Council and Park Preview April 10-12, 2017: CCA-JOA decision, City salaries, homelessness count, DTES update, procurement, finances, Railtown

Vancouver City Hall has a relatively busy schedule this week, with some major topics and reports. Meetings include City Council (two meetings), a Public Hearing, Park Board, and the Vancouver City Planning Commission. The Urban Design Panel is set to meet next week on April 19 (no agenda yet), and the Development Permit Board on May 1. Busy people may wish to scan our summary below for items of interest.

The Park Board meets Monday, April 10 at 7 pm, while Tuesday April 11 has both a Regular Council meeting at 9:30 am and a Public Hearing at 6 pm. On Wednesday April 12 at 9:30 am Committee meeting on City Finance and Services is planned. The VCPC meets on Wednesday, April 12th at 3 pm.


Here are some items that caught our attention.

  • The Park Board is scheduled to make a decision on a Community Center Association – Joint Operating Agreement with Legal Considerations. Download the report from the agenda page (below). To follow the community perspective visit the group of associations (website, and on twitter @Vancouver_CCAs).
  • Regular City Council on Tuesday will cover a Homelessness Update, a Three-Year Progress Update of the Downtown Eastside Plan, Amendments to Design Guidelines for RT Zones in the Mount Pleasant Community, and a number of important financial reports (Annual Procurement Report 2016, Annual Financial Report 2016, 2016 Statement of Financial Information (SOFI), 2016 Council Remuneration and Expenses, and the 2017 Property Taxation – Distribution of Property Tax Levy).
  • The same Council meeting will decide to refer FIVE items to Public Hearings (rezonings at 210-262 West King Edward Ave, 3868-3898 Rupert St and 3304-3308 East 22nd Ave, 5469-5507 Willow St, and 2153-2199 Kingsway, and a “text amendment at 1101 West Waterfront Road (1199 West Cordova Street). It will also hear the Vancouver City Planning Commission 2016 Annual Report and 2017 Work Plan. 
  • Note that among other things the SOFI report covers suppliers above $25,000 in procurement value, and employees with salaries above $75,000. Interesting to review.
  • We see that the City spent $816,125,891 on suppliers in 2016, and $459,208,407 on remuneration for our public servants. That’s over $816 million, and $459 million, respectively. Of note, 918 City employees received more than $100,000 in pay in 2016. How does that compare with other municipalities per capita or other comparable measure? How does that compare with the private sector? A total of 2,368 staff earned more than $75,0000. The data is available in an Excel spreadsheet here:
  • For the Public Hearing, there is a rezoning at 4983 – 5007 Quebec Street, and “Facilitating Growth in Vancouver’s Innovation Economy – Railtown – Zoning and Developyment By-Law Amendments for I-4 (Historic Industrial) District.” The latter one is a hot topic, and in departure from regular practice, it appears Council is re-opening the speaker list. “Any person who has already spoken or submitted written comments may do so again.” We don’t see that very often.
  • For the Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, items that catch the eye include “Prohibition of Non-recirculating Uses of Water and Enhanced Water Efficiency Requirements to Support Water Conservation,” and “City Sponsorship of Mass Participation Cycling Events.”

Media have already covered some of the topics. Search for the key words with Google News.

Agendas are provided below, for reference..

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Rezoning applications snapshot, 5-Apr-2017

As a free public service we take a monthly snapshot of Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website.

Below is the snapshot from April 5, 2017. Listed here are 53 “proposed” rezonings; 62 “approved”; 12 “enacted”; 11 “open houses” (about double the recent average); 1 “public hearing”; 1 “withdrawn” application; 3 “updated information”; and 0 “referred to public hearing”.

Deserving of special attention are the open houses and public hearings. They are important chances for the public to obtain information and give feedback. Here are the upcoming ones listed at the time of this post:



If you as a reader see any of the rezoning applications that deserve public scrutiny, please feel free to send us an e-mail ( with your concerns and we’ll see if we can look into it further.

This list below is simply copied from the City’s Rezoning Centre website. There is no guarantee that the City’s links will continue working over time, so you are advised to download anything important. For the current official list, click: Note that the Archives link carries links to past rezonings from 2011 onward.

Download this list in PDF format: cov-rezoning-applications-5-apr-2017

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Development applications snapshot, 5-Apr-2017

As a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Development Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website.

Our count for 5-Apr-2017 shows 43 “DE” applications and 90 “DP” applications (excluding 7 MMRU – Medical Marijuana-Related Use Development Applications). Of the 133 DE & DP numbers, 16 are “concurrent with rezoning.” The “Centerm Port Expansion Project” is listed without a number. Four applications are “revised,” none are “on hold,” and 1 item is “unscheduled from the Development Permit Board.” Some may have also had a change of address, a mysterious and tricky practice.

