Sunday, December 02, 2012

Concerned group in the City of North Vancouver

North Van City Voices is a relatively new and growing group in the City, formed earlier this year when a group of residents got together to discuss concerns about the increasing push for density evident in the City Shaping process. From their statement on their website:

Our vision is a livable community in which the needs and desires of CNV residents have a greater influence in development decisions than the interests of those who profit from ever-increasing densification.

Concerns are evolving into a goal to  ensure good governance in the City.   They welcome new members, more information on their website:

Members have an immediate concern about the process around the public hearing on November 19th for the Onni project at 13th and Lonsdale, which comes back to Council tomorrow, December 3rd, with a motion by the Mayor to reconsider a vote on November 26th for a second public hearing.  There were at least 20 people signed up to speak on November 19th who were not able to speak - mostly because the hearing lasted six hours and many people were unable to stay until their name was called.  The meeting was concluded, but should have been adjourned to ensure everyone who wanted to speak was able to.  It seems at this point that Councillor Bell is to change his vote for a second public hearing.  More information is available on the website.


Anonymous said...

Voices has been around a while and endorsed two candidates in the last election who vote for the Safeway project. Just another pro-development group.

North Van City Voices said...

This comment is incorrect. Disappointing to see that there are people who take the time to make shabby comments and accusations. The first meeting of Voices was on March 6, 2012. More information is available on our website.

Anonymous said...

Also to commenter 1, the vote has not yet been taken

Barry Rueger said...

To North Van City Voices: Your post and website are great at saying what you don't want, so I'll ask the obvious question:

What is is your group DOES want in terms of development?

Given that change happens, and happens pretty much constantly, and that sooner or later some buildings will be torn down and replaced in North Vancouver, what, exactly, do you propose that developers be allowed to build?

Imagine that your group is now the all-powerful city council - what would you be prepared to sign off on?

North Van City Voices said...

Thanks for the question Barry. I can take it from our statement to Council in May (posted on the website). In addition to all this, we want good governance demonstrated by Council working together.

We want Council:

To reconsider, revise and extend the OCP revision process to help eliminate the widespread perception that the outcome of the process has been predetermined.

We ask that Council develop some reasonable policies and guidelines with respect to density bonusing, like those in West Vancouver and Vancouver, so that the public knows that the city is getting fair value for additional density and so that developers are not able to avoid paying less than their share.

We ask, in the public interest, you to include in the OCP revision process all major projects, such as Harbourside and the Onni projects and not exempt them as you currently seem determined to do. To proceed with these projects before we have a density bonusing policy in place would be irresponsible. The financial stakes for the City are enormous.

We ask you to open up the OCP revision process so it includes open dialogue about all the possibilities for the future. Not just the developer friendly but people friendly future of massive, soulless towers, jammed-together condos and overloaded parks, roads and services.

We ask you to include in the process one or more community forums and funding to engage expert speakers with alternative views on densification and development which would be in sharp contrast to those who spoke at the first City Shaping event.

We ask you to ensure that the city has its own parks, amenities and facilities for everyone who lives here and doesn’t have to depend on neighbouring municipalities to provide them.

Council has taken a step by holding a workshop on density bonusing with input from residents - no policy yet. Also they plan to hold a forum on January 19 as we requested.

Barry Rueger said...

It's easy to complain that you don't think City Hall is doing things right. "Good Governance" is very much in the eye of the beholder, and no council will satisfy everyone.

What, exactly, do you propose that developers be allowed to build?

Imagine that your group is now the all-powerful city council - what would you be prepared to sign off on?

I'd much rather see you propose an alternative than just criticize what's already in the works.

If you want a different kind of buildings put up, then tell us what they would look like, who would live and work in them, and who would pay for them.

North Van City Voices said...

We'd like the OCP respected to start, it's not a question of different kind of buildings. The City signed off on the Metro Regional Growth Targets in 2011 so why are we in a building frenzy putting us well ahead of targets. We're not anti-growth, we want well planned growth, and an open transparent density bonus policy. We'd like residents to have a say in the development of their City, not brought in after a development is a "done deal".

Barry Rueger said...

Hi again. With due respect, the phrases that keep coming up relate to density and development, and the concerns that developers have Council in their back pocket.

It's reasonable to ask for ideas of what would be acceptable development.

There have been a few public meetings around this project, one lasting six (!) hours. Even though the developer may have "gamed" the sign up process, there was surely a lot of time for dissenting opinions to be heard.

And of course, even more time for letter writing and petitions.

So I'll ask for a straight-up answer: how many more public forums would satisfy your group? How should they be conducted?

And if the elected members of council still vote in favour of the development, would you accept that the process had been fair?

Anonymous said...

What about your group? Development-friendly Capitalists?

Anonymous said...

Ah, Anon 11:35PM, the retired unionist with the tax payer funded pension has returned and, as usual, is contributing nothing salient in the discussion.

Anonymous said...

No where on your website do you say who you are.

gbamber said...

Onni Developments has announced their abandonment of the 13th/Lonsdale project.

Anonymous said...

The City of North Vancouver cares not for the citizens of North Vancouver but for pet projects like the LEC. The more buildings the city can get on the LEC the greater chance of success. High time for a forensic investigation.

Anonymous said...

Onni drops Safeway Proposal, and fires a scathing (but pointless) shot at Bookham and Clark for their remarks about the developers massaging of the public hearing.

Anonymous said...

Heres the Outlook's coverage"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else believe they (Onni) were looking for an excuse? Why did Onni not show up at the Council meeting Dec 3rd for the vote? Let's see - who can we blame?

Anonymous said...

That doesn't make sense, but neither does Onni's decision. Did Onni really give up on millions in project development because they were embarrassed or felt maligned?

That doesn't make any sense. Something else has happened here.

Anonymous said...

Onni has existing development rights on this site. Perhaps they feel the rezoning battle is not worth it. They can take the easier way out, design a basic project in accordance with the existing zoning, avoid any community amenity contributions (childcare, housing, etc.) and most offsite servicing requirements, make their buck and get out.