Tag Archives: District of North Vancouver

Should housing take over industrial land in Lower Lynn?

District of North Vancouver residents heard arguments about whether to replace light industrial properties with housing at a public hearing last week.

The North Shore News reports discussions including a statement by one presenter that “Replacing jobs with condos does not make a healthy community.”

“The proposal before council is a six-storey, 63-unit development at the corner of Mountain Highway and Charlotte Road, with six commercial units totalling approximately 5,600 square feet.”

“Council watcher Corrie Kost characterized the project as the “thin edge of the wedge” to wiping out light industrial in the area.”

Half of the proposed new homes would apparently meet the CMHC definition of affordability for for households with an income of $70,000.

The entire article may be found at the URL below.

http://www.nsnews.com/news/lower-lynn-condo-development-debated-1.2362932

 

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DNV Council’s first reaction to Delbrook lands “dialogue”

District of North Vancouver Council got its first look Monday night at the Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue’s report on the future use of the Delbrook Recreation Centre site lands.

The report was the culmination of a controversial eight-month process.

Speaking to Council on the report, Delbrook Community Association President Rene Gourley said that despite concerns with the process he was pleased it had largely confirmed the priorities of the community association. In particular, he noted the overwhelming opposition to the sale of public assembly lands and the overwhelming support for neighbourhood park space.

While the group consulted had opposed any market sector housing on the site it had endorsed some non-market housing. Mr. Gourley pointed out that there had been no discussion as to what this meant and that any move in this direction would require significantly more consultation.

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DCA President Rene Gourley presents to Council

Council responded briefly after the presentation by the Centre for Dialogue. Councilor Hicks acknowledged that there had been no definition of “non-market” or affordable housing and that this would need to be discussed. Councilor Hansen said that he had always opposed the sale of the property and that he appreciated the consultation’s support for mixed use of the site. He expressed concerns about the small number of young people involved in the consultation.

Councilor Bond echoed the concerns regarding the number of young people involved. He noted that the consultation supported “a lot of things” but noted that non-market housing was only supported if someone else paid for it. He acknowledged there was strong opposition to market housing but suggested people might accept mixed housing with market housing as part of it.

Councilor Lisa Muri noted that the majority of the community wanted the majority of the land returned to the community for public use. She said people were committed to keeping a valuable part of the community for future generations.

Councilor MacKay-Dunn reported on his meetings with Metro Vancouver committees where affordable housing had been discussed. He suggested if money was available shovel ready affordable housing projects would be considered. He suggested a long-term lease of the property.

Mayor Walton expressed concerns about the life cycle costs of any project. Consideration needed to be given not only to capital costs but long term operating costs as well. He speculated we might be looking at nonmarket housing on the south end of the property.

Council voted to accept the consultation report and to refer it to staff for a more detailed response later in the fall.

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The DNV’s affordable housing debate

The District of North Vancouver is moving ahead with a $2.45-million affordable housing project on a site – comprised of five lots on Oxford and Orwell streets.

If it isn’t already, affordable housing will become the biggest issue in North Vancouver and throughout the lower mainland. On Saturday the North Shore News carried a major article about discussions on the project at the DNV Council meeting last Monday.

You can read the article here:

http://www.nsnews.com/news/district-of-north-vancouver-seeks-non-profit-affordable-housing-partner-1.2345044

Interestingly, Robin Hicks said he was concerned, “We are disposing of an asset that belongs to our residents. ” It will be interesting to see how these ideas play out with the Delbrook lands.

Expect a lot more discussion of these issues in the future. The DNV itself simply doesn’t own enough land so that even if it sold or leased everything it would deal with affordable housing.

Bigger solutions are required.

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Despite a flawed process, Delbrook consultation largely supports community association position on sale of public land, parks

On Friday, September 9th Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue released its District of North Vancouver Commissioned report on consultations on future use of the Delbrook Recreation Centre site.

This has not been a process with which the Delbrook Community Association has been particularly comfortable. The Community Association was specifically cut out of the “big ideas” session in January. Support for “market housing” was nearly non-existent in the January results but, sure enough, it got prominent placement in the second consultation session in June.

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In an unprecedented move the June consultation was set up to ensure people wo live in the Delbrook area of the District of North Vancouver would be a minority. Just prior to the consultation the District aggressively promoted a survey to support “affordable housing”.

The consultation document ignored key arguments for protecting public land such as those put forward by housing analyst Elizabeth Murphy that building housing on public lands is adding many more people with fewer amenities. “The school and park systems need to be protected, funded and expanded, not used for yet more housing,” she said.

Finally, as the people being consulted were on the way out the door from the June meeting they were presented with a survey that seemed tailor made to get a result demanding some form of housing on the Delbrook site lands.

All told, the Community Association felt there was little room for optimism about this report.

That being said, the report is better than we expected. Despite problems with the process participants across the District largely supported the positions taken by the Delbrook Community Association. This may disappoint some members of DNV council who have made it clear they wanted to sell all or part of the site to help pay for the new William Griifin Recreation Centre site. One of the original proposals for the Delbrook site was a 12 story apartment building that would have brought in millions of dollars.

The Delbrook Community Association in discussions over the last few years came to agreement on a number of principles regarding future use of the Delbrook site. These were:

  1. No sale of public assembly lands: these should be kept for the future use of community.
  2. A major portion of the site should be used for need park space in the community.
  3. The child care centre should remain on the site.
  4. The site should not be used for housing as it will be needed in future to provide amenities for what is likely to be a community with more density than present.
  5. There should be some sort of multi-use facility on the site to serve the community. This last point was not unanimously held.

How do the consultation report’s findings measure up against these principles?

