Eye on Norquay

Looking Out for East Vancouver

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Community Response

leave a comment »

to the Joyce-Collingwood Station Precinct Review

The following report is posted with permission of Joyce Area Residents Association,
directly as images and also downloadable as pdf file.









Written by eyeonnorquay

30 November 2015 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Fixed-Rate CAC

leave a comment »

On 16 May 2013, a last piece of the Norquay Plan — “for the next 30 years” (see Recommendation A) — was approved by Vancouver City Council. [1]  This action more or less put an end to seven years of struggling to try to get a decent plan. Already the replacement struggle is to get the City of Vancouver to stick with and to respect its own planning for Norquay.

One big benefit of having an up-to-date local area plan has just become apparent.

Start with the complete text of Recommendation B from the document:

        THAT Council set the fixed-rate targets for Community Amenity Contributions from rezonings
        as follows:
            — on Kingsway for sites under .4 ha., a rate of $107.60 per sq. m. ($10.00 per sq. ft.)
                of floorspace achieved in excess of existing zoning.
            — in the Apartment Transition Area, a rate of $161.40 per sq. m. ($15.00 per sq. ft.)
                of floorspace achieved in excess of existing zoning.  [p. 1]

The general good news here is that Norquay should see some payback from CAC [Community Amenity Contribution] as our local area (which is already considerably more dense than much of the rest of Vancouver) houses even more new people.

The specific good news is that fixed-rate CAC is not listed as a waiver item under Rental 100 policy. [2]  This means that at least a pittance of CAC should trickle into Norquay along with the flood of new residents who, other than having found themselves a place to live, bring impact burden rather than benefit.

Here is what the 2012 annual report on benefits [3] says about fixed rate:

Certain areas of the city have their own area-specific CAC and/or public benefit policies determined as part of Area Plans (e.g. Arbutus Neighbourhood and Southeast False Creek both have fixed rate targets for CACs).  [p. B-2; pdf 14]

In this respect at least, Norquay can now expect to receive the same treatment as two west side areas.

Rental 100 has become an item of concern to Norquay because two projects (one on Kingsway and one in the Apartment Transition Area) have entered public discussion in 2014.

In closing, to moderate anticipations of CAC bounty, let Eye on Norquay calculate how CAC has done NOTHING so far for 99+% of area residents:

2006     2300 Kingsway     $2,400,000 (single-purpose on-site 37-space daycare facility)

2012     2711 Kingsway     $  105,846 (to mitigate impacts on existing daycare)

2013     2220 Kingsway     $4,011,720 (in-kind enhancements for developer's project,
                                       plus $3 million stashed and steadily losing value)

[1]  Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan Implementation — Public Benefits Strategy and Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy  (16 May 2013)

[2]  Secured Market Rental Housing Policy  (May 2012)

[3]  2012 Annual Report on Public Benefits from Approvals of Additional Density

2011 Annual Report on Public Benefits Secured Through Approvals of Additional Density

Written by eyeonnorquay

18 September 2014 at 5:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Blocky Not Wanted

leave a comment »

Four Storey Apartments on Fifty Foot Wide Lots May Be Coming Soon to Your Community

Zoning schedules for the new apartment zone proposed for Norquay will be part of the report that is announced to go to Council on April 24. Matt Shillito, Assistant Director of Community Planning, stated at the April 9 Norquay Plan Implementation public hearing that the Planning Department expects to use new schedules adopted for Norquay elsewhere in the city. 

The area to be included in the new apartment transition zone for Norquay is the half block directly behind the Kingsway Rezoning Policy area, plus the lots directly facing onto Norquay Park and six large lots on the east side of Earles Street north of Purdy’s. This is a total of more than 200 lots.

The Norquay Plan is very vague about the specifics for this new zone. The Norquay Working Group was told that assembly of three 33 ft. lots would be required.  This would enable building of four-storey H-shaped or U-shaped apartments with maximum light and air exposure. There would be a green area facing the street.

What is now being proposed, according to the latest Norquay Open House


is a minimum frontage of 50 ft. with 1.5 FSR. A frontage of 90 ft. could be built up to 2 FSR. We would like to see the originally suggested requirement of three lot (90 ft.) assembly maintained. Building on a frontage of 50 ft., or even 66 ft. (two 33 ft. lots), will make it difficult to produce the letter-shaped structures that were proposed during the community process.

As currently proposed, the new zoning would make it possible to build these apartments on a single 50 ft. wide lot. In Norquay itself, there are only a handful of 50 ft. wide lots in the area to be zoned for these apartments. The effective minimum frontage there will in most cases be two lots, or 66 ft. Residents of areas of Vancouver with 50 ft. wide lots directly behind arterials should be concerned about this proposed Norquay zoning. They may want to speak at the public hearing likely to be held in early May.

We will have more concrete details when we see the report going to Council on April 24.

Prepared by Jeanette Jones

•   •   •   •   •   •

Video of what Matt Shillito said at the 9 April 2013 public hearing:

Transcript of what Matt Shillito said at the 9 April 2013 public hearing:

We are looking at least some of these forms — the duplexes and the rowhouses and the stacked townhouses — in other areas, and particularly in terms of the community plans on the way in Marpole and Grandview-Woodland where there may be opportunities to introduce these zones. So in those areas and in other areas of the neighbourhood centres and areas of good transit accessibility, subject to a planning process like the current community plans, we would like to introduce these zones as discussion items for … with the community in each of those areas.

Comment:  Shillito kept his remark within the context of the public hearing on the RM-7 and RT-ll zonings, and did not extend to the four-storey apartment “targeted” for Council on April 24. It seems certain that the same would be said of this fourth new housing type.

Written by eyeonnorquay

18 April 2013 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Even More Opposed

leave a comment »

Now that the dust has mostly settled on last week’s back-to-back public hearing items for Norquay, it’s time to highlight the lack of support for what the City of Vancouver has done to a half a square mile of East Vancouver.

Focus in this posting is on Item 1 of the 9 April 2013 public hearing agenda, because the two zoning schedules for RM-7 and RT-11 are the broad-scale realization of an action taken about two and a half
years ago.

Back on 4 November 2010, when Norquay effectively got mass rezoned through adoption of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, the minutes of the meeting [1] show these statistics:

        The Committee heard from 23 speakers; eight of whom spoke in general support and 15 who spoke in
        opposition to some or all of the recommendations and expressed concerns.

That was an opposition ratio of 2 to 1.

There is no record here of written submissions. Copies of negative written comments other than our own have been seen. Council knew that we (Joseph Jones and Jeanette Jones) would not be able to make a Council meeting on that date, due to travel planned months ahead of time. No allowance was made for our years of engagement with the planning process. Even without our presence on the scene, opposition was strong.

Afterward, we received two reliable eyewitness reports that City of Vancouver staff openly engaged in telephone solicitation for additional speakers. There was also an impression that staff had coached speakers to support the plan. So the apparent support probably was not as real as the record might suggest.

Now compare the results from the 9 April 2013 public hearing that executes much of the intent of the Norquay Plan. The minutes of that meeting [2] show these results for written correspondence:

        4 emails and letters in support;
        27 emails and letters in opposition; and
        3 emails and letters regarding other matters in relation to the application

and for speakers:

        4 in support and 17 opposed

Those are opposition ratios of 7 to 1 for written comment and 4 to 1 for speakers. Council chambers and gallery were also filled with known supporters who chose not to waste their time speaking.

If Norquay residents had believed that anything they had to say would make any difference, those opposition ratios would have been far greater.

As time passes, lack of support for the all take no give tendencies of City of Vancouver policy swells like a festering pocket of pus.

[1] http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20101104/documents/penv20101104min.pdf

[2]  http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20130409/documents/phea20130409min.pdf

Written by eyeonnorquay

16 April 2013 at 12:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Walled-Off Compound

with 2 comments

Public Consultation = Opposed

The developer open house is the only opportunity for public response prior to the typical done-deal “public hearing” before Vancouver City Council. Here’s the scorecard:

        27 opposed / 13 in favor / 5 unsure

This two-to-one ratio mirrors past Norquay responses that demonstrate similar lack of enthusiasm for imposed mass rezoning for accelerated development: (1) Opposition to June 2007 Draft Plan for Norquay Village (2) August 2010 support for the Norquay Village Plan as produced by the Norquay Working Group (3) Opposition to the October 2010 public hearing on the Norquay Plan.

Only Big-Box Drive-To Shoppers Wanted at 2220 Kingsway

How does the City of Vancouver propose to bring revitalization to the Norquay area of East Vancouver?

On 9 April 2013 a public hearing for the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site will lead to approval for Westbank to construct a closed-perimeter one-storey podium that shuts off most of a 2.3 acre parcel of land. Looming above will be three 14-storey towers to stand as sentries at this new “gateway” to Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre.

Actually, the planning has brought no centre to what was never a neighbourhood — and there never will be a centre. Phony planning has loosed development frenzy onto a here-and-there spot-rezoned corridor. How else could “planning” ever justify this massive 404 unit redeyelopment at the absolute periphery of the “centre”?

Developer Westbank clearly thinks that customers for its condos in out neighborhood would not feel “safe” without being able to live in a fortress. Consequently, these new residents will never be real neighbors. Nowhere else in Norquay is there a tower and podium form, nor is there likely ever to be in this generation, except perhaps at the NE corner of Kingsway and Earles (the other “gateway” site). The City of Vancouver has allowed this design to come off the drawing boards. Once a rezoning policy hands a developer the “right” to a height and an FSR, the developer seems to have carte blanche to do anything they like within those two constraints. The specifications and intentions of a neighborhood plan seem to count for little [Side note: allowed FSR is 3.8, official FSR is 3.8166 — Why does the developer always seem to be permitted to nudge the allowed figure upward?] Look at it (Appendix E, Page 6 of 8):


The Kingsway median with trees will never be there, despite the words of the Norquay Plan [1]. Why does the concept sketch in the report to Council persist in showing this feature?

Not a Plaza

Notice the small greenish ground-level excrescence off to the right, down at the end of the street. This area is supposed to embody the plaza required by the Norquay Plan, valued at $811,720. This siting of the “plaza” says everything. Shove it off to the periphery, stick it on a corner, let parking garage traffic swirl past it. Get the thing as far away as possible from the development that hosts it so grudgingly. Basically ignore the Norquay Plan direction that the

        fully landscaped public plaza … be activated by retail uses on the edges.  (Appendix A, p. 25 of 40)

Thus far, the “plaza” appears to serve as little more than landscaping for the contemplation of sealed-off diners sitting in a restaurant. Where’s the coffee shop with the patio? Might a feature like that lead to just too much interaction with the dangerous locale? Consider only how much of this public amenity area has been proposed for a water feature, an unusable protective moat for the castle.

Primary connotations of the word plaza are: public, open, center, space, urban, market.

Now look at the concept sketch from the Norquay Plan:


This violation of the spirit of the Norquay Plan is the single worst feature of the proposal for 2220 Kingsway.

How much attention will ever be paid to this key concern of the Urban Design Panel (UDP): Design development to allow the building to open up more to the park. The UDP also devoted a whole paragraph to the “park” (note that they avoided calling it a plaza):

Some Panel members thought the park, although it was in the right place, seemed a bit small. One Panel member thought the building frontage along Gladstone Street was pushing the site lines and access away from the park and suggested taking that curve and opening it up to the park. Another member thought the current design would not attract people and would not be useable for the community.

These professionals recognize the scam and the abuse, but are too dependent on this major developer to say more or to say it stronger. These doubts have congregated in the priority and extent assigned to this item among “Conditions of Approval of the Form of Development” (B.b.1.i-ix — Appendix B, Pages 1-2 of 12).

Privatization of Amenity

The corollary of the park farce is extensive privatization of what has in practice served as open and publicly accessible space (practically the entire 2.3 acres, as retail store and surrounding parking area). Now look at the area that should have incorporated the plaza. That elevated small patch of blue, partly visible among the buildings, is an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by landscaping. The extent and seclusion of this area can better be assessed with this looking-straight-downward sketch of the Second Floor Plan (Appendix E, Page 3 of 8):


For all of the City of Vancouver there are only five outdoor swimming pools. This is a good time to remember the outdoor pool that was taken away from Mount Pleasant.

In Norquay, this revitalization will mean having a neighborhood whose children who know that the only “walkable village” outdoor pool is one that they are not permitted to access. Unless of course they live at 2220 Kingsway. If our children participated in public process, they would know that Norquay itself has nothing at all for the public, and does not seem likely to get new amenity any time soon. This despite new density already dumped on top of existing density.

The Opposite of “Social Mix”

A fitting close to these observations is to remark that this neutron bomb of gentrification provides absolutely no affordable housing among 404 dwelling units. Provision for that would only damage developer profit margins. The class foreseen as occupying this project isn’t even supposed to rub shoulders with the surrounding community. It has been clear from the start that a main agenda of the Norquay Plan itself is displacement of existing low-income families [2]. Across Vancouver, “revitalization” means purge the poor.

The Downtown Eastside has seen the Woodwards project as the platform for launch of a social assault on their community. A delving into the Woodwards backstory in another context [3] uncovered this:

A report from the Woodward’s Steering Committee to Vancouver City Council in September 2005 makes clear that the strategically positioned project sought permeable perimeter into the historic precincts. The military tone of this language corresponds neatly with the massive funding directed in parallel at hosting the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

That’s the very same developer. Westbank. Although the Woodwards project included a social housing component, it has become notorious for its structural apartheid. Low-income persons there are segregated into an entirely separate tower where management practices have prison-like aspects. Similar segregation is featured in the recently approved planning for 955 East Hastings. On the rare occasions where social housing is made a direct part of a project, there is no social mix. But planners and politicians still have the gall to say that there is.

[1]  Landscaped Median #2  https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/landscaped-median-2/

[2]  East Van Gentrification: Norquay at the Eye of the Hurricane

[3]  Vision Vancouver Hits the Panic Button

Two Other Specific Items of Concern

Traffic Calming Measures  —

At at the East 30th Avenue/East 31st Avenue/Gladstone Street intersection to address any vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian conflicts while ensuring vehicular circulation to the parkade entry is maintained. ( B.c.4.c — Appendix B, Page 9 of 12)  The City of Vancouver has added this note:

        The calming feature proposed (traffic diverter) is to be reversed
        to allow for traffic to circulate around the site and provide access to the parkade.

One block of Gladstone and one block of East 30th Avenue, the west and south perimeter streets, are being commandeered to serve the 2220 Kingsway development. In-and-out traffic should be confined to the dedicated east laneway that connects directly with Kingsway. Gladstone is a bicycle route. If City of Vancouver insists on directing this kind of traffic onto Gladstone, it must forbid all parking at all times anywhere on Gladstone between Kingsway and the five-way intersection that connects with East 30th Avenue. Otherwise this above-ground parking will become a literally fatal temptation for customers of the big-box store oriented to automobile traffic. In addition, continuous presence of parked automobiles would further degrade the minimal excrescence that is being offered up as a “plaza.”

Soils  —

(a) A site profile must be submitted to the Environmental Protection Branch. (b) In this instance there should be no exercise of discretion in the matters of environmental protection and legalities. (c) Assessment of contaminants and their migration must be performed with extra diligence, considering the apparently unauthorized soil removal that has already taken place. ( B.c.9 — Appendix B, Page 11 of 12)

A photographic record and report [4] has been made of what appears to have been an attempt at stealth remediation around 30 October 2012 at the 2220 Kingsway site. This activity was reported to both municipal and provincial authorities. The municipal inspector indicated that the City of Vancouver had issued no permits for excavation at the site, and also informed me that “privacy concerns” meant that to obtain any feedback on the situation, I would have to place a Freedom of Information request with the City of Vancouver. Past multiple poor experiences with trying to obtain information from the City of Vancouver deterred me from attempting to discover the results of municipal assessment of the situation.

The rear portion of the Canadian Tire building housed twelve automobile service bays for many years. The southeast corner of the building hosted a large waste oil collection tank. There is likely to have been considerable spillage of contaminants into the soil. The local geology tends to consist of a layer of soil over sandstone, with considerable underground water flow. Due to slope of land, flow would be toward the north, which is underneath the existing structure. Area residents should be assured that environmental impacts of this industrialized use have been properly assessed and addressed, and all results should readily be provided on request.

[4]  Stealth Remediation?  https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/stealth-remediation/


CD-1 Rezoning: 2220 Kingsway

Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan

Rezoning Application — 2220 Kingsway

Urban Design Panel Minutes — 26 September 2012

Written by eyeonnorquay

7 April 2013 at 10:19 pm

2220 Kingsway Amenities

leave a comment »

2220 Kingsway — Where Are Our Amenities?

When a building site is rezoned for development, the developer is usually expected to pay a Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) either in cash or in kind. The purpose of CAC is to help address growth costs, area deficiencies, and/or other community needs and impacts. Cash CAC must be spent in the neighbourhood in which the development is occurring. The amount of the CAC is negotiated between the developer and city planners, and is related to the increase in the site’s value resulting from rezoning. CAC is allocated by senior city staff, and even planners working on the project may not be present. The development at 2220 Kingsway will generate a CAC of $4,011,720.

In addition, the developer pays a Development Cost Levy (DCL) of $12.50 per sq. ft. This money can be used only for growth costs associated with parks, childcare, social/non-profit housing, and engineering infrastructure. It can be spent citywide. The development at 2220 Kingsway will generate a DCL of $4,814,000.

The report that went to Council on March 12 details the allocation of CAC for 2220 Kingsway (the former Canadian Tire site). Westbank has offered to develop public space on the northwest corner (basically the entrance to the proposed grocery store) and on the southwest corner (a small park, supposedly the “plaza” mentioned in the Norquay Plan) at a cost of $811,720. In addition, they will build a traffic diverter at the corner of Gladstone and 30th Avenue at a cost of about $200,000. These are considered in-kind CAC contributions. The remaining $3,000,000 is to be

        held in a Norquay Village Amenity Strategy Reserve and allocated to the future development of
        community amenities to be located on the 2400 Kingsway site.  (p. 9)

The proposed allocation of CAC is not acceptable for three reasons:

1 —  The traffic diverter at Gladstone and East 30th Avenue is engineering infrastructure, and should be paid for out of DCLs as is usually done.

2 —  We do not know how the proposed Reserve Fund will be spent. Will it be used, either directly or indirectly, to fund the social housing now being proposed for 2400 Kingsway? Social housing is a citywide social good, not a local community amenity.

3 —  Money put into a Reserve Fund today will be worth less when it is spent unless the sum is tied to cost-of-construction indexing. This must happen.

A sum of at least $800,000 from the CAC generated by 2220 Kingsway should be allocated now to near-term redevelopment of Brock Park. The stretch of Kingsway between Nanaimo and Gladstone is the first area of Norquay to experience major densification. Three recent developments already built or approved along Kingsway (2220, 2239, 2300) are adding 835 new housing units within 400 metres of Brock Park. More is coming. This park needs improvement. The outline Public Benefits Strategy presented at the January 2013 Open House for Norquay contains a draft direction (panel 15) to “renew/improve Brock and Slocan Parks (e.g. similar to Norquay Park improvements).” (The cost of the Norquay Park renewal was $800,000.)

The remaining money held in the Reserve Fund should be placed in a segregated account that is tied to cost-of-construction indexing, and future Norquay community space should be specified as the amenity for which the money is being held. This money should be used to enhance the new community space that the Norquay Plan states as key policy for the 2400 Kingsway site. The funds should not enable the CAC generated by development of that site, which the Norquay Plan expects to pay the basic costs of the community space, to be redirected to any other purpose.

This posting prepared by Jeanette Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

5 April 2013 at 6:58 pm