Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bygone Days in Lynn Valley

There are actually some pretty big things going on - more pre-election announcements from the Liberals, who suddenly have gazillions of dollars for all sorts of things like bridges and... bridges, but in the meantime check out this gem of a report The Lynn Valley Local Plan - Planning Report from back in 1998.

It's fascinating to see how this might of led to the current Official Community Plan, but also how priorities have changed in that time.  There was a strong emphasis on maintaining single family homes, but they also saw a need to protect existing rental housing - something that lots of Lynn Valley renters would  appreciate today.

My favorite part though was about the lack of entertainment in Lynn Valley:
"The lack of entertainment in Lynn Valley was a common concern expressed by people of all ages; the suggestions included a theatre, cinema, bowling alley, a dance club and a pool hall (the last two coming from youth). As well, people of all ages expressed the need for more gathering places. Youth desire affordable places to meet their friends; older people have requested restaurants and attractive resting/seating areas. Private enterprise should be encouraged to provide restaurants and entertainment venues."
A pool hall for Lynn Valley! Love it! Those crazy "youth!"


Hazen Colbert said...

In 2009 when I moved to the DNV and specifically Lynn Valley I relied on this plan and the development application for the strata buildings that line Lynn Valley Road and 29th to make the decision to locate here.

In late 2010 I attended a charette at Lynn Valley Mall re the 2011 OCP. I was the only person there. There was not one photo, not one, of a building in excess of 5 storeys. In fact, if one reads the 2011 OCP, one sees exactly the same photos used at the charette.

Imagine my shock then to read the narrative of the OCP in 2011 that stated there was deep community interest in the charettes, that people supported densification, that 10,000 more people would be moving into Lynn Valley (its population at the time was 7,000 people) and that plans were in place to build 20-storey towers in the Lynn Valley Town Center. None of these things were ever discussed in charettes or community meetings.

As I later learned most of the section of the 2011 OCP related to Lynn Valley was simply a copy of planning documents from Bosa, similar to the fact the section of the OCP for Lions Gate was written by Larco Investments.

Realizing we were being fleeced for profit by various parties I was motivated to get involved. Our group was successful in 2013 getting density and height cut in half.

But I knew from past experience elsewhere, the various players would be back at a later date, returning with the tedious invevitibility of an unloved season to try to fleece us again.

Indeed on April 10, 2016 we in Lynn Valley learned that Emery Village had been sold to Mosaic Development. Not to worry said Mosaic to the North Shore News on April 10, and then to Global News on April 18, no immediate plans for redevelopment. Mayor Walton said much the same. I knew better. An FOI request showed that the Mosaic redevelopment plan file with DNV planning for Emery Village was already up to 1,800 pages.

Secretly, since at least 2015 Mosaic had been working closely with planning staff and the Mayor, and possibly some others on DNV Council, in back rooms, on the golf course and cloaked at offsite locations, planning for a huge redevelopment - some 500 units. Then quietly, last night, at a DNV Council Workshop, where the Mayor usually denies public input, the completed application was made public. At no time was there ever any public consultation or input. The existing residents of Emery Village are stunned. They now have to make immediate plans to move, some possibly pulling their children out of school part way through the year.

It is time to put a stop to this deceit and tom-foolery, no matter who is the responsible party - the developer or municipal hall.

Barry Rueger said...

I'm not about to guess at the motivation of our elected officials. None of us can really say for sure why they vote one way or the other.

Hazen does raise a good point though, and one that actually has been discussed a few times within the District's Transportation Consultation Committee: how can "outsiders" get involved in the planning and design of large projects at an early stage instead after the bulk of the work has been done, and decisions already made.

Within the TCC we've had a few occasions - Translink's new Phibbs design in particular - when we could see some incredibly boneheaded decisions had been made that anyone who wasn't firmly in the middle of the process would have identified in a moment. More than once during TCC meetings one of us has said to staff "If you'd just asked us early in the process we could helped you avoid a problem that will now be expensive to fix."

I'm not suggesting that every part of every project should be open to endless poking from uniformed but well-meaning members of the public. Obviously large projects will benefit from a close working relationship with planning staff, and a lot of pretty non-controversial decisions can be made before Council needs to be involved. After all, both developers and planning staff have knowledge and expertise that we lack.

Still, There has to be a way to bring in people from outside of the loop at a much earlier point, or to at least make basic information public well before staff and developers have signed off on the bulk of the project.

