COALITION OF VANCOUVER NEIGHBOURHOODS
October 24, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver Communities Unite to Fix Planning Mess Residents’ Associations Seek Meaningful Involvement
Vancouver, B.C. – Eighteen community residents’ associations, covering almost the entire City of Vancouver, have now joined together in a Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods with the specific purpose of demanding a more respectful relationship between the City and the communities. “The Coalition is working on creating a new development/planning paradigm that will stress community involvement and local influence over land use and zoning decisions,” said spokesperson Jak King.
This coming together follows the summer of our discontent. Virtually every neighbourhood in Vancouver has suffered through the disaster that is development and “community engagement” under the present planning process.
Whether it is the failed Community Plans in Marpole, Grandview-Woodland, the West End and Downtown Eastside, or specific developments around False Creek, the Pearson lands in South Vancouver, the Rize and other projects in Mount Pleasant, the “downtownification” of Oakridge, and the overriding of community opinion in Norquay, the outrage expressed by the affected communities has been the same.
In each and every case, residents have been refused genuine involvement and influence over decision-making. Even in the few cases where residents have been allowed a form of consultation, such as in the Mount Pleasant Implementation, their positions have been ignored or curtailed or both. “We have witnessed public hearings where hundreds of people have vocally and loudly opposed developments only to see City Council vote in support of the developers,” noted Fern Jeffries. “This has squandered the time and energy residents have put into engaging with these proposals.”
“We hope that the City will quickly recognize that something is badly broken in the way they engage with communities and return to the concept of community-based planning that was so successful in building Vancouver,” said King. The Coalition will work together to support individual neighbourhoods in their disputes over unacceptable planning decisions and proposals.
The disenfranchisement of neighbourhoods must end. The Coalition will not accept with equanimity any more faux “engagement” circuses in which “consultation” produces nothing but disappointment and damaged communities. Communities demand genuine involvement and the right of local residents to have the highest level of influence over the future of their own communities.
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About the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods comprises eighteen community residents’ associations who share a common interest in collaborating with the City of Vancouver.
Arbutus Ridge Community Association Crosstown Residents Association Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council Downtown South/Yaletown
Dunbar Residents Association False Creek Residents Association Grandview Woodland Area Council Citygate Intertower Group
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association Oakridge Langara Area Residents Residents Association of Mount Pleasant Riley Park/South Cambie Visions Strathcona Residents Association
West End Neighbours
West Kitsilano Residents Association West Point Grey Residents Association
We encourage residents to join and become involved with their local associations, and we invite all such associations to join us in this Coalition.
For further information:
Jak King (GWAC) firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 604-253-6232
Fern Jeffries (FCRA) email@example.com Phone: 604-328-7097
Jonathan Weisman (DRA) firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 778-899-5665
Albert Leung (MRC) Chinese news media contact email@example.com
Below are the comments I made at City Council, urging them to spend at least another year so that they could hear from a broader cross-section of our community. Of particular concern in the Emerging Directions taken by City Planning is the plan that all new housing north of Keefer, from Victory Square to Clark Drive, be 60% social housing, and that there be a ‘rental only’ zone in Gastown. I’ll post a reference to the City’s map so you can see the precise boundaries of what is proposed. Concerns expressed by Crosstown residents are that these proposals will create a ‘poverty ghetto’ and destroy any semblance of balance and revitalization.
In the decision to proceed, staff are proposing a number of Public Information Sessions. I hope you will find time to attend and let staff know what your thoughts and aspirations are.
The planning process is being co-chaired by the Building our Community Society, a charitable foundation, and the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, who haven’t participated in months, since their representatives were ousted by the associations membership. Consistent with our position, the Strathcona Residents Association urged council to disband the current plan and go back to the drawing board to develop an inclusive process. This advice was also ignored by Council.
We will continue to work with neighbouring communities to convince Council to develop plans that build strong healthy communities.
On August 9, the Property Assessment Appeal Board ruled that Concord Pacific’s 9 acre site on the False Creek Waterfront was worth $1.00.
The Adjudicator said it was worth $12million, but then deducted the cost of the promised park from the value of the land. Wouldn’t it be great if you or I could promise to build a million dollar improvement in our condos and have that deducted from the assessed value.
