July 16, 2012 - Minutes

PDF Document Printer-Friendly Minutes

City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Regular Council Meeting for Public Hearings


Monday, July 16, 2012



Council Chambers

Richmond City Hall

6911 No. 3 Road


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie

Councillor Chak Au

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Derek Dang

Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Ken Johnston

Councillor Bill McNulty

Councillor Linda McPhail

Councillor Harold Steves


David Weber, Corporate Officer

Call to Order:

Mayor Brodie opened the proceedings at 7:00 p.m.




It was moved and seconded



That the order of the agenda be varied to consider Item #4 after Item #1, and that Items #2 and #3 be considered together.







Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8917 (RZ 04-265950)

(Location: 8751 Cook Road; Applicant: Matthew Cheng Architect Inc.)



Applicant’s Comments:



The applicant was available to answer questions.



Written Submissions:




Lin Yu Jie, 6-8691 Cook Road (Schedule 1)



Submissions from the floor:






It was moved and seconded



That Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8917 be given second and third reading.






Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8908 (ZT 12-610945)

(Location: 16540 River Road; Applicant:  Virdi Pacific Holdings Ltd.)



Applicant’s Comments:



The applicant was available to answer questions.



Written Submissions:




Steve Easterbrook (Schedule 2)



Submissions from the floor:



Steve Easterbrook, 17740 River Road, spoke in opposition to the application and using a Power Point presentation stated his concerns, including: most trucks parking in Richmond come from Surrey or other lower mainland communities thereby transferring their truck traffic problems to Richmond; ongoing filling activities since 2000 have taken place on the subject site ruining soil based agriculture; Richmond farmers have stated concerns regarding noise, pollution, road safety and degradation of the environment; road infrastructure of River Road, specifically 14000 to 16000 Blocks, is not adequate for the trucks that already congest the area; removal of restrictions at 16540 River Road sets a precedent and would lead to the approval of three rezoning applications at three sites neighbouring the subject site; diesel exhaust contributes to pollution and to health risks; and wildlife along River Road pays a toll with increased intensity of trucking.



Mr. Easterbrook encouraged Council to enforce a ban on pollution from trucks, and to build a better community by not inheriting truck parking and truck activity from other communities.



Harold Lougheed, 19000 River Road, spoke in opposition to the application and stated that: City Bylaws staff cannot stop moving trucks on River Road that exceed the posted weight restrictions; it is not necessary to park trucks on the subject site as demonstrated by having had no truck parking in the area for the past year; there is no job creation component to the application; the application brings no benefit to the community except increased taxes; refuelling has taken place on the site and this is an illegal activity; refuelling and oil changes on the site could result in fuel spills, or seepage of oil through the soil, leading to oil permeating the ditch, which is a riparian habitat, and ultimately the Fraser River; and the soil on the site might be capped with asphalt grindings, these could liquefy, become muck, and seep onto River Road and into the ditches.



Mr. Lougheed requested that Council impose a better surfacing technique at the subject site.



Miles Smart, who farms at a site at the corner of Bridgeport and No. 4 Roads, spoke in opposition to the application and stated that farmers face pressures from rural/urban conflicts. He wants to see the character of the City preserved, but stated that the more pressure put on farmers from industrial and trucking activities leads to some of the City’s farmers relocating to other parts of the Fraser Valley. Mr. Smart added that farmers pay City taxes, and he hoped that Council would not allow more truck and dumping activities on River Road.



It was moved and seconded



That Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8908 be given second and third readings.



The motion was not called as discussion ensued among Council.



As a result of the discussion the following amendment motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8908 be amended to include a prohibition on servicing, refuelling and on-site cleaning.




OPPOSED: Councillor Ken Johnston

Councillor Bill McNulty



Further discussion ensued among Council. At the conclusion of the discussion the question on second and third readings of the bylaw, as amended, was then called and it was CARRIED with Councillor Linda Barnes and Councillor Harold Steves OPPOSED.



It was moved and seconded



That Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8908 be adopted.




OPPOSED: Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Harold Steves




Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaws 8915 and 8916

(Affordable Housing Provisions in Special Development Circumstances)

(Location:  City Centre Area and West Cambie Area; Applicant:  City of Richmond)



Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw 8910

Repeal of Housing Agreements (Mayfair Place and Cambridge Park) Bylaw 8911

Zoning Text Amendment Bylaw 8912 and Bylaw 8913

and Zoning Amendment Bylaw 8914 (RZ 11-591685)

(Location:  6251 Minoru Boulevard, 6111 through 6651 Minoru Boulevard, 9331 – 9411 Odlin Road, 9566 Tomicki Avenue, 9399 Odlin Road, 9500 Odlin Road; Applicant:  Polygon Carrera Homes Ltd. and City of Richmond)



Applicant’s Comments:



Jack Mulleny, 5-6588 Barnard Drive, representing the Richmond Kiwanis Senior Citizen Housing Society, was accompanied Chris Ho, Vice President Development, Polygon Homes Ltd.



Jack Mulleny provided a brief history of the Kiwanis cottages and suites, built in the early 1960s and known as Kiwanis Court, at 6251 Minoru Blvd. He noted that the Kiwanis accommodation has reached its end of life and has to be replaced, but that Kiwanis, a not-for-profit senior citizens service organization, does not have the resources to replace the aging facility.



In partnership with Polygon, Kiwanis made a redevelopment proposal to the City, to allow Kiwanis to replace its current 14 low rise buildings containing 122 suites, with two new high-rise residential towers with one-bedroom suites, accommodating 296 affordable senior housing units.



With the aid of a model of the proposed development, Mr. Ho gave a brief description of the proposed project. He then noted that: the development comprises three high-rise towers owned by Polygon, and two high-rise towers owned by Kiwanis: a new east/west half road along the existing property’s north property line will connect with Minoru Blvd. and be an internal private road; the three Polygon owned towers will have a combined total of approximately 335 residential units; and the Kiwanis owned towers will include a games room, fitness facility and hair salon.



Written Submissions:




Vicky So, 1503-6088 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 3)




Jacinto So, 10791 Roselea Cres. (Schedule 4)




Robert Wright, 318-6931 Cooney Road (Schedule 5)




John Cheng, 1101-6088 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 6)




Amy Chung, 1207-6080 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 7)




Adrian Sandu, 1207-6080 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 8)




Cindy Howard, 1004-6631 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 9)




Diane Lanston, 121-6271 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 10)




Melba Jacobsen, 123-10100 No 3 Road (Schedule 11)








Daniel Choi, 6080 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 13)




Ivor Johnson, 1209-6080 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 14)




Max Messelink, 242-6291 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 15)




Andrew and Agnes Gondos, 7700 Francis Road (Schedule 16)




Dawn and Shaf Zafar, 314-7295 Moffat Road (Schedule 17)




Don and Dorothy Gordon, 8031 Colonial Drive (Schedule 18)




Abdulrehman Premji, 104-6271 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 19)




Deirdre Whalen, 13631 Blundell Road (Schedule 20)




Peter Li, 1201-6080 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 21)




Eduardo Yap, 6088 Minoru Blvd.  (Schedule 22)




Louise Young, 34-8551 General Currie Road (Schedule 23)




Peter Mitchell, 6271 Nanika Crescent (Schedule 24)



Submissions from the floor:



Deirdre Whalen, 13631 Blundell Road, advised that she represented the Richmond Poverty Response Committee (PRC) and spoke in support of the application. She noted that the hard work undertaken by Kiwanis, with Polygon, would provide much needed rental housing. The agreement reached by Kiwanis and Polygon provides more than a one-to-one replacement of Kiwanis’ current and outdated rental units, which means that current Kiwanis residents, and other Richmond seniors seeking affordable rental units, will be housed in the proposed high-rises.



The PRC believes that Richmond has to keep up with housing starts to accommodate its aging population. Ms. Whelan expressed pleasure in seeing the City commit to making affordable rental housing a priority.



Mr. Sorensen, 6611 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application and noted that the City is inundated with high-rise developments and that this creates a huge wall around the City Centre. He was concerned that changes to the Official Community Plan (OCP) would turn low-rise neighbourhoods into high-rise areas, and that views of Minoru Park, located to the west of the subject site, would be compromised.



Mr. Sorensen also stated that seniors who live on Minoru Blvd. opposite the Richmond Centre Mall do not have easy or direct access to the Canada Line station on No. 3 Road, as the Mall acts as an impediment. He concluded his remarks by requesting that the City withdraw from high-rise development activities.



Peter Li, 1201-6080 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application and noted the rising population of the City Centre. He stated that high rises have been built to the east, north and south of the Richmond Centre Mall, and that the only area with an open view is to the west, through Minoru Park. He stated his concern that if the five towers proposed by Kiwanis and Polygon are built, the entire City Centre will be a ‘basin’ not unlike that in the cities of Los Angles and Taipei.



Mr. Li stressed the importance of planning for the future, and requested that to ensure clear unpolluted air for the City Centre, the proposed buildings be low-rise and not high-rise.



Adrian Sandu, 1207-6080 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application and expressed the following concerns: it will negatively impact visual and physical access to Minoru Park; it is unsafe for seniors to be in buildings higher than three-stories; it is unknown if firefighters responding to call-outs at buildings higher than three-stories can reach residents; only 1/3 of the subject site is for seniors, while 2/3 of the subject site is a Polygon development; and traffic congestion along Minoru Blvd. is a concern, if the application is successful.



Ms. Humphries, 10631 No. 3 Road, spoke in support of affordable housing on the subject site but stated her concern that residents who lived in the outdated Kiwanis rental units do not have the funds to live in the proposed Kiwanis high-rise towers. She further expressed concern regarding three of the current Kiwanis residents who have not found alternative accommodation. She requested that Council ask Polygon to assure that the those people who have yet to find alternative housing will be able to do so before the current Kiwanis site undergoes demolition.



Johnny Jung, 802-6088 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application and used a Power Point presentation (on file in the City Clerk's Office) to state the following concerns: seniors, many of whom have mobility problems, should live in buildings no higher than three stories for safety reasons; it is unclear whether Kiwanis or Polygon will be responsible if, when fire alarms are activated in the proposed high-rise senior towers, evacuation is not possible; as more high-rise developments are proposed for the City the quality of living decreases; Richmond’s great park is Minoru Park, but great parks in every city in the world requires deep setbacks, and the proposed development will permanently change the skyline around Minoru Park; and busier traffic on Minoru Blvd. is a concern.



Mr. Jung questioned the notice process undertaken for the Public Hearing, and in conclusion he requested that lower density and safety concerns prevail.



Peter Damchuck, 6611 Minoru Blvd. spoke in opposition to the application and to high-rise development in the City. He was concerned with: finding a place for seniors; the rise in density on Minoru Blvd. between Granville Avenue and Westminster Highway and how, in order to travel north on Minoru Blvd., it takes too much time due to traffic volume. He added that he questions Polygon’s motivation behind the proposed project, and that a further look should be given to low-rise development on the site. 



Eduardo Yap, 6088 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application, and using a Power Point presentation, listed the following concerns: the project deviates from the City’s Official Community Plan; Minoru Park should be visible from Minoru Blvd. and should be accessible; the proposed project will shade Minoru Park; and the proposed project will deprive the City from improving/expanding Minoru Park and it will harm the environment and aesthetic appeal of the City. Mr. Yap requested that Council turn down the proposed rezoning.



Joanne Will, 6631 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application and noted that the City’s population has grown but that the hospital has not grown very much. She was concerned with the idea of seniors living in units in high-rise buildings and questioned whether firefighters and their ladders could reach seniors on upper floors in an emergency. She questioned: the location of the proposed new east/west road along the north side of the subject site and if it would impact the lawn bowling facility; what is considered “affordable”; and who would manage and maintain the two proposed seniors affordable housing high-rises.



(Councillor Linda McPhail left the meeting at 9:01 p.m., and returned at 9:03 p.m.)



Jennifer Larson spoke in support of the application and noted that Richmond has not stayed the same as it was “in the past”, and that the City and its residents must adapt to the present and plan for the future. She added that the recent process to update the City Centre Area Plan included opportunities for residents to provide input.



Mervyn Palmer, 6088 Minoru Blvd., spoke in opposition to the application and questioned the notice process undertaken for the Public Hearing. He stated that he worried about the proposed high-rises facing Minoru Park and was concerned that the whole park would become enclosed. He questioned whether the people affected by these proposed high-rises would have an opportunity to make a formal statement for or against them; and what would stop the hotels currently situated at the northwest corner of Westminster Highway and Minoru Blvd. from adding more stories to their buildings to grow them to 22 stories.



Simon Nautauck, 6451 Minoru Blvd., spoke in support of affordable housing units. He requested that Council think not only in terms of affordable units for seniors, but also in terms of affordable units for non-seniors, such as young working families.



Louise Young, 34-8551 General Currie Road, spoke in support of the application and addressed what she thought were misunderstandings where senior’s needs were concerned. She noted that it was better that the proposed towers for seniors affordable housing face the street, rather than the park, because seniors require access to transportation networks, and to shops. Low-rise buildings, usually constructed of wood not concrete, are less safe than high-rise buildings, and elevators in high-rise buildings provide are convenient for seniors.



Ms. Young noted that the proposed project is a creative one that addresses the critical shortage of affordable housing for Richmond’s growing number of seniors. Seniors’ housing must be kept in the City Centre in order to keep seniors independent, prevent isolation, marginalization and vulnerability. The percentage of seniors on fixed income, or at risk of becoming homeless, increases as the gap between income and cost of housing widens.



Alex Hanken, 6651 Minoru Blvd., advised that he was not speaking in opposition, nor was he speaking in support of the application, but questioned how the proposal would affect the residents to the south of the subject site. 



(Councillor Au left the meeting at 9:25 p.m. and returned at 9:27 p.m.)



(Councillor Barnes left the meeting at 9:26 p.m. and returned at 9:28 p.m.)



(Councillor Dang left the meeting at 9:27 p.m. and returned at 9:29 p.m.)



Jennifer Wong, 10840 Ryan Road, spoke about the residents of the current and outdated Kiwanis rental units and noted the vulnerability of the 3 remaining residents who were seeking alternative accommodations by July 31, 2012. She said the City must take care of people, as well as land development. She requested that before the application is approved,  Council ensure a dwelling place for each of the remaining 3 residents of the subject site, and questioned how the City can guarantee compensation for stress suffered throughout the past two or three years, by the Kiwanis residents, as well as how to allow the residents to pay the same amount in rent for the proposed high-rise units as they paid for the outdated rental units. 



Peter Mitchell, 6271 Nanika Crescent, spoke in support of the application and noted that the proposed project provides an opportunity for seniors who have lived in the City Centre to stay within walking distance of many amenities, including the park, the hospital and recreational facilities. He noted that it is likely that many seniors in the proposed two high-rise towers would walk, or use public transit, thereby not adding to vehicular traffic.



He noted that the City should consider the already overburdened local recreational facilities, in light of the addition of approximately 631 residential units on the subject site. He said that seniors are the largest growing segment of Richmond’s population, and that the City has to work to plan for more future seniors daytime programs. In closing he suggested: a walkway on the north side of the subject site; and view corridors between the proposed buildings. 



Susanna Cobin spoke in support of the City’s Affordable Housing Policy, but stated concern for Minoru Park. She noted that the Yaletown neighbourhood is one of the densest areas in Vancouver and yet it has affordable housing mixed in with market housing units. She said that perhaps the proposed project on Minoru would raise the value of the properties.



Daniel Choi, 6080 Minoru said that he was not opposed to the application, but questioned the high-rise nature of the proposed buildings. He was concerned with the health and safety of the seniors who would live in the two high-rise seniors affordable housing towers, especially due to the lack of air conditioning, and only two elevators per building. He questioned how seniors, on fixed incomes, could afford the proposed units.



Chris Ho, Polygon Homes Ltd., provided further details regarding the proposed development, including comments related to: no formal notices of eviction were given to those living in the outdated rental units on the Kiwanis site; a relocation program was established in March, 2012, and Polygon’s on-site staff worked with a number of agencies and were able to find 68 residents new places; the target date for relocation of those living in the original residences is July 31, 2012, and he assured Council that Polygon will continue to work with the last few residents to relocate them; 98% of former residents have indicated that they want to return to the site to live in the proposed high-rises; Polygon is working with the City to establish rent levels, and Kiwanis will be in charge of rental agreements;



there are no building codes specific to high-rises targeted at senior residents and all safety requirements in the building code apply to all buildings and will be met; handbooks will be provided by Polygon to senior residents of the proposed high-rise buildings to explain safety procedures, and in addition, Kiwanis management personnel will undergo safety training; studies indicate that two elevators are sufficient to service the proposed high-rise towers; it is a benefit to the security of the park to have “eyes on the park” by residential units facing, and overlooking, Minoru Park; 89% of the proposed seniors affordable housing units meet the City’s “universal design” with required grab bars, etc., and 100% of the proposed units can be easily adapted for full accessibility; the seniors affordable housing units are defined as “independent living” units; and Kiwanis, not Polygon, owns the land where the two proposed seniors affordable housing towers are sited.



Eduardo Yap, 6088 Minoru Blvd., spoke for a second time and refuted the idea that the proposed project would enhance the visibility of Minoru Park.



It was moved and seconded



That Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaws 8915 and 8916 each be given second and third readings.






It was moved and seconded



That Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaws 8915 and 8916 each be adopted.






It was moved and seconded



That Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw 8910 and Zoning Amendment Bylaws 8911, 8912, 8913 and 8914 be given second and third readings.











It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (10: p.m.).







Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the Regular Meeting for Public Hearings of the City of Richmond held on Monday, July 16, 2012.




Mayor (Malcolm D. Brodie)


David Weber, Director

City Clerk’s Office