False Creek Residents Association is second neighbourhood group to take city to court

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In a period of just over two weeks, two neighbourhood organizations have decided to file court petitions against the City of Vancouver.

Fern Jeffries, cochair of the False Creek Residents Association, told the Straight on Tuesday (May 20) that her group is launching its action against the city in connection with a long-promised parkland.

“When it comes to this city weighing the interest of citizens against developers, they pick developers,” Jeffries said in a phone interview a day before the case is to be filed before the B.C. Supreme Court.

The developer in this case is Concord Pacific. The company was supposed to provide the city almost four hectares of new green space, which will serve as an addition to Creekside Park.

The legal action by the False Creek Residents Association follows on the heels of a case filed against the city by the Community Association of New Yaletown on May 6. The New Yaletown application involves measures taken by the city in relation to a downtown property swap with Brenhill Developments Limited.

The Creekside Park extension was part of an old deal in which the City of Vancouver agreed to allow Concord Pacific to build 7,650 residential units on the former Expo 86 lands.

According to Jeffries, the lot in question serves as a parking lot, home to Concord Pacific’s presentation centre, and rental space.

“The city has continuously renewed Concord Pacific’s development permit to have its sales centre and land-rental operation on that lot,” Jeffries said. “I think when we read the bylaw, and read the official development plan, we do not believe that they have issued that temporary permit legally.”

The supposed Creekside Park extension is bordered by False Creek on the south, the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts on the north, Creekside Park and Science World to the southeast, and the Plaza of Nations on the west.

“When I read the bylaw, it says that that property is exclusive for park, and if they want to change the zoning, they could change the bylaw, but they haven’t done that,” Jeffries said. “What they have done they’ve called ‘relaxing’ the bylaw.”

According to Jeffries, the court petition challenges the city’s ability to allow a property designated for parks to be used for commercial purposes. None of the association’s allegations have been proven in court.

Comments (5) Add New Comment
Mark
Good for them. If they are going to build so many ugly looking condo towers, they should at least be forced to provide green spaces.
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Rating: +11
Odds Bodkin
Unfortunately,this case seems to have some merit. It's an amenity to the community negotiated with the developer. I don't know why Concorde is dragging their feet. (Or do I?) C'mon Vision, get moving.
The suits by the other 'neighborhood' groups are frivolous. Probably financed by Armstrong, Macdonald or even the Koch brothers. I hope the courts point this out, as I'm sure they will, and the City goes after costs.
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Vision = bought & paid for
More shenanigans from our Mayor & his cronies at the bidding of their masters in the development community. They have been soft pedalling development a bit lately, officially backtracking on some community plans: at least until after the November election. Apparently they made the mistake of thinking they could sneak this one past the community at large. This wouldn't be the first time Vision "relaxed" rules, regulations or bylaws to benefit their friends building towers. Emery Barnes Park as planned under a previous Parks Board was to be built using community charges levied on developers of local properties. Unfortunately the end result was a $5.5 million dollar park paid for by taxpayers.

The Parks Board claimed they were "forced" to cut $5 million from their facilities & fields budget and attempted to blamed the Olympics. Naturally they had eager interest groups and media to parrot the claim while they quietly redirected funds towards the new park and the developers pockets the savings. It was typical of how Vision operate, using their propaganda wing to frame policies in a way that will attract the "convenient idiots" of special interests to work towards making party donors happy. Another example is how they used the cycling lobby to close Point Grey Road, a move that has already reaped millions for Vision donors & the Mayor himself in increased property values. Remember the other part of the proposed bike route that was to join the private drive/bike route that is the current incarnation of Point a Grey Road? Another "essential" piece of the bike routes cross-crossing town: the path through the parks along Kits Beach. That part of the plan was quietly dropped soon after PGR was closed and there was nary a whimper: the cycling lobby meekly backed away after Vision let them know that was all they would get.

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Rating: +9
tf
Concord wants the viaducts down. Why else do you think the City is pursuing it? The City is doing all it can to make that happen, which means any green space will have to wait until the City and Concord get what they want.
It's not a surprise - part of the original deal signed long ago, along with green space Concord would build a large number of social housing units. They built the market units first, saying they needed the sales in order to fund the social housing. But when all the market units were complete and it was time to build the social housing, Concord went to the City and said they could no longer afford it. What did the City do? The City said 'no problem' and waived the requirement for social housing; none was built.
Thanks to the False Creek Residents Association for the dogged pursuit of green space! May they fare better than the social housing component.
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Rating: +4
False Resident
I live right next to this site and I'm ambivalent about the lawsuit. I agree with the principle of holding the City and developer to the original agreement, but this area is already surrounded by parks. They may be correct about the deal, but no one could honestly argue that we don't have more than our share of parks in this area.
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