OCP Implementation Committee

The District of North Vancouver has an Official Community Plan Implementation Committee whose purpose is to encourage meaningful community engagement in the implementation of the new OCP and to provide comment to staff on the direction of implementation plans to ensure they support the community’s vision as expressed in the OCP.

Specifically, the OCP Implementation Committee is to provide advice regarding:

  1. Community engagement in implementing the OCP Network of Centres
  2. The direction of Centres Implementation Plans based on consistency with the OCP Vision
  3. Other key strategies related to the OCP Network of Centres Vision and policies (e.g. housing, climate action)
  4. A monitoring program to measure progress on OCP targets

The OCP Implementation Committee is made up of citizens appointed by Council. It held its inaugural meeting in June 2012. OCP IC has a two year term which ends in December 2013. Members are: Dan Ellis, Chair, Rory Bartlow, Chris Meyer, Jeanette O’Brien, David Mcleod, David Sadler, Kristin Selinder MacDonald, Paul Tubb, Elaine Grenon, Heidi Nesbitt, Adele Wilson, Fred Smith, Erin Black, Corrie Kost, Krista Tulloch, Eden Sterling. The OCP IC has held three meetings which are open to the public as observers.

The focus is clearly on the Network of Centres. What about the Delbrook area, which is not a ‘centre’. Will this committee monitor the much promised public engagement process for Delbrook and potential changes to the OCP involved with “equity transfer” from Delbrook?

 

— by Sharlene Hertz

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Balmoral Update

The initial phase of conversion of the former Balmoral Junior Secondary School to the North Vancouver School District Learning Centre was completed in mid-September.

Phase 1 of the conversion included selective demolition and removal of hazardous materials. Phase 2 will reveal the new face of the District Learning Centre. Construction was scheduled to start in late October, with completion slated for the spring of 2013.

School District administrative staff met with the RCMP’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) specialists to review site concerns brought forward last spring by the Community Advisory Working Group. Following further feedback and discussion with the RCMP later this fall, the School District will be implementing recommendations. These include improvements to the security of the fields, trails, portables, and other buildings in the vicinity of the District Learning Centre.

The scope of work that will be undertaken will be communicated through the School District website and the Community Learning Program. During construction, the students attending the Community Learning Program and Distributed Learning School are being accommodated in classroom spaces that are outside of the zone of construction. http://www.nvsd44.bc.ca/Updates/CommunityLearningProgram.aspx

— by Sharlene Hertz

Whither Community Associations?

At an in-camera vote this spring, the District of North Vancouver Council cancelled its oversight of the 18 community groups operating in the district. Council’s decision has caused concern among the District’s Community Associations.
In response to this decision, the Federation of North Vancouver Community Associations has established a Task Group of FoNVCA representatives to recommend and implement a process for consulting community associations and the public on what community associations should be.
The Task Group [D. Curran, D. Ellis, S. Hertz, C. Kost] is currently working on a process to fully engage the community associations and the public. More details to follow – stay tuned!

DNV Passes motion on Griffin and Delbrook Sites

District of North Vancouver Councillors passed a motion on future plans for the Griffin and Delbrook Rec centre sites at their October 15th meeting. The motion says:

  1. Proceed with detailed design of the WGCC and initiate the process of obtaining the necessary borrowing authority to a maximum amount of $28 million; and,
  2. Begin a public consultation process to consider options for future use of the Delbrook site.

The original motion was successfully amended by Councillor Hicks to remove wording that stipulated redevelopment of Delbrook, to remove any “nuance of prejudice that the decision had already been made.”
There was very little notice that this subject would be discussed at the meeting but several members of the public spoke:

  • Is council talking about a consultation or a mandate? Not selling the property should be one of the options discussed.
  • Why was the community association kicked off Delbrook property when they tried to distribute material informing the public of the council meeting? Where is the democracy?
  • The Delbrook Community Association has no knowledge about plans for the site.
  • Concern was expressed for the loss of public assembly lands. Council was reminded they had previously advised the NVSD trustees of the importance of preserving PA lands at which time Councillor Bassam had also expressed concerns about even establishing long-term leases of PA lands.
  • The District is facing other large expenditures in coming years. There has been no prioritization of spending needs.
  • Council places great emphasis on the importance of the Official Community Plan, yet is contemplating redeveloping the Delbrook property – which would be contrary to the OCP.
  • Council should make the discussions from closed meetings public so the public knows what is being planned. We have seen no design scopes to tell us what is planned.
  • A district resident for 20 years – very concerned about traffic.
  • We have had no information on the proposed equity transfer. The community does not understand the whole story of the William Griffin project; there is lack of clarity describing the new facility. The June Open House was a good start; however one page of text is inadequate to describe a $40 million project; the 12 hour response time unreasonable. The community does not know what it is getting or giving up.
  • Does Delbrook require a $40 million recreation center? The West Vancouver facility costs were only slightly higher; West Van serves a population of 45,000; DNV’s population of 75,000, has two other major centres plus Harry Jerome.
  • Equity transfer is like death and taxes, there is no going back. The next generation will not thank us.

During debate on the motion councillors made the following comments:

  • Mayor Walton said he was baffled by comments referring to secret meetings and decisions already being made. He said at this point ‘there has been no decision on Delbrook’.
  • Councillor Nixon ‘bristled’ at the comments on secret meetings and a lack of transparency. There are legitimate reasons to consider various options; council has had “brainstorming” sessions after consulting with the Rec. Commission. These discussions led to an engineering study; Council came up with concepts that will be clarified in the design phase. Only then will we be able to talk about money. It would be disingenuous to take (Delbrook) re-development off the table. It might mean single lots, town houses, apartments, or low income housing. He is not prepared to go ahead without some element of equity transfer.
  • Councillor Hicks The proposed Griffin structure expanded because of the needs study. There needs to be a balance with the City of North Vancouver. There was originally no pool proposed but it was included because of pressure from the Edgemont and Delbrook communities. Should one small community have no development in their area?
  • Councillor Muri raised issue of traffic study for Griffin. She noted Delbrook is an old school and energy inefficient and the ‘services you use at Delbrook’ will be put in the new facility at Griffin. DNV has an excellent reputation for engagement with the community and that this would continue; she volunteered DNV staff to meet with Delbrook CA.
  • Councillor Little indicated status quo is not an option. What configuration / uses do we want to allow?
  • Councillor Bassam is absolutely committed to the Griffin project. Delbrook is linked to the Griffin project but the project is not contingent on redeveloping Delbrook.
  • Councillor MacKay-Dunn was absent.

At a municipal all candidates meeting in 2011, two Councillors acknowledged the lack of public engagement regarding the Delbrook/Griffin project. In the past year, how would the residents of Delbrook rate the DNV public engagement process regarding the Griffin/Delbrook consolidation project? Has there been an improvement? Councillor Muri volunteered staff to meet with the DCA, but councillors have not met with local residents.

By Sharlene Hertz

Metro Vancouver Joint Water Use Plan

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see the Metro Vancouver website for details and for a feedback form

Tonight I was one of perhaps 100 at the lightly attended public meeting regarding Metro Vancouver’s Draft Joint Water Use Plan for the Capilano and Seymour watersheds. While the process has been under way for 20 months, it seems that we are still quite early in the process. As Capilano is the bigger change, and closer to Delbrook, I’ll concentrate on that watershed.

My understanding is that Metro is planning to seek approval to change its water use license from drinking water only to multiple uses. Primarily they want to add electricity generation to both facilities. Once they get the approval from the province, they would dig in deeper on the consultation process, engineering due diligence and planning.

In the case of Capilano, the generation capacity would be up to 57 GWh, and this would come online in about 2022. That amount is trivial compared to BCHydro’s total energy needs, and there were numerous questions as to the viability of this project, given the small capacity. The anticipated costs are up to $100 Million for construction. This actually sounds small to me, given that what they are proposing is to build a new intake at the surface of the lake, a vertical shaft through the mountain to a new generation facility underground near the foot of the Cleveland Dam.

Somehow, Metro will also find an operator who is willing to take a back seat to drinking water supplies. The speakers were adamant that drinking water will be the top priority. In a year when we have had almost no rain from July through mid-October, and the reservoirs are sitting around 60% full, one wonders just how much power generation we will be able to pull out of the dams if drinking water is the priority.

One of the principle benefits the region is using to sell the idea is that if we even out the flow to 2.3 cubic meters per second, we will not only generate some electricity, we will also maintain a good level for recreational uses, Furthermore, evening out the flow is better for fish. Pulling the intake to the lake surface also means the water will be warmer, making it a better habitat for fish.

One interesting statistic from Mayor Mussatto’s presentation was that water consumption has dropped significantly this year. FRom an average of 2 billion Litres per day last year, we are apparently sitting at 1.56 billion Litres per day this year. I guess all those low-flow toilets are starting to pay off.

Griffin Center Space and Programs Approved

At a Special Closed Meeting of Council on June 11, District Council approved that the program and space plan be approved. Interestingly, this was only three business days after the open house when the plan was presented to the public. One wonders then, if there was any feedback through the open house process, and how much of it was incorporated into the plan submitted to council. Indeed, I would think that council would have been reviewing the plan before the public open house.

Council has also directed staff to proceed to the detailed design phase. They will also investigate financing scenarios including, but not limited to, debt financing and equity transfer and report back to Council with options and a public consultation process.

School Board Meetings this Week

It’s been a busy week for the school board. Sadly, due to family and work commitments, I wasn’t able to get to either meeting. But fortunately, Troy Vassos got to the one on Tuesday, and Keith Collyer managed to attend the meeting last night.

District Workshop on School Repurposing

On Tuesday evening, the school board held a workshop with the District on “school repurposing”. John Lewis gave the expected highly biased “spin” on program development and declining population projections – and then attempted to skirt-around public commentary on what should be done with PA lands. Barry Forward then corrected him – stating for the record that ALL of the public comments received stated the lands should be preserved as a capital asset – and only in critical situations should the assets be transferred to other capital interests (i.e. new building construction).

The DNV councillors made some very interesting statements regarding any future new building construction. It turns out they have come to the conclusion that Argyle and Handsworth are in the wrong locations – and that if there is funding to replace them rather than simply upgrade them seismically, they want to examine relocation and incorporation of community recreation and other services of mutual community/school benefit (e.g. enhanced playing fields, tracks, rec facilities, libraries, adult education, day care, theatres, etc.). Barry Forward and Susan Skinner suggested that the municipalities were in a better position to facilitiate planning and how the schools could best intergrate into the OCP than the NVSD (maybe there is hope).

Roger Bassam was particularly strong in questioning the NVSD, noting that even in leasing lands for revenue the NVSD needs to have a maximum 25 year lease period to maintain effective control and flexibility, what land sales the NVSD can put into general revenues to spend as they please, and even asked a leading question “who paid for the school lands?” .. to which Irene Young claimed to have been unable to answer despite exhaustive investigation – suggesting that in the absense of information to the contrary the land belonged to the NVSD. Roger replied the DNV has also looked into the question and obviously have been much more successful in theor research than the NVSD.

One last piece of information that echoes what Keith heard last night .. John Lewis stated the NVSD does not need any money from land sales as they have a balanced budget for at least the next three years.

NVSD Presentation on Land Livability and Learning

NVSD invited three experts on social development to speak at their workshop on Land, Livability and Learning on Wednesday night. The three speakers, although involved in development in one way or another did seem to give a balanced view of the options and responsibilities of the School Board with respect to the “surplus “schools. The most important point was that all three strongly advised against the selling of any of the properties, and also stressed that what ever happens to the sites must be something that meets the broader needs of the community.

They seemed to be suggesting that there must be a bit of vision involved, rather than just viewing the sites as a short term cash injection. One of the speakers poo poo’d one of the suggestions of the School District that the income from the sales would be used to create an education trust fund. The thinking being that it is probably better to retain the ownership of the land and use the revenue from leases etc. to fund future projects.

One of the speakers even suggested that consideration should be given to making sure that if needed in the future some of the land could be reestablished as schools, in case the School District projections for student population were wrong. The Trustees, if not the School Board Administration were given food for thought.

On a side note, at both meetings, the board (John Lewis on Tuesday, and Franci Stratton on Wednsday) indicated that the District does not need the money for budgetary purposes, only for future upgrading of facilities and programs.

There is no Place Better

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