Monday, December 31, 2012

Free for All No Topic

The Happiest New Year to all who visit, blog, and post here at  I would like to extend an invitation to all to comment on anything that happened in 2012 and what your aspirations are for the New Year.

Best of the New Year to everyone!
John Sharpe

Monday, December 24, 2012

Time to check the naughty and nice list

ALREADY it's Christmas.
With it comes our annual hope of joy, redemption and promise for the future. It's a good tradition, a time for offering and exchanging gifts. Casting an eye over the political landscape, who's been naughty this past year?
In an imperfect world, who's been nice?  Read more. . .

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Run-down Safeway Saved!

The Outlook tells us that Onni has pulled their application to redevelop the Safeway site on Lonsdale.

Surely there will be much rejoicing among the mysterious membership of North Van City Voices, but I think the last word belongs to Onni president Rossano De Cotiis:

“We have done everything in accordance with City rezoning policies and have essentially arrived at where we started two years ago.”

And, in looking at the documents posted on the City web site, it looks like that's the case.  Onni proposed a project, took suggestions and complaints, and came back with another, smaller version.  They did the public outreach required, they appeared where they had to. They played by the rules.

And yes, making donations to politicians is playing by the rules.

If Onni walks away - admittedly unlikely given how much money is already invested - upper Lonsdale will be left with a run-down Safeway store and... oh right - the junk shop is gone now.

That kind of property needs a significant sized development.  It's a big important property, and sooner or later will require a large developer to do something with it.  You can debate how large, but at the end of the day a lot of developers will stay away of they can't know ahead of time what the rules will be.  No-one will put up the millions of dollars required to prepare a project like this if they think that their investment could be lost at the whim of a mercurial city council.

Without those big-ticket investors that site is likely going to wind up filled with yet another two story strip-mall filled with vacuum cleaner stores and health food outlets.  There's nothing wrong with those, but it hardly qualifies as demonstrating the kind of vision that builds great - or even nice - cities.

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.