Tag Archives: Planning

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

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.’

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/sky-high-condo-prices-arent-a-supply-problem/article35091277/

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

District of North Vancouver council delves into transportation plan

Comment from Voices:  This article is very timely given the total traffic gridlock earlier this week during the morning rush hour.

Quoting in part from Councillors Hanson and Muri:  “We need to integrate our efforts with the other civic governments of the North Shore, who are contributing to density without in any way contributing to infrastructure, which is overtaxed,” and “it may be time to pull up the drawbridge on the North Shore. “I envision there’s room for 100 people at the party and there’s 500 in the lineup out the front door and they all want to come into the party. I just want to say to the 400, ‘You know what? We’re full now. You’re just going to have to wait your turn.’”

from the North Shore News:

Source: District of North Vancouver council delves into transportation plan

The District of North Vancouver is preparing to embark on a major review of its transportation master plan.

District council members met as an informal committee Tuesday afternoon to discuss what should be emphasized in the review, which is to begin in 2017.

Staff’s suggestions included a protected bicycle network, updating the district’s parking policies, a focus on the Main/Marine transit corridor, better co-ordination of traffic signals and whether the district ought to become a vision zero community – a growing movement among cities vowing to design their streets in such a way that there are zero traffic-related deaths or injuries.

But the informal session quickly turned to an airing of grievances as the morning commute of many councillors had been particularly exasperating with near-simultaneous crashes on the Cut, Stanley Park causeway and Westview overpass.

Coun. Jim Hanson said he faces the prospect of losing staff at his North Vancouver law firm, as their commute from across Burrard Inlet saps their quality of life. Hanson said the plan ought to come with some immediate steps that will alleviate congestion.

“I don’t sense the level of urgency in the plan that I sense in the public,” he said. “I’m just really frustrated with being a public official witnessing this failure – this systemic failure – of transportation infrastructure, which after all, is a core function of government.”

And, he added, it’s not just the district but also the province and the North Shore’s other municipalities that need to get on board.

“We need to integrate our efforts with the other civic governments of the North Shore, who are contributing to density without in any way contributing to infrastructure, which is overtaxed,” he said.

Coun. Mathew Bond, who is a transportation systems engineer, said his morning commute to Coquitlam took twice as long as it normally would have with a lineup of stop-and-go traffic on Highway 1 stretching 20 kilometres past the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

While creating major new infrastructure takes years and billions of dollars, governments can help influence people’s decisions and improve traffic flow, he said, referring to things like incentivizing carpooling or charging drivers for using the roads at peak times.

“People can change their behaviour today if they so choose,” he said. “Doing some small, incremental things over time over the next two, three or five years, will buy us some time to make those major infrastructure investments and do those plans that are going to provide long-term relief.”

But Coun. Lisa Muri questioned whether residents could be persuaded to leave the car at home, especially when their work, errands or family commitments may require them to travel to several neighbourhoods, numerous times in the day.

“I don’t know how to change my behaviour to get from Lonsdale to Seymour without changing my whole family’s life,” she said. “It’s awesome to think that if you build it, people will get out of their cars and onto a bus or another mode of transportation but is it going to happen? . . .  People have cars. They want convenience. They want to be able to get to their destinations quickly.”

Instead, Muri suggested it may be time to pull up the drawbridge on the North Shore. “I envision there’s room for 100 people at the party and there’s 500 in the lineup out the front door and they all want to come into the party. I just want to say to the 400, ‘You know what? We’re full now. You’re just going to have to wait your turn.’ But we’re not doing that,” she said.

Coun. Robin Hicks rubbished the notion that trying to stop population growth would solve any problems, noting that banishing the North Shore’s service workers to the farther-flung suburbs would only add more cars onto local roads.

“We can’t put up barriers or walls like Trump might try to do. People are just going to come here from everywhere,” he said. “We’ve got to learn to live with the population.”

The district has, in partnership with senior levels of government, a number of transportation projects under way, including the new five-lane Keith Road bridge, which should open this fall, separated bike lanes on Lynn Valley Road scheduled to start this month, Spirit Trail connections, upgrades to Phibbs Exchange and $150 million in rebuilds of the Lower Lynn interchanges.

Coun. Roger Bassam and Mayor Richard Walton were absent from the meeting.

 

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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