CVN letter to Council (for 17-Jan-2023): Rental Rezoning Policies for RR spot rezonings citywide & referrals to public hearing

January 13, 2023

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Ken Sim and Councillors,

Re: Rental Rezoning Policies for RR spot rezonings citywide & referrals to public hearing 2023-01-17

Council Agenda:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20230117/regu20230117ag.htm
Council Reports:
6. Rezoning: 1977 West 41st Avenue and 5688 Maple Street https://council.vancouver.ca/20230117/documents/rr6.pdf
Rezoning of RS3A to the new Rental Rezoning RR3A off-the-shelf rezoning.

7. Rezoning: 807-847 East 33rd Avenue
https://council.vancouver.ca/20230117/documents/rr7.pdf
Rezoning of RS1 to new Rental Rezoning RR2B off-the-shelf rezoning.

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports increasing rental housing in every neighbourhood. However, CVN is opposed to the existing Rental Rezoning Policies from the previous Council and the proposed referral to public hearing of the first RR spot rezonings under these policies 2023-01-17.

We therefore request that you do not refer the RR rezonings to public hearing and instead reconsider how rental housing is planned using a neighbourhood-based process through the Vancouver Plan.

Change of approach needed: Last fall’s civic election sent a clear message that the public wants a change in direction from the previous council. The ABC majority indicated during the election that arbitrary citywide spot rezonings for 6 to 12 storeys would be reconsidered within a neighbourhood-based context through the Vancouver Plan implementation. Yet, these policies remain in place and spot rezonings for RR zoning like the two above are still coming forward for referral to public hearing, in advance of this promised reconsideration.

This letter is to update you on the Change.org petition, Our Communities Our Plans, which is opposed to these arbitrary rezoning policies and now has over 4880 signatures. https://www.change.org/p/city-of-vancouver-council-officials-our-communities-our-plans-99961c91-4a17-497d-86c8-b385b3c0f315

Neighbourhood-based planning needed: Every neighbourhood can and should be planned within its local context with a meaningful public consultation process.  Many neighbourhoods already have community plans that should be considered.  Rental housing should be incorporated within the scale and context of each neighbourhood’s plan, and such housing should be spread equitably across the city.

Lack of planning and resources for amenities and infrastructure for growth: Of particular concern is the lack of neighbourhood-based planning so that adequate amenities and infrastructure are provided for any approved growth.  These rental projects are exempt from all Development Cost Levies (DCLs) and Community Amenity Contributions (CACs), so therefore it is even more critical that planning includes the resources for schools, health care, daycare, community facilities, amenities and infrastructure in every neighbourhood. Many neighbourhoods are already underserved.

Effects on affordability through speculation and land inflation: Large arbitrary spot rezonings of from 6 to 12 storeys set precedents in lower density areas that inflate land values and put development pressure on the surrounding area. This undermines net affordability if the older more affordable housing is inflated, so strategic development within the local context is vitally important.

Lack of proper approval process: These RR rezonings do not consider the actual form of development for their particular lots and are not consistent with the intent of public hearings. The city needs to move away from so many spot rezonings. Historically, spot rezonings were used only in special circumstances, not as  a means of planning the city as a whole, as is being done under current practices.

Further, the so-called “public consultation” is not clearly disclosed in the reports to show the actual numbers of those who support or oppose a project.

Lack of data for planning: City Council and the public continue to lack the much-needed data to determine how many units are actually required for anticipated growth in our communities. Current rental policies will result in the loss of existing affordable housing, especially in targeted RS, RT, and RM zones.

The current Rental Rezoning Policies should be put on hold: Please do not approve the referral of these RR projects to public hearing. Instead work with the neighbourhoods to reconsider the Vancouver Plan by working  through neighbourhood-based planning that involves the community in determining how growth and affordable rental housing can be accommodated in every neighbourhood within the local context, and with the required amenities and services.

For your reference, please see the previous CVN letters on related topics:

Rental Policies Referral Report: Oct. 2021
https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2021-10-05-streamlining-rental-referral/

Rental Policies Public Hearing: Nov. 2021
https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2021-11-02-streamlining-rental-public-hearing/

Vancouver Plan: July 5, 2022
https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2022-07-06-vancouver-plan-opposed/

Sincerely,
Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association
West Southland Residents Association

CVN letter to Council (for 6-Dec-2022): Opposed – Clr. Boyle Motion B.2 – ‘Reducing Barriers and Deepening Affordability for Non-Profit, Co-op and Social Housing in Every Neighbourhood’

Download PDF: CVN Letter – 2022-12-05 Boyle motion 12 storeys no public hearings

December 5, 2022
City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Ken Sim and Councillors,

Re: Clr. Boyle Motion B.2 –  Reducing Barriers and Deepening Affordability for Non-Profit, Co-op and Social Housing in Every Neighbourhood 

Council Agenda:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20221206/regu20221206ag.htm
Council Report:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20221206/documents/b2.pdf

While the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports in principle non-profit, co-op and social housing in every neighbourhood, CVN is opposed to this motion for the same reasons we were opposed to Councillor Boyle’s similar motion in May 2021.

