Tag Archives: City Shaping

Neighbourhood plan for Moodyville East

Quoting from the North Shore News today:

Imagine a walkable, rideable European-inspired neighbourhood, replete with built-in amenities, greenways and trail access, car-sharing and unique sustainable housing types geared towards families. Welcome to Moodyville East.

Brent Toderian, speaking on behalf of developer Seacliff Properties, made a presentation to council Monday updating plans for the swath of land located east of St. Davids Avenue and south of East Second Street that’s a sub-area of the larger Moodyville planning area.

“We describe it as perhaps a once-in-a-generation opportunity and maybe these kinds of conditions don’t even come along that often,” he said. “We start off with this unprecedented land assembly… as a city planner I’ve referred to this kind of opportunity as a unicorn in the past because it almost doesn’t exist.”

Seacliff has assembled 52 of the 60 lots in the 8.5-acre area and preliminary plans call for the creation of 340 new units.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting opportunity that other jurisdictions will look to because the common narrative is that you can’t assemble single detached lots and do this type of thing and the City of North Vancouver may be the first municipality to prove that suggestion wrong,” said Toderian, of Toderian Urbanworks.

According to the city’s community development department, the assembly of lands in the area represents the largest assembly in the city since the early 1980s and creates special opportunities for the city and the applicant. “…there’s an opportunity on the City’s side to increase neighbourhood walkability and to provide enhanced universal access on the Spirit Trail between Lower Lonsdale and Moodyville Park.” During his presentation, Toderian discussed the idea of “amenities built in.”

Along with working with city staff on a realigned and improved Spirit Trail in the area he discussed incorporating the Dutch “woonerf model” in the development – which creates living streets as shared social spaces that are used by pedestrians, cyclists and cars.

“The idea of treating lanes as not just places to move and park cars but an actual amenity area particularly for families – we are very excited about piloting this maybe for the first time a Canadian city to do a true woonerf,” Toderian said.

Plans also call for creating community green spaces, such as gardens, and breaking up larger blocks through pedestrian pathways and connections and greater greenway passages linking to the Spirit Trail.

“So the point is we are trying to build amenity into the neighbourhood. As we densify we make this that density is livable through these kinds of amenities.”

The project is also focused on being a model green community and is exploring the possibility of incorporating “passive housing,” which are ultra low-energy units.

“We want to take an approach that looks at the best ideas for a made-in-North Vancouver solution to something that could be a model not only for the city but beyond.”

Also important, said Toderian, is offering a rich variety of housing types, including stacked townhouses, row houses and townhouses, affordable options lock-off suites “We’re emphasizing families in particular but also methods of affordability.”

Coun. Rod Clark worried about the loss of affordable housing in the Moodyville area with new development. “Going forward I would like to know what you will have in the way of rental units and how affordable they are going to be.”

Coun. Pam Bookham asked about the plan to address the issue between the residential interface and the waterfront industrial areas “which basally gave rise to this whole change.”

“We’re trying to do a design that recognizes that the neighbourhood used to look in that direction, the view has now been affected, the intensity of the industrial uses has been increased and so we’d be looking for creative ways to not only soften that impact, address issues through the design of the units… and essentially reorient the relationship inward towards the neighbourhood because it used to be views outward and now we are looking for a design that’s about amenities internal to the neighbourhood. So it’s a bit of rethink,” said Toderian.

Moodyville pre-zoning will be brought to a public hearing in early 2016. Specific details on the southeast Moodyville sub-area development and design controls will be available when bylaws are brought to council for first reading.

 

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/neighbourhood-plan-for-moodyville-east-1.2157601#sthash.AlX6I2UA.dpuf

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Affordable housing advocates: stand together

Is this true?  ‘Organized citizens can trump organized money’.

Quoting from Elizabeth James’ article in the North Shore News today:

“Please Elizabeth write something on (affordable housing) as people have short memories! Before election they promise to help the poor and middle class; after that, it’s ‘goodbye.’ People believe these politicians who say they have vision for B.C.”

