Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spirited OCP draft meeting at Parkgate

There was a meeting between 7 and 9 PM, Feb. 9th., 2011 at the Parkgate Community Centre which was labelled as a 'last opportunity for residents to have input on the new Official Community Plan' and how it will affect the Seymour Area.

The meeting was well attended and very spirited. Many skeptical questions were asked about the new OCP which could not be answered due to lack of time. These questions are to be posted and answered on the DNV website.

The precedent setting Pacific Arbor High-rise development as it relates to Seymour's LAP was on people's minds and appeared to have angered many of those present.

There was a consensus that another meeting was needed so that more discussion could ensue. Time and date of that meeting is TBA.


Anonymous said...

Another poorly run meeting by District bureaucrats. They spent an hour or so going over the whole OCP when all we wanted to do was discuss that part of it dealing with Seymour. After their dog and pony show, everyone was split into two groups and they asked for questions, but by that time, there was time for only a few to be answered, and to tell people to go to the website to see answers to the rest is cavalier at best.

And yeah, lotsa people are still steamed about Council over-ruling the SLP in order to build a highrise residence for wealthy seniors. Could it have anything to do with receiving over $500K in annual taxes once the building is complete? One guy said "that hole in the ground across the street" represented a total loss of trust and nothing anyone could say at the meeting was going to restore that. I'd say he was mad.

It will be interesting to see if the anger lasts until November.

Anonymous said...

Stupid District trying to get tax revenue to provide you service!! HOW COULD THEY???

John Sharpe said...

There was a speaker who voiced concerns about the hi-rise development saying there were 1000 signatures on a petition from local residents opposed to it and how it went 'way outside' the LAP but, DNV council still voted unanimously in favour. Clr. Little respondede to the speakers concerns by saying that the SLAP was amended through public hearing process from which it was decided the Pacific Arbor development would go ahead. However in his attempt to explain he became visibly upset and stopped.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:52 PM
Are you one of the many that are sucking the teat of the district coffers? Perhaps employed by the district in a position that amounts to nothing more than collecting welfare with dignity? Local government should stick to providing services instead of squandering taxes on a bloated bureaucracy, inflated wages, tech toys, and venture capital.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:12.

N.V. City has a tiny size of 4.6 sq. mi. Within that area they have the largest number of highrises of all 3 N. Shore jurisdictions. High population highrise tax base on a cheaply and easily serviced footprint = huge tax return.

Result? A very healthy annual balance sheet. Other result? Squandering of tax $$ that you erroneously attribute to the District.

The District, has an area of 62 sq. mi. and a population to service that area at less than twice that of the City.

The majority of dwellings are single family each requiring it's own individual water, sewer, inspections, street frontage, policing, fire protection,community libraries libraries etc.

A very expensive proposition with high per dwelling cost.

Go District and approve high rises and multi-family and get that tax cost down. Don't bend to the NIMBYS.

Anonymous said...

Hello I am anon 3:52 - and to your question no, I do not even live in North Vancouver, yet alone BC anymore. Just keeping up to date with what's going on "at home." And getting a good laugh at someone critiquing a government for getting tax revenue to provide the services you go on to list.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:27
Sounds like you have done your homework. What are the costs for the delivery of sewer, water, policing, etc, for say 3 sq. mi. of the city vs. 3 sq. mi. of the district?
Increase density and taxes will go down, halleluiah. Will that be your election platform?

Anon 9:21
I see, so you don’t actually pay taxes in this jurisdiction, but you like to add your $.02. Increasing taxes and providing a larger tax base leads to better services. Accountability within government is not required. I have some land for sale in the Florida, interested?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:09.

Do the math. Comparing service provision costs to a multifamily highrise block, let's say 8 suites per floor, 10 stories high = 80 dwellings (City) vs. providing snow clearing, sidewalks, pothole repair, water service in and sewage pipe out to 80 single family residents (District) and their street frontage is a no brainer.

Results talk BS walks. City taxes and increases are always less than the District.

No need for an election platform. Just hard figures.

Anonymous said...

What if these services within the city that should be less expensive were found to be the same?

It was discovered that for these services the city had a staff of 20. These employees were a whiney bunch, poorly managed and demanded that the city provide each with a vehicle, cell phone, laptop, expense account, and a plush office. While at the district they had a staff of 10. These employees were well managed and it was proven that all that was needed was a single vehicle, no cell phones, no laptops, no expense accounts, and needed no plush offices.