The proposal for 12 storey towers without public hearings in the RM3 and RM4 zones would put extreme pressure on the existing 3 or 4 storeys rental buildings in those zones, and trigger the loss of the most affordable existing rentals in the city.

Every neighbourhood can and should be planned within the local context with a meaningful public consultation process.  Many neighbourhoods already have Community Plans. Non-profit, co-op and social housing should be incorporated within the scale and context of each neighbourhood’s plan, and such housing should be spread equitably across the city.

Large arbitrary spot rezonings of up to 12 storeys would set precedents that inflate land values and put development pressure on the surrounding area. This undermines net affordability if the older more affordable housing is inflated, so keeping development within the local context is important.

Also, it is undemocratic and against the intent of the Vancouver Charter to allow spot rezonings without public hearings. The city needs to move away from so many spot rezonings. Historically, spot rezonings were used only in special circumstances, not, as recently done, as a means of planning the city as a whole.

Additionally, City Council and the public continue to lack the much-needed data to determine what unit numbers are actually needed for our communities, we need clarification on the definition of ‘social housing’, and this motion will result in the loss of existing affordable housing, especially in targeted RS, RT, and RM zones.

Please do not approve this motion and instead work with the neighbourhoods to reconsider the Vancouver Plan by working  through neighbourhood-based planning that involves the community in determining how growth and affordable housing can be accommodated in every neighbourhood within the local context, with the required amenities and services.

Further, we here enclose the concerns raised in our CVN letter to Council from May 2021 to address Councillor Boyle’s similar motion.
https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2021-may18-increases-12-storeys-city-wide/

A summary of the main reasons for opposing this motion are:

– The scale of the proposed buildings are too big at 400% of the outright height and FSR with major negative impacts on existing rentals, land inflation, demoviction and displacement;

– Staff need to provide the data as directed by Council motion in May 2020 to inform the planning for how much social housing is actually needed;

– The city’s definition of “social housing” currently allows 70% of the units at market rent but counts it as 100% social housing when it is mostly market rents. This needs reconsideration and clarification in the near future, as previously considered at Council (see Councillor Fry’s earlier Motion)

– It is undemocratic to allow major increases in height and density without public hearing and undermines community plans.

Social housing with appropriate locations, supports and amenities could be provided in every neighbourhood if the scale, form and context of each neighbourhood were properly considered. This motion doesn’t do this as the proposed scale and form would have major negative consequences for the affected communities without requiring project rezoning public hearings.

Some of the many concerns are as follows:

– The huge increase in scale of up to 400% of that allowed by current outright zoning would increase land lift for the subject property and all of the area around the site. RM-3A and RM4 would go from 3-4 storeys at 1.45 FSR to 12-13 storeys (including exempted top floor amenities) with 6 FSR.

– Staff suggested that with the six storey height limit, the new social housing was only feasible if the land were acquired at no cost, i.e., already a social housing site. So the new social housing would be at the expense of existing social housing but the number of sites was limited in number. With the increase to 12 storeys, it may well be that redevelopment would be possible with land purchase. This would put many more existing affordable rental units at risk of demolition.

– Going from wood frame construction to concrete would increase costs, rents, embodied GHG emissions and demolition waste in the landfill.

– Regardless of tenure, the physical scale and form would be used as a precedent for future spot rezonings, including market rentals and strata.

– This will increase development pressure, increase rental inflation, gentrification, demovictions, and displacements for existing older more affordable rental buildings. Existing rents in older buildings tend to be much lower than new rentals, sometimes even lower than typical subsidized social housing rents, while existing older units are also generally larger. Most of the city’s existing affordable rental apartment buildings are in RM zones.

– The City defines social housing projects as only requiring 30% of the units subsidized below HILs rates and the other 70% of the units could be market rentals, while 100% of the units are counted as social housing. This motion fails to clarify this important point. While it is true that further subsidies may be granted from other levels of government, there is no guarantee or requirement for this as part of the approval process and is subject to qualification and availability of future programs.

– This motion doesn’t even require a greater level of affordability. All increases in height and density should meet the affordability requirements from BC Housing (20%deep subsidy, 50% moderate subsidy, 30% some subsidy ) rather than the Vancouver Zoning and Development By-law.

– Large increases to height and density in RS, RT, and C zones citywide would have the same effects of inflating land values, increased rents and displacement as described above. Possibly even more so.

– Secondary suites are an important part of the existing affordable rental stock. Large increases in building scales for new social housing, of which 70% of the units could be market rents, will lead to displacement, gentrification and demolition of character buildings.

– Large increases to height, FSR and form without a rezoning public hearing is undemocratic and undermines security that zoning is intended to provide.

– It also undermines neighbourhood character and liveability by allowing much bigger buildings that block views, overshadow yards and buildings for gardens and potential solar panels.

– This motion undermines neighbourhood based planning and pre-empts the outcomes of the Vancouver Plan and the Broadway Plan. Although these plans have been approved in principle, many of the planning details are yet to be determined. Any allowance for buildings of this size, with its effects on a neighbourhood, should be considered through a neighbourhood-based public consultation process. Given that the Vancouver Plan is already looking at planning options, including for social housing, it would seem that this motion is out of order.

– This motion is in conflict with existing Community Plans, including the most recent in Grandview Woodland.

Please do not approve this proposed motion.

Sincerely,

Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association
West Southland Residents Association

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) statement on the 2022 Election

Download PDF: CVN-Election statement 2022-09-28

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) on the 2022 Election
September 28, 2022

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is a nonpartisan network of resident and community groups citywide that have come together on common issues of agreement and concern. The following is our mission as stated in the Principles and Goals document approved by the CVN groups.

Mission of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

The mission of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is to restore and strengthen the central role of neighbourhoods in shaping land use, transportation, and development decisions in the City of Vancouver.

We aim for a genuinely collaborative partnership among the City and its residents, organizations, and businesses.

Neighbourhood-based planning founded on meaningful community involvement in decision-making is essential to Vancouver’s future as a liveable city of neighbourhoods that is more sustainable, affordable, resilient and inclusive. Read more: https://coalitionvan.org/principles-and-goals/

To that end, CVN is very concerned about the directions of the current planning process at the City of Vancouver. CVN is opposed to both of the recently approved Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan that, if implemented, would shape future growth of the city as it becomes the Official Community Plan (OCP) and part of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The province has threatened to change the Vancouver Charter to allow any rezoning application that is consistent with an OCP to proceed without a public hearing.

The CVN letters to City Council on these plans can be found as follows:

– CVN on the Vancouver Plan: https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2022-07-06-vancouver-plan-opposed/

– CVN on the Broadway Plan: https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2022-05-18-broadway-plan-opposed/

– CVN on the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS)https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2022-06-20-metro-vancouver-2050-rgs-oppose/

Analysis of Election Party Voting Records and Platforms:

CityHallWatch has done a detailed analysis of each party’s voting record and platform regarding the Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan. This is fundamental to the future of the city and speaks to the reason for the existence of CVN and the group networks. Only Councillor Colleen Hardwick (TEAM) voted against both of these plans.
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/09/27/2022-election-crucial-broadway-plan-vancouver-plan-analysis/

CVN’s Mayoralty Candidates Debate was cancelled due to Ken Sim and Kennedy Stewart refusing to participate.
https://www.straight.com/news/mayoral-candidates-ken-sim-and-kennedy-stewart-duck-a-second-debate

The conclusion, based on the information available for analysis on these key issues, is as follows:

Only TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, with Colleen Hardwick for mayor, have policies to withdraw both the Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan, to reconsider these plans under a new neighbourhood-based process with meaningful involvement of local residents and businesses, resulting in plans with a high level of their support.

Please be informed, do your due diligence, and vote wisely!

Advance voting: Oct. 1, 5, 8, 11, 13 – Advance voting (Sat/Wed/Sat/Thurs) at most Community Centres

Oct 15 – Election day (Saturday)

Voting locations: 8am to 8pm. See City website/documents/voter cards for locations.
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/election-2022/

Failure by Vancouver mayoral candidates Kennedy Stewart and Ken Sim (ABC) to participate leads CVN to cancel debate September 19

MEDIA RELEASE
September 12, 2022

Failure by Vancouver mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart to participate leads CVN to cancel debate September 19 (Mon)

Vancouver, B.C. – Decisions by Forward Vancouver’s Kennedy Stewart (incumbent) and ABC Vancouver’s Ken Sim not to participate in the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods’ mayoral candidate debate scheduled for Monday September 19 (link here), has led CVN to make the difficult decision to cancel the event just one week before the event.

Co-organizer Larry Benge said, “Our audience would have wanted to hear and compare the views and policies of incumbent Kennedy Stewart and his leading challengers. With both Mr. Stewart and Mr. Sim failing to participate, the value and appeal of the event would be significantly reduced.” Co-organizer Dorothy Barkley added, “The message to Vancouver voters is a warning sign that Stewart and Sim do not really care about neighbourhoods and neighbourhood groups.”

In mid-August, CVN secured the Britannia Community Centre as a venue and started lining up the leading mayoral contenders for the candidate’s debate for the Oct. 15 civic election. Trevor Ford of ABC Vancouver’s campaign wrote on Sept. 9 that Mr. Sim would not participate, while Mr. Stewart’s Forward Vancouver campaign failed to respond at all. Candidates who had confirmed their attendance included Colleen Hardwick (TEAM for a Livable Vancouver), Mark Marissen (Progress Vancouver), and Fred Harding (NPA Vancouver).

The debate was to be moderated by Kirk LaPointe, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver, exploring each candidate’s views and giving them a chance to highlight their party’s policies on crucial issues affecting neighbourhoods, including community engagement, development planning, public safety, housing affordability, homelessness, and more.

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is the umbrella organization for 22 residents’ associations and groups across almost the entire city. Their members include thousands of voters who are keenly interested in the future of their community.

Key election dates: October 1, 5, 8, 11, 13 (advance voting days), October 15 (Election Day)

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Related media:

Mayoral candidates Ken Sim and Kennedy Stewart duck a second debate
(Charlie Smith, September 12, 2022, Georgia Straight)
Excerpt: … Let this be a message to any civic politician who doesn’t think that participating in debates is part of their job.
Link: https://www.straight.com/news/mayoral-candidates-ken-sim-and-kennedy-stewart-duck-a-second-debate

CVN to host Mayoral Candidate Forum 19-Sept-2022 (Monday) 7pm, Britannia Community Centre

CVN to host Vancouver Mayoral Candidate Debate September 19 (Mon)

Vancouver, B.C. – Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is pleased to announce plans for a mayoral candidate’s forum for the 2022 civic election, featuring the leading mayoral candidates. The debate will be moderated by Kirk LaPointe, Business in Vancouver Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, who will explore each candidate’s views and give them a chance to highlight their party’s policies on crucial issues affecting neighbourhoods, including community engagement, development planning, public safety, housing affordability, homelessness, and more.

Mayoral Candidate Debate
September 19, 2022 (Monday) 7 – 9 pm (Doors open 6:30 pm)
Britannia Community Centre (Gym D, 1661 Napier St)

Candidates invited (updated Sept 1):

– Fred Harding (NPA)
– Colleen Hardwick (TEAM for a Livable Vancouver)
– Mark Marissen (Progress Vancouver)
– Ken Sim (ABC Vancouver)
– Kennedy Stewart (Forward Vancouver)

Moderator:
– Kirk LaPointe (Business in Vancouver Publisher/Editor-in-Chief)

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is the umbrella organization for 22 residents’ associations and groups across almost the entire city. Their members include thousands of voters who are keenly interested in the future of their community.

Key election dates: Sep 6 (vote by mail starts), Oct 1, 5, 8, 11, 13 (advance voting days), Oct 15 (Election Day)

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Download and print in PDF format for posting on bulletin boards, etc.:
Here – CVN POSTER mayoral debate 19-Sep-2022 (4)

CVN letter to Council (for 6-Jul-2022): Vancouver Plan – OPPOSED. Send it back for more work.

Download PDF: CVN Letter -2022-07-05 Vancouver Plan-V3

July 5, 2022

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Vancouver Plan Proposed Approval (Committee of Council July 6, 2022)
Council Agenda:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20220706/cfsc20220706ag.htm
Council Report:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20220706/documents/cfsc1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to this Vancouver Plan as proposed.

Please refer this report back to staff for local neighbourhood planning that considers livability in a local character context, environmental impacts, measures to avoid displacement impacts on existing more affordable housing, and other affordable housing options, including ground-oriented housing for families, co-ops, and other models for both renters and owners. A plan of this magnitude, especially as it may become the Official Community Plan (OCP) and that potential provincial changes could allow rezonings without public hearings, should not be approved within only a week of the final report being made public. There are many concerns with the 230-page report. A small selection of many points of concern are as follows:

  1. No Neighbourhood-based Planning – One Size Fits All

Policies are too broad-brushed and rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. The plan draws lines on the map of  Vancouver in swaths of mauve and purple showing large areas of the city scheduled for redevelopment — yet each neighbourhood is unique. Areas where added density can work may be in smaller pockets in particular parts of a neighbourhood. The draft plan places too much emphasis on increasing the number of housing units, and not enough on different types of housing. Neighbourhood-based planning from the ground up would have procured opportunities for densification that respect existing neighbourhoods and fit into the local context.  The draft plan, if approved, will result in repealing all existing neighbourhood Community Plans and Community Visions, which were based on years of neighbourhood involvement and extensive participation done in good faith.

  1. Lack of Urban Design

The plan does not prioritize good urban design. Some of the suggestions, like six storeys in shopping districts purportedly to preserve sunlight access but 12 storeys along residential streets, minimize the impact of high buildings on sunlight and livability. Former senior planners with the City are expressing their concerns over poor urban design. Ralph Segal says, “…approval of the Vancouver Plan and its approach to planning and affordable housing, will nail it as a disaster.” (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/vancouver/article-generation-density-past-planners-speak-out-on-urban-development/)

Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for 21-June): Opposed – Metro Vancouver 2050 Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022, Metro 2050 Acceptance

(See PDF for full formatted document: CVN Letter re Metro 2050 to CoV Council-2022-06-21-V2)

June 19, 2022
City of Vancouver

Attention: Mayor Stewart and Councillors

Re: Metro Vancouver 2050 Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022, Metro 2050 Acceptance

Council Agenda:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20220621/regu20220621ag.htm
CoV Staff Report:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20220621/documents/r1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) has major concerns regarding the proposed Metro 2050 Bylaw and we are opposed to it as currently written.

Attached is our letter sent to the Metro Vancouver Regional District for the Metro public hearing in which the mayor and many of the councillors participated. Only nine people from across the entire region spoke at the public hearing, reflecting the lack of public awareness and involvement. Our stated concerns remain, and we request that the City of Vancouver propose amendments to the Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) to address these issues prior to acceptance.

Of particular concern are the following items for suggested amendments in the RGS:

  • Request that projections for population and dwellings be shown separately by each individual municipality, and not grouped together with Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. We also request that the years of data line up with the census years (2021, 2026, 2031, 2036, etc.);
  • Remove aspirational targets that are not based on transparent data and facts;
  • Remove the new designation of “Major Transit Growth Corridors” that are proposed along routes that are currently only bus routes where there are no immediate plans, approvals or funding for major transit expansion or other required amenities for growth;
  • Reconsider transit to serve the whole arterial grid affordably, with development based on local neighbourhood context, rather than only a few expensive corridors with excessive growth tower typologies; and
  • Refer this back to CoV staff for public and stakeholder consultation since most people are unaware of this important plan and have not had an opportunity for meaningful input. This should include affected boards such as the Vancouver School Board that was not consulted as part of the advisory committee.

Sincerely,
The Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN)

Attachment –  CVN letter to Metro Vancouver dated April 20, 2022
https://coalitionvan.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/CVN-Letter-re-Metro-2050-to-CoV-Council-2022-06-21-V2.pdf

April 20, 2022

Metro Vancouver Regional District Board of Directors

Re: April 20 Public Hearing to consider Metro Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022 (METRO 2050)

Agenda: http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/GVRD/RD_2022-Apr-20_AGE.pdf

Report:  http://www.metrovancouver.org/metro2050

http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/Metro2050.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) includes resident groups from across the City of Vancouver. We have major concerns regarding the proposed Metro 2050 Bylaw and therefore are opposed to it as currently written.

Promotion of Growth: This document is more about promoting unsustainable growth than anything else. There are many substantial issues, some of which are as follows.

  • Lack of Transparent Data – The projections for population and dwellings are not shown by municipality, so there is no way to measure how any municipal-level Regional Context Statements or Official Community Plans line up with regional plans or census data. Having Vancouver grouped with Burnaby and New Westminster, without any breakdown, makes no sense. The projection years should also be aligned with the census years so that data can be compared.
  • Reliance on “Aspirational” Targets – With this draft bylaw the approach to growth shifts from data-based projections to “aspirational” targets. The result is promoting development beyond what actual population growth would justify, and is unsustainable.
  • Impacts on Climate – The proposed increased growth will substantially increase the embodied carbon and ecological footprint in the region. Many municipalities have declared a climate emergency, but the approaches taken in the proposed bylaw are not compatible efforts to fight climate change.
  • Development Is Promoted Ahead of Transit – The new designation of “Major Transit Growth Corridors” is proposed along routes that are currently only bus routes where there are no immediate plans, approvals or resources for major transit expansion. This means that for 1 kilometer, or 1000 meters, in each direction from existing transit routes, the new “corridors” will cover most of some neighbourhoods. There could be vast impacts, including significant disruptions of existing housing (including existing secondary rentals), and major construction/development growth could race ahead without any meaningful transit improvements.

For example, in Vancouver the proposed corridors cover:

  • Kingsway, Grandview Hwy., and Hastings St. – These areas are currently only planned for buses and go through neighbourhoods that are historically amenity- and infrastructure-deficient. As just one example, to this day, no amenities that were promised with the rezoning of the Norquay neighbourhood over a decade ago have been delivered.
  • 41st / 49th Ave. – These routes currently only have buses running on them, and they are not a regional priority for upgrades.
  • Broadway corridor extension to UBC – This area currently only has bus transit services and is NOT a regional priority for a subway extension. At one kilometer in each direction along the route, development, which would certainly occur long before transit improvements, would affect the whole neighbourhoods of Kitsilano and West Point Grey without the supporting transit or infrastructure.
  • Vancouver Was Designed for Grid Arterial Transit Not Corridors – Vancouver was designed pre-war, before the common use of the automobile. It is inherently transit-oriented, so everywhere is within a 10-minute walk of an arterial road. Vancouver was designed around the streetcar (on rail) and later converted to be served by trolley buses (on roads). All Vancouver really needs is more electric bus service to electrify the transit system. It doesn’t need the whole city to be rebuilt into only a few expensive corridors.

Transit corridors and tall towers is an American model that doesn’t apply to Vancouver, due to its fundamentally different design with arterial grid transit system. We just need more electric bus service for each arterial.

  • Lack of Infrastructure and Financing Options – The proposed growth written into the bylaw will also put significant pressure on all aspects of infrastructure, without the resources to provide these needed increases and upgrades. The result will be significant upward pressure on property taxes and fees, and negative impacts on affordability and livability. At the same time, the bylaw proposes the waiving of development fees for “affordable” housing, meaning that infrastructure would be 100% funded by property taxes, without other sources identified.
  • School Districts Are Underfunded – There is already a lack of provincial funding for schools to meet current growth in the region. Existing schools are being closed and sold to fund new schools. This is cannibalizing the school system and not sustainable. The proposed growth will then require more funding for land acquisition and construction for new schools.
  • Lack of Health and Social Infrastructure – The province is not currently providing enough family doctors for the current population. Hospitals are stretched. Communities lack addiction and mental health treatment and supports. More growth means more displacement, forcing many to fall further behind or into homelessness. The provincial and federal governments are not keeping up with current needs, and there is no consideration of how they will provide the resources for this growth. The bylaw fails to consider such issues.

Weak Green Zone Protections from Urban Sprawl: The primary role of regional planning is to protect the green zones of conservation, recreation and Agricultural Land Reserve from urban sprawl to create a livable and sustainable region. This proposed plan continues to weaken these protections from what existed in the original Livable Region Strategic Plan and has already been weakened by Metro 2040, the Regional Growth Strategy adopted in 2011.

