Category Archives: District of North Vancouver

DNV Council hears Delbrook Lands proposal and presentations

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District of North Vancouver Council has had its first discussion on what to do with the Delbrook Lands site.

On Monday, May 24, Council received a preliminary proposal from staff that would see a five floor complex, one floor of community services with 80-88 units of not-for-profit housing above on four floors.

More information on the proposal can be found at the Delbrook Community Association (DCA) blog post here: https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/preliminary-report-on-delbrook-lands-calls-for-5-floor-complex-first-floor-services-with-80-88-apartments-above/

There was a consensus among DNV residents on the need for the services that would be provided on the first floor – child care, adult day care and overnight respite. There was less agreement on what to do with the residential part of the project.

Councillor Mathew Bond questioned the idea of locating the project in the south parking lot on Queens Road suggesting it would be difficult for residents to live on an arterial road. Relocating the site would push it further into the residential neighbourhood.

Councillor Roger Bassam reiterated he had always wanted a much bigger development taking up the site to permit the sale of homes to subsidize any services. This would directly contradict consultations that had called for much of the property to be used for park space.

DCA executive member Jim Gill addressed Council asking why a DCA proposal for the site to give priority to first responders who live in the District to ensure they would be here at a time of emergency had not been considered. More details on the DCA proposal can be found here: https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/delbrook-community-association-submits-proposal-for-the-delbrook-lands/

DCA executive member Keith Reynolds spoke to Council saying that while the DCA had not taken a formal position on the project there were a number of questions and concerns. Two of the most important concerns were the size of the project and the lack of consultation so far. At five floors, the project will be the only five floor project in Delbrook, Norwood Queens, Carisbrooke, Edgemont Village and Upper Capilano. He suggested a project of this size in a residential neighbourhood might be contentious. The entire presentation is printed below.

Monday’s Council meeting will be rebroadcast on Saturday morning on Shaw Cable. The discussion on the project is early in the meeting. The issue will be considered further in the fall.

Presentation to District of North Vancouver Council

24 July 2017

Your Worship and Council, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this evening about the preliminary report on the development of the Delbrook lands.

My name is Keith Reynolds and I am on the executive of the Delbrook Community Association. While we only saw this report four days ago and have not at this point taken a formal position as an executive, we do have a number of questions and concerns that we hope you will consider in your deliberations.

We also express out thanks to your staff who met with us on Friday afternoon to discuss some of these issues.

  1. The DCA submitted a proposal with ideas for the use of the property. We understand staff was not able to include this proposal in their considerations. We hope it will be considered going forward. Another member of our executive will speak to this.
  2. Catalyst and Care BC have been proposed as partners for this project. We would like to view some successful examples of projects delivered by Catalyst and think it might be useful for Council to do the same. Can we know about these examples?
  3. The proposal anticipates a broad range of tenants including those based on income and those with other needs. What will be the level of support, particularly for tenants with special needs? Will there be a full-time manager on site?
  4. What will be the composition of the tenants in the building? We understand this will be a decision of Council. This will affect the composition of the units. Delbrook is a family neighbourhood and we hope a substantial portion of the tenants will be families. The current proposal anticipates an average of just over 500 square feet per unit. Family units with three bedrooms would take up more than 1,000 square feet. A few larger units might even be required if we were to anticipate units for refugees with larger families. If we have these family units a significant number of the units will be reduced to 250 square feet or less.
  5. What will be the catchment area for tenant? Will BC housing manage the selection and if so will they draw from the entire metro area?
  6. There are currently 95 parking spaces in the entire south parking lot. Presumably, the footprint for one floor of underground parking, which we understand is the target, would be smaller. Given the services on the first floor and the possible selection of tenants, a number of these would be larger, handicapped parking spaces. Presumably, there would also be some visitor parking. The Queensbrooke Building next door has 26 parking spaces for 22 units. Clearly, available parking may not meet demand pushing residents and guests onto neighbouring streets. Will this lead to permit parking in the neighbourhood.
  7. Finally, we are concerned about the decision to recommend a five-floor building. To the best of our knowledge, this would be the only five floor building in the Delbrook, Norwood Queens, Carisbrooke, Edgemont or Upper Capilano area. They are at least rare in Lynn Valley. We are concerned this size does not fit with the neighbourhoods and question if it would be used as a precedent for other developments. Council may find this is the most contentious issue they must deal with.

