Council appoints new City Clerk and new Chief Election Officer

City HallHere is some news, for the record, from an information notice from the City of Vancouver, dated 22-Jan-2018. Current City Clerk, Janice McKenzie, retires in March 2018. She also served as Chief Election Officer in 2011, 2014, and 2017 civic elections. Going forward the roles will be separated. Katrina Leckovic will replace her as City Clerk, and Rosemary Hagiwara will be Chief Election Officer for the 2018 Municipal Election. CityHallWatch thanks them for their service to the people of Vancouver and wishes all three of them the best in their new roles.

City Clerk and Chief Election Officer are crucial roles at City Hall.

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Last week, Vancouver City Council appointed Katrina Leckovic into the role of City Clerk. She will formally take the position on March 23, 2018. Katrina brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked as Director, Legislative Operations and Deputy City Clerk in the City Clerk’s Office since February 2016. Continue reading

Stanley Park Advocates critique Park Board statements & press release on “brewpub” in park: Vancouver Council to decide on liquor license 17-Jan-2018

Stanley Park Brewing poster, from report to Council 17-Jan-2018

Poster for the proposed “brewpub” in Stanley Park

As a response to public outreach by the Stanley Park Advocates,  a concerned citizens’ group challenging a “brewpub” proposed by Stanley Park Brewing (owned by global giant Anheuser Busch), the Vancouver Park Board issued a media release yesterday (Jan 16).

We provide that Park Board text further below, but precede that with a fresh news release by the Stanley Park Advocates, which has been tracking this issue for a couple years now. See our previous post on this topic (Citizens fight Council approval for Anheuser-Busch (Stanley Park Brewing) brew pub in Stanley Park (Wed 17-Jan-2018)).

One first observation by Stanley Park Advocates when reading the Park Board’s press release is that the Park Board appears to have abruptly changed the wording when they refer to the application in just the past few days. Previously, the proposal was always referred to officially as a “brewpub” (in fact, the official agenda item for Council is “8901 Stanley Park Drive – Stanley Park Brewpub – Liquor Primary Licence and Outdoor Patio Application”). But for the new Park Board press release it has suddenly become a “Restaurant.” The citizens told CityHallWatch: “It is exactly from the first line that one starts to have to do research and is unable to trust what they are saying.” The group has identified many other details where the Park Board is being loose with the facts. “We would much rather they just state their case openly and honestly and address public concerns directly,” they say.

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Stanley Park Advocates
News Release
January 16, 2018

After a failed process and inadequate consultation, City Council is poised to approve Anheuser-Busch’s manufacturing facility that contradicts traditional Park zoning. The Park Board has modified their news release two days before they go to City Hall for approval to build this controversial Anheuser-Busch brewery in the world-cherished Stanley Park.

Up until this time, the related marketing material has promoted the added brewery to a long-established restaurant location. They are now downplaying the brewery aspect of their venture with the emphasis of a restaurant. This exact ‘marketing’ behaviour has the public concerned.

“Just tell the truth and be accountable to citizens by holding a public meeting so questions can be answered. Why isn’t the Park Board following their Public Engagement Standards? Why are they so reluctant to hold a basic public meeting for everyone?” says Val Lemaitre, a resident of the West End neighbourhood.

Changes in building and purpose

The Park Board indicates that there will be no change to the building footprint, yet their submitted plans show an expanded patio and patio capacity more than tripling near the at-risk heron breeding colony. The Park Board indicates this will activate this public space. It will also offer retail off-sales of alcohol where alcohol is prohibited. In fact, aside from a restaurant, people don’t want the space activated. Besides, the Park Board doesn’t know what people want from this area as they haven’t asked. There has been no forum to collect community thoughts or ideas to draw any conclusion. Continue reading

Detailed critique of Bosa’s Jenga Tower at 1500 West Georgia (Public Hearing Tues 16-Jan-2018)

Jenga Tower 1500 West Georgia rendering Jan 2018

Jenga Tower from rezoning application rendering

The Public Hearing begins tonight for a proposed 43-storey tower at 1500 West Georgia Street. (See other comments on the consultation process from former chief planner Ray Spaxman, posted yesterday.)

