Archive for the ‘East & West’ Category

Gladstone Secondary

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The following letter about the possible closure of Gladstone Secondary was sent to the Vancouver School Board on 19 September 2016. For things you can do see the appended letter sent out by MLA Adrian Dix.

 
To: Mike Lombardi (VSB Chair)
Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Fraser Ballantyne, Janet Fraser, Penny Noble, Christopher Richardson, Stacy Robertson, Allan Wong, Timme Zhao (VSB Trustees)

 
As residents of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre, we are concerned about the impact that the closure of Gladstone Secondary School would have on Norquay. An extensive recent City of Vancouver planning process has defined this area as an integrated new community.

The basic vision for the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is for a complete community: a place where people have housing choices that meet their needs, where there are local shops and services that provide the goods of daily life, where there are public spaces and places for people to meet and engage in community life, and where people can move easily and without a car to access places to work, play, and shop. (Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, Section 2.2, p. 14. Approved by Council November 2010.)

Norquay has not traditionally included the concentration of amenities and services that many neighbourhood shopping areas can boast. We have no library, no community centre or neighbourhood house, no swimming pool or ice rink.

But Gladstone Secondary School is located only 1 block north of the Norquay boundary. Most of Norquay lies within the Gladstone catchment area, where 71% of Gladstone students live.

 
gladstonemap-1
 

The school acts as an important cohesive force in the Norquay community in several ways.

1.  Teens connect with other teens in their neighbourhood when they attend school classes and extra-curricular activities.

2.  Most Norquay students in the Gladstone catchment area live close enough to walk to school. They become more familiar with their neighbourhood en route.

3.  Families of students connect with other families in their neighbourhood through their involvement in school activities.

4.  Community space is available for meetings and other activities. Together with Norquay’s elementary schools (Norquay and Cunningham), Gladstone provides the only community space in the neighbourhood.

The Norquay Plan strongly encourages new housing types for families. Five thousand new residents are expected to move into the neighbourhood during its 30-year lifespan, a population increase of 50%. By rough estimate, more than 2000 of these expected new residents will be living in Norquay by 2020.

If Gladstone is closed, most Norquay secondary students will live in the extreme southwest corner of the new Windermere catchment area, too far away to walk to school. The Renfrew Ravine and the SkyTrain are barriers that limit access routes to Windermere from Norquay, and make the school feel even farther away than it appears to be on a map. Windermere can never be an effective focal point for Norquay.

We believe that Norquay needs the presence of Gladstone Secondary School to function as a “complete community.” We ask that you remove Gladstone from the list of schools to be considered for closure.
Sincerely,

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

 
 
Letter from Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix

19 September 2016

Dear Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton Supporter,

This is a crucial week for the future of Gladstone Secondary, Graham Bruce Elementary and Carleton Elementary. Next Monday September 26th at 7pm, the Vancouver Board of Education will be voting on whether to move our schools and others on the list onto the next stage of the school closure process. It is our first chance to remove Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton from the list and it is very important that we have a huge turnout.

What can you do?

1.  Attend the VSB meeting on Sept 26th! Bring signs and make your voices heard. Location: Charles Tupper Secondary (419 East 24th Ave), starting at 7 pm.

2.  Write a letter to trustees (by email). Their emails can be found here. There are many arguments that can be made for all the schools, please read the following three op-eds for more information on Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton.)

3.  Sign the Petition. Close to 13,000 people have signed so far!

4.  Take a lawn sign.

In response to the VSB’s staff report, we will be working with parents and students to write a detailed report and release it to the trustees and public by Thurs, Sept 22. Our report will address detailed issues of enrolment (current and future), catchments, development, programs, the vulnerability of school populations, traffic, child care and importance of these schools in the community. We will also be working to meet with trustees face-to-face to make our case.

Here is the schedule of other action items this week:

Tuesday September 20th, 2016 afternoon at Vancouver City Hall: The City Council will be voting on a motion opposing school closures.

