.,Lynn Valley,
   and beyond, and the Upper Levels. Traffic on St. George and the hospital is considerable as well.
   17 th. is a shortcut to Grand Blvd. and the Upper Levels.  
4. Traffic to and from Loblaws, bus routes on 15th, fire, police, ambulances, delivery and service vehicles spread are now spread throughout these narrow streets. A huge development will take place on St. George and 15th adding more congestion to the already stressed neighborhood.
5. This is a small residential neighborhood with a specific character;  this massive development will once again promote urban growth and see development take charge of the way of life. What if any amenities is Anthem returning for this density? The intersection at Eastern and 17th and Eastern and 15th is already a  dangerously congested intersection for pedestrians and automobiles. The neighborhood has  many older people who use walkers, families who walk with small children and strollers.  The entrance and exit to Loblaws on both 17th and Eastern impinges on sidewalk traffic.
6. Where is the entrance and exit going to be for Anthem Eastern Apartments?
Thank you for your attention to these issues. 
— 
Jerry Zaslove 

 

Tribute to Stella Jo Dean

We (Voices) have received the following from Joan Peters, a long time City of North Van resident:

  About 50 years ago it was reported that the City was going to civilize the park at the top of Grand Boulevard, known then as “The Quarry”’  My young family loved to go up there and let their imaginations run as wild as the surroundings.  My daughter wrote a Letter  to the Editor of the local paper asking “Please, no changes!”  The paper printed her letter and  even arranged for a picture of her in the park.

   Two days after publication, there was a knock on our front door.  It was Stella Jo Dean, the fairly new City Councillor,  who wanted to meet and talk to the 9 year old letter writer.  Were we impressed?  You bet we were!  We held Councillor Dean dear all the years she served this city and she was always our first ballot check at election time

    Stella Jo Dean was a very special Lady, an eternal excellent example for present and future councillors.

She will be missed.

Letter to the Editor – Monday night TV

Comment from Voices:

We have received a copy of the following Letter to the Editor, North Shore News (now published).  This complements the column by Paul Sullivan in today’s edition and posted on this site. http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-switch-off-cnn-and-click-on-cnv-org-for-politics-in-action-1.23094072

To:  Editor, North Shore News

    Are you finding Monday night TV dull?  Might I suggest tuning in to NV City council meetings at 6:00 via the city website*.    It’s akin to watching CNN but these politics are happening right here in our little city and are affecting our quality of life – every one of us, present and future.

    It doesn’t take long to realize that  members of our elected council don’t  get along well; it soon becomes  obvious that there is a concerted effort to prevent the public’s voice from being heard;  you’ll get frustrated with the high-falutin’ language used to discuss issues; you may get angry with the constant 4-3 votes in favour of serious changes within our home territory, in spite of large public opposition  and you may want to “Boo” loud and clear when the mayor congratulates himself on speeding through another meeting.

    City council watching is certainly not dull!   You’re either with the powers-that-be or against them but either way next October it’s OUR TURN to take control and have OUR WAY with  them —- Election 2018!

    So for good entertainment, on the spot education –  Watch your city council in action on Monday Nights, form an opinion and , for Heaven’s Sake, Vote next October !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joan Peters

*update:  the link to the Council meeting is usually on the front page of the city website: http://www.cnv.org/. It can also be accessed on the Council meeting page here: http://www.cnv.org/your-government/council-meetings

Strata re 151 E Keith:Rezoning unacceptable

Below is a submission to the City from the residents of 123 E Keith, neighbours of the development proposal at 151 E Keith to add 43 units in four separate infill buildings. It would seem that sometime in the past year the City has amended the parking requirements to .6/ unit. 

We received this response from the City when queried: ‘Our Zoning Bylaw does have the provision to charge applicants $35,000 per parking stall for the purpose of creating municipal parking facility.  It has only been applied when a the application falls short of the required off-street parking in accordance with the Zoning Bylaw.  It has not applied to applications that meet the off-street parking requirements of the Zoning Bylaw’.

We have previously published information on this application (search 151 E Keith ).

Your Honourable Mayor, Esteemed Council Members and Mr. Johnson:

 

Yesterday evening a contingent of our residents met with representatives from Pottinger Bird, Starlight Investments, Urban Systems, Burrowes Huggins, and Connect Landscape Architecture to allow them the opportunity to hear our concerns in advance of the Public Hearing to be held regarding the infill project at 151 East Keith Road.

 

Over 30 residents were in attendance at the meeting last night and rigorously participated in the question period.  I don’t think any left the meeting feeling anything was accomplished.

 

Our main objection is still to the aggressive setbacks for the proposal.  Originally, they were submitted as:

 

  • E. Keith Lot Line:              2.40 m
  • E 6th Street Lot Line:        1.64 m
  • East Lot Line:                   2.00 m
  • West Lot Line:                  3.04 m

 

To our dismay, only one of the setbacks has been altered and that one for only a portion of the West Lot line between our buildings to allow a 7 metre green space.  It was offered that Starlight was very disappointed to lose three of the 43 proposed units to accommodate this.  It was questioned why they didn’t continue the green space on the entire lot line between the buildings and we were told that Starlight would further lose 8 of their 400 sq.ft. units to allow this and the project would no longer be viable.  Putting in a small patch of grass does not in any way allay our growing frustration with feeling an inability to communicate with either Starlight or the City.

 

Other information came up during the meeting that was equally as disarming.  The architect advised that the City required them to alter the original plans to create a garbage and bicycle storage facility outside the current building fronting 6th Street and to incorporate them in the current parking structure.  Parking has always been one of our biggest objections.  Currently, the building has 104 stalls.  The original proposal was to decrease it to 93 stalls representative of 0.7 parking stalls per unit.  When we found that the plans had been altered, we asked how many stalls they would have in their new submission.  We were told 82 – representative of 0.6 per unit.  We asked how this was even possible because we knew the requirement had already been dropped by CNV to 0.7 and it was casually noted that the City changed the regulations this past summer.  Really???  Did the City change the stipulations to allow this specific project to drop to 0.6 per unit?? 

 

When it was noted that the planners had based the parking on a ‘current study’ of buildings in Greater Vancouver, one of our residents asked if they polled the residents at 151.  We are fully aware that many of them have to pay for parking in their building and opt to park on the street to avoid paying the $75/month.  The only way to get an actual representation of the utilization of the parking in the building is to canvas all of the residents and see how many have cars and where they are actually parking them.  There is absolutely no way you can add 40 more units to that property and say there is sufficient parking for all of them using the format presented by Starlight.

 

It was then questioned how many of the proposed units would be low rental for Starlight to be granted the density bonus.  The 34 x 400 sf units are anticipated to market at $1,400/month.  We don’t know what the townhouses will be rented for, but know they will be expensive.  We were advised that 10% of the units will be offered at off-market/mid-market of CMHC averages for the area.  Is this based on 10% of the 40 proposed units or inclusive of the 89 current units on the property?  I.e., the architect said that they are allowed to build 34 tiny units to allow the entire portfolio of the property to be 1/3 studio, 1/3 one bedroom and 1/3 two bedroom suites.  Does that mean 10% of the entire portfolio will be offered at off-market pricing based on the suite sizes?  What about the townhouses … will at least one be offered at a lower rental?

 

As one of our owners noted, this property is a developers dream …. They are paying nothing for property or parking.  They are building on a current structure and are set to reap huge profits.  This will be done at the expense of all the other residents in the neighbourhood losing privacy, green space, corridor views and parking.  Not only that, the City is giving them extra density to add insult to injury. 

 

The model presented shows the buildings will still go from sidewalk (on Keith Road) to sidewalk (on 6th Street).  This is totally in line with the project currently being constructed at 161 East Keith that has been controversial since the onset and was pushed through by council in spite of 4,000 people objecting on a signed petition.  After months of being subjected to construction noise, unbelievable amounts of concrete dust and traffic nightmares, our members feel it is unfair for the City to even consider the project at 151 until the residents have moved into 161-163 East Keith (that also has a reduced parking allotment of 0.7 for those units) and do a feasibility study to determine what the actual parking ramifications will be to the residents on Keith Road and 6th Street.

 

We are aware that Starlight is anxious to get in front of North Vancouver City Council to push the project for development but we want it made clear that we feel the setbacks are still out of line with the OCP and the proposed parking is even more unacceptable.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Victoria Thompson,

 

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

LETTER: Hold our local councils to account

In the North Shore News today:

Dear Editor:

I encourage everyone everywhere to pay attention to what is happening at their municipal council meetings. They affect our daily lives so directly.

My understanding of all that underlies decisions of our local councils should be that whilst they move their communities forward, they should always work to maintain the quality of life of the people who elected them. In this North Vancouver councils have abysmally failed!

I have lived on the North Shore for many years and I am increasingly feeling like a prisoner in my own home, unable to venture out after two o’clock. As the traffic congestion becomes intolerable the councils continue to approve every application for development with minimal upgrade to infrastructure. Hundreds more units have been approved for this year.

At a District of North Vancouver council meeting recently a councillor suggested that if residents think this is congestion, we should visit Vietnam. Three councillors pleaded for a three-month development approval pause but were voted down by four who suggested we should be concerned about where our grandchildren will live. I conclude that they are quite unconcerned about the lives of their current constituents.

We must pay close attention to what transpires at our local councils and we must vote accordingly next time.

Lesley Brooks
North Vancouver

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-hold-our-local-councils-to-account-1.9918282#sthash.4fvSFbip.dpuf

Source: LETTER: Hold our local councils to account