Rental Housing Town Hall with MLA David Eby – tonight, Oct 24 (Mon) 7 pm

david-eby-rental-housing-town-hall-promo-photo-24-oct-2016Rental Housing Town Hall

Update: Click this link to see the video of the event (total 2 hours) on Periscope:

Are you a renter?
Join your MLA David Eby and special guests for an in-depth discussion on the challenges facing our rental economy in Vancouver-Point Grey. Share your stories about trying to rent in the city, and learn about solutions that can help.

Monday October 24th
Doors 6:30, event starts 7pm
St James Community Square
3214 West 10th Ave

All welcome, seating limited.

Register with Eventbrite:

Free child minding available.

Analysis of “Neighbourhood Councillor Liaisons”: Mayor set to launch system Oct 18 (Tues)


Vancouver City Council – Mayor and 10 councillors. Term goes to Oct 2018. Left to right: Councillors Deal, Affleck, Ball, Louie, Meggs, (Mayor) Robertson, Stevenson, Reimer, Jang, Carr, DeGenova.

(Epilogue: Regular Council on October 18 adopted this list as presented, with only Clrs DeGenova and Carr opposed. It turned out during discussions that none of the ten councillors had provided the mayor with the expected ranked list of ten neighbourhoods they would like to represent. The mayor provided no explanation for his selection. Several councillors stated that they would continue to accept contacts from all citizens even while being listed as a Liaison Councillor” for specific neighbourhoods.)

The Regular Council agenda for Tuesday, October 18, 2016 carries one item listed as Communication: “Appointment of Neighbourhood Councillor Liaisons.” A one page memorandum to Council from the Mayor is posted there, but no other background or explanation, so we have put together some material about this topic. We welcome your further comments and observations.proposed-neighbourhood-councillor-liaisons-18-oct-2016

Is this an innocent idea to turn Councillors into “concierges”? Or is is a covert attempt to create a ward system and secure more votes in the next election? Or something in between?

Whatever the case, the idea goes right to the DNA of how the City of Vancouver functions. Whatever the intentions, much will depend on how the system is implemented, and how citizens take it up.

The initial idea purportedly came from the Council-created “Engaged City Task Force” in 2015 and later appeared in the form of a motion proposed by Councillor Andrea Reimer. The motion was approved by the majority-holding Vision Vancouver mayor and councillors on January 20, 2016, despite opposing votes by all other councillors — three NPAs and one Green. In fact, the opponents said at the time that they would boycott the initiative if it went ahead. But here we have it, a list in which the Mayor assigns the ten councillors, in pairs of two each, to each of the 22 “areas of the city.”

So again, is this a strategy by Vision Vancouver to improve its re-election prospects for the October 2018 civic election? Or is the role “more akin to that of a concierge: intended to be a welcoming first point of contact for someone to the City,” as explained by Clr Reimer?

Below we look at the system, how it was created, and some considerations.

First, the list. Below, we have colour-coded the names of Councillors with blue for Vision Vancouver, red for the NPA, and green for Green party). We have also included asterisks * where two Vision councillors are listed in one neighbourhood. Mayor Gregor Robertson has this preface to the list: “I recommend that the following Councillors be appointed as Neighbourhood Councillor Liaisons effective from the date of appointment to the end of this term of office.”

Arbutus Ridge Deal DeGenova
Downtown * Reimer Louie
Downtown Eastside Reimer Carr
Dunbar-Southlands Stevenson Affleck
Fairview Meggs Affleck
Grandview-Woodland * Reimer Louie
Hastings-Sunrise Louie DeGenova
Kensington-Cedar Cottage Jang Reimer
Kerrisdale Deal DeGenova
Killarney Louie Carr
Kitsilano Deal DeGenova
Marpole Deal Affleck
Mount Pleasant Reimer Ball
Oakridge * Meggs Jang
Renfrew-Collingwood * Jang Louie
Riley Park Meggs Ball
Shaughnessy Deal Ball
South Cambie Meggs Ball
Sunset * Jang Meggs
Victoria-Fraserview Jang Affleck
West End Stevenson Carr
West Point Grey Stevenson Carr

Now, let’s look further. Below are links to official meetings and materials, plus our own comments/analysis, and media links. Here is a tally how many neighbourhoods the mayor has allocated to each councillor: Continue reading

Arbutus Greenway “Final” design feedback – letter to City from citizen Elvira Lount re Oct 15 open house

arbutusgreenwayfinaldesignoct15_2016On October 15, the City of Vancouver held an open house at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House to present findings of consultation on a temporary path on the Arbutus Greenway.

