On December 14, 2015, West End Neighours wrote the following letter Vancouver City Council for its Regular Council meeting set for Tuesday, December 15, to provide requests and input regarding the City’s financial plans, from the perspective of the West End. Council is expected to approve the budget at that meeting. The main theme of the letter is to ask City Hall to provide more information to the community regarding the implementation and benefits of the West End Community Plan, adopted in 2013. We will report back to readers when we receive a response.
Dear Mayor and Council,
We are writing regarding the 2016 Budget and Capital Plan, Five Year Financial Plan, and Property Endowment Fund, from the perspective of the West End.
City Council adopted the West End Community Plan just over two years ago. Since then, we have seen many major tower projects approved or in the pipeline ranging from 20 to 65 storeys, as well as laneway apartment buildings. Those approvals, and more expected in the coming years, will bring thousands more people into the West End, putting increasing demand on community facilities.
We ask Council to provide for residents of the West End to receive an update on what is being delivered for the community through the West End Community Plan.
The 2016 budget documents mention some projects, including a facility for Qmunity, design of the Jim Deva Plaza, and renovations to the Gordon Neighbourhood House, a survey of parking issues, and some attention to further development.
In the bigger context, we ask Council to look into the current status of amenity improvements indicated for the Public Benefits Strategy for the West End Community Plan. When approved, the PBS was estimated to have a value in the range of $585 to $630 million over thirty years, with significant contributions from Development Cost Levies and Community Amenity Contributions.
What is the schedule for discussions about renewal of amenities up to 2020, including recreational facilities such as the West End Community Centre, Ice RInk, and Vancouver Aquatic Centre? Approximately when does the City intend to look at renewal of the aging and over-subscribed Joe Fortes Library
Regarding safety, the West End Plan mentions a goal to “optimize fire hall services in the community through renewal and/or relocation of existing fire halls. Consider co-location with other facilities to optimize service. The estimated cost is $20 to $25 million.” With the growing number of tall buildings, what is the City doing to enhance fire protection, especially with the special needs of more tall buildings in the West End?
Finally, is the City actually tracking the DCLs and CACs collected in the West End, to monitor the progress with the West End Plan and the Public Benefits Strategy? If not, then now would be an opportune time to do so, with annual reporting to the community.
West End Neighbours
EXCERPT FROM PUBLIC BENEFITS STRATEGY
(West End Community Plan, 2013)
It is estimated that development in the West End will generate about $200 million in CACs and Citywide DCLs. Approximately half of the $200 million in cash CACs and Citywide DCLs will be allocated to fund the eligible projects contemplated in the West End PBS. The residual amount, mostly Citywide DCLs, will be set aside to fund growth-related capital projects that are part of the citywide amenity system used by residents in downtown or other parts of Vancouver. In addition, development in the area would contribute an additional value of $210 to $220 million in on-site amenities and infrastructure assets that developers would build and turn over to the City (mostly in the areas of housing achieved through inclusionary zoning/density bonusing, and underground utility infrastructure). Including the CACs and Citywide DCLs to be allocated in the West End PBS, the overall developer contributions will total approximately $300 to $320 million.