Make Gregor keep his promise! Come to a Gregor Roast!

Civic activist Jean Swanson is circulating the following message, and interesting counterpoint to this week’s media blitz  (like this release) by the City’s large corporate communications department about huge projected achievements in creating affordable housing.

***************Gregor Robertson

Make Gregor keep his promise! Come to a Gregor Roast!

What: BBQ & Speeches
Where: 58 W Hastings
When: August 2, Wednesday at 1 pm

Background: One year ago today on August 2nd, Mayor Gregor Robertson promised that 58 W. Hastings would be rezoned for 100% welfare/pension rate community controlled housing by June, 2017. It’s almost August. Our Homes Can’t Wait has been working diligently with the city to get our community vision for 100% welfare/pension rate community controlled housing, but so far there is no rezoning and the City plan is for only half the housing at 58 W. Hastings to be at welfare/pension rate, and for it to be controlled by the Chinatown Foundation.

Let’s make Gregor keep his promise! Come and speak out for housing in our DTES community that low income people can afford. BBQ and speeches. Starts at 1 pm, Wed., Aug. 2nd. Keep your promise Gregor!!

Info on October 14, 2017 by-election for one City Council position in Vancouver

Advance Poll Voting City Hall

The City of Vancouver has released information on the October 14, 2017 byelection, triggered by Councillor Geoff Meggs, who has resigned to become the Chief of Staff (political position) for NDP Premier John Horgan. The election budget due to his decision is over $1.5 million. The official website for this information: http://vancouver.ca/byelection

Today the City Clerk was appointed by Council to serve as the Chief Election Officer. That would be Janice MacKenzie, who also served in that role in the 2014 civic election. Here is the staff report to Council July 26 with more details:
http://council.vancouver.ca/20170726/documents/pspc3.pdf

People vying for the opening on City Council have started declaring their intentions to run. What will be the key election issues? We hope that one will be election campaign finance reform, and we will watch for which candidates (and their parties) declare that they will not accept corporate or union donations.

Below are excerpts from an e-mail from the City on July 17.

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City of Vancouver prepares for upcoming by-election this fall – General voting proposed for October 14

City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin
July 17, 2017

On July 26, Vancouver City Council is expected to appoint the Chief Election Officer who is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the election, in accordance with provincial legislation. The Chief Election Officer’s primary role is to implement the by-election, ensure the integrity of the voting process and voter anonymity, and to encourage democratic participation.

Once appointed, the Chief Election Officer will propose to hold a by-election on October 14, 2017 for a vacant position on City Council following the resignation of a city councillor. By-elections like other civic elections are managed by the Office of the City Clerk. Pursuant to the Vancouver Charter, the City Clerk notified Council of the resignation on July 11, 2017.

In order to meet the statutory requirements for conducting a Vancouver School Board by-election, the Province must inform the City of its intent to hold a by-election for Vancouver School Trustees by August 4. The seats of the Vancouver School Board are currently vacant.

Proposed key dates and steps:

Nomination period – August 29 to September 8

The nomination period for candidates will take place from August 29 to September 8. During this time, candidates must submit their profiles, photos and documents declaring candidacy in the by-election.

Advance voting October 4 and 10 with general voting on October 14

Advance voting will take place on October 4 and 10 between 8am and 8pm at Vancouver City Hall.

General voting day is October 14 with voting stations open from 8am to 8pm at approximately 50 locations throughout Vancouver including schools, community centres, City Hall and one church. All locations will be announced in the coming weeks and listed at vancouver.ca/byelection.

Mail ballot voting – begins September 26 Continue reading

Even before Public Hearing for Burrard & Nelson project (1st Baptist Church) Westbank offers VIP access and is marketing luxury condo globally

969 Burrard First Baptist Westbank, elevations, application 2017 revUpdate: Second night of the Public Hearing ended after 10 pm on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. City Council is slated to vote on this item as “unfinished business” in its committee meeting on Wednesday, July 26.

Many questions should be answered before City Council can vote on this application returning to a Public Hearing for its second night tonight (969 Burrard and 1019-1045 Nelson Street ).

Tonight (July 25, 2017) is the second night of a public hearing for this rezoning. (Click here for all details/docs/links for Public Hearing, and here for full set of docs for the rezoning itself.)

While the City was still consulting with the community, nearly a year before the West End Community Plan was adopted in November 2016, Westbank CEO Ian Gillespie was already proclaiming to insiders that a tower beside First Baptist Church at Burrard and Nelson was a “done deal.” At that point he was talking about 35 storeys. The application before City Council tonight has risen to 57 stories, on a lot that is currently set at a maximum of 24. He is asking for a dramatic increase in height and density, yet the math used to calculate the corresponding Community Amenity Contributions is not available for public or independent verification, and he is asking for a departure from City policy, with delayed CAC payments (see detailed comment on this by Pete Fry).

