Author Archives: Coalition R

Coalition writes City Council on NE False Creek Update and Related Reports (June 19, Item 2)

 

June 18, 2018

City of Vancouver Mayor & Council

Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,

Re: Council June 19: Item #2. NE False Cr. Update and Related Reports RR-2(a), RR-2(b), RR-2(c) http://council.vancouver.ca/20180619/regu20180619ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods is deeply concerned that these major reports are coming forward in the summer holidays without adequate time for the community to respond. Many member groups have volunteered significant time and energy over the last decade working on these issues, only to find that the final reports do not reflect their input.

We recommend that these reports be amended to reflect the community’s input as noted above.

Some of the outstanding concerns that still need to be addressed are as follows:

Size and location of park. The park orientation reduces the public benefit by changing it inland north-south rather than being on the waterfront east-west. It is designed to maximize developer profits rather than community interests.

Towers in view cones. The stadium site, Lot 10, has a 40-storey tower that pierces the view cone. The Concord site, not yet before rezoning, will have two 42/43-storey buildings, also in the view cone. View cones were designed to benefit the entire city, and should be protected and respected.

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

Coalition writes Vancouver Council on “Millennium Line Broadway Extension of SkyTrain – Municipal Requirements” (Council topic May 16)

On May 15, 2018, the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods wrote to Vancouver City Council on the headline topic. On the City Council agenda for Wednesday May 16 is an endorsement proposed by City staff for the “Broadway Subway Extension.”

Meeting agenda: http://council.vancouver.ca/20180516/pspc20180516.htm
Staff report: Report: http://council.vancouver.ca/20180516/documents/pspc1b.pdf

Here is one of the staff recommendations:
THAT Council endorse the Millennium Line Broadway Extension (MLBE), a primarily tunnelled SkyTrain extension under Broadway from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street, as a key element in helping the City achieve its liveability, transportation and environmental objectives.

In that connection, here below is the text of the letter from CVN to Council.

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May 15, 2018,

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,

Re: Council Report May 16, 2018
Millennium Line Broadway Extension of SkyTrain – Municipal Requirements
http://council.vancouver.ca/20180516/documents/pspc1b.pdf

We would like to comment directly about Recommendation A in the above Report, to which we are opposed.

Although we generally agree with the logic to connect the Millennium Line from VCC to Cambie Line, we continue to disagree with the unaffordable option to extend along Broadway to Arbutus with a subway for the following reasons:

• The revised budget is not transparent and there is a concern that it will be significantly higher than the updated estimates of $2.8B.

• Once committed, it may be mostly cut and cover with the same problems as the Canada Line. There is no commitment to bored tunnel and each station is planned to be cut and cover regardless.

• There are much more cost effective options that would provide more transit to a much broader area, giving access to good transit to more people in a wide network, rather than a short subway to Arbutus.

• The subway is about $470m/km, trams $16m-$40m/km, electric trolley rapid bus $1m/km + $1m per double electric trolley articulated bus.

• We are opposed to the use of the city’s tax base of property taxes and development fees to subsidize this subway. The civic tax base is needed for civic services.

• The development along the corridor will be very large and out of scale with the surrounding area, which will require significant subsidies for services through increased property taxes. Development fees only cover about 10% of the costs of growth as it is. Now these development fees will also have to cover the subway itself.

For more information, please refer to the attached letter and appendix recently sent to the province. [Visit this link for that letter and appendix.]

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

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

CVN writes Premier Horgan on transit plans for City of Vancouver: Questions, costs, alternatives

On April 23, 2018, the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods wrote the following letter to Premier John Horgan and other key officials.

Discussions are at an advanced stage regarding a multi-billion dollar transportation plan for the Metro Vancouver region, with a large portion of the funds supposedly being dedicated to a “Broadway Subway” from Commercial Station to Arbutus, and eventually to UBC. CVN raises questions, asks for clarification, and suggests alternatives.

As of May 4, CVN has still not received any acknowledgement of receipt from any recipients.

**********

April 23, 2018

Premier John Horgan
Hon. Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Mayor Corrigan, Chair of Mayors’ Council, Metro Vancouver
Vancouver MLAs

Re: Transit Mode for City of Vancouver

Recently, we have seen the release of promised Federal and Provincial funds earmarked for transit improvements in Metro Vancouver. The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) has some concerns with how those funds could be implemented.

Completing the Millennium Line from the VCC Station to the Cambie and Broadway Station makes logical sense. It provides the link for the Skytrain system for passengers travelling from Surrey (and the Valley) to the Airport.

