(Updated) Residents of the City of North Vancouver are opposing a proposed 16-storey tower at 161 East Keith Road. Amid controversy, North Vancouver city council approved the proposal in January with a 4-3 split vote (mayor Darrel Musatto broke the tie). A Council vote to adopt the enabling bylaw is slated for tonight, February 16, 2015.
Residents held a rally yesterday at the site. The event poster and text, plus related web links are provided below.
All residents who spoke at the the public hearing were reportedly opposed. They are calling the process a sham and calling for a new public hearing, emboldened by a landmark Supreme Court decision on a case Community Association of New Yaletown v. City of Vancouver in January. The project would replace a three storey rental walkup built in the 1950s with a 93 unit, 16 storey market rental condo tower.
Global News covered the rally on February 15. Click here to open the video (“North Vancouver residents oppose tower project,” by Simon Little, Global News)
Quoting from the Global News story: “This whole public hearing process has been a total sham. And I am so angry that I am so angry that we are circulating a petition and I am still going to go with it to city hall with it and tell them that we consider this an invalid public hearing and that we want another one,” Linda Hayes told the assembled crowd.
It is interesting to note that the proponent of this project, FDG Property Management, appears to have no website and no web presence. One wonders about the nature of the company. In many land deals across the Metro Vancouver region, the real owners of properties are unknown to the public, and even to the officials who are approving their projects. On this topic, see a recent post by CityHallWatch referring to an extensive study by The New York Times (Hidden money buying up (New York) real estate: How about Vancouver, Metro Vancouver region?). Excerpt from NYT: “Nearly half of the most expensive residential properties in the United States are now purchased anonymously through shell companies.”
Actually, this case is a perfect example of a huge inequity. Public servants and elected officials enable a system that protects the anonymity of corporations and individuals who profit from changes to the “social contract” (in this case, zoning bylaws) by decisions made by our municipal governments. The system is often opaque, making it impossible to make connections — for example, connections between political donations, lobbying, council decisions, and the parties that benefit. Meanwhile, individuals who have an opinion are required to write or speak by name (usually, also stating residential address) to municipal governments and City Councils. And anyone with the courage to speak to the media, even just to say one sentence to a reporter, is forced to “cross a line,” sacrifice privacy, and accept the fact that their names and comments will be permanently and publicly recorded in the media and on the Internet. This is a topic for further discussion.
PLEASE ATTEND A RALLY to suspend the Tower Development at 161 East Keith Rd, North Vancouver on SUNDAY, February 15th at 1pm
North Vancouver City elected officials, community leaders and citizens will be Voicing their concerns in support of suspending this Tower Development.
This development was approved with a questionable lack of information including:
-Number of units including size and dimension not given.
-Site plan with setbacks not given.
-Incomplete information given at Public Hearing.
-Council completely disregarded statements and concerns of citizens.
A recent COURT JUDGMENT against a similar TOWER PROJECT Stopped the development in Vancouver for similar reasons.
The Majority of our City Council constantly ignores the voices and concerns of their constituents, the Citizens and Taxpayers of this City. These citizens now demand recognition as significant partners in the future development of this City.
Residents are fed up with “out of control development, increased density and traffic jams”.
The community is invited to attend the rally to support The suspension and slowing of this growth of the City. Rally in front of the proposed development this Sunday at 1 pm. Victoria Park
Please bring your Flag Sunday, the 50th Anniversary of our Canadian Flag.
Browse North Van City Voices: http://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/