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

The following letter was sent to all members of the Mayors’ 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 all members of the Mayors’ 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 all members of the Mayors’ 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 all members of the Mayors’ 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

Proposed Broadway Subway & extension Arbutus to UBC: Coalition writes Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council

The following letter was sent to all members of the Mayors’ Council. Download PDF: CVN Letter to Metro Mayors-Transit 02 07 2019

February 7, 2019
Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council
Re:  Broadway Subway and extension from Arbutus Street to UBC

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is a coalition of twenty-four residents associations and groups from across the City of Vancouver. While we do support improvements to the system of transit in the City of Vancouver, we do not support the proposal for the Broadway Subway, neither to Arbutus nor for an extension to UBC. There are also calls from across the region for more affordable options in Vancouver, so that transit funds can be more equitably distributed throughout the Metro area.

CVN has written letters to the City, Province and Federal Government in opposition to the subway on Broadway.  We think that this plan should be reconsidered now that many Mayors and City Councils have changed across the region.

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, and to further extend the subway/SkyTrain to UBC. Reasons for this are many: the amount of money that will need to be directed to it, thus starving the rest of the City’s public transit needs; the reliance on CACs & DCLs to fund it, with the resulting corridor of excessive development along Broadway; the further inflated property value increases which follow.  Additional concerns are:

  • The many reports have been characterized as political documents masquerading as technical documents. They misrepresent the underlying assumptions of ridership, capacity, and costs based on reviewing previous flawed “consultation” studies that did not properly compare options or report accurately the level of public opposition and support. The reports are designed to achieve a predetermined outcome.
  • The alternative options of LRT, streetcar, trolleys, etc. for the whole corridor have been dropped from this current comparison. The report claims that LRT has a practical capacity of only 6,120 when in fact it can achieve 20,000 pphpd. Even 1940’s streetcar technology in Toronto obtained capacity of 12,000 pphpd.
  • One of the reasons that the proposed first portion of the subway stops at Arbutus is the smaller street pattern to the west, and that there was such strong opposition from Kitsilano and West Point Grey residents and businesses to a subway with the resulting tower densities that would go with it. This has not gone away.
  • Continue reading

Rapid Transit from Arbutus Street to UBC: Coalition does not support staff recommendations, requests Council ‘receive’ reports, not adopt as policy (meeting 30-Jan-2019)

January 25, 2019
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re:         Rapid Transit from Arbutus Street to UBC – Meeting Jan.30, 2019

Report (“Rapid Transit from Arbutus Street to UBC,” staff report, Jan 15, 2019)  https://council.vancouver.ca/20190130/documents/pspc1.pdf

Appendix C (“Rail to UBC Rapid Transit Study: Alternatives Analysis Summary and Update” (McElhanney Consulting Services) Jan 2019 ): https://council.vancouver.ca/20190130/documents/pspc1-AppendixC.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) does not support the recommendations in the above reports and requests that Council receive the reports for information purposes only, not as policy.

CVN has written many letters to the City, Province and Federal Government in opposition to the subway on Broadway. The links to the letters are attached for reference.

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, and to further extend the subway/SkyTrain to UBC. This is for many reasons, not least of which is the amount of money that will need to be directed to it, thus starving the rest of the City’s public transit needs; the reliance on CACs & DCLs to fund it with the resulting corridor of excessive development along Broadway and the further inflated property value increases. Additional concerns are as follows:

  • The above reports have been characterized as political documents masquerading as technical documents.  They misrepresent the underlying assumptions of ridership, capacity, and costs based on reviewing previous flawed “consultation” studies that did not properly compare options or report accurately the level of public opposition and support. The reports are designed to achieve a predetermined outcome.
  • The alternative options of LRT, streetcar or trolleys  for the whole corridor have been dropped from this current comparison. The report claims that LRT has a practical capacity of only 6,120 when in fact it can achieve 20,000 pphpd. Even 1940’s streetcar technology in Toronto obtained capacity of 12,000 pphpd.
  • One of the reasons that the proposed first portion of the subway stops at Arbutus is the smaller street pattern and that there was such strong opposition from Kitsilano and West Point Grey residents and businesses to a subway with the resulting tower densities that would go with it. This has not gone away.
  • The Mayors’ plan for the Broadway subway to Arbutus was strongly opposed in the transportation referendum, both regionally and in the City of Vancouver, so should not be considered a done deal when it has not yet been fully costed and approved. The regional/City of Vancouver  portion has gone up considerably and is yet to be fully consulted with the public.
  • 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 only one corridor. See maps below.
  • The subway is about $535m/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.
  • We oppose the use of private-public-partnerships (P3) models that are more likely with expensive transit lines like the subway/SkyTrain because benefits to private partners have higher costs to the public.
  • 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 a portion of the costs of growth as it is. Now these development fees will also have to cover the subway itself.
  • 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. Elevated SkyTrain would be too impactful on  the surrounding neighbourhoods, even more so than a subway.
Caption: Equivalent electric streetcar network deliverable for same cost of proposed Broadway Corridor subway (Condon, et al, 2008, The case for the tram; learning from Portland, Sustainability by Design – An examination of alternatives to an underground extension of the Millennium Line to UBC, Foundational Research Bulletin, No. 6.)

