Category Archives: Posts

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

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