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.