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City of North Vancouver advances Harry Jerome project

 

The City of North Vancouver is one massive step closer to getting its new Harry Jerome rec centre after council narrowly voted to advance an 802-unit Upper Lonsdale development project that will pay for it following a public hearing held Monday.

Council voted 4-3, despite hesitations from Couns. Linda Buchanan and Craig Keating, as well as Mayor Darrell Mussatto, to advance the development of the Harry Jerome neighbourhood lands that will see Darwin Properties build one 30-storey tower and one 26-storey tower in addition to three six-storey buildings and one five-storey building between 21st and 23rd streets along Lonsdale Avenue.

Darwin will agree to pay the city $183 million to lease the land for a period of 99 years, with the funds going towards paying for the new Harry Jerome recreation centre project estimated to cost $210 million.

“This is a good deal for the city,” said Coun. Rod Clark. “I’ve been pushing for leasing of city-owned lands for 15, 20 years.”

More than 40 local residents addressed council during Monday’s public hearing, with a near even split between those in favour of the project and those opposed.

Many who spoke out against the project rallied against the loss of nearby Norseman Field, which will be cleared to make way for the new rec centre, pending approval.

But, Clark noted, Darwin’s proposal accounts for loss of local green space with plans to extend nearby Crickmay Park south along Lonsdale to 21st Street as well as weaving the Green Necklace trail network through the development area.

“Much has been made at this table about what we’re getting in the way of trades between losing Norseman Park and Mickey McDougall Field and what the new project will bring,” Clark said. “It’s going to be a change, but you’re going to have open space and it will be public accessible.”

Darwin’s 802-unit proposal includes 486 units of market housing and 124 units of market rental, as well as 13 units that will be devoted to affordable rentals and another 99 units earmarked for seniors in need of assisted living. In addition, the proposal also includes a child-care centre with 37 spaces and 80 housing units that the city can allocate to a non-profit organization of its choosing.

Local resident Linda Sullivan, who spoke at the public hearing, praised Darwin’s proposal for offering a variety of housing options.

“Moving away from family in North Vancouver is now becoming a necessity rather than a choice,” Sullivan said. “I’m excited at the prospect that my sons could come back to North Vancouver.”

But Coun. Keating said that a rec centre with a curling rink and 50-metre swimming pool was excessive and argued the community shouldn’t have to pay for it by losing park space and adding unwanted density, referring to the proposed Harry Jerome rec centre as more of an “elite sport lollapalooza.”

“Where’s the District of North Vancouver? They just finished building a new recreation centre. Did they get a 50-metre pool?” he mused. “We got to carry the cost with that, and more specifically this neighbourhood has to carry the cost of that because they’re the ones who are going to have all this new traffic, all this new density, all these new buildings in that spot.”

Coun. Buchanan observed that Darwin’s proposal was the “single largest development that we’re going to see along the Lonsdale corridor,” and while she approved of the project’s community amenities, she balked at the potential costs.

“What we started out with was saying we wanted a community recreation centre, we’ve now got a regional centre. … How much is this community prepared to pay?” she said. “We’ve had housing projects that have come forward that have given us far greater benefits to supply housing and people around this table have refused it.”

Retired school teacher Rosemary Swinton worried the community wouldn’t be able to handle an influx of new people as increased density lured families to the area.

“You have 37 units available for child care. In a building of these sizes, this is totally inadequate. I would suggest that the developers look carefully at this because daycare is a major problem for young parents,” she said, adding that a lack of schools in the Lonsdale area could create challenges for families as well. “What are parents to do if both parents work? How do they get their children to school?”

Following Monday’s public hearing, council voted on a number of official community plan amendments that would allow the project to proceed. Darwin originally proposed building a pair of 28-storey towers, but agreed to instead build one 30-storey on the project’s north side and one 26-storey tower at the southern side following discussion that variances in height would create a more pleasing skyline.

Couns. Clark, Holly Back, Don Bell and Pam Bookham voted in favour of the proposed amendments, with Couns. Buchanan, Keating and Mayor Mussatto opposed.

Source: City of North Vancouver advances Harry Jerome project

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Lies, Damned Lies and City Tax Statistics – North Vancouver Citizen Action Association

Comment from Voices:  This is a presentation made to CNV Council Monday at the Finance Meeting for those many people who prefer fact to fiction.  Many City residents have been told their taxes are much lower than the District, here are the facts compiled by Guy Heywood, Shari Lazlo and Jeff Murl:

North Vancouver citizens who believe it’s time the City worked for the people who live here.

Source: Lies, Damned Lies and City Tax Statistics – North Vancouver Citizen Action Association

Metro Vancouver directors votes themselves a golden handshake

Source: Metro Vancouver directors votes themselves a golden handshake

Comment from Voices:  15% raise and a $1,000 /year retirement allowance retroactive to 2007. We last published a summary of the City of North Van’s Council pay breakdown in 2015. At that time the Mayor’s compensation including Metro was including Metro was$149,925 https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/are-they-worth-it-council-pay-and-expenses/)

His salary from Metro in 2016 (last publicly available) was $28,465 without expenses and his salary from the CNV is currently $107,185 (2018) plus annual car expenses of approx. $10,000 p/a.

Representatives from both the Districts of North Van and West Van voted against.

We concur with this tweet from Jonathan Baker: 

City of North Vancouver clamps down on short-term rental offering

Comment from Voices:  Article in the North Shore News today – this new building received a density bonus for providing purpose built rental. So is this another sign that so much additional density is not needed in the City of North Vancouver?  How many empty units are there in the City currently?  Is the planning department tracking?  Article follows below:

A Central Lonsdale apartment complex has been advertising units available for short-term rentals, despite short-term rentals like Airbnb not being permitted in the City of North Vancouver. In . . .

Source: City of North Vancouver clamps down on short-term rental offering

Five years later, all that remains is barren land | The Global Canadian

Comment from Voices:  This development application was pushed through with much opposition in 2012, Councillor Bookham once again is the voice of reason and common sense.

Source: Five years later, all that remains is barren land | The Global CanadianThe Global Canadian

If Councillor Pam Bookham had her way at a recent council meeting, a major developer would have lost a contentious change to OCP granted by the council five years ago. Concert Properties came before the council in 2012 to ask to rezone waterfront land from Industrial to a mixed-used commercial and residential on Fell Avenue and Harbourside Drive.

It was a controversial ask at the time but the council granted the go-ahead to change the OCP designation and allow for a mixed-use commercial and residential neighbourhood. But five years later all that remains is a barren land with no sights of a development that Bookham said was touted as a vibrant neighbourhood that would provide jobs and office space and revitalise the area.

“Vibrancy sold this project and it’s now in danger of never being realised and I don’t understand why we are not pulling the OCP approval for this. We move this forward or it reverts back to its original OCP designation, which was a place where jobs could be provided. I don’t understand why we would be supportive of Concert when they seem to be unwilling or unable to move forward and deliver the vision they sold to us against a great deal of resistance,” she said.

Coun. Rod Clark also expressed his frustration at the five-year delay, noting that city let go of industrial land to give way to a more mixed designation. “Well, if only I had a dollar for every time I hear Concert was going to do something there.

“Concert came here and said we are going to build a wonderful, wonderful industrial park and according to them that didn’t too well and then they came back and in a very contentious, drawn out process got residential and commercial. It’s been sitting there forever, I want to see some action and I want to see it soon. They have promised and they haven’t delivered,” he said.

The council recently heard from the developer but it wasn’t news about shovels hitting the ground. Instead, Concert came before the council for another ask: It wants to exchange land use and reconfigure commercial space. The company now wants to first build market rental housing on the lot where it first planned a seniors’ rental-assisted living facility and it wants to reduce commercial on two sites and move the commercial to the remaining sites.

“There is a very strong need for both rental housing and seniors’ rental housing in the City of North Vancouver. Delivering rental housing in earlier phases of the Harbourside development will help to address historically low rental vacancy rates,” according to the developer. Councillor Craig Keating agrees.

Keating said he shared the frustration of the council but also felt that Seaspan workers could benefit from housing in the location. Keating said he recently a steady stream of workers leaving work and joining traffic who could stay in the neighbourhood with the kind of housing being proposed by Concert.

“If anyone needs housing near that spot, it’s Seaspan because there isn’t any housing. It would be great if we could have some housing there so people working at Seaspan could live there. I saw hundreds of people today at Seaspan that could use this,” he said.

Councillor Pam Bookham said she recalled a Seaspan representative saying the workers won’t be able to afford the housing being built there. She asked Concert representative if the company has had any conversation with Seaspan over housing.

“Our intent is to provide rental housing and I don’t have any conversation with Seaspan and whether that is going to be affordable for their employees,” said Craig Water, a senior vice-president of the company. He said Concert plans to bring forward a development permit application soon. Council granted the company’s request with Coun. Bookham opposed.

Rebellion in the neighbourhood | The Global Canadian

Comment by Voices:  Comparison of current growth in the City of North Van, the target in the Regional Growth Strategy for 2031 was 28,000 dwelling units. Currently planned are 31,192 (exceeding the 2041 targets). All details are on our ‘Statistics’ page or here for specific details:   https://nvcityvoices.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/cnv_housing-units-january-2018.xls

Article in The Global Canadian:

Residents built our communities but now see a decline in quality of life due to disruption caused by endless rebuilding By Corrie Kost I feel like an end of an era in municipal governance is about to take place. In my opinion, and this is a change I’d welcome, many municipalities in the lower mainland …

Source: Rebellion in the neighbourhood | The Global Canadian

Vancouver housing: The view from Singapore​ – The Globe and Mail

Article in The Globe and Mail today regarding foreign ownership of real estate in Vancouver and suburbs.  Definitely applies to North Vancouver:

Quoting in brief:  

Many argue the new city policy to prioritize locals at the start of a presales launch won’t return the housing stock to local income-earners because it’s a question of money earned elsewhere. The percentage of homes in the new buildings that are purchased with foreign money is, of course, an unknown. But the source of the money is, to Mr. Robinson, the crux of the problem. People working at local jobs can’t compete.

“Let’s be real, this is what’s going on: For the last 30 years properties in Vancouver have been bought up by people who don’t earn money in Vancouver and don’t pay taxes in Canada – that’s how you can have the average home price get to 25 times the average income,” Mr. Robinson says.

read full article here:

Source: Vancouver housing: The view from Singapore​ – The Globe and Mail