Writer asks: Is trading off public amenities for housing a good idea?

Elizabeth Murphy, a former a property development officer for the City of Vancouver’s Housing & Properties Department and for BC Housing, has an article in Today’s Vancouver Sun on housing policy for Vancouver. Her article contains things that have a lot of resonance for people looking at housing policy in the District of North Vancouver and especially for the Delbrook community.

Among her comments she says,

the city is becoming amenity deficient for the amount of growth we have taken on to date. There is a structural loss of green space and recreational facilities. Building housing on School Board and Park Board land, such as proposed for the Britannia Centre in the recently approved Grandview Woodland Community Plan, is adding many more people with less amenities. The school and park systems need to be protected, funded and expanded, not used for yet more housing.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, this argument was not included in the consultation document for the possible redevelopment of the Delbrook Community Centre property.

Murphy also suggests, “The dogmatic application of transit oriented development is not considering the capacity of the system or the surrounding neighbourhood impact.”

Murphy’s whole article can be found here:

Opinion: Affordable housing myths and facts

The SFU Centre for Dialogue is reported to be releasing its report on the Delbrook Lands September 9th. Presumably, discussion at DNV council will follow shortly thereafter.

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Save the date!

Reliable sources tell us that the Simon Fraser Centre for Dialogue will be making their report on the Delbrook consultation public on September 9th. Keep your reading glasses ready.

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Vancouver looks at the density question: DNV next?

One of the members of the Delbrook Community Association recently shared this article from the Vancouver Sun with us.

Speed of change among biggest fears in Grandview-Woodland

Densification has become a hot topic in the Grandview Woodland area and residents pushed back against plans for major density increases. The second round of planning looks like this:

The plan calls for a big boost in population — 9,500 more people, an increase of nearly 30 per cent, in three decades. The added density is achieved by allowing multi-unit buildings over a larger area rather than just adding height in a few places. Towers in areas like the Safeway site at Broadway and Commercial, an area of contention in the first draft, were reduced to a maximum of 24 storeys from 36, and neighbouring buildings would be limited to 10.

This time there has been less resistance. As the Sun article explains:

In comparison to the firestorm over the first draft, opposition this time has been relatively muted. While the residents’ group asked for more time with the plan and a clear avenue to influence its final form, Munro said he’d heard criticism from individual residents about aspects of the plan, but not the overall approach.

The softer reception may have something to do with the fact this plan was developed with help from a 48-person volunteer citizens assembly, a move that made a lot of sense to planners like Munro.

Vancouver is actively looking at how to get more housing and most important, more affordable housing. The District of North Vancouver is facing the same challenges. How this will play out may be part of the discussion around the use of the Delbrook Lands. Will it be high density in one spot or a modest increase in density broadly with public land saved for public use.

Whatever happens, the process will go more smoothly if the community feels it has been fairly involved.

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