The FCRA decided to appeal that decision. This is done by way of submitting questions on the case to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. We wanted to ensure that the Supreme Court had all the pertinent facts, so we asked the Appeal Board to ensure the Court knew that the density granted to Concord Pacific in exchange for the park was 7650 (later increased to over $10,000).
But the Appeal Board refused to submit that fact to the SupremeCourt, claiming that the units had not been built!!
SPECIAL ALERT TO PEOPLE LIVING IN CONCORD PACIFIC BUILDINGS ON THE NORTH SHORE OF FALSE CREEK: YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY YOUR MUNICIPAL TAXES BECAUSE YOUR UNITS DON’T EXIST.
Does it get more ridiculous!!
The Property Assessment Appeal Board has ruled that the 9 acre site which, according to the 1989 deal made by the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia and Concord Pacific, is to be a public park – Creekside Park — just like David Lam Park, George Wainborn Park and Coopers Landing Park. Those parks are assessed at approximately $175.00 per square foot. The Creekside Park is assessed at less than $1.00 per square foot. The False Creek Residents Association appealed that assessment.
The Appeal Board agreed! It placed the value of the park at over $12,000,000. But then it deducted the amount of money Concord Pacific has budgeted for completion of the park from that amount and came up with the figure of $1.00 for the whole 9 acres.
This is like deducting the cost of your mortgage from the assessed value of your home. Wouldn’t that be sweet!
You can read the decision here. Let us know what you think.
It used to be that the downtown eastside referred to a couple of blocks of ‘skid row’. Now the term is used to apply to the entire Oppenheimer Planning District – from Victory Square, through Gastown, Strathcona, Thornton Park — all the way to Clark Drive. The city has now released its “Emerging Directions”, and we have another chance to have a say. Unfortunately past meetings with planners have had no results, and the document only reflects the concerns of certain low income members of the community. The document does not reflect the views of those of us who want to see a balanced and mixed community – one that can develop and sustain economic and social development.
Check out the Emerging Directions at: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/downtown-eastside-local-area-plan-open-house-boards-07182013.pdf
Complete the survey at: http://vancouver.fluidsurveys.com/s/dtes-lap/?l=en
On July 22, city staff were kind enough to come out to meet with some of the members of the community who are upset at the redirection of traffic through the already congested 1 block residential streets of Milross and National. The number of vehicles is at issue. At the meeting staff mentioned 2,000+, but the number on the city web site cites 5,000 per day.
July 24, 2013
To Mayor and Council
Re: International Village School
As a community/resident association we would like to support, in principle, the development and delivery of the new International Village School at 55 Expo Blvd. We understand that there are some necessary building requirements to ensure that the comprehensive size of the building can accommodate both the school itself and the common area/child care area. This will entail a possible encroachment onto Andy Livingstone Park via a cantilevered second story. We support this design as it will alleviate the possibility of the building disturbing the views from the Firenze. We also understand that the parking requirements are still being negotiated with the Firenze strata council and its resident members.
We have met with representatives from the VSB and the architect, Walter Francl and as well they have attended one of the JWG meetings and an FCRA Board meeting. As a resident association we hope to continue the dialogue with the VSB in order to ensure that the IV School is the best fit for our community.
The construction of the new International Village School is critical to the continued development of NEFC. We look forward to its arrival in our community.
Patsy McMillan, Co-chair, FCRA
False Creek Residents Association — www.falsecreekresidents.org
It was a full house last night at 1128 Quebec Street when residents from Strathcona, Citygate, and Crosstown met with city staff to ask that there be community consultation on their plan to close Union street, re-directing 2000+ cars and trucks per day onto the congested residential streets of Milross and National. This plan, masked as “upgrades to the Adanac Bikeway”, somehow never made it to the agenda of the Northeast False Creek Working Group that has been meeting monthly under the city’s chairmanship for the last 6 years.
Everyone – Cyclists, Parents , Seniors, – residents from impacted neighbourhoods expressed their fears for safety. The Director of Transportation admitted that he had no statistics on pedestrian injuries unless there was an ICBC claim. John Murray, a Director on the Board of the FCRA disclosed that the person who cause his accident did not make an ICBC claim. No Statistics there! Others had similar stories to tell. Again, the City has no interest in our lived experience – 20 years in the neighbourhood means nothing!
MAKE A NOISE – We live hear, we work here, we play here. The City must take our views into account! 8 – 9 am, 200 block Union Street. Be there with bells on–or trombones, trumpets, pots and pans