Publications

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GWAC wrote Council in support of extending rental unit protection to C-2 zones at the Public Hearing. This item was approved by City Council with a slim 1 vote margin.

Re: 2. Extension of the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan to Require Rental Replacement in C-2, C-2B, C-2C, and C-2C1 Commercial Districts

March 11, 2021

Dear Mayor and Council,

GWAC would like to express strong support for the motion to include C-2 zones in the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan. Grandview Woodland has important C-2 zones along Commercial Drive and East Hastings, as well as pockets of C-2 areas on Victoria Drive, East Broadway and along Nanaimo Street. The changes to the Rental Housing Stock ODP will help ensure and protect the number rental housing units in the C-2 zones. It’s a move that is long overdue. We are an inclusive neighbourhood and it’s good to see changes to help protect the rental housing stock along some of the major streets in our local area.

Sincerely, Craig Ollenberger
President, Grandview Woodland Area Council

2015

Local Elections Expense Limits
The following is a letter sent on behalf of Grandview-Woodland Area Council to the Provincial Legislative Committee studying limiting contributions/expenses during local elections.  Many felt after our recent City elections that too much money was contributed by corporations and unions, leading potentially to
undue influence over planning  and other decisions by Council, School Board and Parks Board.  Submissions are welcomed by this committee and can be sent via the green link below.  For more information about the committee, you can link to:    http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/leel/

Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits                                   April 13, 2015
Room 224, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, B.C., V8V 1X4

Submitted electronically at: https://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/leel/submission.asp

Dear Committee Members

This letter is a submission on local elections expense limits on behalf of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC), which is a residents’ association that strives to represent the interests of this Vancouver neighbourhood, to inform and activate its residents, and to advocate for the protection and enrichment of our community. 

We write to urge you to recommend and pursue the implementation of expense limits for local governments in British Columbia, and especially for the City of Vancouver.  It is our view that limits on allowable campaign expenses should be low enough to promote fair participation by all parties in local government elections, and should be strict enough to prevent circumventing expense limits.  The use of third party organizations to promote an individual, a party, or a ‘slate’ in a local election is an example of a means of circumventing expense limits placed on local government candidates, slates or parties, and expense limits should be structured to prevent such tactics.  Similarly limits on campaign donations should be strict enough to prevent schemes to, for example, channel donations through other persons or entities once an individual or organization has reached the maximum allowable donation.

In the 2014 Vancouver civic election, there were approximately 422, 000 registered voters in the City of Vancouver and the University Endowment Lands, combined.  Of those 422,000 voters, approximately 182,000 actually cast ballots, for a voter turnout of about 43 percent.  Reported spending by the 3 major parties was as follows:

Vision Vancouver    $3,313,450

Non Partisan Association    $2,021,090

Green Party of Vancouver    $88,388

[Notes:

1.      source: ElectionsBC – Parties financial disclosure statements; vision Vancouver figures do not include separate statement for School Board Election.
2.      The Green Party of Vancouver does not permit donations from developers and fossil fuel companies, and caps eligible contributions at $5,000 per donor.]

Based on the above figures, the three parties spending per registered voter, and per vote cast, was as follows:

Party                Spending per reg. voter    Spending per vote cast

Vision Vancouver                    $7.85                $18.21

Non Partisan Association    $4.79                   $11.10

Green Party of Vancouver    $0.21                $0.49

[Rounded to the nearest $0.01]

The Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, and the Georgia Strait, all reported on very large donations by development companies and other business or business owners, and by unions.  As the Vancouver Sun said in a sub-head to an on-line feature on the top ten municipal campaign contributors: “ Unions, corporations and real estate developers dominate the list of the top ten political donors to city halls across Metro Vancouver.”

The lack of expense limits of local government elections has a corrosive effect on democracy.  If elections are not seen to be fair, the faith placed in the motives and actions of elected officials is quickly eroded and replaced by cynicism and skepticism.  We have seen this in our own neighbourhood.

Vancouver is currently consulting with residents and businesses in Grandview-Woodland with the goal of developing a neighbourhood plan.  A key focus of this plan is land use and zoning within the neighbourhood.   At several of the meetings and workshops GWAC members have attended they have heard people express the view that the City will simply approve a plan that gives developers what they want.  Whether true or not, this is an example of the corrosive effect that large campaign donations from those who may be perceived to benefit from future city council decisions, can create.

Toronto limits campaign expenses to roughly $0.85 per elector per candidate.  It limits campaign contributions to $2,500 for mayoralty candidates and $750 for councilor or trustee candidates, and corporate and union donations are banned.  If the Toronto limit was adopted for Vancouver it would be $358,700 per candidate or, if applied to a full slate of candidates in Vancouver (27), the total limit would be $9.6 million, if the approach suggested by the Committee’s December 15, 2014 report of “…no separate additional expense limit for elector organizations…” is adopted.  Consequently, the Toronto example is far too high.  However, the Toronto expense limit is coupled with a limit on contributions, which provides a functional limit on the ability of candidates to raise money for expenses from large contributors.  For these reasons, the Toronto example, if taken for campaign expense limits only, is much too high and should be discarded.

Montreal limited 2013 spending for a municipal party running a full slate of candidates for its 103 council and borough positions to $1.65 million or $1.50 per voter.  The limit for individual contributions was reduced in 2013 to $300 per individual contribution.  If the Montreal limit was adopted for Vancouver, then based on the number of voters, the total allowable expenditure limit would be about $633,000.   This provides a more reasonable example of a campaign expense limits, but only if coupled with stringent campaign contribution limits, including a ban on corporate and union donations.  Without stringent limits on campaign contributions, the limits on campaign expenses is arguably still too high and should be in the range of $0.75 to $1.00 per voter.

Yours Sincerely,
On behalf of Grandview-Woodland Area Council Directors:

Dorothy Barkley
Jim Fraser
Garth Mullins
Vicki Scully
Rasmus Storjohann
Micah Waskow


Social Housing to get new definition which excludes poor people
The following letter was sent on the community’s behalf objecting to the recent change by City Council to the definition of ‘social housing’ and to the procedural change which would make the Development Permit Board the final arbiter of developer requests to up-zone.  New Board member, Garth Mullin, addressed Council outlining our concerns.  The motion unfortunately passed with amendments.

Honourable Mayor and Members of Council,

Grandview-Woodland Are Council wish to express their deep concern over proposed changes to the definition of ‘social housing’ and to the review procedures for awarding increased density in the DOPD.

We do not view the proposed re-definition as acceptable.  Indeed, by it’s nature, it precludes the people who would otherwise be eligible based on the Provincial shelter allowance for those on social assistance. This city’s poor are citizens who deserve better than this ‘sleight of hand’.  Many citizens work part or full-time for minimum wage or little more; neither they nor those on pensions or social assistance can afford $850 or more for rent.  An updated definition reflecting the shelter allowance rate is perfectly workable and not in the least old-fashioned.  According to Jean Swanson,  “The city is completely abandoning low income people with this new definition.  The city’s 2009 social indicators report, page 71, says 26.6% of city residents have low incomes.”  That is a lot of people to put at risk of homelessness. 

We also oppose strongly the change in procedure which would transfer responsibility from Council to the Development Permit Board.  These four city Hall employees have no accountability to the public and no need to explain or justify their decisions.  There is no appeal process for a decision they make.

We urge you to send this proposal back for careful re-examination and we further insist that you retain direct responsibility for the planning decisions we will all have to live with. Thank you for your consideration.

Grandview-Woodland Area Council
Britannia Community Centre
1661 Napier Street
Vancouver, BC   V5L4X4

2013

September 13, 2013  – City Planner, Brian Jackson’s report to Council, regarding all community plans:

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September 9, 2013 – Letter to city planner, Brian Jackson, with regards to the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan:

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July 22, 2013 – Letter to Mayor & Council, in Regards to the Grandview Woodland Community Plan:

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June, 2013 – Emerging Land Use Directions, Grandview Woodland Community Plan:

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March 2, 2013 – Letter to Mayor & Council, in Regards to the Georgia & Dunsmuir Viaducts:

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SRA letter to council – June 13, 2012

SRA letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson – February 26, 2013

2012

October 1, 2012 – Letter to Mayor & Council, Regarding the “Final Report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability“:

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Notice of regular city council meeting – October 2, 2012

September 21, 2012 – Letter to Park Board Chair, Supporting Local Requests for a Redesign of the Playground at Salsbury Park:

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July 5, 2012 – Letter to Mayor & Council Saying that GWAC Shares Concerns with the Strathcona Residents Assn. with Regards to Traffic Created by the Georgia & Dunsmuir Viaducts:

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March 28, 2012 – Letter to Mayor & Council, Endorsing the March 25 Letter to Mayor & Council From the Grandview Heritage Group, in Regards to the “
Next Community Plans,” Staff Report to be Considered by Council on March 28:

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March 26, 2012 – Letter to Mayor & Council in Regards to Development in Grandview Woodland:

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March 26, 2012 – Letter to Mayor & Council Stating that GWAC Directors are Concerned with Develepments, Such as the Rize Alliance Proposal, Also Endorsing an Open Letter to Mayor & Council by Libby Davies & Jenny Kwan:

Related Content: Open letter to Mayor & Council by Libby Davies & Jenny Kwan

January 14, 2012 – Letter Expressing GWAC’s Support in Principle for Turning Part of Woodland Park into a Community Garden:

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2011

December 10, 2011 – Letter to Rezoning Planner and Director of Planning, Regarding the Jeffs Residence:

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September 18, 2011 – Letter to Mayor & Council, Regarding the Jeffs Residence:

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Related Content: GWAC page – The Jeffs Residence

July 28, 2011 – Statement to Mayor & Council, About the Report, “Vancouver’s Next Community Plans“:

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April 25, 2011 – Letter to MOSAIC, Supporting a Proposal of an Employment Services Centre in the Northeast Catchment Area in Vancouver:

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Related Content: MOSAIC website

April 25, 2011 – Letter to MOSAIC, Supporting a Proposal by the DTES Alliance Group:

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Related Content: MOSAIC website

February 28, 2011 – Letter to Mayor & Council, Regarding a GWAC Resolution to Preserve the Heritage Home at 1872 Parker St:

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February 24, 2011 – Letter to City Project Facilitator, Regarding the Jeffs Residence:

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January 10, 2011 – Letter to Mayor & Council, Regarding the Proposed Casino Development at BC Place

2010

November 1, 2010 – Letter to Asst. City Engineer, Transportation, About Reallocating Road Space in Favour of Cyclists, Pedestrians:

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Related Content: Share the Road Project – by Think City

City Bicycle Advisory Committee

Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition


October 28, 2010 – Letter to Architect of the Jeffs Residence Development:

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Related Content: GWAC page – The Jeffs Residence

October 17, 2010 – Letter to City of Vancouver Development Planner About the Jeffs Residence Development:

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Related Content: GWAC page – The Jeffs Residence

September 22, 2010 – Letter to the Brittannia Board of Management:

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Related Content: GWAC page – Britannia Centre’s Master Plan & Visioning Process

June 10, 2010 – Letter to Asst. City Engineer, Transportation, About Separated Bike Lanes:

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Related Content: City Bicycle Advisory Committee

May 16, 2010 – Planned Speech for May 18, 2010; For a Public Hearing Regarding the Rezoning 2250 Commercial Dr:

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Related Content: City Staff Report

City Staff Memo

May 9, 2010 – Letter to President & CEO of West Coast Reduction Ltd. About Joining its Community Advisory Panel:

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Related Content: GWAC page – Stop The Stink

April 25, 2010 – Letter to Britannia Board of Management (Written by Dan Fass, March 29, as an Individual, Endorsed by GWAC, April 12,) Raising Concerns about the Britannia Centre Visioning Process:

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Related Content: GWAC page – Britannia Centre’s Master Plan & Visioning Process

April 18, 2010 – Letter to the Neighbourhood Matching Fund, Regarding the Commercial Drive Community Cappuccino Cup Project (by the Commercial Dr. BIA):

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April 17, 2010 – Letter to Mayor & Council, Regarding Rezoning of 2250 Commercial Dr):

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2009

December 17, 2009 – Letter to Director of Planning, Project Co-ordinator (1667 Kitchener St):

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November 9, 2009 – Letter to Mayor & Council, and Planning Staff (Rezoning of 2250 Commercial Dr):

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September 15, 2009 – Letter to Minister Kevin Kreuger (Provincial Funding Cuts):

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September 15, 2009 – Letter to Mayor & Council:

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September 14, 2009 – Letter to Translink (#20 Bus Route)

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March 17, 2009 – Letter to Project Coordinator (1667 Kitchener St):

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2008

September 8, 2008 – Poster – Non-Market Housing, Grandview-Woodland:

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2007

April 28, 2007 – Poster – Beyond Gateway:

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April 12, 2007 – Media Release – Beyond Gateway:

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2002

May 8, 2002 – Media Release -Street Reclaiming Project:

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January 23, February 6 & 22, 2002 – Articles About GWAC – Vancouver Courier:

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January 7, 2002 – Letter to Park Board:

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2001

July 2001 – Media Release – Public Health Forum:

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July 1, 2001 – Article About GWAC – Vancouver Courier:

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January 18, 2001 – Media Release – Police Harassment Forum:

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Unknown Date, 2001 – Media Release – Statement of Non-Support for the GWPC:

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