– All regular citizens

Inadvertently, my anonymous correspondent hit on the very stumbling block standing in the way of workable solutions to the critical problem of housing affordability on the North Shore: so long as voices stand in the shadows, afraid or unwilling to stand up to be heard loud and clear, little momentum can or will be accomplished to solve the problem.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/affordable-housing-advocates-stand-together-1.2154728#.dpuf

 

 

 

OCP Public Hearing – Citizens Deserve Better Mar 4/15

Following is the submission  from our spokesperson (Fred Dawkins) at the OCP Public Hearing. The OCP passed, as expected, by a 4-3 vote with Councillors Bell, Bookham and Clark opposed.  

Video link is here:  http://www.cnv.org/2015CouncilVideos – Fred spoke at the 18:00 mark.

Public input – OCP public hearing – 3 March 2015

I am Fred Dawkins, 827 West 19th, representing North Van City Voices

This proposed OCP is a one-legged stool. Virtually every goal, every solution, is based on densification. Ramping up the population by building more and more condos is presented as the magic bullet that will solve everything.

Do we need better transit? Cram in more people, and better transit will magically happen. Do we aspire to be a greener community and reduce carbon emissions? Increase density, and carbon output per person will automatically be lower. We want affordable housing? Build lots more condos, that’s bound to make housing cheaper, right? Safer streets? A more vibrant cultural scene? Job creation? Rental housing? All of these goals will somehow be met by just cramming more people into our little enclave. How we get the infrastructure and services needed to accommodate that rapid population growth, we’ll figure out later.

It reminds me of the South Park episode about the underpants gnomes, and their 3-part strategy for getting rich. In this case it’s Step 1, build lots of condos. Step 2, [mumble/shrug]. Step 3, enjoy a more livable, sustainable community where everyone bikes to work. Hurrah!

It’s all smoke and mirrors, because at the end of the day, as the mayor’s slate has demonstrated repeatedly, most recently with the twin towers at 161 East Keith, Council can ignore the OCP anytime they wish, using density bonusing and a sham public consultation process to push through large developments that exceed existing guidelines. But even if they don’t override it, this new OCP provides plenty of wriggle room for developers and their allies on council.

To give just one example of the vague justifications behind the proposed OCP: We’ve been told from the start of the City Shaping process that under the Regional Growth Strategy the City has committed to accommodate about 20,000 new residents between 2011 and 2041, which would be achieved by building 6,000 more housing units. Our group, Voices, pointed out that starting from the 2011 baseline, the City already has about 5,000 housing units in the development pipeline. The response we got from planning staff was, “Oh, that 6,000 unit projection is too low, we’re going to be building mostly condos, so the number of people per housing unit will be lower, therefore we’ll need more

than 6,000 units to accommodate our projected population.”

Then in January, staff came up with a new set of projections, which Council approved and were submitted to Metro, and are now part of the proposed OCP. When we questioned these revised numbers, Mr. Penway replied that because of the changes Council recently voted for, to add more density to the East 3rd area and parts of the Lonsdale corridor, they had to increase the number of projected housing units. You can see the revised table in the Appendix of the revised OCP.

The number of new housing units projected to be built by 2041 has grown from 6,000 in the original estimate, to 10,620. The new table focuses on projected growth in just 3 areas – East 3rd, Lonsdale and Marine – but if you do the arithmetic with the percentages provided, they add up to a total city population of 70,000, not the 68,000 that the city committed to with Metro and has been included in all previous estimates till now. By the way, that’s a 92% increase from the 2011 census.

Nevertheless, with 5,000 units already in the pipeline, we’re almost halfway to even that expanded 2041 projection. So why the rush to ramp up development?

Doing some more math, we see our planners estimate that the housing projected to be built in this city over the next 25 years will house an average of 1.6 people per unit. In other words, a great many of these new units will house just one person. We’re apparently looking at a future where most new homes in the city will be high-rises occupied by singles and childless couples. So much for promoting a diverse mix of housing types, and finding places for families.

But, this is all just fun with numbers. Planners can tweak the numbers any way that’s needed to justify continued densification. And no matter what anyone says here today, this OCP will be voted in by the Mayor and his slate on Council. He has promises to keep, primarily to the developers who funded his election campaign, and this OCP provides all the flexibility he needs to fulfill those promises. But that flexibility just encourages spot zoning, which fuels land speculation. It provides no assurance of future livability for current homeowners who aren’t interested in cashing out and moving away. Citizens deserve better than this.

Thank you.

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Excessive Industry Influence?

Voices comment:  This is borrowed from a posting on the CityHallWatch site, and discusses the Marine Gardens rezoning.  The process here is similar to the development application process in the City of North Van which seemingly often begins with a chat about ‘how big can we go?’  Does the City of North Van have limits on density bonuses, density transfers?  The answer would seem to be ‘NO’.  Did developers fund the majority on Council?   That answer is definitely ‘YES’.  OCP Public Hearing March 3rd 6pm.

 

Vancouver_rezoning_system_chw_v2

So this is how the system works.

Our entire civic system in Vancouver operates in the context of strong and often invisible connections between players and the underlying power of money and profits. Givers at one stage become the receivers at the next. It is like a self-reinforcing power structure.

In that context, what hope is there for neighbourhoods and citizens? Read below, and ask how deeply entrenched these patterns are in Vancouver. How long have things been this way? How many rezonings in the past ten years have been like this.

Read full article here: https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/support-letters-connections-marine-gardens/

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OCP Public Hearing Mar 3 2015

Public Hearing (March 2015)

A revised OCP Bylaw, 2014, No. 8400 has been referred to a Public Hearing. The full report can be found here. Written submissions can be directed to the City Clerk atkgraham@cnv.org or mailed to City Hall. There will also be an opportunity to be heard in person at the hearing.

Public Hearing:
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 6pm
Council Chambers, 141 West 14th Street, North Vancouver

Link to detail:  http://www2.cnv.org/CityShaping/final_ocp.html

Land Use Map: http://www2.cnv.org/CityShaping/papers/Schedule%20A%20Land%20Use.pdf

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High Stakes (editorial) and: City of North Vancouver flip flops on OCP fate

High Stakes (editorial)

In May, we wrote an editorial, warning City of North Vancouver council not to let this happen. After years of work, the CityShaping OCP is bogged down in a procedural rat’s nest with just weeks before the 2014 municipal election. There’s significant risk the OCP will languish into the new council term or even die on the vine, putting us into legislative parts unknown.

The impasse and flip-flopping at council is petulant and frankly embarrassing.

The fact is, it was this council that was elected to oversee and usher in the new OCP. It was also this council that monkeyed with the timeline for the OCP’s approval to suit their own political agendas.

You could blame the mayor and his allies for waiting until the last minute to take their ball and go home. You could blame Coun. Guy Heywood for torpedoing the approval simply because it didn’t achieve his Quixotic goal of bringing about amalgamation. You could blame the faction that sought to drag this out in the first place. It doesn’t matter.

Council now owes it to its citizens to find whatever compromises are needed, come to a consensus and get this plan passed. Give the new council the clean slate it deserves.

They’ve got five more meetings to demonstrate they earned the votes that put them in those seats in 2011.

Otherwise, we’re looking at the squandering of time, money, effort and community goodwill on a sickening scale.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-high-stakes-1.1418484#sthash.OV3vwvz2.dpuf

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City of North Vancouver flip flops on OCP fate.

Reports of the death of the City of North Vancouver’s CityShaping official community plan may have been greatly exaggerated. The high-level vision for the next 20 to 30 years of the city is merely stuck in legislative limbo.

A split council voted down third reading of the OCP bylaw after a public hearing on Sept. 29 following three years and untold thousands of hours of city council, staff and community volunteer time spent drafting and refining it through public consultation.

Couns. Linda Buchanan and Craig Keating and Mayor Darrell Mussatto cast three of the deciding “nay” votes, largely on the grounds that the latest draft of the document stripped away the ability for homeowners to build both a coach house and secondary suite on their property, choking off the development of affordable housing units.

Coun. Guy Heywood said he supported the land use and housing plans in the 125-page document, but couldn’t support the remaining chapters that focus on broader topics like arts, health and recreation, which he argued should be done with the District of North Vancouver. Heywood is and has spent much of the last year pushing the city to reconsider amalgamation with the district.

But the OCP, which the province mandates must be updated, could still be revived and passed before the Nov. 15 election if council moves quickly, according to city staff.

“There are some reconsideration options available to council in the procedure bylaw. No one has come forward to me yet regarding the reconsideration so at this point, the bylaw is sitting at second reading,” said city clerk Karla Graham. “It could come forward as it is. It could come forward with new information and then a new public hearing would need to be called.”

The notion triggered debate about whether council members could or should to come to a consensus before the five remaining council meetings are up.

“We’ve been at it for three years. I don’t understand how a new member of council … can get up to speed in a reasonable amount of time. I think it would be best to make a decision prior to the work of this council being concluded,” said Coun. Pam Bookham. “To me, it’s our biggest responsibility and I don’t think we want to pass that buck onto some inexperienced councillor who may well have been reading the North Shore News but that’s not quite the same as the experience we have had in considering the issues and options that are available to us in mapping our future.”

In May, however, before the draft OCP had a number of density provisions stripped out of it, Bookham said she would be fine with seeing the process carry on until after the election, allowing voters to shape the council that will uphold the OCP.

Keating, who chastised Bookham for taking that position, has also since had a change of heart, speaking in defence of any potential council newcomers. He noted one of his first votes on council in 1999 was for the rezoning of the Shipyards.

“That was a bylaw that was about yay-thick,” he said holding his thumb and fingers apart. “I think it’s probably thicker than the current OCP so I certainly think we do not need to fear democracy. We do not need to fear there may be other candidates who come here and make a decision and I do not think we need to fear that people will have an inability to be able to penetrate the OCP. It’s been a very public process so far. Lots of engagement and none of us, I think, is indispensable around this table.”

Meanwhile, the 2002 OCP remains in effect and the city may have to come up with a stop gap measure to satisfy the provincial requirement to update it.

Putting the OCP on ice also leaves council members in the awkward position of being able to share their opinions about the plan but not accept any new information since the close of the public hearing in September. Bookham questioned how council members campaigning for re-election could avoid that when speaking with voters who want to give them an “earful” about the city’s future.

“That’s the fine line, unfortunately, that we have to walk here,” Graham said. “The lawyers have said if it is new information that should be provided to the public, then that would constitute a new public hearing. If it’s just council expressing their opinion, which has been well known all along and having that discussion with someone at a meeting or at the grocery store lineup, that’s fine. That can’t be avoided. That’s just common nature with human interaction basically.”

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/city-of-north-vancouver-flip-flops-on-ocp-fate-1.1418477?utm_source=Business%20Information%20Group&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NorthShoreNewsNewsletterforWednesdayOctober82014#sthash.eEHiEohi.dpuf

JAMES: Neighbours divided over density plan

JAMES: Neighbours divided over density plan.

“High density development inflates land values; this in turn increases re-development pressure on the more affordable older building stock. Only about 10 per cent of the city’s cost of infrastructure and services is covered by development fees.”

 

– Elizabeth Murphy, July 2014

 

When Denna Homes, the Onni Group, Grosvenor and other large developers complete their projects and move on, what percentage of project-related infrastructure costs will they have bequeathed to North Shore taxpayers?

Have you asked yourself that question as you wasted time in traffic, obeying the Find Alternate Route signs to avoid the rubble and barricades that have plagued our municipalities for the past five-plus years?

 

Elizabeth Murphy’s article, Vision and NPA More of the Same, in this month’s Common Ground magazine offers no comfort because, as a professional knowledgeable about development issues, she describes similar complaints to those we hear every day.

 

Murphy, a former property development officer with BC Housing and the City of Vancouver, might well have been writing about the North Shore when she saw little difference between right-and left-leaning politicians who support developers that build towers and marginalize communities in the name of EcoDensity.

 

To be sure, the unrelenting pace of construction we continue to endure puts some revenue from development cost charges into municipal coffers and provides on-site, albeit short-term training for unskilled workers who, otherwise, might not have those entry-level opportunities.

 

Will such modest upsides offset community concerns about the pace of change and the pressures on hospital and transportation services that follow increased density? Doubtful – as is any hope the developments will provide truly affordable housing.

 

Many people believe City of North Vancouver council decisions have favoured developers’ interests over the objections of current residents and that the city has become a blueprint for the societal stresses that accompany rampant changes to the places people call home.

