Category Archives: Other Initatives

National Calls Attention to City’s Proposal to Move Carrall Street

Residents of The National (1128 Quebec Street) have put out a document that shows serious concern over the City of Vancouver’s proposal to move Carrall eastward. The document outlines the City’s move that would allow more Concord Pacific condos on the shoreline and less waterfront park space.

“The most recent park design gives Concord Pacific more waterfront property to build residential towers, while shifting the Creekside Park extension to the area under the Skytrain line and next to the new six-lane Pacific Ave.”

“The original development plan for Creekside Park promised in 1990 was a contiguous east-west park alignment. Currently, the City of Vancouver is proposing a north-south alignment to the park, thus moving the park further away from the waterfront.”

You can read the original document here.

Plaza of Nations Development Plans Revealed

Plans for a new neighbourhood on the existing Plaza of Nations site were revealed earlier this week. The proposal aims to add 1400 new units to the area, along with retail, restauraunts & gardens. The developer is proposing a new Community Centre with an ice rink that would partially serve as a practice rink for the Vancouver Canucks as a Community amenity.

Here’s how the plans were received by the local news media this week:

Plaza of Nations site pitched as vibrant waterfront neighbourhood for Vancouver –  Vancouver Sun

Billionaire Developer talks plans for Vancouver Waterfront SiteGlobe & Mail

City of Vancouver to Hold Northeast False Creek Block Party

Here’s a chance to give your thoughts and input on the future of Northeast False Creek. The City of Vancouver is holding a Block Party to present an early draft of what they’ve heard over the last 10 months. We encourage all residents of False Creek to drop by and discuss the future of our community.

Where: Andy Livingston Park at Carrall Street.
When: Saturday, June 10, 11am – 7pm

 

City of Vancouver Draft Policy Statement on St. Paul’s Hospital & Open Houses

The City of Vancouver have created a draft Policy Statement to guide the development of the new St. Paul’s Hospital on the False Creek Flats. They’ll be holding two Open Houses to give members of the public an opportunity to review the proposals.

The Open Houses are:

Saturday, May 13 – 3:00 – 6:00 PM – Creekside Community Centre
Monday, May 15 – 5:00 – 8:00 PM – Strathcona Community Centre

For information on the City of Vancouver’s approach to this development so far, visit the link below:

http://vancouver.ca/home-property-develop…/new-st-pauls.aspx

VIDEO: Full House for the FCRA All-Candidates Meeting for Vancouver – False Creek

Over 100 people filled the room at Creekside Community Centre to hear the candidates from Vancouver – False Creek for the 2017 BC Provincial Election. It was a lively evening with interesting views on several issues of concern to residents of the area. The False Creek Residents Association is proud to have hosted this event. A big thanks to all in attendance, and especially to the six candidates who participated.

For those who couldn’t attend, here is a video of the entire meeting. Election day is May 9, and there are advance polls beforehand. Please get out and vote!

2017 All-Candidates Meeting for Vancouver-False Creek

-Presented by the False Creek Residents Association

Join us on Thursday, April 27, 7:00 PM at Creekside Community Centre as the False Creek Residents Association invites the provincial candidates for Vancouver-False Creek to participate in an All-Candidates meeting. This is your opportunity to ask questions and hear from the candidates on the issues that are important to the residents of False Creek prior to the May 9 Provincial Election.

The candidates for Vancouver – False Creek (Listed alphabetically):

James Filippelli – Your Political Party of BC (YPP)
Morgane Oger –  BC NDP
Phillip Ryan – BC Citizens First Party
Bradley Shende – BC Green Party
Sam Sullivan – BC Liberal Party (Incumbent)

The False Creek Residents Association is a non-partisan, volunteer-run neighbourhood group dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone that lives around and visits False Creek—the heart of the city of Vancouver. For more information, visit us at www.falsecreekresidents.org.

Free Parking!

RandyVanEykRandy Van Eyk believes his 40-foot sail boat, Tuesday Sunrise, should be allowed to anchor in the waters of False Creek indefinitely. Vancouver City Council requires a permit and sets a limit.

While the permit is free, you can’t anchor more than 21 days out of 40 in the winter and 14 days out of 30 in the summer. Longer than that and you need to move to a marina.

If you choose to live aboard your boat—preferring the freedom of dropping anchor or sailing away when the mood strikes—should you get free and unlimited parking?

False Creek is a desirable stop for boaters. It has a shallow and muddy bottom, which is better for securing the anchor, and it’s a beautiful setting. But if you are not hooked up to water and sewage services, is it putting public health at risk? FCboat

And who’s responsible when this happens?

FCboatFire

An ownerless boat catches fire and the city’s engineering department is sent in to remove it. Your anchor doesn’t hold and your boat slips into a navigable channel, hits another boat, or capsizes? Who cleans up the fuel leaks?

What if your boat washes up to shore in a storm? How long does it sit there before it’s removed? Who picks up the cost of these mishaps?

Density Bonuses for Developers

The City has proposed changes to the definition of “social housing”    that will enable developers to build rental housing projects that qualify for a bonus in allowable density if 30% of the units are available for low income residents. Unfortunately ‘low income’ doesn’t mean minimum wage earners or welfare recipients. They couldn’t afford the $912 for a bachelor apartment. That is the rent level that qualifies developers for the bonus in density. The new definition means that the entire 100% of units will be called ‘social housing’ even if only 30% are available to lower income residents.

Further, the proposed changes give staff the authority to approve the density bonus without public hearing or any scrutiny by elected officials.

On March 24, 2015 Council held a public hearing on this proposed changes. The FCRA spoke against the amendments. Following is the presentation we made to council. The Public Hearing has been extended to Thursday, March 26, 2015. If you agree, you have an opportunity to be heard, either by speaking to Council on the 26th, or by writing to: Mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca, or by signing the petition launched by our neighbours at the Community Association of New Yaletown (CANY): https://www.change.org/p/vancouver-mayor-and-city-council-vote-no-to-the-proposed-amendments-to-the-downtown-official-development-plan-on-march-24-2015

Remarks to City Council, March 24, 2015
I am here speaking on behalf of the FCRA because we believe that the proposed amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP) before Council today impact all neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

I want to raise 2 issues:

The need for democratic accountability in decision-making; and
The importance of accommodating deep core need residents in social housing across the city

First, the issue of democratic accountability:
I find it impossible to understand from the city’s material whether the decisions on density bonuses are made by elected officials or by public servants. If by both, in what order are these decisions made. Is it proposed that Council look at decisions made by public servants only after significant time, money and energy has been spent planning for the increased density? Or before? Will there be a public hearing? Will the community have a meaningful opportunity for input into decisions before additional density is granted?

I urge you not to compromise the importance of elected officials making decisions about whether or not to grant a density bonus. I have spoken in the past of the appearance of conflict of interest when developers donate huge sums of money to candidates. Having the public service make decisions around lucrative density bonuses raises the same level of suspicion or appearance of conflict of interest. We know that many city staff members later turn up as highly paid consultants for, or employees of, developers. Have their previous favourable decisions put them in line for such lucrative contracts? We wonder.

In my view, the city must ensure its policies and practices protect its staff from suspicions of abuse or corruption and even the appearance of conflict.

Density bonuses are serious business. Density bonuses exempt developers from zoning – zoning that was approved after public hearings; approved by elected officials according to the provisions of the Vancouver Charter. That whole scheme of accountability will be undermined if you allow density bonuses to be granted in private by anonymous bureaucrats, rather than up front, as part of a public and accountable democratic process.

Second, I want to say a few words about the definition of “social housing”:
This revamped definition forever takes developers off the hook for building housing for income assistance recipients. This revamped definition ensures that the DTES will continue to be the only place in the city for people on welfare to live. The city-wide definition excludes the most vulnerable who require housing at the welfare shelter rate. This is bad social policy.
The FCRA believes that there is significant evidence showing that strategies such as Scattered Site Housing, and Inclusive and Mixed Income developments have better results than high density enclaves of high need, high risk, high impact individuals.

The FCRA wants to see social housing across the city – social housing defined in the traditional way, for example, as the term was used when the Harcourt Government launched HOMES BC: housing for people at the shelter allowance rate, housing with rents geared to 30% of income (RGI); and housing for people who can pay rents at low end of market (LEM). With the developers delivering ‘turnkey’ buildings for social housing, the combination of these 3 groups should ensure viable projects.

If Market Rental Housing is required to ensure the viability of social housing projects, those units cannot be considered ‘social housing’. Market rental housing is not social housing.

There is no evidence to support the notion that increasing the supply of market rentals decreases the number of residents requiring assistance with affordability.

In summary, changing the definition of ‘social housing’ that will apply city-wide calls for a city-wide debate as it is the entire city that is impacted. To do otherwise, in my view, shows serious contempt for the recent Supreme Court of BC decision.

Firenze responds to false accusations

In an article published by the Vancouver Courier, a senior Vancouver School Board official accused the Firenze Strata Corporation of delaying construction of the International School.  The February 5th article written by Cheryl Rossi contains serious inaccuracies.  Unfortunately, the Courier appears to have made no attempt to verify the information before publishing this misinformation..

Here is the response written by the Firenze Strata Council:

Memo:     To the Residents of the False Creek Area   via FCRA

From:  Strata Council for the Firenze

Re:  Correcting the Record

We are certain that most residents of our neighbourhood are aware that the International Village School is to be built adjacent to our property.  We realize, as much as anyone, the need for this school, support its construction and anxiously await its completion.

We write to you as a result of an article published in the Vancouver Courier on February 5, 2015 under the headline “VSB (Vancouver School Board) settles with reluctant strata”.  The article was not accurate and contained incorrect information and erroneous conclusions.

