Coalition reminds Council on Broadway Plan: Kits & West Point Grey planning to be part of city-wide process, NOT the “Corridor Plan”

(Updated – note that this topic has been Referred to 22-Oct-2019. So concerned parties have time to sign up to write  to Council, though no additional speakers can sign up.) This a significant topic that goes before Vancouver City Council today. We have obtained a copy of a letter from the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) to Council, the text of which is shared below, with bold text to highlight some points.

CVN points out that the current document by staff is not consistent with previous decisions by Council. CVN is calling for “neighbourhood-based planning processes” and is “hopeful that the community’s requests are implemented rather than a transit corridor land use planning processes.” Their intent is that the Broadway Plan principles not be approved at all, and instead the City should use the City-wide Plan for all the areas, including the Broadway Plan Study Area and the “area west of Vine.”

Broadway Plan Study Area report to Council 2-Oct-2019 p3

Map from “Broadway Plan” staff report to Council. See explanation about “wiggle words” further below.

“Broadway Plan – Phase 1 Engagement and Proposed Guiding Principles”
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191002/documents/cfsc2.pdf .
Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191002/cfsc20191002ag.htm

TEXT OF CVN letter to Vancouver City Council, 2-Oct-2019, Re: Broadway Plan – Phase 1 Engagement and Proposed Guiding Principles:

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to the proposed Broadway Plan principles.

As we have stated previously, we support neighbourhood-based land use planning processes through the City-wide Plan, not corridor-based planning. The current proposal for the Broadway Plan doesn’t meet that criteria.

We also previously raised concerns about the phase 2 extension to UBC should be planned through the City-wide Plan not the Broadway Plan, but in this report it includes the area covering Kitsilano and West Point Grey as part of the Broadway Plan.

This is in conflict with previous reports on the interim rezoning policy so we do not support this.

We continue to advocate for collaborative neighbourhood-based planning processes and are hopeful that the community’s requests are implemented rather than a transit corridor land use planning processes.

Please do not approve this planning principles and instead refer this to the City-wide Plan through neighbourhood-based processes, and not through the Broadway Plan corridor process.

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Commentary by CityHallWatch

The contention here centers around fundamental planning principles. CVN is calling for “neighbourhood-based planning processes” while some voices (e.g., planners) want a “transit corridor land use planning process.” These are fundamentally very different, and would lead to very different consultation processes, opportunities for public input, accountability, and the future physical and social design of these areas. Continue reading

Protest on Prior: Residents demand traffic calming as staff report goes to City Council

(Update – Council approved of this report, with amendments. Please refer to the meeting minutes for details.)

Vancouver City Council may decide on the East False Creeks arterial route on Wednesday, October 2nd. A staff report was presented to Council on October 1st (agenda page here). On the morning September 30th, a demonstration took place on Prior and Hawks. Residents rallied and called on the City to respect past commitments to traffic calming for Prior Street and also to respect the recommendation by the Community Panel on the preferred arterial route.

City staff have recommended an option that was not endorsed by the Community Panel process (namely, a 4-lane underpass beneath the railway tracks at Glen Drive and Prior Street). Photos of the demonstration are included below:

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One way that the City could have tried to calm Prior would have been to put forward a proposal that would only allow for two lanes of traffic in the underpass (one lane in each direction). Such a move could have also facilitated a host of other traffic calming measures such as on street parking on both sides and curb bulges (modified illustration below).

One of the difficulties with an underpass that’s so close to sea level is ground water. It could flood frequently during storms. The staff report only mentions flooding once, as highlighted below.

A few open questions: Why did the City initiate a Community Panel and engage a group of dedicated volunteers to come up with a recommended False Creek Flats Arterial route when staff put forward their own recommendation instead? Does the City of Vancouver intend to keep Prior Street a major arterial for the foreseeable future?

This deserves YOUR support: Motion on Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver (1-Oct-2019 Motion B6)

City Hall Statue(Update – Council has referred this motion to the October 23, 2019 Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities meeting. Registered speakers will be notified.)

Here is a motion going before Vancouver City Council on October 1, 2019 (Tues) that deserves the wholehearted support of the public and Council. The motion lays out a strong case for creating the position of an independent auditor general office, and sets March 1, 2020 as the desired start date.

