Posted by: VPSN | March 25, 2012

This week at City Council and Park Board: week of March 26, 2012

City Hall - by Ken Stewart

Vancouver City Hall – Photo by Ken Stewart

A full slate of meetings at City Council and the Park Board this week – with lots to keep public space aficionados busy.

In this edition:

  • Parks – New Festival, Food Carts, User Fees and Park Naming
  • Neighbourhood Planning – Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, West End, Downtown Eastside
  • Elections & Finances – Eight Candidates in Trouble
  • Riot Review and This Year’s Stanley Cup
  • Rezonings – Marine Gateway, The Rize, 1st & Victoria, Howe & Drake… and others

Parks Board – New Festival, Food Carts, User Fees and Park Naming

Monday starts with a Parks Board meeting that will consider, among other things, the possibility of a new Sarah McLaughlin led festival in Stanley Park called “Voices in the Park,” the expansion of the city’s food carts program (with new seasonal carts proposed for a number of parks), a report on user fees and charges (most fees will stay the same, but modest increases are proposed for VanDusen and a few other facilities), and a new policy for naming parks.

The naming policy calls for “more public engagement, more flexibility, and more efficiency” and proposes that park names be evaluated “by considering historical, cultural and geographic elements.”

Neighbourhood Planning – Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, West End, Downtown Eastside

The City is about to embark on four new neighbourhood planning exercises.  In Marpole, Grandview-Woodland and the West End the new plans will replace older Local Area plans that date back to the 1970s and 80s.  These plans will pull together an array of themes – housing, transportation, parks and public realm, heritage, culture, etc – taking city-wide policy and scaling it down to the neighbourhood level.

In the Downtown Eastside, the neighbourhood will be getting a comprehensive plan that looks at neighbourhood change, the social impact of development pressure and opportunity to improve the lives of residents in the area.

The four planning exercises are intended to be broadly collaborative in nature and will feature a number of opportunities for community participation.  Reports on these respective planning processes are in front of Council this week in two separate meetings – with the DTES plan on Tuesday’s City Finance and Services agenda, and the other three neighbourhoods on deck at Wednesday’s Planning, Transportation and Environment meeting.

Elections & Finances – Eight Candidates in Trouble

All candidates who ran for Mayor, Council, Parks Board or School Board were required to file Campaign Finance statements by March 19.  Not all of them did – and now stand to get dinged with a $500 fee unless they’re able to apply to the Supreme Court (!) for relief.  Most of the eight that are named in the staff report ran as independents.  One of them even won an election debate.  The matter will be before Council on Tuesday.

Riot Review and This Year’s Stanley Cup

Later on Tuesday, at the City Finance and Services meeting, City Manager Penny Ballem will be giving a presentation on the Stanley Cup Riot Review, along with an overview of planning for this year’s possible playoff celebrations.

Rezonings – Marine Gateway, The Rize, 1st & Victoria, Howe & Drake… and others

Monday sees the first of a number of rezoning discussions take place at City Council.  Architect James Cheng’s Marine Landing proposal (Cambie and SW Marine) is third on the agenda.  The proposal calls for a mixed-use development consisting of two towers (31 and 24 storeys respectively) containing market and rental housing, ground-level retail, and two at-grade artists studios.  Public realm enhancement along Cambie is part of the discussion. Additional public benefits have been secured through Development Cost Levies ($2m) and for public art (approximately $700K), and further community amenity contribution (CAC) of $5m is included in the proposal.

Later in the week, on Thursday, an earlier public hearing is being reconvened to hear input on a number of items, including the proposed rezoning associated with The Rize development at Kingsway and Broadway.  The speakers list for this one is l-o-o-n-g and the proposal has become something of a controversy in the neighbourhood.  Read our earlier post on the subject for more details.

Two other rezoning-related items appear in the docket this week.  At Tuesday’s regular Council meeting applications related to proposed developments at East 1st & Victoria (supportive housing) and Howe & Drake (a 41-storey tower) will be considered.  Council will be reviewing the proposals and deciding whether or not they should be referred to public hearing.

Get Involved

To find out how you can register to speak on any of these items, check out the City Clerk’s “Speaking to Council” webpage. If you want to present on a Park Board item be sure to visit the Board webpage for details.

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