Below we share a letter we received from active citizen Elvira Lount addressed to Jerry Dobrovolny, the City’s General Manager of Engineering, which provides some insights and perspectives into the consultation and its results. She challenges some of the City’s conclusions, and ends by calling for the City to “go back to the drawing board and incorporate the wishes of the significant percentage of people who would prefer a non-asphalt surface and include a couple of sections that are not asphalt – i.e. along Cypress Gardens (between Broadway and Fir), and the section between 33rd and 41st…..There’s certainly nothing to be lost in trying this out as it can always be changed in the future.”


Hi Jerry;

I’ve reviewed the “final” designs for the Arbutus Greenway and attended the open house yesterday where I spoke at length with [city staff] Mike, Maggie and Paul.
I appreciate your efforts, and the efforts of the Greenway project staff. Some progress has been made, such as preserving the existing gardens, trying to preserve greenery and add “pollinators”. These are all steps in the right direction.
However, I don’t feel that the process and design has gone far enough in achieving what your materials state: “We took all input into account in designing the temporary path and tried to balance different needs and opinions.” 
The materials state (see attached photo)  “We’ve received 567 emails, letters and 3-1-1 calls since purchasing the land in March 2016. As of October 5, 2016 “More than three times as many people wrote or called in to express their support for asphalt or a smooth accessible surface (248) compared to the number that were against asphalt. (73).”
This statement is misleading and written in a such a way to support the city’s own preference for asphalt:

Continue reading

City Hall week of Oct 17, 2016: Council meetings, 2 Public Hearings, UDP, DPB agendas: YVR, towers, “Neighbourhood Councillor Liaisons,” development levies, theatres, sports $$

Captain VancouverBelow are agendas for the week of October 17. We have highlighted some items with bold and will add some related media links.

We encourage citizens to scan through for any items important to them. Some major developments are on agenda, plus a proposal by the Mayor for “Neighbourhood Councillor Liaisons,” and  motion by Councillor Adriane Carr to “Ensure Vancouver Development Levies Are Not Used to Fund Transit.”

Meetings include City Council (Oct 18 Tues & 19 Wed)two Public Hearings (Oct 18 Tues, and Oct 20 Thurs), the Development Permit Board (Oct 17 Mon) and the Urban Design Panel (Oct 19 Wed). The Vancouver City Planning Commission meets the following week (Oct 26 Wed). The Vancouver Park Board meets next in two weeks (Oct 24 Mon). The Vancouver Board of Education (VSB) meets as well (Oct 17 Mon).

On the agenda for the Development Permit Board (Oct 17 Mon):

  • 1255 W Pender Street DE420258 (new mixed use building comprising 20 dwelling units and 3,600 sq ft of commercial space)
  • 3185 Riverwalk Avenue (Parcel 8A) DP-2016-00246
  • 3182 Pierview Crescent (Parcel 3) DP-2016-00243
  • 3245 Pierview Crescent (Parcel 5A) DP-2016-00245

On the agenda for the Urban Design Panel (Oct 19 Wed):

  • 5030-5070 Cambie Street ( 6-storey residential building, 2-storey townhouses on lane)
  • 1400 Robson Street (Empire Landmark Hotel to be demolished, replaced by two 30 storey towers, in the West End)
  • 1345 Davie Street (between Jervis and Broughton – two residential towers containing 153 dwelling units, West End)
  • 1290 Burrard Street (Burrard Place – which already has a 54-storey tower planned — this application is for a 13-storey commercial building, downtown area)

On the agenda for the Public Hearing (Oct 18 Tues):

  1. HERITAGE DESIGNATION: 1610 Stephens Street (Mary McGregor Cottage)
  2. REZONING: 1672 West 1st Avenue
  3. REZONING: 3595 Kingsway (Odd Fellows Manor)
  4. REZONING: 2395-2469 Kingsway
  5. REZONING: 2894 East Broadway
  6. HERITAGE DESIGNATION: 2655 Maple Street (F. Haynes & Company Building)

On the agenda for the Public Hearing (Oct 20 Thurs):

  1. REZONING: 920 East Hastings Street (Ray-Cam Co-operative )
  2. REZONING: 305 West 41st Avenue (Oakridge United Church)
  3. REZONING: 512 West King Edward Avenue
  4. REZONING: 725-747 Southeast Marine Drive
  5. REZONING: 1550 Alberni Street (43-storey market residential tower with commercial at grade, height of 132.35 m (434 ft.), FSR 14.15)

The Vancouver Board of Education (VSB) meets at 7 pm on (Oct 17 Mon). On the agenda, two items jump out under “New Business/Enquiries”:

  1. Notice of Motion: Britannia Agreement. CHW note – There is no extra explanation, but oddly/incompletely, the “motion” states … “Therefore be it resolved that if Vancouver Board of Education (VSB) staff are not able to achieve a cost sharing arrangement with the City of Vancouver that is fair and equitable to all parties by June 30, 2016, the Board authorizes and directs VSB staff to give Notice of Termination of the Agreement to all parties as per the terms and conditions of the Britannia Centre agreement.”
  2. Notice of Motion: Reconsideration of the 2016/2017 Operating Budget.  According to CBC, the board is planning to pass a balanced budget.

Below are Council regular and committee meeting agendas, with some notes and web links. Continue reading

“Empty homes tax”: City of Vancouver seeks your feedback. Online survey, open houses Oct 15 & 17

City HallVancouver City Hall is seeking public feedback on a proposed empty homes tax.

Public consultations Oct. 15 and Oct. 17. Details below.

Online survey until October 18.

Vancouver’s mayor hopes a tax on vacant homes would encourage owners of empty homes to rent them out rather than leave them empty.

The following is from a notice from City Hall.

City launches public consultation on proposed Empty Homes Tax (29-Sept-2016)

To gain public feedback on the proposed Empty Homes Tax, the City of Vancouver has launched an online survey and will host a series of open houses throughout October.

The City is looking for all Vancouver residents and homeowners to provide comment on the proposed new tax, specifically seeking to learn more about the reasons a home may be left empty to determine possible exemptions. The City is also exploring the public’s opinion on what an appropriate tax rate would be to encourage owners of empty properties to rent them out…..

Online Survey:

Feedback on the Empty Homes Tax, possible exemptions and tax rate can be provided in English, Chinese and Punjabi until October 18, 2016 at

Open Houses:

Residents looking to learn more about the proposed tax are welcome to attend an Open House to speak with City staff about the details of the tax.

Saturday Oct. 15, 10am – 2pm
Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, Main Promenade
350 West Georgia Street

Monday Oct. 17, 4pm – 8pm
Oakridge Auditorium at Oakridge Mall
650 West 41st Avenue Continue reading

Arbutus Greenway – temporary path information session Oct 15 (Sat) – Kits Neighbourhood House

CoV arbutus-greenway-illust city webpage Aug 2016The City says… “Come see how your feedback shaped the final design of the temporary path.”

Arbutus Greenway Temporary Path Information Session

October 15, 2016 (Saturday)
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 W 7th Ave

The Arbutus Greenway is a future north-south transportation corridor that will connect False Creek to the Fraser River. In the short term, the City of Vancouver is building a temporary path, which will be completed later this year. In September, we held five workshops on temporary path design options. Come to a public information session to learn how your feedback shaped the final design for the temporary path. This is an informal drop-in event. City staff will be available to answer questions.

More details:


City of Vancouver cites “flag policy” after Chinese National Day flag raising Oct 1

City HallSomewhat of a storm arose after representatives of Vancouver, Burnaby and the federal government took part in a flag-raising ceremony at Vancouver City Hall on Saturday (October 1) for Chinese National Day (National Day of the People’s Republic of China). In its wake, the City today issued a bulletin (see full text further below) to clarify the who, what, when and how behind the raising of flags on the ceremonial pole at City Hall. A communications officer wrote CityHallWatch that “this year was the first time the national flag of China has been raised at City Hall in recognition of their national day.” According to media, similar commemorative events happened elsewhere in Canada.

The fact that protocols and precedents exist for flag raising on national days ought to calm some nerves. From the City’s bulletin:

At the discretion of the City Clerk, the City will fly the flags of other sovereign nations, non-profit societies and other local organizations upon request…Flag raising ceremonies at City Hall are requested by community groups by submitting a request to the City’s Protocol Office. The community group organizes the event, sends out invites and the City provides the space. As flag raisings are community organized events, it is up to the organizing group on how they promote it, including inviting media.” … “The decision to fly the flag of any nation neither implies nor expresses support for the politics of those nations.

The additional information may not satisfy everyone but might calm some tempers — few people may have been aware that the City has an official “Flag Policy.” But others have expressed concern about government officials wearing red scarves. That too is symbolic, and below we provide a bit about both sides. Continue reading