West End Neighbours for a community plan

West End residents want a vision and comprehensive plan for Vancouver’s West End. To ensure the quality of life, and the unique and distinctive character of our neighbourhood, the community must be actively involved in this process. (Image shows development “hotspots” that triggered demands for better city planning processes.) Read more about us.

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Update on WEN vs City of Vancouver Supreme Court case – April 9-10

WEN logo Raster RGBThis is just a quick update on WEN’s request for a “judicial review” of STIR and Rental 100 programs of the City of Vancouver in the BC Supreme Court, in Vancouver. Day 1 was April 9. Day 2 continues this morning, April 10, starting at 10 am. The court is booked til 4 pm.

On April 9, the morning and part of afternoon was when municipal lawyer Nathalie Baker, representing the WEN Residents’ Society, presented our case. This was followed by two lawyers from the City of Vancouver, who began to present the response from the City of Vancouver.

The proceedings will resume at 10 am today, Thursday, with CoV continuing its presentation, likely to be followed by a response from WEN’s lawyer. The proceedings could possibly take all day today. The Judges decision could be any time, from hours to days to weeks or longer. Stay tuned. For background, see recent posts and links in our top menu regarding STIR and Rental 100, including this.

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WEN invites observers to April 9 and 10 BC Supreme Court legal challenge, WEN vs City of Vancouver

Bidwell-Davie_demolished_siteFor citizens who wish to observe proceedings, here is information on court date and time for our legal challenge with the City of Vancouver on the STIR and Rental 100 programs.

Wednesday and Thursday, April 9th & 10th, 2014
Court starts at 10 am
BC Supreme Court, entrance from Nelson Street.
Look on room information board for WEN Residents Society vs City of Vancouver

Comments:

  • Please be respectful. No noise is permitted. Recordings are not permitted. Anyone can take notes. Start time is to be 10 am, but we do not know how much time will be required. Check back on our website for updates.
  • For citizens this is an opportunity to see your public servants, the legal department of the City of Vancouver, at work. We believe WEN has made a valid petition about serious issues and want our elected officials and City Hall to work in the public interest, be more honest about what it is doing, and stop wasting taxpayers’ money. It will be interesting to see how they operate.

Continue reading

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Momentous WEN legal challenge against City of Vancouver goes to Supreme Court April 9 and 10

Demolition ball at 1401 Comox, 24-May-2011

Below is information about West End Neighbours’ legal challenge with the City of Vancouver. It goes to BC Supreme Court on April 9 and 10, 2014.

This could be momentous not only for the West End but for our entire city. Read on to see why.

We are also asking for citizens’ financial support to defray costs for us to win this case and make Vancouver City Hall more honest and to really do something more serious to create affordable housing. To donate online or by cheque, click here. (Everything we do is based on volunteer time, but we do need donations to pay legal costs.) For more information on donating or the details of the legal case, write us at info@westendneighbours.ca.

Since 2009 the City has been using the Short Term Incentives for Rental program (replaced by Rental 100) to give developers attractive incentives to construct rental units. They are supposed to be “affordable,” but the ones completed are not. Three high-profile examples in the West End are the 22-storey tower at Broughton and Comox, the 21 storey tower at Bidwell and Davie, and major development (approved but yet to happen) at Beach Towers. Many other projects have been approved or are in the pipeline all over the City.

Informal info session by WEN:
“Update on legal challenge, West End planning, etc.”
Where: Mini-park in front of Gordon House at Broughton and Nelson
When: 4 pm start, for 20 minutes, Sunday April 6, 2014

WEN argued several points in our legal petition, and already forced the City to acknowledge we were right on some of them. As a result, the City made some changes to bylaws in December, regarding administrative procedures, and were forced to define what they mean by “affordable” rental housing. The City’s definition is still unreasonable. Continue reading

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Early Notice of Redevelopment of 3 West End Sites – Workshop Feb 27 for 1601 Comox, 1529 Comox, 1546 Nelson

This notice is circulating in the community. We encourage anyone affected by potential developments at these sites to attend the event. We also encourage the community to follow this case, to see how the newly-created West End Community Plan is interpreted by developers and city planners.

1601, 1529 Comox 1546 Nelson development workshop 17-Feb-2014

  • Open House – Workshop Invitation
  • 4-7 pm, Thursday, February 27, 2014
  • Location: Roedde House Museum, 1415 Barclay Street
  • From Carerra Management Corporation and Ankenman Marchand Architects

We encourage residents to ask exactly how the proponents define “affordable rental suites” and what the proposals will mean for the existing residents of these buildings. Though not stated, the implication seems to be that all of these sites have been purchased by the same company.

We have put together some information about the properties from real estate listings.  Continue reading

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STIR program example: Affordable? $1820 for 1 bedroom rental apartment – 546 sq ft (The Alexandra, at Bidwell and Davie)

Alexandra 1221 Bidwell, West EndWest End Neighbours has taken the City of Vancouver to court for its STIR and Rental 100 programs, which are giving away too much to developers and failing to produce affordable rental housing. See recent article by Carlito Pablo in The Straight.

Here is a case in point. Apartment #315 at 1221 Bidwell Street, which WEN has covered in detail before. This project was by Millennium Developments (of Olympic Village fame), subject to a murky, unexplained billion dollar mortgage writeoff by City Manager, and stick-handled by Henriquez Partners Architects. Here is the advertisement verbatim from Craigslist. This is affordable rental housing, according to the City of Vancouver, and worthy of generous incentives for developers. (And for the record, City staff were supposed to report back to City Council on affordable housing produced by the STIR program — by May 26, 2013. But the report has yet to materialize. One wonders why.) Continue reading

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West End residents take Vision Vancouver to court over market housing policy (Carlito Pablo, The Straight, 19-Feb-2014)

Maxines Devpmt App sign, up on 13-Sept-2010

Maxines Devpmt App sign, up on 13-Sept-2010

See full article in Georgia Straight here.

RENTING A CONDO may be cheaper than owning one, but it doesn’t mean that the rental unit is affordable.

This is a central argument in a new legal challenge against the City of Vancouver program that provides incentives to developers of market rentals.

On February 3 this year, the West End Neighbours Residents Society filed an amended petition seeking a court declaration that Rental 100: Secured Market Housing Policy—and its now-expired predecessor, Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing, or STIR—violates the Vancouver Charter. Continue reading

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QMUNITY Public Information Night Feb 6 (Thu) 6:30pm about use of $7 million for LGBTQ facility

Qmunity public info nite 6-Feb-2014 Thurs at GNH 6-30pmQMUNITY is holding a meeting to discuss the idea of a new purpose-built facility.

Public Information Night
February 6, 2014 (Thurs)
6:30 to 7:30 pm
Gordon Neighbourhood House
1019 Broughton Street

Text from announcements online: Did you know that in December 2013, $7 million was allocated toward developing a new, purpose-built facility for QMUNITY? Want to learn more? And $7M for a new facility! Join us to learn more about our vision, funding, next steps, timelines and community engagement process for our new, purpose-built LGBTQ hub.qmunity public info night 6-Feb-2014

Related media coverage and reading follows:

Continue reading

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MEDIA RELEASE: City gives developers and staff the power to determine what constitutes “affordable rental housing”

WEN logo Raster RGBFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City gives developers and staff the power to determine what constitutes “affordable rental housing”
(Vancouver , February 4, 2014) Continuing its legal battle with the City of Vancouver , West End Neighbours (WEN) yesterday filed an amended petition for Judicial Review in the B.C. Supreme Court Registry.
 
WEN Director, Virginia Richards said, “The City isn’t helping renters. It’s helping developers. “Affordable rental housing” is basically whatever City staff and developers say it is. Continue reading
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Community garden expansion proposal – Nelson Park – Public input til Feb 6

nelson-park-feature, photo courtesy CoV

Nelson Park Community Garden – Photo courtesy of CoV website

The City of Vancouver is accepting public input on a proposed expansion to the community gardens in Nelson Park.  Below is info from the City’s website.

The community garden at Nelson Park
The Nelson Park Community Garden Society has developed a proposal to expand the existing community garden at Nelson Park in the West End. The garden was first approved by the Park Board in 2008.

Proposed additions
The proposed expansion will add:Nelson Park Community Garden- proposed expansion Feb 6, 2014

  • 454 m² to the overall garden area, from 483 m² to 937 m²
  • Approximately 30 garden plots for users of all ages and abilities
  • A children’s nook next to the school and daycare
  • A picnic table, seating, and a new water connection

These additions will be further developed if the project is supported by the community and approved by the Park Board.

Download the proposed expansion and concept plan (510 KB, PDF) Continue reading

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Open House February 3 (Mon) for Central Presbyterian Church 1155 Thurlow, 22 storeys

1155 Thurlow Central Presbyterian Church building form Jan 2014Open House
Monday, February 3, 2014
5 – 8 pm
Central Presbyterian Church
1155 Thurlow Street
(Note our original headline had wrong day of week. Correct day is Monday.)

FSR proposed at a shockingly high 9.45. About 22 storeys. Henriquez Partner Architects. More information: Rezoning Centre. Stay tuned for further analysis from WEN. Official data is copied below.

Continue reading

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