City of Vancouver taken to court over view corridors

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      A residents’ association has sued the City of Vancouver in an attempt to block what it claims is an unauthorized reduction of view corridors.

      The nonprofit Residents Association Mount Pleasant (RAMP) filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court on March 4 alleging that the city—without council debate, public notice, or motion of council to amend the applicable zoning and development bylaw—significantly narrowed “view cones” that are legally protected.

      Future buildings as much as 100 feet higher than those previously permitted will now be allowed to block mountain views along the corridors, called View Cone 20 (northward from Broadway at Granville Street) and View Cone 22 (northward from Main Street at East 6th Avenue), RAMP stated in a release.

      The notice of claim says that the Vancouver Charter, in Section 562 (1), stipulates “the requirement that Official Development Plans be created and amended by Bylaw”.

      The notice also cites a “pattern of misrepresentation during several years of public consultation and testimony to Council” regarding View Cone 22 and “continued misrepresentation in the case of View Cone 20”.

      Among other things, the suit asks the court to quash three council decisions on two dates in 2013 and 2014 and to find that a particular bylaw “had not been legitimately amended by order of Council before its posting and promulgation as law” in May 2010.

      The notice says the “Plaintiff seeks no damages…from any individuals” but does request court costs and “a formal letter of apology from the City of Vancouver Planning Department and Staff to the residents of Mount Pleasant”.

      None of the allegations in the notice of civil claim have been proven in court. The city has yet to file a statement of defence.




      Mar 5, 2014 at 11:11am

      Silly people! Gregor and company do what they want, when they want. This is their city, not yours.

      Brian Greene

      Mar 5, 2014 at 11:46am

      Welcome to 1984, when shadowy shifting laws and ulterior motives dominate public policy formulation and enforcement. Or maybe it is 1934, and we are in post-Weimar Germany. Either way, be very afraid. Deep pockets and huge power centres are behind such machinations. With tens of billions of dollars at stake, the future of our democracy is threatened...or is it perhaps already too late?


      Mar 5, 2014 at 12:38pm

      More than interesting! Too bad the city and its so called professionals operate with such contempt of the system and rights of citizens to honest and ethical professional information.

      Taxpayers shoud get a rebate on their taxes that go to planning.

      CityHallWatch Randy

      Mar 5, 2014 at 1:06pm

      Some questions come to mind. Who made this change? Who knew about it? Who influenced it? Who benefits from it? And who loses from it? Increased building heights enabled by the shifting of the view cone on hundreds of land parcels in Vancouver could translate into millions or billions of dollars in potential profits. Could this secret change to viewcones drive property speculation on hundreds of properties? The potential land value would theoretically increase immediately after this change, and the profits would be captured when land changes hands, and when a rezoning is approved, and then the building built and sold. It looks like private profits and public costs. A careful review of major land deals and rezonings in the affected areas is needed. Note that Viewcone #20 goes right over the West End, which was just subject to a now-approved 30-year West End Community Plan, and mass zoning amendments. Council was fully informed of this mysterious change to viewcones at the public hearing. They approved the West End rezoning amendments even with the issue not properly explained by senior planning staff.

      Just a Voter

      Mar 5, 2014 at 3:17pm

      This type of "slippery approach" would be why so many citizens no longer trust the City of Vancouver. We are accustomed to losing trust in politicians, but we should be able to have confidence in public servants. Perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation if staff were left to do their jobs and provide their professional recommendations without political interference.

      Bill McCreery

      Mar 5, 2014 at 3:25pm

      Well done RAMP! City government by law suit. A sad demise of a once vibrant, proud city.


      Mar 5, 2014 at 3:27pm

      Did anyone else click on the attachment?

      What's with all the strike-thrus? Is that what they actually submitted to the court?

      Where is the evidence that CoV changed the view cone? A handdrawn projection of shadows is not terribly compelling, absent any smoking gun in city minutes or tender documents and so on. As we know, the city and RAMP got into it before over whose isometric perspective photo was more accurate.

      Lee Chapelle

      Mar 5, 2014 at 5:53pm

      I watched this debacle as it unfolded. This is is my take on the process. The destruction of a protected view cone is bad enough, but the underhanded way this was done makes the whole thing stink even more.
      Shame on you COV, you owe us all an apology.

      Lee Chapelle

      Mar 5, 2014 at 7:00pm

      Nobody is debating if The City changed the view cone, they did, unless some spirit force entered City Hall and did it while nobody was looking. The question is, did they do it properly and legitimately, according the City Charter? That will be very hard for them to demonstrate.

      Martin Dunphy

      Mar 5, 2014 at 7:36pm


      The "evidence" is in the notice. You would probably have to look up (using the info provided) the actual transcripts and documents.
      The strike-throughs, I am pretty sure, were amendments and corrections made (I believe the same day) by those who filed the notice.
      The illustration is merely a visual aid to allow people to see what area of the city is being talked about.