NWG Reports  (2009)


Norquay Working Group — Consolidated Participants Reports
(February 2009 — July 2009)

(Prepared October 2009)

[ Reformatted for WordPress html in June 2011. Last updated in August 2011. In double red curly braces {{ }} four notes are inserted. Three-letter codes (AAA through UUU) are substituted for 21 participant names (except for report writers). City of Vancouver staff remain named throughout. City of Vancouver dead links have been updated where possible. ]

 
Between 29 November 2008 and 9 July 2009, the City of Vancouver sponsored 18 neighborhood meetings in the second round  {{ In the third phase — November 2009 to November 2010 — city planners abandoned all pretense of working with the Norquay Working Group. }}  of planning for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre:

1 open house on 29 Nov 2008
8 working group meetings (5 February, 24 March, 21 April, 5 May, 21 May, 8 June, 22 June, and 9 July 2009)
5 workshops (28 February, 7 March, 4 April, 28 April, and 14 May 2009)
1 information session on 31 March 2009
2 Chinese community workshops on 28 May and 2 June 2009
1 business community meeting on 4 June 2009

 
What follows is a consolidation in chronological order of the eleven participant reports prepared and distributed by members of the Working Group, preceded by a listing of the reports.

1 of 11 Report on April 4 Norquay Village Workshop #3 (issued 7 April 2009)
2 of 11 Report on Planning So Far for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre
[including Working Group meeting #3 on April 21]
(issued 27 April 2009)
3 of 11 A Participant Report on Community Workshop #4 on April 28:
Connections, Public Places and Character
(issued 30 April 2009)
4 of 11 Supplement to Report on Norquay Village Workshop #4 on April 28:
Kingsway Streetscape
(issued 3 May 2009)
5 of 11 A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #4 on May 5
(issued 11 May 2009)
6 of 11 A Participant Report on Community Workshop #5 on May 14 (issued 21 May 2009)
7 of 11 A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #5 on May 21
(issued 30 May 2009)
8 of 11 Participants Report on Two Meetings for Chinese Community
in Norquay — May 28 and June 2
(issued 20 June 2009)
9 of 11 A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #6 on June 8
(issued 20 June 2009)
10 of 11 A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #7 on June 22
(issued 30 June 2009)
11 of 11 A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #8 on July 9
(issued 3 August 2009)


 
 
No. 1 of 11

 
Report on April 4 Norquay Village Workshop #3

{{  See scan of the internal planner agenda (obtained by a workshop participant). }}

The first item on the agenda was a presentation by Jay Wollenberg, the City’s consultant on the 2400 Motel site (a three acre parcel at the heart of Norquay owned by the City of Vancouver). The report seemed less an update than an outline of old results. The last public consultation seems to have occurred in June 2007, and the information from that time seems much like what was presented.

Next, general group discussion of two contentious “not supported” housing types resulted in courtyard rowhousing and sixplexes being removed from consideration.  {{  On two separate public occasions in 2011 a Norquay planner has talked about how the new housing types under development include nineplexes}}  City planners pressed the matter with considerable vigor, but the great majority of workshop participants insisted on adherence to the Renfrew Collingwood Community Vision. Concern from other Vancouver neighborhoods helped Norquay residents to withstand the city planners on this point.

For the rest of the day, three self-selecting and numerically balanced groups worked from three variant broad concept sketches that city planners derived from the two preceding workshops on Feb. 28 and Mar. 7. The process did not include any evaluation of if or how those base sketches corresponded to earlier results.

At the end of the day, each of the three subgroups presented results to the entire group. There were clear variations in what areas had been covered and in how much detail. What will be done with these three separate plans as a next step was never made clear. It is speculated that the synthesis will be additive; that is, a composite will incorporate the highest density assigned by any one of the three groups to a single plan.

Two general themes seemed to emerge. First, the neighborhood has a strong desire for human-scale architecture — and a corresponding general distaste for buildings of more than eight stories (a few at that maximum are assigned to selected sites along Kingsway). Depending on other aspects (such as corresponding amenities) to emerge in future workshops, the neighborhood may be willing to accept the additional density corresponding to buildings over four stories. Much of the possible additional density is concentrated along the major Kingsway arterial. [Note: Most workshop participants would probably relinquish the “amenities” that accompanied the Jan. 2006 rezoning at Kingsway and Nanaimo for a 22 storey tower — which came barely ahead of the March 2006 kickoff for Norquay Village planning — if that tower could be brought back to a scale appropriate to the neighborhood.]

Second, the neighborhood wants to retain widespread single family housing. A few possible areas for denser types (mainly four-story apartment and fee simple traditional rowhouse) were identified:

    •  Close to the neighborhood center of Kingsway and Slocan
    •  Immediately adjacent to other Kingsway commercial/residential
    •  Along the secondary arterials of Slocan and Earles
    •  Near the Nanaimo and 29th skytrain stations

Three considerations support this approach. (1) The two current citywide EcoDensity initiatives on Laneway Housing and Basements in Single Family Houses are recognized as already likely to enable up to four dwelling units per lot (house with main unit, one legal suite, one illegal suite, plus laneway house). (2) The City of Vancouver 2006 density map demonstrates that Norquay has already absorbed considerably more than its share of the City’s density. (3) City planning statistics specifically for Norquay from the 2001 census show that Norquay houses 32% low income families. The acceleration of redevelopment that accompanies mass rezoning would displace these families from affordable housing.

Workshop 4 is scheduled for April 30 at 6:30 pm at the Alpen Club, 4875 Victoria Drive.
Workshop 5 is scheduled for May 13 at 6:30 pm and May 14 at 6:30 pm (both sessions at the Kensington Community Centre, 5175 Dumfries Street).


 
 
No. 2 of 11

 
Report on Planning So Far for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
April 27, 2009

The Context:  Known 2009 planning for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre so far has consisted of

Five advertised “Workshops” (Feb 28 and Mar 7, April 4, April 28, and May 14)
     intended to allow for broader community input
Two little-advertised “information sessions” (Mar 31, Housing Types; May 5, Tools and Zoning)
     open to the community at Gladstone School 6:30 pm—8:30 pm
An open-ended series of Working Group meetings (Feb 5, Mar 24, Apr 21, next yet unannounced)

One previous report about the April 4 Workshop #3 has been distributed on April 7

 
Report on Working Group meeting #3
(Gladstone School, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm)

Like the first two Working Group meetings, the third consisted mainly of city planner presentations, administrative details, and announcements about further meetings. (See attached scan of agenda.) All sessions so far have had limited time for comment and exchange, with no directed and productive discussion. Up to this point, the City’s model seems to be one where all work is done outside the meeting, and the “working group” does no work, but can later be said to have seen what the City is doing.

The core of the April 21 meeting was a presentation by Senior Urban Designer Scot Hein. His powerpoint showed design work from the Arbutus Molson brewery site, East Fraser Lands, and Southeast False Creek. Then came what proved to be a turning point for the meeting. Hein presented his fairly detailed “urban design” for Norquay Village, based somewhat on the materials generated at the April 4 Workshop (at which he was present). Reactions to his design included these points:

    •  His three powerpoint examples related to massive redevelopment of empty industrial sites, not an inhabited neighborhood with existing character, residents, history, and social capital.
    •  His design seemed additive of every development proposal from the April 4 Workshop, plus additional development not envisioned by those groups.
    •  Planning for the twenty-to-thirty year future of Norquay is seeming extremely rushed and has allowed for no genuine input by the working group.
    •  No account is being taken of affordability by renter or owner. Using rezoning to accelerate redevelopment in RS-1 will only increase housing costs, and lower Norquay’s component of low-income families (calculated by the City as 32% at present)
    •  Planning for our proposed “Norquay Village” has been made very difficult by the premature and inappropriate rezoning of the 2300 Kingsway / Eldorado site for a 22-story tower. The “amenity” that the developer contributed to gain additional height and density — a 37-space daycare center — does not compensate for its instance of preempting the “human scale” development direction that the community clearly wants to take.
    •  A concern about how accurately Workshop 3 results were carried forward into new sketches met only with defensive refusal to consider the matter — even though the group has been given to understand this is part of its mandate.
    •  Trying to locate additional retail near the 29th Avenue skytrain station will only weaken the attempt to rebuild a viable commercial center on Kingsway. The immediate area can attract and support only so much retail.

The presentation of Scot Hein’s urban design for Norquay Village seemed inadvisable and premature. For a volunteer neighborhood working group to face what looked like a polished professional drawing was intimidating — especially when the group itself has had no opportunity so far to do any of the work. Elements of the design may prove attractive, and Hein may prove to be a person who can respect and incorporate citizen input. This sequencing was unfortunate.

Planners also revealed for the first time that what is taken forward from the working group to City Council may include “options,” and City Council would choose from the options. These are concerns:

    •  One option may become what city planners formulate with no consultation.
    •  City Council may opt for the highest density option without regard for neighborhood support.
    •  City planners are out to co-opt in advance the possibility of a strong minority report coming from a working group that cannot reach consensus.

Planners also indicated for the first time their intentions to conduct a parallel advertised set of Chinese consultations (no dates set). These are concerns:

    •  Chinese representation on the current working group is being discounted.
    •  Yet another group and more meetings will further obfuscate an already byzantine process.
    •  “Chinese” is not a unitary group, and to presume that is inappropriate.
    •  Other significant Norquay ethnic language groups (Vietnamese, Tagalog, Punjabi) are disregarded.

In summary, what had been a generally positive and effective working group atmosphere deteriorated that evening due to personal attacks that were not dealt with by the convenor (and to some degree could be construed as condoned). Where the Norquay Village planning process will go from here is not clear.

