How to Present and Write to Vancouver City Council

1.  Presenters are welcome to speak to council at designated times (Wed, July 27th is the time for the draft Grandview-Woodland Community Plan).

2.  Presenters must register if they wish to have their name put on a speakers’ list.

3.  You can register by contacting: http://vancouver.ca/your-government/city-council-meetings-and-decisions.aspx or by calling 311 and asking for the City Clerk’s office and specifying which meeting you wish to present to.   

The email address for the City Clerk is ccclerk@vancouver.ca

The meeting agenda can be found at: http://council.vancouver.ca/20160727/pspc20160727ag.htm
DATE: Wednesday, July 27, 2016  TIME: 9:30 am  PLACE: Council Chamber Third Floor, City Hall (453 W 12th Ave)  Staff report: link available here

Note: No requests are usually taken after the Council Committee meeting starts.

In your request provide:

  • Your full name
  • The date and type of meeting you want to speak at
  • The agenda item number and title you want to speak about

4.  Speakers have up to five minutes to present their remarks.

5.  Presenters can speak with or without notes.  They can also bring a power point presentation if they wish.  Bring it on a USB key.
If you are not used to public speaking, notes are advisable.

Continue reading “How to Present and Write to Vancouver City Council”

Media Advisory – Grandview-Woodland Area Council does not endorse the Draft Community Plan

GWAC Media Advisory FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 19, 2016

GRANDVIEW WOODLAND AREA COUNCIL DOES NOT ENDORSE THE DRAFT GRANDVIEW- WOODLAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

VANCOUVER On July 11th, 2016, residents of Grandview Woodland met to discuss their reactions to the draft Grandview-Woodland Neighbourhood Plan released by the City of Vancouver planning department on June 25th, 2016. Residents expressed fear, frustration, and anger at both the planning process and the Draft Plan itself. Based on feedback from residents, GWAC has released a statement detailing our concerns and the remedies we expect City of Vancouver planners and councilors to take.

“Among the top concerns of residents” said GWAC President Dorothy Barkley, “is having only one summer month to read, digest, and respond to a 250-page document.” Both the Citizens’ Assembly and the planners had almost a year to think about the plan for the neighbourhood. Residents need at least a few months. “GWAC is calling on the City to delay the decision on the Draft Plan to at least November 2016 and to provide a clear mechanism by which resident feedback will be incorporated into the plan.”

At the meeting, renters were particularly fearful of losing both their homes and their communities as a result of demolitions leading to new buildings that will rent at 50% to 100% higher rates than current neighbourhood averages. Residents of the Station Precinct sub-area noted that building heights go beyond resident recommendations and will exacerbate traffic congestion around the local elementary school. Throughout the neighbourhood, residents were outraged that no new park space will be added to this park deficient neighbourhood although the plan will add 9500 new residents. Finally, as one resident noted, much of the Station Precinct, Britannia Woodland, and Cedar Cove areas are open to developer-City negotiation for additional heights, densities, and amenities, a process that privileges profits and amenity contributions over accountability to the neighbourhood.

The city’s Coriolis report confirmed , “The City has sufficient capacity in existing zoning and approved community plans to accommodate over 20 years of supply at the recent pace of residential development.” GWAC questions whether the amount of increased density and height is necessary given that there is already enough capacity city-wide to meet projected population growth and it would put existing more affordable housing and neighbourhood character at risk here in Grandview.

“Based on these concerns, GWAC cannot endorse the Draft Plan” said Barkley. “Instead, we have 5 recommendations for planners and Council.”
They include:

  1. Delay the vote until November 2016 and create a clear mechanism by which feedback can be incorporated into the Draft Plan before it is presented to Council.
  2. Do not allow up-zoning of rental areas until rent controls are applied to new rental buildings so that they are affordable for existing residents and low-income earners. Protect all renters with relocation plans and right of return provisions.
  3. Increase park space proportional to growth and protect existing amenities.
  4. Respect community input on heights, densities, and existing use patterns.
  5. Set firm parameters for development in all areas now and prioritize neighbourhood well-being over developer profits and contributions.

Our neighbourhood and homes are not commodities. We can accommodate growth without losing what we love. We expect the City of Vancouver planning process to respect our concerns and the desires we have for our neighbourhood.
– 30 –
Contact:
Dorothy Barkley, Chair Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC)
Jim Fraser, Director Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC)

GWAC Releases Statement, Does not Endorse Community Plan

July 18, 2016
Neighbourhood Response to the Draft Grandview-Woodland Plan
On July 11th, the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) hosted a public meeting to review the Draft Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (Draft Plan). While we are pleased that the City of Vancouver continues to refine planning concepts for the neighbourhood to reflect resident concerns, GWAC cannot endorse the Draft Plan. From the feedback we heard from residents on July 11th, GWAC has five overarching concerns.

Our top concern is the rushed timeframe for approval. The timeline for reviewing the plan and presenting it to Council is absolutely inadequate. The Draft Plan was released on June 25, 2016 and is set to go to Council on July 26, 2016. At over 250 pages with multiple sub-areas and policies to consider, one summer month is not adequate to read, digest, discuss, understand, and respond to the plan in its entirety. While proponents of the Draft Plan may argue that there has been enough time spent already, they should remember that it was a rushed plan in 2013 that led to vociferous community opposition. Since that time, both the Citizens’ Assembly and the planning staff of the City of Vancouver have each had almost one year to consider planning decisions in the neighbourhood. By contrast, residents are now being asked to do the same work in a month. Delay the vote until at least November 2016 and create a clear mechanism by which feedback can be incorporated into the Draft Plan before it is presented to Council. This will enable the neighbourhood to respond as well as grow trust between the neighbourhood and the City of Vancouver planning process.

Our second concern is the potential for demolition of the neighbourhood’s most affordable housing, resulting in displacement of renters and the community itself. Repeatedly at our July 11th meeting, families, including single parents, and seniors expressed fear at the prospect of being displaced from their current rental housing. They fear loss of their homes and we all fear loss of our community when renters are unable to find other housing in the neighbourhood within their means. Applying Rental 100 rent rates, which are 50% to 100% more expensive than current neighbourhood averages, will not only price individuals out of particular buildings, but will lead to rise in rent costs neighbourhood-wide by setting new rent floors. Further, those renting in houses that are knocked down have no protections whatsoever in terms of relocation plans and right of return. The City of Vancouver’s policies for rental replacement allow for 2-bedroom units to be replaced with 1-bedroom or studio units. These are unacceptable situations. Adding new rental stock is positive. However, renters in multi-suite houses must be protected. Six-storey heights for rental buildings are unacceptable until such time as rents are controlled and existing affordability is protected. New rental buildings must prevent displacement and therefore must not raise rent rates in the neighbourhood.

Our third concern is the lack of new park space in the Draft Plan. The Draft Plan proposes to add 9500 new residents to Grandview Woodland, a neighbourhood that is already park deficient by the City of Vancouver’s own standards. An increase in park space, proportional to growth, is a minimum requirement. Additionally, existing amenities must be protected in the Draft Plan. Currently, Templeton Pool is referred to as an “anomaly” rather than a valued neighbourhood resource. Further, the renewal of Britannia Community Services Centre (BCSC) appears to be a part of the plan, yet was voted on by the citizens of Vancouver before this Draft Plan was developed and is being directed by the BCSC Planning and Development committee and Britannia Board. The renewal of Britannia must be directed by the community of users and residents.

Our fourth concern is that the Draft Plan surpasses community concerns and even Citizens’ Assembly recommendations about building height and form. Areas of concern include the building heights along East Broadway, particularly around Laura Secord School, areas east of Victoria and north of Hastings as well as along Commercial between Adanac and Hastings. These should be 3 or 4 storeys not 6. The tower heights on the Safeway site will shadow the neighbourhood. The area just West of Grandview Park should be reduced in height to protect an important public viewpoint. Further, existing use patterns and traffic concerns, and in some cases the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations, have been ignored in the Draft Plan. Finally, the Draft Plan does not provide enough information to anticipate building form, including open space, FSR, street wall height, and the definition of infill. This information must be clarified before it is passed by Council. Community input must be respected through provision of full information and incorporation into the plan.

Our final concern is that the Draft Plan gives too much room for developer driven heights and densities that privilege amenity contributions over accountability to residents about neighbourhood change. The Draft Plan has too many “grey areas” that allow for “wiggle room” or developer-driven negotiations about height and density that bypass resident control and even the policies of the Draft Plan itself. These areas include the Commercial/Venables site, sites along Hastings, and much of the Station Precinct, Britannia Woodland, and Cedar Cove areas. The wording in the plan undermines the maximum heights shown in the plan so that in essence there is no limit, leaving the neighbourhood vulnerable to rezoning motivated by developer profit and the amenity dollars that can be gained. While we support housing options for various organizations, the Draft Plan must set firm parameters for development in all areas now and prioritize neighbourhood wellbeing over developer profits and contributions.

Our neighbourhood and homes are not commodities. We can accommodate growth without losing what we love. We expect the City of Vancouver planning process to respect our concerns and the desires we have for our neighbourhood.

Dorothy D. Barkley, Chair Grandview Woodland Area Council
Cindy Brenneis, Grandview Woodland Area Council
Kathleen Piovesan, Grandview Woodland Area Council

Neighbourhood Forum on Draft Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (Monday, July 11, 7pm)

The Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC) invites you to a public meeting on July 11 to discuss the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, updated on June 25, 2016.

This date follows a series of City sponsored, public events regarding the updated Neighbourhood Plan.  All members of the neighbourhood are encouraged to attend these events.
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/grandview-woodland-community-plan.aspx

The purpose of the July 11th GWAC meeting is to review the updated Plan, discuss your impressions of the public consultations and define the issues critical to the success and future of the neighbourhood.  

Location:
Canucks Family Education Centre just off Grandview Park (1655 William St, above Eastside Family Place), 7-9 pm Monday night.