Arts Centre – Unpopular White Elephant

This Blog is written by ADRA Board member Graham McIsaac
I have a number of problems with this proposal that I am sure will be obvious to you.
A) By allowing the significant added density here tax payers are essentially paying for the Arts Centre through foregone CAC’s. So there can be zero argument that this would be built at no cost to the taxpayer.
B) The rezoning of this site would again be spot zoning without a local area plan for Ambleside in place.
C) ADRA did a survey of members to determine support for an Arts Centre- ADRA members overwhelmingly were not in favour- what survey’s have the district conducted to determine support for an Arts Centre? I believe they did a survey ( like the Cannabis one) asking where residents would like an Arts Centre to go – Not whether residents wanted an Arts Centre!!
D) If an Arts Centre is to be built it should be with private donations and not taxpayer money- operating costs also a concern. I believe Whistler and North Vancouver need considerable tax payer subsidy?
E) If to be built with taxpayer money I believe some referendum should be required to approve.
F) With an Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver, North Vancouver and Whistler does West Vancouver really need one as well??

Graham McIsaac

Newsletter – February 2021

Dear ADRA Member,

In the best interests of your time, we are sending Part 1 of our February newsletter as there are two, time sensitive items which require your action.  One relates to the 2021 Budget and the other to a potential rezoning at 1763 Bellevue, outside of the Ambleside Town Centre Local Area Plan. 

ACTION ITEM:  2021 PROPOSED BUDGET:  Do You Support a 5.2% Increase?

The Budget will be coming to Council for consideration on MONDAY, MARCH 8TH.  If you have not done so, there is still time to make your views known to Mayor and Council either by email or phone calls.  ADRA sent a detailed letter on the budget on February 4th. 

Our main concern is the economic reality that faces the taxpayer, i.e. YOU!  Is this a time when the Municipal Budget should be expanding beyond inflation, that we should be adding staff (the major portion of DWV budget), that we should be moving ahead with any new projects, i.e. Arts Centre.

In these difficult and challenging times, we do not consider a 5.2% increase appropriate.  
This is a time to focus on core services delivery and essentials.  Not a time to be pursuing major NEW strategic objectives.

Please read  the letter (on the right-side-panel) from ADRA to Mayor and Council for full details.

Email /Call to Mayor & Council

mayorandcouncil@westvancouver.ca
Councillor Craig Cameron  ccameron@westvancouver.ca      604-828-0805
Councillor Nora Gambioli   ngambioli@westvancouver.ca       604-653-8823
Councillor Peter Lambur    plambur@westvancouver.ca       604-644-1769
Councillor Bill Soprovich   bsoprovich@westvancouver.ca   604-561-3219
Councillor Sharon Thompson    sthompson@westvanouver.ca       604-209-4621
Councillor Marcus Wong     mwong@westvancouver.ca        604-219-0064
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth     mbooth@westvancouver.ca       604-925-7000

ACTION ITEM:  MASONIC HALL SITE – 1763 Bellevue Avenue

This item will be coming to Council on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND.  
Council has the option of letting it proceed to a preliminary development proposal now OR to not consider rezoning 1763 Bellevue until the completion of the Ambleside Town Centre Local Area Plan.  ADRA Directors DO NOT SUPPORT REZONING NOW BUT TO WAIT UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF THE AMBLESIDE TOWN CENTRE LOCAL AREA PLAN.

https://westvancouver.ca/home-building-property/planning/major-applications/masonic-hall-1763-bellevue-avenue

Email/call to Mayor and Council  (addresses above) 

Why should this project be allowed to proceed ahead of the Local Area Plan (LAP) yet to be developed for Ambleside?  There is no significant community benefit to warrant this step.  It would set a precedent for development in this area ahead of the LAP.  
 Staff have concerns with the density, building width, parking functionality, number and size of rental units and the potential inclusion of community facility space.

ACTION ITEM:  HORSESHOE BAY LOCAL AREA PLAN – February 26 Deadline

This is an opportunity to provide your input into the proposed plan for Horseshoe Bay Village, to add density, housing and retail space.  What is your vision for this unique community in West Vancouver?  
https://www.westvancouverite.ca/plan-hsb

http://adrawestvan.ca

Budget 2021 – Letter to Mayor and Council

Dear Madam Mayor and Council,

Re Budget 2021

Thank you to you and your fellow Councillors for your efforts on behalf of us all over the last year which has been difficult and challenging.

This next year for many Residents will be a challenging one from both a health and financial perspective. Vaccines will hopefully bring an end to the health part of this crisis by the end of this year. The economic consequences will likely be felt for years to come.

Many in the private sector have been laid off or are working reduced hours and have had their pay frozen or reduced. Many small businesses are struggling or have had to close down at great personal cost to owners and employees alike.  Many seniors are on fixed incomes and with record low interest rates have seen their income decline or had to take additional risk to their capital to preserve income.

It is in this context that I write to you with regard to the Budget 2021. I attended the Budget Presentation on January 28 and have had a short time since to review some of the details. I am sure you will all agree that given an inflation rate of around 1% a 5.2% increase in property taxes proposed by staff seems to be unreasonable. For many years now property taxes have increased well above the rate of inflation. The Public sector cannot just continue to download increasing costs through increased taxes to Residents and Businesses. They need to seriously evaluate how to reduce these costs and the burden on taxpayers.

Mr McIsaac on behalf of ADRA has forwarded a list of questions related to 2020 Budget that are relevant today and remain unanswered and questions in respect of the 2021 Budget. In a phone call on Friday January 28 Mr Bartlett, CAO undertook to provide a speedy response to these questions.

In addition to the concern about the 5.2% proposed property tax increase (and this does not include any increases re Translink, School Taxes and Utilities usage).  ADRA has the following concerns:

  1. Costs are proposed to increase 6.3% or $6.3 million. $1.4 million of this relates to adding 13 new full time staff. Surely we should be freezing recruitment, reallocating staff from under resourced areas to where more staff are required. In addition we should be at least freezing salaries for non-union staff and management.
  2. Revenues include a $4 million of a one-time $5 million Grant from the Province of BC related to COVID Safe Restart. $4 million has also been added to expenses. The BC Government provided guidance to CAO’s as to what is considered as eligible costs under the program and the money can be used in 2020, 2021 or 2022.
  3. Addressing revenues shortfalls
  4. Facility reopening and operating costs
  5. Emergency planning and response costs
  6. By-law enforcement and protective services like fire and police
  7. Computer and other electronic technology costs (to improve interconnectivity and virtual communications
  8. Services for vulnerable persons
  9. Other related costs

Of the $4 million only $1.8 million of the proposed spending clearly relates to COVID restart. $3.2 million less so. 8 additional staff are added as well and costs included.

 $1.7 million is related to Support for Strategic Objectives and it is particularly hard to see how any of this relates to COVID Safe Restart in any way. Much of it is for Consulting for things such as Environmental Strategy Update, Transportation Consultant Service, Strategic Transportation Plan, Public education events re Climate Change, Ambleside Town Centre Planning etc.

Particularly egregious is $312,000 re planning for a yet to be approved Arts Centre.

None of the $1.7 million seem to be eligible and certainly do not seem to be being spent under the spirit of the intent the BC Government gave the Grant to Cities and Municipalities.

Also allowed is using Grant Funds to replenish any statutory reserve funds. Our understanding is that $8 million was borrowed last year from the Endowment Fund. Much of these funds instead of being spent as outlined above could be used to repay the money borrowed in 2020. This would have reduced expenses and the increased property taxes proposed.

  • In the General Fund summary it is proposed that $2.9 million from projected land sales are including in Operating Revenue. We would suggest that this is highly inappropriate and that such funds be allocated to the Endowment Fund or the Asset Reserve fund for deferred maintenance of Municipal Assets.

In closing the above are issues that stand out to us from a very preliminary review of the proposed Budget 2021 and we would hope, as you consider the Budget, you will take into account the comments above.

In these difficult and challenging times we do not consider a 5.2% appropriate- this is a time to focus on core services delivery and essentials and not to be pursuing major new objectives.

Sincerely

Heather Mersey,

President , ADRA

Newsletter January 2021

Dear ADRA Members,

Heather Mersey
President

With a new year upon us, your ADRA directors have jumped right back into community involvement mode! On January 6th, a special meeting was held to discuss the Inglewood Campus of Care proposal: to identify positive points and major concerns. On January 13th, we held our first board meeting of the year with a very full agenda. The date for our Annual General meeting has been set for WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10 at 7 p.m. More details will follow.

Foremost on our minds is the 2021 District Budget process. Public consultation will commence at the end of January in the form of two information meetings and an online comment form.


As you may recall the initial increase proposed for 2020 was 6%, well beyond the inflation rate and not reflective of the economic and health crisis caused by COVID 19. . Through the combined efforts of ADRA, other community groups and residents, the increase was reduced to 2%. You can appreciate why your involvement is so important.


ADRA directors will be reviewing the budget material along with the revised Strategic Plan and reporting back to members. We urge you to register for one of these public (virtual) information sessions to gain your own perspective on proposed Municipal spending for 2021.

Thursday, January 28 from 6–7 p.m.
Friday, January 29 from 1–2 p.m.