Or, if all of the public consultation and stakeholder meetings are just window-dressing, maybe we should stop pretending that they have a real influence.

Anonymous said...

The OCP is but a Local Agenda 21 plan. This kind of social engineering was never asked for by anyone but planners and ICLEI. It^s good Hazen has a clear memory of that fraudulent charette as I would never have known it was so thinly attended. My belief and my suggestion to council is as part of a complete review of the OCP that it be legitimized by PUBLIC REFERENDUM which it should have had to pass prior to 2011 but did not.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a binding referendum in our system. Plebiscite, sure. But it is always up to the elected officials to honour it or not.

It makes more sense to elect councillors who reflect your views and since the lowest growth councillor, Lisa Muri, topped the polls, and since we have near the lowest growth rate in the region, and less than half the national average, I would say you could argue those views are already reflected, both on the council and in practice.

As for the ICLEI/Agenda 21 conspiracy nut, Just because you don't want something doesn't mean others don't. Also, even if everyone in Vancouver wanted a detached house on an 8,000sqft+ lot, doesn't mean it is feasible in any affordable way, anywhere close to the city. Densification provides more options for more people and the people it displaces are very well compensated and do so voluntarily.

Furthermore, the charette wasn't fraudulent. The community has better things to do than go to a planning charette, but when the plan was rolled out there was a meeting I attended in Cardinal Hall of the Lynn Valley recCentre with over 300 people in attendance.

Plus there have been two elections since that decision and the incumbents keep getting elected with large margins.

Hazen Colbert said...

Barry wrote much which I agree. Yet we best not confuse "informed" with "knowledgeable." In municipal politics there are people who are informed of what is happening on their street because they have lived there for 40 years. Such information does not translate well into knowledge and experience when applied to pan regional issues such as transportation or housing affordability.

In Canada there are indeed binding referenda. They are allowed under the Quebec Charter. We all know about the separation votes but few in BC know about the cerca 2003 Quebec referenda on municipal amalgamations. I lived there at the time. Originally the provincial government mandated amalgamation. All hell broke lose. Then they reversed course and we got to vote on how things should turn out. What a change in the public's support.

A referendum has great value as an implementation tool because it gives people a sense that they have "skin in the game." Another such tool is a town hall. The public hearing, if held early enough, might qualify as well.

A cynic might say that people do not get involved until it is too late. I say the timeline should not start UNTIL people are involved.

Anonymous said...

There's already a public hearing process in both Districts and the City with advertising that gives plenty of time for people to plan their calendars. The system is in place for people to participate. It's a bit disingenuous to complain that the system doesn't give the average citizen the opportunity to be heard. It's there for anyone who cares to get off their ass and participate. Given human nature, people decide to participate after the fact once they discover that a proposed development, once already under construction, inconveniences their daily routine somehow. Don't confuse complacency or laziness with a lack of opportunity to participate.

Hazen Colbert said...

The average citizen does get an opportunity to be heard, but the decision has already been made long before the public hearing.

I used to be a banker lending to real estate projects. There were times we would not release funds for a development until we were certain a project would be approved by a local council. In one case we received an undertaking by the developer signed by the mayor and the majority of council that the project would be approved. The undertaking was received several weeks prior to the public hearing.

With another project in North York, Toronto, a member of the Council, Milton Berger, slept, in his chair, throw the entire public hearing. At the conclusion when it was time to vote, the Mayor, Mel Lastman, woke him up to break a tie vote, and he voted in favour of the development. Berger passed away some time ago. There were jokes it happened at a council meeting and no one knew.

These are the realities of municipal government, and perhaps all government.

Municipal councilors court a core group of people and shower them with all manner of largess - the NSMBA's $100,000 in funding a year is an example. In 2014 I finished last in voting with 2722 votes, Mathew Bond won a seat with 5,871 votes. Why? He promised money to the NSMBA. Walton made sure the NSMBA and all their families knew he supported Bond, and once on council the two of them delivered showering the NSMBA with a king's ransom. That process took 1,500 votes from me - and others - and gave them to Bond. That process was all the difference for Bond. All legal and above board. Ethically repulsive but real. And that type of thing is not me. Never will be. I believe we should all be treated equally as per Toward a Just Society. So I cannot buy votes. Not with my money or the public treasury.

Anonymous said...

Or, the voting public wasn't interested in what you had to offer.

