If you've chosen to read this, you're probably well aware that District of North Vancouver (DNV) Council voted against first reading of the rezoning and redevelopment of a portion of the Braemar School site. You're also probably aware that I was one of the three Councillors voting against. You may have heard about it in the media, seen it shared on Facebook, or have been involved in the process since the very beginning. Maybe you signed one of the online or paper petitions to say "Yes to Full Argyle Replacement" or "Save Braemar School Land for our Children's Future." Perhaps you sent a letter to Council. I received close to twenty before the decision and ten afterwards. A few hundred words in the newspaper are seldom enough to scratch the surface on an issue and I wanted to offer my perspective below.
Breamer or Argyle?
The next few weeks of Council will be full of reports and discussions that I think are of utmost importance to our community. On Monday, we had a brief presentation from the OCP Implementation Committee on a community monitoring plan. Although their time with us was rather brief, the report they produced is an excellent start to discuss how we measure our progress towards community goals. It will be coming back to Council for a second round of discussion in the near future.
On Monday, November 2nd, Council receives the green paper on tools for affordable housing. Another critical topic for the future of our community which I've spent most of the weekend preparing comments and questions for. I've included links to a number of articles showcasing different policy approaches to affordable housing in the education and research section below.
On Monday, November 9th, Council will receive an update on transportation projects. The major project in the news is the Lower Lynn Interchanges, which the press releases say will ease the congestion issue at the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. I met with DNV staff to be briefed on the history of this project, including the community working group process (minutes of those meetings can be found here) and to look at the conceptual design for the new Mountain Highway interchange. $150M is a very significant investment and I intend to do my due diligence on this project to ensure that it delivers the maximum amount of benefits to the citizens of North Vancouver. Having reviewed the publicly available information, I have a number of questions:Read more
Here's the first of my weekly updates. Too much? Too little? Useful or not? Please provide me with your feedback so I can adjust and make this as useful and relevant as possible.
Like the majority of Canadians, I voted on Monday. All three of the North Shore seats available were "ones to watch" according to the media, and I spent most of Monday evening tuned into the results. Being non-partisan, I feel like I missed out on some of the excitement of being involved in a campaign that culminated in either elation or disappointment on Monday night. North Vancouver citizens turned out in record numbers to vote, and I congratulate our new MPs Jonathan Wilkinson and Terry Beech on their victories. I'd also like to thank outgoing MP Andrew Saxton for his years of service on behalf of North Vancouver citizens, as well as all the other candidates for having the courage to put their names forward.Read more
Sometimes I wonder if folks know what kind of work their elected officials do on their behalf. To test this thought out, I'm going to start a weekly recap of my Council related activities. I'll pilot this concept for a month. Let me know if you find it useful or interesting and I'll keep it up!
I'll organize my recap into a number of categories, a few of which I've described below:
- Council Business: A list and brief description of formal meetings, motions, bylaws, etc
- Citizen Business: A list and brief description of informal meetings, community events, etc
- Education and Research: I read and study a lot, specifically around topics of sustainable urbanism and transport. This informs my decision making process as an elected official. I'll share links to the articles I've read over the week so you know where I'm getting my information and have the opportunity to read it yourself if you are interested.
These categories will probably change over time, but I think that's a reasonable start. If you have any comments or suggestions, let me know over on Facebook or Twitter.
On July 6th, 2015, I voted in favour of the Mountain Court Rezoning Application. I shared the concerns of my Council colleagues about the loss of affordable market rental in Lynn Valley and the dramatic and disruptive impact this redevelopment will have on the seventy-five families living in Mountain Court. However after careful and thoughtful consideration, I did not think voting down the application would have saved Mountain Court nor would it have ensured any long-term affordable alternatives for the families that currently live there. Voting against the application was not a solution to the crisis of affordable housing in our community, nor was it a plan of action to assist our citizens who may be displaced by development.
Tonight I introduce a motion before Council. This motion directs staff to look at all options available to the District to provide temporary relief to our neighbours who may be displaced by development. I am confident that Council will develop sound policy and a pragmatic plan to address housing affordability. However, even if that plan is implemented in the next six months it will take years before any new, affordable homes are built and available for our neighbours that need them. Between now and the time that these affordable homes are available, we need a strategy. I have asked District staff to return to Council with a strategy that can be put into action before March 2016, which is the earliest time residents of Mountain Court can move and still receive some compensation from the developer.