Anyone interested in these projects is also encouraged to periodically check the Urban Design Panel (UDP) and Development Permit Board (DPB) schedules, as many projects appear before them as part of the approval pipeline. Check often, as sometimes their agendas appear publicly online just the day of the meeting. As of April 5, the DPB website shows the next meeting on April 18. The “Current Development Applications Scheduled” page dated 31-Mar-2017 (the first update in many weeks), shows ten items, for April 3, May 1, May 29, June 12 and July 10, mostly major buildings by major developers. Download: cov-current-development-applications-development-permit-board-21-feb-2017

(We also take rezoning application snapshots. Search for “rezoning” and “snapshot” in the CityHallWatch search field.) If you are concerned about an application and would like to publicize it or get more info, send us an e-mail at, and we might be able to look deeper. The following information is simply copied as text from the City’s site. Many links will stop working over time. For current list, click:

Click here for the list in PDF format: cov-development-applications-5-apr-2017

If you as a citizen would like to do one small thing to make the City more accountable, consider writing Mayor and Council asking them to make Development Applications archives available online. The City website provides a list of archived Rezoning Applications (here) going back to 2011, so why not full information on past Development Applications too?

For reference, we’ve reproduced the full list of development applications below, as posted on the City of Vancouver website:

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Council and Park Board Preview – March 27-29: Housing policy reset, Railtown zoning changes, Grants, Liquor Licences in Parks Establishments and more

City HallThis week the Vancouver Park Board has a meeting on Monday, March 27, and City Council has two meetings (Tuesday and Wednesday, March 28 and 29). It is a relatively quiet week, but a major topic is the Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy Reset – Housing Vancouver Emerging Directions  on Tuesday morning.

We will add more links later.

The Development Permit Board meets next on Monday, April 3, 2017 regarding 320 Granville Street and 4255 Arbutus Street (formerly 4288 Yew Street)

The Urban Design Panel meets next on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 ().

For reference, the full agendas of Council and Park Board meetings are reproduced below:

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Council and Park Board Preview March 6-9th: Ceataceans Report, JOAs, Character Homes, Legalizing Secondary Suites, Tax Averaging, 4/20 permit and more

Another busy week is coming for Vancouver City Council meetings (three in total: Regular, Public Hearing, and Committee) and Park Board (three meetings).

Starting off the week, Park Board has scheduled a meeting on Monday, March 6th at 7pm to discuss a proposed Proposed Joint Operating Agreement with Community Centre Associations. As well, the board will consider granting a permit for the 4/20 Vancouver event at Sunset Beach that would include a limited event-specific exemption to the Smoking Regulation Bylaw. [OUTCOME: Commissioners voted to direct staff to consult with CCAs on legal aspects, and rejected a permit for 4/20.]

Park Board will also hold meetings on March 8th and 9th (Wed/Thurs) to review options presented in a staff report on cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium. Public speakers will be heard on Wednesday night starting at 6pm. Speakers can register before noon of March 8th (Wed). The vote and discussions will take place a day later, starting at 6pm on Thursday. The review was prompted in part by the recent deaths of two beluga whales at the Aquarium. The documentary film Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered provides additional information about the live cetaceans display in Stanley Park (watch it online here).

The Regular Council meeting on Tuesday, March 7th, includes an update on consultation on Character Homes. An update is also planned about the current permit and development process. A motion on notice to consult with local business and stakeholders regarding transportation design for Commercial Drive is on the agenda. Another motion on notice is to find ways to make it easier to legalize secondary suites in duplex and multifamily zoned properties. [OUTCOME on this points. See City website for staff reports. Motion on Commercial Drive was voted down and content referred back to staff. Same with motion on secondary suites. Staff plan a housing update report back on March 28 to include that topic, and detailed proposal in July.]

The Public Hearing scheduled for 6pm on Tuesday, March 7th will review a rezoning proposal for a 12-storey building and 6-storey podium at 371 West 2nd Avenue. A total of 132 condo units are proposed, with a Floor Space Ratio of 4.11 and a total building height of 39.6 metres (130 ft). A Community Amenity Contribution of just $5,452,383 is offered for this spot rezoning from Industrial (M-2) to residential (a CD-1). One of the ways in which Council sometimes considers establishing a CAC value is to take 75% of the land lift before and after the rezoning (although not in this case). The 2017 property assessment was $25,316,000. An open question is whether the property will appreciate more than the value that would have been set by the typical land lift calculation, $7,269,844 (a CAC of $5,452,383 is 75% of this value). Is the City collecting a fair share in CACs?

