CANY’s citywide online petition: Say NO to Downtown Official Development Plan amendments

CANY DODP petitionFor quick readers, here is the link to sign the petition:

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, City Council will be voting on proposed amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan (the Public Hearing starts 6 pm, and this is agenda item 3).

Despite what City officials are saying, these amendments (if approved) will not just change downtown. They will set a precedent that will affect neighbourhoods all across Vancouver. Forever. Your neighbourhood may be next.

The Community Association of New Yaletown has launched on online petition opposing the amendments. To see a quick list of key reasons to oppose the amendments, click this link (we have also copied the text at the bottom, for convenience).

Among other serious issues, the City is proposing to change the definition of “social housing” to mean “rental housing” (actually, it already amended this in 2014 by Bylaw 10929 but few people knew about it, because the City quietly buried significant changes in the definition into the East End Community Plan). The B.C. Supreme Court order the City of Vancouver to do the process again.

Also, through Section 3.13 in the proposed amendment, the City is proposing to give the Development Permit Board the power to give developers whatever density increases they want (in FSR, or floor space ratio), despite the maximum FSR set out in the Official Development Plan. This will effectively give that Board “carte blanche” and completely bypass the Public Hearing process. For more see also City’s DODP amendments will redefine “social housing,” hurt low-income people, give developers carte blanche, eliminate public role (CityHallWatch, 18-March-2015).

According to CANY, your opportunity to stop the amendments is now. Next time, it may be too lateThe easiest way to take action is to sign the CANY petition on

We have discovered that a church organization has (perhaps unwittingly, and possibly in violation of CRA regulations for charitable organizations) played a crucial role in supporting the amendments (by submitting 102 signatures of people who probably do not even understand the policy issues involved).

CityHallWatch has covered many aspects of this case in the past year. At the core is a B.C. Supreme Court decision overturning the City of Vancouver’s rezoning and policy changes at 508 Helmcken and 1099 Richards Street, plus major City policies.

Other actions recommended by CANY:

  • Send your own letter to the list of email addresses below this message. Letters count even more than petition-signing. Feel free to use the bullet points from the petition or the CANY website linked below.
  • Speak at the Public Hearing at City Hall on Tuesday, March 24, at 6pm. Use the bullet points from the petition or the CANY website linked below, or make your own points. Speakers make the biggest impact.
  • Tweet the link to the petition and share it on Facebook.



Why the proposed Downtown Official Development Plan must be defeated

The Community Association of New Yaletown strongly supports more social housing in our neighbourhood. However, we must oppose the proposed amendments for the following reasons:

  • The new definition of “social housing” removes support for those most in need. Under the proposed changes, the new lowest category of rent will require an annual income of up to $36,500 for a studio apartment and $40,000 for a one-bedroom outside the DTES (Source: BC Housing 2015 Housing Income Limits).  This moves “social housing” out of reach for anyone working full-time at minimum wage ($22,000 per year).
    The proposed new Jubilee House demonstrates the City’s vision: the “low cost housing” units transferred from the old Jubilee House rent for an average of $436/month while the new “social housing” units rent for $1,142/month (source: City of Vancouver Administrative Report, February 6, 2014). These changes risk increasing homelessness and reducing affordability in Vancouver.
  • The changes benefit developers, not people in need of affordable housing. The threshold for a building to gain huge density bonuses for “social housing” is unreasonably low. Only 30% of residential units are required to meet the too-expensive levels described above. The remaining units are not required to be affordable at all.
  • The DODP and its proposed amendments are not “intelligible” or “simple and direct” as required by law. Instead, the documents use technical jargon, confusing wording and contain inconsistent and conflicting statements. The recent Supreme Court ruling requires the City to provide information in “a form that is understandable.” You can read the Downtown Official Development Plan and judge for yourself.
  • The City provides insufficient detail for the public to understand the pros and cons of the proposed amendments. The City provided no models or drawings showing the potential impact of the proposed changes. The recent Supreme Court ruling requires the City to provide sufficient information to enable the public to “fairly evaluate the pros and cons” and to “scrupulously consider” public input.
  • The proposed DODP increases the power of the (unelected) Development Permit Board, reduces City Council oversight, and reduces the public’s ability to provide inputregarding their own neighbourhood. It allows the DPB to grant unlimited density without requiring rezoning.
  • The proposed amendments to the DODP were drafted without any public input. Neighbourhoods and social housing residents were not consulted as part of the drafting process. The public deserves a voice in our own communities.

The Community Association of New Yaletown fully supports increased social housing that truly benefits the needy. However, the proposed amendments fail to achieve this objective, and bypass public input while allowing unrestricted developments.

Downtown Vancouver deserves a better, fairer, clearer Downtown Official Development Plan.

Say NO to the proposed Downtown Official Development Plan amendments. Your signature is needed by 5pm on March 24, 2015. Please sign the petition now:

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