Imagine if the tax payer actually had some data that allowed one to measure the efficiency of local government? Imagine a yearly report card with real hard figures and no assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Straw man.

The majority of municipal operating $$ are spent on unionized salary and benefits.

These salaries are the same in all metro jurisdictions.

The myth of the super management of super efficient staff vs something else is just that.

It just costs more (District) to service a widely dispersed predominately single family dwelling jurisdiction than it does to service a compact, substantially multi-family City.

Less street frontage per dwelling, miles of road, street lights, potholes, water and sewer installations, libraries, fire halls, police officers, inspectors etc.

Go District with additional multi-family highrises!! Greater tax base derived from an inexpensively
serviced multi-dwelling.

Anonymous said...

Ya right, police officers are assigned per street frontage?

Anonymous said...

X # per sq. km. of populated residential communities which includes street frontage. Same as firehalls, libraries etc.

Take a look at the % of rcmp complement assigned and paid for by the city and the district.

It's a matter of record and easily obtainable.

Anonymous said...

There is a petition signed by more than 1000 residents of Lynn Valley. It is out there again for signatures.

"To the Mayor and Councillors of the District of North Vancouver

We the undersigned are opposed to the construction of highrises in Lynn Valley. We are also opposed to the increase in parking capacity of the the Lynn Valley Centre since this will encourage more car traffic and diminish the air quality."

Anonymous said...

Well then, if the people have spoken let's continue to enjoy our predominantly single family residential community...and the taxes associated with that choice.

John Sharpe said...

Lynn Valley has and is continuing to receive its share of density through low-rise development. I would hazard to guess that the majority of residents in Lynn Valley would be dismayed by additional high-rises because many have invested in the current 'development profile' and not to see high-rises. If the petition continues I would think many more will sign it.

What about the issues of the environment(more traffic, air quality problems, waste, and sewage)and crime associated with density?

John Sharpe said...

My question at the parkgate OCP meeting was,

'Has there been enough public consultation?'

4000 participants have engaged in the process thus far. This is out of I think 57,000 registered DNV voters. Is it right that this fraction directs the OCP? Many of the same, usually engaged citizens attended the OCP meetings (myself included) so how many 'actually attended', a 1000?

It's difficult to get the citizens interested (16.75% in the 2008 election) but, something as important as this needs more public engagement.

Anonymous said...

John, if people don't participate, there's a good chance that they are ambivalent on the subject being discussed. The numbers who show up to voice their displeasure are most likely a very vocal minority. One might ask, is it fair to develop an OCP based on the views of that minority?

Anonymous said...

Hey, how about binding referendums on broad matters of public spending and public interest?

Anonymous said...

I attended the meetings regarding the DNV OCP. None of my comments, nor the comments of my fellow participants, are registered on the glossy brochures passed out by the DNV regarding the densification of Lynn Valley.

And, they supposedly cannot afford to spend our tax money on the advertising of our council agendas.

We taxpayers paid for these brochures that do not represent our position.

John Sharpe said...

Anon 11:20:00 AM,

OK so we're both asking the same question.

Anons 11:20:00 AM, asks about "binding referendum".

My guess is the OCP would be defeated.

Anonymous said...

Posted earlier, directed at me...

"Anon 9:21 I see, so you don’t actually pay taxes in this jurisdiction, but you like to add your $.02. Increasing taxes and providing a larger tax base leads to better services. Accountability within government is not required. I have some land for sale in the Florida, interested?"

... I did pay taxes, there. And probably consumed more than I actually paid! Ending that does not end my interest in where I did live, and in the hopes of living again in the future. Was involved in the OCP process for maybe a year or so when I was there. Interesting to see it develop and move forward. Thank you for criticizing me for not meeting your strict definition of who can have an interest in the process, though. Back to the OCP draft - with everything that happens in DNV there will be a lot of resistance. When is there not? I paid no attention to the OCP previous, but I had heard that process caused a lot of opposition before being published, and that was a very very broad document.

The OCP effects many more the eligable voters. I believe DNV knows this, and is trying to eb forward moving as they can. I am sure they always welcome constructive ideas!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:13

"And probably consumed more than I actually paid!"

Something to be proud of?

Anonymous said...

It is not a point of pride. There are many in the community, that as far as cash go, do not contribute what they are able to pay in.

I was an active volunteer in many capacities, something I am proud of.

Being part of team 20-30 years I couldn't afford to stay there...

Anonymous said...

The continual DNV spin that densification will lower taxes and let the "seniors" -- the people who built our community --stay here is smoke and mirrors.

Crime and pollution ensue. And infrastructure costs will be paid for by YOU when the developers leave with millions of $$ in their pockets.

Every single traffic study done by the DNV in the 25 years Ernie Crist was on council predicted no problem.

You know the rest.

John Sharpe said...

Community driven development is the real issue here.

Developers come, apply for re-zoning amendments, tell council and the public what they think is good for the community, if passed they build, then they leave. They generally don't live in the community all the while lining their pockets. That's developer driven development.

A good example of 'developer driven' is the recent Pacific Arbor hi-rise development in Parkgate. A 1000 people from the community signed a petition against it but, council went ahead and approved it anyway.

It dismayed me to read in the NSNews today that Clr. Nixon said, "it would be way more effective and way more economical to put it all in one place and have a Metro Town in Lynn Valley." The comment was suposedly in reference to a NSNews Feb. 4th story that 20,000 more people are needed in the DNV or dire tax increases will ensue.

20,000 more people in the District I can see but, not a Metro Town Lynn Valley.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:37. It's not a spin.

Without an increase in tax contributors, ideally in a low service cost environment (multi-family highrise),the existing taxpayers are going to be paying some serious increases.

Change will come. Do nothing and pay through the nose. Support higher density, eat the traffic and shopping congestion, but defer some of the tax increases.

Your choice, but the status quo won't be an option.

Two crummy choices unless you're interested in the third crummy choice - public service reductions.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:03. Doubt that it will be a choice of one or the other.

Politicians will choose all, i.e.
ram in multi-family over NIMBY objections and raise taxes each year in order to retain a level of services that raises the least objection.

Apart from the griping, the first two are relatively easy but the final one is trickly. Library closures/shorter hrs., ditto for rec centres , limited snow clearing, fewer cops/firefighters, pot holes not fixed quickly, water service interruptions, garbage pickup reduced to every 2 weeks etc. don't go over well.

John Sharpe said...

I got a good laugh (so did others) at the Parkgate meeting when someone asked,

"When will there be a cap on taxes?"

A cap on taxes is a dream.

Reduction of services is not.

Anonymous said...

If they were to collapse the district, city, and west van fire departments into one would this not be more cost effective and provide better service? Same for the libraries and rec centers?

Anonymous said...

Why not the whole works? If the theory works for those few it should follow with the rest.

Anonymous said...

There really is no rational reason why amalgamation, at least of the City and District, is not an option except of course, for a few politicians and high-paid bureaucrats who fear losing their jobs. There are already a lot of shared services between the two, and the sooner they realize that they should stop hanging on to their own little fiefdoms, the better off the rest of us will be.

Anonymous said...

Well now, it would seem that the minions at District Hall have decided to host another meeting to answer the many questions left on the table on February 9th. The venue is getting better though - it's now at the Seymour G&CC on February 23rd.

Another gong show or will they actually listen? Only the shadow knows....

Anonymous said...

What is missing from these comments is the livability of the people in the District of North Vancouver.

Do we want more pollution? No.

Do we want more traffic? No

Do we want more crime? No

With densification comes many negative aspects of life. We as DNV voters have the power to elect people who are not pro-development.

Let's get the word out there to vote for candidates who aspire to this vision for our community, not development-driven planning.

And, the DNV planning department is recommending this densification because it is their bread and butter. This is what they do and their jobs depend on approval by the elected council.

The tax base gains are short term and we pay in the long run. Our quality of life is at stake.

Anonymous said...

All true but the last point. The tax base gains are ongoing, and long term.

However, regarding your main comment which concerns quality of life. You're absolutely right. The N. Shore has a great quality of life. That's why property values (and taxes) are so high.

If we're OK to continue to accept tax increases to maintain that quality - then OK.

If we're going to gripe about tax increases then we have very few alternatives - none of which are appealing.

Anonymous said...

Anon Wednesday, February 16, 2011 8:46:00 AM,

Yes, you have the choice of that quality of life, but at what cost to you? How much are you prepared to pay in taxes? Or, how many services are you prepared to give up so that your taxes remain the same?