What needs to be reassessed is system progress from that point. The Mayors’ Council Vision has called for rapid transit along Broadway from Commercial Station to Arbutus, and eventually to UBC. The mode of this extension is not spelled out in the Mayors’ Vision. In an atmosphere of limited funds and a need for fiscal responsibility, we should be wise and frugal, while meeting the needs and requirements of the future. Barring an unexpected economic downturn, prices will not decrease, but will continue to rise. All of which brings many questions:

  1. What mode supports best options resulting in less single occupancy vehicle travel?
  2. What mode supports best options for housing affordability?
  3. What mode supports best options resulting in enhancement and growth of existing neighbourhoods?
  4. What mode supports best options resulting in support for local businesses?
  5. What mode supports best options resulting in earliest build out and transition to full service on widest coverage?
  6. What mode supports best options resulting in lowest cost while providing needed capacity?

Continue reading

Coalition writes council on Northeast False Creek Plan (NEFC Plan) & Viaducts Replacement Project

On Tuesday, January 31, 2018, Vancouver City Council is set to hear and decide on a report from City staff regarding “Northeast False Creek Plan (“NEFC Plan”) and Viaducts Replacement Project.” This is a significant report and decision. The agenda and official document are here: http://council.vancouver.ca/20180131/cfsc20180131ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods wrote the following letter to Mayor and Council on this topic.

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January 30, 2018
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,
Re: North East False Creek Report to Council

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has consistently been concerned about the planning processes at City Hall. Those concerns continue with the issuance last week of the North East False Creek Report that comes before Council on January 31, 2018.

General comments:

  • The 368-page Report going to Council on January 31 gets released to the public on
    January 24. This gave citizens only six days to review 368 pages.
  • The North East False Creek Stewardship Group held a meeting in which members
    stated that while they had met with the city for 16 months to work on this planning
    process, they had seldom seen their opinions expressed in any of the sections of the
    report. Some members, discouraged by what they saw as a process that only served to
    waste their time, ended their participation. Is something wrong with the process?
  • Some subjects, such as the realignment of Carrall Street, were never discussed with the
    public in the formulation of the Report.
  • It would be informative to have the calculations for density be made public so all can see
    the cost/benefits for the City and the economic realities of such a project.
  • Is this an extension or amendment to the False Creek/Expo Lands agreement, which
    has a total square footage cap (11Msf?) and a maximum number of units cap (?) and
    various conditions and cost waivers? If so, should this be discussed as part of a
    separate public process?
  • The Report states there is a $350 million capital budget plus design budget. Are the
    developers who benefit paying part of this, and through what mechanism (CACs?), or is
    public money paying for the viaduct removal and new infrastructure?

Positives:

  • Hogan’s Alley Memorial
  • Ice rink, community space and daycare at Plaza of Nations

More specific concerns: Continue reading

Happy New Year 2018 from CVN!

2018 is here!

2018 will be an important year for Vancouver with a municipal election in October. This city is at an important point in its history.

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods will continue to advocate based on its Principles and Goals built upon the following main concepts:

  • A collaborative, accountable and transparent partnership
  • Vancouver as community, not commodity
  • A livable, sustainable city

For more information, please click here.

Coalition writes Council on Motions B.1 & B.3: Preserving Livable/Usable Space in One and Two Family Houses Reporting Data on Secondary Suites(for 12-Dec-2017)

Text of a from CVN letter to City Council follows, in relation to Motions B.1 and B.3 to Regular City Council for Tuesday, 12-Dec-2017. Meeting info here: http://council.vancouver.ca/20171212/regu20171212ag.htm

PDF: CVN Letter to Council -Motion B.1.B.3-NC.Dec.11.2017

December 8, 2017
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,

Re: Motion B.1 Preserving Livable/Useable Space in One and Two Family Houses
Motion B.3 – Reporting Data on Secondary Suites

The above two motions, B.1 and B.3, are scheduled to be introduced at the Council meeting on Tuesday, December 12. The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods supports both of these motions. We believe they are beneficial proposals which will add useful data to our knowledge base (Motion B.3), and help builders and homeowners work to increase accessibility in current and future housing (Motion B.1).

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

For reference, the THEREFORE sections of both motions are copied below. Please see the meeting link above for the full text of the motions.  Continue reading

Coalition writes Council on Motion B.2 – “West Point Grey Rental Density for Students and Seniors” (for 12-Dec-2017)

Text of letter follows, in relation to a Motion B.2 to Regular City Council on Tuesday, 12-Dec-2017. Meeting info here: http://council.vancouver.ca/20171212/regu20171212ag.htm

PDF: CVN Letter to Council -Motion B2-NoContacts.Dec.10.2017.final

December 10, 2017
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,
Re: Motion B.2 – West Point Grey Rental Density for Students and Seniors
http://council.vancouver.ca/20171212/documents/motionb2.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) has significant concerns about Motion B.2 (link above) and urges Council to defeat it. While CVN supports the need for affordable housing, social housing, and housing for seniors, we believe communities should be directly involved with the Planning Department in the planning decisions affecting their neighbourhoods. Those decisions should not be based on any one councillor’s opinion in a motion at a meeting.

We appreciate the recent comments by Mayor Gregor Robertson and General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability, Gil Kelley, that built supply has already exceeded resident growth and that more thoughtful, complex strategies are required to solve the affordability crisis in the city. So, it is surprising to see our newest Councillor propose a motion which continues the old argument that supply is the answer. And, in some of its suggested processes, this motion is diametrically opposed to our principle of collaboration between citizens and the planners at City Hall, a principle endorsed by his party, the NPA, before the last civic election.

The proposed Motion B2 contradicts approved planning processes, appears to be hastily drawn up, is less than thorough, and yet proposes to rezone under a specific new bylaw a significant part of a neighbourhood without any community consultation. With very high land values in this area it would not produce affordable housing. Further, the area is not close to major transit connections or retail amenities, and is not topographically amenable to people with disabilities, or many seniors. This proposal is unlikely to be socially or economically viable.

In consideration of the above issues, along with the Motion’s implied intent to impose a drastic change to the existing zoning without any neighbourhood consultation or involvement in the planning process, we recommend that this motion should not be referred to the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability for any further consideration. Instead, we recommend that the community is meaningfully involved in collaboration with the City for any future planning of the neighbourhood.

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

CVN writes City Council on proposed new Housing Vancouver Strategy (2018-2027)

November 26, 2017

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,

Vancouver Housing Strategy

November 26, 2017
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,

Re: Vancouver Housing Strategy

As strong supporters of the need for affordable housing, especially for residents who live and work here, we appreciate the City’s efforts with the new Vancouver Housing Strategy. While the City finally acknowledges that speculative capital and land inflation created by increased density are driving unaffordability, the proposed solutions are again based on increasing supply through rezoning. This focus on additional supply through up zoning has proven to be one of the primary contributors to increased land inflation and undermines our shared objective of improving housing affordability. On that basis, we are opposed to this proposed plan.

We are particularly concerned about the proposals for city-wide rezoning to greatly increase new strata townhouses, rowhouses and apartments in ways that run counter to the CityPlan Community Visions and Local Area Planning processes that were promised to guide future increases of growth at the neighbourhood level. With the new proposed strategy, character house retention incentives would also be undermined, resulting in more demolitions and expensive new development that locals cannot afford.

Neighbourhood character and fit should be considered on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis, with meaningful community participation, not by a citywide blanket override of existing zoning bylaws, community plans and neighbourhood-specific concerns. We agree that there should be opportunities for more housing choice all across the city, but any changes to zoning should be implemented appropriately for each neighbourhood. Density bonuses, intended to increase affordability in Rental 100 projects, could have the opposite effect by creating much larger developments that inflate land values for properties around the site with buildings that are out of scale with the neighbourhood. Targeting major developments for transit hubs has already proven to inflate both housing and land costs, yet this plan proposes to maintain this negative path.

Retaining current rental stock receives relatively little attention, despite being the most affordable option for residents. Retaining character houses by encouraging secondary suites that can provide additional rental housing and mortgage helper income will have less impact on land inflation than demolition and new larger developments. Making it easier for renovations and more secondary suites is a faster, more effective approach to affordability, yet is less of a priority in this plan than more expensive new development.

The City has provided virtually no time to review and respond to this massive 248 page report, posting it 2 to their website only last Friday; just two business days ahead of Council consideration. This clear lack of respect for the public’s interest flies in the face of the Mayor’s 2014 apology and commitment to listen to voters in the future. Vancouver’s voters expect and deserve better.

We request that this report not be approved at this time. Recommendations are complex, with far reaching implications. This report should be referred for meaningful participation to the communities that will have to live with the results of this 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

 

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Chinatown Action Group
Citygate Intertower Group
Community Association of New Yaletown
Crosstown Residents Association
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
Dunbar Residents Association
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville Burrard Residents & Business Association
Joyce Area Residents
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Oakridge Community Association
Norquay Residents
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Association
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association

Reference: http://council.vancouver.ca/20171128/documents/rr1.pdf

Responses from City Council by-election candidates to CVN’s 10 questions

(Updated to 11 am, Oct 13) CVN sent ten questions to candidates for the October 14 civic by-election in Vancouver. See the questions at this link.

Below we provide the responses, in the order received. (To read, you may find it easiest to open two windows — one with the questions, and one with the responses.)

Here is a list of the candidates (alphabetical order) and updated status of their responses:

  • BREMNER, Hector (NPA) – Response received 10/11 (below)
  • CARDONA, Diego (Vision Vancouver)
  • DUNSDON, Mary Jean “Watermelon” (Sensible Vancouver)
  • FRY, Pete (Green Party) – Response received 10/11 (below)
  • GRAVES, Judy (OneCity) Response received 10/13 (below)
  • LEE, Gary
  • MURPHY, Damian J – Response received 10/12 (below)
  • SWANSON, Jean – Response received 10/12 (below)
  • WASILENKOFF, Joshua Continue reading