Category Archives: Transportation

Why BC’s provincial election is important to cities, towns and districts – and why that’s important to you

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The District of North Vancouver, like all BC municipalities, is dealing with issues like transportation, sewage treatment and affordable housing. But the DNV cannot deal with these issues alone. They are constrained by federal and provincial laws and they need the financial support of those governments.

The May 9 provincial election is going to be important to all British Columbians but it is going to be just as important for the local governments, like the District of North Vancouver, that provide services to our communities.

The organization representing BC’s local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) has produced a document for the election that looks at critical issues facing our communities.

The UBCM says, “As frontline service providers, local governments are uniquely positioned to understand the evolving needs of citizens. The Union of BC Municipalities 2017 Provincial Election Platform identifies five common themes that are impacting BC communities, and provides recommendations for provincial action.”

The entire UBCM platform document can be found here:

http://www.ubcm.ca/assets/Resources~and~Links/2017~Provincial~Election~Platform/UBCM_2017_ProvincialElectionPlatform.pdf

The five themes identified by the UBCM are:

INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructure such as transportation and water services play a critical role in our communities. They also play a critical role in building our economy. The UBCM has called on political parties to commit to stable long term funding that will reduce the province’s infrastructure deficit. They also call for “Ensuring active local government involvement in the design, implementation and governance of infrastructure programs.”

FINANCE

Now more than ever municipalities are being called on to deliver expensive services with very limited revenue sources. Many of these expensive services are downloaded to local governments either by new federal and provincial laws of by the other governments simply ceasing to provide a needed service.

The UBCM has called for “To improve the long-term financial capacity of local governments, all provincial political parties must commit to working with local governments to provide the revenue tools needed to meet current and emerging service and infrastructure needs. This includes revenue sources that recognize growth in the economy such as the Community Development Bank.”

PROTECTVE SERVICES

Protective services play a key role in keeping our communities healthy and safe. They deal with everything from crime to mental health and drug challenges. These services are costly in most cases taking up more than 30% of local budgets.

The UBCM wants the next government to review the arbitration process that sets salaries for protective service and to enhance communication on policing issues.

CLIMATE ACTION

Local governments are on the front line of dealing with the impact of climate change in everything from floods to forest fires.

Among other things, the UBCM has called for appropriate provincial funding and decision making tools to allow local governments to deal with these issues. They have called for “Developing climate action approaches in consultation with local governments.”

HOUSING

Affordable housing is at the forefront of the agenda for many of BC’s local governments. The UBCM says, “Rising housing costs threaten the foundations of local economies and community connections.” It says, “When housing prices and rents are too high relative to incomes, a ripple effect is felt throughout the housing system. Homeowners, renters, and the most vulnerable are impacted along with the social fabric and economic viability of our communities.”

The UBCM has called on political parties to commit to supporting the retention and expansion of purpose built rental housing. They want to see supportive housing preserved and increased and the recognition of the role local governments play in these programs. They call for measures to reduce speculation in housing.

NOTE: Neither the UBCM nor the Delbrook Community Association is endorsing a political party in the provincial election.

 

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The North Shore traffic snarl up – things will get much worse

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Did you know the Second Narrows Bridge is the busiest bridge in the lower mainland? The Port Mann used to carry more traffic up until 2009. Now traffic has fallen off significantly from the Port Mann crossing while the Second Narrows still continues to carry nearly 120,000 vehicles a day.

The news was carried in a Vancouver Sun analysis on December 16 which can be found here:

North Van the new Port Mann? North Shore bridges at 'tipping point'

The article goes on to describe the North Shores ongoing transportation woes. One transportation authority is quoted as describing a “tipping point” when even a small amount of extra traffic causes blockage. The DNV’s general manager of engineering is quoted as saying, Perhaps we should have seen it coming. Highway 1 was upgraded to eight lanes, while the North Shore’s section of road is just four. It was like squeezing a big pipe into a smaller one.

Eric Andersen, President of the Blueridge Community Association says, “It’s not worth my while. I don’t want to be anywhere near Highway No. 1 after 2 p.m. Chances are I’m going to sit in traffic and steam…What used to take 20 minutes now takes one-and-a-half hours. It’s horrible.”

DNV Councillor Lisa Muri says “It’s going to get much worse.” The article says Muri “believes development should be held back to give time for road-building and bus routes to catch up. But her views won’t likely be heeded because she’s in the minority on council.”

It may indeed get much worse with significant growth planned aon the North Shore and in communities north of here.

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Interested in how the District of North Vancouver is developing? Come to the Council workshop Tuesday night

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Do you have issues or questions about the pace of development in the District of North Vancouver? Is the traffic driving you crazy? Is construction making your neighbourhood unlivable and has your neighbour’s bungalow turned into a monster home?

