Coalition letter to Council 21-Oct-2019: Opposed to Rezoning St. Paul’s Hospital – False Cr. Flats (Public Hearing 22-Oct)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council. See also appendices at bottom.

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Public Hearing Rezoning St. Paul’s Hospital – False Cr. Flats
Agenda Oct. 22, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191022/phea20191022ag.htm
Item 3: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191001/documents/p13.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to this rezoning above.

We continue to question why the rezoning for this site is proceeding when it is “considered critical infrastructure” that is “vital during and after disasters” but is “located in a flood plain and high-risk seismic and liquefaction zone,” as stated in the report on page 27. See Appendix A. [Below]

The report states that “staff have provided conditions requiring comprehensive all-hazard risk and vulnerability assessments be completed, and that climate and seismic resilience measures be incorporated into the design of the building. As part of the conditions, an expert panel will be struck to evaluate the resilience of the design, and report on the post-disaster functionality of the hospital”. The panel’s recommendations are not binding. (WHY NOT?) A risk assessment should be completed in advance of rezoning, not after. It is hard to imagine a risk assessment concluding that it is acceptable to locate critical emergency infrastructure in an area that is a flood plain, and a high-risk seismic and liquefaction zone.

No matter what they do to the construction of the buildings, it can’t change the fact that the surrounding area and access to the site will be compromised during a major flood, seismic or liquefaction event.

For example, this question was raised at a community planning meeting for the hospital and staff said that the ground floors would have very high ceilings and no sensitive equipment would be located there. This doesn’t address the obvious issue of emergency access to the hospital during a flood/tsunami event as well as how the hospital would function without equipment on the ground floor for emergency, reception, etc.

Almost all of Vancouver is low risk for liquefaction except the False Creek Flats, including the existing site.

We request that this rezoning not be approved until the fundamental issue is addressed: that the False Creek Flats is a completely inappropriate location for a critical emergency response hospital in a major urban centre. Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 19-Oct-2019: Opposed to Broadway Plan – Phase 1 Engagement and Proposed Guiding Principles (in Council 22-Oct)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Broadway Plan – Phase 1 Engagement and Proposed Guiding Principles
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191002/documents/cfsc2.pdf
Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191022/regu20191022ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to the proposed Broadway Plan principles.

As we have stated previously, we support neighbourhood-based land use planning processes through the City-wide Plan, not corridor-based planning. The current proposal for the Broadway Plan doesn’t meet those criteria.

We also previously raised concerns that the phase 2 extension to UBC should also be planned through the neighbourhood-based City-wide Plan, not the Broadway Plan corridor process.

Please do not approve these planning principles and instead refer this to the City-wide Plan through neighbourhood-based processes, and not through the Broadway Plan corridor process. Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 18-Oct-2019: Support for Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for City of Vancouver (in Council 23-Oct))

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Agenda Item 3 – Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver

Agenda Oct. 23, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191023/pspc20191023ag.htm
Item 3: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191023/documents/pspc3.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is strongly in support of this motion above.

We note that Vancouver is the only major city in Canada that doesn’t have an independent Auditor General who is accountable directly to council. This is a very important role for accountability and transparency.

CVN supports measures to ensure accountability to the public and this measure is an important part of the process currently missing. We urge council to approve and implement this important motion as quickly as possible to be part of the 2020 budget process.

Sincerely,

Larry Benge, Co-Chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 19-Oct-2019: Proposed Amendments to Procedure Bylaw No. 9756 & New Pilot Program (in Council Oct 23)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Proposed Amendments to the procedure Bylaw No. 9756 and New Pilot Program
Agenda October 23, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191023/pspc20191023ag.htm
Item 2: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190724/documents/cfsc4.pdf
Redline Version: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190724/documents/cfsc4redline.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes this report’s recommendations and encourages Council to not approve it as proposed, but instead address the many concerns first.

This report has been brought forward without any meaningful public consultation while it greatly restricts democratic processes and the relationship between elected officials and the public they represent. Vancouver has a long history of public participation in the democratic process of governance, but these changes would undermine that participation.

We note that there are numerous concerns to be addressed, of which a few are listed in the attached Appendix A.