Tuesday September 20th, 7 pm: A major rezoning and increase in density as part of the Joyce-Collingwood Precinct Plan will be voted on by Vancouver City Council. This has significant implications for the Graham Bruce, Grenfell and Carleton catchments.

Wednesday September 21st, Gladstone students/parents organizing meeting at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, at 3:30pm. It’s immediately followed by a student-only “presentation skills” session led by Mimi Nguyen of Cedar Cottage.

Thursday September 22nd, Door-to-door petition and letter-writing drive to Save Gladstone. Starting at 4 pm from Nanaimo Skytrain Station.

Thursday/Friday September 22nd-23rd – Presentation of detailed responses, petition and letters to Trustees.

Sunday September 25th – Petition drive and preparation for meeting on Monday September 26th. Location to be determined.

Monday September 26th – VSB School Closure Meeting, Charles Tupper Secondary, 7 pm (419 East 24th Ave).

There are also many other petitioning and organizing meetings all week. Please stay tuned. And we need all of you at Charles Tupper on Monday!

Adrian

Adrian Dix, MLA Vancouver-Kingsway
5022 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G6 | Phone: 604-660-0314 | Fax: 604-660-1131
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

20 September 2016 at 9:00 am

Interim Rezoning Policy

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Introduction

The following report on Interim Rezoning Policy makes it possible to assess factors that City of Vancouver obscures in its documents.

Norquay is not affected by the “policy” described below due to its mass rezoning of 1912 properties for Vancouver’s second neighbourhood centre in 2010. But the 1577 properties mass rezoned in 2004 for Vancouver’s first neighbourhood centre at Kingsway & Knight are subject to the policy. This discrepancy is only one of the anomalies that taint the initiative.

Eye on Norquay has taken a particular interest in Interim Rezoning Policy, and in similar provisions of the Rental 100 program which has landed units within Norquay. That interest stems from a broader concern for policies which affect other Vancouver residential areas, especially those that lie in East Vancouver.

On 3 October 2012, Vancouver City Council approved an Interim Rezoning Policy for Increasing Affordable Housing Choices (hereafter cited as IRP).

At this stage, the I for “interim” could stand for indefinite, with regard to both policy specifications and duration of implementation.

 
Public $$$ Handed Out with Little Accountability

IRP and the related Rental 100 program raise huge concerns:

1.  The City of Vancouver makes massive financial concessions to developers to build “secured market rental” — presumably “secured” for the greater of building lifespan or sixty years. Since no present Council can “fetter” a future Council, there is no assurance that any project will not be flipped from rental to strata sale at some point in the future.

2.  Overall concessions in the form of waiver of DCL (development cost levy) and CAC (community amenity contribution) now run toward or beyond $100 million ($54 million for Aquilini alone). These waivers mean that increase in population comes without corresponding funding for amenities and infrastructure. The result will be a strip-mined public realm for Vancouver.

3.  The “affordable” rental scale has imported west side rents into east side projects. This means that developers will concentrate on locations where they can exploit maximized differentials between costs and returns.

4.  The supposed affordable rental scale is not monitored, and evaporates at first rental turnover of a unit. After being handed $54 million in concessions, Aquilini has just implemented a fixed-lease approach that will guarantee 100% turnover after one year (see St. Denis). In effect, the City of Vancouver writes the developer a blank cheque.

 
Problems Specific to IRP

The distinguishing feature of IRP is a de facto rezoning of most of Vancouver with no consultation and no planning. As of 20 April 2016, the policy includes a more detailed mapping. IRP has unleashed widespread speculation and massive land assemblies (see Yaffe).

Unlike Rental 100, IRP can extend off of arterial streets for a distance of “approximately 100 metres” — the length of a football field. Precedent has just been set at 3365 Commercial to push an apartment form into that entire space, contrary to the policy that specifies ground-oriented housing forms for off-arterial locations.

 
sites4irp
 

The City of Vancouver has expressed notions of participating with unit owners in future price appreciation of IRP units designed for ownership. The net result is expansion of conflict of interest — the body that controls zoning will self-deal by sticking its own finger into the pie. For about forty years, the City of Vancouver has already served itself in this fashion with the secretive off-balance-sheet Property Endowment Fund.