Again, the DCA recognizes this is a preliminary proposal and we will have more to say in the future. But these are important issues we hope Council will consider. We also hope that the level of consultation with the community will happen in a more timely way as this process continues.

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Delbrook Community Association submits proposal for the Delbrook lands

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Following lengthy community consultations earlier in 2017, the Delbrook Community Association (DCA) has submitted a proposal to District of North Vancouver Council on what to do with the Delbrook lands site.

The two buildings currently on the site are now largely closed with much of the previous activity being moved to the new Delbrook Recreation Centre on Queens Road.

In an extensive and expensive community consultation process in the spring the community concluded the land should not be sold, that it should have a large component of parks in new plans, and that a portion of the property should be used for non-market housing.

District Staff are now in the process of preparing a report that is planned to go o Council this autumn. The DCA has submitted its proposal to Mayor and Council and to staff to inform this planing process.  DCA president Rene Gourley in his letter to Cuncil said,

It is our hope that this submission will help inform the development of the staff report to Council anticipated for the autumn as well as the thinking of Council itself.

The DCA believes this proposal is consistent with the principles, goals and policies of the OCP in terms of sensitively providing diverse housing and providing parks and open spaces for use by all segments of the population. It also is in keeping with the findings of the Districts extensive community consultation on use of the Delbrook Lands.

The Delbrook Community Association looks forward to participating in these discussions on this important project for our community.

The DCA proposal calls for the south parking lot area to be used for ground oriented housing with the sale of the properties restricted to first responders working in the District. Appreciation of the value of the units would be limited to ensure when sold the units would continue to be affordable by first responders.

The DCA’s full proposal is shown below.

Submission to Mayor and Council

District of North Vancouver

Regarding Future Development of the Delbrook Lands Site

June 2017

The District of North Vancouver is in the process of determining the future use of the Delbrook Lands. We believe the future use of this property offers the potential for both the long-term use of the community and the immediate needs of the community for both family based, ground oriented housing offering homes to people offering important services in our community.

The District undertook an extensive community consultation on this property involving both local residents and residents of the broader District. We anticipate any forthcoming bylaw proposals pertaining to these lands will reflect the principles articulated by the community.

Specifically,

none of the land is to be sold

  1. most of the land is to be retained as green space
  2. limited non-market housing is to be provided at no cost to the District

The January 17 Staff Report to Council on the results of the Public Consultation Process identified the following:

the south parking lot is dedicated to housing

  • the balance of the lands being reserved for parks and green space.

The Delbrook Community Association welcomes the long sought park / green space for the community along with limited non market housing as an appropriate blueprint for any proposed re-zoning bylaws.

 Delbrook Community Association Proposal for

Non-Market Housing on Delbrook Public Assembly Lands

 In this context, the DCA favours a non-market housing model which would not only provide perpetually affordable housing at no cost to the District and preserve the District’s propriety of the land, but would also enhance public safety.  Effectively, we support a restricted sale and restricted price model as per the Whistler Housing Authority.

In its simplest terms, our proposal includes the following:

the DNV would provide leased land at a minimal cost on which two and three bedroom ground oriented townhouses would be constructed; ground level housing is in extreme demand for families and helps create community among neighbours

  1. Units would be constructed in what is ow the south parking lot of the property.   We envision a small number of low rise units built along Queens. Units would be attractive to families and would be offered for sale only to District firefighters as well as paramedics, nurses and police officers who work in the City or District of North Vancouver.
  2. Such purchasers would also be
    1. Canadian citizens or permanent residents
    2. could not own another home
    3. and would work for a minimum of 20 hours per week in the District or City.

In the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe, first responders would already be in our community thereby addressing some of the concerns recently expressed by the public and by some members of Council.  In addition:

Through purchasers’ mortgages, the capital cost of construction could be quickly recovered.

  • A covenant requiring the owner to sell his/her home to another similarly “qualified” person within 6 months of leaving employment in North Vancouver would also be in place.

The appreciated cost of these units would be determined not by the free market, but by the Core Canadian Consumer Price Index. The price of such non-market homes would always be in reach of middle income earners while simultaneously providing the owner with the opportunity to build some equity.  Furthermore, the District could, if necessary, re-purpose the land in the future by purchasing units as they came available for sale.

Finally, the DCA affirms that the proposed use of the Delbrook Lands in general, outlined above, is consistent with the principles, goals and policies of the OCP in terms of sensitively providing diverse housing and providing parks and open spaces for use by all segments of the population.

Details of the manner in which the Municipality of Whistler operates its restricted sale and restricted price program is available at www. Whistler Housing Authority .ca.

 The Delbrook Community Association thanks you for your consideration of this non market housing proposal.  We are confident this proposal meets and in fact, exceeds the expectations of those who participated in the intensive consultation process.  Ground level, non market housing with the DNV retaining ownership and with families and inhabitants so essential to our well being is a win-win for all residents.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have and offer our support as the DNV plans the future of the publicly held Delbrook Lands.

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District one of Metro Vancouver’s priciest communities – and getting more pricey

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The Van City Credit Union has published a report this month that looks at affordability and changes in affordability for housing in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and southern Vancouver Island.

They find that while nowhere is cheap, the District of North Vancouver is expensive and getting more so.

The report can be found here:

https://www.vancity.com/SharedContent/documents/News/Vancity-Report-Housing-affordability-in-BCs-hottest-markets.pdf

Among their highlights Van City found “the overall affordability of residential properties sold in the city of Vancouver worsened 2.9% in the 12 months ended February 28, 2017, but other municipalities saw more dramatic declines: affordability dropped 38% in North Vancouver (district), 31% in Delta; 29% in Langley (township) and 23% in Maple Ridge.”

“The widespread decrease in affordability came despite a cooling of sales in the Metro Vancouver market in the latter half of 2016 following the introduction of a 15-per-cent property transfer tax on foreign nationals’ purchases of residential real estate within Metro Vancouver.”

The two most affordable communities found were Chilliwack and Sooke.

The search for affordable homes is pushing people into the Fraser Valley. the report found “Delta and Langley (township), for example, saw median sale prices increase 32% and 30%, respectively, similar to the 30% increase  that detached homes in Vancouver saw.”

The report found the DNV was the fourth least affordable community for detached homes, apartments and attached homes.

The report looked at foreign ownership as a potential cause of high prices but did not examine issues of domestic property speculation.

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Hey Delbrook zone 2 – reasons not to take away your green waste (or your garbage)

People in Zone one of the DNV have had their new garbage and green waste carts for a while now. This of us in zone two get them this week. And we will soon be the recipients of the little green tags telling us why they are not taking away our garbage or green waste.

The following pic is from a bag or green waste I ran into in zone one today.

green waste

NV District affordable housing debate continues – options for single family neighbourhoods welcomed

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Metro Conversations, a group co-founded by District of North Vancouver Coun. Mathew Bond, held a workshop May 16th to discuss housing options, particularly in suburban areas. Happily, the North Shore News reported extensively on the event titled  “The Sacred Single Family Home: What are we trying to protect and why?”

Rather than an attack on “single family homes” the participants called for greater openness to other options for slightly higher density, ground level properties.

The North Shore News report:

Cameron Maltby, a designer who specializes in those types of homes, said one of the greatest hurdles for property owners to clear isn’t so much the community worried about the character of their neighbourhood but, rather, getting bureaucrats to get over the “stigma” that comes for anything but single-family homes. Maltby lives in a duplex he designed on 23rd Street, near Lonsdale, to accommodate his family as well as his parents and one rental unit.

and

Architect and developer Michael Geller said:

Most builders will build that single-family house and sell it for $3.5 million rather than go through the aggravation and heartache to build something that’s more creative and perhaps much more needed,

He called for such projects to be fast tracked.

Following the meeting Coun. Bond said, the district’s OCP’s “hard lines” concentrating density in town centres may also have the unintended consequence of putting residents’ older, more affordable purpose-built rental buildings at risk of demoviction.

