Archive for December 2014
The Norquay area of Vancouver has been “planned” in broad and detailed strokes, a process that took seven years. Three Council meetings approved key documents on 4 November 2010, on 9 April 2013, and on 16 May 2013.
Build-out has started. Evidence piles up that promised amenities will never be delivered in any concurrent fashion. The plan’s upgrading of Kingsway could never “afford” to deliver specified street litter bins. The $3 million cash CAC for 2220 Kingsway immediately got sucked off into a vague fund where it will suffer from value-rot. Follow-up on one long-overdue workshop to discuss Renfrew Ravine Linear Park and future plaza areas has already failed to adhere to schedule.
Evidence also piles up that the creep tactic persistently seeks to expand on well-defined parameters for height and FSR and unit size and quantity. A plan seems to turn into a launch pad for further increase. Our long struggle to get good planning now morphs into an endless struggle of trying to monitor how the plan is implemented. In dealing with the City of Vancouver, “trust us” is not a possibility.
These two areas of evidence combine to form a simple slogan. Norquay has been condemned to live under a regime of all take, no give. As they are planned and built out, other neighborhoods experience the same abuse. One notorious icon is the Creekside Park at northeast False Creek, which after decades remains a no-tax piece of land where Concord Pacific reaps large profits — from its continued use, and from perpetual deferral of the remediation costs associated with delivering the amenity. Call that insult squared.
All this is preface to a piece of news. On 4 December 2014 the Vancouver Sun published the following letter from Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. Norquay is indeed a part of the ample evidence.
Coalition seeks better planning process Re: Four-year council mandates will allow better growth planning, Westcoast Homes, Nov. 29 Bob Ransford makes incorrect assumptions about the views of Vancouver residents on the direction the Vision council has been taking the city, maintaining the recent election reflects general satisfaction among the residents. Election results tell a different story. Vision garnered only 32 per of the council vote while 68 per voted against Vision. Adriane Carr, Green Party, led all council candidates with 74,077 votes. Every elected non-Vision councillor received more votes than any of the Vision candidates. If it weren’t for splitting of the opposition vote, Vision would not have won as many seats as it did. Ransford dismisses opponents of the current planning process as a “few neighbourhood activists.” The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods represents 26 associations from across the city, all of whom have voiced concerns about the way the city has been conducting business. There is ample evidence in Grandview-Woodland, West Point Grey, West End, Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, Norquay, Oakridge, Marpole and False Creek, to name a few. The record number of court cases brought against the city indicates an increased level of frustration with how the city handles citizens’ concerns around planning and neighbourhood livability. The coalition advocates a better approach to planning. We promote respect for the city’s official neighbourhood development plans and community visions and call for collaboration between the city and residents. All major parties except Vision, support this new blueprint for improved planning processes. LARRY BENGE and FERN JEFFRIES Co-chairs, Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
For those unacquainted with Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, this Globe and Mail story can provide some background. Here is one relevant paragraph:
The group, which includes members from Dunbar in the west to Marpole in the south and Norquay in the east, says local residents feel “damaged and disappointed” when their hours of input are ignored in current city planning.