Modular Housing proposed at Larwill Park (688 Cambie): Open House May 15 (Tues). Some points to consider.

No notification signs have been posted regarding Open House (photo: Sunday May 13th, 2018)

The City of Vancouver is holding an Open House for a proposal to put approximately 100 units of modular housing on the Larwill Park site (688 Cambie Street). This site is identified as the future location of the new Vancouver Art Gallery.

Here’s the information from the City of Vancouver’s website:

Proposed Temporary Modular Housing – Open House
Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 4 – 7pm

Location        Vancouver Public Library – Alice MacKay Room
350 West Georgia Street (lower level), Vancouver BC, V6B6B1

Join us for a community information session on the proposed temporary modular housing project at 688 Cambie Street to learn more about the project and share your feedback.

http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/calendar-of-events.aspx#/?i=1

http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/688-cambie-street-being-considered-as-a-site-for-temporary-modular-housing.aspx

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On Sunday, May 13th, there appeared to be no signs posted anywhere around the site about the upcoming Open House at the Vancouver Public Library. That is not acceptable — a lack of public notification.

The current EasyPark parking lot is also used for cultural events as well as normal parking for large events at BC Place and Rogers Arena (concerts, plus Canucks and Whitecaps games).

The lot is also a key staging ground for film crews, as it is one of the few sites left in the downtown core where large vehicles can park (unlike underground parking or parking garages, film productions need open space for big trucks and tents). The loss of Larwill Park for film production use could have negative impacts on hundreds or thousands of jobs, by making filming in downtown Vancouver even more difficult. Film making is an important industry in the region.

There is a strong general public acknowledgement that housing solutions are needed. But our policy makers need to juggle many tradeoffs.

What options are there for other large lots for modular housing downtown? There could be a number of suitable alternatives worth considering, such as the former site of the Continental Hotel (Granville Loops, City-owned land), as well as 601 Beach Crescent (also City-owned land). Continue reading

City of Vancouver Rezoning Applications snapshot, 3-May-2018

Revised

As a free public service we take a monthly snapshot of the City of Vancouver’s Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. The City does not provide this kind of archived “snapshot” to the public, and as far as we know, a monthly snapshot like this is not available anywhere else.

Open houses and public hearings deserve special attention. They are key chances for the public to obtain information and give feedback. If you have concerns or questions, we encourage you to contact the applicant and/or the City’s project facilitator indicated for each case. If you feel it is important, you might also contact your neighbours, and the media.

This list below is simply copied from the City’s Rezoning Centre website. Download any links that might be important for you. For the current official list, click vancouver.ca/rezapps. Note that the Archives link carries links to past rezonings from 2011 onward (though we are not really sure it is up to date).

Download this list we saved in PDF format:
CoV Rezoning Applications snapshot 3-May-2018 Continue reading

City of Vancouver Development Applications snapshot, 3-May-2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Development Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website.

A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/

Anyone interested in these projects is also encouraged to periodically check the Urban Design Panel (UDP) and Development Permit Board (DPB) schedules, as many projects appear before them as part of the approval pipeline. Check often, as sometimes their agendas appear publicly online as little as one hour before the meeting.

For reference, download the full list of development applications we saved on this date:
CoV Development Applications snapshot, 3-May-2018

Consider writing Mayor and Council asking them to make Development Applications archives available online. The City website provides a list of archived Rezoning Applications (here), so why not full information on past Development Applications too?

For current (at time of viewing) full list of applications online, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.

Below is the list as of May 3, 2018. Continue reading

Grandview Woodland meeting to look at 4-storey area-wide rezoning (City’s proposed upzoning of arterials & side streets): GWAC 7-May-2018 (Mon)

zones Grandview Woodland combined small_orig 2018-05The Grandview Woodland neighbourhood is the target of many changes being proposed by the City of Vancouver. At its next monthly meeting, the Grandview Woodland Area Council is having a look at what’s up next. The info below is copied from their website. Please visit their post for more details.

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Find out more about the City of Vancouver’s proposed upzoning of a number of arterial streets and adjacent side streets in the Grandview planning area.

Date: Monday, May 7th, 7pm – 9pm
Location: Learning Resource Centre, (LRC),
 Under the Britannia Library, 1661 Napier Street

The proposed zoning changes to create new 4-storey zones may go to Public Hearing at Vancouver City Council later in the spring or during the summer.

A presentation and analysis of the City’s proposed new 4-storey zones will be followed by open discussion, questions and answers. Additional guests will include Elizabeth Murphy and a former City of Vancouver planner. Joseph and Jeanette Jones will speak about the experience in the Norquay area in East Vancouver (around Kingsway and Nanaimo) following the City’s upzoning and creation of new zones in 2013 and 2016 in that neighbourhood (further documented on the Eye on Norquay blog). Continue reading

Will Councillor Hector Bremner recuse himself from vote on changes to liquor bylaws at April 17 (Tues) Public Hearing? Potential conflict of interest?

bremner

Corporate lobbyist, NPA City Councillor and mayoral hopeful, Hector Bremner

(Epilogue: During the meeting, he recused himself from this vote. Related article: Conflict of interest complaint against Vancouver councillor has merit: watchdog. Mayoral hopeful works for PR firm that represents real estate developers and other industries, by Jen St. Denis, StarMetro Vancouver)

Who is he working for — Vancouver citizens? Or his corporate clients?

City Councillor Hector Bremner is hoping to be chosen as the NPA’s mayoral candidate in a May 29 decision by his civic party members.

But more immediately, as Councillor he will be at a Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 17, from which clients of his employer, the lobbying and communications firm Pace Group, may benefit financially. Will Bremner do the right thing, declare conflict of interest, and recuse himself from participating in discussion and voting on this item? He should. This could be considered a test, and people should also watch to see how he conducts himself.

 

The April 17 problem relates to this Public Hearing item: “Minor Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law to Enable Liquor Retail Stores in Grocery Stores.” If approved by Council vote, the proposed bylaw will limit liquor sales to only very large footprint grocery stores (over 929 square meters) and exclude small and mid-sized stores. If approved, the bylaw changes will benefit his firm’s clients.

Incidentally this is not the first case of potential conflict of interest for him. On April 12, theBreaker reported about other areas of concern with Bremner. “NPA mayoral hopeful Bremner accused of conflict of interest: NPA Coun. Hector Bremner’s continued vice-presidency of a firm that lobbies for real estate, construction and retail companies has sparked a citizen’s complaint to city hall that the rookie politician is breaching the code of conduct.”

Back to the bylaw on liquor retail sales. Overwaitea Food Group (which includes Save on Foods) is a client of Pace Group. So is the BC Wine Institute. Bremner is on record having lobbied on the side of large grocers and liquor (BC Wine Institute). Continue reading

Park Board to create city-wide advisory committee to revisit VanSplash Aquatics Strategy, a 25-year plan

pexels-photo-863988.jpegHot off the presses! Further to our post yesterday “Big update on ‘Connaught Park Mega Pool’: Kits Community group shares findings of FOI inquiry” just today the Vancouver Park Board has announced the following. For this process to be most satisfactory for the most people, and really serve the City well for decades ahead, it will be important to have a fair and diverse composition of people on the advisory committee. Official text follows below verbatim.

Park Board will create city-wide advisory committee to revisit VanSplash Aquatics Strategy, April 5, 2018

http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/park-board-will-create-city-wide-advisory-committee-to-revisit-vansplash-aquatics-strategy.aspx

The Park Board will invite an external advisory committee to assist in developing a revised version of VanSplash, the Board’s long-term aquatics strategy for Vancouver.

This decision follows an 18 month city-wide consultation which surfaced a wide variety of viewpoints on the future of our pools and beaches.

Advisory committee members
The advisory committee will represent residents from across the city and include stakeholders from key aquatic areas including recreation, skill development, fitness, sport, and therapy.

An external facilitator, who has not thus far been involved in the project, will assist the Park Board in identifying priorities and refining the VanSplash Strategy. Continue reading

Big update on ‘Connaught Park Mega Pool’: Kits Community group shares findings of FOI inquiry

pexels-photo-261185.jpegLast year the Vancouver Park Board completed its VanSplash consultation and long-term plan for aquatics in this city. There were some specifics and a lot of generalities in the report. Once word came out that the VanSplash propal included plans to turn the current Vancouver Aquatic Centre in the West End into a smaller local spa pool, and to build a major new “destination” pool and complex at Connaught Park in Kitsilano, Rebecca Lockhart and her team at the “Kits Community” group went into high gear to find out more and get the public more involved.

As they were finding that a lot of the information was not being made available to the public, the Kits Community group did an FOI request and obtained the architectural “test fit” plans for a potential 160,000 square foot, two-story mega pool facility with pay parking at Connaught Park. The complete report from the consultant is dated July 2017. Why did the City and Park Board withhold this information from the public? Why has there been no real public consultation on this? Clearly, the plans for this pool were much further along than officials indicated to the public.

Some people across the City, outside the neighbourhood might want to see another Hillcrest-type of destination pool built, though even that one has its supporters and detractors. And what about the wishes of local community? How can consultation be done fairly and in good faith, respecting all views?

Read the summary (http://www.kitscommunity.com/2018/03/19/the-megapool-plan/) and check out the details of the test fit plans (FOI response documents – http://www.kitscommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Kits-Megaplex-and-Pool-Test-Fit-blank.pdf). Extensive background and resources on the updated Kits Community website (http://www.kitscommunity.com).

The group also has a petition, here.

https://www.change.org/p/vancouver-park-board-commissioners-no-destination-pool-at-connaught-park-without-community-approval