Housing group releases HALT Report Card on Housing Platforms for BC Provincial Election

HALT_Vancouver housing policy report card April 2017

HALT Vancouver’s report card summarizing their rating of parties’ housing policy platforms

Housing Action for Local Taxpayers (HALT) on April 26 issued a report card on the housing policy platforms of the major parties in the 2017 BC provincial election. Above is their report card, and below we provide their conclusion and introduction.

As you can see from the table, their main criteria are (1) tax policy on homes that favours local tax payers and income earners, (2) protection of renters and honest landlords, (3) corporate donations from condo developers, (4) Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, (5) money laundering and fraud, (5) tax evasion, (6) support for affordable social housing and people on welfare, (7) protection of existing affordable rental supply and building of new meaningful supply, (8) historical performance on housing affordability, and (9) empathy for citizens with housing troubles.

Please visit the HALT Facebook page for the full text. (If you are not a Facebook user, just click “Not now” if you get a screen asking you to sign up.)

CONCLUSION:

If housing is important to you, you’ve got to do everything you can to ensure the BC Liberal Party candidate in your riding does not win. This housing crisis only gets worse with another BC Liberal government after May 9th. Both the BC Greens and NDP have put together solid housing plans, and we could get behind either one, but the NDP pulls ahead ever so slightly on the strength of their tax evasion policy and Dave Eby’s advocacy. We hope you found this helpful.

INTRODUCTION

Housing undoubtedly is going to be one of the most hotly discussed topics when it comes to the provincial election on May 9th. To save you the effort, we’ve gone over each party’s housing platform, looked at each party’s prior history of acting on the housing crisis and given them a grade for each of the key issues we felt need to be addressed.

Summary

  • The BC Liberals get an “F” for not only for having the weakest housing platform, but also for their complete lack of empathy for those priced out, sitting idle despite repeated concerns being raised by citizens and doing things to exacerbate the housing crisis rather than fixing it.
  • The BC Greens put forth the most aggressive proposal to curb speculation and a very compassionate plan that would preserve existing affordable social housing, but some gaps in their platform with regard to closing loopholes left us with questions that dropped their score to a “B+”
  • The NDP came forward with the most balanced and comprehensive plan, tackling speculation, loopholes, speaking specifically to money laundering and tax evasion in their platform. David Eby has been one of the province’s strongest advocate for housing reform. The NDP came away with an A- overall.

More info on HALT Vancouver Continue reading

Point Grey Road (Kitsilano): Resident questions changes, reports on impacts of construction

Point Grey Road April 2017 (3)Media have periodically covered the construction and changes to Point Grey Road in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Here is a fresh report from April 2017 on the status, with commentary and photos submitted by Lisa Towers, a resident of Kitsilano living on West 4th Avenue (four blocks away). She questions the costs, City budgeting priorities, and negative impacts. Reformatted for CityHallWatch. For the City’s official web page on “Point Grey Road Seaside Greenway completion and water/sewer construction” click here.

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Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities to live in, and I feel fortunate to live in such a naturally attractive and environmentally forward-thinking place. As stewards, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve Vancouver’s unique qualities.

I can’t emphasize enough my frustration with the process of construction currently taking place on Point Grey Road.

A couple of years back, the City spent approximately $6.5 million (Phase 1) to close down Point Grey Road for the purpose of creating a bike route, even though there was (and still is) a designated and popular bike route on nearby 3rd Avenue, which runs parallel to Point Grey Road.

The closure of Point Grey Road as a vehicle route resulted in:

  1. Increased traffic on 4th Avenue and Macdonald Street;
  2. The loss of a major artery for motor-vehicle traffic;
  3. Increased traffic lights and crosswalks on 4th Avenue and Macdonald Street (creating gridlock), with many residents from 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue now having to use 4th Avenue and/or Macdonald Street to get out of the area;
  4. Increased idling of cars at traffic lights on 4th Avenue, concentrating harmful emissions along 4th.

Continue reading

Rezoning Application – 2075 West 12th Avenue. Open House April 20 (Thurs)

Rezoning Application – 2075 West 12th Avenue. An open house is set for Thursday, April 20. The new mapping system created by a tech-savvy citizen we mentioned recently is a useful way to see rezoning and development applications in context. From the map you can see that there are few rezoning applications around this one, right along the Arbutus Greenway and 12th Avenue. rezoning open house 2075 West 12th Avenue, 20-Apr-2017

A community open house will be held from 5 to 8 pm on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Avenue, with the applicant team and City staff available to answer questions.

Official information from the City: http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/2075w12th/index.htm

The City of Vancouver has received an application from Strand Development to rezone 2075 West 12th Avenue from C-7 (Commercial) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District, to permit the development of a six-storey residential building.

The proposal includes:

48 secured market rental units;
A floor area of 3,504.5 m2 (37,722 sq. ft.);
A proposed floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.47;
A building height of 19.4 m (63.75 ft.); and
20 underground parking spaces.