No sale of public assembly land

On this, there was overwhelming agreement. Participants opposed selling the land for any of the reasons offered despite the fact that the survey offered seven different possible uses for the money if the land was sold.

Using the property for park space

People were even more strongly supportive of new park space than they were opposed to selling the land. More than 80 per cent of local residents supported neighbourhood parkland. Even more than 60 per cent of non-residents supported the idea.

Child Care on the site

Nearly 90 per cent of participants were reported to have been in support of additional child care or adult day care spaces on the site.

Using the site for future amenities – not housing

Participants in the process were strongly against the idea of using for market house. Nearly two thirds were strongly against the idea.

Non-market housing received greater support. Among district wide participants 70 per cent were in favour or strongly in favour of non-market housing. Among people in the community non-market housing squeezed out a bare majority of support of 51 per cent. However, support for non-market came with the caveat that it not be paid for by the District.

When asked for ideas for the site in the post event survey, non-market housing came fifth (21 mentions) following green space (46 mentions), additional child and adult day care (27 mentions), flexible/multi use indoor community space (26 mentions) and retain public ownership (23 mentions). If Council chooses to go in this direction it will require a great deal more consultation.

Perhaps most important, there was no discussion of, or agreement on, just exactly what was meant by non-market housing.

Multi-use facility

Interestingly, this idea wasn’t even on the table in the post event survey. Despite this it was one of the top three ideas listed when people were asked for ideas in the survey. Three of the 12 tables recommended the idea.

 

So what did people think about the process? The Centre for Dialogue reports satisfaction with the process went up by eight per cent between a survey before the day and a survey afterwards. However, this enthusiasm was not complete. Expressions of dissatisfaction also went up. Only eight percent of participants from outside of the Delbrook Community said they were unhappy with the consultation process. However, among community residents who were more intensely involved in the process over the long term, nearly 20% said they were not satisfied. While 80% of people from outside the community said they were happy with the process only 65% of Delbrook community residents said they were satisfied. The Centre for Dialogue should be very disappointed with that 65% figure.

What will the outcome be? That will be up to Council and they have made clear they do not feel compelled to take any advice provided by this consultation.

Some things are clear. Council did not get a mandate to sell the property. They heard clearly that more park space is wanted along with better child and adult day care. People opposed market housing and only supported non-market housing if it is not paid for by the District. Support for this housing option came in the context that the Dialogue Document failed to present the arguments for keeping the land for future amenities.

The Centre for Dialogue report goes to DNV Council on Monday, September 19th although no decisions will be made at that time.

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Delbrook lands report out. Does it give Council exactly what they wanted? More to follow

The much anticipated DNV commissioned report from SFU Centre for Dialogue on future use of the Delbrook Recreation Centre site was distributed to participants in the process this morning. It is slated to go to Council on September 16th.

The report can be found here:

http://www.dnv.org/sites/default/files/edocs/Delbrook-final-report-20160909.pdf

We have not had time to study the document in detail yet but we will be posting an analysis within the next few days.

A couple of quick things stand out. First of all, if the DNV did plan to put their thumb on the scale of the outcome by limiting local Delbrook representatives to less than 50%, it worked. On the question of park space, for example, 82% of Delbrook area residents supported the idea compared to 72% of District wide participants.

Second, a majority of residents supported some form of non-market housing. Once again, support was significantly lower among Delbrook area residents. As noted earlier, the post workshop survey distributed to participants appeared to be set up to achieve this result. See the link below.

https://delbrookca.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/reflections-on-the-dialogue-some-thoughts-on-the-delbrook-lands-consultation/

Council is certainly looking at converting public assembly land into housing. A report going to Council Monday recommends that staff “be directed to issue a Request for Expressions of Interest to identify potential non-profit housing partners in the development of family oriented affordable rental housing projects on District owned sites.” (Agenda package – http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=2985107 – page 153)

It does make at least some of us wonder just what the point of this process has been.

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Writer asks: Is trading off public amenities for housing a good idea?

Elizabeth Murphy, a former a property development officer for the City of Vancouver’s Housing & Properties Department and for BC Housing, has an article in Today’s Vancouver Sun on housing policy for Vancouver. Her article contains things that have a lot of resonance for people looking at housing policy in the District of North Vancouver and especially for the Delbrook community.

Among her comments she says,

the city is becoming amenity deficient for the amount of growth we have taken on to date. There is a structural loss of green space and recreational facilities. Building housing on School Board and Park Board land, such as proposed for the Britannia Centre in the recently approved Grandview Woodland Community Plan, is adding many more people with less amenities. The school and park systems need to be protected, funded and expanded, not used for yet more housing.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, this argument was not included in the consultation document for the possible redevelopment of the Delbrook Community Centre property.

Murphy also suggests, “The dogmatic application of transit oriented development is not considering the capacity of the system or the surrounding neighbourhood impact.”

Murphy’s whole article can be found here:

Opinion: Affordable housing myths and facts

The SFU Centre for Dialogue is reported to be releasing its report on the Delbrook Lands September 9th. Presumably, discussion at DNV council will follow shortly thereafter.

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Delbrook footbridge to be demolished

Earlier this year the Delbrook Community Association wrote to the DNV raising concerns about a footbridge that connects Delbrook to the Delbrook Community Centre buildings. We are concerned that if the bridge is dangerous it should be better protected. We are particularly concerned that as it sits it is a magnate for children. We called for it to be repaired or replaced.

Last month the DNV responded saying “The Parks Department intends to dismantle the bridge this summer, and work with the context of the Delbrook Lands Planning process to determine the future for a bridge, and associated costs.” They continue they will wait until the planning process is completed.

For now, at least, the bridge is being left as it is. Hopefully saying “please keep out” is sufficient.

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Delbrook Bridge