 
Additional Considerations

Not brought forward on that evening are:

    •  Citywide planning already underway for Laneway Housing and Basements in Single Family Areas will result in 3-4 dwelling units per lot. While this “invisible density” comes with serious problems (parking and traffic, no corresponding increase in amenity), it is equitable and does not concentrate undesirable impacts (property tax increase, zoning compulsion to redevelop) on selected red-lined areas of our city.
    •  Recognition needs to be given to the current high density in Norquay as compared with the rest of Vancouver. There is at present no amenity basis (notably walk-to shopping along Kingsway) to justify rezoning housing out of RS-1 in phase one.
    •  The original notion of a neighborhood center seems to be morphing into an extended strip, one that develops to the maximum all large sites along the entire possible 1.35 km of Kingsway — with no real center.
    •  Planners have admitted that their interest in Nanaimo and 29th Avenue skytrain stations has been tacked on to the neighborhood center process as a convenience.
    •  Diffusion of planning to multiple “nodes” throughout Norquay, at the expense of a center, makes the proposal for a “Norquay Village” look like opportunistic thrusting into all parts of the neighborhood.
    • Among the 19 envisioned neighborhood centers, Norquay Village is unusual if not unique in not building upon an existing retail core. This make the creation of such a core all the more important.


 
 
No. 3 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Community Workshop 4:
Connections, Public Places and Character

(see advertisement)

Held Tuesday, April 28, 2009, 6 pm – 9 pm
Vancouver Alpen Club, Ballroom, 4875 Victoria Drive (at East 33rd Avenue)

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
April 30, 2009

Two announcements preceded a breakout into five parallel sessions:

    •  The “information session” on Zoning and Tools to be held Tuesday May 5 (6:30 pm – 8:30 pm) at Gladstone School will be replaced by Working Group meeting #4 (following on #3 two weeks previous)
    •  Workshop 5 on May 14 will deal with Amenities (location now seems to be Alpen Club rather than Kensington Community Centre)

The Workshop featured five self-selecting discussion groups. With one switchover halfway through, each Workshop attender could participate in two of the five sessions. This structure makes impossible a full report by one or two people. If you attended sessions for Greenway and Linkages or Kingsway Streetscape, or would like to report additional observations on the other three covered below, send an email and this report can be revised and redistributed.

    •  Traffic and Parking — Paul Pinsker
    •  Greenway and Linkages —
    •  Parks — Michel Desrochers
    •  Housing Character — Grant Miller
    •  Kingsway Streetscape — Kathleen Kern

 
Traffic and Parking was divided into three topics: pedestrians, Clarendon St., transit. A guiding document is a 1997 report on transportation.

    •  Pinsker began by stating that pedestrians come first. A lot of that conversation focused on streets lacking sidewalks and needs for improved pedestrian crossings of streets.
    •  Clarendon St. together with 22nd Ave. and 29th Ave. are under review for possible reclassification from secondary arterial to neighborhood collector. Engineering seems very concerned that creating the proposed “Clarendon connector” not affect the review status of Clarendon St. Much neighborhood consultation is promised. The connector would carry through from 34th to 33rd, to reduce traffic along 34th, and one block north of 34th along both Nanaimo St. and Slocan St.
    •  A look at transit showed that Norquay is served by skytrain and a network of bus routes that include 7, 16, 19, 25, 26, 29, 33. Desire was expressed for streetcar and/or dedicated bus lane along Kingsway. The parallel of skytrain with Kingsway may mean that service deliberately has been directed away from Kingsway.

 
Housing Character used large-sheet photographs of a variety of Norquay streetscapes to start a discussion.

A major theme was use of zoning to affect character. Miller said that the existing RS-1 single family has no provision for planner “discretion” that could improve design. (The implication was that other, denser zonings could bring in the opportunity for more design control.) It was asked whether RS zoning could have design guidelines, and RS-5 was cited as such a possibility. (Subsequent investigation suggests that a danger of RS-5 lies in a discretion that can allow for a bigger (height, FSR) building that really has no design improvement, since the criteria for “design” is flexible. A concern with blend-in, for example, could result in a building that “fits in” with the streetscape rather than being a first step to improving neighborhood appearance.) The subjective nature of discretion could be a concern with any zoning type, unless the design criteria are tight enough to require specific defined elements. “Design” could be required for RS-1 in Norquay with no change in density. The design carrot does not require that the neighborhood swallow rezoning.

Some discussion was directed to how much discretion amounts to granting relaxations. The commonest relaxation appears to relate to grade (the situation of the building in relation to the level of the land). Concern was expressed about the precedent that a single relaxation may set in a particular area for any subsequent developer. Zoning that introduces discretion appears to give developers leeway to keep pushing at the boundaries.

Brief discussion of rate of change led to Miller providing this information about the mass rezoning at Kingsway and Knight. Across the city, redevelopment occurs at a rate of about 1% a year. The target at Kingsway and Knight was 2%, and so far (about five years on) it measures at about 1.7%. (The Norquay working group will need to consider if acceleration is appropriate for our neighborhood.)

Another topic was affordability. The notion of affordability requires careful consideration. As a rule, new construction is less affordable than existing dwellings. According to the City’s 2001 census data specific to Norquay, the neighborhood houses 32% low-income families. It is difficult to see how new construction can do anything but reduce that component and displace the families that we now house. That 32% figure is close to the mix and balance (1/3 and 1/3 and 1/3) that was talked about as desirable in the planning for Southeast False Creek. This could be called social and rental affordability.

Another kind of affordability is physical affordability, meeting a market demand for ownership of less expensive ground level units. As much as anything, this seems to be a matter of:

    •  Serving developers who want a zoning that allows them to seek extra profit in that market
    •  Dumping even more residential density into an East Vancouver neighborhood that has already accommodated more than its proportional share
    •  Deliberately gentrifying Norquay (d) offering new units with much less land and no fee simple ownership at 2/3 to 3/4 of the price of a regular property — in an area of Vancouver that is right now more affordable than many others in Vancouver
    •  Decreasing the green permeable surface area that all residents of Norquay presently enjoy

 
Parks considered two topics: Acquiring new land and development of existing parkland. Desrochers asked which of these should be given priority.

Acquiring new parkland. Desrochers said that the Park Board ideal ratio is 120 sq. ft. of parkland per person or 1.1 hectares per 1000 population, and that the amount of parkland in Norquay is average for Vancouver. The annual budget for new land acquisition is about $2M. The Park Board is interested in acquiring lots which back onto parks, since lanes and garages do not make an inviting park edge. (This is relevant for Brock Park and Slocan Park in Norquay.) Participants encouraged the Park Board to work on acquiring land necessary to create “Ravine Way” between Norquay Park and Slocan Park and continuing to develop the corridor northward.

Development of existing parkland. Desrochers found Norquay parks lacking in facilities. There is $250,000 – $300,000 in the current Capital Plan designated for Norquay Park, and the Park Board will initiate a community process to discuss how this money should be spent. He encouraged participants to think BIG when advocating for better park facilities.

Participants considered both aspects to be important.


 
 
No. 4 of 11

 
Kingsway Streetscape

[Supplement to: A Participant Report on Community Workshop 4: Connections, Public Places and Character — April 30, 2009]

Prepared by Bert Struik
May 3, 2009

Participants were told that $1 million was available in the short term for alterations / additions along the stretch of Kingsway from near Nanaimo to Killarney. We were asked to comment on existing plans to use that money. An existing plan of alterations was presented, along with photos of existing streetscape art, lighting, seating and the like from other areas of the city.

The plan of roadway alterations was shown as a two and half table long drawing of Kingsway and its connectors. The primary changes were:

    •  Marginally widening the Kingsway road way to accomodate more space for cyclists between the moving traffic and the parked cars.
    •  Adding trees at intervals along the median down Kingsway. On average the additional median trees corresponded to gaps in trees along the sidewalk that borders Kingsway.
    •  Adding a controlled crosswalk across Kingsway between Duchess and 34th Avenue, for bikes and people (Duchess as a bike route).
    •  Changing the approach of 34th and Wales onto Kingsway such that the sidewalk area northwest of 34th and Wales is extended to Kingsway, and 34th and Wales have right angle approaches to Kingsway. The built out area would host a large sidewalk and a bike path that shunts cycle traffic from the new Duchess crosswalks onto Wales, which borders the west side of Norquay Park.

Generally the Duchess to 34th and Wales connector was applauded. Concerns were expressed about widening Kingsway without changing the setbacks to buildings, thus narrowing the sidewalks, and increasing the canyon effect. Cyclists would remain in the same situation of dense traffic, leaving cycling on Kingsway to the brave. Proposals were presented to city staff to increase building setbacks. In addition it was proposed to keep Kingsway the same width (or slightly narrower), and add a bike lane separated from the roadway by a curb barrier with greenery and from the sideway with a curb. Questions were asked about why trees were being added in certain places. Those points were sightly wider parts of the road. (An appeal was made by a business owner west of Nanaimo to beautify that part of the road as well, as it is deteriorating.)

Participants were asked to pick out which style of artwork, lamp post, bench, and seating area landscaping they liked by placing a small post-it on the picture. A poster of neon signs formerly along Kingsway was used to ask if we saw this part of Kingsway as identified by Neon and that it be brought back as a signature. Not much response to that. Three Norquay symbols were displayed. They were designed by a city planner. A suggestion was made to revisit the symbol with input from the neighbourhood and its history of agriculture, rail lines and highway. Results of that ‘voting’ not seen, nor was it clear if the choices would be harmonious.


