Delbrook project needs to consider environmental issues

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The following is a really interesting presentation on environmental issues touching on the Delbrook site from long time Delbrook resident Keegan Casidy

Keegan tried to post this as a comment on an earlier blog post, but due to the mysteries of technology, it didn’t work. Perhaps its just as well. This deserves a posting on its own.

 


Hi DCA,

I was at the council meeting yesterday evening, and I am following up to gather more insight with regards to this post’s comment that “most of the land is to be retained as green space.” In particular, what exactly will be done to protect one of the last wild stock Coho & Steelhead streams left on the North Shore, Mission Creek (aka Thain Creek)?

There was little to no mention with what was going to be done with “most” of this land, being that it is proposed to be “Green Space.”

Furthermore, I find it troubling that following a review of the preliminary report, the only mention of Mission Creek was the following:

“Environmental Impact:

Mission Creek riparian area will be protected and enhanced.”

In my volunteer works with the Federal Government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Squamish Nation, BCIT River’s Institute and other parties – It is extremely important to consider the ecological, economical, and human health values of this creek.

There is a massive opportunity to engage children and give them the opportunity to witness in their back yard one of nature’s most impressive feats, the returning spawning salmon. Something many of us probably took for granted growing up in such a beautiful area that has seen many changes over the decades.

Mission creek.jpg

The District has recognized this creek’s value on occasion, with the $1.4M removal of the culvert under Westview drive in 1999, and again most recently with the replacement of the culvert on Windsor Road.

With such significant investments in the past I would hope to see that the right steps are taken to improve what is literally one of the last pieces of “Green Space” left on this creek.

Additionally, I would like to invite you all to the website I have created to read and see the true value of Mission Creek and it’s importance to not only the Delbrook residents, but to all of the residents on the North Shore.

http://mosquitocreeknv.weebly.com/

 

Keegan Casidy

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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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Preliminary report on Delbrook Lands calls for 5 floor complex – first floor services with 80-88 apartments above

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District of North Vancouver Staff comes back to Council Monday night (July 24) with a preliminary proposal for up to 88 units of housing in a five-storey complex on the Queens Road side of the Delbrook lands.

In a meeting on Friday, DCA executive members were informed that it was anticipated that there would be 45,000 square feet of rentable space available for the 80-88 units of apartments. This would come to an average of between 510 and 555 square feet per unit. However, staff said decisions had not been made on how many of the units would be larger two to four bedroom units for families. This would decrease the size of the remaining units. Council will make the decision on the mix of housing to be delivered on the site for low and moderate income people and for people with other needs.

The preliminary report anticipates a five-floor complex co-locating child care, adult day care and respite care on the main floor with four floors of non-profit housing above and parking underground.

This is the latest development in the process that led to the construction of the new Delbrook Rec. Centre replacing the former Griffin Recreation Centre complex. The process involved an unusually intense consultation that invited all residents of the District to participate. The consultation ended with a day long meeting with members of the public calling for the property to be used for parks and open space, community services and for non-market housing if it could be done without expense to the District.

In January Council directed staff to “begin discussions with non-profit housing providers and non-profit community service providers to explore options for the site and to develop a concept plan, cost estimates, and a funding strategy.”

The report says “The co-location of the two projects on the south parking lot allows the other tenants (Capilano Community Services and Little Rascals Child Care) on the Delbrook Lands to remain in place to the end of their leases.

The report says that local and District-wide residents are continuing to be engaged and will have further opportunity to comment on the proposed non-market housing and community service project through the OCP amendment and rezoning process. However, the DCA and Delbrook residents were not contacted for input into this preliminary report.

So far, the only involvement from the Delbrook Community Association has been creating and delivering an unsolicited proposal to Council in June which is not mentioned in this report. The DCA proposal had recommended using the land to provide non-profit housing for first responders (fire, ambulance and police) who work in and serve the District. The DCA proposal can be found here: https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/delbrook-community-association-submits-proposal-for-the-delbrook-lands/

Staff say they will engage with the community association and the wider public on the preferred concept for the site, and will present this information to Council in 2018, including cost estimates and a funding strategy. Work on the site is expected to commence no later than 2019.

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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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Community Association calls for more broadly based review of District of North Vancouver OCP

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The District of North Vancouver is in the process of reviewing its Official Community Plan. In the following letter to Council, the Delbrook Community Association calls for a more broadly based community consultation on this important issue.



Mayor Richard Walton and Council

355 W Queens Rd,

 

Dear Mayor and Council

I am writing on behalf of the Delbrook Community Association to offer our input on the review of the Official Community Plan that is currently taking place.

We encourage the District as part of the review to include the following:

  1. A formal community satisfaction survey to be conducted by a reputable polling firm. This survey would specifically focus on elements of the OCP to determine levels of community satisfaction with its implementation. The results of such a survey would help guide the District in OCP implementation in coming years.
  2. The distribution of a mailed card to all DNV residents inviting them to participate in a separate online survey. This would provide a valuable addition of information to the formal poll.
  3. The development of measurable goals to help us set benchmarks for further reviews in the future.
  4. Ensuring that the review of the OCP is broadly representative of the whole community and not largely focused on new Town Centres

We recognize the cost involved in such an exercise but believe it would be well worth it. While the District has not conducted a Community Satisfaction Survey in recent years it is a common practice in other local governments. To name a few, such surveys have been conducted in the Cowichan Valley, Maple Ridge, Oak Bay, Coquitlam, West Vancouver and Elkford. They are also common in municipalities in other provinces.

Such an exercise would be in keeping with the commitment to public involvement shown by the District in the discussion of future use of the Delbrook lands While the Delbrook lands are important, surely our OCP is equally important.

Thank you for this opportunity to present our views.

Yours Sincerely,

Rene Gourley, Chair

Delbrook Community Association

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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

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