From CityHallWatch’s nine years of observing City Hall, we strongly believe the savings from having this office will be far greater than the proposed annual budget of one million dollars, and encourage citizens and groups to show their support by writing or speaking to Council. A bit of time at this point could save citizens incalculable time and effort in the future. All you need to do is tell Council “I support Motion B6 (October 1) on Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver.” You could do this online at the link indicated below, or by signing up and speaking to Council. No additional comments or rationale are required, though you are free to say more by way of explanation or support. If you do one thing this year to make Vancouver a better place, this is worthy.

The document of this motion by Councillor Colleen Hardwick is lengthy, at nine pages including end notes, so we include the just first paragraph of the “whereas” and “therefore” section to give readers a gist.

Motion B6: Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver. Download entire motion:
https://council.vancouver.ca/20191001/documents/motionb6.pdf

Oct. 1, 2019 Agenda:
https://council.vancouver.ca/20191001/regu20191001ag.htm

The above link includes a link to an online form to “Send your comments to City Council”

Request to speak: Send e-mail to speaker.request@vancouver.ca or request online here:
https://vancouver.ca/your-government/request-to-speak-at-meeting-form-1.aspx

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Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver (Motion 6, October 1, 2019, submitted by Councillor Colleen Hardwick)

WHEREAS [excerpt]
Good governance in the municipal sector, and ensuring that a municipal government achieves its intended results while always acting in the public interest, is essential to satisfying the public’s expectation that a municipality is providing effective stewardship over public assets, value-for-money in operations, transparent administration, and accountability for results; …
Continue reading

Election Candidates Meeting & AGM (Sept 25, Wed): West Point Grey Residents Association

wpgra-logo-small-wb2Federal Election Candidates Meeting
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 @ 7 pm

Meeting Location: West Point Grey United Church
4595 W. 8th Ave. (at Tolmie St. – main church building)

 

West Point Grey Residents Association
Annual General Meeting and Federal Election Candidates’ Meeting

7:00 pm Business Meeting
7:15 pm Candidate introductions followed by questions on the issues

Hear candidates’ responses on issues. Submit questions here: info@wpgra.ca

Website  wpgra.ca

*CHW note – we welcome advance notices from other residents’ associations regarding federal election candidate meetings. Send to citizenYVR@gmail.com

Two important open houses on rental incentives in Vancouver (Wed Sept 25 & Thurs Sept 26)

City HallThe City of Vancouver is organizing two important open house this week with huge implications for neighbourhoods across the city. The topic is proposed changes to policies and zoning for “rental incentive programs,” which includes reviews of Rental 100, Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy, and opportunities to extend the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP). Changes in policies and zonings can result in major changes to your community. Have a look, and have a say!

September 25, 2019 (Wed) 4 to 7 pm
Kitsilano Neighborhood House, 2305 West 7th Ave

Thurs. September 26, 4pm to 7pm
Polish Community Centre, 4015 Fraser St, Vancouver

More details:
https://vancouver.ca/people-programs/creating-new-market-rental-housing.aspx

We also encourage anyone interested to take the survey by clicking the link above (city website).

Despite the former Vision Vancouver civic party having been obliterated from City Hall in the October 2018 municipal election, the current City Council in July 2019 adopted all of the Vision regime’s policies, including the 2016 Interim Zoning Policy and Affordable Home Ownership Program, as a framework for the city-wide planning process, which is now beginning. The implications are huge.

The majority of city councillors appear to have already decided there will be no neighbourhood-based planning processes going forward, as Council has pre-determined where and how density will be increased in all zones (i.e., high rises along major arterials, mid rises along other arterials, and forms such as stacked townhouses within 1.5 blocks on either side).

Residents who attend the open houses are encouraged to ask for planning processes that are more neighbourhood-based, rather than blanket city-wide zonings and policies. The voices of communities should be respected and heard when it comes to these issues.

Heads up on Procedure Bylaw changes: On July 24, City Council is set to change meeting rules and limit public participation (Outcome: POSTPONED)

Epilogue first: Council reached consensus to POSTPONE th

COV council consensus to postone Procedural Bylaw amendment 24-Jul-2019

e amendment of this bylaw. Minutes of the meeting will likely be online within a couple days.

(Update: The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has submitted a letter to Council opposing the proposed amendments and pointing out numerous issues that need to be addressed. See list added to bottom of this post.) City Staff seek to exert more control over Vancouver City Hall by changing the rules of Council meetings, just as the city embarks upon a four year process to develop a City-wide Plan. The text of proposed changes was just made public a few days ago.