 
 
No. 5 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #4 on May 5

Held Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 6;30 pm – 8:30 pm
Gladstone Secondary School

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
May 11, 2009

 
Preliminary

The meeting began with a brief review of the difficulties encountered in Working Group #3 meeting on April 21, 2009. For the upcoming work of the evening, Grant Miller expected to take on more of a facilitator role as Kathleen Kern dealt with actual neighborhood planning. The possibilities for group electronic communication outside of meetings included [considerations attached to modes are expanded here — less covered at meeting]

    •  General exchange of email (reply to all) — All would need to agree to open email addressing / volume and archiving would be each individual’s concern / side conversations might become confusing
    •  Listserv — Allows for central digesting and archiving / can shield individual email addresses / still has email traffic as main feature
    •  Blog — Postings and comments stable unless altered by blogmaster / permissions to comment and to view can be controlled (e.g., comment only by working group, viewing open to all)
    •  Wiki — Typically multiuser generated shared content subject to ongoing changes

The bulk of the evening centered on two items:

 
I.  Working with materials from Workshop #3

The working group sat around a long wide table on which were spread out mappings derived from the three concepts (Multi-Node, Urban Village, Transit Village) pursued by self-selected subgroups at Workshop #3 on April 4, 2009.

Discussion started from the question of whether to aim for one plan or to develop multiple options. A desire to minimize work, to strive for consensus, and to avoid the confusions of competing plans eventually led to agreement to try to work toward one plan. On the way to that position, the group spent a good deal of time exploring the pros and cons of a focus on Kingsway versus a focus on Skytrain. The neighborhood’s two parallel but well separated transit corridors are a dominant feature of the Norquay area. These are some of the key points that emerged in wide-ranging discussion:

    •  Traditional core is Earles to Nanaimo along Kingsway
    •  Greenway from 29th Ave to Kingsway should provide eventual connector•  Kingsway needs revitalization
    •  Workshop 3 results should not be additive
    •  Skytrain is a magnet
    •  A village should not be too spread out but have a real center
    •  Joyce station example of what is not desirable (unpleasant at night, no green)
    •  Kingsway area residents less likely to walk to Skytrain area
    •  Neighbourhood Centres program intended to create a village, not a long strip; Skytrain planning is a pragmatic add-on to the process; “Norquay” boundaries thus were extended to include Skytrain; Skytrain located at boundary of presently defined Norquay area, Kingsway at center
    •  Skytrain area residents “neighborhood” consists of where Skytrain goes (e.g., Commercial Drive), so local retail less important
    •  Automobile transportation is the past, not the future – Kingsway is a freeway
    •  Looking to the future, both transit corridors will need to be used fully
    •  B-Line needed on Kingsway now — Streetcar in future
    •  Skytrain station density increase needed for safety
    •  Four-story apartments located around 29th Ave Skytrain station could provide residential density without becoming the neighborhood center
    •  Only so much commercial retail will locate in one area
    •  Commercial and retail should locate along Kingsway and concentrate in Kingsway-Nanaimo-33rd triangle
    •  Norquay itself has been characterized as a bedroom community — also true for Skytrain area residents
    •  The 2400 Motel site offers opportunity for a Community Centre
    •  The triangle formed by Kingsway, Nanaimo, and 33rd Ave is a natural center for Norquay (stands out in aerial photograph)
    •  Renegotiation with 2300 Kingsway development could be win-win for developer and neighborhood

After general agreement on one center focused at the 2400 Motel triangle, discussion turned to refinements and Kathleen Kern began a new neighborhood drawing as a record of what the group agreed on.

One of the first of those elements was existing and potential green spaces and greenways and bike paths. Good pedestrian crossing for Kingsway should come first at Duchess because most of that route exists now and is easier to complete. Still Creek greenway (size potential discussed) should coincide with a second Kingsway crossing. These two crossings for two pedestrian corridors help to define Norquay center. Park Board ratio calls for increase of green space with population increase. Prime opportunities are house-on-lane situations at Slocan and Brock parks where parks could be opened to street. Some green space is desirable at 2400 Motel site. Greenway connection, possibly an underpass, from Slocan Park to ravine north of 29th Ave needs to be presented to Skytrain before upcoming alteration to platform.

A round of discussion brought out the desirability of connecting the triangle with Norquay Park to the east by moving pedestrian traffic to the laneway south of Kingsway. Kathleen perceived opportunity for consolidation of properties in the area between the triangle and Norquay Park. While general development potential gravitates toward Kingsway-adjacent properties on the south side, the two corners on the north side at Earles offer possibility for something like a quay. Mention of residential over commercial storefront for north side west of Earles. Setback and wider sidewalks are needed to make a center attractive to necessary anchor businesses. Adequate parking for center is a must. Norquay is now diverse. “Lower” uses than residential are right now being protected elsewhere in Vancouver. It may be desirable to retain a zoning mix along Kingsway (e.g., keep big box Canadian Tire at western end; keep industrial use Beefway Meats; keep Purdy factory at eastern end). These also provide walk-to local employment.

 
II.  Discussion on developing a “principles to criteria” document

A large and partially completed chart was taped to a blackboard. Grant Miller explained the role of this document in the planning process. Policy sources (CityPlan, Renfrew Collingwood Community Vision, EcoDensity, Norquay Village Workshops) generate broad principles and specific principles (shops and services, housing, public realm, character of place, parking/traffic/safety, transportation, sustainability, community amenities/facilities). This list of principles needs to be assigned a priority (high, medium, low) and detailed with (a) working group ideas/comments (b) staff comment/advice (c) implementation measures.

Most of the discussion revolved around (a) the relationship of amenity to rezoning (b) the desirability of specifying implementation measures this early in the process. Amenity will be a focus of the upcoming Workshop 5 on May 14. Grant Miller took care to gauge that the group had an adequate comfort level with this preliminary sketch of principles-to-criteria (not to be viewed as a document brought from city planning to be imposed on the working group). The group will be provided electronic copies of the sketched chart. Paper copies were available for individuals who wanted that as well. For those willing, ‘homework’ will consist of reviewing and attempting to flesh out what has been sketched.

 
Announcement of Next Steps

May 14 — Workshop #5

May 21 — Working Group meeting #5

May 28 — Chinese language meeting at Cunningham School

June 2 — Chinese language meeting at Norquay School

June 4 — Meeting with Norquay-area business people

Questions brought these elaborations:

    •  “Chinese language” means Cantonese with translation for some other spoken languages
    •  Chinese meetings will aim to condense materials from Workshops 1-3
    •  Workshop #5 was initially planned to present three options from Workshop #3; will now employ a “case study” method


 
 
No. 6 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Community Workshop #5: Assessing Options

(see advertisement)

Held Thursday, May 14, 2009, 6 pm – 9 pm
Vancouver Alpen Club, Ballroom, 4875 Victoria Drive (at East 33rd Avenue)

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
May 21, 2009

[Agenda provided below as Appendix #1]

The advertised title for the workshop was Assessing Options and the agenda title was Norquay Amenities.

 
I.  Amenities and Funding

Kathleen Kern opened with a brief introduction, saying that the workshop was the start of conversation and that no conclusions have yet been drawn. Another workshop is scheduled for fall. The community will develop a concept plan that reflects priorities, needs, and wants. Examples: seniors facility, green connections.

Grant Miller framed the discussion of amenities and cited as examples pools and parks. He referred to the web site results from Workshop 3 and mentioned the options of urban village at the 2400 Motel site and transit village at the 29th Avenue skytrain station. Miller outlined three amenity types and gave examples:

    •  Public — skytrain, Killarney Pool
    •  Private — grocery store, residential landscaping, commercial plaza
    •  Partner — boulevard planting, country lane

Miller briefly cited the examples of Kingsway & Knight and East Fraserlands and said that direct delivery of amenity is tied to population increase.

 
Randy Pecarski (Senior Planner, City-Wide & Regional Policy & Projects) talked about funding sources. The City’s three-year capital plan of some $500 million is broadly allocated to three areas: maintenance and safety, growth (20% to 25%), and new undertakings. Funding comes 75% from the tax base, with the rest from fees and senior governments. Since 1990 the developer cost levy (DCL) has contributed to funding. DCL is based on built square footage. The DCL rate for commercial/residential of more than 1.2 FSR is due to go from $6 per sq ft to $10 per sq ft. DCL contributes 1/2 to parks and playgrounds and 1/3 to affordable housing and to childcare facilities. DCL also goes toward engineering, infrastructure, bikeways, and lighting. Any DCL coming to Norquay would be drawn from a citywide pool of funds. (Area-specific DCLs also exist.) Only with rezoning may also come community amenity contributions (CAC). These are individually negotiated, and amount to the developer agreeing to return a portion of density profit to the public and the neighborhood. Kingsway and Knight got a library. 2300 Kingsway / Eldorado got a daycare. CAC funding does not go toward arts and culture spending.

Questions and Answers and Comments:

    •  Proposals for greenway and 2400 Motel site are expensive. Are there other funding mechanism? CAC can be pooled for highly visible project.
    •  Did Kingsway and Knight get a library in perpetuity? Or only free space for ten years? A ten-year free lease only, plus contribution of furnishings.
    •  Eldorado daycare valued at $5 million: $4 million for facility, $1 million for endowed operation.
    •  Could this daycare amenity go off site? Developers prefer in-kind on-site CAC.

 
Brian Sears (Senior Property Development Officer, Real Estate Services) presented a hypothetical case study for the NW corner of Kingsway and Earles, the corner now occupied by Harveys. The current zoning is C-2 along Kingsway and RS-1 along Earles. A rezoning to allow for 8 storeys on the corner, 6 storeys along Kingsway, and four storeys along Earles would result in 35,000 sq ft of commercial and 131,000 sq ft of residential. This density increase (to FSR of 3.3) would result in a CAC of something like $800,000 to $900,000. Developers prefer to deliver CAC in tandem with construction itself for self-funding. Sears mentioned also three other large sites: Canadian Tire, 2400 Motel, and Purdys.

Sears also talked about denser housing types: Duplex / Townhouses / Stacked Townhouses / Apartment with underground parking / RM-4 (includes muliple dwelling consisting of five or fewer dwelling units). He offered more detail for the one example of townhouses (FSR 1.45 for stacked townhouses). These require 2 or 3 lots; land assembly typically involves a 10%-15% premium; lift has amounted to $60,000 to $200,000 partly because of demand for that housing type. The present cost of single-family zoned land significantly reduces lift.

