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City Plumber Q&A:

Is Vancouver exaggerating the low vacancy rate by only looking at statistics for purpose-built apartments

Question: I understand Gregor and the Vision team misusing statistics for political purposes, but now the City is parroting the same in stating that “rental vacancy rates are at an all-time low of 0.8%” A simple review of CMHC data shows there have been many other times in the last thirty years plus when the […] [Read more →]

Who absorbs the cost of CACs when a whole strata sells to a developer?

Question: When a strata “winds-up” and sells the property to a developer, which party generally absorbs the cost of the community amenity contribution assessed due to rezoning, the strata owners or the developer? We are currently undergoing this process and have been told by our realtors to expect 100% of our current assessment plus only […] [Read more →]

Does a developer going through a rezoning also have to go through the development-permit process?

Question: Do you know, if a developer is going through rezoning, do they also have to go through the entire development permit process or is it combined? Answer: Hmm, a tricky one. I checked with my Valuable City Hall Sources and they said … it depends.  Some, like Rental 100 projects or laneways, are combined. […] [Read more →]

What is happening with the new Vancouver chief planner job?

Q: What’s going on with the City of Vancouver’s search for a new Chief Planner? Surely they’re getting close Frances. Any news? A. Good question. I had heard there was a first round of interviews in May, second round in early June. Four candidates on shortlist. Told last week by city manager that announcement was imminent. […] [Read more →]

Why did the value of my building go up when I made no improvements?

Q: Why did my assessed value of the building portion of my property go up by over 40% when I made no substantial improvements to the house before the July 1, 2015 date? My house was built in 1954. Don’t homes typically depreciate over time unless substantial renos (permitted) are completed? Curious to know the […] [Read more →]

What is happening with the new NPA park board?

Q. Dear Swami:  If (apparently) long term memory serves me well, NPA and Greens swept the Vancouver Parks Board with a commitment to restore some sense of civility in working with community centre societies.   In brief, tossing out the Vision/Ballem approach of my way or the highway.  What’s with the return to the shooting gallery […] [Read more →]

Who is the campaign manager for the transit referendum Yes side?

That is an excellent question and one that many people are asking themselves, including those on the Yes side. It appears to be a many-headed beast. The overall campaign manager for the Yes side coalition, as opposed to the mayors’ council, brought in recently, is Marko Dekovic, I’m told. And that seems to be right, […] [Read more →]

Is Vancouver in dire financial straits that it had to ask to borrow $235 million as part of the vote Saturday?

Question: How come the citizens of Vancouver were asked on the ballot to approve $235,000,000 in borrowing to cover city spending in the next 4 years? Is the city’s deficit so great to require these borrowed funds? Thank you very much Frances, you are much appreciated in our household. Answer: As anyone can see, I […] [Read more →]

Any news on the COPE nominations?

All on my Twitter feed, friends. [

Did the new five-storey building going up at Broadway and Carnarvon go through any public consultation?

Q. Frances, I noticed that the Orr development at West Broadway and Carnarvon is now framing a 5th storey on their rental building project, which is very surprising since the height limit is 4 storeys (45 feet) under the existing C2 zoning. I would be interested to know whether this additional height was approved through […] [Read more →]

Unanswered Questions: