Since the densification push in the 1990s, hundreds of condos and detached homes have been built in the District of North Vancouver. Population has increased and along with it crime, noise, litter, pollution, and traffic congestion. The tax-base gains are short-term at best and new infrastructure costs that come along with densification are borne by you–the taxpayer.
Most of these motions are passed unanimously by Council in the name of sustainable density. The developers come in, produce only market housing of which there is no shortage in the DNV, and leave with their pockets full of money.
But what about the average person who chose to live here long ago, when life in the District was laid back and tax rates were much lower? How do they feel about sitting in gridlocked traffic idling away their hard earned cash and adding pollutants to our environment? Many people drive cars out of necessity, as there have been few improvements made by TransLink on the North Shore. The three seabuses promised to be in operation before the Olympics still haven’t become a reality and in some parts of the district services have been cut back. Yet our Mayor, who is the chairman of the Mayors’ Council for Translink, voted in favour of a two cent per liter gasoline tax and he also committed to raise our property taxes to fund the Translink Evergreen Line, while we in the District of North Vancouver are left waiting in gridlock traffic as we ponder what will it be like with all the barriers, detours, and obstructions in place when the actual building under our new “sustainable” OCP is underway.
What will our communities look like with an additional 20,000 people moving to the District of North Vancouver? Currently almost every new family buying property in the DNV brings their vehicles. With only two bridges, two Seabuses and an inefficient transit system, plus an additional 10,000 vehicles, I cannot see how the words “densification and sustainability” could possibly define a better life for the majority of residents who own single family homes in the DNV. Sustainable densification is an oxymoron at best, unless you are a municipal government looking for a short term tax-base gain. Who knows what will happen when this tax base gain becomes unsustainable. Will our taxes skyrocket or do we build more centres and invite another twenty thousand or more people to live in the district? And then in the future will we need more and more centres and people, just to remain sustainable?
I attended many of the OCP public participation meetings and none of my comments were written in the hundreds and hundreds of glossy brochures paid for with our tax money. And, just previous to these so-called community input sessions, the DNV stopped advertising the council agendas and meeting dates. Instead they purchased several insertions of full page, full colour advertising in our local newspapers promoting their OCP. This is not open and transparent government. How can you fight something if you don’t know it exists? We should be encouraged to attend Council meetings, not shut out.
I am not against progress, increased population or development, these things will all happen in time anyway and without disrupting the entire District of North Vancouver for decades to come. Why do we need to bring 20,000 more people into the district if not to increase the tax base? The District is entrusted with our money to provide services to residents in our Municipality. Why do they continue to put major resources into new developments while our established infrastructure is in dire need of replacement and repair?
In the DNV we still have kilometers of antiquated asbestos-cement water mains prone to failure. Prudent minds may think why don’t we fix our outdated infrastructure first, before sinkholes appear in our streets caused by broken water mains and creating one emergency situation after another. People wake up to flooded basements and damage – and costly repairs at the expense of the homeowner. Many of our roads are patched and bumpy with manholes either above or below grade. There are ongoing trouble spots in our street network which need attention. Our traffic and transit problems must be solved before any new major development takes place.
My name is Wendy Qureshi and I’m running for Council in the District of North Vancouver.
As a councillor I will be committed to keeping our district vibrant, as it is now and work toward fixing long overdue and neglected problems. Only then we can talk about development in the district, by the people and for the people who live here now–and not for developers and outside government bodies whose interest is not necessarily best for the citizens of the District of North Vancouver.
To accomplish my platform I will need your help! Why not attend a council meeting or two or join your community association? Why not get involved in our Municipality and have your say?
Did you know that in the last municipal election only 17 per cent of the citizens in the DNV voted?
In a healthy democracy it’s people like you who come out and vote for the candidate who will serve you best. You take the time to discuss with your family, friends, and neighbours the important issues facing our communities and our District. Please get them to vote, regardless of what candidate they choose to vote for. The choice is simple: If you want high density then move to the West End or vote for all current councillors and mayor. If you want flowing traffic, safe streets for cars and cyclists, and transparency at district hall — then vote for me.