Chinatown youth organizers oppose Beedie’s 105 Keefer re-zoning application for 13-storey tower: Event Oct 6 (Tues) 3-6 pm

As a public service, here below we provide a message from the Youth Collaborative for Chinatown, which is spearheading opposition to a 13-storey tower at 105 Keefer Street in Chinatown proposed by Beedie Development Group105 Keefer elevations for rezoning application

Chinatown youth organizers are teaming up to oppose the 105 Keefer re-zoning application, demand that development support seniors and community, and to illustrate visions for how we want the site, and Chinatown to be. Please spread the word, come out and participate, and if you have time and energy, come help with the open house! It will be a fun and meaningful afternoon.105 Keefer context map for rezoning application

Your Presence is Needed!
105 Keefer Alternative Open House
Tuesday October 6, 3-6pm
Chinatown Memorial Square, Keefer and Colombia, Vancouver

A coalition of Chinatown youth organizers including the Youth Collaborative for Chinatown is holding an Alternative Open House from 3–6PM on Tues October 6 in response to the City of Vancouver’s Open House from 5–8PM at the Chinese Cultural Centre. Beedie Development Group has applied to rezone the site to build 127 market condos, with only 25 seniors housing units.

We want to bring the community together to oppose Chinatown’s latest development, and to hold a real conversation about this important site in the heart of Chinatown.

As a coalition of youth, residents and concerned individuals:

  • We oppose the Beedie Development Group’s rezoning application to the City of Vancouver for 105 Keefer and 544 Columbia Street
  • We demand 100% affordable seniors housing on this site.
  • We demand the site include public, accessible, community and cultural space.

Join us to share your concerns about the impact of this development and to build a collective vision for this site and for Chinatown.

Input will be sketched out with the help of a team of artists + graphic facilitators.

Join up with youth and Chinese seniors to walk over to the City’’s Open House in collective opposition
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All bus routes will be Zone One after October 5th. TransLink continues Compass Card rollout

Compass Card vending machineStarting on October 5, 2015, all TransLink bus routes will switch to a single zone fare structure. The existing zone fares will remain for SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express routes.

TransLink is continuing the rollout of the Compass Card system. A number of the Compass Vending Machines are now fully functional, including ones at the busiest transit station in the system (Commercial/Broadway). Existing Faresaver tickets are expected to be phased out in early 2016. The supplies of Faresavers have been limited as a result of issues with the manufacturer. Compass Cards rates will initially be set at the same rates as Faresavers (for stored credit); monthly pass pricing will also be identical to the existing passes.

The new fare structure will allow bus passengers to cross zone boundaries with a one zone ticket; this includes trips between Vancouver and the North Shore. SeaBus passengers will require two zone tickets until 6:30pm on weekdays. The same fare differential will exist for transit users crossing the Fraser River on a bus instead of a SkyTrain.

After a substantial number of passengers have switched over the Compass Card system, TransLink plans to close the Faregates installed at transit stations. Passengers who purchase a cash fare on a bus will need to buy a second fare if they transfer to a SkyTrain. The new Compass system will also give TransLink the ability to raise fares and to have the new fare applied to remaining stored credit on a Compass Card (as opposed to Faresavers that are purchased at a fixed price). TransLink hopes that data collected with the Compass system will help them optimize transit routes. It is unclear if TransLink will reduce the number of ticket inspector employees (Transit Police) after the Faregates are activated.

For further details, please refer to our previous post:
TransLink announces single fare zone for buses, a new CEO and the final stage of Compass Card rollout (Aug 5, 2015)

Medical marijuana dispensaries and Vancouver bylaws. Case study: Commercial Drive

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How many marijuana shops are needed on a single street? We counted at least 9 different medical marijuana outlets along Commercial Drive (from 800 block to 2900 block). Three of these outlets opened after the Council majority passed new bylaws pertaining to marijuana shops on June 24, 2015. Two of the shops are almost side by side (on 2200 block), while one outlet is just beside a Community Centre and Public School (Britannia).

The new bylaws place bans on ATMs on premises and ban the sale of edible products. There is a 300 metre minimum separation distance between marijuana outlets and schools or community centres (and the shops themselves). If the minimum separation requirements in the bylaw were strictly enforced, only one marijuana outlet on Commercial Drive could remain open. People might have lots of questions. Is this the intent of the bylaw? Why does the City make bylaws and then not enforce them? Is there something wrong with the bylaw or with the enforcement? Are some bylaws greater than others? Why does a dog owner get fined $250 for leaving a dog tied up while having a break at a coffee shop, while the City looks the other way for marijuana shops and big developers? Would things change  if dog owners united and made political contributions in civic elections?

There’s been a proliferation of marijuana outlets along several arterial roads in Vancouver including Kingsway, Main Street, Broadway, Granville Street and East Hastings. Will the City selectively enforce marijuana bylaws in the future? An underlying principle is equality under the law. All business should expect a level playing field. Council passed a set of bylaws pertaining to medical marijuana retail stores. Will they be applied equitably? Stay tuned. Continue reading

Civic facilities Open House Saturday, October 3rd (Doors Open Vancouver)

SEFC Energy plantA number of civic facilities will take part in an Open House on Saturday, October 3, 2015. Most of the sites will be open between 10am and 5pm. The full list of sites taking part in the Doors Open Vancouver event can be found on the following website:

Sites with limited hours include the Orpheum Theatre (1pm-5pm), Queen Elizabeth Theatre (10am-2pm), Animal Services (10am-4pm) and the Carnegie Centre (10am-1pm). A total of 17 different sites will take part in the event this year and include a number of facilities that are normally closed to the public.

