Category Archives: Uncategorized

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…

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UBCM Convention

Do you wonder what our CNV council members are doing in Victoria at the Union of BC Municipalities annual convention this week?  

Program is here

and Resolutions to be voted on are here:



Resident concerns re Hollyburn 3

We (Voices) have received the following copy of an email to Council members and Planning concerning the proposed OCP amendment and development for 1301-1333 Lonsdale.  First reading of the bylaw is on the agenda for September 19.  The public hearing date has not yet been announced.   We also note that a minimum of 117 parking spaces in the vicinity are currently reserved for CNV staff.

Dear Michael and CNV Council,
I have written to you in the past about my concerns regarding the amount of parking that is planned for 1301-1333 Lonsdale – Hollyburn 3.
Today I am providing facts to support my concerns.
There is already a shortage of resident parking for Hollyburn 1 & 2.  The parking lots for the two buildings are FULL and there is a waiting list.  Given the market-rate rents for Hollyburn 3, the proposed on-site parking for this new building will be insufficient for its residents and visitors.  Further, the traffic created by this development will exceed what has been modelled which will cause congestion issues in the lane between City Hall and Hollyburn 3 as well as on 13th and Lonsdale. 
Bridgewater/Hollyburn 2:
  • 134 suites
  • 74 resident parking spaces in the building
  • 50 + an additional 4 parking spaces assigned in the Marlborough/Hollyburn 1 building
    • includes 10 Visitor Parking spaces across the street behind the Marlborough
    • Disabled Visitor parking is across the street from the Hollyburn 2!
    • Disabled residents must park on P1 since the elevator doesn’t go to the lower parking levels.
  • All parking spaces are ‘FULL‘ and Hollyburn 1 & 2 has a waiting list.
What is the current parking ratio for every Bridgewater/Hollyburn 2 dwelling unit?  (74+54-10)/134=  .88 non-visitor parking spaces per dwelling unit.   And it’s not enough since there is a waiting list.  Where are the additional Bridgewater cars going to park?   Also, recall that the current parking ratio for Vista Place (based on ICBC data) is 1.1 registered vehicles per dwelling unit.
The parking ratio for Hollyburn 3 is 0.6 non-visitor parking spaces per dwelling unit AND Hollyburn 3 has more 2 and 3 bedroom units than Hollyburn 2.    It’s NOT enough regardless of the amount of bicycle parking provided.   Facts show that people who can afford the market-rate rents in the new North Shore buildings are choosing to have at least one car.  Families who move into the 2 and 3 bedroom units in Hollyburn 3 will definitely have a car based on the facts for both Vista Place and Hollyburn 2.
The City of North Vancouver is creating a traffic and parking mess for the existing Central Lonsdale residents.   Hollyburn 2 is already creating a number of congestion issues on 14th and in the Civic Mews area.
Why not reduce the size/density of Hollyburn 3 to be in line with the OCP so that the residential parking is consistent with what the rental market requires?   That’s what your Constituents are asking you to do based an all of the public input. 
What’s the point of holding Open Houses, Public Town Hall meetings and Public Hearings if you completely ignore the public input and the facts?   
North Vancouver residents are not evolving to use other modes of travel as fast as you might wish.  
Carol Reimer

Housing supply clarified

The article states “According to a recent city information bulletin, they are building way more than outlined in the Regional Growth Strategy” – referring to Vancouver. However, this also applies to the City of North Vancouver which is now close to the 2041 Regional Growth Strategy targets – 25 years ahead of schedule.

Affordable housing myths and facts

By Elizabeth Murphy, Vancouver Sun, August 19, 2016

The city’s consultant’s report of June 2014 confirmed, “the City has sufficient capacity in existing zoning and approved community plans to accommodate over 20 years of supply at the recent pace of residential development.” Photo Stephen Bohus BLA / PNG

The province is expected to make pre-election announcements starting in September featuring housing affordability fixes. Unfortunately, it looks like the policies they are considering may be ineffective yet problematic. To find the right solutions, they need to be using accurate assumptions rather than myth.

The B.C. Liberals frequently suggest increasing housing supply as the solution to the housing affordability crisis. In the City of Vancouver, there is already ample zoned capacity. The city’s consultant’s report of June 2014 confirmed, “the City has sufficient capacity in existing zoning and approved community plans to accommodate over 20 years of supply…

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Summer Break

North Vancouver City Council is taking their summer break, and so are we*. In the meantime, let’s recap where we are after almost 2 years of city business dominated by the Mayor’s slate.

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. Next up: 1301 Lonsdale, which goes to public hearing in the fall.

The casino is back. Opposed by most residents and rejected by the independent majority on the previous council, a casino is back on the table. Residents aren’t asking for it, it’s not a needed community amenity, and many concerns have been raised about negative social impacts – but none of that seems to matter to the Slate compared with the expected financial windfall, much of which will come from the pockets of problem gamblers.

Public input has been curtailed. We have appealed to Council more than once on this issue, and been ignored. The right of citizens to speak at Council meetings has been severely curtailed by restrictive new rules.

Livability? What’s that? This Council’s preoccupation with cramming more and more people into our little enclave has not been accompanied by much care for its livability. Traffic gets worse and worse with no sign of relief – not only is there no concrete plan for improved transit, the City has failed to prevent the loss of North Vancouver’s only bus depot. The much-needed rebuild of Harry Jerome recreation centre languishes near the bottom of the priority list.

We know that a great many North Van residents are concerned about these issues. Our humble website has had more than 11,000 views since January. We constantly hear from residents who are frustrated by the sense that the game is rigged and they are not being heard. All we can say is – keep yourself informed. Keep coming out to the public meetings and making your voice heard. Write letters to the NS News, and talk to your neighbours about the issues. Even if the Slate won’t listen, maybe the voting public will.

*we continue to track  new applications and will respond to queries. Next Council Meeting will be held on September 12th.


Why not much will ever really change in the oligarchy of Surrey…until the council does

Pertaining to Surrey, but oh so familiar to City of North Van residents … quoting: Why do I refer to Surrey as an oligarchy? Because the definition of the words fits so damn well: “oligarchy: small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.”

No Strings Attached: Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

Its amazing what a difference a few weeks and a lack of press coverage makes when it comes to making hard decisions that will permanently impact an entire neighbourhood in Surrey.

Just weeks ago, parents and residents in West Panorama/Sullivan were celebrating a short lived victory after council voted to send a contentious proposal to build 181-townhomes and 106-apartments development at 5750 Panorama Drive in South Newton, back to the planning department.

At the heart of the issue is the continuing lack of space in local schools, combined with the never ending amendments to both the official community plan and neighbourhood concept plans, that result in more townhomes being built than those same schools can handle.

And it clearly, never stops, despite the fact that there is no new land for a new highschool either. Fields needed for fitness and games, are being eaten up by portables. The city…

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