Anonymous said...

ANon 2:00 pm.. said...
"As for the ICLEI/Agenda 21 conspiracy nut, Just because you don't want something doesn't mean others don't."

What would make you call me an "ICLEI/Agenda 21 conspiracy nut".?
It couldn't be that the DNV isn't a paying recipient of ICLEI materials and it couldn't be that ICLEI isn't the organ of Local Agenda 21 disbursement. Neither of those points could possibly be in dispute.
What could it be?
Perhaps it could be that you don't really know what ICLEI is? Perhaps you haven't talked to the DNV 'planners' that pushed membership in ICLEI?

I actually don't know what you mean so could you clarify what you meant by 'conspiracy theorist' in this context and why you linked that to ICLEI/Agenda 21?

Anonymous said...

Perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, there Barry goes again, deleting a benign comment about the past peace the forest once was in Upper Lynn Valley.

The Agenda/ICLEI keeps changing its name. Soon we will be hearing more about the "New Urban Agenda" (also know as 2030 Agenda). Not a conspiracy in the least. Google UN and 2030 Agenda, and New Urban Agenda. You will be surprised.

Anonymous said...

what exactly is your opposition to Agenda 21 and ICLEI. Present an argument. Don't just claim "social engineering" and run off.

Barry Rueger said...

It might be useful if someone could give a capsule summary of what "ICLEI/Agenda 21" is, links to source documents, and could nail down when (apparently) local governments endorsed it.

Lots of people will just skip the acronym and ignore whatever you're saying.

Improved Creampuff Licking Elite Instrumentalists?

Anonymous said...

I want to know what the guy who keeps bringing it up thinks it is. Claiming 'social engineering' won't cut it. I want facts and evidence. Not alt-facts.

Hazen Colbert said...

What is of concern to me is that International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives or ICLEI is treated as the primary authoritative stakeholder in District of North Vancouver planning decisions despite not being endorsed by the residents of the DNV or even informed to the same residents.

DNV planning and some DNV Councillors defer, not to community input or best evidence when making decisions, but to ICLEI principles particularly as it relates to densification and transportation planning. The DNV is a member of ICLEI.

I support many ICLEI principals particularly as relates to reducing the carbon footprint of housing. I do not support most of ICLEI's economic principals deferring instead to "agglomeration economics” put forward by Jane Jacobs, Michael Porter and Harvard University.

Both the City of Vancouver and the DNV are managing transportation infrastructure exactly as directed by ICLEI with a war on cars/commercial vehicles etc, and an attempt to force people to either use public transit or ride bikes. In the DNV however, we do not even have a tiny fraction of the investment in public transit required as a critical success factor for the ICLEI directives. So our council has directed that bike lanes be built as a substitute for public transit. It is a folly. Regrettably the Mayor and one councillor have simply closed their minds to any alternative, and instead have bullied the remainder of council and staff into what I call, "its my bike-way, no highway." It is an irony to see Mayor Walton taking credit for changes to the cut when he, in fact, along with the CNV's Mussatto have been the biggest obstacle to road improvements across the North Shore for 15+ years.

It would be helpful for DNV planning to disclose their membership in ICLEI and the impact that membership has in overriding community input in land use and transportation planning.

Anonymous said...

You seem to think everything needs community input. How will that get anything done? You're proposals would bog down any community development into endless layers of bureaucracy and endless engagement. Elections give a council its mandate. We have public hearings when necessary. It's bad enough having people on council who aren't well versed in urban systems (or architecture, or engineering, or economics, or...) do we really need to turn over the reigns to a largely uninformed public for every decision? Just look at the misinformation being spewed at public hearings. We don't need that at every turn. Nothing would get done. Ever. It's an option favoured by bean counters and bureaucrats because it serves to justify their existence and nothing more. And to be honest, Mr. Colbert, I'm not sure you've been here long enough to tell us what's best for our communities.

Anonymous said...

Jane Jacobs? Really? She loved high density communities and hated highways... Her theories are exactly what ICLEI is based on.

Hazen Colbert said...

"How will that get anything done"

Are you really serious?

The simplest things take the bureaucrats months to implement, even when there is no community input. You have public hearings not because it is necessary but because it is law LOL.

