Jobs Jar
November 16, 2018

Jobs Jar: Manager, Central Waterfront Public Realm – City of North Vancouver


This week, the City of North Vancouver posted an opening for a new management position — Manager, Central Waterfront Public Realm.

The successful applicant would be responsible for the planning, programming and operations of the city’s Central Waterfront Area, which has quickly become one of the go-to family-friendly public spaces in the Lower Mainland.

A specialized degree and 10 years of related experience are being sought, as well as passion for placemaking and shared values. And a whole bunch of other stuff – check out the posting here.

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Can small housing do more to solve our housing crisis?

It’s just one question that will be asked at the Small Housing BC Summit, a full-day conference taking place this Saturday at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.

And it’s also a springboard to what could be the more important question: Can we change the way we build homes such that small housing — which SHBC defines as 200-1500 square feet — be the driver of this conversation, rather than just a passenger?

In the current Vancouver context, perhaps there’s no better debate to be having.

Tickets are still available – register by Nov. 15.

In addition to panel discussions and small housing showcases, the Summit will feature two Small Housing Challenge case studies:

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Yesterday’s post about the Vancouver Sun op-ed by Alex Boston scraped the surface of what could comprise an effective business case for Skytrain south of the Fraser, let alone what numbers may (or may not) have been used to justify LRT in the first place.

Did Translink miss some data? As I hinted in Part I, perhaps they simply missed communicating the most relevant, top-line numbers the public have an appetite — and capacity — to understand (no offence to all of us).

But let’s assume they made a whole raft of calculations, such as those that can be found in “Regional Transportation Investments: A Vision for Metro Vancouver (Appendices)“, pointed to me by  Boston’s colleague Keane Gruending from the Centre for Dialogue. The Centre’s own analysis on this file is reminiscent of their Moving in a Livable Region program around the time of the 2015 transit plebiscite, which attempted to hold our leaders accountable (and the politics in check), using a facts-first approach.

Boston’s deeper piece on the Renewable Cities website also reminded me that a lot of the debate on whether to pause Phase 2 and 3 of the Mayors Plan to once again deal with the Skytrain question often fails to deal with two important metrics tied to land use: jobs density, and CO2 emissions.

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This week, Alex Boston, the Executive Director of the Renewable Cities program at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, wrote an op-ed in the Vancouver Sun on the proposed two big changes threatening to upend phases 2 and 3 of TransLink’s Mayors Plan.

Boston’s piece is a call, if slightly veiled, to Vancouver’s Kennedy Stewart and Surrey’s Doug McCallum to do what they were elected to do when it comes to regional matters — understand all the issues in a city which are regionally dependent or impactful, obtain support and confidence from your respective councils on big ideas, and work collaboratively with the other mayors and the TransLink Board to realize them.

But of course as you may know, it’s never that easy. And much like the housing crisis, there may not even be agreement on what the two problems are. 

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The Vancouver Heritage Foundation‘s annual fundraising event returns, hosted this year by the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada at the historic Seaforth Armoury.

City Drinks will include music, wine, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and Seaforth archivist James Calhoun speaking of the regiment’s long history in Vancouver.

Join VHF for this special evening to celebrate our city’s historic places and support the Foundation’s educational programs and projects.

VHF City Drinks

Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018
7-10pm
Officer’s Mess, Seaforth Armoury
1650 Burrard St, Vancouver

Tickets can be purchased via the VHF website.

 

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A number of political narratives were scrambled by Vancouver’s electorate on October 20th.

Of note was the carefully curated story, or perhaps image, of the Non-Partisan Association as the party of the west side establishment. Think of Southlands, Dunbar, Point Grey, Kitsilano, Quilchena, Kerrisdale, Shaughnessy, and Oakridge — these are the neighbourhoods long associated with the wealthy class, members of which have also long held the political reins in the city. The homes of many mayors and councillors to be sure, but also party backers and benefactors. The NPA has also historically been the party where the great distaste for greenways, transit, and integrated community healthcare facilities has been nurtured, and where the pushback against densification has bloomed.