Update:

Usually the City Clerk posts correspondence at least once a day prior to a public hearing, but this time the staff have missed two days so far. However, we have received a copy of one detailed critique, which we paraphrase below to cover main points. It goes to the core of many urban design principles, which appear to be violated with this application.

City Council will review the application at the Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

Full rezoning information: http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1500wgeorgia/index.htm

The rezoning application is by Francl Architecture in conjunction with Büro Ole Scheeren, on behalf of Bosa Properties (1500 Holdco) Inc., to increase the permitted floor space ratio from 6.00 to 10.82 FSR and building height from 91.4 to 134.0 meters for a mixed-use tower with 220 market strata residential units while retaining the existing office building on the site.  It would be built the east of the existing Crown Life Place office building.

Citizen critique follows below:

Lack of local community benefits
On-site benefits for local community building are minimal and insufficient for the scale of the project. Resources contributed to transportation improvement/management and housing affordability are scarce.

Decreased quality of the neighbourhood and liveability
The proposed project is one of several within a small urban area, and the proposed densification is extreme and will have immediate and lasting effects on liveability of the area.

Obstructiveness
Revised attempted slimming of the proposed tower has had negligible success on mitigating the intrusiveness of the building in the neighbourhood, and lacks sensitive urban design and scale. Even after the revised design, proposed new tower is still too massive, obstructive, intrusive, and inappropriate for its small site, which already has on it an existing large high building (Crown Life Place). Continue reading

Ray Spaxman on consultation and Bosa’s Jenga Tower at 1500 West Georgia (Public Hearing Tues 16-Jan-2018)

Jenga tower compare 2015, 2018a

ray spaxmanIn the following open letter, former chief city planner Ray Spaxman shares his thoughts on problems with the consultation process leading up to the Public Hearing on what has been called the Jenga Tower, a proposed 43-storey tower at 1500 West Georgia. City Council will review the application at the Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

The rezoning application is by Francl Architecture in conjunction with Büro Ole Scheeren, on behalf of Bosa Properties (1500 Holdco) Inc., to increase the permitted floor space ratio from 6.00 to 10.82 FSR and building height from 91.4 to 134.0 meters for a mixed-use tower with 220 market strata residential units while retaining the existing office building on the site.  It would be built the east of the existing Crown Life Place office building.

Mr. Spaxman’s letter follows. We have taken the liberty to emphasize some of his points.

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This note is simply to add a few more dimensions to the issues I have raised about the Jenga Tower proposal at 1500 West Georgia. My purpose is to draw attention to the improvements that can easily be made to strengthen the level of trust in our community about our processes of controlling development.

I have monitored several major development proposals over the last many years, especially the ones that seem to have missed some of the basic urban design principles that the city had developed and refined over many years. I have reported to you several times on this particular application since it first appeared in public some two and half years ago.

It is now several years since the city’s urban design principles began to get lost in the city’s review processes. They were either being overlooked, forgotten, ignored, no longer valued or just not understood. However, I am now sincerely impressed and relieved to see the beginning of changes in the management of the City. That is capable of remedying the loss of principles that occurred. Nevertheless, unfortunately those changes don’t seem to have caught this application. You can see some of that in the comparative photos I showed in my last note to you. What you cannot see is the inadequacy of the community engagement involvement over that 30 month period. Continue reading

Citizens fight Council approval for Anheuser-Busch (Stanley Park Brewing) brew pub in Stanley Park (Wed 17-Jan-2018)

Impact map brew pub Stanley Park Jan 2018.PNG

Analysis of sound impacts of 3 pubs in Vancouver parks. Credit: Stanley Park Advocates.

Through a convoluted history,  a humble food stand on Vancouver Park Board land at Kits Beach ended up controlled by billion-dollar private Texas company. Guess what’s next?

City Council is poised to approve a brew pub in Stanley Park by the world’s largest multi-national beer company, on the site of the former Fish House Restaurant next to a colony of at-risk Great Blue Herons. All this without much public discussion. Is this what Vancouver citizens want?

During a daytime meeting on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, Vancouver City Council is set to make the final decision. Concerned citizens should have a chance to speak to Council on this topic, but you are also encouraged to write in (more info below).

The topic appears somewhat innoccuously on the City Council agenda as8901 Stanley Park Drive – Stanley Park Brewpub – Liquor Primary Licence and Outdoor Patio Application.”

A group calling themselves Stanley Park Advocates has sent out a press release, prepared a 17-page report entitled “Addressing a Failed Process: Why Industrial Brewing in Stanley Park?” (available online or for download), and produced this YouTube video. They are saying that many steps in the process up to this point have been unacceptable.

Please see further below for a chronology and other highlights we have extracted from the materials, plus other relevant links, and actions they are recommending.

Besides all of these issues, CityHallWatch asks what revenues the public coffers get in return for allowing commercial activities in public parks (e.g., see the three locations in map above). We have asked officials before, and the answer is basically “We can’t tell you but trust us, it’s OK.”

Table of Contents of  “Addressing a Failed Process: Why Industrial Brewing in Stanley Park?” (available online or for download). Continue reading

Gregor Robertson decides not to run for reelection as Vision Vancouver mayor on October 20, 2018

 

Gregor RobertsonVision Vancouver just sent out this e-mail to supporters. This news comes after reports in recent months that the political organization has closed its office and fired all staff, and the fifth-place finish of Vision’s candidate in the 2017 by-election. Meanwhile, many core people of the party and allied City staff have moved over to work for the NDP party or provincial government.

Who will be vying for the job of picking up the pieces and fixing the enormous problems facing Vancouver after ten years under the absolute control of Gregor Robertson’s regime?

See updates with more links at the bottom.

Related:

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Text of January 10, 2018 letter from Gregor Robertson follows:

Today I announce one of the hardest decisions of my life. This will be my last term as Mayor of Vancouver – I won’t be seeking re-election on October 20.

I took time with family and friends over the holidays to reflect on my future and made this bittersweet choice.

It’s been an honour to represent Vision Vancouver as your Mayor – and I’m excited about what’s next for the party.

I love Vancouver and our amazing people. I love serving our city as Mayor. When I finish my third term later this year, the decade in office will be the longest consecutive run as Mayor in Vancouver’s history. Ten years is a long time in politics. An important part of leadership is recognizing when to step aside to make space for new leaders. Continue reading

Public Hearing agenda for Tues 16-Jan-2018

public hearing agenda scan 16-Jan-2018 map onlyHere is the agenda for the January 16, 2018 Public Hearing, the first of  2018 at Vancouver City Hall. (Update: See official documents online on Jan 10: http://council.vancouver.ca/20180116/phea20180116ag.htm)

Unless you are one of the people who found the notice in the Vancouver Courier this week, you are one of the vast majority of Vancouver citizens who will not be able to know what is on the agenda until a couple days from now. So you heard it here first.

For several items you can probably find the rezoning application documents at vancouver.ca/rezapps, but the official staff reports to Council will appear on the City’s meeting webpage later this week. See our article about Public Hearing notices here. The City is currently asking the public for comments on these processes.

Below, we have scanned the “Vancouver Matters” notice in the Vancouver Courier from last week and used OCR to produce text.

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 6 pm Vancouver City Hall 453 West 12th Avenue Third Floor, Council Chamber, Vancouver City Council will hold a Public Hearing to consider zoning for these locations:

1. 2425 West 5th Avenue (Tunstall Residence)

To add the existing building at 2425 West 5th Avenue (Tunstall Residence) to the Vancouver Heritage Register in the ‘C’ evaluation category, and to designate the exterior of the existing building as protected heritage property. Continue reading