For example, the report proposes that Council members’ motions require 2 meetings notice (4 weeks), which is much longer than the current bylaw requirement of only one week ahead, or current pilot of 1 meeting notice (2 weeks). Meanwhile staff reports (which are usually large and complex), and Council agendas, are only required to be provided by noon on the day prior to the Council meeting. Instead, we suggest allowing 2 weeks notice at prior Council meeting and agenda posted the next day. This has been an ongoing concern of both the public and Council.

We urge you to address the many issues raised and revise the bylaw accordingly. We also are opposed to the proposed pilot project that would restrict Councillors from asking speakers questions. Please reconsider. Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 23-Jul-2019: Proposed Amendments to procedure Bylaw No. 9756 and New Pilot Program

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.
Download PDF: CVN Letter to Council-Amendments to Procedure Bylaw July-24-2019

July 23, 2019

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Proposed Amendments to the procedure Bylaw No. 9756 and New Pilot Program
Agenda July 24, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190724/cfsc20190724ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190724/documents/cfsc4.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes this report’s recommendations and encourages council not to approve it. Many concerns need to be addressed first.

This report has been brought forward without any meaningful public consultation. The proposals would restrict democratic processes and the relationship between elected officials and the public they represent. Vancouver has a long history of public participation in the democratic process of governance, but these changes would seriously undermine that that process.

The report was only made public with 3 working days notice for the public to respond. The report lacks basic information such as a red-lined document that compares the proposed bylaw text with the previous version, showing additions and deletions. This was added to the website only today, which is not enough time for tomorrow’s council meeting. This is completely unreasonable.

We have identified numerous concerns that need to be considered. A partial list is in the attached Appendix A. We urge you to address the many issues raised and revise the bylaw accordingly.

We also are opposed to the proposed pilot project that would restrict councillors from asking speakers questions.

These proposed changes to the bylaw go far beyond the recent pilot program. Council members’ motions are proposed to require 2 meetings notice (4 weeks), which is much longer than current bylaw which requires only one week ahead, or the current pilot of 1 meeting notice (2 weeks). Meanwhile, there is no change to current practices of last minute staff reports and Council agendas, which should be required 2 weeks in advance of the Council meeting.

Please do not approve the report recommendations, as they would serve to undermine the democratic process. Continue reading

Coalition letter on “City-wide Plan Report” going to Council July 9

The following letter was sent to Vancouver City Council.
Download PDF: CVN Letter to Council-City-wide Plan 8-Jul-2019

July 8, 2019

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: City-wide Plan Report
Agenda July 9, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190709/regu20190709ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190709/documents/rr1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is writing to express concerns about the process as proposed in the report for the new City-wide Plan. There are two main issues that should be addressed before proceeding further. These mainly are related to implementation of current city policy and the consultation process.

The current city policies and programs were almost all established prior to the last election. These should not continue to be implemented through the City-wide Plan. There is no point in having a City-wide Plan process if rezonings continue for the next four years. Changes in zoning through policies such as the Broadway Corridor or rental pilot programs could set precedents or alter neighbourhoods for the long term and should be put on hold and revised with public input. Continue reading

Motion 5. Review of SNC-Lavalin Relationship with the City of Vancouver (2-Apr-2019): CVN

The following letter was sent to Vancouver City Council.
Download PDF: CVN Letter to Council-Motion Review of SNC-Lavalin.04.01.19

April 1, 2019

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Motion 5. Review of SNC-Lavalin Relationship with the City of Vancouver
Agenda April 2, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/regu20190402ag.htm
Motion: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/documents/motionb5.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this motion and encourage council to approve it as proposed.

This motion raises important information that council needs in order to make informed decisions. We think this is essential to protect the city’s interests in major infrastructure proposals.

Sincerely,
Larry Benge, Co-Chair and Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

Motion 6. Re-conceptualizing the City’s Rental 100 Program (2-Apr-2019): CVN supports motion and encourages Council to approve it

The following letter was sent to Vancouver City Council.
Download PDF: CVN Letter to Council-Motion Rental 100.04.01.19

April 1, 2019

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Motion 6. Re-conceptualizing the City’s Rental 100 Program
Agenda April 2, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/regu20190402ag.htm
Motion: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/documents/motionb6.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this motion and encourage council to approve it as proposed.

This motion raises concerns about the Rental 100 program and we support the program being suspended until other options have been considered.

However, we would also like the current pilot program that gives density bonusing for a few more affordable units also suspended. As the motion says, the option for rental only zoning or other conditional type zones could be created through the city-wide planning process that better protects existing rentals and also allows for more rentals within the scale of each neighbourhood.

