Tag Archives: Council

EDITORIAL: Health and wealth

Editorial in the North Shore News today:

Source: EDITORIAL: Health and wealth

We celebrate this week with the District of North Vancouver and the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture on the (phased) opening of the new Delbrook Community Recreation Centre.

A community with a busy rec centre is a healthy community.

The district initially intended to pay some of the $53.5-million cost by selling off some of the old Delbrook land but, facing blowback from the community, council scrapped that plan and citizens will pay down the $28 million in debt and the accompanying interest largely through their taxes.

As municipalities go, rec centres are big, big-ticket items. The City of North Vancouver could be spending three times as much on a replacement for the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre depending on what amenities it will include.

Plenty of people in the aquatics community have questioned the wisdom of building two 25-metre pools within walking distance of each other when pool users from both sides of the city/district boundary say they’d prefer one (much more expensive) 50-metre one.

It’s a crystalline example of how, even with shared services like the recreation and culture, North Vancouverites’ interests are divided by silly borders.

But, as we saw with paying for Delbrook, a council can be persuaded.

On Monday night, the city council is holding a special meeting just to listen to presentations from Harry Jerome’s user groups.

On Tuesday night, the wider community is welcomed to offer their input at a town hall meeting at the Pinnacle Hotel. We encourage everyone to show up and help shape the rec centres that will keep them in shape.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-health-and-wealth-1.19669793#sthash.oVwJCmny.dpuf

Full CNV report details: http://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/recreation/harry-jerome-rec-centre

 

 

 

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

A Total Disconnect?

Over the past year opportunities for public involvement in City of North Van Council meetings have been strongly curtailed and, very often, Council votes are taken so quickly it’s impossible to follow the proceedings.  The result – short meetings and public confusion.  At one recent meeting the Mayor declared the meeting adjourned, looked at his watch and gleefully announced “7.35!”
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The January 9th Council meeting – after a 4 week hiatus with a healthy agenda was adjourned after 41 minutes at which time Council members went into a closed session.  There were only two members of the public who spoke during the 2 minute public input period.  Most disconcerting was that the public gallery was virtually empty apart from staff.
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Question and concern – Have the Mayor’s attempts to squash public criticism succeeded?  Have those who would question Council and staff decisions given up?

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One involved resident copied us on this submission sent to Council concerning two agenda items from the Jan 9th meeting (she notes it took longer to type than the length of the meeting):
 

I am writing to convey some thoughts I wish I could state during the Public Input Period at the City of North Vancouver Council Meeting on January 9, 2017. Unfortunately, I am extremely ill, have been off work today, and will not be able to attend.

First, I wish to comment about Item 5, Zoning Amendment to Permit Secondary Suites and Coach Houses on One-Unit Residential Use Lots – File: 08-3360-01-0001/2016 

I have spent time over the weekend carefully reading the attachments that go along with this document as I have had the time. I have concerns about the proposal that would require only 2 off-street parking spots for a single family residence with a Coach House and a Secondary Suite.

 At this point, on my street in the immediate area of my home, are 5 houses that all have secondary suites; two of these houses have 2 secondary suites. NONE, I repeat, NONE of these houses supply off-street parking to the tenants of these suites. In addition, ALL of the owners of the houses park on the road rather than in their garages or parking pads. That means for the house next to me, for example, there have been as many as 5 vehicles from that address alone, all parked on the street. These vehicles do not fit in front of their house, and completely block in front of my home or other homes. 

For the most part, I park in my garage, as do the others in my home. But the one time a week when I buy groceries and want to drop them from the front of the house, it is rarely possible and extremely frustrating. Or if I need to take my mother-in-law to an appointment, I can’t get a spot to park in front. She has mobility issues which makes it impossible to have her walk around to the garage to get into the car. 

It seems to me that this potential Zoning Amendment has not been thought through very carefully. While the CITY SHAPING TOWN HALL SUMMARY REPORT: TWO SUITES POLICY at which the information is provided was held in April of 2014 – and of course on a Tuesday when I have to work – it seems to me to be sorely out of date. 

I believed that the intention for the Council Meeting on January 9 is the recommendation from Staff to proceed to a Public Hearing as per the Agenda: 

RECOMMENDATION:

PURSUANT to the report of the Planner 1, dated January 4, 2017, entitled “ZoningAmendment to Permit Secondary Suites and Coach Houses on One-Unit ResidentialUse Lots”:THAT “Zoning Bylaw, 1995, No. 6700, Amendment Bylaw, 2017, No. 8529”(Secondary Suites and Coach Houses on One-Unit Residential Use Lots), beconsidered and referred to a Public Hearing; AND THAT staff be directed to implement the notification strategy outlined in thereport prior to scheduling a Public Hearing. 

But then I read further into the document and found this statement:

 Options for ConsiderationThis report seeks to implement a Zoning Bylaw change that has long been anticipated.Both an accessory secondary suite and an accessory coach house are proposed to beallowed with no increase in the permitted Gross Floor Area. The processing of CoachHouse Development Permits, including verifying compliance with the Accessory CoachHouse Development Permit Guidelines and requiring consultation with neighbours, willremain unchanged. Three options are presented for Council’s consideration: Option #1 – Allow a Secondary Suite and a Coach House, with a required minimum oftwo parking spaces (RECOMMENDED) This is the staff recommended option. If Council supports this option, the recommendation presented in this report can be adopted.

So I am confused. I am hoping that this issue will move forward to a Public Hearing as per the Agenda item, and not specifically adopted immediately. We have enough parking problems in the City with unenforced illegal suites, and a plethora of illegal parking. We do not need more problems added with a quick adoption of almost 3 year old data where the conditions in the City have drastically changed. 

The second item I wish to address is Item 8, 703-813 East 3rd Street and 746-758 East 2nd Street Rezoning and OCP Amendment (Qualex-Landmark Northern Ltd. / GBL Architects) – File: 13-6480-30-0018/1

 Considering some of the developments that are currently purposed for the 3rd Street corridor/Moodyville Area, this one definitely has more character and variation than other more “box-like” plans I have seen. However, I am greatly concerned about one attribute that is missing from this, and most other large-scale, developments in the City of North Vancouver. 

The Community Benefit Contributions from this project are admirable. Moodyville Park is in need of a facelift. But this development is introducing almost 160 new units into our community. And despite this and previous Council’s edict that more daycare is essential to our communities, I am disheartened that of all the developments that have been approved in the City of North Vancouver over the last 7 – 10 years, as far as I can see only one – that’s right –one has included anything specifically towards child care.

 Public art is lovely, but we can live without public art. The same can be said for other amenities like parks, museums, waterfront amenities, and public parks and open spaces. These certainly make our City more attractive and liveable. But according to our present Council, it is essential that we take every opportunity to augment our supply of child care spaces in the City of North Vancouver. 

So where should these spaces go? Council has told me these spots should be in the communities where they live. So why are you not pushing developers to have daycares within their projects, or make a designated contribution to child care that will service the community they are constructing? You are not requiring these developments to look after the young families that are moving into their premises. You are pushing the required child care spaces out into other communities in the City. Where? How about into the one unit residential use homes which then causes problems like we have experienced on E 4th Street. 

Put these child care centres in areas that they belong in – the developments that create them. Do not push more daycares into one unit residential use homes. Commercial sized daycares do not belong there. If you spread out the daycares into the facilities that attract their clients, you will provide a great service to those families you are attracting to the City of North Vancouver. 

Every developer who wants the City to approve their new development where they get bonuses for 3-bedroom units or townhouses which is designed to attract young families, should be required to commit funds and/or space to look after the children they provide homes for. 

Thank you for your time. 

Jan Malcolm

porphyry@telus.net

The Green Necklace

Comment from Voices:  There are many opinions about the new Grand Boulevard portion of the Green Necklace – mostly negative.   Here is an email to the North Shore News reporter who covered the Council meeting last week for further funding (http://www.nsnews.com/news/council-approves-final-funds-for-green-necklace-1.2361114).   There are also comments on the NSNews page on facebook.

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Email sent to Jeremy Shepherd:

“Green trail nearing completion more than a century after it was first pitched.” ………..   I do so wish that as a writer/reporter for our only local newspaper you would  research genuine history rather than just print the political rhetoric given out by city hall!

 

    The original Green Necklace  has been walked on, sat on, played on, sunbathed on, picniced on, jogged on and used as a quiet place for  simple contemplation for over a century.   This “necklace” is made up of several large tracts of parkland, all beautifully GREEN, that encircle North Van city centre   – Mahon Park, Victoria Park and Grand Boulevard.  Greenwood Park was added quite recently.  It was originally a gravel quarry.

 

    About 12 years ago the City announced its project of creating a wide, blacktopped sidewalk that would encircle the city centre using the four parks as anchors and would replace existing sidewalks  and paths through residential and park areas. The City leaned on history and named their new, expensive project the Green Necklace.   Councillor Rod Clark promptly christened it  The BLACK NECKLACE and that is exactly what it has become.  Nowhere is this so blatantly obvious than on Grand Boulevard.   What is GREEN  in those three broad stripes  of black asphalt that now dominate the eleven blocks of  our bucolic Grand Boulevard?  Did you know that years ago Ray Perrault tethered a horse he used in his campaign over night on the Boulevard?

 

    I can sympathize with Councillor Clark throwing in the towel.  These changes are now all fait accompli but I do get angry when a reporter of what is going on in our city can’t separate truth from propaganda. 

 

Sincerely,    JOAN PETERS
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When is a referendum not a referendum?

There has been much discussion in the City of North Van since 2013 about the formation of a BIA (business improvement area) in Lower Lonsdale.   Some of the previous coverage can be obtained by typing “BIA” in our search engine.  The bylaw was passed by Council in late July:  https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/city-of-north-vancouver-triggers-lower-lonsdale-bia-process/
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We (Voices) have received copies of concerns from some businesses about the process.  We also received  a copy of the following email to Louise Ranger, President of the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce detailing the writer’s (Elizabeth James) concerns.  We fully support the steps proposed in Ms. James’ email, we have had concerns about the process:   the timing (late summer – vacations), the accounting of the $120,000 spent previously by the Lower Lonsdale Business Assn, and the financial support of one candidate by a non-profit supported by the City in the Nov 2014 local election.

 

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Ms. Louise Ranger, Pres.
North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

Dear Ms. Ranger:

Although I no longer write  columns for the North Shore News, I still receive emails from residents of the North Shore about issues that concern them. Some of those issues are of direct or indirect interest to members of the Chamber.

Such is the case with respect to the current alternative approval process for the City of North Vancouver’s initiative for a Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Association (BIA).

In particular, I was interested and encouraged to see this phrase in your most recent email to Mr. Kerry Morris:

“Now that the public process is underway, it is up to property owners and their [business] tenants to decide if they want to form a BIA. Our role is to ensure that property owners and businesses are aware and informed of the process and what they need to do to express their vote.”

Your comment is encouraging because, unlike the Community Charter/Local Government Act, it suggests the Chamber recognizes that tenants have a right to express their opinion in matters that directly affect them.

The problem I have with the process underway in Lower Lonsdale is that, with the exception of the legally-required advertisement in the local paper, the City has made little to no effort to ensure business tenants are made aware of their rights in the matter.

Instead, rather than standing neutral and making tenants aware of both the pros and cons of forming a BIA, the City’s efforts have been geared to doing – or not doing – everything necessary to ensure the initiative passes.

My own bias is clear. I have believed from Day One that the alternative approval process is nothing more than the negative billing approach that was shot down in the courts when it was attempted by Rogers Communications many years ago – viz. “We plan to do this, unless you happen to see our tiny ad in the paper and tell us not to do it.”

I disagree with the City when it asserts that the LOLO BIA is not a form of taxation without representation. I believe a check of many small entrepreneurs who have been forced to move away and/or fold up their businesses after formation of other BIAs, will illustrate the flaws inherent to the process. To say nothing of the fact that‘ordinary’ city residents have been foot-slogging it around LOLO in an attempt to make everyone aware it was happening. Many dozens were not!

So what would I like to hear now from the Chamber?

Well, following your comment and remembering the NV Chamber’s courageous support for a study to see whether amalgamation of the two North Vancouvers makes financial and/or social sense, I would appreciate it if you and your executive would take these steps:

1. Urge City council to immediately suspend the current LOLO BIA process until after October 1st when most people will have caught up after their summer activities/vacations.

