Category Archives: Uncategorized

Same time, next year (NS News)

from the North Shore News: EDITORIAL: Same time, next year

Following the non-stop spin cycle leading up to this spring’s provincial election, voters could be forgiven for wanting to pull the covers over their heads and tune out with some binge-watching on Netflix.

Turns out, however, that politics is ubiquitously in the offing.

This month, for instance, marks one year until the next municipal election.

As time marches forward, that is likely to become more and more apparent.

Already there are signs. Speeches in certain council chambers – which may have been confined to a few off-the-cuff remarks normally – have ramped up as of late.

Soon, usually sparsely populated public galleries are likely to get busier, as those considering a run at public office realize it’s a good idea to get up to speed on local issues.

A new civic political party was recently launched in North Vancouver.

All of which means it’s time to start paying attention.

Maybe you’re civic minded and have ideas about how to improve your community. If so, it’s not too early to get your ducks in a row. Politics, even at the local level, is more marathon race than 100-metre sprint.

Citizens, meanwhile, would do well to start tracking votes around the council tables. Actions always speak louder than words.

We’ll also wait with bated breath for the provincial government to make good on badly needed campaign finance reform for municipal elections.

A long winter’s nap can be tempting. But a healthy democracy needs us to pay attention.

So hit the snooze button for five minutes if you must. But don’t plan on hiding out from local politics for long.

Read this: 


New Citizen’s Group (updated)

Launch of a new citizen’s group for North Vancouver 

Attached is a news release announcing the launch of the North Vancouver Citizen Action Association, a group that aims to raise residents’ awareness about the key issues facing North Vancouver residents, and to recruit candidates for City Council who will do something about those issues. Specifically, the group is targeting the issues of traffic gridlock, affordable housing, and conflict of address (i.e., municipal politicians accepting funding from developers and civic unions). 

The group is in its early stages of organizing and is reaching out to interested people to join the conversation. North Van City Voices has not made any decision on what relationship we will have with this association  – but it’s clear we share many of the same concerns and support the overall direction that the new group wishes to take. 

If you are interested in learning more, their website is

NVCAA Press ReleaseFINAL-Oct11


Vancouver Condo Presales in Hong Kong and Chinese Cities Rein in Speculation.

Price Tags


This article by Thinkpol has spread very quickly across social networks for all of the wrong reasons. While accessibility into the housing market and affordability is clearly a major problem in Vancouver, “developer Onni is pre-selling the upcoming 1335 Howe condominium at a Hong Kong fair for prices “cheaper than if bought in Canada,” while boasting about pricing ordinary Canadians out of the housing market.”

You can’t make this stuff up, and the optics for locals are dismissive and appalling. A FaceBook page heralded “Every buyer who has successfully purchased the Onni project at a fair this weekend has a special discount, which is cheaper than buying in Canada. Many people in Hong Kong feel that the property market is not a product that can be bought by ordinary people, and that Canada, Vancouver or Toronto, has now become the preferred choice for many Hong Kong people”.

You can…

View original post 182 more words

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

Development proposal 151 E Keith

Following is a copy of an email received today from a resident in a neighbouring building to this proposal.  The email is addressed to Council and copied to the development planner.   We have also received copies of the previous emails sent in November and May to which there has been no response.  

The proposal is an ‘infill’ project of 4 buildings in space around the existing tower, currently green space.  Of the 43 units, 31 are studio units, each less than 400 sqft.  Detail from the City website:

‘The City has received a Zoning Amendment application from Matthew Steyer of Urban Systems Ltd. to rezone 151 East Keith Road to support the development of 43 additional residential rental units to the existing tower. The proposed 43 units would be constructed in four separate infill buildings on the property and would consist of:

  • A 31 unit – four storey apartment building to front Keith Road;
  • A nine unit – four storey townhouse building to front East 6th Street;
  • A three unit – two storey townhouse building to front East Keith Road; and
  • A single storey recycling, garbage and bike storage building fronting East 6th Street to support the additional rental units. 

The proposed new infill buildings are to be constructed on top of the existing parking structure consisting of 93 parking stalls for the entire complex.  This Development Application does not propose any changes or modifications to the existing tower.’

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

Further to our e-mails sent November 14, 2016 and May 31, 2017, we have had no response from you.   As we have not been invited to speak before council, we attended last evening’s Council Meeting in support of North Van City Voices.  

While we were dismayed with the response to their presentation, the Council did make some very valid points.  The Mayor, particularly, seemed focussed on day care.  The building at 151 East Keith Road is within walking distance of several schools and would be a prime location for a day care centre.  

As well, earlier in the meeting an obviously distraught elderly gentlemen did try to speak with you about the severe lack of ‘affordable’ housing for care attendants for seniors in North Vancouver.  Again, we are in an area rife with seniors who have sold their houses and downsized to live by Victoria Park to be close to Lion’s Gate Hospital.   Building 34 x 400 sq.ft. studio suites at 151 East Keith and marketing them at $1,300 per month with no parking is obviously a money grab by Starlight Investments.  Adding the 9 multiple family suites is obviously just an attempt to appease the City to see if they can get more density. 

Again, the residents of this building are not against development next door but our feeling is ‘while life isn’t fair, it should be just’.  We would be happy to have a day care on the premises.  We would also welcome studio suites that have rents significantly lower than the $1,300/mo. suggested that are specifically built to accommodate care givers for the elderly.  However, we maintain the setbacks for the property need to be in line with the CNV OCP. 

As previously noted, we have endured the mind numbing noise, dust and disruption of traffic from the building at 161 East Keith for months.  We have ongoing issues with parking and, again, request that any approval for construction at 151 be held off until the building at 161 is fully occupied and a fair assessment has been made to determine if there is, in fact, parking available in the area.  We think we can pretty much guarantee the outcome of that survey. 

We feel we presented in our last e-mails very valid reasons why we oppose the development at 151 East Keith. We would appreciate your review of our concerns and request a meeting with Council to discuss same prior to the date being set for the Public Hearing. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Victoria Thompson,

#701-123 East Keith Road,

North Vancouver, BC  V7L 1V1

Telephone:  (604) 990-0309 

On behalf of the Owners

Strata Plan VR 2735 Victoria Place

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.’




North Shore False Creek—The view of the mountains blocked

Vancouverism—the tower-and-podium architecture that began building post-Expo ’86—boils down to just two essential parts: Towers-and-Skytrain. The towers block the sky and the view of the mountains and stop the sun from reaching the city street and sidewalks. This in a place where skies are either overcast, or raining 60% of the time. Nobody wants that. The Skytrain blights the neighborhoods it crosses preserving an unencumbered ground plane for automobiles. People want the public realm to support social functioning as well as traffic, not just one or the other. The Vancouverism doesn’t give much consideration to the human experience of place, or what should be understood to be the quality of the urbanism. Vancouverism’s gigantic land parcel assemblies obliterate human scale. There is no ‘there’ there. No legible hierarchy of street, block, district and neighborhood. The whole is not greater than the sum of…

View original post 1,135 more words