In the City of Vancouver, council is trying to get as much done as they can before the October 20th election.
That includes rushing two Council reports — the Northeast False Creek (NEFC) rezoning plans for 750-772 Pacific Boulevard (the Plaza of Nations site, or Sub-area B), and the 777 Pacific Boulevard site (1 Robson Street, or Sub-area 10c).
The reports for these two sites can be found here and here. By approving these two reports to go to public hearing this summer, the Vision party dominated council can be assured that at least part of their housing mandate is pressed forward. But at what price? Read on >>
You can tell it’s an election year by the flurry of reports on the City of Vancouver council agenda next week, as the civic leadership tries to tuck in their New Housing Plan, and also plans to refer the first two potential rezonings of the North East False Creek work to public hearing.
Globe and Mail writer and seasoned civic watcher Frances Bula quickly hits the main highlights of the proposed housing plan, which will “allow duplexes automatically as a choice in most of the city’s single-family neighbourhoods, as well as aiming to ensure that two-thirds of a hoped-for 72,000 homes built in the next 10 years are rentals.”
Of course, immediately allowing duplex zoning in single family neighbourhoods will require staff to explain why this change is being prescribed without citizen input, and will require staff resources to explain, process and implement. Read on >>
At the southeast corner of Oak Street and King Edward Avenue in Vancouver, a Shell gas station looks like any other, with the huge roof over the gas pumps, and bright vibrant colours.
But there’s something different here, evident as you get closer and see the gas station site is subtly fenced in. There appears to be no activity, but there’s a sign. Literally — a large, outdoor advertisement of a young woman sipping a beverage, with the headline: “Open for Snacks. Closed for Gas.”
The question: who in their right mind would use this gas station to get food when there’s a supermarket (and a really good Japanese restaurant) right behind the station?
And this is not a redevelopment at this site — indeed, the whole King Edward Mall site has been identified as “unique” in the City of Vancouver’s third phase of the Cambie Corridor Plan (approved in May), and can be redeveloped as “three higher elements of approximately 12 to 14 storeys … above a low- to lower mid-rise podium”.
So while the car snack department is “business as usual”, the gas station part of the operation is likely just having a tank renovation in advance of the mixed-use development project that will eventually be located on this whole site.
South of the Fraser, there hasn’t been a lot of change at Delta City Hall for a few decades. Mayor Lois Jackson first served on Delta Council in 1972, and the 1999 election saw her become the second woman to serve as Mayor.
Mayor Jackson is an affable, intelligent woman who has strong beliefs and has fought hard for her constituency. No matter whether you agree or disagree with Ms. Jackson’s position or politics, she has proudly represented Delta for almost twenty years as mayor, attends myriads of Delta events and, despite her steadfast support for projects upon which we may heap what may be considered withering editorial critique (such as the Massey Bridge), Price Tags editors will sit down for tea with her any time.
Her relinquishment of the Mayor’s chair in Delta promises to open up Delta’s future in myriad ways, as it has become a three-horse race between a popular former Police Department Chief, a just-retired City Manager wanting to step up into electoral politics, and a City Councillor known for her ability to work with others on principled solutions. Read on >>
Back to Delta, and the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department.
Mayor Lois Jackson and staff are in Ottawa and Quebec City on a $40,000, seven-day junket approved by council. In Ottawa, they’re drumming up support for the “stalled” $3.5 billion, ten-lane Massey Bridge, which is currently undergoing independent evaluation by the province.
It’s surprising that Delta taxpayers are not more upset about paying for this $40,000 trip. The City of Delta is the only one of the 21 member municipalities in Metro Vancouver that wanted this bridge behemoth in this location. It’s a version of the one-trick pony — insisting on that one thing you need, even when the rest of the region says “not here and not now”.
Challenges to this campaign for a multi-billion dollar, ten-lane bridge continue to mount. Read on >>
In one of the most genius ideas we’ve seen in a while, the Delta Police Department is using social media to help manage safety and vehicular speed — with the ultimate goal of mitigating crashes — in their municipality.
And the result has been brilliant, with cops at stop signs at busy intersections, at traffic signals in commercial areas enforcing the “no right turn” restriction, and even monitoring marked crosswalks to ensure that drivers are actually yielding to pedestrians. Read on >>
As the newspaper astutely observed this past weekend:
Last year, in a provincial election almost entirely about housing costs, citizens voted out the center-right B.C. Liberal Party, which had run British Columbia for 16 years, and brought in a government led by the left-of-center B.C. New Democratic Party. Since then, the New Democrats have not only tried to increase the housing supply, but have also proposed a slew of measures that aim to curb housing demand and chase away overseas buyers.
Surprise — this October’s civic election in British Columbia will be no less gripping for those outside of the Vancouver echo chamber.
In the City of Richmond, and perhaps Delta too, citizens will directly decide on the city’s future as it relates to values around agricultural land protection, food security, and pushing back against deep-pocketed development.
The roots of the fight to come go way back; early European settlements used Lulu island (so named in 1862) for farming and fishing. It’s a big reason why Richmond got the name ‘the Garden City’. Farming is still important to Richmond today; Harold Steves, a longstanding Councillor for the City of Richmond, is also a farmer, and his family’s roots in Richmond date back to the early farming settlements of this place.
His family is why we have a village named Steveston, and Clr. Steves is one of the people for whom we have to thank for the Agricultural Land Reserve, established in 1973.
He’s also one of the few people in the halls of power fighting for its survival. Read on >>