Last night, the City of Vancouver held public hearings on a proposal by Concord Pacific to develop Lot 5B West (see map to left).
The False Creek Residents Association brought out three dozen speakers from every neighbourhood in False Creek to speak to the amenity package proposed for that development. There were so many speakers that Council had to extend the hearing until 11pm, but still had to refer more than eighteen speakers to Monday night.
It was the position of the FCRA to reject the amenity package proposed for the development outright in favor of an amendment we submitted last night (see Amendment 4.6 below.)
The amendment calls for immediate transfer of Creekside Park’s future home on Lot 9 from Concord to the province for $1, as will have to happen eventually; immediate greening of that site with a foot of soil covered with lawn; and relocation of all of Concord’s commercial activities (such as Cirque du Soleil, etc.) to their own commercially zoned 6c South.
My remarks to council follow, as does our suggested amendment. Please click here to view video of the hearing – my brief remarks begin at 3:08, and then questions from councillors continue until 3:32 pm.
Thank you Mr. Mayor, Councillors, Staff and Concerned Citizens:
My name is Sean Bickerton, and I appear before you today as the Chair of Paris Place Strata Council and as a member of the False Creek Residents Association (FCRA).
I sincerely regret that we are here before you this evening opposing Concord Pacific’s plans to develop lot 5b West & East. I had hoped we could be here in support of those plans after three members of the FCRA have spent years in meetings with the consultative group, joint working group, and a special mediation effort initiated by your staff.
It is also after a number of councillors and Park Board commissioners on all sides of the aisle have expended time trying to find a way to sever the Gordian knot now preventing development of Creekside Park.
Additionally your staff, in particular Paula Huber and Michael Gordon among others, have made herculean efforts to try and find an innovative solution that would meet with community approval.
We greatly appreciate their efforts and your efforts. I will even go so far as to appreciate Concord’s attempt at flexibility in this area. We know they are good people, care about their community and care deeply about the kind of city we will be living in in the years ahead.
But unfortunately those efforts have come undone, and it is now twenty years after Concord’s promise was first made to deliver Creekside Park in order to obtain rights to develop the Expo lands. If that promise is never delivered to those alive at the time it was made, what worth does it actually have? This has dragged on so long now it’s starting to resemble a court case in a Dickens novel . . .
Earlier we had a presentation from the City’s legal department. Perhaps they could give you an opinion on how many decades need to pass before a party to a contract can be said to be in default of their obligations.
Given this history, the proposal in front of you suggesting the city should credit Concord in the order of 4.3 million dollars for additional landscaping to beautify the Concord sales centre is, to say the least, far too little, far too late.
But we do not appear before you pleading with empty arms today. We are proposing a simple, elegant solution, Amendment 4.6 (see below) which I am happy to provide the Clerk now for distribution. And it will cost the city absolutely nothing to implement.
Simply have Concord transfer Creekside Park’s future home of Lot 9 to the province for $1 as must eventually happen anyway; have that lot greened with grass immediately; and have Concord move all their commercially lucrative opportunities to Lot 6C to the west.
If ever an issue was ripe for resolution it is this one now before you. None of us enjoy this fight with Concord Pacific. We’re tired of it. But not so tired we can’t fight and win it!
Fight we will if fight we must! We did not go seeking this battle. We simply want to see this park in our lifetime and you can make that possible tonight without spending one cent of taxpayer money.
We do not want to appear before you again on this matter and we know you are tired of hearing about it from us.
Please take this simple lifeline we are throwing you and the city, and save us all from this eternal and needless battle.
The FCRA’s proposed Amendment 4.6 follows:
FALSE CREEK NORTH OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
This amendment 4.6 will require a change to proposed amendment 4.1 to include lot 9 Green Space:
4.6. Prior to issuing any development permit for Lot 10 or Lot 5, ownership of Lot 9 shall be transferred from Concord Pacific to the Province of British Columbia for a payment of one dollar ($1 CAD), per the 1990 Utility Design Agreement.
The Province will lease Lot 9 to the City of Vancouver in perpetuity. Immediately, Concord Pacific will enter into an interim neighborhood park work agreement whereby Concord Pacific will be financially responsible for design and delivery of a temporary park on Lot 9.
This agreement will require delivery of the temporary park no later than 12 months after the first development permit is issued for either Lot 10 or Lot 5. The agreement will incorporate all the responsibilities of the Province of British Columbia and Concord Pacific respecting the Utility Design Agreement, including Concord Pacificʼs obligation to be financially responsible for the design and delivery of a permanent park on Lot 9 once Lot 6C is rezoned.