  • Urban Sprawl in North Shore – Also of concern is the expansion of the Urban Containment Boundary that allows “General Urban” into green zones such as exist on the North Shore. The proposed bylaw also has a huge “Special Study Area” that could allow urban sprawl to move even further up the mountainside. There are many implications, including the fact that these mountain views also play an important role in regional identity and their ecosystems are a carbon sink to fight climate change.
  • UBC Golf Course – This should be in the “Conservation and Recreation Lands,” not “General Urban.” The golf course is not available for potential development until 2080, well beyond the scope of this proposed bylaw.
  • Special Study Areas – The proposed bylaw only requires a 50% + 1 weighted vote of the MVRD board to remove Special Study Areas from a green zone and convert into General Urban. This is lower than the currently-required 2/3 vote and should not be reduced. Under the Livable Region Strategic Plan, a 100% vote was required. The current vote threshold is already very weak and should not be weakened further.

Lack of Process: There has been little to no resident involvement by the residents of the City of Vancouver in this plan. Most residents are unaware that this Metro 2050 discussion, Bylaw, and Public Hearing is even happening. What we have enumerated above is just a small indication of many concerns about Metro 2050 and its implications for the people of Vancouver and for the entire Metro Vancouver region.

Further, we are alarmed that in this bylaw formulation there has also been no involvement of any of the Boards of Education across the region, B.C. ministry of Education and Child Care, police departments across the region, or B.C.’s Solicitor General and Attorney General Ministries. Input from all of them needs to be considered to respond to the proposed growth.

In conclusion, we request that the Metro Vancouver Board reject the Metro Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022 (METRO 2050).

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Murphy
On behalf of the Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN)

www.coalitionvan.org, info@coalitionvan.org

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association
West Southland Residents Association

CVN letter to Council (for 18-May): Broadway Plan – OPPOSED

May 15, 2022

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Broadway Plan (Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities agenda, May 18)

Council Agenda:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/pspc20220518ag.htm
Council Report:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/documents/pspc1.pdf
Appendix A:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/documents/pspc1appendixA.PDF

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to this flawed proposal.

Please refer this report back to staff for local neighbourhood planning that considers the livability in a local character context, environmental impacts, measures to avoid displacement impacts on existing more affordable housing, and more affordable housing options, including ground-oriented housing for families, co-ops, and other models for both renters and owners. A plan of this magnitude should not be approved when specifics of the plan were only disclosed very recently, and the 670 pages on agenda only days ago.

We also request you do not repeal local community plans and policies (proposed in recommendation G). These plans have taken years to create through conscientious community input. To arbitrarily repeal them without public consultation is unacceptable. Note that most of the Kitsilano Community Plan covers areas that are not within the Broadway Plan area. The Mount Pleasant Plan was approved in 2010 and implemented in 2013. The “Broadway Planning Program and Associated Interim Policies” report (approved June 20, 2018) clearly indicated that the existing plans would undergo only “light touch” amendments, not outright repeal:

      Generally, the directions of the Mt Pleasant and Kitsilano Community Plans within a 400 metre radius (a five minute walk) of the new transit stations will be reviewed. The unique location, context and role of the new station areas within the City Core will be key considerations. The directions of the Fairview plan will be reviewed more substantially, with the exception of False Creek South (ODP By-Law) area which is already under planning review. Lands within the recently adopted Grandview Woodland Community Plan will not be a focus. (p.15) https://council.vancouver.ca/20180620/documents/pspc3.pdf

The Broadway Plan as currently written would allow potentially 300 massive towers, up to 40 storeys in height — too dense outside of Vancouver’s downtown core — and create a “concrete jungle” and “concrete canyons” along Broadway. This allocation of density would concentrate 81percent of the City’s population growth over the next 30 years onto seven percent of the city’s landmass.

Towers are the least affordable, sustainable and livable form of development, and they are not required to meet population growth. If adopted, the proposed Plan will trigger enormous land value inflation and development pressure to an area that currently contains 20 percent of the city’s older, more affordable rental stock. The Mayor’s proposed amendments, purportedly to protect renters, are like trying to put a band-aid on a wound inflicted by the Plan itself. The best renter protection would be to reject this plan as proposed. In addition, the plan area also includes many older and more affordable condos, which would be jeopardized through gentrification and displacement.

Major growth corridors are an American model for large, sprawling cities, not transit-oriented cities designed pre-war like Vancouver, which was designed for the original streetcar system with all areas a walkable distance to an arterial road. Vancouver needs more electric bus service throughout the arterial grid to support ground-oriented family housing more affordable for local incomes, rather than expensive concrete towers.

There are many problems with the 177-page report and 493-page Appendix, many details of which were only made public a few days ago. A small selection of the many points regarding how this plan undermines affordability, sustainability and livability are as follows:

Affordability – The Broadway Plan will further promote speculation and inflate land values and rents throughout the affected areas, years ahead of the redevelopment that will displace renters and homeowners alike. It appears the City and Province are counting on developer fees from tower construction as a cash cow, but this actually adds to the costs of housing.

Sustainability – Towers are the least sustainable form of development, adding to the embodied GHGs in both the towers and related infrastructure as well as the highest amount of energy consumption to operate, according to BC Hydro.