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Snapshot of rezoning applications 1-Oct-2015

rezoning application info signAs a free public service we take a monthly snapshot of Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. Below is the snapshot from October 1, 2015. Listed here are 34 “proposed” (down from 40 listed on Sept 1), 34 “approved” (up from 32), 19 “enacted” (up from 19), 3 “open houses” mentioned (down from 4), and 6 “public hearings” mentioned (up from 3).

If you as a reader see any of these that deserve some public scrutiny, please feel free to send us an e-mail ( with your concerns and we’ll see if we can look into it further.

This list below is simply copied from the City’s Rezoning Centre website. Many links will stop working over time. For the current official list, click:

Download this list in PDF format: CoV Rezoning Applications snapshot, 1-Oct-2015 Continue reading

Snapshot of development applications, 1-Oct-2015

Development Application Sign PermitAs a free public service we take a monthly snapshot of the Development Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. Our count of “DE” numbers for October 1, 2015 shows 126 items listed. Of the total, 9 are “concurrent with rezoning,” which probably means they are being fast-tracked under Rental 100. Some may have also had a change of address.

(We also take rezoning application snapshots. Search for “rezoning” and “snapshot” in the CityHallWatch search field.) The following information is simply copied as text from the City’s site. Many links will stop working over time. For current list click

Click here for the list in PDF format: CoV Development Application snapshot 1-Oct-2015 Continue reading

Celebrate Right to Know Week and make a Freedom of Information Request

City Hall at nightRight to Know week is being held from September 28 to October 4, 2015. One way to celebrate and take part is to make a FOI request to a local government body.

Transparency for governments is like holy water and sunlight to vampires. Freedom of Information legislation helps level the playing field by allowing residents to open up government records. It’s important for the public to become involved as part of a participatory democracy, in order to improve transparency and accountability in governments.

How is a FOI (Freedom of Information) request filed? It’s quite easy. We’ll provide a list of pointers and steps below pertaining to the City of Vancouver. Other municipalities, TransLink, the B.C. Government and the Federal Government use similar procedures (more on that later). The FIPA BC website and OPIC website also contain a number of tips on filing requests.

Filing a Freedom of Information Request

Access-to-information-request-1The process for filing a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in Vancouver is very simple. Don’t be intimidated. First download the FOI request form from the City’s website. You can then either print out this form and fill it out by hand or you can fill out the form electronically (with Adobe Acrobat).

After you have filled out the FOI form, you can send it back via email to, drop it off in person (City Hall, 3rd floor, City Clerk’s Office), or send it via regular mail to:

City Clerk’s Office
453 W 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

The first part of the form “About you” is self-explanatory. There are two choices in the “About your request” section. The “General information” selection is most often the box to select. Use the option “Your own personal information” when the request pertains only to you (for example, all City email mentioning your name).

The third section gives you an option to ‘receive a copy of the record’ (our default), or ‘examine the record’; depending on the nature of the request it’s probably best to request a copy. Examining a record could pose difficulties due to timing (business hours at City Hall).

The “What records do you want to access” section is the most important one on the form. FOI requests are for records. The records can be reports, emails, computer models, drawings, survey forms, spreadsheets, databases, minute meetings, agendas, MOUs, photographs and anything else that might exist in a hardcopy or in an electronic form.

It is important not to ask open-ended questions, but rather to make specific requests for records. You do not need to know whether the record exists (the FOI search will determine this), so “fishing expeditions” are certainly possible. For example, a request for correspondence on the Viaducts between members of City Council and staff is fair game.

If there’s not enough space in the “What records do you want to access” section, fill in this section with a ‘see attached page’ comment and include a longer description for background. We’ve found that providing the context for a request can be helpful to secure the record. If you know of name of a City staffer who has access to the record, name them in the request. If a Councillor has spoken about a topic in the media, or if you see a mention of your topic of interest in a staff report, include this in your request. You may wish to stick to one topic in a FOI (make other requests for separate topics).

The final section “What is the time period of the records?” helps to narrow the scope of your search. The end time of “to present” is valid. The second page of the City’s FOI form also provides a number of tips on making a request.

After the City has received your FOI request, they have 30 business days to respond. You should receive a confirmation from the office that your request has been received. If the City has not responded to your request and the 30-day deadline is fast approaching, we suggest that you send a friendly reminder to the FOI office that your request is coming due (email


Don’t be intimidated. The process of filing a Freedom of Information Request is very easy. Just do it!

If you receive great information via a request, consider sharing it. Pass it along to an investigative journalist; let your neighbours, friends and community associations know. Unlike the BC and federal governments, the results of FOI requests are not posted by the City of Vancouver.

Subsidiaries of the City of Vancouver are fair game for FOI requests. The FOI Act also allows the release of records that are in the possession of the City [see section 3(1)].

In the event that information is withheld by the City of Vancouver, It is possible to submit an appeal to OPIC (Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia). If the City doesn’t respond within 30 business days, then an appeal can be launched on a “deemed refusal” basis. Continue reading