FULL DETAILS ON REGISTRATION, ETC. ARE AVAILABLE AT the westvancouverite site:
REGISTER HERE: https://www.westvancouverite.ca/budget

An online comment form will also be available from Tuesday, January 26 to Tuesday, February 9.

The next ADRA newsletter will include details on:

ADRA AGM Wednesday, February 10 at 7 pm (via Zoom – passcode will be emailed on the day)

AND information on the following ongoing projects:-
* Navvy Jack Park
* Inglewood Campus of Care Update
* WV Community Stakeholder ‘Vision’ Survey
* ADRA Community Outreach

In the meantime, please consider renewing your ADRA membership for 2021.

The fee is $10.00 and includes a couple at the same e-mail address. You may send a cheque to:
ADRA
2336 Marine Dr.
West Vancouver V7V1K8

OR – See the website – and send a bank transfer to: rb866@telus.net

Newsletter – November 2020

Dear ADRA member
Here is an update of what’s been happening in our seaside villages over the past few weeks.  A separate email will be following shortly regarding the Klee Wyck property.  This item is on the Council agenda for December 7th so please watch for this important update!


ARTS CENTRE SURVEY/SUMMARY OF RESULTS
ADRA members recently completed a survey on the proposed Arts Centre, the top project identified by Council as part of their 2020/2021 Strategic Plan.A summary of the results showed a general reluctance to the notion that the DWV should undertake major projects with significant financial implications in 2021 and in particular, that an Arts Centre should not comprise a major project in the coming year.  A copy of the results have been sent to Mayor and Council asking if the Strategic Plan will be revised given the current COVID economic and health crisis.   A complete analysis of the survey is available at:   ADRAwestvan.ca


AMBLESIDE STREETSCAPES
Construction work continues at the 14th Street and Marine Drive Intersection.  Work continues as part of a plan approved by Council in 2013.  Creation of bumpouts and repaving on the south side are funded through development.  Reconstruction work on the north side is funded by Translink as Marine Drive is a designated corridor in the Major Road Network.  More details are available:westvancouver.ca/transporation-roads/major-projects/ambleside-projects


DUNDARAVE/ PALM TREES 
Seven palm trees have been recently planted in Dundarave Park.  These trees were donated to West Vancouver by Earls restaurant. Dundarave Park, already home to palm trees, was chosen as the new location for these mature palm trees.   The new trees provide shade for beach users, and there are plans to include dune grass, driftwood logs, and additional benches in the area. Staff have undertaken the installation within available resources. 


DUNDARAVE/TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURES
Council approved a temporary Pilot Program to allow businesses to apply online for an extension of outdoor space  through to October 3, 2021.  The District is working closely with the ADBIA and local businesses to support them in this uncertain economic environment, while helping them to adhere to the health and safety requirements of the Provincial Health Officer.  Council welcomes feedback from the community. https://westvancouver.ca/economy/covid-19-business/temp-outdoor 

FILMING IN DUNDARAVE AND JOHN LAWSON PARK   
Netflix feature will be filmed in the playground of John Lawson Park on Monday, November 30 and Tuesday, December 1. The playground will be closed.  As a thank you from the production, look for additional picnic benches in the spring. Please expect intermittent pedestrian and traffic delays in Dundarave on Wednesday, December 2. https://westvancouver.ca/news/filming-dundarave-and-john-lawson-park

Newsletter October – 2020

OCTOBER 20TH  @ 6 PM –  PUBLIC HEARING – COACH HOUSE INFILL-
1186 DUCHESS AVENUE


An application has been made to add a Coach House onto a 33 ft. lot where the existing house has already been built out to the maximum allowed Floor Area Ratio*(FAR).  Initially Coach Houses were allowed to be built on lots where the existing structure did not exceed the FAR.* The addition of a Coach House on this particularly small lot requires spot rezoning.  
For further details please visit  

https://westvancouver.ca/home-building-property/planning/major-applications/1186-duchess-avenue

OCTOBER 29TH & NOVEMBER 5TH – INGLEWOOD CARE CENTRE

Baptist Housing will host public information meetings on their proposal for a 699 unit development at Inglewood Care Centre site and adjacent acquired properties. Considerable additional floor area is proposed – much of it allocated to non-care purposes such as staff accommodation and ‘Life-Leases’ similar to condos. 

For more information see our HOT-TOPICS tab.

ARTS FACILITY SURVEY

Last chance to complete the ADRA Arts Facility Survey:

https://forms.gle/e6Hw4sokgdP8yMx99

MISCELLANEOUS:

DON’T KNOW WHO TO CALL?

Do you have questions, need information about operations within the District of West Vancouver?  Contact:

Natalie Roizman, COMMUNITY RELATIONS LIAISON
604-925-7008      nroizman@westvancouver.ca

DWV NEEDS VOLUNTEERS!

