The Delbrook Lands Project: 26 questions for the developer and the District of North Vancouver

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The District of North Vancouver is proceeding with plans for a five storey complex on the Delbrook lands with four storeys of apartments and respite care for seniors on the main floor. Please consider coming to the meeting. There are questions that need to be answered.

On May 30th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the new Delbrook Community Centre the developer, Catalyst Community Developments, will be holding an open house on the project. This is good news and overdue. The Delbrook Community Association raised a number of questions about the project with the DNV and asked for a written response. No response was provided.

The letter below was sent to the DNV and Catalyst on May 24th. The questions deal with the project itself and the impact on the community during and after construction.

Some of the key points raised in the letter are:

  • Why are fewer than 30% of the apartment units proposed being provided for families? Does this meet the actual needs of the District?
  • Why are they building a five storey complex when this size is out of character for the neighbourhood?
  • The units are characterized as non-market rather than affordable. What’s the difference and how much will they charge?
  • Will District residents get the first opportunity for the units?
  • Including redevelopment of the rest of the property, how many years will the community face construction?
  • There will be a lot of trucks and a lot of trades people working on the site. What are the plans for parking and for staging of the trucks? Will this be on residential streets?
  • There are fewer parking units for the complex than there are apartments. Where will these people park? Residential streets near the property?

These are some of the key points in the 26 questions in the following letter.


rendering

Rendering of the project provided by Catalyst

Letter To Catalyst and the District of North Vancouver

On May 30th Catalyst will be holding a public information meeting to present a development proposal for the Delbrook Lands at 600 West Queens Road in North Vancouver.  The Delbrook Community Association and members of the Delbrook community are deeply interested in this project and its impact for our community. As such, we are submitting a list of questions to which we would appreciate a response at your meeting. We would also appreciate a written response to these questions. These questions would have been submitted sooner; however we were only recently made aware this meeting was taking place.
I note that some of these questions are similar to those that were submitted to the District of North Vancouver in January. There has been no response to our January letter from the District.
We appreciate your responses to these questions which will help our community to evaluate this project.
Operating Period
Question 1
While we recognize this is not a BC Housing project, one of the minimum requirements for BC Housing projects is “a Needs and Demand Assessment or Market Study that clearly establishes present and future needs and demand for affordable rental or ownership housing in the target community.” In a meeting between Catalyst and the Delbrook Community Association in August 2017, we were told “the project will be steered by District requirements that reflect specific needs of District residents and balances unit composition with the desired rates of affordability.”  We note that in the proposed Emery Village Project, 48% of market rental units are two bedroom or larger and in the affordable housing component 60% are two bedrooms or larger.
Given that fewer than 30% of the housing units in the proposed Delbrook Lands building will be suitable for families (2 or 3 bedroom), was a market study done on the needs of our community? If so, will this be made public?
Question 2
Will any of the units be specifically made available for people with special needs? What provisions will be made to support these units in terms of rent support (subsidies) and services?
Question 3
Originally, we understood the first floor services would also include 35 child care spaces, particularly for infants and toddlers. Is this no longer the case?
Question 4
We believe a five storey building is out of character for the neighbourhood. This would be the only five storey building in the Carisbrooke, Delbrook, Norwood Queens and Upper Capilano area. Five storey buildings are even rare on Marine Drive.
Does permission to build a structure of this size set a precedent for other areas in these neighboring communities and for other communities in the District?
Question 5
Catalyst describes the apartments they are building as non-market, rather than using the term affordable. The District’s “Rental and Affordable Housing Strategy” calls for “the expansion of the affordable rental housing inventory through the implementation of the OCP and other relevant bylaws and policies…” Canada Mortgage and Housing says, “In Canada, housing is considered affordable if shelter costs account for less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income.”
What is the difference between “non-market” and “affordable” housing?
What is the proposed rental cost for each of the different configurations (studio, one, two and three bedroom)?
For each of the different configurations (studio, one, two and three bedroom) how many of the units on the Delbrook Lands will meet the definition of “affordable housing”?
For each of the configurations, what percentage below market will the units be?  How will Catalyst ensure that this will margin below market will be maintained over the long term?
Question 6
In 2016/2017, the Province announced the new Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing Program. Over the next five years, the Province is committing a total of $355 million to create upwards of 2,000 new affordable housing units under the Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing.
What is the involvement of the provincial government or its agency BC Housing in this project?
Question 7
Will the units in the proposed development be offered first to current District or North Shore residents?
Question 8
The proposal suggests 60 parking spaces for the 80 housing units and another 8 visitor parking spaces which appears to include visitors to the respite care facility. We anticipate this will create a significant parking overflow onto neigbouring streets.
What are the current assumptions being used by Catalyst with respect to parking numbers? What are these assumptions based on?
Will there be a charge for parking?
Is the District considering parking permits to control parking in the area?
Question 9
What provisions are being made in the project for bicycle parking? Will there be a charge for this?
Question 10
The child care centre currently on the Delbrook Lands has a lease until 2023. Does the District plan to continue this lease?
Question 11
What will be the new zoning for the south parking lot?  What will be the actual height of the building both at the front and the back?  What provisions will be made to transition to the 12 m maximum in PA 1 and PA 2?
Question 12
What changes are planned for transit along the Queens corridor and when?
Question 13
Where can we view the plans for the park?
Question 14
Who will own the Care BC facility?
Question 15
Will the tennis courts remain lit after the proposed development opens?
Construction Period
Question 16
In a meeting with the Delbrook Community Association in August 2017 we were informed that construction of the project would take 20 to 22 months. We also understand this will be followed by demolition of at least the North Building. What is the projected date for the development of the park and riparian area as this will require further excavation to demolish the parking lot?  When will the park be built?  Does this mean the community will see three to four years of continuous construction traffic?
Question 17
Has a construction mitigation report been completed?
What is the maximum number of heavy trucks you anticipate will access the site on a day including removal of debris (concrete from the current parking lot and material dug out for foundations and parking lot, cement trucks etc.?
What plans have been made for staging and parking these heavy industrial trucks? Which streets are anticipated to be used for this purpose? What route will the trucks travel to get to the site?   Will there be assigned parking for contractors / construction workers and if so where will it be?  What are the staging plans for the cranes?
Which streets are planned for use as access to the construction site?
Question 18
At a maximum, how many people do you expect to be working on the site on a day?
What plans have been made for where these people will park?
Question 19
The South building on the site is currently being rented out for movie shoots which is already causing parking pressure in the neighbourhood. Will it continue to be used for this purpose during construction of the new facility?
Question 20
A number of streets adjacent to the Delbrook site are used by significant numbers of children both to attend schools and for recreation. In addition, the area immediately north of the site is used by the Little Rascals daycare.  What steps will be taken to ensure the safety of these crossings and the environment during heavy construction traffic?
Question 21
Queens Road is a major traffic arterial. It is also a transit route. It is the future site of a Future Frequent Transit Network. What steps will be taken to ensure Queens Road is not disrupted by construction and to avoid lane closures and loss of parking? When will the bike lane on Queens Road be installed?
Question 22
Construction on the site will be close to the riparian area of Mission Creek, a salmon bearing stream. What steps will be taken to ensure this area is protected from dust and other pollution during construction?
Question 23
What safety improvements will be made to the intersections of Windsor and Stanley (site of a pedestrian-vehicle collision in 2015) and Windsor and Delbrook to mitigate construction traffic, and afterward?
Question 24
Will the tennis courts remain open during construction?
Question 25
What will be the construction hours?
Question 26
Given the consultation was District-wide, why have notifications of the public information meeting only gone to those properties within 100 m?
We look forward to meeting with you next week to hear your answers to these and other questions.
Yours sincerely,
Chair, Delbrook Community Association
Copy: North Vancouver District Mayor and Council
 

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DNV moving ahead with 5 storey Delbrook Lands project

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The District of North Vancouver is moving ahead with plans for a five storey, 80 apartment unit complex with social services on the first floor for the Delbrook Lands.

The chosen developer, Catalyst Community Developments, is having an information session on the project May 30th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the new Delbrook Community Centre. Save the date.

In January, the Delbrook Community Association (DCA) sent a list of questions about the project to the District and asked for a written response. So far the District has refused to respond. Shortly, the DCA will post another article on this site suggesting questions people may wish to ask at the consultation meeting.

While the District has failed to respond to DCA questions there have apparently been some developments. Always before, the District has said there would be 80 to 88 units of apartments at the site. In a mailing which went to people living close to the site, Catalyst now says there will be 80 units (16 studios, 41 one bedroom, 15 two bedroom and 8 three bedroom units.) This should be a challenge. The DCA has been told there would be 45,000 square feet of housing space. If the studio apartments are a small 400 square feet, this would leave 38,600 feet for the remaining 60 units, an average of 643 square feet per unit. This is going to make for pretty small, one, two and three bedroom apartments.

It is also interesting to note that Catlayst and the District appears to no longer be talking about affordable housing. Instead these units are characterized as “non market.”

So far, the DCA has taken the position that five storeys is to high for the community being larger than even developments on Marine Drive. We have also called for at least half the units to be for families.

IMG_0874

The following is the message which went out to people who were selected to participate in last year’s public consultation on the site.

Delbrook Lands Open House and Public Information Meeting

Dear Delbrook Lands Dialogue Participant:

You are invited to learn what’s next for the old Delbrook lands site.

In 2016, before we opened the brand new Delbrook Community Recreation Centre at 851 W Queens Road, we began a community engagement process to consult with residents across the District of North Vancouver to help decide the future of the site of the old Delbrook Recreation Centre property. District residents told us that they wanted to see the land remain under District ownership and include neighbourhood parkland and a mix of non-market housing and community services.

Catalyst Community Development Society is hosting a Public Information Meeting to share their proposal for a non-market housing and seniors respite care centre on the south parking lot portion of the site. District staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the community engagement process for the Delbrook site, as well as an upcoming parks planning process, beginning in 2019.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 30 – 6:00 – 8:00 pm 

WHERE: New Delbrook Community Recreation Centre
851 West Queens Road
Arbutus Meeting Room on the Main Level (can fit up to 100 people)

GETTING THERE: Transit, biking, and walking are all options, as parking is limited (underground or on street level)

dnv.org/delbrooklands

Note: You are receiving this email because you have previously indicated that you wish to receive updates on this topic. 

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Holy smokes, just 7 days until the giant Delbrook, Norwood Queens, Evergreen Garage Sale!

The signs are up and interest is growing.

garage sale

2nd Annual 2 Day Community Garage Sale North Vancouver

Sat. May 5 9:00-1:00
Sun May 6 10:00-12:00 After 12:00, FREE STUFF to the Curb

Community within Lonsdale, Queens, Delbrook and north towards Mont Royal. Look for lime green signs arrows.

We don’t have the capacity to list all the people having their garage sales so please, everyone, list your sale on Craig’s List!

SAVE THE DATE! May 5th and 6th Giant multi Community DNV Garage Sale – Delbrook, Norwood Queens and Evergreen

Have you got something in your garage that needs getting rid of but is too good to throw out? Perhaps some tools you aren’t using? Some things for the kids that are long grown? Some books you have finished or some records/CDs you don’t listen to?

For people in the District of North Vancouver’s Delbrook, Norwood Queens and Evergreen communities your big chance is coming on May 5th and 6th. Those are the dates for the second annual community garage sale.

garage sale

It is all very informal. We are not publishing addresses, but last year more than 20 homes participated. People came from all over to carry away our garage sale treasures.

On Saturday May 5th the hours are from 9:00 until 1:00. Sunday the hours are from 10 until noon. After that, if you still have stuff to get rid of, put it at the end of your driveway with a sign that says “free stuff” and it might disappear as if by magic.

We are hoping our second year will be an even bigger success than our first. And thanks to Real Estate agent Don Eilers for helping us promote this project.

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Plans for housing on Delbrook site to have two thirds bachelor apartments does not meet community needs

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The District of North Vancouver plans to build a five storey complex on the Delbrook lands that will see two thirds of the apartments as 400 square foot studio apartments. A Reuters news article suggests that might not be the best idea.

While the focus of the article is on speculation, the article points out that development is being focused on smaller units rather than the family sized units communities need.

Writing about Vancouver and Toronto, the article says:

According to market research firm Urbanation, about 60 percent of units under development in Toronto are studios or one-bedrooms, a complete reversal of the trend before 1990, when nearly 70 percent of units had two or three bedrooms. The condo boom is not meeting the goals of urban planners and Canadian families looking for an affordable alternative to the sky-high prices of detached homes.

The Delbrook Community Association has argued that at five storeys, the complex is too large for the neighbourhood. The DCA has called for at least half of the apartment units in the building to be for families.

The Reuters article can be found here.

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DNV gets push back on parks and sports field issues

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Parks and sports fields are becoming contentious issues for some District of North Vancouver community Associations and residents.

On January 29, 2018, Council passed a motion to use an alternative approval process to remove a sliver of Kirkstone Park from park dedication. The piece of land is about 6m wide and 140m long, and residents use it to enter Kirkstone Park from Emery Place.

kirkstone

The decision now goes to what is referred to as an “alternative approval process” (AAP) which will require the names of 10% of electors in the DNV to stop the process. Access to a form to sign on to this process can be found below. The choice to use an AAP for a local project makes it almost impossible to get the required number of signatures.

http://www.dnv.org/sites/default/files/edocs/bylaw-8303-elector-response-form.pdf

Lynn Valley residents found out about the plan in the North Shore News and were concerned about a lack of consultation. In a letter to Mayor and Council the Lynn Valley Community Association President said, “We have heard from many residents who were shocked to learn about the proposed Kirkstone Park bylaw, frustrated at the lack of information that has been forthcoming and who share our concern about the use of the Alternative Approval Process in general.”

The Delbrook Community Association has written to Mayor and council endorsing the call by the Lynn Valley Community Association calling for a public meeting and for more information. The DCA letter continued calling for existing park infrastructure to be maintained and indeed strengthened.  Minimally, the District should notify and inform DNV residents of the plans indicated within the OCP and explain how the Alternate Approval Process works and why it being chosen in this case. The letter questioned the advantages to the community of undedicating that portion of the park.

In another issue, some members of the Inter-River community are questioning the DNV’s decision to install artificial sports fields in Inter River Park. While the District has said there will be minimal impact on the environment initial work will involve removing 30 trees along the perimeter.

One community member has complained the artificial turf field will replace room for exploring the forest, playing pick-up soccer, swinging on the playground and running through trails. It would replace a multi-use area for the community with a single use.

Both issues will go before Council again.

Parks are also a major issue for the Delbrook Community Association which has for decades called for a multi-purpose park in our community. This was a priority as part of the consultation on the use of the Delbrook Lands but so far, no planning has been done.

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Should BC have a preferential (ranked ballot) vote for municipal elections? London Ontario breaks ground

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Not many people vote in local government elections and the District of North Vancouver is no exception.

According to a presentation from North Shore Community Resources to DNV Council on February 5th,  the average voter turnout since 2005 has been 23.13%. The information is provided in the DNV Council Package for February 5th found here:

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3475507

At least one local government is looking at ways to make voting more meaningful for municipal elections. That is London, Ontario which has decided to go with a preferential voting system.

Ontario’s local elections this year fall on October 22nd, two days after the October 20th vote for BC municipalities.

London’s web site explains how things will work this way:

Tonight at a Special Meeting of City Council a by-law was enacted to use the ranked ballot method of voting instead of the traditional first past the post method for Municipal Council. London could become the first Canadian municipality where voters use this system to elect their Municipal Council. To date this has not been done in Canada.

Using the ranked ballot voting system, voters rank the candidates in order of preference on the ballot: first, second, third. All votes are counted, and if one candidate does not have at least 50 per cent plus 1 of the votes, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the ballots are counted again, this time using the next candidate choice from ballots where the first choice candidate was eliminated. The process is repeated until a winning candidate is determined.

See the London website here:

https://www.london.ca/newsroom/Pages/Ranked-Ballot-Voting.aspx

As the London Free Press described the process “Despite opposition from bureaucrats, city council’s majority — led by first-term politicians — voted Monday to make London the first Canadian city to ditch the traditional first-past-the-post voting system, for the 2018 civic election.”

By a coincidence, BC voters will also be voting this fall on a possible change to our provincial election system to a proportional representation system.

Is ranked voting a good idea for local government elections? It would t least mean no one on Council would have less than 50% of the vote. And maybe it would even get more than a quarter of our citizens to the polls?

Are there other good ideas for changing our local government voting system? Let’s think about it. And please share your thoughts here.

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