We need to protect our community from urban sprawl (Peter van der Velden, op ed, 24-Feb-2017, Delta Optimist)

Massey replacement bridge image, little lies, MVW, 26-Apr-2016

Artist’s concept of proposed bridge to replace Massey Tunnel

This op ed appeared in the Delta Optimist on 24-Feb-2017 (http://www.delta-optimist.com/opinion/we-could-all-be-paying-dearly-for-urban-sprawl-from-bridge-1.10337692) under the headline “We could all be paying dearly for urban sprawl from bridge.” Reprinted here with permission of the author, Peter van der Velden.

There will be incredible pressure on Delta to develop should the Massey Bridge be built. Residential development will not be the only source of pressure. The CEO for the Port of Vancouver (PoV) has made it clear that the Port wants access to more land for industrial purposes. This has caused speculation. Speculation always drives up land prices.

Recently the city of Vancouver raised the fees for development permits. They made it clear that the costs for development are greater than the income that permits generate. This means that the capital costs for all development is subsidized by the taxpayer. In a city like Vancouver where infrastructure is largely in place this is a lesser concern. Development follows high density zoning patterns. Once density is achieved the increase in tax base helps cover the operating costs of that infrastructure. Continue reading

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New “Lonelyhomes.ca” site catalogs empty homes in Metro Vancouver region


Screenshot of Lonelyhomes.ca top page

CBC Radio this morning had an interview with Christine Boehringer, founder of Lonely Homes, a website (lonelyhomes.ca) that tracks empty homes (“positively identified houses or strata units … hat are not being lived in”) in the Greater Vancouver region. Information collected is “anonymized” to protect privacy and security, but this information could be a helpful tool to help develop a better understanding of the housing situation.

According to the website, the effort started by friends discussing the many ways lonely homes affect us. “No political party is driving it; we care about our community and want to maintain it. We are not affiliated with any government or real estate entity and we aren’t selling your email address. We’re just a small group of people who have followed all the newspaper stories and commentaries about housing in our communities.” They ask people to monitor their own neighbourhood and take two minutes to report lonely homes. The summary data by postal code “will be made available to local governments in Greater Vancouver to help drive policy and taxation planning.” As of today, 103 are indicated for the city of Vancouver.

Excerpt from site

Why are we doing this?
Lonely homes:

  • Inflate housing prices – Foreign buyers compete for homes and drive up prices well beyond the payscale of most British Columbians.
  • Raise property taxes – A higher home value means more property tax. Also, municipalities must provide services like water, sewer and garbage pick-up to vacant homes even if those services are not used. Municipalities could spend millions of tax dollars to build unnecessary infrastructure and services.

Continue reading

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Buildex Vancouver: Construction, development, property industry conference – Feb 15 & 16, 2017

MetroVanWatch and CityHallWatch are dedicated to the citizen and grassroots perspective, but this annual industry event at Vancouver Convention Centre West may be of interest to many people outside the industry, with seminars, workshops, panel discussions, and a free industry exhibition.

BUILDEX Vancouver is Western Canada’s largest tradeshow and conference for the Construction, Renovation, Architecture, Interior Design and Property Management industries. With over 600 exhibits, and more than 80 educational seminars BUILDEX attracts over 14,000 attendees annually.


Example of seminar streams:

  • Building Code & Envelope Solutions
  • Building Performance & Energy Efficiency
  • Legal, Regulatory & Risk Management
  • New Products, Technologies, Innovations & Materials
  • Professional & Personal Skills Development
  • Project Planning, Management & Best Practices
  • Health & Wellness
  • Facility Management & Building Maintenance
  • Property Management
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Implications of dredging Lower Fraser River to increase commercial shipping: Risk to industries, services, fisheries (preliminary report by Trevor Langevin)

In the context of plans by the Province of British Columbia to construct a bridge over the Lower Fraser River to replace the George Massey Tunnel, MetroVanWatch is posting this preliminary report by Trevor Langevin, with permission. Download: fraser-river-dredge-report-sept-2016-langevin


Implications of Dredging the Lower Fraser River for the Purpose of Increasing Commercial Shipping: The Risk to Specific Industries, Services & Fisheries

Preliminary Report

Trevor Langevin
September 2016


The waters of the upper Fraser river have come to the top of their river banks nearly every year. Every year there is a flood watch during the spring snow melt run off. In the lower sections, the river has breached the lower mainland’s dike system, the two worst years being 1894 and 1948.

The river is dangerous and unpredictable when too much water from melting snow runoff hits the river at the same time as the oceans high tide. Steps to tame the river happened when the larger Southern main flow was dredged to a nearly uniform 35 foot depth, from the mouth of the river up to the New Westminster bridge. The Northern channels of the river were used mainly for the logging industries so were not regularly dredged. Dredging has happened right up to the Mission bridge during the last 100 years. The ships that require the river to be dredged to a 35ft. depth all used the larger Southern flow.

The new bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel is in controversy because the news media has found inconsistent reasons for its being pushed by the Government. To the Governments point, yes the current tunnel is backlogged, but to the common person, that is not reason to decommission the tunnel before its service life has been reached, which is the opinion of BC residents. Continue reading

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Highrise towers under construction: Vancouver 68, Surrey 14, Burnaby 100

This Global News story reveals some interesting facts and questions.

Highrise towers under construction: 68 in Vancouver, 14 in Surrey, and 100 in Burnaby. The story goes on to point out that developers are benefiting tremendously by proximity to transit stations. Are they paying municipalities enough for the increased burden on infrastructure? And what about all the demolitions to make way for the new construction. Interview with Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan. Worth watching.



800 units at Edmonds and Kingsway by Cressey. Anthem last month sold 700 units, an all-time record for number of units sold over a short period of time.


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Burnaby Demovictions: Political Opposition to Host Town Hall Meeting – Dec 2 (Fri)

From a media release

Burnaby Demovictions: Political Opposition to Host Town Hall Meeting

November 29, 2016 – Burnaby – Burnaby First Coalition (BFC) will host a town hall meeting to discuss possible alternatives to the planned mass rezoning, demolition and eviction of thousands of lower income families from Metrotown’s Maywood neighbourhood sanctioned by Burnaby’s Mayor and Council. BFC is an unaffiliated municipal political party that unites residents of diverse backgrounds seeking fairness, inclusion and transparency in local government.
The event will be held at Metrotown Library meeting room 6100 Willingdon Avenue Friday December 2, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. 

The meeting will provide an opportunity to hear the background to the demovictions and highlight possible planning alternatives. Residents will have the opportunity to share their ideas on city planning.

The  Local Government Act (LGA) requires that re-zonings be consistent with Official Community Plans. However, the Metrotown Community Plan states that the Maywood low-rises “should be protected”, not demolished, and sets maximum density and building height far below those that Council has approved.
Continue reading

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Citizens slam rezoning plan for 36 storeys at 6695 Dunblane in Burnaby. Anti-demolition rally, public hearing tonight Nov 22

Derek Corrigan, photo City Burnaby 2014

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.

Burnaby City Council at a public hearing tonight (at 4949 Canada Way in Council Chambers 7 pm) will decide on a rezoning in Metrotown. Citizen activist Helen Ward has shared with MetroVanWatch her letter to Mayor and Council, pointing out some serious problems with due process. Proponents of “abundant housing” often lobby councils in the region for any housing development, anywhere, at any cost. But if these issues raised by Ms. Ward are all true, there are some serious problems with due process and integrity of the local government. See notes at bottom about the developer, Transca.

Citizens plan a rally and media event at 6:30 held by “Stop Demovictions.” If this rezoning is approved, four apartment buildings with 84 low-end market rental units be demolished.

Transca’s rezoning was scheduled to appear before council in September but the planners sent it back to be reappraised. Now it is coming forward to complete the rezoning of every apartment building on Dunblane Street.

“Stop Demovictions” is calling on Burnaby City Council to stop the rezonings of this site, declare an immediate moratorium on demolitions of all rental apartments, and immediately stop their proposed “downtown” Metrotown plan, which would make demovictions the law for 3,000 apartment units in the area.

For more information about the campaign email organize@stopdisplacement.ca or visit stopdisplacement.ca/burnaby

Basic details of project:
Mixed-Use Commercial / Residential
REZ # 15-49 IBI Group
Address: 6695 Dunblane, and 4909, 4929, 4971 Imperial Street
Multi-family residential tower with street-oriented townhouses fronting Dunblane Avenue and live/work units fronting Imperial Street. First Reading 2016 November 07 and Public Hearing 2016 November 22. Developer is Transca Development. A single 36-storey apartment tower with a 2-storey form fronting Nelson Avenue, a 3-storey residential form fronting Dunblane Avenue, and a 4-storey form fronting Imperial that includes 2-storey townhouses with double height amenity space above. Total of 313 units, and a total density of 5.11 floor area ratio per the RM-5s designation.

Text of Ms. Ward’s letter to Burnaby Mayor and Council, dated 22-Nov-2016

Dear Mayor Corrigan and Council,

I object to the rezoning proposed for Maywood on Dunblane.

These rezonings
1 – are in violation of the existing Metrotown Plan which calls for these buildings to be “protected”, and sets maximum heights and densities considerably less than those proposed.

2 – are therefore in violation of the Local Government Act and illegal.


3- Councils proposed revised Metrotown Plan has not been passed.
Continue reading

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