Questions and Answers and Comments:

    •  There is no requirement that our neighborhood seek this denser development? That’s right.
    •  Could existing car shop go in commercial under residential?
    •  What if there were 8 to 10 stories along Kingsway?
    •  Are DCL’s prorated for inflation? Now subject to annual review. Rates will be indexed.
    •  Can the developer phase in the DCL? No.
    •  Can the developer pay DCL in installments? Yes.
    •  Does a development permit freeze the DCL level? DCL is set by issue of actual building permit, not development permit.

 
Michel Desrochers (Research Planner, Park Board Planning and Operations) began with three Park Board mandates:

    •  Maintain existing parks and facilities
    •  Increase park and add facilities in line with population growth
    •  Adjust to changes in leisure preference (e.g. declining popularity of racquet courts)

and then turned to assessment of Norquay parks and facilities:

    •  Parks:  The neighborhood is not endowed, nor is it in a deficit position. Overall a little below average, though distribution and sizes are good. Grade of C+ to B-. Pluses are adjacency to Trout Lake and Renfrew ravine.
    •  Community centers:  Norquay itself has no community centre. Nearby are these four, all well-maintained: Killarney, Kensington, Renfrew, Trout Lake (respective upgrades 1999, 2000, 2004, 2009).
    •  Swimming pools:  Nearby but not in Norquay are Killarney, Renfrew, Kensington. Two have been rebuilt. Grade of B+ to A-. These are 3 of the 9 indoor pools in Vancouver.
    •  Ice rinks:  Nearby but not in Norquay are Killarney and Trout Lake, both constructed new as Olympic practice facilities. These are 2 of the 8 in Vancouver. Grade of A- to A+.

Questions and Answers and Comments:

    •  Should facilities be associated with skytrain access? No, because the Vancouver model (in contrast with cited Burnaby) is decentralized. Also Slocan Park was donated to the city on the condition that it not be built in.
    •  What about new parks? Possibilities include pocket parks, a public plaza at 2400 Kingsway, fixing edges at Brock and Slocan Parks, and a greenway corridor of 50 to 100 feet from Slocan Park to Kingsway.
    •  Completing the greenway looks very expensive.
    •  The Still Creek stream is 20 feet down and that depth makes daylighting impractical without a much wider corridor. (There is more justification for daylighting north of Renfrew Community Centre.)

 
Vickie Morris (Senior Social Planner, Social Policy) talked about Neighborhood Houses, Group Daycares, and Family Places. Nearby but not in Norquay are 3 of Vancouver’s 9 Neighborhood Houses: Collingwood, Cedar Cottage, South Vancouver. Although there is overlap, neighborhood houses (funded by City) concentrate on social services (after school, daycare, ESL, seniors, etc.) while community centers (funded by Park Board) concentrate on recreation. A main source of funding is $4 million from the capital plan. Money also comes from DCL.

Questions and Answers and Comments:

    •  Norquay is its own area and some of these amenities should be central and walkable.
    •  Norquay has no present center.
    •  Are increases in population density tracked and improvements being added with growth? Standard for Community Center space is 1.2 sq ft per person. Expansion potential is being designed into Trout Lake CC. Seniors facility in the works for Killarney. Standard of one Neighborhood House per 65,000.
    •  Improvements needed at Cedar Cottage NH.

 
II.  Priorities and Opportunities in Norquay

About thirty attenders self-selected into four groups and worked through the same prepared listing of amenities, with opportunity to comment on and/or add items. Limited time meant that most groups were unable to cover the entire list in a measured fashion. At the end of the discussion each participant used four dots to “vote” for listed and suggested amenities. Notably high in the general rankings were a seniors facility and an arts community center at 2400 Kingsway,

============

Appendix #1: May 14 Agenda

Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre
Workshop #5
May 14, 2009
Norquay Amenities

Agenda

6:00 — 6:20     Registration / Dinner

6:10 — 6:20     Welcome

6:20 — 6:35     Introduction: Amenities definition and Amenities Map

6:35 — 6:50     Amenity Provision (Financing Growth in Vancouver — Randy Pecarski;
                        Development Scenarios — Brian Sears)

6:50 — 7:05     Guest Participants (Parks and Recreation — Michel Desrochers;
                        Social Planning — Vickie Morris)

7:05 — 7:15     Additional Time for Q & A

7:15 — 8:30     Exercise: Priorities and Opportunities in Norquay (Step 1: Discuss current needs /
                        Step 2: Connect needs to opportunities Step 3:  Suggest some priorities [dots])

8:30 — 8:45     Summary report out from each table

8:45 — 9:00     Thank You, Next Steps and evaluation forms


 
 
No. 7 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #5 on May 21

Thursday, May 21, 2009, 6;30 pm – 8:30 pm
Gladstone Secondary School

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
May 31, 2009

 
Preliminaries

The meeting opened with news and administrative items:

    •  A Norquay area meeting for Business community input will be held as a sort of Open House on June 4 from 4 – 6 pm at the window covering shop near Kingsway and Slocan
    •  Kathleen Kern has accepted a city planner position in Hawaii. It is uncertain how she will be replaced because of the municipal hiring freeze. The freeze also means there will be no replacement for Kirsten Behler when she goes on maternity leave.
    •  Three further working group (WG) meetings are planned at present. The next will be Monday June 8.

As a debrief for those not at Workshop #5, Grant Miller spoke briefly about amenity funding sources and referred to Randy Pecarski’s input. Grant said his break-out group had made a deliberate separation between public funding (capital plan) and private funding (DCL and CAC), and had gravitated toward private funding. That group had opted for local as opposed to regional-oriented retail. Affordable housing was an interest. Particular mention of seniors housing. Distinction was made between market affordable and nonmarket affordable.

AAA reminded the group of the vision for amenity and neighborhood center at the 2400 Motel site. Grant said the issue was to bring reality to the plan. Some discussion of the three ordinary funding mechanisms followed. There may still be an information session on this. Two finer points: CAC can be cash or in-kind. There can be area-specific DCL.

Then Grant led the conversation toward working group “membership” and expressed concern about new participants who might slow the process. Some application forms were distributed and returned. AAA asked about the dropping out of BBB. CCC noted that a good number of those present at WG#1 have not been seen since, or only a few times. AAA also pointed out that the minutes from the earlier 2006-2007 working group have not been made available. DDD said extended process contributes to burnout.

EEE identified himself as president of Killarney Community Centre. He cautioned that he was involved with the East Fraser Lands process and that after much planning and work the participating residents were very disappointed with the outcome. His main concern with Norquay is its relation to the Killarney catchment area.

 
Overall Summary

What took place at this meeting felt more like the strained and contentious encounter at WG#3 than the unified moving forward at WG#4. In retrospect, this seems to have resulted from two main factors:

    •  Starting from and spending most of the time dealing with words, initially in connection with the Principles to Criteria document, which somehow got lost along the way. Somewhere between working through items two and three, Grant Miller skipped ahead to the “Community Facilities & Amenities” section, and then discussion became completely disconnected from the document.
    •  Midway through the evening, the planners displayed a set of map transparencies that were overlaid with information taken from the “Housing Locations” section of the Renfrew Collingwood Community Vision. Taken all together, the transparencies suggested that the entire Norquay study area was subject to discussion for new housing types. This action had much the same negative effect on meeting atmosphere that the introduction of Scot Hein’s polished and detailed and additive urban design sketch had on WG#3.

Only at 8:10 pm did the WG return to the Norquay area map drawing developed in the first part of WG#4. A number of participants remained until about 9:00 to contribute to this effort. It was agreed that WG#6 would concentrate on map planning for the neighborhood center, the triangle bounded by Kingsway, Nanaimo, and 33rd Avenue, and that a larger-scale sub-map would be available to work with.

Two points of interest emerged from conversation over the map. (Actual map work was limited to drawing in what has already been approved at the Eldorado site and defining more clearly boundaries and interior of the triangle area.) First, Kathleen said that a good principle is to concentrate commercial in a defined center and she suggested that the Kingsway center not be elongated. She cited an example from Ambleside where existing commercial at the periphery is deliberately being reduced to residential to strengthen the core. (One application of this in Norquay might be to have all residential — or ground floor live/work — at the London Guard site at Norquay’s western edge.) Second, Kathleen said that the developers of the 2300 Kingsway / Eldorado site prepared their plans [approved by City Council in January 2006, and redrawing approved by Development Permit Board October 2008] with no account taken that planning for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre was about to commence [kickoff March 2006].

 
Details of Discussion Starting From the Principles to Criteria Document

The working session began with an uncertain choice between starting with Principles to Criteria or with the concept map of Norquay begun at WG#4. The Principles to Criteria document became the starting point. Following is a summary of the discussion carried out until the group turned to the map.

FFF brought up the importance of trying to renegotiate planning for the 2300 Kingsway / Eldorado site because it is integral to the triangle that would form the neighborhood center.

GGG brought up the rumor that homeless might be housed at 2400 and/or 2300 Kingsway and what that impact might be. She would prefer to see tall buildings to that taking place on a permanent basis. Grant said that the community should not feel forced by this to “lever up.” FFF speculated that housing homeless at the Eldorado might help to open renegotiation of the site planning. EEE pointed out that social housing typically is a percentage.

AAA stated that Norquay does not want a large business at the triangle as a “major anchor.” Grant said small to medium businesses.

HHH asked what “density bonus” means — more vertical development? Grant said not necessarily.

FFF pointed out the “vast mistake” made at Kingsway & Knight, where the library amenity is for ten years only, not permanent. Grant observed that there are multiple models. AAA asserted that the City benefits from having no maintenance responsibilities at Kingsway & Knight.

III asked if the housing types foreseen for Kingsway would include facilities for seniors.

HHH said that residential rezoning should be limited to a transitional area within half a block from Kingsway. DDD claimed that rezoning does not have to mean elimination of single family dwellings. AAA mentioned the difficulty of defining transition when Kingsway creates triangles by cutting across a grid pattern.

GGG expressed concern for safety considerations. JJJ called for a village ambiance. GGG wants an attractive area where cleanliness is maintained. Grant offered that redevelopment could help resolve the entrance/exit safety problem brought up by GGG.

At this point Grant and Kathleen presented overheads taken from the 2004 Renfrew Collingwood Community Vision as “basic information.” Multiple maps with multiple bubbles. Grant said that “uncertain” items had more support than not. [The statistical basis for “uncertain” and the validity of the surveying that produced the figures remained unclear.] Speaking from a Victoria-Fraserview-Killarney perspective, EEE said it came back to “community input.” AAA responded that EEE had said the “boundary” for Killarney concerns was Kingsway, and not suited to Norquay planning. KKK noted that the RC Vision specifies a neighborhood center, but that the “Norquay study area” does not come from that document. Kathleen replied that the Norquay study area boundary was defined by city planning staff to address multiple concerns simultaneously. She said that the RC Vision specifies “bubbles” around schools and parks. FFF commented that this is what the City wants to propose. Grant said no, the City is concerned not to appear aggressive. The desire to see “new housing types throughout” is “subject to detailed planning.” This was said to have 41% support. HHH mentioned that the City threw out the results from its own more recent June 2007 survey of the neighborhood. FFF and Grant had some discussion of particular levels of support for particular items. LLL pointed out a high 76% RC Vision level of support for single family housing. EEE said it is necessary to go back to a wider community. AAA said the working group lines up with previous sentiments for the neighborhood. PPP said she supports new housing types throughout, such as duplexes. FFF said that approach just invites developers to move in. HHH said that Norquay needs another complete survey. AAA said that housing needs to be affordable. CCC said affordability needs to be aimed at families, not at opportunities for developers. MMM said development should be concentrated at Kingsway and skytrain. KKK wanted to clarify what constitutes a village, saying that ground-level shops along Kingsway from Earles to Gladstone amounts to a strip mall rather than a village. FFF pointed out that current city-wide initiatives for Laneway and Basements that enable three to four dwelling units per property should remove the incentive for broad rezoning for types like duplex. CCC called attention to a Michael Geller comment on the Georgia Straight blog that suggests that the current Laneway proposal is already intended to open the door to even larger development. KKK offered to email to those present who wanted a more detailed table of principles and sources. Grant expressed concern about this direct approach and preferred the alternative of him retransmitting individual emails to the rest of the WG.


 
 
No. 8 of 11

 
Participants Report on Two Meetings for Chinese Community in Norquay

Prepared by Sherron Soo, Larry Deschner, Xin Xin Deschner, Amelia Siu

Cunningham Elementary School, 2330 East 37th Ave. (Thursday, May 28, 6:30 pm — 9 pm)
Norquay Elementary School, 4710 Slocan St. Tuesday, June 2, 6:30 pm — 9 pm)

http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/neighcentres/norquay/updates.htm#chinesemtgs

 
Cunningham School — (May 28)

About eighteen persons were present at the Cunningham meeting, including three city planning staff. The presentation included a set of housing type slides designed to contrast old houses with new houses, with an apparent intention to evoke favor for the new. At the outset, participants had notions that rezoning might bring considerable personal property value escalation, and thus sought to have their own particular locations redesignated. As discussion proceeded, participants became more concerned about potential property tax impacts of new zoning. When asked about amenities, the group showed most interest in having a casino, burlesque-type theatre, commercial shopping, and a police station. With some prompting, added to that list were, improvement in parking and traffic, parks and walkways.

 
Norquay School — (June 2)

At this meeting there were twenty nine participants and three city staff.

The meeting began with city planners notating the nineteen neighbourhood centres being planned. One participant asked why the first four neighbourhood centres were all on the east side. City planner, Grant Miller, said this was because the proposed centres came out of local community visions. Next, the city planning presentation gave the participants a visual choice of single family residential or other types of housing including townhomes, rowhousing, and lowrise and midrise apartments. Questions regarding increased property taxes from new home construction were raised, and city planning staff stated there would only be a slight increase in taxes, about $50. One participant asked if this slight tax increase of $50 could be written in a guarantee to the community. The city planner said of course he couldn’t do that because he wasn’t sure of the exact dollar amount. When pressed on this issue, staff admitted that the Kensington Cedar Cottage (KCC) mass rezoning produced significant tax increases, which were temporarily mitigated through averaging (effective for three years only).

One participant stated that she likes the community the way it was and doesn’t see a need to densify an area that is already considerably more than average for Vancouver. City planners said they want to plan the city for future residents, who want a variety of housing choices, like townhouses, infill, apartments, and rowhousing. A participant replied that city planners should focus on its current residents — the ones currently paying taxes to help service the city. This participant said that transit was already a problem and that he was always kept waiting for the #19 Bus. Another participant said that he was getting frustrated with the process because he kept going to meetings and telling city staff what he wanted and then nothing was done. Here he was again at a meeting expressing the same concerns. Another participant complained that already the neighbourhood didn’t have sufficient services. The men’s bathroom at Slocan Park has been out of order for the past three years and nothing has been done about it even after repeated requests from the community.

City planners claimed that rezoning and new development would increase property values. A participant pointed out that property values increase in any case. Another participant asked why Shaughnessy is more expensive than Renfrew Collingwood, if openness to redevelopment is so important. Another participant remarked that decrease in the number of single family homes makes the remaining properties even more valuable, and that their value will outpace new denser forms. City planners asserted that denser new construction would make the Norquay area more affordable to new residents. A participant pointed out that new townhouses in Vancouver sell for the same price as older regular homes. Another participant noted that they had only moved to the area six years ago and they weren’t planning to redevelop it. They wanted to keep their single family home rezoned the way it was.

City planners claimed that more residents (eyes on the street) could make the neighborhood safer. A participant replied that “more people, less crime” did not make much sense. Another participant suggested that further increase in renter residents would be likely to increase crime. This participant gave the example of the new development at the 29th Avenue Station. She had lived in the area for over twenty years and it was always a safe and quiet area. Since the development however, she has noticed that there are more people loitering about the park especially late at night, drinking and smoking and there was even a murder in Slocan Park. Whereas before she could just walk to the skytrain through the park, she now had to make a big detour to avoid the crime around the new development. She was not in favour of having increased density around the 29th Avenue Station.

Another participant observed that the densification in Collingwood Village has not made that neighborhood safer, but instead brought in more drugs, drive-by shootings, etc. City planners stated they did not wish to densify Norquay to that extent and they said that Norquay would be different. When asked how Norquay development would be different, city planners only said it was because Collingwood village was developed on industrial land. Another participant said being that area is so close to us, it seems to us that that could be an example of what could happen to our area if we densify.

A participant asked why all the city planners’ questions were phrased to support rezoning rather than to give any option for single-family residential. City planners replied that the area outside the Norquay study area is single-family, and they want to rezone the area inside. A further question was put: Does that mean we cannot have single-family in Norquay? City planners answered: Yes, but only a small portion.

City planners claimed the community asked for varied housing types to be brought into the neighborhood. A participant pointed out that the Renfrew Collingwood Community Vision calls for most of the area to remain single-family residential. Another participant noted that city planners keep talking about densifying the neighborhood without specifying amenities (community center, police station, recreation center, etc.). A participant asked what KCC got for amenity with its rezoning. With a rezoning of 1600 properties, and the large central site, that neighborhood only got a ten-year lease for library space — no permanent library. City planners said the KCC rate of redevelopment is slow, only 1.8% per year. A participant replied that the city-wide rate of change is 1.0%, which means that KCC is getting 80% more development than other neighborhoods. Another participant stated that the city’s pace of densification is outstripping the amenities that need to go along with development. City planners could offer nothing other than the ten-year library lease as a significant KCC amenity.

City planners again mentioned a need to accommodate future Vancouver residents. A participant pointed out that RS-1-S brought in basement suites. City planners noted that the final S in that designation was dropped when secondary suites were approved for the entire city. Another participant questioned why Norquay needs even more density, when the city is planning to introduce Laneway Housing and Basements in Single Family Areas, making possible three to four dwelling units on each property. City planners stated that a wider choice of residence type is needed (townhouses, infill, apartments, rowhousing, etc.). The participant then recommended that new housing types be limited to Kingsway only. The other participants agreed with this proposal.

City planners then went to a map of Norquay and asked participants where additional density should go. There was no response. A participant asked the group if density was wanted anywhere. There was a general murmuring from the group that more density was going to cause more problems. A participant suggested a vote, and at first city planners said that the meeting was being hijacked. The participant asked the city planners what they were afraid of, and then finally the city planner agreed that a count would be taken after she finished her presentation on proposed development areas. City staff then asked the community to share more of their ideas to the wider group. One participant said she didn’t agree with more density and that it would cause more crime. Another person stated he would like a community policing station in the area.

Finally city planners made time for the vote. The question was: “Do you want to densify along Kingsway only in our neighborhood and keep the rest single-family residential?” There were 26 yes and 3 abstentions. (One who did not vote was a realtor whom the city had asked to distribute pamphlets; one refused to identify himself, would not affirm that he lived in the neighborhood, and left the meeting quickly after some called him a developer; one was a visitor from Ontario.)

At the end most participants (other than the three nonvoters) signed onto a list of contacts to continue supporting their vision for their neighborhood and their own community’s vision of Norquay’s future. Many participants said it felt good to know that there were others in the English-speaking community who felt the same as they did.