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5 projects go to Urban Design Panel April 19 (Wed). Agenda published 60 minutes before meeting (includes 3365 Commercial + 4 projects)

UDP agendas as of 18-Apr-2017(Updated 2 pm, April 19. The agenda to this public meeting was published online on the City website just 60 minutes before its start. Unless they have been contacted directly by City staff, citizens affected by the projects probably have no idea this meeting is coming up. Project information crucial to the affected community is sometimes presented to the UDP that never gets repeated or fully documented. See list of projects at bottom of this post.)

(Original post April 18, noon) Tomorrow the Urban Design Panel is to review five projects, but the agenda has still not been made public. UDP meetings play an important role in the development process. It is a disservice to the public if agendas are not made public in a timely way. We have noted the same late public notification for UDP and Development Permit Board meetings many times.

The UDP advises City Council and staff about development proposals or policies, including major development applications, rezoning applications, and other projects of public interest. http://vancouver.ca/your-government/urban-design-panel.aspx

The City’s recently hired General Manager of Development, Buildings & Licensing, Kaye Krishna, has said that the roles of advisory bodies to City Council will be reviewed as a part of the “Housing Reset” process. That includes the UDP. Continue reading

New online map displays all development and rezoning applications in Vancouver

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have received a tip from a technically talented citizen who has created this brilliant map using Google Maps.

The slideshow above alternates between all development and rezoning applications in the city of Vancouver listed on the City’s own website (developments, rezonings). It is updated every few days.

Vancouver Rezoning Applications aerial NO labels 16-Apr-2017Switch between development and rezoning applications (indicated in title at top centre) by clicking the link in the lower right hand corner. Click on each pin on the screen to be redirected to the city’s official webpage with details for each application.

Click the link below to go to the maps.

https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com

The maps are really interesting as they show visually where the action is, rather than Vancouver Rezoning Applications aerial Cambie Corridor 16-Apr-2017just in a list of addresses. For example, one can see a steady line of rezonings on the Cambie Corridor (pictured on right) following the Canada Line, making it clear that a lot of construction comes with transit lines.

CityHallWatch has published a “snapshot” in the form of a list of the development and rezoning applications on the first day of every month since 2013. For past postings search for “snapshot” on our top page.

These new maps will certainly be helpful for many users, including citizens and neighbourhood groups that want to keep an eye on developments in their own communities that will affect them.

It is likely that the planning department at City of Vancouver has its own map that shows the same information, but to our knowledge no such service has been provided to the public. Continue reading

Corporate & union donations: New call4change.ca online app helps B.C. voters reach politicians to demand ban

Dollars, credit Desmog blog CanadaMEDIA RELEASE from call4change.ca.

Corporate and union donations: New call4change.ca online app helps B.C. voters reach politicians to demand ban

April 13, 2017

(Vancouver) For the B.C. Provincial election set for May 9, 2017 a group of citizens has launched an online app called “call4change.ca” to help voters make phone calls to politicians with a clear message that the caller wants a ban on corporate and union donations, and a cap on individual donations.

The media coverage of cash for access, enormous sums, and special interest donations has been extensive. The influence of donor dollars is drowning out the voices of voters. Limits on individual donations and a ban on corporate, union and foreign contributions are common in many provinces and at the federal level, but not in British Columbia.

Political science researchers have determined that old-fashioned phone calls are actually more effective at influencing politicians than emails or social media.

Call4Change.ca is an app that makes it easy for people to call candidates by phone. Here’s how it works:

  • Enter postal code, and the app provides the names and phone numbers of the candidates to call.
  • Read the short script, calling for a ban on corporate and union donations, and for a cap on donations by individuals.
  • Click to spread the word on social media, so more people will join the #Call4Change.

Typically a person can get this done in 5 minutes or less with Call4Change.

Website: Call4Change.ca
Twitter: @Call4ChangeBC
Hashtag: #Call4Change Continue reading

City of Vancouver starts publishing City Manager’s emails and memos to Mayor and Council

SadhuJohnston, CoV photo, web, Mar-2016

City of Vancouver’s City Manager

The City of Vancouver today tweeted out this message saying that “We’ve started releasing emails & memos sent from the City Manager and Deputy City Manager to Mayor & Council.” The City Manager is currently Sadhu Johnston, and Deputy City Manager is Paul Mochrie (see organizational chart here http://app.vancouver.ca/QFOrgChart_net/orgchart.html).

This seems like a positive step in terms of openness. If any CityHallWatch readers have observations or comments about what’s there and what’s missing, please do share.

Here is the link to the relevant page and below is what shows as of today:

http://vancouver.ca/your-government/city-managers-emails-and-memos-to-mayor-and-council.aspx

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We release quarterly emails and memos sent directly to Mayor and Council from the City Manager and Deputy City Manager. These documents do not contain confidential or privileged information. Continue reading