All of this arises from decisions in the District’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and on Tuesday (November 29) District Council will be holding a workshop at 6 pm to discuss the OCP.

The meeting agenda sets aside 10 minutes for public input so if you have something to say arrive early to get your name on the list.

Even if you don’t wish to speak we encourage people to come to the meeting to demonstrate we think this is an important issue.

You can read the whole agenda package for the meeting including the report from Councilor Lisa Muri whose motion at the Council meeting last week made it possible for this review to take place. The Agenda package can be found here.

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3056009

The day before, on Monday, November 28, the regular Council meeting will discuss the Districts Affordable Housing Strategy.

In an in-camera meeting before the official Council meeting at 7:00 pm Council will discuss several different rezoning applications and an amendment to the Official Community Plan. The public is not permitted to attend or know the results of in-camera meetings.

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New developments on Delbrook Lands, affordable housing and development in the DNV

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There are lots of new developments in the past 24 hours that affect the pace of growth in the District of North Vancouver, provincial funding for affordable housing and what is going to happen to the Delbrook Lands.

Starting from the last point, at the end of last night’s Council meeting (November 21) it was announced that on December 12th Council will hold a workshop on what will happen with the lands and how it will affect the Delbrook community.

On the affordable housing issue, today the provincial government announced just where they will be funding affordable housing projects. Some people have suggested that this provincial funding could be used to develop affordable housing on the Delbrook Lands, however, none of the communities on the North Shore were chosen for any of the 2,900 housing units provided at a cost of $516 million.

In fact, Metro Vancouver with half the population of the province and with the province’s most critical housing affordability issues will get less than 45 per cent of the new units. Burnaby gets 202 units, Richmond 160, Surrey 326 and Vancouver will receive 611 units.

The province’s press release can be found here:

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0145-002468

Last night Councilor Lisa Muri opened an important discussion at DNV Council on that rate of change faced by residents of the DNV. She presented a four-page report to Council on issues faced by the community and moved a motion calling for a “high level review” of the Official Community Plan which was passed just before the 2011 local elections.

She raised the issues of traffic, affordable housing, the loss of industrial/employment land and changes in communities and suggested that letters being received by Council were reflective of a community at odds with its local government. While not included in her motion she said that, “Council needs to understand we need to have a pause in accepting any additional applications in order to address the issue that may arise during this high level planning review exercise”

All members of Council except Roger Bassam supported the high level review. Bassam said he felt there had not been enough progress on the OCP since 2011 to justify such a review.

Despite not being included in the motion much of the debate centered on whether there should be a pause in approval of new development applications. Councilor Bond said that only 1,300 of the 3,000 new housing units anticipated in the OCP had been built. Councilor Muri responded with a list of more than 2,500 approvals Council had already agreed to which were waiting to begin.

Councilors acknowledged ongoing stress in the community from the pace of development. Councilor Hansen said the residents saw a link among issues like transportation, housing affordability and deletion of industrial/employment lands. He suggested Council needed to fix its attention on where we are now.

Other Councilors suggested the greater need was to look at long term issues. Councilor Hicks said that there was no frenzy of development and that “I think the people who are living here now have to accept the fact that were going to have a lot more people coming here, a lot more challenges of affordability.”

Mayor Walton said “I am a resident of Edgemont and have taken the brunt of traffic diversions. Edgemont is an absolute mess. It’s a construction zone. It will be finished in two years and we have to suck it up and get through it.”

Council agreed further discussions were necessary and have slated a workshop for November 29th.

The entire meeting is on line at the URL below with the discussion starting about one hour and 25 minutes into the meeting.

http://app.dnv.org/council/default.aspx?filename=20161121cc&type=MP4&start=0&end=8378

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Last week’s motion on a new housing development near Edgemont Village and a public hearing on a new c0mplex.

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As reported earlier, housing is becoming the hot topic in the District of North Vancouver. At the last meeting Council divided between three Councillors concerned the pace of development was too fast and that it was causing unmanageable traffic problems and four Councillors supporting consideration of another new development.

The draft minutes of last week’s meeting are now available on the DNV web site and this is how the motions played out.

Bylaws 8178, 8179 and 8186: OCP Amendment, Rezoning, and Housing

Agreement Bylaw for 3105 and 3115 Crescentview – 22 Unit Apartment and

Single Family House

 File No. 08.3060.20/038.15

MOVED by Councillor HANSON

SECONDED by Councillor MURI

 THAT Bylaws 8178, 8179 and 8196 not be given any Readings.

 DEFEATED

 Opposed: Mayor WALTON and Councillors BASSAM, BOND and HICKS

MOVED by Councillor HICKS

SECONDED by Councillor BASSAM

 THAT the “District of North Vancouver Official Community Plan Bylaw 7900, 2011,

Amendment Bylaw 8178, 2016 (Amendment 21)”, to amend the Official Community

Plan (OCP) from Residential Level 2 to Residential Level 5, is given FIRST Reading;

 AND THAT the “District of North Vancouver Rezoning Bylaw 1341 (Bylaw 8179)”, to

rezone the subject site from Single Family Residential Edgemont (RSE) to

Comprehensive Development Zone 95 (CD95), is given FIRST Reading;

 AND THAT “Housing Agreement Bylaw 8186, 2016 (3105 and 3115 Crescentview

Dr.)” is given FIRST Reading;

AND THAT pursuant to Section 475 and Section 476 of the Local Government Act,

additional consultation is not required beyond that already undertaken with respect

to Bylaw 8178;

 AND THAT in accordance with Section 477 of the Local Government Act, Council

has considered Bylaw 8178 in conjunction with its Financial Plan and applicable

Waste Management Plans;

 AND THAT Bylaw 8178 and Bylaw 8179 are referred to a Public Hearing.

 CARRIED

 Opposed: Councillors HANSON, MACKAY-DUNN and MURI

 

One more interesting thing in this week’s Council Package. An announcement of a public hearing on a proposed new six story residential building at 1519 Crown Street.

The hearing is at District Hall at 7 pm, Tuesday, November 15, 2016. More details at the URL below.

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3028367

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DNV council debates transit issues

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An article carried in both the North Shore News and Business in Vancouver reports on Discussions at the District of North Vancouver on the north shore’s growing transit issues.

https://www.biv.com/article/2016/10/district-north-vancouver-council-delves-transporta/?utm_source=BIV+Newsletters&utm_campaign=fc360a5529-Daily_Friday_October_21_201610_21_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6d3015fdef-fc360a5529-210795293

The article says in part:

Staff’s suggestions included a protected bicycle network, updating the district’s parking policies, a focus on the Main/Marine transit corridor, better co-ordination of traffic signals and whether the district ought to become a vision zero community – a growing movement among cities vowing to design their streets in such a way that there are zero traffic-related deaths or injuries.

But the informal session quickly turned to an airing of grievances as the morning commute of many councillors had been particularly exasperating with near-simultaneous crashes on the Cut, Stanley Park causeway and Westview overpass.

The discussion at Council showed a wide range of opinions among councilors on how to deal with gridlock on the roads.

Councilor Hanson said he did not find the same level of urgency in the Council that he found in the public. Councilor Bond said if people made small changes in their practices would buy time to make transportation investments. Councilor Muri said the answer was fewer people moving to the North Shore with Councilor Hicks responding, We’ve got to learn to live with the population.”

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DNV traffic study looks at possible 300 housing units in “multiple 6-story buildings” as option for Delbrook lands site

At 5:00 pm Tuesday October 18th the District of North Vancouver Council will be holding a workshop to review the District’s Annual Transportation Plan. There is much of interest in the report to Council which can be found here:

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3013732

Of particular interest to Delbrook Community residents is reference in the report to a Delbrook Lands Transportation Study, commissioned by Council in March and completed in June. The transportation update states that the study was completed “As part of the discussion surrounding the future uses for the Delbrook Lands” and “The findings were used to inform the discussion at the Delbrook Lands Deliberative Dialogue session on June 18, 2016.”

The Delbrook traffic study can be found here:

https://www.dnv.org/sites/default/files/edocs/delbrook-transportation-study.pdf

The study looks at the traffic impacts of four options for the site. Three options look at parkland, community facilities, a possible 28 town houses or a combination of the three. The fourth option presented is 300 apartment units in multiple six story buildings.

transport-study

The traffic study looked at vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the four intersections surrounding the property and concluded, “As shown, queues and delays at the study area intersections are expected to be reduced compared to existing conditions as the four land use scenarios generate less peak hour traffic compared to the existing site.” This despite the fact 300 units of housing are reported as requiring somewhere between 390 and 546 parking units.

Also, as the report acknowledges with respect to its traffic study, “Data for the West Windsor Road at Stanley Avenue and Delbrook Avenue at West Windsor Road intersections were collected during spring break in March, 2016.” Presumably, both foot and pedestrian traffic would have been reduced in rush hours when schools were out.

[Edit: An earlier version of this post indicated that the report was withheld from participants of the June 18th meeting. It turns out the report was indeed posted on the Delbrook Lands page under the “Related Policies” section, and we did not see it at that time]

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