Vancouver Park Board approves new Joint Operating Agreement with Community Centre Associations

Park Board OfficesBelow is a news release from Vancouver Park Board, issued today. Stay tuned for responses from the associations, including My Community Centres (Twitter @Vancouver_CCAs), which were central to negotiations in the whole process.

Vancouver Park Board
News Release

April 11, 2017

Vancouver Park Board approves new Joint Operating Agreement with Community Centre Associations

At a Vancouver Park Board meeting last night, Commissioners approved a new Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) to offer to 20 Community Centre Associations (CCAs).
The decision caps off a one-year consultation between the Park Board and the CCAs and introduces a historic new chapter in their relationship.

“The CCAs provided valuable feedback throughout this process which has resulted in a stronger document,” said Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe. “Approval of this new JOA marks a major step in rebuilding our long-standing partnership with the CCAs and helps ensure we continue to deliver the best possible recreation services to residents.” Continue reading

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 http://mycommunitycentre.com, 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: http://data.vancouver.ca/datacatalogue/employeeRemunerationExpensesOver75k.htm
  • 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..

Continue reading

How big money corrupts politics: BC’s Wild West of campaign funding needs reform (Elizabeth Murphy, Common Ground, April 2017)

vancouver-false-creek-skyline, credit Common Ground April 2017

False Creek skyline. Image credit: Common Ground, April 2017.

Tools: call4change.ca is a new citizen-initiated tool to help voters reach their MLA by phone or e-mail with a message calling for a ban on corporate and union donations (Twitter @call4changebc, hashtag #call4change). For further reference, see also integrityBC.ca, dogwoodBC.ca, cityhallwatch.ca, coalitionvan.ca.

This article appears in Common Ground magazine in April 2017. It is very timely, considering the BC Provincial election on May 9, 2017. (Note also: Next municipal elections are on October 20, 2018).

Link: http://commonground.ca/big-money-corrupts-politics/

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How big money corrupts politics: BC’s Wild West of campaign funding needs reform

Of the corporate donations to the BC Liberals, the largest group among the top donors are property developers.

by Elizabeth Murphy, April 2017

The provincial government has jurisdiction over election rules for both the province and municipalities. Here in BC, the wild west of campaign fundraising, provincial and municipal campaign finance rules are currently among the least accountable in Canada. This has been a huge problem for decades and will not change until the province takes action. The British Columbia provincial election on May 9 brings an opportunity to raise the issue of big money in politics and campaign finance reform.

Large donations and cash for access to candidates (often from vested interests) are standard practice with multi-million dollar campaigns. We are becoming the equivalent of a banana republic as globalized capital increasingly influences our governance.

Having the regulators funded by those they regulate is a form of systemic corruption. Limits on individual donations and banning corporate, union and foreign contributions are standard practices in many provinces and at the federal level. But not in BC. Here, at both the provincial and municipal levels, few restrictions exist and existing rules are often ignored.

The Vancouver Sun reported that, from 2005 to the first few weeks of 2017, of the corporate donations to the BC Liberals, the largest group among the top donors are property developers, with 21 of the top 50. Condo marketer Bob Rennie was the BC Liberal’s head fundraiser up to January 2017, leaving the party well funded for the May 9th election. Rennie has also been a prominent supporter and fundraiser for Vancouver’s ruling party, Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson.

These developers include the Aquilini family at the #2 spot ($1.43 million); Adera Group ($1.1 million); Wesbild ($929,576); and Peter Wall and nephew Bruno Wall ($914,425), who own and manage Wall Financial Corp., including the Wall Centre in Vancouver where the BC Liberals held their 2013 election victory win. The top 50 list also includes Polygon, Concord Pacific, Beedie Development Group, Onni, the Redekops and Ilichs. Continue reading

Vancouver City Planning Commission to hear report on Northeast False Creek (NEFC) Emerging Directions (3pm, Wed 12-Apr-2017)

nefc-area Image COV 2017

Northeast False Creek. Image credit: City of Vancouver

A heads up for anyone interested in the future of Northeast False Creek (NEFC). The Vancouver City Planning Commission will hear a report from Holly Sovdi, Planner for the NEFC Project just after 3 pm, Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

Agenda is here. The meeting is open to the public.