 

In the Moodyville area, once-friendly neighbours who were united in their concerns about Port Metro’s expansion plans – are now at loggerheads over differing density aspirations.

 

Property owners like Michelle and Michael Binkley, who rightly say Port Metro deceived residents about the extent of the Low Level Road and Richardson silo projects, favour higher density so they can relocate without losing equity.

 

Others, including many renters, believe an official community plan increase from the current single family 0.5 FSR (floor space ratio) to condos at 1.6 FSR, would orphan their affordable homes and force them out of the neighbourhood.

 

Council’s 4-2 decision July 7 to support 0.75 FSR stoked the fire of those differing interests.

 

Unfortunately, that’s what happens when renters’ affordability interests collide with the goals of property-owners and developers who agree on a mutually beneficial land assembly.

 

Throw in histrionics from the mayor’s chair and someone was bound to go away unhappy.

 

After viewing that portion of the meeting several times (CNV video archive at 05:16), I decided to run some of the rumours to ground.

 

Why had the Binkleys expected a different result? Had someone given them FSR assurances as rumours suggested?

 

“No one was promised anything,” Michael Binkley wrote in answer to my question.

 

Nevertheless, he wrote that during the lengthy CityShaping process “90 per cent of participants were in favour of land use changes in the East Third Street area.”

 

Binkley also says the four councillors who later voted to support the 0.75 FSR “threw all they had demanded (of CityShaping) out the window” and “voted their own personal opinion.”

 

I put Binkley’s comment to Couns. Don Bell, Pam Bookham, Rod Clark and Guy Heywood.

 

Yet to hear from Bell, the other three strongly reject that assertion.

 

“We did not throw out everything done in CityShaping,” Clark wrote.

 

“Specifically, with respect to East First to Third in the 400-, 500-and 600-blocks we have instructed staff to bring in the OCP bylaw with a 50 per cent increase in density to 0.75 FSR.”

 

Clark believes such a significant increase in allowable density “will generate interest in the development community to pursue housing renewal in the area.” Bookham says that in her case, “when council asked staff why they proposed 1.0 rather than 1.6 FSR, I just wanted an explanation as to why staff felt 1.0 was a better solution.”

 

Addressing the wording of survey questions, Heywood – who is not seeking re-election in November – said surveys can be used to “manufacture consent from the quantity of participation” rather than to “learn from the content and quality of the many different views expressed on behalf of the wider city population.”

 

“Notwithstanding the mayor’s fervent wish to give something to a neighbourhood that has been affected by port developments that he claims personal responsibility for promoting – the city is not allowed to compensate a neighbourhood … for alleged, but as yet not quantifiable, damage done to it by Port Metro or one of its tenants.

 

“We (the four) wanted to reinforce the point that new growth should respect an overall plan for the right place to put it, not just hopscotch across neighbourhoods to respond to the wishes of a certain population who want to cash out and move on,” Heywood concluded.

 

Stay tuned; methinks we have not heard the last of this council’s leadership desire to – single-handedly – satisfy Metro Vancouver’s density dreams.

 

rimco@shaw.ca

 

© North Shore News

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/columnists/james-neighbours-divided-over-density-plan-1.1257410#sthash.IZBPcNg8.dpuf

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City of North Vancouver OCP passes first reading

City of North Vancouver OCP passes first reading.

City of North Vancouver council has lumbered over the first legislative hurdle on its way to approving a 30-year plan encompassing land use, development, health and the economy.

Council voted 5-2 Monday night to give the CityShaping official community plan bylaw first reading and send it to a public hearing due at the end of September.

Council, staff and community volunteers have been working on the plan for the last three years, bringing in more than 4,500 pieces of public input.

The plan, which has yet to be passed, foresees densification along the Lonsdale Avenue corridor and in Lower Lonsdale and a population of 68,000 by 2041.

Click here to see the draft plan.

While the draft OCP spans dozens of topics over more than 100 pages and eight chapters, much of the discussion in recent weeks has been about how much growth should be allowed in Moodyville, which has undergone massive changes since council’s approval of the Low Level Road project and Port Metro Vancouver’s approval of Richardson International’s new bank of grain silos.