Livability – These towers are out of scale and will shadow buildings and parks all the way to the waterfront. The plan lacks servicing and community amenities such as schools, parks and community centres for the increased development and population. Development fees will not cover the shortfalls, which will require higher property taxes and capital funding.

Further, the population growth embedded in the proposed Broadway Plan is not justified by census data, which shows the City of Vancouver has been growing consistently at about one percent per year, even though the city has been building 20 percent more units than what is justified by population growth. Note that 23,000 units remained unoccupied as of 2021. The aspirational targets of 72,000 units / 10 years, rather than the actual need for growth at 30,000 units, are just promoting arbitrary levels of unjustified growth.  This plan would only add to this current pattern of overbuilding with small, expensive units, while failing to provide the affordable and livable housing that is so vitally needed for families.

Therefore, please do not approve this plan and refer it back to staff for meaningful local neighbourhood planning, with specific instructions to consider livability in the context of local character, plus environmental impacts, measures to avoid displacement from existing relatively affordable housing, and more affordable housing options, including ground-oriented housing for families, co-ops, and other models for both renters and owners.

Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Continue reading

Rally at City Hall – Saturday May 7 at 11 am! Neighbourhoods from across Vancouver will protest Broadway Plan and citywide Vancouver Plan

We’re sharing information about this grassroots protest at City Hall, north steps, starting 11 am on Saturday, May 7, 2022. Several speakers will report on the details described below, give a status report on what’s going on at City Hall, and talk about what people can do.

One-page poster (PDF): Poster of Rally at City Hall 2022-05-07 (1 pager, rev)

Two-page notice (PDF): Notice of Rally at City Hall 2022-05-07

Rally at City Hall – Saturday May 7 at 11 am!

Join neighbourhoods across the city in protest of citywide tower plans 

The Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan are coming soon!
These plans promote massive tower development citywide, intended to become the Official Community Plan.

Bring your friends, family, neighbours! Spread the word!

Saturday May 7 at 11 am!

Meet at the north entrance of City Hall
at 12th Ave. & Cambie St.

Bring a placard with the name of your neighbourhood if you can.

Media:
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/05/02/broadway-plan-preview-stay-tuned/
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/04/05/palmquist-41-vancouver-soul-city/

Broadway Plan – Going to council May 18 for approval.
https://shapeyourcity.ca/broadway-plan
Information Boards
https://shapeyourcity.ca/14107/widgets/58582/documents/76101

Covers 16th Ave. to 1st Ave., Mt. Pleasant, Fairview, South Granville and part of Kitsilano to Vine St.
Plus it affects Grandview to Commercial Dr. that is following similar typologies.

Base Typologies:

  • Centres – Station Areas 30-40 storeys
  • Centres – Shoulder Areas 20-30 storeys
  • Villages – 4-6 storeys
  • Residential – Existing Apartment Areas (currently 3-4 storeys) up to 20 storeys
  • Residential – Existing Low Density (Existing RT zones character house retention with multiple suites/infill) 6-18 storeys
  • Industrial Employment – Allows towers, unspecified

If the subway extension to UBC is approved, these kinds of typologies are likely to be extended throughout Kitsilano and West Point Grey, with Jericho Lands as a station area development typology.

Vancouver Plan – Going to council June/July for approval.
Information Boards
https://vancouverplan.ca/wp-content/uploads/PDS-Vancouver-Plan-Phase-4-Boards-for-Public-Engagement-2022-04-05-low-res.pdf

Draft Vancouver Plan
https://vancouverplan.ca/wp-content/uploads/Draft-Vancouver-Plan-2022-04-05.pdf

  • Significantly increases higher density development across the city
  • New regional designations for Major Transit Growth Corridors along existing bus routes
  • Expanded transit development corridors and areas
  • Development growth targeted near neighbourhood centres up to 12 storeys on side streets
  • 12 -18 storeys close to stations with high towers on stations and major projects
  • Multiplexes allowed throughout RS and RT zones covering the rest of the city
  • Little to no reference to neighbourhood character or heritage buildings
  • Incorporates major plans such as Broadway Plan, Jericho Lands, etc.
  • Overrides Community Plans and Visions

More Links:
https://vancouverplan.ca/
https://shapeyourcity.ca/vancouver-plan

Above: Vancouver Plan proposes high-rises in every neighbourhood in all shades of purple. Low to mid-rise and multiplexes everywhere.

Above: 3D model of how high-rises under the Broadway Plan will look east from Vine Street (foreground) in Kitsilano to Fairview then Mount Pleasant in the horizon. S. Bohus, BLA.

Above: Broadway Plan for Fairview South Granville – Looking North. Image: S. Bohus, BLA.

CVN to TransLink Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation (22-Apr-2022): 4.1 – Millennium Line UBC Extension: Regional Base Scope

April 21, 2022

TransLink Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation

Attention: Mayor Jonathan X. Cote, Chair, and Mayors’ Council Members

Re: Meeting April 22, 2022 at 9:00 am – Item 4.1 – Millennium Line UBC Extension: Regional Base Scope 

https://www.translink.ca/-/media/translink/documents/about-translink/governance-and-board/council-minutes-and-reports/2022/april/agenda_mayors_council_board_public_mtg_20220422.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) includes resident groups from across the City of Vancouver. We have major concerns regarding the recommendations as proposed in the meeting agenda item 4.1 above and as attached in Appendix A for reference.

We urge you to not approve the Millennium Line Extension to UBC as part of the 10-Year Vision and to wait until a viable business case is made for transit that is based on community supported planning for growth and required infrastructure and funded.

It is premature to be assuming a proposed extension of the Millennium Line from Arbutus to UBC has a business case.

Based on the report from the Finance and Governance Committee, there is a difference between the 10-Year Investment Plan (which is legislated to be fully funded) and the 10-Year Vision (which is unfunded).

The report says “the 10-Year Investment Plan is primarily about stabilization, with the advancement of strategic projects such as the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project and the electrification of the bus fleet, and replacing lost revenue streams.”

Clearly the regional transit system is struggling to recover, far less expand. The “10-Year Vision” is aspirational at best, “is not funded, and will be funded through future Investment Plans”, or so is hoped. http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/Finance/FIN_2022-Apr-21_AGE.pdf

Of major concern is the recommendation that the extension to UBC is “subject to further planning and discussions and an approved business case that includes a new funding model and third-party payment and land value uplift contributions”.

This assumes that land lift from adjacent development would be used to fund transit instead of civic amenities through Community Amenity Contributions (CAC). Adding population density, but starving amenities is not a formula for livable communities. This approach is a form of downloading provincial and federal responsibilities to fund transit onto the City and is unacceptable.  Land lift should be required to fund the needed civic amenities to serve the increased population.

Further, the massive tower development as currently proposed at Jericho Lands is largely opposed by the community, which favour low to mid-rise options.  Nor would substantial tower development be supported in the neighbourhoods of Kitsilano or West Point Grey. It appears that the only viable business case would be based on massive increases in development, which would not be supported by the community, and the extraction of development fees for transit rather than for civic community amenities.

There has been no community involvement in planning regarding the change of station location from 10th Avenue and Sasamat to the Jericho Lands. This is in conflict with the West Point Grey Community Vision and further undermines the West Point Grey 10th Avenue Village.

The UBC Golf Course is part of the proposal but is not available for future development until 2080, well beyond the scope of Transportation 2050, far less a 10-Year Vision.

There is no plan for the needed infrastructure for increased growth.

The school system is underfunded and can’t even meet current growth expectations. Same with community centres; utility infrastructure such as sewers, water, and power would need upgrade and replacement; and social infrastructure such as affordable housing, mental health and addiction treatment. There currently aren’t even enough family doctors.

All of the required infrastructure for growth also needs to be funded as part of any business case. Property taxes cannot be expected to cover this.

Also, if TransLink is to identify a potential UBC extension as a priority in advance of funding and an approved business case, we could end up with all of the development without the transit improvements to support it. This is why 10-Year Investment Plans are required to be fully funded in advance.

Vancouver was designed pre-war, before the common use of the automobile. It is inherently transit-oriented, so everywhere is within a 10-minute walk of an arterial road. Vancouver was designed around the streetcar (on rail) and later converted to be served by trolley buses. All Vancouver really needs is more electric bus service to electrify the transit system. It doesn’t need the whole city to be rebuilt into only a few expensive corridors.

“Transit corridors and tall towers” is an American model that doesn’t apply to Vancouver, due to our fundamentally different design with arterial grid transit system. We just need more electric bus service for each arterial and community planning within what can be supported by infrastructure.

Again, we urge you to not approve the proposed recommendations and to wait until a viable business case is made that is based on community-supported planning for growth and required infrastructure.

Sincerely,
The Steering Committee,

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN)
www.coalitionvan.org, info@coalitionvan.org

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association
West Southland Residents Association

**************

Appendix A

The Mayors’ Council Agenda Item 4.1 report states as follows:

TO: Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation
FROM: Mayor Jonathan X. Coté, Chair
DATE: April 13, 2022
SUBJECT: ITEM 4.1 – Millennium Line UBC Extension: Regional Base Scope

CHAIR’S RECOMMENDATIONS:
The Chair recommends that the Mayors’ Council:

1. Include the following station locations in the regional base project scope for the Millennium Line UBC Extension (UBC Extension):

a. Stations at Alma, Macdonald, Jericho, and at the UBC Trolley Bus Loop; and,
b. Passive provision for at least one potential future infill station within the UEL/Musqueam Lands area on or near the University Golf Course, planned and funded by third parties; and,
c. Designate a second station and any required rail connection to the station at UBC as outside of the regional base scope, requiring third-party funding; and,

2. Defer decisions on vertical alignment pending local and third-party contribution agreements; and,

3. Complete the UBC Extension in years 6-10 of the Transport 2050 Ten-Year Priorities, once Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan implementation has commenced, and subject to further planning and discussions and an approved business case that includes a new funding model and third-party payment and land value uplift contributions;

4. Receive the report on this item considered at the March 11, 2022 meeting of the Regional Transportation Planning Committee as presented in Annex 1 below;

5. Receive the report on this item considered at the April 13, 2022 meeting of the Finance and Governance Committee as presented in Annex 2 below;

6. Receive this report