Here is a full web page with links dedicated to Northeast False Creek.
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/northeast-false-creek.aspx

(Mr. Sovdi was lead planner for the West End Community Plan community consultation process, which went for two years ending in late 2013.) Continue reading

Real Estate Crisis in Vancouver: Why it’s happening, who’s winning, and what we can do about it: Michael Hudson. Public talk 11-Apr-2017 (Tues)

Trump towerRenowned economist Michael Hudson will present a public talk as indicated below.

The Real Estate Crisis in Vancouver: why its happening, who’s winning, and what we can do about it
Tuesday April 11, 2017
Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway, Vancouver
Doors 6:30 / Start 7:00
Tickets at Eventbrite (early bird price $10) <https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-real-estate-crisis-in-vancouver-why-its-happening-whos-winning-and-how-it-can-be-fixed-tickets-32419913835>
The public talk will be followed by a moderated dialogue.

Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), former Wall Street economist turned critic, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and author of J is for Junk Economics (2017), Killing the Host (2015), The Bubble and Beyond (2012), amongst many others.

This event is presented by the BC Government & Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) in coordination with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office.

Speaker’s website: http://michael-hudson.com/

Co-sponsored by:
Vancity, The Jim Green Foundation, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), SFU City Program, SFU School of Public Policy, and The Tyee

– – – – – –

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, BC Office (CCPA-BC)

‘Celebrating 20 years of fearless policy ideas and research for a better world.’

Two actions to protect heritage and character homes: A wake (April 9) for heritage home, and a letter (now) on Character Home Zoning Review

Heritage home at 4255 West 12th Avenue

4255 West 12th Avenue. Slated for demolition.

About 1,000 homes are demolished each year in Vancouver. There also seems to be quiet arrangement in place between the City and developer Ian Gillespie’s “Creative Energy” to burn the demolition wood splinters from old-growth forest timber into “biofuel” to power an “eco-friendly” and “low-carbon” steam plant proposed by Creative Energy. The City is trying to skirt regulations to give Gillespie a monopoly that would be created by the proposed district heating system.

Meanwhile, there are two actions concerns citizens could take immediately on this topic. Show your concern by attending this “wake” for a heritage home, and write to the City with your comments for the  Character Home Zoning Review.

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Wake for Heritage Home
When: April 9, 2017 (Sunday), at 11:30 a.m.
Where: “Heart House” at 4255 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
Organizer: Neighbours Concerned About Community. Contact: 604-221-8181

 

“This weekend we will gather to mark the passing of the heritage home at 4255 West 12th Avenue. Speakers will include active community members and time will be given to those who would like to share memories. Short ceremony and opportunity to share memories, followed by a potluck luncheon. See invitation:
http://evite.me/GjSHjtjZhT

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Write to City of Vancouver about the Character Home Zoning Review 

Message from “Vancouver Character House Network” to heritage supporters: 

In early 2017 the City of Vancouver sought public input on its Character Home Zoning Review in an effort to curb the close to 1000 wasteful demolitions that take place annually and the resulting decline in housing affordability. Proposals included rezoning four neighbourhoods in the city that now have a high concentration of character homes.

Despite 75% support for “increased flexibility in zoning to support Character Home retention” and significant support in three of the four study areas (64%, 68%, 75%), and despite the fact that more than 5,500 people signed a 2014 petition also asking for a form a rezoning (https://www.change.org/p/city-of-vancouver-mayor-and-council-save-vancouver-s-character-houses, link includes video), the City’s Director of Planning removed rezoning as an option in the Character Home Zoning Review.

The Vancouver Character House Network says that the use of zoning as a tool is the only effective means of slowing demolitions.

The Network invites concerned citizens and groups to write to City Council and express support for conditional zoning, similar to what has long been used in RT (multifamily) zones, to help stop the demolition of the Vancouver’s enduring, more affordable original housing stock.

The Network offers an online “tool” (http://stopthedemolitions.herokuapp.com) as an aid with suggested wording, or anyone can write their own letter in their own words. Addresses are provided in the link.

#SuperPlate rally Sunday April 9 at VAG to hear about housing, political donations, BC election

HALT – Housing Action for Local Taxpayers is organizing a rally/fundraiser.

Posted by HALT – Housing Action for Local Taxpayers on Thursday, March 30, 2017

WHEN: 1:30-3:00 pm on Sunday, April 9, 2017
WHERE: Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7 The event will be held on open public ground of the VAG, on Robson St. side.
CONFIRMED speakers: