DNV joins local governments looking at short term rentals (Airbnb etc.)

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The District of North Vancouver has joined the group of Lower Mainland municipalities that are examining the impact of short term rentals (STR) in the community. Council will discuss this at a workshop starting at 5:00 pm November 28th.

In a background paper for the workshop staff calculate there are around 600 STRs operating in the District. These rental units are spread out across the District.

STRs

Distribution of Short Term Rental Units in the DNV – source: staff report

The staff report says:

The increasing popularity of STRs has the potential to impact the limited supply of rental housing in the District by removing dwelling units from the long-term rental pool. However, the extent to which STRs are impacting the overall supply of rental housing is inconclusive at this time and would require further detailed research to understand the availability of dwelling units for long-term rental.

The District’s current rental vacancy rate is 0.3% according to Statistics Canada.

The report notes a wide variation among Metro Vancouver local governments on how STRs are treated. Vancouver has taken the strongest position.

The full agenda package including the staff report may be found here:

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3407439

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The Delbrook Speedway and Windsor Road’s Dangerous Crosswalk

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For more than two years the Delbrook Community Association (DCA) has been raising issues with the District of North Vancouver and the RCMP about speeding on Delbrook Avenue, and speeding on Windsor Road and residential streets in the upper Delbrook area. The DCA has also raised concerns about the danger to pedestrians in the crosswalk at Windsor Road and Delbrook.

Separately, several of residents in the community have also been raising their concerns about the Delbrook/Windsor crosswalk with the District. At least three of these local residents had almost been run down while crossing the road.

IMG_0711

The Delbrook speedway with its frequently ignored crosswalk

The good news is that the local residents at least have been given some indication there may be improvements in the crosswalk. More on this later.

In May 2016, the DCA wrote to the District raising issues of speeding and traffic signage on Delbrook. The letter also asked for more crosswalks on the street and particularly for better controls at the Windsor intersection. Six months later, the District responded. The letter from the District suggested that since 85% of traffic on Delbrook was at less than 68.6 km/h (the speed limit is 50 km/h) there was not a speeding concern. The District said they were conducting a study to see if the Delbrook/Windsor intersection qualified to be upgraded to a “special crosswalk.”

Earlier this November, a year after the District’s last response, the Delbrook Community Association wrote once more to the DNV raising the following five points:

  1. As has previously been observed by traffic studies, much of the traffic on Delbrook is in excess of the 50 kph speed limit. This leads to other concerns such as the following.
  2. The top of Delbrook curves just before its junction with Granada. Making a right-hand turn from Granada onto Delbrook is extremely dangerous as the sightline is not clear and cars coming down from Delbrook are on a curve which means they may not see drivers turning until it is too late.  As noted above, this problem is exacerbated by the speed of the traffic. There needs to be signage at the top of Delbrook with a curve sign and notification of cars exiting from Granada.
  3. Drivers on Delbrook need to be reminded of the speed limit. We suggest two speed limit signs to be erected on each side of the road in an attempt to get people to slow down. Brakes must be applied when descending Delbrook or acceleration occurs quickly and dangerously
  4. The cross walk at Delbrook and Windsor is particularly dangerous due to speeding cars. This cross walk needs to be lighted with flashing lights to ensure speeders descending Delbrook have time to slow down and stop. We understand this intersection may not meet the specific requirements for lighted signage, but the degree to which drivers ignore the crosswalk, particularly for children, indicates more needs to be done.
  5. Finally, traffic speed on Delbrook needs enforcement. While our recommendations would help the situation, the realistic expectation that traffic laws would be enforced would go even further. We request speed traps be set up for Delbrook Avenue – preferably twice per month – for at least two months.

In a response to individual residents who have raised the issue, the DNV transportation department says they have identified the Windsor crosswalk as a priority for safety improvements in the 2018 Budget. The transportation department said they had received positive feedback about the use of Rapid Flashing Beacons and that this would be considered among other options. This will be more than two years after concerns about this intersection were raised.

This would be an excellent start but speeding also needs to be addressed, both on the Delbrook Speedway and on adjoining streets. Windsor Road itself sees too much fast traffic and at least one resident was struck by a car.

We will post the DNV response to the letter from the Delbrook Community Association when it is received.

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Hey Delbrookers – have your say on transit fares

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Translink wants to know what people think about how we pay for transit in the Lower Mainland.

Right now we pay based on the distance we travel based on fare zones. People with Compass cards can travel seamlessly between buses, the Seabus and Skytrains. People who pay cash fares pay one on the bus and then another when they get to the Skytrain.

Copy of ctm_transit_fare_review

Translink has already gone through two rounds of consultations and now in Phase 3 they are asking for feedback on three key areas: options for pricing fares by distance, new ways to structure fare products, and the possibility of expanding customer discounts.

You can fill in the Translink survey and get more information at the following website:

https://www.translink.ca/en/Plans-and-Projects/Transit-Fare-Review.aspx?gclid=EAIaIQobChMItMTwjbHO1wIVFMJkCh3HiwGYEAAYASAAEgKho_D_BwEE

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DNV Council votes for housing priority for DNV residents

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Our Mayor and councilors deserve some admiration for the job they do. Every week a council agenda package lands on their desks. One hundred pages is a short one. The package is filled with complicated issues which most of council must manage on top of a full-time job.

For the rest of us, that public agenda package gives us minutes of what happened the week before as well as important information about what is coming to the current week’s meeting.

The November 20 agenda package is no exception. In it we see that on October 30 Councillor Muri moved, seconded by Councillor Hansen:

THAT staff are directed to bring forward a policy requesting that developers of new residential developments make them exclusively available to North Shore residents for the first sixty days before permitting sale to others.

The motion passed with Councillors Bassam, Bond and Hicks in opposition.

Council continues to be preoccupied with developments for the Maplewood Village Centre. The agenda for the November 20 meeting contains motions on Maplewood including amendments to the Official Community Plan. The package contains detailed staff reports.

Council will consider a workplan from the new Official Community Plan Monitoring Committee (agenda package page 57). So far, the committee has met twice and is building their OCP literacy. They expect a report next April.

The full agenda package can be found here:

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3387560

On November 21 Council is holding a public hearing on the development of multi-family student housing for Capilano University. More details here:

http://app.dnv.org/councilsearchnew/

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Is it a lack of housing that makes Metro Vancouver homes unaffordable?

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A lot of people can’t afford homes in the lower mainland today. Governments, local, provincial and federal are all struggling with the problem. Most of them are seeking answers with more units of housing and greater density.

But what if the lack of housing isn’t the problem? Dr. John Rose, an instructor in the department of geography and environment at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, suggests that in fact we have been building houses faster than we are gaining new families.

An article in the Globe and Mail on Dr. Rose’s thoughts says:

It’s important that people understand the true nature of the affordability problem so we can take significant action to correct it, says Dr. Rose. He favours taxes on speculation, and doesn’t rule out a ban on foreign buying of existing properties, as New Zealand is implementing next year. He also questions the building of housing units that are overpriced and intended for speculation, and therefore “pointless.”

There are some academics who disagree with Dr. Rose and some who agree with him. Either way, these are thought provoking ideas worth a read. You can find the Globe and Mail article here:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com///real-estate/vancouver/academic-takes-on-vancouvers-housing-supply-myth/article37015584/?cmpid=rss1&click=sf_globe

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