Governance & Politics
March 5, 2019

DNV Withdraws Core Funding for Affordable Housing Committee

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the subject, last night the District of North Vancouver council did what it was expected to with the affordable housing file — continue to sit on it.

Councillors voted along ideological lines, with five votes against two, declining to provide $11,512 in ongoing core funding to CHAC, the housing action arm of North Shore Community Resources.

The non-profit must now pursue alternate funding from the municipality by way of smaller grants, or discontinue plans to tackle affordable housing in 2019.

The qualities of the debate around housing in DNV have become simultaneously evidence-based, emotional, and partisan. This was on full display yesterday, demonstrated by some of the combative words from Mayor Little and other council members in their fight for or against the motion. Here are some highlights/lowlights from a watcher of the broadcast:

Read more »

It’s a motion that could be considered a little too on-the-nose.  The District of North Vancouver’s new council — which previously nixed a non-market and seniors housing project in order to preserve a parking lot —has set itself up to vote tonight on whether to grant operating funds to a housing affordability advocacy group.

Development planner Chuck Brook called out the motion in the latest episode of the Price Talks podcast, highlighting the potential for DNV to make yet another decision that not only exemplifies but exacerbates the housing problems on the North Shore.

The Community Housing Action Committee (CHAC), part of the North Shore Community Resources Society (NSCRS), provides “a tri-municipal voice and platform for discussion, sharing of ideas, advocacy, and research into housing affordability on the North Shore”. Like many other volunteer or non-profit groups — such as NS Childcare Resource & Referral, Family Services of the North Shore, or Hollyburn Family Services Society Youth Safe House — CHAC has relied on core funding from the District to fund its research, policy development and outreach activities, all focused on affordable housing advocacy.

Yet at a January 21 council meeting, DNV council passed a motion to review the CHAC funding request of $11,517.

Council has since received a report from DNV’s senior community planner Natasha Letchford, and the debate — and a decision — will likely occur this evening. (Live broadcast begins at 7pm.)

Read more »

On Friday, March 1, the Province of BC’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will launch the public engagement portion of their 10-month active transportation strategy, in what could be considered a stealth effort to catch up to years of progress made by municipalities across the south coast.

Public feedback will help identify and prioritize new investments in safe and convenient active transportation infrastructure, education, incentive programs and safety improvements — for modes like walking, cycling, scootering, and skateboarding — for people of all ages and abilities, in communities across the province.

This week, however, as the Ministry encourages stakeholder groups via a widely circulated email to “bring ideas about ways governments can work together to build new infrastructure or better support existing network connections in your community,” news of the strategy and the overall development process is absent from the Ministry’s website.

Read more »

Should be an interesting evening in West Vancouver tonight, as the district holds its long-anticipated community meeting on the matter of the B-line rapid bus service proposed for Marine Drive.

Community Meeting – West Vancouver B-Line Service
West Vancouver Community Centre gymnasium
February 21, 6-9 p.m.

Presentation boards here.

Can’t make the meeting? The deadline to send feedback is one week from today (Feb 28 at 11:59pm) — here’s the link to submit online.

Why might tonight’s meeting be interesting? For all the wrong reasons, of course.

Read more »

As the new Vancouver Council rolls forward with regular meetings, committee meetings, and public hearings (available for public viewing via the city’s streamed broadcast), I’m struck by the performance of various levels of staff at the podium.

Some pretty impressive people in streets, waste, planning, engineering, licensing, social and cultural programs have been presenting and answering questions — sometimes technically complex or strategically nuanced, but often both — the past few months, and giving their elected representatives their first few impressions of the calibre of the people who really run the city.

It’s also the first time for members of the public — a few dozen in attendance at City Hall and apparently not many more online — to recognize and parse out this dynamic. In other words, even as I work, I get to watch them work. A lot of hoop jumping, and careful performances. It’s not to be envied, and it prompts a lot of questions about the staff-council dynamic.

Are they understanding each other? Is there mutual respect? Do they agree with, or even like, one another?

My impression is that these questions are less important to answer than the other question that’s often raised about city staff — why are they costing us so much?

Read more »

With another mention of Clouds of Change in the latest Cambie Report podcast, as well as Gord’s post yesterday (plus past posts on the topic), it’s worth sharing some of the back story.

As late as the 1980s, the climate science conversation was still terra incognito within civic government. So, as with today, it came down to the people who decided to lead the conversations, and bring them to action — first and foremost, the City of Vancouver Task Force on Atmospheric Change.

Recalls Task Force member, and Vancouver city councillor (1999-2005) Fred Bass:

We met every Saturday morning for a year, to look at recommendations to the city about global warming. And I saw the CO2 curve going up like that.

And I’m enough of a scientist, and also I think a fairly good assessor of information, that when I saw the CO2 curve going out of control, I thought, “This is terrible. This is awful.”

Many of the people who participated are still around; a few, like Mark Roseland, principal researcher on Clouds of Change, former professor and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at SFU, and now Director of the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University, are not.

Read more »

Carla Guererra, founder and CEO of Purpose Driven Development, Planning and Strategy, and member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), drops a startling statistic in a new blog post on the ULI website:

In a global survey of 279 companies in 2010, McKinsey found that those companies with the greatest proportion of women in their executive committees earned a return on equity of 47% higher than those without female members.

It’s a simple message — more women equals more money.

Read more »


Today, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Lisa Beare announced an RFP for corporate naming rights for BC Place, the 54,500-seat stadium right next to the smaller, 12-years-newer, Rogers Arena.

Boasting the largest retractable roof in the world, BC Place is one of the many legacies of Expo ’86, and is operated by B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the Crown corporation responsible for the BC Pavilion, in that seminal year of, well, showcasing BC.

In addition to operating BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre, PavCo has also administered the ground lease and development of the land west of the stadium (now known as Parq Vancouver, a Paragon Gaming hotel-casino-spa-fitness concept).

But for the past decade, ever since Roofgate — sorry, Deflategate was taken — and the 2014 completion of the roof reno, BC Place has largely flown under the radar as a major, name-brand venue for a generation of youth looking for something to do.

Read more »

Tomorrow, Vancouver City Council will receive a report from engineering about public engagement on proposed improvements to the Granville Bridge that would add safe, accessible facilities for cycling and walking, and connect up to similar facilities at either end.

What might that look like? Details aside, we already know the likely, big picture outcomes — you can see them on Burrard Bridge, and most recently, on Cambie Bridge.

Speaking of which, our friends at small places have a new before and after video called Cambie Connected: Cycling Smithe, Nelson, Beatty, and the Bridge

Read more »