Meanwhile, comments on social media have pointed out that even well before the Public Hearing, “VIP Access” and “Early Buyer Incentives” were already available through Agnieszka Stryjecka, including pre-selection of floor plans and priority pricing, before public gets to see it. See: http://vancouver4life.com/burrard-and-nelson-by-westbank/

And over in Asia, a Malaysian/Singaporean article is already mentioning the planned global sales launch of the “Burrard and Nelson” development. Besides Vancouver House, the the article promotes Kensington Gardens, Joyce Collingwood, and Horseshoe Bay, which to get the rezoning approvals the developer pitched to local elected officials as serving local housing needs. See: “Westbank’s luxury residences in Vancouver have global appeal, by Cecilia Chow & Lin Zhiqin, The Edge Property Singapore, July 24, 2017), http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/westbanks-luxury-residences-vancouver-have-global-appeal

When it comes to the vote, by showing its enthusiasm for developers and projects like this, will our elected officials on City Council be helping or hindering efforts to address the housing crisis in Vancouver?

 

 

@CollectivistaX condensed parody version of Robertson interview on new rental housing strategy hits the main message: Supply and Density

Above is a two minute condensed-parody version of an interview by Sonia Deol of Global News with Mayor Gregor Robertson on new rental housing plan, condensed by @CollectivistaX.

Below is a link to the full original interview (19 minutes). “Sonia Deol sits down with Mayor Gregor Robertson and asks him why he thinks this new rental housing plan could actually work. He also reacts to critics saying it’s really all part of seeking another term in office.” July 23, 2017

http://globalnews.ca/news/3618893/vancouver-mayor-gregor-robertson-is-defending-the-citys-proposed-rental-pilot-project/

 

Georgia Straight editor calls for media boycott of Mayor Robertson’s Sunday media briefing on rental housing initiative

(Updated: See bottom.)

Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith has brought public some attention to odd behaviour by Mayor Gregor Robertson in his treatment of the media on the hot topic of affordable housing. It is worth noting. Media were invited to a Sunday morning media briefing. But the whole scoop was given to a preferred reporter and the article printed a day ahead. This gives one the sense the whole thing is a controlled publicity initiative.Gregor Robertson

Mayor Gregor Robertson plans news conference after giving exclusive to preferred reporter
by Charlie Smith, editor, Georgia Straight
http://www.straight.com/news/940016/mayor-gregor-robertson-plans-news-conference-after-giving-exclusive-preferred-reporter

Excerpt…

Tomorrow morning, reporters are going to drag their butts out to the corner of West 43rd Avenue and Alberta Street to hear Mayor Gregor Robertson speak about an affordable rental housing initiative.

When I saw the notification, I planned on attending because rental housing is something of great interest to our readers.

Then I picked up today’s Globe and Mail and saw the entire story had already been covered by Frances Bula.

…. I’m hoping the media joins me in boycotting tomorrow’s news conference. I’m going to protest by having coffee with a friend instead.

A news conference boycott would send a strong message to the mayor’s office. Imagine if CBC, Global B.C., CTV B.C., Citytv, the Vancouver Sun, the Province, CKNW, News 1130, Roundhouse Radio, Ming PaoSing Tao24 HoursMetro, Fairchild, the South Asian community papers, the Korean community papers, the Philippine community papers, the Source, the Afro NewsXtra!, Omni TV, the National Post, and the Vancouver Courier all took a pass, but that won’t happen.

Here are the key points in today’s Globe and Mail story:

1. The mayor wants developers to allocate 25 percent of units in new projects to be rented to people whose incomes are between $30,000 and $80,000.

2. This could be financed by providing these developers with more density.

See the Straight for the full comment, plus a link to the Globe & Mail article referenced (note that it appears to have been updated in the online version as of Sunday morning). Continue reading

East Fraser Lands (River District): Official Development Plan 10-Year Review. Open houses July 22 (Sat) 26 (Wed)

east fraser lands area map COV

The East Fraser Lands (River District) cover 126 acres of former industrial land south of Marine Way and between Kerr Street and Boundary Road

Launch of Official Development Plan (ODP) 10-Year Review for East Fraser Lands

The City of Vancouver is starting a one-year process to review and update the East Fraser Lands ODP.  Two open houses are planned in the coming days.