Neighbours impacted by the projects had been lobbying council to adopt city staff’s recommendation to allow mid-rises below East Third Street to allow the area to be redrawn. Opponents, largely from the north side of Third, lined up to thank council for scaling back density in a July 7 vote to cap development at townhouses and triplexes.

Coun. Craig Keating introduced a last-ditch motion to put staff’s recommended density back in the plan, but only found supporters in Coun. Linda Buchanan and Mayor Darrell Mussatto and the vote went down to defeat.

Coun. Rod Clark said he applied the same principles to Moodyville he has to the rest of the city.

“I believe we should continue that go-low, go-slow approach. I have heard a lot of divergent opinions, specifically on the Third Street down to First Street area,” he said, noting he too lives there. “Quite honestly, I’ve taken a fair bit of heat in the last couple of weeks from some residents who don’t understand my viewpoint. In fact, they don’t even want to discuss my viewpoint. They have dollar signs in their eyes and it’s as simple as that.”

Coun. Guy Heywood also took issue with the amount of growth staff had initially recommended in the plan.

“It seems to come from a planner point of view or academic view that growth is necessary and should be embraced, whether or not there are benefits for the people who live in the community that are enduring this growth,” he said, adding that he was disappointed so much of discussion had been hijacked by Moodyville’s issues after being “completely blindsided by the great wall of Richardson.”

Coun. Craig Keating reminded council that the OCP is a 30-year plan and that it would be antithetical to create a plan that only takes into account the infrastructure, needs and wants of today. He went on to counter popular claims that the city is growing too fast.

“I certainly don’t think members of council should be giving rein to notions that we are now suffering from out-of-control development. The census will tell you that over the last 10 years, from 2001 to 2011, we the city grew by nine per cent, which is less than one per cent per year. It is one of the lowest rates in the Lower Mainland,” he said.

Mayor Darrell Mussatto, too, stressed that council needs to look at the bigger picture and come up with a plan that won’t burden future generations with the problems of today.

“We have to reduce the amount of coal, oil and gas that we use so that we can have a quality of life for those who come after us. It means changing, a little bit, doesn’t it? I wish we could all have single-family homes. That’s just not achievable anymore, so people are going to live differently. We can find a good way to live, or even better way of living, in a very sustainable way for future generations,” he said. “Change will come. For some, it will be more difficult than others but I can tell you we have to change, either by design or by default.”

Keating and Mussatto voted against the OCP bylaw’s first reading in protest over the Moodyville issue and the limiting of single-family lots to either a coach house or secondary suite, but not both.

Council is tentatively expecting to hold the public hearing on the draft OCP on Monday, Sept. 29, allowing members of the public to question staff and offer up five minutes of comment for council members to consider before casting their final votes in October.

© North Shore News

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/city-of-north-vancouver-ocp-passes-first-reading-1.1257274?utm_source=Business%20Information%20Group&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NorthShoreNewsNewsletterforWednesdayJuly232014#sthash.jztqfuqu.dpuf

Letter to Council re discussion at July 7th meeting – OCP draft

Following is a letter to Council sent by a group of residents in the East 3rd area about comments during the Council discussion on July 7th.  This is posted as received by Voices.  The result of that meeting regarding the East 3rd area is that the density generally was increased from .5 to .75, an increase of 50%.  This increase should enable property owners to be able to develop their property to a level that will encourage ground-oriented family housing, not more 5 and 6 storey buildings of which there is currently an over-supply in the City.  We note that Councillor Keating was absent.

The link to the video referenced in the letter is here:  Item 26

 http://www.cnv.org/Your-Government/Council-Meetings/Council-Videos/2014-Council-Videos/July-7-2014

Letter:  

Mayor Admits he wants to increase density because he feels sorry for the Binkleys and their group

During the July 7, 2014 meeting Mayor Darrell Musatto, and Counselor Linda Buchanan consistently argued against reducing density to .75 FSR and voted against the motion when it was introduced.

At one point, Linda Buchanan knowingly tried to misled council and the viewing public when she said that the City survey indicated that a full 80% of area residents are in favour of density.(1) Rod Clark called that a “statistical lie” and countered by clarifying that, by the City’s own admission, only 50% of the mailed out surveys were returned(2). It is also important to note that the survey was sent out to owners only and that Coun. Buchanan somehow forgot that there were over 800 names on petitions of local residents who are opposed to an increase of over .75 FSR.

Towards the end of the meeting Mayor Darrell Musatto admitted,(3) after being questioned by Rod Clark, that he had previously met with the Binkleys developer, but he did not elaborate on what was discussed during that meeting.

Perhaps the Mayor will tell the public what was discussed, promised, suggested, hinted at etc. at that meeting.

Also, perhaps Coun. Buchanan will tell us if she too ever met with the Binkleys developer.

It is interesting to note that in his letter of Resignation from the Port Liaison Committee, Michael Blinkley stated that the City has lied to him. What was he promised that he should now feel lied to after the OCP density was reduced to .75 FSR? 

When it was the Mayor’s turn to speak regarding the density issue his very first words were Poor Blinkleys“(4). He continued by saying that They are the most impacted by the railway. They are the most impacted by the low level road changes. They’re the ones that are going to feel the brunt of it. They’re going to have it right in their back yard. I don’t think that is right. I think we need to give them some opportunity so they can have some peace of mind

Isn’t it nice to know that we have a mayor who is willing to change the density of an entire area just to help out his friends?

At the very end of the meeting Coun. Haywood responded to the Mayor’s comments by saying that “…as much as we say that we not are paying [property holders]back for [what has been]inflicted on them by Richardson, that is exactly what we are doing. We are trying to use, twist the City’s OCP to try and assuage the injury of a particular neighbourhood. And that is not the role of the City.

He goes on to say that “there is a very consistent pattern of approving developments…some have not been approved, but all have been approved by councilors that have had their campaign funded by developers. And that has to be taken out of City politics.…You need to have people without a conflict of interest making decisions about these developments.” 

At the end of the day the plan is supposed to work for the people who live here now, not benefit the developers.”

So there we have it – a mayor who votes to help his friends and counselors who vote in favour of those who fund their campaigns.

The following can be viewed in the City site under the July 7, 2014 council videos.

(1)Linda Buchanan misleading listeners by saying that 80% of the community wanted 1.6 density. Starts at about 5:15:00 

(2)Rod Clark says that he is correcting Linda’s statistical “lie”. Starts at about 5:20:00

(3)Mayor’s admitting that he met with the developer and on the City web site. Click on the “ Recess-Public Question Period”.

(4)Mayor feeling sorry for the Binkleys. Says “poor Binkley’s”. Dances around the topic of compensating them without using the actual word. Tone of voice changes and gets louder. Starts at about 5:18:00.

(5)Discussion on decreasing density to .75 FSR. Starts at about 4:44:00

(6)Rod Clark proposes new density to .75 FSR. Starts at about 4:20:00.

(7)Linda Buchanan arguing against reducing density to .75 FSR. Starts at about 4:56:00 then again at 5:05:00 and again at 5:14:00

(8)Coun. Haywood suggests that there has been conflict of interest regarding this process. Starts at about 5:25:00

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The real impact of NV densification and Official Community Plans

Following is a letter written (July 9th) to both North Van Councils by a North Shore resident, Hazen Colbert; reprinted with permission.   Following his letter is a response to him from CNV Councillor Pam Bookham and his reply to her.

He also sent some price statistics for homes in Squamish and Whistler – please contact us if you’d like that information.

Your Worship & Council of Both DNV and CNV,

In 2011, the DNV created an OCP. Since then, implementation has focussed 
solely on densification ignoring the remainder of the OCP. The City now has 
a draft OCP which supports continued rapid densification. Densification is 
solely focussed on large condominium projects. Densification was to be a 
tool for affordability, to create younger family housing options, and to 
encourage public transit use. Over the past year, the District (and the CNV) 
have added an unprecedented number of new condo projects.

The impact on the housing market in North Vancouver is shown below:

North Vancouver      Avg Price                  1-Yr Change        5-Yr Change
All Homes                $ 675,000                  3.9%                     20.7%

Detached                  $ 1 million                  6.5%                    28.9%

Condo Apartment    $ 352,700                  -.6%*                 11.3%

*Low rise stratas are most significantly impacted since off-shore 
speculators who represent about 50% of the condo apartment market are most 
amenable to higher rise buildings.