 
Six IRP Sites

The current version of IRP states: “As of April 20, 2016, six projects under this policy have been approved or are in process.”

It seems apparent that developer take-up on the policy has been underwhelming. The policy still states:

Once 20 rezoning applications are in process, other proposals will be put on a wait list pending any decision by Council to extend the policy beyond 20 projects.

The six sites listed in the table below appear to be the sites referred to. Passed over in silence by the City of Vancouver is the proposal from Pacific Arbour for a seniors facility on six parcels in the 4600 block on the east side of Dunbar Street. Facing extreme pressure from Dunbar residents, the City of Vancouver rejected the proposal in spring 2013, citing “affordability” concerns.

 
irp-2016
 

To extrapolate from six projects in four years, the City of Vancouver may get around to a “review” of the situation about ten years from now. At that point, developers may have plopped a series of one-off experimental projects mainly into East Vancouver. As it stands now, three of the six have landed in the single local area of Kensington-Cedar Cottage.

Only one of the six IRP’s has so far landed west of Main Street. That atypical project, 1037 West King Edward, displays low FSR, low height, and few units. For this, the developer receives huge upfront financial concessions — waiver of DCL calculated at $374,437 and no levy of CAC.

 
Initial Rents, East and West

 
rents-3365commercial
 
     From page 13 of report on 3365 Commercial
 

 
rents-1037wkingedward
 
     From page 8 of report on 1037 West King Edward
 

 
Tabulated Comparisons

Site Data


                      Site SqFt      FSR     Height     Storeys     Units

1729 E. 33rd             29,587     1.26      37 ft           3        31

3323 E. 4th              36,777     1.45      46 ft           4        54

3120 Knight              17,653     2.08      52 ft           5        51

1037 W. King Edward      19,008     1.48      40 ft       2 - 4        36

3365 Commercial          35,106     2.40      60 ft     3.5 - 6       110

3868 Rupert              29,102     3.60      69 ft           6       112



DCL Waivers


1729 E. 33rd             Not applicable

3323 E. 4th              Not applicable

3120 Knight                    $465,476

1037 W. King Edward            $374,437 

3365 Commercial              $1,077,792

3868 Rupert                         ???



Unit Distributions


                         Studio     1 BR     2 BR     3 BR

1729 E. 33rd             (Strata co-housing plus 2 rental units)

3323 E. 4th  (Life-lease)              8       46      

3120 Knight                   1       32       18

3365 Commercial              31       38       30       11

1037 W. King Edward           8       12       13        3

3868 Rupert                           78       30        4 
 

 
 
References

 
Council Reports for IRP Rezonings

1729 East 33rd
2013 March 12-13
3. REZONING – 1729-1735 East 33rd Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20130312/phea20130312ag.htm

3323 East 4th
2014 March 13
1. REZONING: 3323-3367 East 4th Avenue (Beulah Garden)
http://council.vancouver.ca/20140313/phea20140313ag.htm

3120 Knight
2014 May 20
1. REZONING: 3120-3184 Knight Street
http://council.vancouver.ca/20140520/phea20140520ag.htm

3365 Commercial
2016 May 24
3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/phea20160524ag.htm
2016 June 23
1. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160623/phea20160623ag.htm

1037 West King Edward
2016 June 21
3. REZONING: 1037 West King Edward Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160621/phea20160621ag.htm

 
City of Vancouver Documents on IRP

Final Report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability (2 October 2012)
http://council.vancouver.ca/20121002/documents/rr2.pdf

Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy (4 Oct 2012 / 2 Dec 2013 / 20 Apr 2016)
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/bylaws/bulletin/i002.pdf

 
Council Meetings about IRP

3 October 2012
4. Final Report of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
http://council.vancouver.ca/20121003/ptec20121003ag.htm

3 December 2013
4. Development Cost Levy By-law Amendments to the Definition of
For-Profit Affordable Rental Housing
http://council.vancouver.ca/20131203/regu20131203ag.htm

20 April 2016
2. Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160420/cfsc20160420ag.htm

 
Rejected IRP for 4600 Block East Side of Dunbar Street

Brent Jang. Plan for Dunbar seniors home way up in the air. Globe and Mail (20 Nov 2012)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/plan-for-dunbar-seniors-home-way-up-in-the-air/article5515372/

Naiobh O’Connor. City rejects seniors housing application in Dunbar. Vancouver Courier (6 Mar 2013)
http://www.vancourier.com/news/city-rejects-seniors-housing-application-in-dunbar-1.389855

 
Legal Challenge to IRP / Rental 100 “Affordability”

Carlito Pablo. City of Vancouver to amend STIR and Rental 100 bylaws after legal fight. Georgia Straight (19 Nov 2013)
http://www.straight.com/news/532601/city-vancouver-amend-stir-and-rental-100-bylaws-after-legal-fight

Bob Mackin. West End Neighbours society wonders what is affordable. Vancouver Courier (10 Apr 2014)
http://www.vancourier.com/news/updated-west-end-neighbours-society-wonders-what-is-affordable-1.950526

 
Speculation (Yaffe) and Aquilini (St. Denis/O’Brien)

Barbara Yaffe. City looks to dismantle land assembly. Vancouver Sun (23 Apr 2015: D3
[Brian] Jackson says the land assembly activity that has been accelerating amounts to property speculation. … The activity is likely the result of an interim zoning policy adopted by the city three years ago.

Jen St. Denis / Frank O’Brien. New Aquilini rental tower uses controversial fixed-term tenancy agreements. Business in Vanocuver (8 July 2016)
https://www.biv.com/article/2016/7/fixed-term-rent-row-heats-metro-vancouver/

 
Related Coverage at Eye on Norquay

Rental 100 Red Flag
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/rental-100-red-flag/

Vancouver CAC 2013
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/vancouver-cac-2013/

Commercial at 18th Ave
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/commercial-at-18th-ave/
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

9 July 2016 at 11:14 pm

Posted in East & West, IRP

Commercial & E 18th Ave

 
Statements at Public Hearing on 3365 Commercial 24 May 2016

 
Below are reproduced the statements delivered at the public hearing by Joseph Jones as 8th registered speaker and Jeanette Jones as 9th registered speaker. For a separate account of the public hearing evening, see https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/gong-show/.

 
irp-2016-map-640
 
     Map of Six IRP Sites 2012-2016 as Referenced in Statement of Joseph Jones
 

 
jsph-3365-oral
 

 
jntt-3365-oral
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 May 2016 at 11:00 am

Ten Long Years

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A Decade Plus of Vancouver Local Area Planning

 
As 2015 comes to an end, Eye on Norquay offers up this retrospective — one little history lesson to pin a lot of isolated bits across the framework-of-torture that serves planning hell. Politicians and planners prefer to operate with bits … and especially their analogues, silos and spots. Except when a “plan” makes it possible to grab more, give less, go bigger, and execute faster.

 
tenlongyears-2
 

Besides all that, without an occasional “plan” dress-up, the rest of Vancouver’s development would have to stand naked as a silly opportunistic jumble.
 

 yrs-mos      
           
             Kingsway & Knight Neighbourhood Centre
   2-00      July 2002 to July 2004 (plan)   October 2005 (zoning)
           
             Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre
   4-07      April 2006 to November 2010 (plan)  •   April 2013 (zoning)
             May 2013 (benefits strategy)
           
             West Point Grey Community Vision
   4-08      January 2006 to September 2010
           
             Mount Pleasant
   3-07      April 2007 to November 2010 (plan)
             October 2013 (implementation package)
           
             Cambie Corridor
   1-10      July 2009 to May 2011 (plan)
             April 2015 to ---- [phase 3]
           
             Downtown Eastside
             September 2005 ... August 2011 to March 2014 (plan)
           
             West End
   2-04      July 2011 to November 2013 (plan)  •  January 2014 (zoning)
           
             Marpole
   2-09      July 2011 to April 2014 (plan)  •   May 2014 (zoning)

             Shaughnessy
   1-03      June 2014 to September 2015 (heritage conservation area)
           
             Grandview-Woodland
   4-04+     July 2011 to ???? 

 

The timeline above provides a framework for tales of the local areas that have suffered recent onslaught by City of Vancouver “planning.” Let a Q & A approach test your knowledge of the strung out and the done in.

 
Who got strung out the longest?

Grandview-Woodland will soon overtake Norquay. Downtown Eastside, whose tortuous path is an exemplar of obfuscation, occupies a class all by itself.

 
Who wrung the clearest concessions out of City Council?

Marpole — likely the poorest and most vulnerable westside local area. Two other westside areas receive mention in the timeline because their areas were dealt with as a whole — not because they underwent anything like a mass rezoning for denser and faster redevelopment.

 
Where has City of Vancouver grabbed the most the fastest?

Cambie Corridor, no contest. First and foremost, the “corridor” concept served to simultaneously overwhelm three distinct local areas: Riley Park-South Cambie, Oakridge, Marpole. (Those first two have (had?) community visions, for whatever those exercises are now worth.)

 
Who got the most “consulted”?

Downtown Eastside. See also “strung out” question above. The City of Vancouver delights to boast in its report to Council (p. 7) of intensive engagement with the LAPP Committee with members investing over 470 hours of volunteer time. [Between the lines: Ask a dis-membered former LAPPster how it feels to be “consulted.”]

 
Whose “plan” has been most disrespected so far?

Probably Mount Pleasant — consider only (1) the override of extreme nonsupport for Rize-Alliance at Broadway and Kingsway (2) the impending encroachment of Westbank-Hootsuite on industrial land at Main/Quebec and 4th/5th Avenue.

 
Who stands out for NOT being present?

Most of the “community vision” areas, since the City of Vancouver did a 180 during Norquay planning — and left fifteen years of CityPlan smothered in mothballs. Six of these community vision areas (1998-2010) became hands-off to any subsequent local area planning of the mass-rezone variety: Dunbar (1998), Victoria-Fraserview/Killarney (2002), Sunset (2002), Hastings-Sunrise (2004), Arbutus Ridge/Kerrisdale/Shaughnessy (2005), West Point Grey (2010). Even so, significant portions of three primarily eastside areas got steamrolled: Kensington-Cedar Cottage (1998), Renfrew-Collingwood (2004), Riley Park/South Cambie (2005).

Vancouver’s non-mass-rezoned areas contain the great majority of the remaining 68,282 RS (single-family) zoned properties. The value divergence upward for these properties becomes ever more apparent. The two “neighbourhood centre” mass rezonings of 1577 and 1912 properties blitzed immigrant working-class areas in the heart of East Vancouver.

 
Who suffers the biggest density dump?

West End by a mile. “New planning” for yet more density-dumping has landed on the doorstep of a local area that in 2011 sported a person-per-hectare figure of 218. Downtown had 146. Shaughnessy had 20. The Vancouver average was 53.

 
Who only pretended to get planned?

Kingsway & Knight. King Edward Village concurrently blockbusted the heart of the area, separated from the planning process. The eventual mass rezoning affected 1577 properties. Meanwhile, the “shopping area” part fell off the back of the planning wagon that was racing uphill toward Norquay. Populate your nightmares with what may happen at the Rona site, since future development for the entire commercial part of the first “neighbourhood centre” was never defined.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

29 December 2015 at 12:05 pm

Posted in East & West, History

Going to Pot

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When considered as a part of Vancouver, the Norquay area already seems to have acquired far more than its share of the grassy retail outlets that have sprouted up across our greenest city. As the City of Vancouver starts to look for its cut of this “free” enterprise, questions arise. As always, Why Norquay? Could pot shop sprawl be just another aspect of the “revitalization” touted by mass rezoning? The favorite planner question provides hollow echo effect: “Don’t you want a nicer neighborhood with more amenities?” Data below suggests the emergence of yet one more east-west disparity (7 vs 2) in Vancouver.

 
One Norquay Development Application So Far

 
The application for 2768 Kingsway — DE419426 is the only application so far for Norquay. Here is what a viewing of the proposed location reveals:

 
IMG_8944-648
 
     Specific Dilapidated Storefront
 

 
IMG_8946-648
 
     Context: Tear-Down Half-Block East of Earles
 

 
IMG_8945-648
 
     Development Application Signage
 

 
IMG_8948-648
 
     At Rear of Site: Clean-up of Long-Term Dumping Accumulation on 18 December 2015
 

The owner of this property has abused the Norquay streetscape and neighborhood for a long time. Should this poor treatment of the local community be rewarded with a new medical marijuana license? Also, after such an extended period of neglect, can the existing building structure really satisfy licensing requirements and inspections — unless perhaps some of the anticipated cash flow gets diverted into purchasing adequate nudge-nudge-wink-wink?

 
New Development Applications Across Vancouver

 
The City of Vancouver has begun a listing for “Medical Marijuana-Related Use Development Applications” at the foot of its

        Development Application Information Web Page
        http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/developmentservices/devapps/

Here is a listing by date of notification letters for the nine applications listed as of 24 December 2015:

        Dec  4    4545 West 10th Avenue       Wealthshop Social Society

        Dec  8    2894 East Broadway          BC Pain Society

        Dec  8    2179 West 4th Avenue        Buddha Barn

        Dec  8    2768 Kingsway               Medicinal Express

        Dec  8    3441 Kingsway               Scooter Health Society

        Dec  8    1193 Main Street            Herb Co Society

        Dec  8    6416 Main Street            Healing Centre

        Dec  9    1316 Kingsway               MPN Health Society

        Dec 15    1404 East 57th Avenue       Green Room Society

 
Addresses above are taken from the notification letters. These often vary from the addresses listed in the link on the application web page. If this routine part of the “process” shows that degree of inconsistency, what sort of schmozz is going on at City Hall?

 
The Rest of Norquay

Norquay is already serviced by the following half-dozen “operations” — which thus far show no sign of applying for an appropriate business license:

 
IMG_8941-648
 
     Budzilla at 2267 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_8942-648
 
     Canna Mart at 2487 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_8943-648
 
     Weeds Glass & Gifts at 2580 Kingsway
 

Just to the east of the Norquay boundary lie three more establishments:

 
IMG_8980-648
 
     Eggs Canna at 2076 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_8977-648
 
     Green Cross Society at 2145 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_8979-648
 
     Eastside Compassion Society at 2127 Kingsway
 

 
Lots More Questions

 
1 —  With six non-permitted storefronts already operating in the Norquay area, why would City of Vancouver consider an application for a seventh “permitted” one?

2 —  What have these enterprises contributed to Norquay? Business license fees? Activation of retail streetscape? Promotion of walkability? Revitalization of Kingsway? Donations for local school programs?

3 —  Since the mass rezoning of 1,912 Norquay single-family properties is supposed to result in a “neighbourhood centre,” why should pot shops be strung throughout Norquay?

4 —  The gingko leaf shape is stamped into Norquay sidewalks as a symbol of the recent planning, even though City of Vancouver in the delivery has substituted other trees for what the plan specified. Wouldn’t it be appropriate now to grind away those symbols and replace them with marijuana leaves?

5 —  Why can’t a business-oriented individual apply for a City of Vancouver “license” to distribute, say, medical ethanol?

6 —  In light of the approach toward marijuana purveying over the past few years, why should Norquay residents have any respect for City of Vancouver management, planning, or bylaws?
[Possible answer: Lack of untaxed cash to buy the desired respect.]
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

27 December 2015 at 4:27 pm

Posted in East & West, News, Photos

Sad Logo

with one comment

 
Fast replacement of 17 vandalized trees for Vancouver west side
vs
Longstanding neglect of missing, damaged, and sick trees that symbolize Norquay

 
Back in November 2010, when the City of Vancouver rammed its Norquay Plan down the throat of area residents, planners tried to daub a coat of sugar over the bitter pill. One of their ideas — not ours — was that the ginkgo tree could become a Norquay signature. They called for concrete memorials like this one to remind us how they vanquished and rebranded us:

 
IMG_7739
 

and like this one:

 
IMG_7738
 

Developers like concrete. That’s about all they want to pour into the neighborhoods that they extract big profits from.

There were also supposed to be some trees. Here’s a pretty page from the Norquay Plan as it went to Council for approval:

 
trees
 

Let’s extract and highlight the sentence that finishes off that page:

        Planning will be undertaking further design exercises to achieve a high level
        of placemaking design for the Norquay Village public realm.

Undertaking …  Well, when it comes to tree funerals, those planners sure knew what they were talking about. What follows is a photo documentation of Norquay public realm as currently implemented along the Kingsway frontage of the 2300 Kingsway tower and its eastern podium.

(That project blockbusted Norquay just ahead of a “neighbourhood centre” planning process. Hit ’em hard first and maybe they’ll just give up? Naw. We just keep feeling more and more beat up, and we keep on hollering. Now the bully has gone after other neighborhoods that can hit back better. With counterpunch lawsuits.)

Keep thinking “Norquay logo” while you review the February 2015 images of these six fancy ginko trees that the City of Vancouver implemented  in front of 2300 Kingsway. The sequence is west to east.

 
IMG_7722
 
     Tree 1 of 6 — Big Hit, Little Tree
 

 
IMG_7723
 
     Tree 2 of 6 — All-Natural Fibers Inside
 

 
IMG_7724
 
     Tree 3 of 6 — Best Spot for Cigarette Butts
 

 
IMG_7725
 
     Tree 4 of 6 — Off to a Bad Start
 

 
IMG_7726
 
     Tree 5 of 6 — I Came, It Sawed, It Conquered
 

 
IMG_7727
 
     Tree 6 of 6 : View 1 — Not a Lightning Strike
 

 
IMG_7729
 
     Tree 6 of 6 : View 2 — Big Skin Problem & Broken Arm
 

Postscript:  A Norquay resident who occasionally communicates with Eye on Norquay shared a top-level City of Vancouver September 2014 response to complaint on this issue. Four months later, no action. Six trees should be easier than seventeen?
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

5 February 2015 at 12:21 am

Vancouver CAC 2013

with 3 comments

 
 
2013 Annual Report on Community Amenity Contributions and Density Bonusing
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150121/documents/ptec4.pdf
Standing Committee of Council on Planning, Transportation and Environment
21 January 2015 — Agenda Item No. 4
 

 
•       •       •       •       •       •
 

 
Comment Presented to Council by Jeanette Jones

 
We have before us a comprehensive report on the CACs that were collected by the City of Vancouver in 2013. I would like to talk a little about CACs that were NOT collected.

The City of Vancouver advertises waiver of DCL fees as one of the incentives for developers to build secured market rental housing. What is less well known is that the City will probably not be collecting CACs on these developments either. In Norquay, we have just become aware that even projects located in zones that were assigned fixed rate CACs will very likely not be paying them if the developer is building secured market rental housing.

This would be more acceptable if the 886 units of secured market rental housing approved in 2013 were indeed “scattered across the city” as the reports states (p. 8). In actual fact, this is not the case. Nine of the eleven developments listed on page 10 of the report are concentrated in only a few neighbourhoods: Downtown, Downtown Eastside, Kensington-Cedar Cottage, and Renfrew-Collingwood. Non-market rental housing, which is exempt from paying CACs, is concentrated in the same areas.

The Downtown is already notoriously underserved with amenities such as parks, libraries and community centres. This also true of the Downtown Eastside, which along with Kensington-Cedar Cottage and Renfrew-Collingwood is among the poorest neighbourhoods of Vancouver.

