Wesgroup’s “Community Garden” at 41st and Oak. What is the definition of “your”? Photo: CityHallWatch.
On 9-Jan-2018, regular columnist Allen Garr had an interesting article in the Vancouver Courier, entitled “Small businesses suffer while Vancouver developers cash in on tax breaks.” We capture some excerpts of his findings here. We would like to see a map of all the developers’ community gardens in Vancouver, and tally of the taxes they are saving but the burden being passed on to other taxpayers. Also, how many of the raised bed boxes are actually being gardened by members of the local “community”?
We hear about local businesses suffering under heavy property tax loads and many closing down after many years of operation (see “Taxed to death: How Vancouver’s small business are falling victim to soaring property tax” Jan Zeschky, Westender, 14-Dec-2017). Meanwhile, major developers are getting an easy ride on taxes by clearing a development property and making a deals with “community garden” operators to place raised bed gardens on the site and save significantly on taxes while the land appreciates and the developer prepares a development application.
As we see it, systems are heavily biased in favour of developers, a symptom of “regulatory capture.” Regulators should never be funded by those they are supposed to regulate. Many of the same developers benefitting from this system are the same ones who donate to politicians in elections at both the provincial and municipal level. Corporate and union donations are banned for the October 2018 civic election, but will the systemic biases change? Time will tell.
Another view of Wesgroup’s “Community Garden” at 41st and Oak. Photo: CityHallWatch
Other “Community Gardens”:
- Broadway/Alma. Previously a gas station.
- 10th/Alma. Previously a gas station.
- More to be added…
Small businesses suffer while Vancouver developers cash in on tax breaks (Allen Garr, Vancouver Courier, 9-Jan-2018)
Does it not strike you as odd that, when it comes to city-imposed property taxes in Vancouver, small businesses, struggling to stay alive, get pounded to the point of facing failure, while major developers get significant tax reductions for doing nothing except allowing folks to grow a few carrots or potatoes on their patch of land? Continue reading
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
QUOTE OF THE DAY
This is relevant for us all these days, not the least in Vancouver and Metro Vancouver, dealing with such complex and fast-paced issues. A shout-out to urban thinker and former city planner, Ray Spaxman, for pointing out the quote in his e-mail newsletter.
“Though everyone wants to be right, as soon as people start to air incompatible views it becomes clear that not everyone can be right about everything. Also, the desire to be right can collide with a second desire, to know the truth, which is uppermost in the minds of bystanders to an argument who are not invested in which side wins. Communities can thereby come up with rules that allow true beliefs to emerge from the rough and tumble of argument, such as that you have to provide reasons for your beliefs, you’re allowed to point out flaws in the beliefs of others, and you’re not allowed to forcibly shut people up who disagree with you. Add in the rule that you should allow the world to show you whether your beliefs are true or false, and we can call the rules science. With the right rules, a community of less than fully rational thinkers can cultivate rational thoughts.”
From “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress” (2018) by Canadian-American cognitive scientist Steven Pinker.
More reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_Now
The two remaining open houses at this point are as follows:
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House
2305 W 7th Avenue (at Vine)
March 13, 2019 (3 – 7 pm)
370 E Broadway (at Kingsway)
Thursday, March 14 (3- 7 pm)
The City of Vancouver is launching a two-year process “to create a comprehensive Broadway area plan,” covering the area between 1st and 16th Avenues, and between Vine Street and Clark Drive. It is intended to be a 30-year plan with a focus on housing, jobs, and amenities around the “future” Broadway Subway.
CityHallWatch hastens to note that by no means is the subway guaranteed. It is a legacy of a decade of Vision Vancouver, when all efforts were made by the developer-and-union funded “regime” to drive all discussions toward the inevitable conclusion that the subway must be built. Valid challenges have been made to the fundamental data used to justify the need for the subway. Many things still need to happen to start construction and get it through to completion. There never was a significant effort to get an extensive or real gauge of public opinion on whether or not the specific Broadway Subway proposal was supported or not. In fact, one could say that the complete obliteration of Vision from City Council in the October 2018 election was a proxy vote, as the Broadway Subway was one of former Mayor Gregor Robertson’s main pillars.
But be that as it may, everyone is encouraged to learn what the City is proposing, stay engaged, and provide input. Continue reading
Proposed by Westbank Project Corp and affiliated company Creative Energy (formerly Central Heat Distribution Ltd.), here are details of an open house for a rezoning application for 720 Beatty Street from Downtown (DD) District to Comprehensive Development (CD-1) to permit the development of a 17-storey office tower, above a steam plant that provides thermal energy to the downtown peninsula. See below to links to presentation materials and documents.
March 11, 2019 (Monday)
5 to 7:30 pm
Vancouver Public Library Central Branch,
Alice Mackay Room (350 W Georgia St)
- building height of 80.4 m (263.8 ft.)
- total gross floor area of 57,307 sq. m (616,847 sq. ft.)
- floor space ratio (FSR) of 11.55
- ground level commercial space
- upgrade to the Creative Energy plant
Creative Energy’s exiting pipe network
Westbank’s Bjarke Ingels-designed office tower goes to open house –
Open house March 11 for proposed Beatty Street project (Naoibh O’Connor, Vancouver Courier, 27-Feb-2019)
Note that the application goes to the Urban Design Panel on April 17, 2019.
Screen grab from City of Vancouver VanMap – zoning districts of the city
A sharp citizen noticed this meeting posted on the City website on Thursday.
City-wide Plan – Special Council Meeting
March 9, 2019 (Saturday), 9 am to 3 pm
Joyce Walley Room, Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC
Info from the City:
- This is a Special Council meeting called by the Mayor under section 2.4 (a) of the Procedure By-law for the purpose of engaging Council in a workshop to discuss the scoping of the City-wide Plan.
- Speakers will not be heard at this meeting. Send your comments to Council at http://vancouver.ca/contact-council. Ask a question about this agenda at 604.829.4272
- Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability, and Susan Haid, Deputy Director of Long Range and Strategic Planning, to provide an introduction to the workshop.
Extra comments (not from the City):
- In November 2018, City Council approved a process to begin a city-wide plan. Motion – “Expediting a City-Wide Plan for Vancouver”: click here.
- This meeting is for staff to discuss with City Council what should be in the terms of reference.
- It is open to the public to attend and observe, but not to speak.
- There will be no live stream video.
Related reading Continue reading
Image credit: City of Vancouver website
Community Meeting on the Subway Extension to UBC
Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 7 pm
St. James Community Square
(3214 West 10th Ave)
- Event hosted by the West Kitsilano Residents Association for all residents affected by the proposed subway extension to UBC, including West Point Grey.
- Expert panel (including Patrick Condon, Elizabeth Murphy) for discussion and questions.
- The subway extension to UBC will be looking for funding and may look to development fees.
- This could mean additional bonus density towers similar to Metrotown, the Cambie Corridor and Oakridge in Kitsilano and West Point Grey.
- Even if it is bored tunnel, there will be cut and cover at each station and for utilities upgrading, which will be very disruptive for businesses and traffic flow for a decade.
- Learn more and voice your opinions.
For an explanation of our monthly snapshots please visit this page:
As a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. The list contains valuable information on each application, and indicates scheduled “open houses” and Public Hearings. Spread the word to anyone who might be affected or interested. There are about 70 proposed, over 70 approved, and several open houses coming up.
A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/
Download the full list of development applications we created in PDF format:
CoV rezoning applications snapshot 1-Mar-2019
For a current list of applications, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.
Below is the list as of March 1, 2019. Continue reading