 
 
No. 9 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #6 on June 8

Monday, June 8, 2009, 6;30 pm – 8:30 pm
Gladstone Secondary School

Prepared by Jeanette Jones, with additional input
June 20, 2009

 
Administration

Kathleen Kern will be leaving her job at the Planning Department imminently to take a position in Hawaii. She will be replaced as urban designer on the Norquay team by Paul Cheng, a staff development planner. Paul will be on holidays for the next 2 1/2 weeks.

Grant mentioned that about 15 people had attended the Chinese residents meeting at Cunningham School and about 25 had attended the meeting at Norquay School. Debriefing of these meetings is being postponed because Angela Ko, the Chinese-speaking facilitator at these meetings, is ill.

Grant stated that neighbourhood planning meetings do not usually run into the summer months. However, the Norquay working group needs about three meetings (including this one) to bring the process to the point that the planners can work out the details of the plan over the summer. Topics for these three meetings would be:

    Meeting 6: Shopping Area along Kingsway and buffer/transition zone
    Meeting 7: Single family areas
    Meeting 8: Skytrain station areas and refinements to Kingsway

After considerable discussion of group members and staff vacation schedules, it was decided to hold Meeting 7 on Monday, June 22 and Meeting 8 on Thursday, July 9.

 
Principles to Criteria

Grant reported that both KKK and CCC & LLL had done work on principles. He suggested that principles be background to planning work done on the map. Group members could comment either orally or in writing when they found a principle relevant. The group agreed that work on the map should be primary.

 
Further Plan Development

Kathleen presented a drawing showing areas where at least two of the three groups from the housing charrette (Workshop #3) had placed new housing types or taller buildings. There was considerable discussion of (and some disagreement with) the drawing before the group moved back to the working map.

A larger, more detailed map/aerial photo was placed on the wall and formed the basis for plan development.

The group reiterated the desire to make the commercial core the area bounded by 33rd Avenue on the south, Nanaimo on the west, and Kingsway on the northeast. KKK presented a drawing of what the south side of Kingsway between Nanaimo and Slocan might look like.

Grant stated that the length of Kingsway between the Purdy’s site and the Canadian Tire site was about 1450 metres. This is approximately the same length as Commercial Drive between First Avenue and Venables. This portion of Commercial is a viable retail area: the more southern part (roughly between Broadway and about Third Avenue) is less well developed, but is improving. Sherron works in the area south of First Avenue and maintained that it is a high-crime, unsafe area. There was considerable discussion and disagreement over the shopping area along Commercial Drive. KKK said, and others agreed, that Commercial Drive cannot be compared to Kingsway, since it is a two-lane street and not a designated 6-lane highway. Its well developed shopping area has developed over time and is housed in older, lower buildings.

NNN asked about the consultant’s report on the 2400 Motel site. Kathleen said that they have developed seven possible scenarios ranging from no development/reuse existing buildings to major redevelopment including more 22 storey towers. They have put their process on hold pending development of the plan for Norquay Village.

CCC and DDD stated that Holborn is no longer involved in the development of the Eldorado site. The owner of the Eldorado retains ownership of the land and will be working with a new developer, not yet announced.

Grant stated and LLL confirmed that single family houses are being built along the north side of the London Guard site (facing Galt Street). Kathleen said that the developer is rethinking development along the Kingsway side and hopes to build up to six storeys.

Considerable discussion time was given to the possibility of expanding the commercial core. The group agreed to expand the commercial area to include the south side of Kingsway between the triangle and Norquay Park. Attention will need to be given to the pedestrian connection across Slocan, especially when the Clarendon connector is built.

There was discussion of the possibility of redeveloping the north side of Kingsway between Nanaimo and Slocan. Grant suggested that the area around Earles and Kingsway could be developed as the other end of a “dumbbell,” with retail/commercial along Kingsway in between the triangle and Earles. There was no agreement on these questions. These points were brought up:

Pro:

    •  The area within the triangle may not provide enough retail space to attract the businesses and customers that would make the centre viable
    •  Shopping centres are often anchored by a major retailer at each end
    •  Redevelopment along Kingsway would help clean up problem back lanes
    •  The area between Earles and Slocan is relatively flat, so walking from one end to the other would be less of a problem

Con:

    •  Dispersing commercial space “sucks energy out of the centre”
    •  Too much spread-out commercial space means people are less likely to walk to their destinations
    •  NNN said that the “dumbbell” concept had not been successful in Surrey (two ends of the dumbbell were Whalley and Surrey Centre)
    •  It is important to leave enough older, lower rental commercial space so that existing businesses can survive and new lower margin businesses can afford to come to Norquay
    •  Kingsway is a barrier, both because it is a wide, high-volume highway and because the long blocks make for very few crossing points

There was less enthusiasm for redevelopment on Kingsway west of Nanaimo. Grant stated that it would be possible to phase development along Kingsway.

The question of amenities was raised, and Grant said that this would be part of the discussion at the final meeting. There was a question about whether CACs would be collected from taller buildings in rezoned areas. Kathleen stated that there were two possibilities for developer funding for amenities:

1.  A rezoning policy, which would not rezone land but simply state what we would like to see built
     (including amenities)
2.  New zoning with a density bonus, which would work something like an area-specific DCL

The question of a transition/buffer area between the commercial core and residential areas was postponed to a later meeting.


 
 
No. 10 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #7 on June 22

Monday, June 22, 2009, 6;30 pm – 8:30 [actually 9:30] pm
Gladstone Secondary School

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
June 30, 2009

 
The entire evening was intense and confusing. Much of this seems owing to repeated discontinuities in the entire planning process. Two prominent instances on June 22:

    •  The group’s working map from WG #4 through WG #6 was not brought back to WG #7
    •  The new working sketch, focused on eight separate residential locations which were considered in isolation, also drew in a commercial node at Kingsway and Earles, and planners made verbal reference to a general “dumbell” commercial configuration for Norquay that the WG had never agreed to

 
Debrief Chinese Language Meetings — Angela Ko

[This report needs to be set alongside Participants Report on Two Meetings for Chinese Community in Norquay — May 28 and June 2 issued June 20. It should be noted that five of the fourteen working group (WG) members present at some point during the June 22 meeting were themselves Chinese.]

Angela Ko reported in sequence on the two meetings, beginning with the May 28 meeting at Cunningham School (18 residents, 6 children, 4 working group members). Both meetings concentrated on presenting the information from Workshop 3. Ko began by highlighting three isolated comments that had favored some sort of density (duplex and rowhousing near Cunningham, rowhousing on 33rd west of Nanaimo to Gladstone, a tower of 20+ storeys above the Skytrain right-of-way). Ko said that discussion had ranged over shops and services, public realm, and amenities. The group expressed interest in: entertainment venues, a casino, a police station, improving Norquay Park, a centre for use by all ages, and seniors housing.

At the June 2 meeting at Norquay School (25 residents, characterized as many seniors and no children), residents were asking what is the benefit of the different types of proposed new housing, and were concerned about the rate of change. Current broad changes to city policy (like laneway housing) seem enough. The notion of small apartments at 29th and Slocan was not liked. A major concern was safety. The kind of development at Collingwood Village was not wanted. Safety concerns were raised again, with specific mention of the homeless and drug traffic and use. Transit service was already seen as inadequate. Further population increase and potential property tax increase were not wanted. The group consensus was that increased housing density should go along Kingsway. Residents were asking, “Who is the additional building for?” Additional new residents should be good people.

During both reports Chinese working group members disputed the emphases and accuracy of Ko’s report. In discussion, OOO asked if the City is pursuing density to increase the tax base. Grant Miller said that factor does not motivate planning. Grant claimed that WG members had been too involved in the discussion, that it should have been left to the City to lead the residents. PPP said that Chinese feedback is important, and that additional outreach by the City was reasonable. QQQ said that Chinese working group members should not be criticized for providing information to their neighbors. Angela Ko commented on the barriers of language and culture. AAA remarked that Angela Ko had had no connection with the Norquay WG, “went in totally blind,” and thus needed to rely on input from the WG members present.

 
Further Plan Development

As the meeting turned to work on the Norquay Plan, CCC asked if the group would consider looking at work that had been done by a group of residents that included an architect/planner. Concerned about

    •  The WGs lack of progress toward any overall rationalized plan for the entire area
    •  The imminent end of the neighborhood process with the one remaining meeting on July 9
    •  The lack of any clear progress on the accepted agenda at the June 8 meeting

five people had put in a lot of extra time to try to synthesize something that the group could work from and modify.  {{ These plans are available as Plan 1 — Norquay Village Centre and Plan 2 — Norquay Land Use Plan at Eye on Norquay. }}  Grant criticized CCC for providing reports on meetings to a broader community. CCC pointed out that Grant had failed to provide many notes on meetings, and that the few provided were very thin. Several voices protested at not having been invited to participate in the smaller group. CCC responded that even the remaining meetings of the larger WG had been very difficult to schedule, and NNN pointed out that getting work done decreases in proportion to the size of the group. DDD said that this was an attempt to hijack the process and that the entire WG should be immediately disbanded. DDD [one of the few members continuing from the first Norquay WG] went on to say that the Norquay survey of June 2007 (resulting in strong rejection of the draft plan by the entire community) had also been hijacked. CCC responded by asking if the plans produced by Scot Hein and his neighbors for the Molson brewery lands also represented a hijacking. [At WG #3 Hein, now a city planning employee, told us that the city at first did not like that disruption of their process, but that the end result is now a point of pride with city planners.] CCC also mentioned Shirley Chan’s effect on City plans to plow a freeway through East Vancouver in the 1960s, and said that planners now like to take credit for what an ordinary citizen did to frustrate their plans at the time. Grant asserted that planners will generate options for review. DDD said he had earlier told Grant he could not stay for the meeting, and left. On the way out, FFF asked DDD if his Lands West Property Services T-shirt meant that he represented developer interests. DDD said no, he was just a resident, but then admitted that he works for a property acquisition firm. OOO led the WG in taking a vote on whether to view the plan, and a substantial majority agreed to go to a look at the synthesized plan at 8:00 – 8:15. The meeting never returned to the item.

Most of the WG seemed anxious to continue working toward a realizable plan. The rest of the meeting saw Matthew rough sketching overlays for eight numbered residential areas, specified in the handed-out agenda as: (1) Norquay Park (2) Ravine Way (3) Norquay School North (4) Cunningham (5) Brock Park (6) 33rd Ave West Triangle (7) The Hills Transition (8) Earles East. It is difficult to report in any detail on what was said, or on the rough sketches made by Matthew. Grant said that commercial uses west of Nanaimo would not be emphasized. On at least two occasions Grant stated his own assumptions that were not drawn onto the overlays and received no discussion: That the west side of Slocan would be lined with duplexes, that Brock Park would be surrounded with duplex and infill. There seemed to be no settled consensus on (2), a proposal to reorient rowhousing across the middle of the neighborhood to face a potential greenway that will cost millions of dollars for the city to complete. Since seniors housing has been mentioned for (3), Grant talked about four-storey apartment being conditional on that specified use. Regarding (6), 33rd Ave seen as a high street, with residential over commercial to the immediate south, then a block area that could be fee simple traditional rowhouse. [At this stage KKK attempted to draw a context of sustainability and social principles and scope, but felt that he was not heard.] A particular point of discussion attached to (7): whether commercial should occupy the north side of Kingsway across from 2300-2400 Kingsway. The topography is problematic; commercial should be concentrated in the core village area to the south. Live/work and offices may be possibilities.

============

Thanks to a keen-eyed reader of the latest Norquay report, a correction follows. (This leads me to remark that this tenth report on Norquay is the first to have attracted a comment leading to distribution of a correction.)

Correction to:

A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group — Meeting #7 on June 22

Original: Since seniors housing has been mentioned for (3), Grant talked about four-storey apartment being conditional on that specified use.

That sentence should read senior care home in place of seniors housing. As the corrector noted, “senior housing would be something like independent living.”


 
 
No. 11 of 11

 
A Participant Report on Norquay Village Working Group
Meeting #8 on July 9

Thursday, July 9, 2009, 6:30 pm — 9:00 pm
Killarney Community Centre

Prepared by Joseph and Jeanette Jones, with additional input
[Appended summary in point form prepared by Bert Struik]
August 3, 2009

 
Introductory

The meeting opened with comment from Acting Assistant Director of Community Planning Cathy Buckham. She said that the purpose of the meeting was to refine and develop remaining ideas so that city planners could return to the working group (WG) in the fall with options in the form of drawings that would derive from previous process. She expressed concern at hearsay of disrespect in the previous meeting of the WG, and made allegations of personal, racist, and sexist aspects.

Grant Miller gave a rapid overview of the large set of Norquay materials generated by city planners at various workshops and meetings of the WG, the latest being an amalgamated sketch based on results taken from WG#7 by Matthew Roddis. Grant said that the planning has “jumped around” and that what exists is “just collections of ideas.”

LLL asked if the group could review Matthew’s composite drawing. Grant said that it was not a goal of the WG to come to consensus. Instead, the planners seek a variety of opinion before entering the next, analytical phase. Concern to meet the evening’s agenda led Paul Cheng to invite her to examine the drawing at the end of the evening on an individual basis. He then mentioned “grayness” in “where we are able to get to with the WG.”

 
29th Avenue Skytrain Station

With Paul set to draw on an overlaid transparency, the first item was the 29th Avenue skytrain station. Paul said he had spent considerable recent time in the neighborhood. In his view, the station is not a defined location, but a disappointing space, awkward in relation to Slocan Park, with people walking in all directions. He said there were safety concerns about the station and Slocan Park, and that the station could do with a redesign. He said that “upgrades would be great” and saw a need for shopping in the area, and later went on to mention Montreal and the commercial development around its stations. QQQ pointed out an attempt to establish shopping there would run up against weight of objects to carry and lack of competitive pricing. RRR asked whether commercial needed to be at every station (not the case in Burnaby). CCC questioned whether Montreal could be overlaid on Norquay. Paul said higher density is needed in order to support commercial, like in Montreal. CCC said that Vancouver developers don’t produce the quality of buildings found in Montreal.

Discussion turned to a crime theme with AAA’s comment about rape and purse snatching. FFF mentioned drive-by shooting at the denser Joyce skytrain. OOO spoke about lighting, his frustration that motion sensor lighting seems to violate rights, and Vanness being “a mugger’s dream.” SSS recalled concern with the nearby washroom from the Chinese meeting. QQQ noted that ungated access to skytrain fosters crime.

OOO brought up KKK’s plan to replace the unfriendly traffic-oriented loop at the station with small stores in a European design (**See Note 1 at end**). KKK said that came from his participation in the “skytrain as node” session at Workshop #3, and that he was not sure he’d favor trying to revamp just the station. FFF opposed commercial development at the station because it would spark an explosion of that type of development (**See Note 2 at end**). CCC stated that requiring a desired level of quality in construction seems to be a problem.

AAA asked how planners could contemplate additional density when present commuters at 29th Avenue and at Nanaimo find it difficult to get on trains because of their location between outlying commuters and no significant detraining before Broadway station. QQQ pointed out the lack of any coordination with Translink, whose multi-municipal mandate makes that organization impossible to work with. TTT said he has no trouble getting on skytrain at 7:00-7:30 am, but asked how, if Norquay densifies, will people get on the train.

SSS and FFF both said that the presupposition seems to be extra density. Grant said that the Community Vision requires consideration of new housing types with a view to accepting new density in the future. FFF replied that no mandate came from that to alter a residential area into a commercial area. Paul said that some people in the room wanted no change, and others were receptive to change. Paul mentioned that three or four proposals could go to Council, with “no change” as one of the options. CCC said that no one in the room was for “no change,” that those people distrust the city to the point of refusing to engage. UUU remarked that consensus will not happen, that three plans should be circulated in the wider neighborhood. Paul countered that planners would make a recommendation regardless. Grant expanded that planners would refine on WG materials and fill in gaps, amalgamating the large amount of material at hand, and then present options. QQQ said this was her first time being so active in a democratic process, and now she was discovering that all input was reduced to feedback, and that planners already knew what they wanted. Grant replied that “democracy” wasn’t in their terms of reference. The Neighbourhood Centres planning process “is not democratic,” and the planners in the process are “not trying to achieve consensus.” Paul said planners are between a rock and a hard place because of density pressures coming from City Council, and that the election of City Council is the democratic part. Grant complained that the group has spent vast time debating process.

Paul returned to the 29th Avenue drawing transparency, indicated the NE corner of Slocan and 29th Avenue, and asked to talk about higher buildings. “How high? What about six storeys?” [Six storeys happens to be the upper limit for the cheaper wood construction adopted as a policy report by City Council on July 21.] FFF referred to Scot Hein’s drawing at WG#3 that proposed widespread high density. Grant said that the process is not taking direction from Hein. FFF noted that Hein’s drawing had generated serious lack of trust. UUU called for democracy and a process that would involved the wider neighborhood. AAA pointed out that the central 2400 Kingsway site is critical to the entire neighborhood, and that a tower and commercial at 29th Avenue does not jibe with that. KKK stated that density around skytrain stations does not make them safer, and that all planners want is to densify. Planners provide lists of building types and propose to stick something here and there with no regard for broader context. The only concern is density and building style. Paul thought more eyes were needed on the station and Slocan Park. CCC remarked that “eyes on the street” was tiresome planner jargon, and that Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in New York City while dozens watched. Grant said they had heard from some people who wanted towers at 29th. AAA asked where you put apartment blocks or towers by Slocan Park and the ravine. He asked why we were even talking about an area that’s a park and a school, and noted that the north side isn’t even Norquay. He reiterated that the city should not sell the 2400 Kingsway site. MMM said that density cannot be stopped. DDD said you can zone an area commercial but that doesn’t mean a business will necessarily move there. AAA pointed out that existing commercial space at Vanness and Earles is empty, and that the location has seen repeated failures. DDD said that zoning for commercial does not mean it has to be practical, and suggested a kiosk near transit. Paul asked about a corner store. AAA said three at Vanness and Earles had gone broke, and MMM said four to six.

 
Neighbourhood Centre Triangle

It was proposed that the WG had less appetite to talk about Nanaimo station. At 7:50 Grant proposed that the WG “jump forward to the triangle” that has been seen as the neighborhood center for Norquay. NNN concurred in wanting to be finished with transit areas. Paul talked about a six-storey apartment with no children. UUU said the area should have more children, and that a triplex on one lot could accommodate three families. It looks like a single-family unit but is more affordable. Paul cited his experience of living in Montreal with 50 units per acre rather than the 10 found around 29th. CCC said he had lived in and visited Montreal, and liked it, but that overlaying the Montreal style and pattern on an existing neighborhood like Norquay would be impossible. Paul said that 29th is quite busy with cars, and that greater setback of buildings and wider sidewalks could be a payback for densification.