Does rental housing in Vancouver need to become more affordable? Of course it does. Should Vancouver have more non-market or social rental housing? Of course we should. I am glad to see that Council is concerned with this problem. Should social housing be built primarily in East Vancouver? This makes sense. But this citywide social good — which is what “affordable rental housing” is — should not be built on the backs of Vancouver’s poorest and most neglected neighbourhoods.

The stated purpose of CACs according to the policy is “to help address growth costs, area deficiencies, and/or other community needs and impacts.” (p. 1 of Community Amenity Contributions Through Rezonings, adopted January 20, 1999 and last amended April 29, 2014.) The first guideline for determining specific amenities states that they “must be located in the community in which the rezoning takes place and/or serve the site” (p. 3). CACs are intended to provide real amenities to the specific community that is receiving the increased density. Current practice means that the City does not even collect many of the CACs that should be funding these amenities. Most of the CACs that actually are collected in these neighbourhoods are being spent to address a problem facing the entire City of Vancouver.

This is not fair. Citywide problems should be addressed with funding from citywide contributions. It is those who live in Vancouver’s most expensive residences who can best afford to help provide homes for those who are having trouble finding a place to live. The burden of funding affordable rental housing should not fall disproportionately on those neighbourhoods that are being rapidly densified, at the expense of the amenities that their new residents desperately need. I encourage Council and Staff to find alternative ways of financing affordable rental housing.
 

 
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Comment Presented to Council by Joseph Jones

 
In February 2014, at a technical briefing on the new plan for Downtown Eastside, my attention fastened on a statement that the City of Vancouver would undertake to monitor new development and to report back to Council.

The build-out in our own local area, Norquay, the heart of East Vancouver, receives no such attention. Nor does the build-out in any of the other new-community-plan neighborhoods. Our Vancouver planning machine is designed to wrap up, move on, and do zero monitoring afterward. Recommendation number one: Require ongoing assessment for all new community plans.

So, Jeanette and I now put in a lot of hours trying to do the monitoring for Norquay. This CAC agenda item provides an opportunity for us to express disappointment at how all-take-no-give the Norquay Plan has turned out so far. We now have four years of evidence. What follows is a case-study on large-site quantification to set alongside the macro problem that Jeanette has already outlined.

A little northwest of Norquay, in the first of CityPlan’s only-two-ever “neighbourhood centres,” stands King Edward Village. What did that massive development bring to the area in 2003? A CAC of $251,328.24. That’s probably less than the price of one of those 400+ condos. The money funded relocation of an adjacent existing library. Existing, so not a new amenity. In essence the library relocation was an on-site in-kind sweetheart deal for the developer.

Now on to Norquay. Our first CAC under the Norquay Plan produced a scrawny $105,846. That entire amount disappeared into some vague attempt to mitigate the shadows that 2711 Kingsway’s new tower cast over the adjacent daycare. All in all, this deal did more to damage the neighborhood than to enhance it.

Our second and only other CAC comes from 2220 Kingsway. The $4,011,720 sounds like significant money. But about one-quarter of that total is more in-kind funny-money accounting. Meaning that the stated $1 million plus costs the developer a lot less than book, and at the same time increases value for the project. What’s left over is $3 million cash that vanishes into indefinite sequestration. One thing seems certain. If and when the money re-emerges, it will buy a whole lot less than it would today. Recommendation number two: Require indexing and clear accountability for squirreled-away CACs.

Only ten years ago a community vision promised Norquay that future development would be conditional on “an increase in community facilities and programs needed to serve any population growth generated.” (p. 30, Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision). We can already see that Norquay is well ahead on the additional population we’re supposed to absorb over a period of thirty years.

Since Norquay Plan CAC is delivering nothing substantial to Norquay, Capital Plan funding needs to fill the gap now. Jeanette and I knocked as hard as we could on that door for Norquay in 2011, and we did the same again in 2014. We still have no idea whether we’re being heard on the other side of that door. I close with recommendation number three: Require significant 2015-2018 capital funding to be directed toward defined Norquay priorities.
 

 
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Written by eyeonnorquay

21 January 2015 at 8:15 pm