Progress vs. the squeaky wheel. NIMBYism has become an epidemic.


As you may or may not know I am a huge supporter of urbanization, mass transit and building up instead of out. Building high density urban neighbourhoods is far more environmentally concious than building large, sprawling suburbs full of single family homes. Noted urbanist and Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser lays it out quite well in his book “Triumph of the city“. Basically cities with high density have less cars, more transit, more cyclists and more foot traffic. The real evil of the modern world is the suburb. The dream of most people is to own a house with a big yard, have two cars and maybe even a pool. That dream is what’s killing our planet. Take Buffalo, New York for example. Over the last 50 years Buffalo’s population has remained fairly steady at around 1 million people yet over that time the amount of land the city covers has doubled. This means double the roads, double the plumbing and electrical infrastructure, more cars, less transit and on and on… This is called sprawl.

Yesterday I read an article on CKNW’s website about a development on the corner of Lonsdale and 13th that a developer has walked away from due to an uncooperative city council and a few vocal North Vanancouver residents. These people are idiots. Here is a comment left on CKNW’s article from “Hugh F” “Earth to Mussatto – There isn’t the capacity for the infrastructure and in particular the roads to handle much more. The growth in the last 30 years has gobbled up the mountainsides, displaced wildlife and continuing on the growth at all costs doesn’t make sense“. