Public input needed on Vancouver’s 2018 to 2022 City budgets, priorities, transparency. Roadshow dates Oct 18/19 (Wed/Thurs).

Dollar signs, CHWBelow is text of an info bulletin dated today (Sept 27) from the City of Vancouver. How is the City doing for its residents and taxpayers? Are its priorities right? Can you find all the information you deserve and want regarding the budgets?

We encourage individuals as well as neighbourhood associations and community groups of all types to get involved and look at the details that affect them. Does the capital plan miss some priorities? Too much in some areas and not enough in other? Is money being wasted? Are decision-making and reporting processes adequate?


Multiple opportunities for public to provide input on City budget

The City of Vancouver’s 2018-2022 Budget Outlook<> is ready to view online. There are multiple opportunities for the public to get involved in the engagement process for the City’s 2018 Budget and five-year financial plan.

The 2018-2022 Budget Outlook helps provide context for the budget decisions the City needs to make, with the goal of making the best use of our resources to maintain services while responding to the expanding needs of our growing population.

Focused on setting priorities and taking actions for a better city, the Outlook identifies the following priorities:

* Invest in renewing existing, and adding new, public facilities and infrastructure;
* Manage the challenges of rapid growth and affordability; and
* Focus on equity and creating a resilient, healthy and green community.

The draft 2018 Budget and five-year financial plan will be available online in November. The budget will then be reviewed by City Council and the public before being approved on December 12. Continue reading

First Baptist Church to appeal $20 million land value boost at Court of Revision (Thu/Oct 19) re 57-storey luxury tower with Westbank

969 Burrard First Baptist Westbank, elevations, application 2017 revThis case could be interesting to watch due to the players and big numbers involved. First Baptist Church, Westbank, and $20 million.

The “Court of Revision” (City Council) will sit on Thursday, October 19, at 2 pm, to hear an appeal by the First Baptist Church of Vancouver under the 2017 Land Assessment Averaging By-law. No further details on the appeal or posted on the agenda as of today, but a quick search on the City website (VANMAP, for assessed values) suggests what might be involved.

1019 Nelson location, VANMAP, 17-Oct-2017

Green box at center shows location of 1019 Nelson

First Baptist Church is showing as the owner of two lots (both with address at 1019 Nelson) adjacent to the church property (969 Burrard). It appears that the BC Assessment (done by the provincial body, independent of the City of Vancouver) values show an increase in value for 1019 Nelson from 2016 to 2017.

2016 2017
Previous Year Land Value($) Current Year Land Value($) Increase
PID15749941 $1,364,000 11,412,000 $10,048,000
PID15749959 $1,364,000 11,412,000 $10,048,000
$2,728,000 22,824,000 $20,096,000

It appears First Baptist is appealing for land averaging in order to reduce the tax bill, due to a 737% jump, worth over $20 million, in the assessed property value. Ultimately, this is probably for the benefit of Westbank’s bottom line.

At a Public Hearing held on July 18 and 25, 2017, Westbank (CEO Ian Gillespie) partnered with the First Baptist Church on Burrard and Nelson and succeeded in what was a controversial application, with City Council approving rezoning for a 57-storey luxury condo and other components (eviction of renters in low-cost rental buildings, some social housing, heritage restoration of the church, etc.). Westbank is currently conducting a saturation branding/marketing campaign (#fightforbeauty). There was a lot of media coverage about this rezoning. For one interesting angle, see “Even before Public Hearing for Burrard & Nelson project (1st Baptist Church) Westbank offers VIP access and is marketing luxury condo globally” (CityHallWatch, July 25, 2017). Continue reading

Pitched battle in Dunbar Ryerson United Church (45th and Yew) rezoning? Public Hearing Oct 17 (Tue): Open minds and respectful consideration of both sides needed.

2165-2195 West 45th Ryerson Dunbar United, rezoning 17-Oct-2017(Update: After hearing from speakers for and against, the Public Hearing ended on Oct 17. City Council will debate and vote on the application during a regular council meeting two weeks later, on Oct 31.)

The rezoning at Dunbar Ryerson United Church (2165-2195 West 45th Avenue and b) 2205-2291 West 45th Avenue) is the fifth item on the agenda for the Public Hearing on Tuesday, October 17. People are encouraged to follow @vancityclerk on Twitter for live updates on the progress of the meeting on the day.

Public Hearing (Tuesday, October 17, 2017) agenda, documents, and correspondence: Click here.

This one is looking like a hot topic for two sides. On one side is “abundant housing” activists from around the city who organized to call for increased density anywhere and everywhere, often without acknowledgement of the many other drivers of housing affordability, and without regard for local community concerns. Some congregation members also appear to support the rezoning.

On the other side are community residents who have organized as Ryerson Neighbours (

A group of the “affordable housing” (increase supply at any cost) side set up a web page for people to click online to send their support to City Council, and their letters are prominent among the correspondence sent to City Council. (These account for over 60% of letters to Council, as of Oct 13.)

We hope that in all rezonings, both sides are respectful of others’ views.

Representative of the supply side activists is a UBC professor named Tom Davidoff of the UBC Sauder School of Business, who is closely associated with Affordable Housing Vancouver. It is unfortunate that a university professor attempts to discredit community voices by belittling local concerns: In his letter to Council, he wrote “….do the NIMBY neighbours really want to take on the representatives of what some people believe to be humankind’s savior to avoid some hypothetical damage to their extremely high property values?

We hope that others will not follow his example and that they will not fall into the habit of writing off others simply as NIMBYs. Continue reading

Public Hearing Oct 17 (Tue): 2221 Main, 124 Dunlevy, 618 West 32nd, 8242 Oak, 2165 W45th (Ryerson Dunbar United Church)

A Public Hearing is scheduled to start at 6 pm on Tuesday, October 17, with five items on the agenda. Below are a few excerpts from the City website. The Public Hearing documents are here. Rezoning application documents are here.

2221 Main rezoning image 17-Oct-20172221-2223 Main Street – 9-storey mixed-use building over four levels of underground parking. Includes commercial at grade; 145 social housing rental units; floor area of 10,695 m2 (115,123 sq. ft.); floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.3; height of approximately 29.9 m (98 ft.); and 192 parking spaces. Vancouver Park Board is also pursuing the delivery of a park at approximately 1,115 m2 (12,000 sq. ft.) on the southern portion of this site. Under the Mount Pleasant Community Plan and Implementation Policy

124 Dunlevy rezoning 17-Oct-2017124 Dunlevy Ave – Rezone from Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District (DEOD) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. An 11-storey mixed-use building, including
relocation of the Evelyne Saller Centre to the site; social housing on floors 2-11, with a total of 213 units; floor space ratio of 5.96;  building height of 33.9m (111 ft.)

618 West 32nd rezoning 17-Oct-2017618 West 32nd Avenue – A 6-storey building that includes: 15 residential units; a building height of 21.7 m (71 ft.) from grade; a floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.46; 29 vehicle parking spaces and 20 bicycle spaces. The application is being considered under the Cambie Corridor Plan.

8242 Oak rezoning 17-Oct-20178242 Oak Street8-storey, mixed-use building that includes: total of 50 market residential units; total of 295 m² (3,172 sq. ft.) of retail area at grade; total of 437 m² (4,700 sq. ft.) of office space; maximum building height of 30.0 m (99 ft.) from grade; floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.0; 104 parking spaces and 67 bicycle parking spaces; and a public plaza. Considered under the Marpole Community Plan.

2165-2195 West 45th Ryerson Dunbar United, rezoning 17-Oct-20172165-2195 West 45th Avenue and 2205-2291 West 45th Avenue; and Heritage Designation of the Ryerson Dunbar United Church – Proposal for the two sites included in the rezoning application includes East and West Sites. East Site: proposed floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.47; 8-storey market residential development (79,802 sq. ft.) with 2.5-storey townhouses along 45th Avenue and a 4-storey podium along the adjacent lane to the north; 40 units comprised of 19 three bedrooms (47.5%), 16 two bedrooms (40%) and 5 one bedrooms (12.5%). West Site: a proposed floor space ratio (FSR) of 1.73; restoration, preservation and heritage designation, and seismic upgrading of the church including improvements to the sanctuary for enhanced music performance (13,338 sq. ft.);  new 5-storey (including basement) infill building with:
a new community activity centre on levels 1-3 (19,131 sq. ft.); and 32 units of social housing on levels 1-5 (25,006 sq. ft.) comprised of 6 two bedrooms (19%), 13 one bedrooms (40.5%) and 13 studio units (40.5%).


1. REZONING: 2221-2223 Main Street


Distribution Date Support Opposed Other
October 13, 2017  PDF 1  PDF 0



2. REZONING: 124 Dunlevy Avenue (Roddan Lodge)


3. REZONING: 618 West 32nd Avenue


4. REZONING: 8242 Oak Street


Distribution Date Support Opposed Other
October 13, 2017  PDF 1 PDF 0



5. REZONING: a) 2165-2195 West 45th Avenue and b) 2205-2291 West 45th Avenue; and Heritage Designation of the Ryerson Dunbar United Church


Distribution Date Support Opposed Other
October 13, 2017 58  PDF 7  PDF 0

Results of Vancouver civic by-election Oct 14: NPA’s Hector Bremner wins Council seat

Hector Bremner image from campaign site Oct 2017

Hector Bremner, screenshot from campaign website

With a low voter turnout of just 10.99% in the October 14 Vancouver civic by-election made necessary by the departure of former councillor Geoff Meggs to work as chief of staff for NDP in Victoria, the result was the election of Hector Bremner of the NPA (27.83%) for the one Council seat, plus nine school board trustees. They will hold their positions for just over one year, until the civic general election in October 2018.