CACs should not be waived for unaffordable rental projects. These are actually inflating rents overall through greater expectations raised by the city endorsing these kinds of projects.

CVN would like to see communities involved in establishing rental policies.

Sincerely,
Larry Benge, Co-Chair and Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

Amendments to “Outright” Duplexes – RS, RT & RM Zones: CVN writes City Council saying proposed amendments not ready, more work needed

The following letter was sent to Vancouver City Council.
Download PDF: CVN Letter to Council-RS-RT Amendments.04.01.19

April 1, 2019

City of Vancouver Mayor & Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Amendments to “Outright” Duplexes – RS, RT & RM Zones

Agenda April 2, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/phea20190402ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190312/documents/p1.pdf
Summary: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/documents/phea3Summary.pdf
Zoning Bylaw Changes: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190402/documents/phea3draftbylawZD.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) does not think these proposed amendments are ready for approval and request that they be referred back to staff for more work and involvement of the neighbourhoods and stakeholders affected.

Given that the city is going into a city-wide planning process, we do not understand why the Making Room Program is still operating and bringing forward reports for substantial changes to zoning without any public involvement. The Making Room Program should be suspended and further planning with meaningful consultation and community input be integrated into the city-wide planning process.

The proposed changes are not minor amendments as they have substantial impact on the zones involved. There has been no public consultation on these significant changes.

It is not proper planning process to omnibus multiple zoning changes for multiple zones together in one report. Each zone is affected differently by the changes and the report fails to explain what those impacts are. It is almost impossible to follow the proposed bylaw changes when mixed together like this, even for those with a planning background.

Each RS, RT and RM zoning change should be dealt with separately to show the impacts of the proposed changes, with the existing zoning bylaw showing strikeouts and additions clearly.

Although some of the changes to dormer roof design and duplex entrances seem reasonable, the impacts on above grade FSR, increased building envelope bulk, increased building depth, decreased rear yard setbacks, covered front porch encroachments into front yard, flat roofs and other changes are problematic.

It appears that a new type of outright duplex Vancouver Special is being created with a maximized scale of envelope. Duplexes should be conditional, not outright, to ensure design compatibility with neighbourhood context and streetscapes.

These changes seem to be bringing back the most problematic aspects of the duplex zones that existed in the 1980s. For example, RT7 & RT8 in Kitsilano, RT6 in Mt. Pleasant and others, with design guidelines, were brought in to counter just this kind of outright zoning because it led to too much demolition and incompatible new development.

The proposal to allow slab-on-grade all above-grade FSR on 33 ft. lots for outright duplexes creates too much building mass while wasting space in a crawl space rather than a usable basement. This is further impacted by covered front porches that extend into the front yard setbacks, enlarged building depth, reduced backyard setbacks, and enlarged third floor FSR.

The proposed changes also become a further incentive to demolish with more incentives for new development rather than retention options. The zoning advantage is being significantly tilted towards demolition and new construction. This is not a green or sustainable model. Continue reading

Motion B1 – Emergency Interim Zoning Policy for Broadway Corridor to UBC, Meeting Feb. 26, 2019: Coalition writes City Council

The following letter was sent to Vancouver City Council.

Download PDF: CVN Letter to council-Motion B1.02.25.19

February 25, 2019

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Motion B1 – Emergency Interim Zoning Policy for Broadway Corridor to UBC Meeting Feb.26, 2019

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) does not support the proposed Motion B1. Although we appreciate the intent of avoiding land speculation and protecting existing rental housing, we disagree with the neighbourhoods in the Arbutus to UBC extension being designated a subway planning area corridor. These measures should be incorporated into the collaborative city-wide planning process rather than as corridor planning.

Some of the facts around this issue are as follows:

  • While Vancouver City Council recently approved the technology they would like to see used on the transit route from Arbutus to UBC, no decision has as yet been made by the governing Mayors’ Council or other levels of government on this issue.
  • Funding of this project is expected to be made next year, at the earliest, according to TransLink.
  • As stated in the Motion’s “Whereas”, City Council passed a motion on Nov. 14 supporting the development of a city-wide plan.
  • Again, as stated in the Motion’s “Whereas”, Transit Oriented Development leads the speculative real estate market in most major North American metropolitan areas, especially and including Vancouver.

Some of our concerns with this motion are: Continue reading