There are very clearly three trends in the market:

1. Overall housing affordability continues to worsen.

2. There is a massive supply of unsold condominiums on the North Shore, 
which is rising as new listings far, far outpace sales.

3. On the North Shore, municipal densification is not a housing strategy but 
a wealth creation tool benefiting existing single-family home owners at the 
expense of people who own other forms of housing.

In the past year, about 754 resale condo apartments sold on the North Shore. 
There is no reliable estimate for new project sales.

A number of new projects on the North Shore have been approved 
and/commenced. These include the Onni project on Lonsdale, Seylynn Village, Bosa at Lynn Valley Center, the Grouse Inn redevelopment and the Concert Waterfront project.

Based on the existing market sales profile, a number of these projects will 
fail. There is simply no demand for these properties. In the meantime the 
glut of unsold condo apartments has driven down existing prices, wiping out 
hundreds-of-millions of dollars of personal wealth from condo apartment 
homeowners.

With the exception of Mr. Bell, it is my understanding you are all single 
family home owners. Please stop creating wealth for yourself on the backs of 
condo apartment owners.

Densification has failed everyone save existing single family home owers.

Hazen S. Colbert

 

Councillor Bookham’s response July 12:

> Hazen, thanks for this information.
>
> Last Monday I along with Councillors Bell, Clark and Heywood voted to 
> ensure that future development in the City of North Vancouver occurs at a 
> moderate pace and provides the kind of ground-oriented housing that is 
> needed by young families who have outgrown their Lower Lonsdale Condos 
> while protecting rental housing in low-rise buildings in Central and Lower 
> Lonsdale. I agree, we do not need to provide incentives for developers to 
> build higher and denser condo towers. I have argued for a long time that 
> the current pace and form of development has not provided affordability by 
> increasing supply but simply drove up land values everywhere in the city. 
> People buying in new condo towers are paying more for less space, and now 
> are seeing their equity shrink because of the glut of new and unsold 
> inventory. And yes, it’s true that the value of single-family homes has
> continued to rise and is now out of reach of many of the people that 
> housing was originally built for. It may be just a matter of time before 
> we see the long predicted correction impacting single family homes as 
> well.
>
> I can assure you that I have never voted for a development proposal with 
> any self interest in driving up property values in mind. I voted against 
> the Onni proposal, Harbourside and the Shore. These three projects will
> bring 337, 800 and 375 for a total of 1512 units to market in the next few 
> years. These are in addition to the many other developments currently 
> under construction. If you are looking for a reason for the unsustainable 
> pace of development, look no further than the role developers have played 
> in funding the election campaigns of candidates who favour growth at any 
> cost.

> Best regards,
>
> Pam
>
> Councillor Pam Bookham

Response to her from Hazen Colbert 

Hi Pam,

Thank you for the information, and for your frankness regarding oversupply.

I do not think anyone intentionally set out for personal gain by voting in 
favour of densification. However, now that they are aware of the oversupply 
and the polarized impact on wealth, I would expect that information to be 
acted upon honestly.

The North Shore is not unique with the profile, but is unique with the 
volume of oversupply.

http://www.theprovince.com/news/vancouver/Vancouver+property+ladder+missing+many+rungs+between+condo/10022845/story.html

I been involved in the financial side of real estate (including condos) for 
over a quarter-century and seen the boom-and-bust times. There have been too 
many projects on the North Shore approved through rose-tinted lenses. Most 
worrisome is that some decision makers are unaware that municipalities can 
be very adversely affected by the bust cycle. I highly recommend that the 
CNV get is community amenity contribution in hard cash from the 
Lonsdale/13th development now, not later. As for the District, there will be 
no $8 million cash for old Lynn Valley library site. I will send you via a 
separate email some projects I have seen crash.

The reality of these things is stark and simple: (1) developers like height 
and density because it is more profitable; (2) planners like more 
development because it means more planning jobs; and humans will always be indebted to people who give them money.

Thanks again for the response.

Regards,

Hazen S. Colbert

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