How many people can actually afford to keep this quality of life and for how long?

Anonymous said...

Anon: 5:57 AM

You are propagating the idiocy that this works. There are many municipalities in BC that do not densify and are sustainable. The taxes don't go up and the livability is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Anon Wednesday, February 16, 2011 10:35:00 AM,

Please provide us all with examples of communities where the taxes have not gone up without any reduction in services. Documents supporting your claims would be nice as well.

If there is no increase in taxes (even that to be in step with inflation), I'd wager a neglected infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Densification typically reduces crime, FYI.

Anonymous said...

There are no (sub)urban communities in BC that can maintain staffing (which = service levels which = high quality of livability) without increasing taxes and/or substantial growth (densification).

Besides the ongoing significant increases in costs of natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuels, machinery, trucks, road salt, and virtually every other municipal consumable there is the negotiated annual increases to the unionized staff which makes up the lion's share of the work force.

These costs must be passed along to the taxpayer as, by law, municipal budgets must be balanced and may not run a deficit.

Maintenance of service levels without tax increases? Nice dream but not connected to reality.

John Sharpe said...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 3:27:00 PM said,

"Densification typically reduces crime, FYI"

What happened in Surrey?

John Sharpe said...

Urban growth rarely pays its own way. It increases a burden on resources and on the infrastructure. I touched on this in an earlier comment in this thread (Sunday, February 13, 2011 10:07:00 AM). Roads, sewers, water, waste, emergency services all have an increased demand. Increased density creates new demands therefore higher taxes. As the city gets bigger the taxes get higher; they never goes flat or down.
If the District of North Van were serious about one of the most sustainable communities by 2020, they would create within a framework that can be continued forever. The current OCP recommendations don't fall in to this kind of sustainabilty.

It seems all they want is more revenue so they can keep up the current level of services for taxes paid. It may be time to look at a reduction services.

Anonymous said...

I was told there is approximately 15 staff at the City of North Vancouver that work for the Lonsdale Energy Corporation. Understandably they may not work full time for the Lonsdale Energy Corporation, but is the city billing for the services? Do the 15 staff receive 2 T4 slips? How about the office space, phones, and office equipment being provided? Skulduggery, where are the financials for this corporation?

Anonymous said...

John, are you suggesting that the existing infrastructure cannot take an increased load? The sewers, electrical and roads are fully capable of increased use. Your comments don't make sense, unless you're talking about the costs of sprawl. Densification, to a point, makes excellent and cost effective use of existing infrastructure. Also, keep in mind infrastructure does not last forever. It incurs life cycle costs just as anything in our built environment. I'd suggest the question be put to the District asking, what levels of density can the existing infrastructure support? Don't you suppose this was considered during planning the OCP?

Anonymous said...

Echo Anon 8:26. Good, well-stated post.

John, you are entirely mistaken in your comment that the current roads, sewers, water, waste etc. cannot accomodate higher density.
They can.

On the other hand, you are correct in your view that the day is coming when taxpayers may need to revue which services they are willing to part with.

Anonymous said...

Who exactly is paying you bloggers to enforce densification?

DNV staff is the tail wagging the dog.

We will see what happens in November.

Anonymous said...

We're paying ourselves through future tax avoidance.

Anonymous said...

Anon Thursday, February 17, 2011 12:07:00 AM,

Who is "enforcing densification"? Supporting, yes, but not enforcing it. I think that you'll find that there are people out there who support various levels of higher density and are not employed by the District or City. Some choose to look at the exercise pragmatically rather than emotionally.

Densify where practical. Along transportation and commercial corridors. There's no need, at this point in time, to replace single-family neighborhoods with multi-family dwellings. However I do see an increase in density being viable at the Lynn Valley/Mountain Highway commercial centre, Edgemont commercial centre and portions of Capilano and along Maring Drive.

Anonymous said...

I would include Seylynn, Maplewood, and Mt. Seymour Pkway as areas also practical for densification.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:46,
I would agree with you. I was just listing the few examples that immediately came to mind because I frequent them more than I do the ones you mention.

Anonymous said...

John -

"Densification typically reduces crime, FYI"

What happened in Surrey?


I will tackle this question with three parts:

1. A question - do you know Surrey's crime stats? Are you aware that there is a lot of really low crime rates throughout the city and a few very, very high peaks?

