For more information on the City’s Neighbourhood Planning Program, visit vancouver.ca/fcs
Summary of *RePlan’s response to council
On May 17th, the day after City staff presented their planning report on False Creek South, several members of *RePlan addressed council. Here’s a few highlights:
Richard Evans, Chair of the *RePlan Committee
On May 17, 2018, *RePlan Chair Richard Evans addressed council for the seventh time in two years on issues relating to False Creek South. He expressed *RePlan’s support for the planning principles, which emerged from an engagement process that took place between June 2017 and March 2018. He noted the similarities between *RePlan’s long-established Principles and the City’s planning principles, as you can see in this table:
City-approved FCS Planning Principles
1. Provide residents with an affordable option to remain in the community beyond lease expiry dates …
1. Strive to maintain housing that is affordable to a diversity of people, and provide affordable options for residents to remain …
2. Achieve a demographic mix that is similar to that of the region, but with an increased proportion of housing for low and middle income workers and households with children
1. Maintain income diversity through a mix of tenure types and promote demographic mix by planning for families and aging in place
3. Seek opportunities for increased density while respecting the historic urban design pattern of buildings and open space.
3. Uphold the unique character-defining elements, drawing inspiration from the historic neighbourhood character while acknowledging its central location.
5. Model a process for dialogue, decision-making, partnership and change that is inclusive of all stakeholders.
9. Undertake a process inclusive of the community, adjacent communities, and city-wide stakeholder perspectives.
The alignment between the City’s planning principles and *RePlan’s principles demonstrate the City’s recognition that the False Creek South model has strong foundations, with valuable elements to retain and complement moving forward. All of this success, Richard emphasized, is contingent on resolving uncertainty relating to leases.
Nancy Hannum, Chair if the *RePlan Co-op Authorized Working Group (AWG)
Nancy illustrated the success of the False Creek South community and diversity of residents it supports, highlighting the eclectic mix of working people, from “researchers, to musicians, lab technicians, bus drivers and health care workers.”
She said False Creek South is “a model for what more of Vancouver could look like,” in reference to the mixed-tenure, mix-income and human-scaled neighbourhood. While speaking in support of additional density in the community, Nancy emphasized that False Creek South is the “missing middle”—that sweet spot between taller multistorey buildings and single family houses that city planners are clamouring to produce more of—and we need to be careful to preserve this defining quality of character.
Overall, Nancy noted co-ops’ general support for the planning principles but underscored the importance of holding the social purpose of the City’s Property Endowment Fund at par with the agency’s financial imperatives.
Richard Marchant, Chair of the *RePlan Strata Leaseholder Subcommittee
Richard Marchant stressed the urgent need for action on leases. He noted that leases are “the main driver of stress for all residents,” and redirected council’s attention from the planning report to outstanding lease issues. Richard agreed with the recommendations in the City’s May 16 planning report to defer the community planning process until greater clarity is reached on leases.
He also reviewed some of the work strata delegates have undertaken over the last few months, and reiterated the SLS position that there is, “no basis for, nor need to, tie lease extension to assumptions regarding building life.”
Richard argued that leaseholders should play a role in any prospective redevelopment of a strata building, “with rights to return and to have lease value portability to a strata redevelopment or other development in False Creek South.”
*RePlan Strata Leaseholder Subcommittee (SLS) Chair, Richard Marchant, outlining aspects of renewal options the SLS has put forward to the City
These ideas and others were shared with more than 300 strata leaseholders at three community meetings held in February 2018 (you can hear the presentation here).
Richard closed by emphasizing the need to work together to “create an efficient and cooperative methodology for resolving these issues.”
Panos Grames, SLS delegate to Spruce Village and member of the Community Planning Working Group
Panos asked council and staff to consider the idea of “full cost accounting” in their research and option development for planning and lease renewal decisions in False Creek South.
Full cost accounting (aka triple-bottom-line accounting) is a method of accounting that brings to the foreground the social, environmental and non-market costs often hidden from traditional forms of analysis. A full cost approach, Panos argued, “would assist in providing a more accurate picture of the social, environmental and economic viability of the neighbourhood plan.”
Nathan Edelson, *RePlan Project Manager
Nathan Edelson capped off *RePlan’s presentations with four requests to council:
1. Adopt the planning principles.
2. Commend planning staff for their outstanding work on the community planning process thus far.
3. Instruct staff to work with the community so Council can approve lease modifications and extensions within this Council term.
4. Support the community in working with staff, the Co-op Housing Federation of BC and others to see if a Housing Trust, or another form of alternative governance, could be structured to take into account the social, environmental and economic sustainability challenges of our time and beyond.
Nathan, a former City Senior Planner and current adjunct Professor at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, told council this was the path to an A+ in his books and a crucial path to securing the long term sustainability of False Creek South.