July 22, 2017 (Saturday) 10 am to 3 pm
River District Centre & Farmers Market, 8683 Kerr Street, Vancouver

July 26, 2017 (Wednesday) 5 to 8 pm
Champlain Heights Community Centre, 3350 Maquinna Dr, Vancouver

More information:
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/east-fraser-lands-river-district.aspx

Contact the City at 604-871-6889, eastfraserlands@vancouver.ca

Below is some info gleaned from the City website. Go to the City for more information. The link above provides extensive information including the staff report to City Council in June 2017. Continue reading

Pearson-Dogwood development on 25-acre site for 2,700 housing units + health facilities. Worth $5+ billion? Rezoning Public Hearing tonight (July 20)

Pearson Dogwood image, credit CoV, July 2017

Pearson Dogwood development plan. The 25-acre site is between 57th & 59th Avenues and between Heather & Cambie Streets, Onni is the developer. Image: CoV 2017

[Update: This Public Hearing went from 6 pm to about 10 pm. After presentations, about 17 speakers addressed council, some by video link. The final Council discussion and vote/decision will be on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 starting 2 pm as “unfinished business. See the Public Hearing link for documents and video. We have added more material and references. It is rather surprising that NO MEDIA have covered the public hearing, other than one generic article in the Georgia Straight a week before the public hearing. For such a huge project, this Public Hearing has been far below the radar of media and public attention.]

This is a huge project on the Pearson Dogwood lands, bordered by 57th and 59th Avenues, Heather and Cambie Streets. It is proposed by IBI Group Inc. on behalf of Onni Pearson Dogwood Holdings Corp. (of the Onni Group).

By the numbers: 25 acres, nearly 2.7 million square feet for 2,700 residential units (including market-rate condos, “affordable housing,” and supportive housing), child care, an adult day center, a 2.5 acre park, a one-acre urban farm, commercial space, health facilities, and more. More than 10 buildings, max to 28 storeys high. We make a very rough estimate that the total project could be worth five to ten billion dollars* on what was formerly public land.

Public Hearing
Vancouver City Hall
6 pm, Thursday, July 20, 2017
Official documents and information:
http://council.vancouver.ca/20170720/phea20170720ag.htm

Official rezoning information
http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/pearsondogwood/index.htm

The City of Vancouver has received a rezoning application for the Pearson Dogwood site at 500-650 West 57th Avenue. The proposal is to rezone and develop this 25 acre site from RT-2 (Two-Family Dwelling) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District based on the Council-approved Pearson Dogwood Policy Statement, for the purpose of developing a mixed-use development. The development will include:

  • approximately 2,700 residential units totalling 250,619 sq. m (2,697,732 sq. ft.), including 361 turnkey social housing units and land available to construct 179 social housing units;
  • approximately 114 Pearson supportive units totalling 8,430 sq. m (90,744 sq. ft.);
  • 12,196 sq. m (131,281 sq. ft.) of commercial space;
  • 19,835 sq. m (213,514 sq. ft.) of health related facilities including a community health centre and complex residential care facility;
  • a 69-space childcare;
  • a new adult day centre;
  • a new therapy pool;
  • a 2.5 acre public park;
  • a 1 acre urban farm;
  • a height of 91.0 metres (299 feet); and
  • a floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.83.

According to the Georgia Straight, construction is proposed in phases to begin in 2018. “Phase one would be complete with the first residents moving in in 2021 or 2022. Phase two would begin in 2021. The third and final phase of construction would begin in 2024.”

++++++++++++++

The Georgia Straight (Travis Lupick) summarized a June 2017 city staff report, saying the project would consist of 2046 market-rate condos, 540 affordable-housing units, and 114 supportive-housing units. Residential buildings proposed for the site would number more than 10, the tallest of which could not exceed 28 storeys. The development replace aging facilities, with a new health complex operated by Vancouver Coastal Health.

There are some major some issues with the project. To name just two, the privatization of public land, and the lack of adequate or integrated transportation plans.

One is the privatization of what was previously publicly-owned land. It would be interesting to see an independent analysis of the short-term and long-term costs and benefits of the deal. Have the provincial government and municipal government politicians obtained the greatest possible value for the public in return for what they are offering the developer (public land at a good price, combined with a massive increase in density through rezoning)?

Reference: “The fine art of dissecting debt from contractual obligations” (Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, February 28, 2017). Excerpt: Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals have sold off more than $1 billion worth of government land and other assets in recent years, with another $1 billion in sales already in the works, says auditor-general Carol Bellringer. The independent watchdog on government finances reported on the burgeoning asset sales in her annual report on the public accounts, released Tuesday. Bellringer and her staff looked at the release of assets for economic generation (RAEG) program, launched in Clark’s first year as part of a drive to eliminate the operating deficit and balance the budget. The sell-off of surplus public land to private developers brought in almost $800 million in the first three years, with Vancouver’s Dogwood-Pearson and Little Mountain lands accounting for three-quarters of the proceeds.

