This week we had our first adventure with an on-line Public Hearing and Opportunity to be Heard. It was not without its challenges. Though it appeared that staff had made the systems necessary work, and our “trial run” last week fairly uneventful, we are relying on members of the general public to manage their own interface and web technology during what is probably an unusual situation for many, so there were a few glitches. People were afforded the ability to write or e-mail Council with input prior to the meeting, or to use web videoconferencing through a web browser, or phone in during the meeting. Some did more than one of these.
First off, the Public Hearing:
Zoning Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bylaw No. 8172, 2020
This first Public Hearing is to review multiple relatively minor changes to the language of our Zoning Bylaws. It updated some language and made numerous textural changes to make things more consistent internally and with City policies. Not surprisingly, we had no written submissions and no speakers to this item.
Council moved to give this Bylaw Third Reading and Adoption.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw (909 First Street) No. 8188, 2020
This project will have four townhouse style homes replace a single family home on a largish lot in Glenbrooke North. This represents the type of moderate infill density that was envisioned in our OCP. Though it is not the transit-densest neighbourhood in town, there are a lot of walkable services nearby and will provide more housing options in a very family-friendly neighbourhood.
This went through a public open house and Residents Association meeting, and generally received favourable comments. There were a few concerns raised about traffic and parking. However, it was noted that this will be a 4-unit development replacing a duplex with basement suites, so the actual increase in density (and car space needed) is marginal.
We received 8 written submissions (mostly in favour) and a few people took part in the public hearing, raising concerns about parking and traffic for the most part.
Council moved to support giving the Rezoning Bylaw Third Reading.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw (45 East Eighth Avenue) No. 8189, 2020
This is another project that will replace a single family home with townhouses to provide more “missing middle” housing with relatively gentle infill, this time in the Massey Victory Heights neigbourhood. It went to a public open house and residents’ association meeting and appeared to generate favourable comments. We had a few speakers, mostly related ot the development (the owner and Architect) and one neighbor concerned about parking and traffic.
Council moved to approve Third reading of the rezoning.
We then went into an Opportunity to be Heard:
Inter-Municipal TNS (Ride Hailing) Business Licence Scheme Bylaw No.
This Bylaw would sign New Westminster onto the larger inter-municipal business licensing scheme for ride hailing in the Lower Mainland. This doesn’t really equal “approving” ride hailing, as the provincial government hasn’t really given us that option, but instead it allows us to take part in a regional regulatory regime that will give us some control over how it operates, and provide us some access to the valuable data collected by the industry to help us manage the transportation regime in our community more effectively.
We had two people contact us, one a small operator in the industry, and one raising some concerns about what ride hailing means for equity in our community.
I have already expressed my concerns about the model of ride hailing as being offered by large venture-capital supported multinational corporations that exploit their employees, increase GHG emissions in our communities, make our neighbourhood streets less safe and undermine sustainable transportation modes that are the foundation of our regional planning principles. I also have concerns about climate impacts and accessibility impacts, but recognize that we as local governments have limited regulatory authority to address those concerns.
My support for this Inter-Municipal business license is in recognition that if we are to have any regulatory control over this potentially damaging technology, it will be through business licensing. It is important that we collect and interpret this data, and having business licensing is a way to get that data. This is not the end of the story, but the beginning, and it is upon us to work with our neighboring communities to stay aware of the impacts or ride hailing – positive and negative – and work to the limit of our licensing authority to address the negative impacts, as the provincial government seems to be taking a hands-off approach.
Council voted to approve this Bylaw.
We had a few more Bylaws to adopt this meeting:
Zoning Amendment (Stage 1 – Sustainable Transportation) Bylaw No. 8184, 2020
Bylaw Notice Enforcement Amendment Bylaw No. 8168, 2020 and
Municipal Ticket Information Amendment Bylaw No. 8169, 2020
As discussed in the June 1 meeting, we updated some of our zoning requirements that support sustainable transportation. These bylaw changes are now adopted by Council.
Zoning Amendment (Sidewalk/Street Patios and Parklets) Bylaw No. 8206, 2020
As discussed last meeting, we are doing more to support patios in the City, and we have now adopted the bylaw.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw (2223 Ninth Avenue) No. 8180, 2020
This single family house with a laneway house development was given a Public Hearing back in February, and now that all the details have been hammered out, we can adopt the Bylaw.