Would you like to get more involved with the DWV?  Volunteers are needed on a number of committees.  Applications may be submitted to 4:30 pm on October 23rd.  Check the DWV website to access the Community Involvement Application Form or call Legislative Services 604-925-7004.

TRAFFIC AND CORNER BUMPOUTS

If you have noticed the proliferation of concrete “Bump-Outs” and the “Slow Streets” notices on Bellevue – write to us with your comments regarding how easy (or otherwise) it is to drive around West Van!  adrawestvan@gmail.com

Cypress Village / Rodgers Creek “Rezoning”

This Post is Re-printed from West Vancouver Community Stakeholders Association-
Massive 7 tower Rodgers Creek project – Public Rezoning Hearing – Nov 19 – 7pm
British Pacific Properties proposes nearly 700 for-sale condos and 250 rental units to bring total development to nearly 1,000 units (2,000+ people). Scant details include:Seven Towers up to 16 storeys including two 12-storey rental Towers. No details on parking for estimated 2,000+ cars.How many residents will use proposed private bus service to Park Royal?For higher density, DWV proposes BPP pay $7 million Community Amenity Contribution.$2 million of CAC reportedly to be used to build / lighting for trails in the development.And DWV is reportedly to own a rental tower.Think of Traffic Congestion on 22nd and 15th Streets, Taylor Way and Lions Gate Bridge by additional 2,000+ residents. What is Council doing about this #1 issue identified by residents?

Higher Density: 67% of West Van residents polled in recent Angus Reid survey were opposed to increasing our population by building more high-density apartment buildings and condos.

DWV’s Climate Emergency: Council already approved the tree clear-cutting (photo below) and 5 Creeks big pipe project to support this project. Concrete is a major contributor to GHG.

CACs in perspective: Carolanne Reynolds notes that this is more than twice the number of units in the two Park Royal towers currently being built. Park Royal offered $21 million in CACs for their development, BPP is offering $7 million. DWV staff refuses to provide their CAC calculations. 

If this massive project‘s density, traffic congestion and CAC calculation concerns you,please email mayorandcouncil@westvancouver.ca. Public input after Nov 19 will not be accepted. 

Arts Facility Plan

Please click the link below to see the October 1st update to the Arts Facility Planning document

http://adrawestvan.ca/files/2019/10/Arts-Facilities-Planning-Update-October-1_-2019-3.pdf

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Here is a recap of the AFAC Meeting with WVD held (16th Oct.) by Judy Chalmers of ADRA :

Site Identification


The sites that were identified were on the list ONLY because they are District owned properties.  There would be criteria that would need to be met so they were on the list because they were considered but some would not be an option

The criteria that the committee members evaluated each site on ( a scale of 1-5) were:


-Connectivity with Arts and Culture Community
-Placemaking / Destination Ability
-Functional Appropriateness
-Pedestrian/Vehicle/Public Transit Access
-Economic Connectivity
-Future Flexibility
-Parking and Loading
-Neighbourhood Enhancement
-Sustainability
-Alignment with District’s Planning and Policy
-Development Timing
-Development Complexity
-Financial Efficiency

At the next meeting ( October 30 ) Cornerstone Consultants will present  and review the site analysis findings.

The District owned sites are:

  • Ambleside Field H
  • Ambleside Tennis Courts
  • 3 sites adjacent to the Ferry Building
  • Music Box and Silk Purse
  • John Lawson Park parking lot
  • Lawn Bowling site
  • S.A. C
  • Art Museum
  • Lots adjacent (east) of the fire hall
  • Library Parking Lot
  • Gordon House
  • Dundarave Park

    Keep in mind theses are ONLY IDENTIFIED as they are District owned properties, and may NOT even be considered as options due to MANY factors! For example: a site would be considered but has not been discussed, or is not an option…using the Library and Lawn Bowling, Dundarave Park as examples. There will also be private property options identified at a later date.

    Site size analysis was presented for the two options ( 1 or 2 buildings ) which was:
  • 1 storey with surface parking
  • 1 storey with underground parking
  • 2 storeys with surface parking
  • 2 storeys with underground parking

    Future AFAC meeting timeline
  • October 30 – review site analysis findings to draft a report
  • November 13 – review draft report        – develop community workshop material
  • November 20 – Community Workshop with stakeholders
    At this workshop the top 3 sites would be presented with massing models, land values, and cost to build.  At the public Q&A I asked if it would  be possible for an estimated build time-frame also.
    A possible date for presentation to Council would be end of January.

    With regards to Klee Wyck:  there is a Sub Committee to determine the short term and long term plans for that site.
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