Most of the misinformation I have seen a public hearings has come from paid agents of developers. The best example is that entire farce of planning into Lions Gate, apart perhaps from the "extras" hired out of North Shore Studios (owned by Bosa Inc) to line the chambers of DNV Municipal Hall during the public hearing for the mall, all wearing green buttons with a check mark.

My definition of "here" is Canada, and I am darn proud of it! I regret you do not support the Canadian value of inclusiveness.

Anonymous said...

In the 90's "pool Hall" was the old guy planner translation of youth wanting a place to hang out. Pool Halls went out of fashion in the early 80's. The modern comfortable coffee shop hadn't really emerged yet. Most of the coffee shops were linoleum laden diners at the time.

Anonymous said...

"perhaps from the "extras" hired out of North Shore Studios (owned by Bosa Inc) to line the chambers of DNV Municipal Hall during the public hearing for the mall, all wearing green buttons with a check mark."

This is why no one takes you seriously, you do some great work studying an issue, and then you make broad declarations as fact that are entirely false. The green checkmark people were not extras, they were people that were planning to sell their homes and move out of the neighborhood. An equally self interested demographic that should be ignored, but instead of putting the blame in the right place you state your musings as fact.

Anonymous said...

People get upset at the term "social engineering". But it is still being used by those who want to lord their supremacy over the rest of us. The most recent I heard this term invoked was at a DNV Hall forum, last week, sponsored by the North Shore Safety Council touting 30 km streets everywhere. What a lark!

All this talk about safety and sustainability is pure propaganda aimed at "social engineering" us. Many people act like lap dogs over these ideas that hold no water. Dissidents are not welcome.

Anonymous said...

Lording supremacy? Inferiority complex much?

So, safe streets for all users is propaganda? Social engineering? Why? Slower streets are safer for all road users and just because you feel entitled to,drive at whatever speed you like doesn't make it social engineering. It's about putting unsafe drivers in check. Of course signs posting lower speeds won't work, we need streets that are designed for speeds of 30 instead of 50+. Your privilege to drive doesn't trump a pedestrians right to get home alive.

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 9:33

"The green checkmark people were not extras"

Oh for heaven's sakes, YES most of them were. The buttons were provided by Mark Sager and by his assistant/associate Linda Finlay who gathered signatures in favour of the project and subsequently ran in the 2014 municipal election. The extras met in the lobby and got their buttons and then lined up standing around chambers. Several I knew from a CW series where the outdoor scenes were filmed in Lynn Canyon where I walk my dog. One of them is actually fairly well known and lives in Gastown. When I asked Mr. Sager what in the world that fellow was going there. Sager responded, "Oh he is my best friend and is here to support me."

Some were indeed not extras, like Nick (Jane Thorthwaite's Executive Assistant) and several of his friends. Jane asked Nick et al to attend after Mr. Sager made a request of her over lunch at the sushi restaurant in Lynn Valley Village below her office. I was sitting with my back to them at the next table.

Another City of Vancouver resident spoke at the meeting. There was no record of him ever speaking in the DNV previously. He has never spoken since. He claims to be an expert on the subject of planning. He spoke in favour.

There is nothing wrong with any of the above, it just means we should not take the input of all Public Hearings as representative of the local community particularly when the proponent might have stacked the proverbial deck, something entirely legal and above board.

The meeting in which all the locals were there in hopes of selling their homes was not the Bosa meeting but the Public Hearing for Larco Investments, at which about 75% of all email submissions in favour of the project were traced to one single family home at 2046 Curling Road. A resident of that address spoke 5 times at the Public Hearing in favour. Another resident apparently spoke as well in favour.

Despite the profile of the process I still support the Public Hearing process.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the Plan recommended a theatre and a place for youth. I lived in Lynn Valley in bygone days. It had a theatre and a teen centre. All gone with commercial expansion, modernization and densification.

Anonymous said...

"at which about 75% of all email submissions in favour of the project were traced to one single family home at 2046 Curling Road. A resident of that address spoke 5 times at the Public Hearing in favour."

See there you go again. How could you possibly know the origin home address of the e-mail submissions? While it is true e-mail can be tracked, it cannot be tracked from the printed version that is submitted to the public database. The IP addresses can only be found on the recipient computer, which you have no access to.

Anonymous said...

Unless this is another one of those, 'out-of-court settlements prevent me from commenting further' situations... You seem to have a few of them.

Anonymous said...

One has to eat.

Anonymous said...

...someone else's lunch.

Anonymous said...

isn't that the way of world?