5 letters to City Council: Rezonings, COVID-19, SROs, Public Hearings, Climate vs Vancouver Building By-law, etc.

The following letters were sent to Vancouver Mayor and Councillors pertaining to upcoming agenda topics this week at City Hall. Please see the list at top, with actual text in order below.

  1. Referral Reports – Continued Practice of Referring Rezonings to Public Hearing
  2. Motion B.2 (April 28)- Ensuring All Vancouver Residents Can Comply With Public Health Guidance (support)
  3. Motion B.3 (April 28) – Private Single Room Occupancy Cleaning Cost Recovery (support)
  4. Motion B.4 (April 28) – Strengthening Representative Democratic Practices in Vancouver (support)
  5. Agenda Item 3 (April 29) – Climate Emergency Requirements for New Housing 3-Storeys and Under [topic relating to Character Houses] (opposed, with reasons)


LETTER 1 – April 27, 2020

Re: Referral Reports – Continued Practice of Referring Rezonings to Public Hearing

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes these continuing actions by the General Manager of Planning and Council.

CVN outlined our concerns (in our email of March 30, 2020:1124AM) that emergency powers are to be used judiciously for emergency purposes to deal with COVID-19. We further stated:

Public hearings require full public involvement and should not proceed under emergency order
unless they are truly of an emergency nature. Rezoning is not an emergency so referrals to public hearings should be suspended until restrictions on public gatherings are lifted.

We continue to believe that rezonings are not an emergency issue and note that the provincial emergency order to allow electronic meetings did not extend to Public Hearings that are covered under Section 566 of the Vancouver Charter.

And further, at present, the City has not shown itself to have the ability to conduct a Public Hearing, in this time of pandemic emergency, in any way that approaches the concern with the health and safety of the public, which is necessary, or that enables a proper form of communication between the Council, Mayor and their constituents, as required under the Vancouver Charter for Public Hearings.


LETTER 2 – April 25, 2020

Re: Motion B.2 – Ensuring All Vancouver Residents Can Comply With Public Health Guidance
April 28 Council Item B.2: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200428/documents/motionb2.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this Motion. In this unprecedented time of a COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally important for all of us to practice physical distancing and to stay at home as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the virus.

Unfortunately, at present, the circumstances faced by some of our fellow citizens render them unable to follow the Provincial guidelines. This Motion seeks a solution to this problem. While the Province has begun to make some moves in this direction, it doesn’t look to be enough, and we would support requesting the Provincial or Federal government to do more. We need to act now in order to effectively stem the tide of infection before it has a chance to become widespread.

We need to consider all of our citizens in any measures we undertake to mitigate this pandemic. This Motion helps to do that, and so is deserving of our support.


LETTER 3 – April 25, 2020

Re: Motion B.3 – Private Single Room Occupancy Cleaning Cost Recovery
April 28 Council Item B.3: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200428/documents/motionb3.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this Motion.

While this issue is not in our normal area of concern (land use and planning), we feel that it is important for all citizens to voice their support for items and issues that contribute to the public good. In this current pandemic environment, we need to constantly monitor the safety and health of all of our citizens. There are existing rules and regulations to best enable this to take place.

And if landlords and owners of SROs are not meeting the requirements to keep lodging accommodations in clean condition, and the City, in the public interest, must carry out such operations as a necessity to inhibit the spread of COVID-19, then it is imperative that these Bylaws be strengthened to force the payment for such services by the owners of these buildings.

CVN supports this Motion because it does exactly that.


LETTER 4 – April 25, 2020

Re: Motion B.4 – Strengthening Representative Democratic Practices in Vancouver
April 28 Council Item B.4: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200428/documents/motionb4.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this Motion. We agree that

“In a representative democracy, all eligible citizens have the right to participate, either directly or indirectly, in making the decisions that affect them, most commonly by voting in an election and/or by making their views known to their elected officials on issues of importance to them and their community …”

This Motion simply asks for speakers to identify themselves and state whether or not they are residents of Vancouver, therefore, constituents of those they are addressing. Simple and straightforward. Important to know for both the Mayor and Councillors.

That’s why CVN is supporting this Motion.


LETTER 5 – April 25, 2020

Re: Agenda Item 3. Climate Emergency Requirements for New Housing 3-Storeys and Under
Agenda April 29, 2020: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200429/pspc20200429ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes this Motion.

While we are supportive of efforts to improve energy efficient building standards for new buildings of 3-storeys and under, this Report has serious flaws in its consideration of the impacts its recommendations would have on renovations of existing buildings, and most specifically how it undermines heritage and character house incentives for retention. These concerns are very ably elucidated in a letter sent to you from the Vancouver Character House Network, linked here:

Vancouver Character House Network writes City Council on ‘Climate Emergency Requirements for New Housing 3-Storeys and Under’ (in Council 29-Apr-2020) – Vancouver Building By-law

We at CVN share these concerns, and agree that the amendments suggested in the above letter should be included in any new revisions to the Bylaw. This should be done in order to ensure that these measures for new buildings don’t override other City initiatives for heritage and character house incentives that help to provide more housing choice for both ownership and rentals, and more sustainability through adaptive reuse of existing buildings.



City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors

Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
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
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Joyce Area Residents
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
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 Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association