Just a few of the important changes being proposed include …

  • cutting the time members of the public are permitted to speak at committee meetings from 5 minutes down to 3 minutes
  • limiting the scope of discussions
  • increasing the lead time required for Councillors to bring forward motions
  • (Conversely, staff want to be allowed to continue to bringing forward reports to Council at the last minute, without warning.)
  • See more below

The Standing Committee on City Finance and Services agenda for Wednesday, July 24, 2019 contains an agenda item to amend the Procedure Bylaw (these are the rules that govern meetings of Council).

We encourage people to get familiar with this and let City Council know your views immediately. Watch for updates – we will provide more info by Twitter and in this post.

In addition to the above points, this report also contains proposed changes …

  • to keep video archives of Council meetings online for only four years
  • strengthen the power of the meeting Chair
  • ban applause from the gallery
  • explicitly empower the City Manager to comment on all advisory committee reports to Council.
  • prohibit the public from questioning or challenging statements by city staff on issues in staff reports to Council or general comments by staff
  • permit electronic meetings by Council, although the proposal has no restrictions on what could be discussed our decided, or how the public will be able to scrutinize their elected officials’ deliberations, or how Council will be accountable to the public (e.g., broadcast live and recorded for later viewing)
  • City Council members would have to submit motions on notice two meetings prior (to being put on the agenda, not one as it is now); also motions introduced in Council would not be heard the next meeting (but rather two meetings down the road)

There are other concerns not covered in this post, still being identified.

The report is submitted to Council in the name of the City Clerk, and unsurprisingly, “the City Manager is recommending that Council adopt the changes.”

An ominous implication regarding the timing is that Vancouver is setting forth upon a four-year process to create a City-wide Plan. Is the stage being set to reduce the public’s rightful voice in the planning process and increase the power of the staff and those who can influence them? Continue reading

Council discusses Clr Swanson motion (Expanding Downtown Eastside Greenspace and Waterfront Access) to support Crab Park

[Update: Council adopted an amended version of the motion. Click on the Council agenda within a couple days for the meeting minutes, containing the approved text.]

On May 29, Vancouver Park Board approved a motion on this topic, and now it goes to City Council today, with a motion by Councillor Jean Swanson. Council agenda details are here, plus link to Council video stream.
https://council.vancouver.ca/20190710/pspc20190710ag.htm

Backgrounder: Crab Park Expansion and Healing Centre Info Sheet2019 07 04 Peanuts from Port, Crab Park
2019 May 27 Crab Full Info Package For PB Meeting

Here is the text of the motion and further below are some links for further reading. See Vancouver Sun article for explanation of the photo.

Motion 8. Expanding Downtown Eastside Greenspace and Waterfront Access

At the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services meeting on June 26 and 27, 2019, due to time constraints, the Committee referred the following motion to the Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities meeting on July 10, 2019, to hear from speakers.

Submitted by: Councillor Swanson

WHEREAS

  1. On May 27, 2018, the Vancouver Park Board unanimously approved an amended motion requesting that the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority identifies further opportunities to make investments in the local Downtown Eastside community with a particular focus on parks, recreation, and Reconciliation, and that the Park Board explore the initiation of a working group in partnership with the City of Vancouver and community stakeholders with a goal to transition the development and construction of an indigenous-focused healing, wellness, and/or cultural centre out of the theoretical and into action and reality;
  2. In 2015, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced the Centerm Expansion Project, which involves a series of improvements at the Centerm container terminal, including extending the terminal to the west;
  3. On April 18, 2018, a project permit was approved for the Centerm Expansion Project;
  4. On June 20, 2018, City Council approved recommendations for staff to continue to work with community, health sector, foundation and government partners to plan for the development and operation of an Indigenous Healing and Wellness Centre in the Downtown Eastside;
  5. Waterfront spaces are critically important both culturally and ecologically to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, and every opportunity should be sought to partner with them on the potential of such spaces;
  6. Based on the City’s support of the Park Board’s park provision targets, the Downtown Eastside is park deficient and would benefit from the addition of greenspace;
  7. Community members have expressed an interest for an indigenous healing centre/arts and cultural centre in CRAB Park;
  8. The Port Authority has stated its commitment to being a good neighbour to local communities, municipalities and First Nations, and to demonstrating this commitment through its investments in those communities.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED Continue reading