Category Archives: In Court for Creekside Park

The City Files its Response — backing Concord’s hardship claim all the way to the bank!

At long last, the City of Vancouver has filed its response to the FCRA Judicial Review Application. Not surprisingly, the City’s response mirrors Concord’s:  The City granted the temporary development permit to Concord Pacific (aka One West holdings) because otherwise Concord would experience “hardship”.

Further, the City maintains that using land zoned for exclusive Park and Recreation use, as a sales centre, is “consistent” with the long term recreational use of Lot 9, known as the Creekside Park Extension.

Further, the City says that a commercial parking operation would also be consistent with exclusive Park and Recreation use.

 

The main body of the responded is included here: Response to Petition

There are 2 supporting affidavits, each one containing masses of irrelevant information.

The Question before the Court is simple:  Is the City within its jurisdiction under the Vancouver Charter to grant a “hardship” exemption to Concord Pacific, allowing it to operate a substantial commercial enterprise on land zoned as a park.

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Media Release advises of Concord’s application to adjourn long-established court date

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 9, 2014—Justice delayed, court process hijacked. Concord Pacific’s first act as a full party to the community’s dispute with the City of Vancouver is to postpone established Court date.

“The City must be happy that this will be buried until after the November 15, 2014 Civic election. There are significant reported financial contributions by Concord Pacific to Vision Vancouver. We assume the incumbent administration will not want to highlight its partnership with the developer in this legal battle with the community as we run up to November 15,” stated Fern Jeffries, Co-Chair of the FCRA (False Creek Residents Association).

The City’s lawyer’s has just now advised the FCRA that a key person is away on vacation until September 22nd and the City would have been unable to make the long established September 11th court date in any event. “It’s hard to understand this level of disorganization in such a well-paid bureaucracy,” said Jeffries. “The Court Rules say the City’s response was due June 12, 2014. I wonder if I could get that kind of extension on my property taxes”?

Timeline
On May 21, 2014 the FCRA filed a judicial review application to the BC Supreme Court to declare invalid the City of Vancouver’s decision to allow commercial activities on land zoned for exclusive use as a park. The temporary permit allowing such use had expired on May 16, and the FCRA was asking the Court to disallow any renewal. “Temporary” permits had been in place since 2006. The City of Vancouver then issued yet another “temporary” 3-year permit on July 24, 2014. Accordingly, the FCRA amended its court case, asking the court to quash this renewed permit.

On July 24, the same date that the City advised Concord of the 3-year extension of its temporary permit, Concord filed an application in Supreme Court to be added as a party to the judicial review application. No explanation was given as to why a full month passed between the FCRA filing and the joint actions by the City and by Concord. The Court heard Concord’s application on August 27, 2014.

The FCRA’s opposition to Concord’s application was largely based on concern that they would hijack the judicial process and FCRA would never have its day in court.

On September 3, 2014, the Court granted Concord’s application. Concord’s first act as a full party in this matter is to apply for a postponement. “We likely won’t be in Court on this matter until January,” said Bob Kasting, counsel for the FCRA. He added that there may be numerous other legal manoeuvres initiated by Concord or the City to delay the matter even further.

The City is working with Concord to facilitate the use of the park-zoned land for a television reality show, the Game of Homes. “Concord makes so much money from this property, it is hardly surprising that they are not motivated to deliver the 9-acre park that was part of the 1990 agreement with the City,” said Jeffries.

The 1990 agreement called for 7650 units of housing and green space that included this 9-acre waterfront property. Over 10,000 have since been built and another 1,300 were recently approved as Concord’s “False Creek Central” across from BC Place.
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For further information, contact Fern Jeffries, 604-328-7097
For legal information, contact Bob Kasting, 604-879-5952

General Manager of Engineering now admits there is no land use permit supporting the 9 week filming

In his latest response to the FCRA,Peter Judd now acknowledges that there is no permit between Concord Pacific and the City of Vancouver. Here is his response:
“Ms Jeffries, thank you for the opportunity to clarify. Yes you are correct. The City considers the proposed activity an acceptable use of this site and it is not precluded by the Development Permit issued by the City to Concord for an extension to the current use. The City has issued a film permit for this production per John Greers letter, but there are no other permits in existence relating to this site as we generally do not require Development or Building Permits for film sets.”

His response raises a number of serious issues, now formally conveyed to the City:
“Thank you for your email Mr. Judd in which you acknowledge that there is no “current permit between the City and Concord Pacific”.

However, your response raises a number of serious ancillary questions:

1. You say, “The City considers…” What does this mean? Is this a staff decision? Is this a Council decision? What is the process by which “the City” made this decision? What is the authority by which this decision is made? The City web site notes that new or significant events require Council decision. Is this new use requiring closure of the seawall considered “significant”?

2. What are the criteria by which this is judged to by “an acceptable use”? As you know, the land is zoned for exclusive park and recreation use. Was this zoning taken into account?

3. Is a “film permit” the same as a “Special Events” permit? Mr. Greer’s letter specifies “Special Events”, yet I can find no definition on the City’s web site. Please provide a definition of a “Special Event” . Is a “film set” a “special event” ? Mr. Greer’s letter does not allow any commercial usage, but is restrictive to “special events”. How did “the City” determine that this film permit was issued “per John Greers (sic.) letter?

4. Although this event is on private property, it has significant public impact. Why was no consultation with neighbours undertaken? Again, this appears to be a requirement according to the City’s web site.

Thank you for your attention to this important community issue.”

As usual, we’ll keep web site readers posted. Comments and suggestions welcome!

Peter Judd, General Manager of Engineering for the City of Vancouver alleges there is a land use permit between Concord and the City

Lot 9 of the BC Place Expo District is governed by a zoning bylaw which limits activity on the property to exclusive park and recreation uses. The City has granted a permit for Concord to operate its sales centre on part of this 9 acre site. And the rest of the property??
Concord nets millions in land rentals. The latest is a rental for the Game of Homes, a reality tv show on home renovation. We found this out only after many emails and phone calls. As is usual, there was no prior community consultation on the construction (much of it taking place on Labour Day) or the special event usage (as is required according to the City’s protocols).
In response to our queries, Mr. Judd, the General Manager of Engineering, writes that there is a land use permit between Concord and the City and that this usage is consistent with it. This will come as a great surprise to the city department that issues such permits. Of course, that department has yet to respond to our emails. John Greer, Asst Director who recently signed the documentation permitting another 3 years for the sales centre, has yet to respond.

What can we do? Here is an obvious case of the City not following its own bylaws. Suggestions welcome! For a complete copy of Mr.Judd’s communication, see: Judd’s email – Game of Homes

David versus the whole Goliath Family

Concord has won its bid to join with the City of Vancouver in opposing the community’s petition for judicial review of the City’s decision to allow commercial enterprises on land zoned exclusively for park and recreation.

The City supported Concord’s bid. No surprise there.

The FCRA is now up against both the City and the developer. But of more concern is the fact that we anticipate that Concord will hijack the process with endless applications and motions. Delay delay delay.

Certainly the City will be pleased NOT to have a decision on the substance of our petition before the November municipal election.

And the longer the delay, the more money Concord makes. At this point, the City has granted them a filming permit – a 9 week affair which will also close the seawall for significant periods of time.

The full decision allowing Concord to join the action is below:
Master Taylor, re F.C.R.A False Creek Residents Association v. Vancouver (City), 09-03

False Creek Residents Association battles Concord Pacific over commercial use of park-zoned land

Lawyer Bob Kasting is helping the local residents’ association in its efforts to halt the commercial use of park-zoned land

by Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight

Vancouver lawyer Bob Kasting has been doing a lot of thinking.

His admirers want him to run for mayor, and he says he’ll likely decide before an important court date on September 11. On that day, a judge will hear a petition regarding a False Creek property that Kasting’s clients argue should have been a park for a long time already. Read more…

The FCRA petition is amended to reflect the City’s decision to grant another temporary permit for Concord’s sales centre.

The FCRA petitioned the Supreme Court of British Columbia on May 22, 2014, asking that the Court rule on whether the Vancouver Charter enables the City to allow for commercial activities on land zoned for exclusive park and recreation use.

On August 11, 2014 the City granted another “temporary” permit to Concord Pacific. Given this action, we have amended our petition. We are no longer asking is the City has the power under the Charter that it claims. We are now asking that the Court quash the decision.

In its letter to Concord Pacific (dated July 24, 2014), the City forbids Concord to use Lot 9 for commercial parking. Concord is ignoring this prohibition. See our previous post with its photographic evidence of Concord’s non-compliance.

The letter indicates that Concord may rent its land for special events, as long as they are granted “Special Permits”. Our amended petition asks that the Court declare that any event so permitted is consistent with the zoning, i.e. park and recreation.

Our case will be hear by the Supreme Court on September 11, 2014. In the meantime, stay tuned – Concord has applied to be added to the case. The Court will hear this matter on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 9:45.

The amended petition is included in this posting. All previous documents filed are attached to earlier postings.Amended Aug 22nd

Concord Pacific appears to disregard City’s Orders

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough the City of Vancouver has made it clear that Concord’s commercial parking activities on park zoned land are to cease immediately, Sunday, August 24th was proof that the developer has little intention of complying.

Thanks to City Hall Watch for pictures of the parking operations during Sunday’s Lions game at BC Place. City Hall Watch also discusses the ongoing use of facia signs on the development centre. The sign bylaw stipulates that facia signs, that is, signs that are directly on the face of the building, can only be used to advertise a business on that site. As Concord can no longer market Burnaby condos from Northeast False Creek, the facia signs should be taken down immediately.

All neighbourhoods are grateful to City Hall Watch for their insight and deligence.

http://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/commercial-parking-illegal-signs/