“The city picks where they want to throw highrises, and you just get … a lottery ticket… your profits basically double”: Perverse results of rezoning for higher density

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Metrotower III Metro Vancouver HQA quote by an industry expert, buried in a Business in Vancouver article today, reveals the perverse effect of upzoning to increase density.

“The city picks where they want to throw highrises, and you just get, you know, a lottery ticket,” Harding told BIV in a phone interview. “Your profits basically double. When you can put a big tower on a little piece of land, it’s obvious that the land values are going to skyrocket. And when you take away all that [rental] supply, obviously people are going to get upset.”
Real estate broker Brandon Harding, quoted in BIV 16-Aug-2016.

Quoted from “Duelling Supreme Court lawsuits over major Burnaby property deal expose Metrotown land-use bonanza: Businessman, realty firm in court fight after properties sell for almost triple assessed value” (Darryl Greer, Business in Vancouver, 16-Aug-2016). Click for article.

Rezoning actually creates windfall profits for property owners. Municipalities claim that…

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For the record: Bob Rennie’s 2016 address to development industry (UDI) 2-June-2016

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bob-udi-1180x663 credit Rennie.com 2016 Photo credit: Rennie.com

Link to video and transcript of Bob Rennie’s speech to Urban Development Institute, June 2, 2016.

Bob Rennie, known as “Condo King” in the Metro Vancouver region for his many years of success in marketing condos, gave his fourteenth and final annual address to the Urban Development Institute on June 2, 2016, with 1,000 people present, many who were key persons from the development industry as well as government policy makers present. The UDI is a powerful lobby group looking after the interests of the construction and developer industry. The theme of his talk this year was “We Have To Change the Narrative,” with his main point–unsurprisingly–being that to solve the housing unaffordability crisis in the BC Lower Mainland, the solution is totally supply-side oriented. Build more. We could paraphrase it as “Build, baby, build.”

Anyone trying to address the issues of housing unaffordability in the region would…

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Public input needed: Pacific Spirit Regional Park Service Yard Online Questionnaire — Deadline July 13

Pacific Spirit Park July 2016, service_yard, 3 sites, Metro Vancouver

Three sites being considered by Metro Vancouver for a new service yard inside Pacific Spirit Regional Park, near UBC

The public is encouraged to provide input to the GVRD (Metro Vancouver) regarding construction of a proposed service yard in the immensely popular Pacific Spirit Regional Park.


“Metro Vancouver’s busiest regional park needs a new service yard. The existing service yard no longer meets the needs of the park, and cannot be replaced at the current site.”

Three sites are proposed as options – “Little Australia,” “29th & Imperial,” and “Sedgewick Fill Site.”

An online survey is available.

Deadline: July 13, 2016.
(There will apparently be additional opportunities to provide input to the planning process in the fall/winter 2016, but early input will probably have more influence on the outcomes.)

Civic activist Marilyn Hogan has listed several concerns, which people may wish to consider. See her Facebook post, which we have excerpted in part further below:

Below are a few excerpts of the official survey, for the record.

Pacific Spirit Park July 2016, proposed_service_yard_final-web

Conceptual design, site to be determined.

Continue reading

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Response challenges Chambers of Commerce opinion (Vancouver Sun) on Massey Tunnel replacement bridge

Gov BC image of bridge replacing George Massey Tunnel, from YouTubeMetroVanWatch has received this response from Peter van der Velden to “Opinion: Need Massey Tunnel replacement now” in the Vancouver Sun on July 6, 2016. It, he challenges many statements made and positions taken by the Chambers of Commerce. New: related references added at the bottom.



On Wednesday July 6, the Vancouver Sun carried a sizeable article from the Chambers of Commerce for Vancouver, Richmond and Delta in support of the Massey tunnel replacement bridge.

The Chambers suggest there is a lot of community support for the bridge. As you may know, the farm communities of Richmond and Delta are dead set against the bridge as are a number of environmental groups, the Richmond council, the Richmond Community Coalition and the Board of Metro Vancouver. All are opposed to the bridge for compelling reasons.

Mayor Jackson of Delta is the only mayor on the Metro board that supports the bridge. She believes the other mayors would prefer to see benefit to their communities rather than benefits to the larger region.  The reason she is the only Mayor to support the bridge is that the bridge really only benefits the commuters from south of the Fraser. Communities like Delta. It does so at the cost of the Metro region by putting more traffic and commerce on the roads that lead to highway 99. The ensuing stress this traffic will place on the Oak and Knight Street corridors will wreak havoc on Metro traffic infrastructure.

The business community has been convinced by Port Metro that the bridge is in their best interest. What hasn’t been brought to their attention is that the bridge is not necessarily the best alternative for the region. Building this bridge in the same location as the tunnel will wreak havoc on the second busiest point of entry into Vancouver. This will cost business, tourism and the economy countless millions of dollars as traffic (and commercial goods) get tied up in traffic for a period of 3-5 years. Any proposal that could avoid this traffic nightmare would be an improvement for this reason alone.

Any business interest that relies on this corridor for their income will be affected. During the construction period the tunnel could be shut down to traffic. Traffic on the Alex Fraser Bridge and Marine Drive would come to a standstill. Continue reading

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A letter to all Metro Vancouver mayors, on the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge

Massey replacement bridge image, little lies, MVW, 26-Apr-2016(By Peter van der Velden.)

A letter to all Metro Vancouver mayors.

The time to act is now! Todd Stone has just confirmed Province commitment to the 2017 start for the Fraser River Bridge. The Federal government has not responded to the Metro environmental review request and it looks as though they won’t. The lack of response makes it clear that the Federal government is committed to continue to develop the Pacific Gateway Plan. This can only be achieved with the removal of the Massey tunnel. As such, the Port of Vancouver (POV) is driving this major traffic and transit decision. The result is a bridge that is in the wrong location, achieves little traffic improvement, does not deal with transit and will put more cars on the road.


We DO need to improve the crossing of the Fraser. Accessing the Alex Fraser Bridge can take as long as the Massey Tunnel  and is equally problematic. ANY appropriate long range planning would take care of this issue as well as the Oak and Knight Street corridors. This could be done at a fraction of the current estimated cost for the bridge. In previous planning studies this scenario added a bridge between the tunnel and the Alex Fraser and upgraded the Massey tunnel.

This alternative is much more viable for all traffic crossing the Fraser. It would separate the traffic flows that go to Richmond and Vancouver, Burnaby and East Vancouver and New Westminster/Annacis Island. This would greatly improve traffic, especially if the tunnel were twinned as planned. Traffic would move more effectively through existing stress points. As well it would allow for traffic growth by being more efficient. The reason for the present bridge is strictly so that the Massey tunnel can be removed to improve shipping traffic. This is the reason for opposition to the bridge; it isn’t being planned with the communities to serve traffic needs. Mayor Jackson is wrong when she states that the opposition to the bridge is political. Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond is clear. There is no benefit to placing this bridge in this location.

With the proposed bridge, traffic will increase with the ensuing development of Delta. This will put more stress on Oak and Knight Street and the Alex Fraser Bridge. These are finite points that cannot be changed with acceptable costs. As a result another crossing will soon be needed to handle this traffic. If that crossing was built now and the tunnel maintained, we would be planning for the future. The estimated $3.5 billion could cover a lot of Metro Vancouver traffic issues and possibly improve transit at the same time. The proposed bridge does none of this.

The fact is that the bridge is not the answer to our traffic/transit infrastructure needs. POV claims not to be driving the decision for the bridge. If this were true why is the height of the bridge established by the Port and why is the tunnel being removed? These are strictly Port drivers and have nothing to do with traffic, transit or planning for either. Continue reading

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Moodyville densifies, population to quadruple

City of North Vancouver.

North Van City Voices

Moodyville is changing too much for some and not enough for others – but it’s changing.

In a split vote on May 30, City of North Vancouver council gave final approval to a rezoning that will quadruple the waterfront neighbourhood’s population and replace the collection of Second World War-era bungalows with 1,890 wood-frame townhouses.

Despite supporting the project in a previous vote, Coun. Don Bell expressed disappointment developers were following the exact specifications of the current neighbourhood.

“What we’re creating was not what I’d hoped,” he said.

The development employs a “fairly unimaginative” grid pattern that “simply takes existing streets … and replaces the homes with stacked townhouses,” Bell said.

That replacement will greatly benefit the city, according to Coun. Craig Keating.

Not only will the rezoning…

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Local Government Awareness Week in B.C. – May 15-21, 2016

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

BC Legislature buildingPublic Service Announcement. Some useful factoids and statistics here. Bolding is by CityHallWatch.

Local Government Awareness Week proclaimed

The Province of British Columbia is proud to proclaim Local Government Awareness Week, May 15-21, 2016, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender said today.

Local governments play a key role providing citizens, businesses and communities with essential services they need to prosper and thrive. Safe drinking water, wastewater management, streets, sidewalks, libraries, land-use planning, fire and police protection, recreation and parks are just some of the important benefits that B.C.’s local governments help support in order to foster strong, successful communities.

Every year, the Government of British Columbia approves grants that help local governments provide public services. In 2016, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development increased funding for local government grant programs to more than $165 million – a $30 million increase over last year. The increases…

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