Discussion returned to the core triangle. CCC observed that the Eldorado site plan has no extra sidewalk or setback. Paul said that a 10-12 foot setback might be possible, and cited the 30-foot setback at the Canadian Tire on Cambie as a possible model for the south side Kingsway sidewalk at the triangle. Paul liked the idea of a public plaza at 2400 Kingsway, which would need to balance views against sunshine that would come mainly from the south side. With regard to height, CCC said that maximum should be seven stories, because that was the limit for human interaction between window and street. Paul suggested a building of 4.5 FSR (downtown type density) about seven storeys high. UUU reiterated the neighborhood desire for a community center with an arts focus, with the added social benefit of having artists in the neighborhood. She added that the neighborhood needs to know it will get something from the Neighborhood Centres process. SSS said a community center or arts space would be nice. AAA said a seniors residence would be good. CCC said that the City owes Norquay something because it has already densified while losing commercial amenity. LLL said new housing requires consideration of parking and amenities. Paul pointed out that streetscape is amenity. He also stated that the 3.5 FSR at the Eldorado site had brought a daycare amenity. UUU stated that the Eldorado rezoning and plans were a mistake for the neighborhood and was unhappy that the development was approved just before the Neighbourhood Centres process started.. CCC added that the potential neighborhood center has been distorted by a rezoning that took place in complete isolation only two months before Norquay planning began. Paul admitted that such a sequence of events would leave him “bitter” as well.

Attention turned to the second triangle immediately east of 2400 Kingsway. Paul noted that some blocks are narrow and talked about the possibilities of consolidating blocks (including the lanes behind), which would allow greater setbacks along Kingsway. At 8:30 similar discussion was given to the north side of Kingsway. LLL said that the buildings at Slocan were mostly new. CCC called attention to the retail importance of Beefway Meats to a poorly served neighborhood, and the need to protect that commercial use. Grant said that planners do not want to put pressure on existing retail tenants. Discussion moved further east to Earles, and Paul talked about another consolidation possibility on the south side, including purchase of the lane, again enabling setbacks. It was reported that the current development for the SE corner has recently been turned down by the Urban Design Panel.

Paul gave some indications of what amenity might be gained through consolidation. KKK asserted that the neighborhood should “stick with liveability,” that “you’re not winning enough in the tradeoff game.” The 2300 Kingsway spot rezoning was “huge sacrifice for little gain.”

Discussion turned to next steps. Cathy said that Grant and Paul will work through the summer. They will come back to the neighborhood in the fall — probably not in September, Grant added — and then go out for community consultation.

 
Citizens Working Group Submission

At 8:50 architect NNN presented to the WG consolidated drawings (with statement of principles) of two concept plans: detail for the Norquay Neighbourhood Centre, and land use for all of Norquay. The plans were developed by five concerned WG members who put in additional time outside the city process after WG#6 on June 8 failed to realize its agenda. The agenda allowed fifteen minutes for the presentation. Individual smaller copies of the two concept plans were made available to all WG members.

NNN explained that the five WG members knew they needed to confront the issues of growth and change, hence the development of two plans: the building centre (N-1) and land use plan (N-2). The plans contained a number of concepts and a number of priorities.

With regard to N-1 (the building centre), NNN asked who is going to put up the money (because N-1 will cost money). He noted that the village concept is really the City’s invention. N-1 contained a plaza 200 feet across with a southern exposure. The Village area must be retained by the City and not sold to a developer. Maybe there could a long lease. It is proposed to designate part of 33rd as the High Street and to replace single-family residential with 4-storey blocks along the High Street.

With regard to N-2 (the land use plan), NNN acknowledged that density and change are coming to Norquay. However, NNN said, Norquay should retain large areas of contiguous residential. There should be transition to taller building forms. Seven storeys should be the absolute maximum anywhere. Four storeys should be the maximum throughout the balance of Norquay. The Village/High Street should not be a competitor to Kingsway. The issue of parking would have to be dealt with.

CCC suggested that everyone who gets a homeowner grant should get one free citywide curbside parking permit. Any other curbside parking would require payment. Cathy asked how amenities would be paid for? Would property taxes be raised? CCC said that citywide parking fees would help. NNN noted that someone earlier in the meeting [CCC] had noted that Norquay is owed something. He pointed out that not one of the workshops or WG meetings had taken place in Norquay because there is no space to meet, part from a couple of elementary schools. It was suggested that the money for amenities come from the Property Endowment Fund (PEF). Grant noted that 2400 Kingsway is owned by the PEF. CCC noted that $150 million has been taken from the PEF and put into the Olympic Village. LLL said the densification produces extra taxes and that some of that tax revenue should go back into amenities. Grant said it wasn’t that simple.

A substantial majority of the WG members present signed a statement supporting what the drawings outlined for Norquay. A full-size copy of the two drawings was handed to Grant Miller together with a cover letter. The cover letter included this statement:

These drawings express a middle ground between no additional development at all and a density based on maximizing every suggestion and possibility. We believe that this approach will have the broadest community support.

The signatures will follow, after other WG members have been given an opportunity to sign on.

============

Notes

[The material in the two notes that follow go outside the moment to pull together separated material, and provide further explanation. Trying to incorporate those shifts of style and intention into the main account did not seem advisable.]

Note 1

For reference: The idea referred to in “OOO brought up KKK’s plan …” is an amalgamation of Matthew Roddis’ idea of replacing the 29th Avenue bus loop with a people plaza and a few shops, my idea of having a pedestrian only shopping street from 29th Avenue at the 29th Avenue Skytrain station parallel to and north ofthe skytrain line to Slocan (and eventually beyond linking 29th and Nanaimo stations), and OOO’s idea of having that pedestrian shopping street built over the train line west of 29th Avenue station. The shopping street was part of a broader plan for street styles, housing types and density, served with sufficient access to goods and services in the area around the Nanaimo and 29th Avenue stations to make it a neighbourhood where families can comfortably and enjoyably live without a hydrocarbon fueled vehicle (and not excluding vehicles). — Bert Struik

Note 2

The point I was trying to make about the explosion was a ‘commercial explosion.’ At the beginning when Grant was talking about a small amount of commercial zoning being added to 29th Avenue Skytrain Area, I held up my hand and said the working group came up with a small commercial zone at 29th Skytrain Station and the City expanded it to cover all of 29th and north up Slocan street as well; Grant refuted this and said I was mistaken, I said I was not. Later, I recalled the Scot Hein map was missing and asked Grant where it was. Grant brought it out, and stated this is not what the city is necessarily doing as it showed density down all of 29th from the Skytrain, then north up Slocan. This is when I said, the city has created mistrust — the city uses different maps at their convenience and deny what they’ve done in adding density to what the neighbourhood citizens have suggested. — Larry Deschner

* * *

Summary — prepared by Bert Struik

The meeting gathered ideas about future housing types and commerical developments near the 29th Avenue Skytrain station and the triangle from Slocan and Kingsway, to 33rd and Nanaimo, to Kingsway and Nanaimo (referred to as Neighbourhood Centre triangle). It concluded with a group of meeting participants who summarized their vision for all housing, shopping and public services throughout the Norquay area. It started with a review of meeting protocol by Acting Assistant Director of Community Planning, Cathy Buckham, who concluded that disrespectful commentary would not be tolerated. Prior to site discussions, a request to review previous group work was denied with the explanation that we were not developing a neighbourhood plan by concensus, we were supplying city planners with ideas they could pick from for their plan.

29th Avenue Station
Much angst was expressed about how planners would use any idea put forward for the station area. Ideas were highly diverse with little commonality beyond:

    •&nbsp ;Commercial being seemingly unviable or not wanted near the station (perhaps a kiosk)
    •  Highrise and medium rise unwanted
    •  Higher density will not reduce crime
    •  Transit service would need expansion to handle more people
    •  Changing station area zoning must be done in context of fitting a surrounding neighbourhood sustainability goal

Neighbourhood Centre Triangle

Ideas presented were:

    •  Multiplex houses would bring more families
    •  Planner proposed that increased setbacks for buildings on Kingsway are an amenity attainable by trading increased density to a developer, which was rebutted as too little gain for the sacrifice (and it could be mandated in zoning)
    •  Planner liked a plaza at 2400 Motel site
    •  Buildings with no more than 7 stories along Kingsway
    •  Arts centre at the 2400 Motel site as previously tabled
    •  Senior’s centre at 2400 Motel site as previously tabled
    •  City owes Norquay an amenity on scale of a neighbourhood centre
    •  Rezone second triangle immediately east of 2400 Kingsway to consolidate blocks and lanes behind to allow greater setbacks along Kingsway
    •  Protect existing commercial space (e.g. Beefway Meats is important service to the poorly served neighborhood)
    •  Planner suggestion of consolidation east of Earles at Kingsway including purchase of the lane enabling setbacks (current development proposal for SE corner recently turned down by Urban Design Panel)

Citizens Working Group Submission

Architect NNN presented to the working group (WG), in 15 minutes, consolidated drawings (with statement of principles) of two concept plans: detail for the Norquay Neighbourhood Centre, and land use for all of Norquay. The plans were developed by five WG members. Individual smaller copies of the two concept plans were made available to all WG members.

Ideas from plan and sparked by plan were:

    •  Planner asked who is going to put up the money for the neighbourhood centre. Answers included:

      •  Village concept is City’s invention so they should pay (Norquay is owed such an amenity)
      •  Money from the Property Endowment Fund (PEF)
      •  Street parking fees for vehicles beyond one per house could pay for it

    •  Neighbourhood Centre plan contains a plaza 200 feet across with a southern exposure
    •  Village area must be retained by the City and not sold to a developer
    •  Designate part of 33rd as a High Street and replace single-family residential with 4-storey blocks along the High Street
    •  Norquay should retain large areas of contiguous residential with a transition to taller building forms
    •  Seven storeys should be the absolute maximum anywhere near neighbourhood centre and four storeys should be the maximum in rest of Norquay
    •  Village/High Street should not be a competitor to Kingsway
    •  Norquay needs a community meeting place
    •  Majority of WG members present signed a statement supporting the drawings outlined for Norquay by the citizen’s working group
    •  Full-size copy of the two drawings was handed to Grant Miller together with a cover letter with this statement:

      •  These drawings express a middle ground between no additional development at all and a density based on maximizing every suggestion and possibility. We believe that this approach will have the broadest community support.

    •  The signatures will follow, after other WG members have been given an opportunity to sign on

 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

4 June 2011 at 5:22 pm