Among other things, the article quotes Jim Meschino, Director of Facilities for the VSB, as saying that the right to build the schools foundation through our existing parkade was included on the land title.  This position has always been strenuously disputed by the Strata Corporation and, indeed, was to be subject of the court application which was on the verge of proceeding, but for the settlement reached between the VSB and our strata.  Just because this issue was not tested in court does not mean that we abandoned our firmly held position on this issue.  It simply means that both parties resolved to settle instead of waste resources in court.

He is quoted as stating that this was something that we either forgot or did not want to acknowledge.  This too is strenuously disputed.   The Strata Corporation did not forget or not want to acknowledge this, but rather we have maintained throughout that the documents at land title never authorized what the VSB was attempting to do.

He is also quoted as stating that the owners of the Firenze were concerned that the school would negatively affect our property values.  This also is strenuously disputed.  The Strata Corporation is keenly aware of what the issues are for our owners and, other than the units directly in line with the school walls,  a concern that property values would be negatively affected was not then and is not now one of them.

By way of background our residents have always been aware of the plan to build a school adjacent to our building from the time before they purchased their units.  We were surprised and shocked, however, when the Vancouver School Board  approached us and informed us of their requirements (demands) in order to meet their construction schedule.

Either through lack of planning, miscommunication, or oversight on the part of the VSB there were a number of issues that we, as a strata council, needed resolved before we could allow the construction to begin.  There were many issues (and no doubt there will be many more during the construction process) but just to give you an idea of the magnitude of our concerns here are some examples.

THE VSB demanded access to our parkade to construct several foundation pillars which were required to hold the weight of the new school which is being built directly above our parkade.

This was a shock to us as we had  expected  that because the school had been planned before the Firenze was built that the builder would have made the foundation strong enough to support its weight.   We suspect this requirement was as a result of changed construction plans.

We informed the VSB that before the construction could proceed we required an independent engineers report to assure us that the alterations to our foundation would not result in any compromises to our existing foundation.   This was not something the VSB offered, rather they acceded to a request which we made in this regard.

We were also concerned with the amount of insurance coverage in place in the event of a catastrophic failure and required assurance that our property would be adequately protected as a result of the VSB construction.  This had to be negotiated.

We were also told that in order to re-enforce our foundation 150 of our residents needed to be displaced from their parking for a minimum period of 6 months.  We had to negotiate the conditions under which this would happen and what compensation, if any, the residents would be entitled to.

We were also shocked to learn that the developer’s promise to the VSB of over 30 parking stalls for school staff parking was to be satisfied with the spaces that we, up until that moment, believed were ours for guest parking.  There was nothing registered on our Title to state that the VSB parking stalls were to come from the guest parking stalls allotted to the Strata Corporation.  This demand needed to be negotiated and researched.

Further the plans for the new school did not include a garbage room and the VSB advised us that they would be converting two of “their” parking stalls into a garbage room.  This was proposed to be placed in our main vehicle entrance.  This needed to be negotiated.

We could go on, however, highlight these several issues simply to give you an idea as to the magnitude of the issues the VSB brought to us along with their tight construction schedule.  All these issues, and more, needed to be addressed. There are also many unrelated issues that do not even involve the Strata Corporation as to why construction has been delayed and even if any delay can be attributed to the VSB’s need to obtain the consent of the Strata Corporation,  it was not, and never was, an issue of the Firenze trying to block construction but rather was an issue of the strata council doing their duty to protect, as much as possible, the investment and rights of our owners.

All these issues and many more needed to be negotiated and we, as a volunteer council, made ourselves available to the VSB at significant personal cost in order to deal with them.

The filing of the petition in Supreme Court was not a “last resort” as Mr. Meschino is quoted as stating in the article. The parties were still in negotiations when the VSB filed the petition seeking an injunction to, among other things, allow them onto our property to start construction of the foundation for the International Village School.  The petition also demanded return of any money we had made renting out “their” parking stalls.  We were disappointed that they would take this action as it would never be conducive to good neighbour relations. The result was we had to look past this and believe we are justified in feeling that it was as a result of significant flexibility and generosity on the part of this strata council that an agreement was finally reached.

As a result  of the rush to build a newly configured school, with all the attendant structural and parking issues, our residents were put in a position of having to pay a significant  amount in legal fees to protect their interests.  This is not fair to our residents.

This council was looking forward to putting all this behind us and moving forward with a co-operative partnership with the VSB.  This hope has been challenged but not dashed by the February 5th article in the Vancouver Courier.

We understand this is the first time the VSB has constructed a school adjacent to private residences.  There are many lessons to be learned from this project.  We sincerely hope that future developments will go much smoother as a result of the lessons learned from the construction of the International Village School.

This council is committed to doing whatever is necessary to move forward with this construction in order that our community will benefit from this much needed amenity.

Firenze Strata Council