“If people are worried about those things and what we’re doing right now isn’t solving them, then we need to look at different solutions. That’s what this conversation is about,” he said.

There is much more interesting material n the article that can be found here:

http://www.nsnews.com/news/sacred-single-family-homes-questioned-1.20043552

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North Van District Council looks at impact of our official community plan on traffic, development etc. Time for a change?

Correction: The workshop on the OCP is on Tuesday, May 2, not Monday as we originally reported.

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The District of North Vancouver’s 2011 Official Community Plan (OCP) is aimed to shape the way our community grows for the next 30 years. It was the result of an intense planning process and six years later has once again become a controversial issue.

The discussion continues in Council Chambers at 5:00 pm on Tuesday May 2. Details of the agenda, with more information than is provided below, are here:

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3194776

The OCP had originally called for a review after five years. Council had originally thought to delay this; however, in recent months many DNV residents have been raising questions about their quality of life because of traffic and development issues. Recognizing this, Council decided to proceed with a review. Just how public consultation should take place around the review also became an issue.

On November 21, 2016 Council voted to have a “high-level review” of progress made with respect to implementation of the OCP to be conducted in the first quarter of 2017. On January 9th Council voted to carry forward with an Official Community Plan bylaw implementation review based on a report to Council from staff. That report called for the creation of a document providing data on transit and traffic, housing and development, and changes in industrial land. It called for public consultation with members of the former OCP implementation committee and North Vancouver community associations.

In the last two weeks Council held two two-hour workshops on the OCP with lengthy data presentations and in some cases tense exchanges around the Council table. It was agreed at the outset there would be no public input at the April 18 meeting, however, public participation was then cancelled at the April 24 meeting with a promise there would be room for the public at one more Council workshop on the OCP on May 2nd.

Housing and Development

In the OCP the DNV has called for a network of centres where 75% to 90% of growth is expected to take place to 2030. A number of developments have already happened in these areas and the report to Council said surveys had been sent to 1,000 new residences. The survey found 83% of these households had people working full time and that for most driving was still the most common method of transportation. Nearly half do use transit sometimes however more detailed information will not be available until TransLink does its trip diary study in 2018. These units were three times as likely than the District as a whole to have someone living there from the “missing generation” of younger people.

Two Councilors raised issues about the survey. Lisa Muri sought information about people who had been displaced by new developments.

The report to Council showed the DNV was facing change in its single-family home stock. Nearly two thirds of single family homes are 40 to 70 years old and it is believed housing stock gets renewed every 40 to 70 years. In the 2011-16 period 2% of houses underwent construction or renovation every year and this trend is expected to continue. Interior renovations are not tracked.

In discussion Lisa Muri raised the issue of concentrated redevelopment raising issues in some neighbourhoods. She noted 11 properties being redeveloped in a small area near Edgemont Village. She asked about the number of houses sitting empty in the community. Staff responded this data was missing but hoped Census report releases would provide this information.

The report to Council found there were 4,367 secondary suites in 2016, roughly ten per cent of housing units in the DNV. Staff reported that 75% of new homes in the District had a secondary suite. Mayor Walton noted he thought the actual number might be even higher and compared this to the tiny number of laneway homes being permitted.

At the April 24 meeting Councilor MacKay-Dunn raised the issue that while older housing was affordable, what was being done to protect it this stock? He cited the example of an owner who let affordable housing decay and council permitted its replacement.

At the April 24 meeting Mayor Walton said massive rebuilding of community is part of a natural cycle: our community, which was built from nothing in 1950s.

Attached vs detached housing

In 2011 69% of housing in the DNV was made up of detached units. Attached units of all kinds made up 31%. The OCP anticipates that by 2030 the proportion of detached houses will fall to 45%.  The DNVs development centres already have significantly higher numbers of attached homes. Attached is anything from a duplex to an apartment. Between 2011 and 2016 there were 980 new units in the District. Of these 748 were in the town centres. Staff told Council in the April 18 meeting that the DNV was behind in its development plans but expected to “accelerate at the back end.” They noted that TransLink was using “dollars to enforce density” by refusing to provide new services unless density targets were met.