2. Ask the City to prepare and distribute a neutrally-worded letter to all tenants in the area (businesses and otherwise) that describes tenants’ rights and obligations under the legislation;

3. Ask that said letter outline ALL of the pros and cons of BIAs and make specific, binding commitments as to what costs will not be made the responsibility of BIA membership should one be formed.

More generally for the benefit of all British Columbians, I would like the NV Chamber to also urge the BC Chamber to request an immediate provincial government review of the undemocratic Alternative Approval process and to include representation of ALL local Chambers in that discussion.

Once again, Ms. Ranger, my thanks to you for including the quoted comment in your letter to Mr. Morris. Although I am no longer an indirect member of the Chamber by way of my employment, your comment is encouraging.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth James

Insufficient Transportation Infrastructure (updated)

The letter  writer has provided the following update today (Aug 29):

Carol Reimer I gathered some facts about how long it currently takes me to use my car vs transit. I live in Central Lonsdale where transit is supposed to be pretty good. We have an Aunt in a Care Home in Coquitlam: 23 min by car vs 1 hr 24 min by transit with 3 transfers. We have friends who live in Surrey: 34 min by car vs 1 hr 54 min by transit with 3 transfers. We have friends who live on the Westside: 35 min by car vs 1 hr 15 min by transit. Our son lives off of Commercial Drive: 20 min by car vs 1 hr by transit. My friend lives near Indian River Park on the North Shore: 17 min by car vs 49 min on transit with a 14 minute walk up-hill from Deep Cove. If I visit all of these people in a week, I save 8 hours and 26 minutes by driving versus transit. I am NOT going to ride a bike to these places from the North Shore.

Transportation planners need to look at what real people are doing. City Councils need to put a hold on increasing density until the infrastructure issues are sorted out. The huge investment in bicycle lanes should have been put into mass transit.

We have received the following copy of a letter to the Editor, North Shore News (not yet published):

Good Morning!
For the North Shore News letters section:
I’ve been listening carefully to the announcements from ICBC about their requested rate increase and I’m not at all surprised by one of the causes since we are experiencing more and more traffic congestion EVERY day.  And now we have clear evidence from ICBC that this congestion is causing “a perfect storm” of more claims, more accidents, more injuries and higher costs.
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 “It’s hard to put our finger on why — the vehicle population is on the rise, over 3 million for the first time to 3.1 million, up about 10 per cent since 2011, more vehicles on the road and we know they are driving more … the actual amount of gas consumption is up despite cars being more efficient, it’s up 11 per cent in the last three years.”    (from Mark Blucher, ICBC CEO)
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Since 2011, most Lower Mainland areas have invested heavily in bicycle infrastructure and Folks, it’s simply not making enough of a difference to prevent a significant increase in public harm on our roads.  

At the same time our City Councils are ignoring the facts and continuing on with increasing density in our neighbourhoods
without the required  vehicle transportation infrastructure to support it.

 

Add to that the belief that if the buildings don’t provide sufficient parking, people won’t drive!  Ludicrous!

 
It’s obviously not working!  City Councils need to consider the facts.  Their beliefs  and the resulting decisions cost the BC public
 inconvenience, more accidents and more harm.  However, these
 costs are  NOT being considered when the developers come to call and  provide contributions to city politicians who support increased density beyond the capacity of our infrastructure.
 
More shameful is the public hearing process for new developments where the public input is completely ignored.   And most of the public input is about the lack of infrastructure to support the ever increasing amount of development.  All we can do it put our minds to the next election. Unfortunately we are going to have to live with the public harm that is being caused by today’s decisions.
 
Carol Reimer
CNV resident

How a 91-year-old Victoria woman lost everything to gambling

Another cautionary tale addressed to the out-of-touch Mayor and his slate on CNV Council.   Article in the Times Colonist today:

 

Compulsive gambling led Elfriede Lippa into bankruptcy at 91 after she ran through the better part of $300,000, mainly by remortgaging her paid-off Victoria condo. Her son and daughter say they . . .

Source: How a 91-year-old Victoria woman lost everything to gambling