So, one would be forgiven in thinking that a five-member NPA coalition on council would indeed mean continued representation of this western flank, and those who live there.

The map at the top of this post (and here), depicting the home neighbourhoods for all 11 Vancouver council members, tells a very different — and a very new — story. 

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Ready for another protracted saga of political gutter-sniping? Step back, YIMBY-NIMBY housing types, you just had your fun.

It’s time to fix the way votes are cast and counted in this province. (And no, you don’t have time to chug a Red Bull.)

Although the campaign period for the 2018 Referendum on Electoral Reform began way back on Canada Day — and the online debate has been both fulsome and animated — it was also largely outshouted by the municipal election campaigns.

No more. Today, Elections BC is mailing ballots to all BC residents of voting age and six months’ residency, with a closing date of November 30th on the question of preference — stick to First Past the Post as our voting system, or switch to one of three models of Proportional Representation?

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Price Tags editors Ken Ohrn and Colin Stein are sharing their personal slates and selection rationales. See Ken’s here.

All things being equal, my Vancouver election slate won’t influence too many Price Tags readers; if you’re an urbanism pleasure-reader and vote in this city, you’ve likely already taken the time to inform yourself sufficiently.

Instead, you may be curious to know what a slate says about voting considerations of one particular demographic.

In my case, a well-represented demographic — white, Gen-X cis male, single family home-owner, with one spouse and two children. I may be among the last of a generation to be able to uncritically maintain this persona and lifestyle while simultaneously having the opportunity to participate in a social change movement that is predominantly about changing the very power dynamics that enabled my unconscious empowerment in the first place.

In trying to make the right choices, let alone explain them, I first had to recognize and acknowledge that my position, and all the power, rights and privileges it gives me, has come at a cost to others in society — almost directly traceable to the decisions of people who look, and live, just like me. To think otherwise, I believe, would be self-serving and irresponsible.

This imbalance is driven by history, but still framed by present-day policies, and this political imbalance must be corrected. The only way to do this is to use some of my power to give more to others, to not only use my vote wisely, but to telegraph these choices to those around me. So perhaps my choices may still influence you, but if not, at least you’ll know a bit more about the change some of my demographic slice fully support.

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One of the more remarkable aspects of the housing affordability crisis in Vancouver is the endless bloviating about community amenity policies and consultation processes, yet we are unwilling, or unable, to discuss actual root causes.

Stuart Smith is a director of advocacy group Abundant Housing Vancouver, and has done a lot of research on factors that have gotten us to where we are today, like exclusionary zoning. My notes from a meet-up over beer in early May include the names Sonia Trauss, Kim-Mai Cutler, and Stephanie Allen.

A few weeks ago, on the first of two days of public hearings in council chambers to debate the motion to amend RS-1 zoning across much of the city to allow for duplexes — an offshoot of the Making Room report (spoiler alert: it passed) — Stuart was one of the voices supporting this motion.

He was too short on time for an anecdote which would have served as an important educational moment — he shared it with me afterwards, along with the above map:

90 years ago, Harland Bartholomew drew this map. Its explicit goal was to constrain and separate apartments, and people who live in apartments, from detached homes, and the people who live in detached homes.

Many proponents of this map knew it would ghettoize apartments, and the racialized and marginalized people who were most likely to inhabit them at that time. They considered this a feature, not a bug.

This was a radical change to traditional ways of building a city. It’s been 90 years. The experiment has failed. It’s time to move on. It’s time to make room.

It’s possible this 90-year old zoning plan ultimately influenced the housing tempest we find ourselves in today.

If you buy into the idea that past is prologue — or, if you’re skeptical of Making Room and the duplex motion in general — watch and listen to the final 90 seconds of his Stuart’s actual presentation. It’s worth it:

The full text of Stuart’s five-minute presentation to Council follows.

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