Fred Taylor on the Bowen Road Rezoning for “Wet” Housing

This post was written by Fred Taylor, respected Nanaimo watchdog, and was submitted by him for publication on the blog.  It contains the body of his presentation to Council at the May 5 Public Hearing which will again continue on May 11. It raises important issues about the process which has been followed in this rezoning and is worthy of all our consideration.

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I speak against Bylaw 4000.506, a Bylaw to rezone 1406 Bowen Road for the purpose of low barrier “wet” housing.

I am deeply concerned, as the Council has already committed 1406 Bowen Road in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Province dated Nov. 12, 2008 for a specific purpose.

This Public Hearing/rezoning, in my opinion is a farce, a mockery of the law.

No one could convince me, every member of this Council is here tonight with an ‘open mind’ to later provide direction.  Your direction by documentation has already been decided.

The MOU should have stated certain properties subject to a Public Hearing / rezoning  process.

Often, I hear the ‘buck passing’ of who selected the sites in the MOU.

To date, the City has not offered any evidence of actual participation of BC Housing in site selection.

BC Housing offers no evidence as well.  They refuse to jeopardize their relationship with the municipal government.

Mr. Horn was asked in person Friday morning April 8, 2011 for the active file in regards to 1406 Bowen Road, as a usual opportunity for the Public prior to a Public Hearing.

He refused, stating he had to attend meetings about Balmoral Hotel issues and would have the file for Monday review.  He also stated there were only a few emails between B.C. Housing and the City in regards to site selection.

Now we have conversation suggesting there was no ‘on site’ inspection by B.C. Housing.

Sue Bate of the Executive Office of B.C. Housing states  that they “don’t have steadfast rules about timing (in regards to immediate use of funding), if site not able to proceed, we would look for alternate sites.”

Greg Steves, Executive Director, Housing Policy Branch, Ministry of Energy and Mines states
“The city is responsible for taking the lead on site selection…..sites are selected by local governments.”

Lori Wanamaker, Deputy Solicitor General states
“discuss potential site alternatives with your Local Government, sites are selected by Local Government as per the MOE agreement.”

Abbotsford’s first project has been cancelled, “inappropriate in a residential neighbourhood.”

Yes, we have an Official Community Plan.

The purpose of our Community Plan is to act as a guide for decision making on planning and management issues.

The Plan directs objectives including:

“maintaining the character and livebility of existing neighbourhoods”

“to build community spirit and cohesion”

Plan Nanaimo Advisory Committee has recommended the application be approved as presented.

But just a minute, PNAC was presented with FALSE INFORMATION in regards to public consultation.

June 17, 2010
       –  Open public meeting
–  250 people in attendance
THIS INFORMATION IS FALSE
–         meeting was for Townsite/Hospital area not 1406 Bowen Road
–         John Horn’s minutes states only 115 people in attendance

October 21, 2010
–         Once again this meeting was for Hospital area not 1406 Bowen Road
THIS INFORMATION IS FALSE

October 28, 2010
–         meeting with Chamber of Commerce
THIS ORGANIZATION DOES NOT GOVERN QUARTERWAY NEIGHBOURHOOD

February 7, 2011
–         meeting with Chamber of Commerce
AGAIN, THIS ORGANIZATION DOES NOT GOVERN QUARTERWAY NEIGHBOURHOOD

February 8, 2011
–         meeting arranged with local businesses of the Quarterway area at the Athletic Club.  Public not invited.

February 17, 2011
–         Public Meeting?
-This meeting was not advertized as a public meeting.

To further add to the misrepresentation of public consultation, the unadvertised removal of cemetery status from 1621 Dufferin Crescent using questionable minutes of a meeting attended by 115 people for discussion of neighbourhood crime, public disorder, parking, and affordable housing.

Order in Council No.1427 (1994) has long expired, no one (as former owner) remaining to re negotiate / agree to removal of cemetery status from the title of the land although this information has been used to support removal of cemetery status from the land.

The Council has also been presented with the same FALSE INFORMATION, going unchallenged at the 1st and 2nd reading of the bylaw for rezoning 1406 Bowen Road on March 28, 2011;  a resignation is in order !!

Council has in hand a petition of 411 signatures against this rezoning from the Quarterway neighbourhood, including 37 local businesses.

Council has heard from a few supporters of 1621 Dufferin Cres. and 1406 Bowen Road but please
– consider where they reside, not our neighbourhood.
– consider their activities in our community; does an ‘alternative’ to our neighbourhood require social change ?
– would any of these supporters have any direction in our community without their programs ??

WE NEED TO BUILD A HEALTHY COMMUNITY !!

ALSO, THERE HAS BEEN NO ATTEMPT TO CONTACT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION.

You as Council may entertain a third reading for the rezoning of 1406 Bowen Road, but soon (just 7 months away) the neighbourhood will have their opportunity and I remind you there are a lot more concerned neighbours than a few votes from the 1406 Bowen Rd. and 1621 Dufferin Cres. housing projects.

Fred Taylor

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