2. Are you aware of Surrey's past criminal statistics over a 30 year period.. Fun fact, it's going down per 100,000. despite evil densification.

3. Ignoring Surrey, I bring forward the following examples:
Port Moody
Port Coquitlam
... and pretty much every city in Canada.

Crime is pretty much on a generalized decrease, even more pronounced in cities, particularly in respect to violent crime which is the most reported.

I realize someone will post to disagree because perception is everything and living in fear is fun for more conservative types Sort of like every generation thinks the youth behind them are "broken."

If you'd like links to the stats let me know.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the crime stats post.

General reduction of crime over the past years has been well reported as have the crime (esp. murder) hotspots in Canada, some of which are in the Lower Mainland region.

Thank goodness the N. Shore stats are extremenly low.

I'm a "more conservative type" and I live in very little fear of crime.

A criminal stands a much better chance of having a good day if he decides to invade the home of my liberal friends.

Anonymous said...

There are stats and their are lies. No difference. Liberals are not immune.

Anonymous said...

"There are stats and their are lies. No difference. Liberals are not immune."

Please stop listening to Fox news and American tea party supporters. If you object to an opinion, explain why. Don't resort to sound bites that do nothing but inflame those you disagree with. In other words, be intelligent.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't get it before.

So if you believe CNN and the left wing liberal press you're "intelligent" and if you don't buy that view then you're not.

What a sad perspective.

Anonymous said...

Believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see.

Anonymous said...

Okay, put it this way. Discuss the topic at hand and forget the name-calling. This isn't about being liberal or conservative, it's about the OCP. A topic that has no real bearing on one's party affiliations.

John Sharpe said...

Anon Thursday, February 17, 2011 3:36:00 PM,

"Thank goodness the N. Shore stats are extremenly low."

Exactly, and I'm not convinced they will go lower in the N.Shore with the increased density projections.

John Sharpe said...

Anon Thursday, February 17, 2011 6:39:00 PM,

Yep sounds like there's at least one large C conservative and one large L liberal beeping their horns.

Let's keep to the issue.

Anonymous said...

John, could you please add fact to support your argument? I don't mean that rudely, but just throwing out opinion doesn't really make for a compelling argument.

Further, I originally posted the conservative comment. I wasn't intending to refer to the party.... Apologies for the lack of clarity.

Anonymous said...

I too am not convinced that increased density necessarily leads to higher crime stats.

West Vancouver has 55 acres zoned for high density which includes numerous high-rises and multifamily dwellings yet their crime stats are among the lowest in Canada.

Yes, some posters state their opinion in the form of a fact yet the opinion is unsupported and is more "how they feel" than "factually compelling". This has been discussed in past years on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else having trouble accessing the blog directly from

Lyle Craver said...

Nope - no trouble with access here.

Seylynn is a tragic neighborhood where unfeeling action by the Highways Department took what was supposed to be a one or two year detour while a new on ramp was built into a permanent schmozzle on Fern Street where the livability of an a whole neighborhood was destroyed.

Enter Stephen Hines who planned a densification project which is probably the best result possible now - though the neighborhood should never have been destroyed in the first place.

Since the Department of Highways has made no effort to rebuild the Mountain Highway on-ramp the Hines' development will merely make a bad traffic problem worse particularly during its building.

I have no confidence in DNV's simulations that suggest there's no traffic problem. The present configuration cripples access from Seymour to the rest of the District and the Highways department proposal to close Upper Levels access from Dollarton would hurt not help the situation.

I think the Seymour Local Area Plan restriction on development is misguided but agree Seymour needs better road connections to the rest of North Vancouver as a pre-condition to further development. Face it folks there is an existing problem which simply gets worse year by year improvements to the road network has to be a pre-condition to further development in Seymour - the status quo is unacceptable as it stands now.

John Sharpe said...

"...Seymour needs better road connections to the rest of North Vancouver as a pre-condition to further development."

An excellent and logical point that Mr.Craver makes and a condition that if kept would practically ensure further development would be slowed to a halt in Seymour (and other N. Van.communities). Unfortunately a backwards approach is taken. Development seems to come first. Transportation, air quality, environment, and traffic congestion be damned. And N.Van gets the shaft from Translink.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that the Mountain Hwy/Fern St./#1 Hwy entry ramp is a dog's breakfast.

Same comment in and out of Seymour.

Majority of tranportation tax $$ into facilitating efficient vehicle routes.