Rental, Affordable and Non-Market Units

The April 18 staff report showed that most rental units in the DNV had been developed in earlier decades when there was support from senior levels of government for the projects. The staff reporting to Council said, “we need to, very clearly the data are showing us, that we need to accelerate the rental and affordable housing strategy. And staff are already developing an approach to the non-market housing components that we also acknowledge that we need to address.”

Councilor Bond expressed concerns about the 20 to 30 year gap in rental housing.  He said we’re going to need to be very aggressive. Unless community and council are willing to look beyond town centres, were not going to be able to help very many people.

Councilor Hanson said we need the intervention of senior levels of government. He said if we are going to treat housing as a human right rather than a commodity to be traded. Richard Florida (a writer on urban issues) notes the huge influx of people to urban centres was pushing out people who have been there all their lives. We’ve got to get used to that and be flexible.

Both Councilors Bond and Muri raised the issue of how affordable housing would be defined.

Transportation and Transit

In the April 18 meeting staff reported to Council that an analysis by TransLink found that by 2040 half of every trip needs to be made by something other than an owner occupied or shared vehicle. Staff reported on existing and planned transit. Planned transit and traffic improvements, such as a new Seabus and work on highway interchanges have been funded. In terms of vehicle traffic, traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge has remained relatively constant while the Second Narrows Bridge saw a significant jump in traffic following the opening of the new Port Mann Bridge. Mayor Walton described traffic as a regional issue. Councilor Muri noted that commercial truck traffic on the Second Narrows had increased by 14%.

Industrial Lands

Most of the discussion on industrial lands happened at the April 24 meeting. The staff reported there had been an increase in industrial lands which raised questions from Council on where these were.

The need for more and better data

Throughout the two workshops a number of Councilors asked for more and better data, particularly in the area of housing on such issues as empty homes. In Vancouver, this issue has led to the call for a tax on empty houses held for speculation.

This issue arose particularly around the number of new housing units coming forward. While the number of new built and in process units is relatively small, Councilor Muri at the April 18 meeting said, she had seen numbers that suggested 5,700 units were coming. At the April 24th meeting, she said she wanted to see numbers all the way from preliminary applications to occupancy and complained she was not getting the number of units.

Councilor Bassam said, there were dozens of data points. Councilors will choose data points they want. He said he was worried they were heading into analysis paralysis. Going down rabbit hole. He said it was just more data, data, data and “let’s just get on with it.”

Consultation with the community

On April 24th Councilor Hanson observed the District since 2011 had seen major changes on housing costs and daily traffic congestion. He said “we need to know from my point of view how those changes are felt by members of our community.” He said we need to be careful that rising land prices doesn’t drive out workers and services from the North Shore. He said with these changes we have every reason to do a rethink. He said these must be observed in the context of the perceptions of the community and that these perceptions were important.

Councilor Bond observed that Council discussions had seen an intense focus on the 1,000 to 1,500 people who had recently moved into attached housing units in the community and suggested this concentration might be making people feel unwelcome. He suggested far more people were moving to single family homes in the community and asked why they were not being asked the same questions.

At the April 18 meeting Councilor Muri pressed for a more robust consultation with the community. She felt two two-hour meetings with two groups had been inadequate and called for the terms of reference for the OCP Implementation Committee to come back to Council sooner rather than later. At the April 24th meeting staff said they were still seeking input on the terms of reference and promised they would come back to Council on May 2nd. Muri asked for the two co-chairs of the previous committee to speak to Council. Mayor Walton said he would talk to staff and consider this. Councilor Muri said, I hear what council thinks, I hear what staff thinks, I never get to hear what the community thinks. That’s the problem with this.  Mayor Walton pointed out there was no guarantee on any night of public participation in workshops.

You can watch these two nights of debate on the District website here:

http://app.dnv.org/council/default.aspx?filename=20170418cw&type=MP4&start=0&end=6816

and

http://app.dnv.org/council/default.aspx?filename=20170424cw&type=MP4&start=0&end=4848

and you can see the presentation here:

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3184623

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Big thanks to North Van Community Policing Volunteers

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Thanks to North Vancouver’s Community Policing Volunteers for helping us out on the Delbrook Speedway! You are welcome back any time.

police volunteers

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