The Council Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 8th will look at 2017 Property Taxation and Land Assessment Averaging. There’s a contract award for construction work on levels 8 and 9 at the Vancouver Central Library. The renewal of BIAs (Business Improvement Areas) to 7-year terms in Chinatown and Strathcona will be reviewed. The City collects mandatory levies from businesses in BIA catchment areas. The report states: “The proposed BIA levy ranges from $95.85 to $17,166.88 annually, depending upon the assessed value of the property. Forty five properties will have a levy under $500, 237 properties will have a levy between $500 and $2,000, and 133 properties will be charged over $2,000 annually.

The full meeting agendas are reproduced below: Continue reading

Open Houses: People, Parks, and Dogs Strategy (7 events Feb 11-Mar 4)

Dog off leash area, Trout Lake
Park Board has scheduled a series of Open Houses to receive input on its People, Parks, and Dogs Strategy. The schedule of the Open Houses is listed below:

  • Sat, Feb 11, 1:00pm–4:00pm (Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews)
  • Wed, Feb 15, 5:30pm–8:30pm (Langara Golf Course, Clubhouse , 6706 Alberta Street)
  • Sat, Feb 18, 1:00pm–4:00pm (Kitsilano Community Centre, 2690 Larch Street)
  • Mon, Feb 20, 5:30pm–8:30pm (Wise Hall, 1882 Adanac Street)
  • Sat, Feb 25, 1:00pm–4:00pm (River District Showroom, 8683 Kerr Street)
  • Wed, Mar 1, 5:30pm–8:30pm (Central Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street)
  • Sat, Mar 4, 1:00pm–4:00pm (PNE, The Hastings Room, 2901 Hastings Street)

The Park Board is seeking feedback on key draft recommendations in this Round 2 of public consultation. The presentation boards are available on the Park Board website.

Vancouver population 631,486 in 2016 Census, and 25,502 unoccupied dwelling units

Vancouver skyline winter

Statistics Canada revealed that Vancouver’s population increased to 631,486 residents, as part of the 2016 Census count. This is an increase of 4.6% from the previous 2011 population count of 603,502. As well, the Census also showed that 25,502 residential dwelling units were unoccupied at the time of the Census (May 10, 2016). The overall population of Canada increased to 35,151,728 residents, representing 5.0% growth since 2011.

The population of Surrey increased to 517,887, a 10.6% increase from 2011. Other Canadian cities with high rates of growth in the same time frame included Calgary (13.0%), Edmonton (14.8%) and Saskatoon (10.9%). More moderate population growth was recorded in Toronto (4.5%), Ottawa (5.8%) and Winnipeg (6.3%). The largest city in Canada was Toronto, with 2,731,571 residents and a population density of 4,334.4 people per square kilometre. In contrast, the city of Vancouver’s population density was 5,492.6 people per square kilometre. Vancouver is a denser city than Toronto.

Statistics Canada hired 35,000 additional workers for the 2016 Census; hundreds of enumerators went door to door in Vancouver alone over a four-month period to follow-up and verify data in the field. Statistics Canada counted all residential dwelling units across Canada and recorded the number of residents per unit. Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, foreign workers and students with visas were all included in the population count (excluded were tourists and visitors). One in four residents completed a mandatory long form census.

A total of 309,418 private dwelling units were recorded in Vancouver. 283,916 private dwelling units were occupied by usual residents; in other words, 25,502 residential units were unoccupied on Census Day. The Statistics Canada website notes:

‘Private dwelling occupied by usual residents’ refers to a private dwelling in which a person or a group of persons is permanently residing. Also included are private dwellings whose usual residents are temporarily absent on May 10, 2016.

An unoccupied dwelling unit could be an investment property left empty, or it could be a rental unit without a tenant. The City of Vancouver received a report in March of 2016 that claimed there are 10,800 empty homes by examining hydro (electricity consumption) data from 225,000 homes (this figure of 10,800 empty homes is 14,702 less than the count of unoccupied dwelling units by StatsCan).

Statistics Canada has scheduled the following dates to release additional results from the 2016 Census of Population:

  • May 3, 2017 – Age, sex and type of dwelling
  • August 2, 2017 – Families, households, marital status and language
  • September 13, 2017 – Income
  • October 25, 2017 – Immigration, ethnocultural diversity, housing and Aboriginal peoples
  • November 29, 2017 – Education, labour, journey to work, language of work, mobility and migration

The Census included mechanisms to count homeless, as well as people living in tents, cars, or other vehicles. Data collected for the Census is strictly confidential and covered by the Statistics Act.


Population changes varied over Vancouver. A number of Census tracts recorded population declines (orange). Population increases are shown in purple (see legend). Click on image to see original high-resolution PDF.