January 30, 2015 – Our Judicial Review Application before Justice Sewell Concludes

The judicial review application is now concluded and we await a decision.  The second, and final day before Mr. Justice Sewell in BC’s Supreme Court opened with Concord Pacific again taking the floor to announce that it would seek costs against the FCRA.  Justice Sewell expressed his surprise, opining that costs were not commonly awarded in cases of judicial review.  This was particularly apt in this instance as the FCRA application was brought against the City of Vancouver.  Concord Pacific then budged its way into the proceedings on its own motion.

The second issue raised by counsel for Concord Pacific pertained to the FCRA’s application to have the Court declare the the City of Vancouver should declare that no further commercial parking should be allowed on Lot 9.  In its response to our petition for judicial review, the City replied that if could grant a permit for commercial parking on application.  Our request to the Court was based on our position that Concord’s  hardship status apples only to the sales centre, not to the need to allow commercial parking.  Concord Pacific of course objected to any such curtailing of their commercial activities.

Next up – the City of Vancouver.  We were anxious to hear whether there was any real evidence to support Concord’s hardship status.  Sadly, we were disappointed to hear nothing new.  For the most part, the City’s lawyer simply stated that the City of Vancouver “adopted” the positions assumed by Concord Pacific.

Further, the City maintained that the park would not be delivered in the next three years therefore our petition was unnecessary.

Bob Kasting, counsel for the FCRA summed up our petition, re-stating that notwithstanding all the evidence submitted by Concord Pacific and the City of Vancouver, this wasn’t a petition for a park.  It was a petition challenging the commercial use of a site zoned for exclusive park use.  While the Director of Planning may have jurisdiction to ‘relax’ zoning provisions, he did not have jurisdiction to change the use of the land.

In closing, we do want to thank Bob for all his work on our behalf.  In our view, it’s clear — prime waterfront property which is zoned for public use as a park should not be used for exclusive private parties, for sale functions, or high end displays of waterfront living.  The “hardship” excuse to allow this was simply that – an excuse.  We hope the Court will agree.

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