20 July 2019
GRU #315
Government Relations Update #315
Mark Sakai, Director of Government Relations

Twitter: @Mark_HAVAN

About half of Metro's Councils will be meeting next week - so a mixed-bag of items in this GRU.That long-awaited day has finally arrived (actually, last Monday) - HAVAN has taken the bold step of doubling the staff of its GR department! So please join me in welcoming Jay Chadha as our new GR Research Associate. Jay comes to us from Bucci Developments, where he worked closely with our friend Troy Abromaitis (HAVAN Development Committee member).

Also, Apollo 11 Moon Landing 50th Anniversary! As an 8-year old, I was glued to the TV, watching those grainy images, Walter Cronkite describing every move, as Neil Armstrong stepped off the Lunar Module.
For Your Information

  • On the agenda  of Vancouver's Regular Council meeting of 23 July are a number of items of interest to GRU readers. Under Report Reference Item 1 is an Implementation Update of the Greenest City Action Plan (no report, but likely to be a PP slide deck in the minutes next week). Under Administrative Reports Item 2 is the 2019 Annual Rate Adjustments to Density Bonus Calculations,  and Item 4 is the Outdoor Lighting Strategy.  Item 11 under Policy Reports is the 'Issues Report: Direction for Intensification of Large Sites to include Moderate Income Rental Housing'.  Under the ever-popular Motions on Notice section, is Item 3, 'Every Neighbourhood for Everyone: Permitting Temporary Modular Housing and Low-Income Housing as an Option in RS and RT Zones'.  Item 9 is the return of Cllr. Hardwick's Motion: 'Addressing the Continuing Demolition of Character and Heritage Houses in RS Zones'.  
  • At Vancouver's City Finance and Services Committee meeting of 24 July, a staff report recommends changes to the Procedure By-Law, changing the way that speakers interact with Council at meetings.  On the same agenda  is a presentation 'Review of Vancouver's Rental Incentive Programs - Initial Findings' (Item 1). 
  • From The Courier: a story on the approval of Vancouver's City-Wide Plan process.  

For Your Information

  • At Port Coquitlam's Regular Council meeting of 23 July, the Building and Plumbing Bylaw Amendment for the Energy Step Code is expected to be adopted (Item 5.10 on the agenda, page 79).  
  • At Pitt Meadows' Regular Council meeting of 23 July, the Pitt Meadows 2040: OCP Review Update  is on the agenda. 
  • More strange goings-on in Port Moody, as Acting Mayor Hunter Madsen tabled his report at the Special Council (not scheduled on the annual calendar) Committee-of-the-Whole meeting of 17 July, with the unusual title: "More Than a Bedroom Community! Building a Tech & Innovation Hub that Revitalizes Port Moody with Great Jobs in the Moody Centre TOD Neighbourhood". (It's not everyday that you see an exclamation mark in the title of a Council report.) The report, on page 61 of the agenda,  seeks to replace much of the residential space planned for Moody Centre with commercial/employment space. Here's the Tri City News story on the Acting Mayor's perceived urgency of the move,  and another story on the aftermath of the Council vote (which was to defer action until the consortium of land owners presents their plan to Council).  
  • As noted in previous editions of GRU, Port Moody will be considering their DCC Bylaw at their Regular Council meeting of 23 July. The staff report is on page 195 of the agenda.  HAVAN and UDI will be sending a joint letter to Council regarding this bylaw, expressing concern over the significant increase in the proposed rates, the lack of a Parks Master Plan (especially considering that much of the increase is due to a revision of the park space per capita calculation), and the removal of the small infill housing waiver which sends a mixed message to homeowners and the building industry, apparently encouraging one-for-one replacement of single family houses on large lots, rather than creating incentives for gentle densification infill. Ironically, at the same meeting, the Terms of Reference for the House Size and Siting Task Force are on the agenda (page 309).

For Your Information

  • At Langley Township's Council Priorities Committee meeting of 22 July, discussion will continue on a number of proposed amendments to the Council Procedure Bylaw.  
  • On the agenda  of Langley Township's Regular Afternoon Council meeting of 22 July is a presentation by Prof. Meg Holden of SFU on the Development Management Process Review.
  • Item F.2 on the agenda  of Langley Township's Regular Evening Council Meeting of 22 July is the Zoning Bylaw 2019 Update. Item I.1, for final adoption, is the Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw. Item N.2 under Other Business is the Public Consultation for Willoughby Arterial Road Completion Policy. 
  • At Surrey's Council-in-Committee meeting of 22 July, the Surrey Schools Coalition will be making a presentation on advocacy for more new schools in Surrey's high growth areas.  
  • At Surrey's Regular Council meeting/Public Hearing of 22 July, this Corporate Report  titled: "Surrey-Langley SkyTrain Project: Partnership Agreement Framework and Memorandum of Understanding" is on the agenda, as is the report on "Quarterly Update on Program to Reduce Building Permit Wait Times";  and the Grandview Heights Area #3 Neighbourhood Concept Plan - Stage 1 Proposed Land Use Concept.  I have linked to the reports, rather than the agenda itself, because at 1,427 pages, it's an unwieldy beast. 
  • The Federal Government sounds like they're looking at a big office hub in Surrey Central.  
  • Another member of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum's coalition has jumped ship, this time Cllr. Jack Hundial.  For those keeping score, it's now Safe Surrey 5 (including the Mayor), Surrey First 1, Independents 3. I'm assuming that I don't need to state the obvious arithmetics at play if one more member of the Coalition decides to quit. Here's a CBC.ca piece about the Mayor's two big campaign promises, now in the hands of the Provincial Government.  
  • The Surrey Board of Trade is concerned that the cost of the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain will prohibit investment in other transit needs.  
  • Another in a series of stories about housing in Delta, from the Optimist.  
  • At the White Rock Governance and Legislation Committee meeting of 22 July, Terms of Reference of the Housing Task Force are on the agenda (page 13).  It's always interesting to me that a Council will strike a task force on housing, without having anyone on the committee who actually produces housing. This item is also on the Regular Council meeting agenda of the same day,  on page 158. Also, under Motions, on page 11, Cllr. Manning has a motion to revise the definition of 'residential floor area', 'residential gross floor area', and other terms and measurements in order to increase green space on RS lots. We should keep an eye on this one.

For Your Information

  • At North Vancouver District's Regular Council meeting of 22 July, the Delbrook Lands 2019 Planning and Engagement Process - Consultation Results report is on the agenda  (page 131). Not surprisingly, residents living 'inside the Neighbourhood Zone' prefer a 2-storey affordable housing building, while those respondents 'outside the Neighbourhood Zone' prefer a 4-storey structure. At the same meeting, a document titled: "Council Directions - 2019 - 2022" is on the agenda (page 213). I'm not sure what to make of the housing objectives in the report. 

For Your Information
  • At Metro Vancouver's George Massey Crossing Task Force meeting of 24 July, a presentation of the Long List Options Analysis is on the agenda.  The presentation deck will likely be available in the minutes next month.
  • At Metro Vancouver's Board meeting of 26 July, the Metro 2050 Engagement Plan is on the agenda  (page 50), as is a report titled: "Housing Needs Report - A Regional Approach'(page 65). 
  • Lots of business on TransLink's 25 July Mayors' Council meeting, including the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain costing (spoiler: it's going to take a bit more money than Mayor McCallum thought to get the line out to Langley); and a bunch of items under the Regional Transportation Planning Committee (SFU Gondola, UBC SkyTrain, George Massey Crossing).  Here's the story from the Langley Times on the media briefing provided on Friday. 
  • Federal funding has been announced to complete the widening to four lanes of the 4-km stretch of Lougheed Highway from 266 to 287 Streets.  
  • Here's a story from the G&M on transit investments across Canada fueling TOD outside of the downtown core.  
  • The qualifying rate for the Mortgage Stress Test eased off a bit, for the first time since 2016.  


For Your Information

  • Rent levels are at levels unaffordable to most tenants, and only a building boom can solve it,  according to this article from The Star Vancouver.
  • Supply of new housing units in the Lower Mainland is down.  
For Your Information

  • An hour to Seattle, and another hour to Portland via high-speed rail?  Metro Mayors say "we have other priorities".  
  • Do you want to live longer? Live in a walkable neighbourhood. This, from Langley City Councillor Nathan Pachal's blog.  
  • Is replacing transit with Uber a solution?  The residents may 'love it', but with higher costs, more road congestion and higher carbon emissions, is it a viable plan for the future? 
  • Here's a piece  in The Courier about an upcoming mini-series on AMC, the second season of The Terror, which inserts fictionalized supernatural incidents around actual historical events (Season 1 focused on the ill-fated Franklin Expedition). This year's version is set during the internment of Japanese-Americans (of course, it happened in Canada as well), and was shot in the Lower Mainland, at many of the locations where the evacuation of Japanese-Canadians took place (Hastings Park, Steveston). And yes, it impacted my grandparents and my parents, who were interned in East Lillooet (paternal) and Greenwood (maternal).

The content of GRU is determined primarily by HAVAN's geographic territory, which are the municipalities of Metro Vancouver (the regional district). Other considerations are provincial and federal issues, policies, announcements or opportunities to engage that would interest our members, housing-related articles and information from other jurisdictions and, of course, the odd tidbit or video clip that interest me. 

Please feel free to distribute this email to others in your office, if you think that they would benefit from the information. If you are reading this as a forwarded message from a colleague, you can get your own version, delivered directly to your mailbox. Just let me know, and I will be more than happy to add you to my list. And don't forget, the most recent issue of GRU is always posted on the Government Relations Page of havan.ca.

As always, comments are welcome. If there is an issue or a website that you would like me to follow, please contact me at 778-373-9784, or via mark@havan.ca

Mark Sakai
Director of Government Relations