 

Sincerely,

Larry Benge, Co-Chair, Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair
On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

 

You can download a PDF of this letter to Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors here:
http://coalitionvan.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/CVN-Letter-to-council-Transit-2019-Jan-25-final.pdf

Reference CVN letters:

May 15, 2018 – CVN letter to City of Vancouver
Millennium Line Broadway Extension of SkyTrain – Municipal Requirements
http://coalitionvan.org/posts/cvn-letter-broadway-extension/

April 23, 2018 – CVN to Premier John Horgan
Transit Mode for City of Vancouver
http://coalitionvan.org/posts/cvn-horgan-transit-vancouver/

CVN writes Council supporting reconsideration of RS Zoning Amendments and Related Strata Title Guidelines (18-Dec-2018)

December 17, 2018
City of Vancouver Mayor & Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Report – Reconsider RS Zoning Amendments and Related Strata Title Guidelines
https://council.vancouver.ca/20181218/documents/a5.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) strongly supports reconsidering the RS zoning amendments and proceeding with referral to the required public hearing as quickly as possible. CVN previously sent a letter to council supporting the related motion.

Of the options listed in the staff report, we support approving the previous motion to reconsider the RS rezoning amendments and related guidelines, and referring this to public hearing expeditiously.

The results of the recent election clearly indicated a need for change to the planning process. We therefore, look forward to a new collaborative relationship with the City, to help bring about those changes and work towards developing a new city-wide plan.

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

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods supports rescinding of Public Hearing on rezoning of RT-7, RT-8, RT-10, RT-10N Zones

CVN sent the following letter to Mayor and Council as official input on this topic that was on the Regular Council meeting of December 4, 2018.

December 4, 2018
City of Vancouver Mayor & Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Reconsideration of Referral for Amendments to Zoning and Development By-law for RT-7 and RT-8 Zones (Kitsilano) and RT-10 and RT-10N (Kensington-Cedar Cottage)
https://council.vancouver.ca/20181204/documents/p1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) strongly supports the recommendations in the above report and urges you to approve it.

This report recommends rescinding the referral to public hearing for rezoning of RT7/RT8/RT10 as passed by the previous council before the election without consultation.

We appreciate that it helps to signal a change in process going into the upcoming citywide plan.

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

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods


Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods writes Council opposing Motion B5 “Land Value Capture in the City of Vancouver” 4-Dec-2018

CVN sent the following letter to Mayor and Council as official input on Motion B5 at the Regular Council meeting of December 4, 2018 (carried over to December 5 for speakers and discussion).

December 5, 2018
City of Vancouver Mayor & Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Motion B5 – Land Value Capture in the City of Vancouver

https://council.vancouver.ca/20181204/documents/motionb5.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) cannot support this motion.

We agree that land value inflation due to increased density with rezoning is a concern. We also agree that a review of CACs and DCLs and how they are being applied should be considered in the context of a citywide plan. However, we do have concerns with the proposals in general. Our first issue would be that there is no mention of communities being involved in the work of putting together any of this proposed policy.

An additional major concern is this section:

“vi. Outlining next steps for the City of Vancouver to work with the Province to develop a ‘made-in-Vancouver’ land value capture. And outlining next steps for working with Translink to model a land value capture mechanism for transit infrastructure investments, including partially funding an extension of the Broadway subway to UBC.”

We continue to be troubled with the linkage between transit funding and development, since it diverts DCLs and CACs away from necessary civic services and amenities, and does nothing for affordability.

We do acknowledge the urgency to raise revenues to address the need for truly affordable housing, but would like to see community involvement in these decision-making processes, along with policy makers, researchers, and BC Assessment. We are also concerned that the motion lacks a clear definition of this tax, and look forward to a clarification.

We would appreciate the opportunity to work with Council and Planning to resolve these issues.

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

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods welcomes incoming Vancouver City Council (2018-2022)

CVN sent the following letter to incoming Mayor and Council prior to the first Regular Council meeting, scheduled for November 13, 2018.

November 11, 2018
City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councilors,

Re: Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods welcomes you

We would like to congratulate you on your election as our representatives in the city’s government, and take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you. We are the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN), representing 26 Residents’ Associations across this city. We are advocates for our member groups, and would like to work with you to improve this city.

We have appeared before councils in the past, and will appear before councils in the future. We see our role as a positive one, and wish to strengthen our relationship with Council and the Mayor going forward. Our hope is that a stronger, more collaborative relationship between civic government, including the Planning Department, and ourselves can be established so that we may better work together. As part of establishing this relationship, we will be seeking meetings with the Mayor, Councilors, and Planning staff soon. We see changes to the existing planning processes as a vital ingredient in making this city a better place, as well as a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning department.

Looking forward to meeting with you.

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

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading