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:

PDF: CVN Letter to Council -Motion

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

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.

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