Bremner’s competition was split. Of voters 21.36% voted for independent (but endorsed by COPE) social justice activist Jean Swanson, 20.31% for the Green Party’s Pete Fry, and 13.17% for homeless advocate Judy Graves (correction – she was with OneCity). (This trio totals 54.84%, meaning that the majority of voters did NOT choose the developer parties Vision Vancouver and the NPA.) Vision Vancouver’s Diego Cardona, which has had complete control of City Council for nine years, garnered only 11.26%, coming in fifth place. Despite winning in this “first-past-the-post” system, Bremner actually only received votes from 3% (yes, that’s right THREE PERCENT) of eligible voters.

Keep your eyes out for the NPA and Vision Vancouver’s election finance disclosure statements. The other main candidates released theirs starting with Pete Fry and Jean Swanson as early as October 10, but NPA and Vision refused to respond to The Breaker news’ requests for the information.

Below are the unofficial election results (as of 16-Oct-2017) from the City website, plus links to media coverage.

Eligible voters (municipality): 442792
Voting places 53 / 53
Ballots cast 48,645
Turnout 10.99% Continue reading

Reminder: Vancouver Civic By-Election voting Oct 10 (Tue) & Oct 14 (Sat)

Voting place sign 2014It is time for a change at City Hall: One seat is up for grabs on City Council and nine seats for Vancouver School Board.

Please spread word and encourage people around you to vote.

Three parties currently have seats on City Council. Vision Vancouver and the NPA are heavily dependent on industry donations. Of the three parties, only the Vancouver Green Party rejects corporate and union donations (candidate Pete Fry).  Continue reading

By-election: Vote! Advance voting Oct 4 (Wed) & Oct 10 (Tue), general voting Oct 14 (Sat)

Advance Poll Voting City HallThe results upcoming City of Vancouver byelection for one seat on City Council and all seats on the Vancouver School Board will be decided by those who actually vote. We encourage people to read up, and to get out and vote. Besides the promises of individual candidates, be sure to also have a look at the track records and funding sources of their parties (or persons in the case of independents). Your vote will also send a message to their parties. The persons elected will serve until the main civic election a year from now. 

Check local media online for recent coverage the campaigns and promises of the candidates. The Vancouver Courier, Vancouver Sun, and Georgia Straight are good places to start. You can also check the candidates and party websites. Candidate debates – click our byelection page.

Below is official voting information from the City of Vancouver.

Advance voting for by-election takes place on October 4 and 10
Vancouver City Hall open from 8am to 8pm 

Advance voting for the 2017 Vancouver by-election will take place on October 4 and 10 at Vancouver City Hall, 453 West 12th Ave, from 8am to 8pm.

October 14 is general voting day for the by-election, which will elect one city councillor and nine school trustees.

A list of all candidates and their profiles can be viewed online by visiting Continue reading

Critique of Vancouver’s 25-year pools and aquatics strategy – “Recommendations inadequate”: VSPOP

Vancouver Aquatic Centre Sign

Vancouver Aquatic Center: Condemned?

The Vancouver Society for Promotion of Outdoor Pools (VSPOP) has written a critique of the Vancouver Park Board’s current recommendations for the future of Vancouver aquatics. (The “VanSplash” time frame is 25 years, but we know that infrastructure once built likely affects things for many more decades than that, and several generations of residents.)

VSPOP provides a link to their full critique here, and a link to the official recommendations.

VSPOP believes that the recommendations are inadequate.


VSPOP encourages people to engage in the VanSplash survey that asks if the proposals got it right, and use the ‘comments’ section to fully communicate what people want for Vancouver Aquatics.

Here are some of the key issues identified by VSPOP.

• The Vancouver Society for Promotion of Outdoor Pools believes that this strategy is shaped by Park Board Staff and HCMA consultants who have clung to these outdated ideas since their remarkably lengthy relationship and collaboration on Vancouver aquatics strategies began before 2001. VanSplash does not reflect the true needs or desires of Vancouver residents or align with the COV Greenest City initiatives.

• The VanSplash Aquatic recommendations fail to deliver a strategy that adequately serves Vancouver now, and will fail to serve Vancouver over the next 25 years. Continue reading