Another problem is transportation. The Georgia Straight reported that “Challenges derail arrival of new Canada Line station on Cambie Street in South Vancouver” (Carlito Pablo, June 26, 2017). (http://www.straight.com/news/929446/challenges-derail-arrival-new-canada-line-station-cambie-street-south-vancouver) The Cambie Corridor has attracted thousands of units of development, with the City of Vancouver proclaiming the importance of “transit-oriented development” (TOD). But it looks like this application is going to end up with thousands more residents here — giving us a transit-oriented district with one key element missing: transit. Mr. Pablo refers to a future Canada Line station to be here as part of the broad policy statement adopted in 2014 by the Vision Vancouver-dominated city council for the redevelopment of the disctrict. “The Onni Group has purchased most of the 10-hectare property from Vancouver Coastal Health for condo development…. A report to Council by Susan Haid, city assistant director of planning for Vancouver South, (June 27, 2017) says: “Though it is desirable to achieve a future station at 57th Avenue there are a number of key challenges…. Currently, the station is not considered in regional transportation plans and is not considered a regional priority such as the Broadway Corridor line…. Existing transit access and the lack of east-west bus connectivity is also a challenge…. While the existing design of the Canada Line considered future stations at 57th and 33rd Avenue, the design provided no access or tunnel connection to the line and construction is anticipated to be technically complex and highly costly.”

As this tweet below shows, at least one person spoke about this at the Public Hearing (Mike Burdick, President of the Marpole Oakridge Community Association).

Apparently, Onni, set to make millions of dollars in profits if the rezoning is approved, doesn’t want to foot the bill. Separately, Onni was on the receiving end of an “accidental” waiver of $1.5 million dollars in development fees on another site, uncovered by a reporter and eventually paid.

Most people would tend to think of this as being in the Cambie Corridor, but it is technically referred to as being in Marpole.

We are not aware of much media coverage of the Public Hearing tonight, July 20, 2017, at a time when many people are away on vacation. It is perhaps not surprising that just an hour before the meeting began, only 27 letters to Council were listed on the rezoning.

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*Note on 5 billion dollar estimate: Very roughly calculated at 2.7 million sf x $1800/sf = nearly $5 billion in development potential — admittedly very rough as this only includes the residential units, but at least an indication of the order of magnitude.

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Content of rezoning web page (as of July 20, 2017)

Revised Parcel C Design (April 6, 2017)

In March 2016, the applicant informed the City that despite following a three year process to find a feasible approach to the development of a new facility, the YMCA had decided to respectfully withdraw as a partner in the Pearson Dogwood Project. Going forward, the YMCA will work with the City to pursue other development options in support of its ongoing commitment to South Vancouver and the Marpole community. The proposed building on parcel C has been redesigned without the YMCA resulting in a reduced massing. As the Policy Statement allowed for the exclusion of the YMCA’s floor area the overall density of the site has not changed.  The therapy pool remains in the podium level of parcel C.

 

A summary of changes includes:

  • The removal of the YMCA facility
  • Reduction in height and massing of the parcel C podium
  • Redistribution of floor area and heights between parcels C, D, H and F (overall gross floor area remains unchanged)
  • Retail units added at the ground level of parcel C to provide actives uses on the  plaza edge
  • Reduction in heights of affordable housing buildings in parcel H

 

Revised Parcel C Design Package (April 6, 2017)

Revised Application (February 10, 2017)

The City has received a revised application package which responds to comments received by staff, the public and Urban Design Panel. There are no changes to the site density, public benefit package or overall heights. Major changes from the previous application (December 24, 2015) include:

 

  • an increase in affordable housing units from 411 to 540
  • an increase in market residential floor area
  • decrease in the footprint of underground parking structures to increase opportunities for tree retention and stormwater management
  • clarification of the vision for the overall site, the urban farm and neighbourhood precincts
  • redesign of public spaces including the plaza and high street to accomodate a more diverse range of uses
  • a redistribution of building heights in parcels G and H to minimize shadowing on the urban farm and to provide better height variation.

Revised Application Package (February 10, 2017)

Application (December 24, 2015)

Notifications

Council Meetings

Advisory Group and Community Meetings

 

Links

 

To view additional plans, please make an appointment with the rezoning planner.

City Contact: Graham Winterbottom, Rezoning Planner, graham.winterbottom@vancouver.ca, 604-829-4217

Applicant Contact: Jamie Vaughan, Onni Group, jvaughan@onni.com, 604-602-7711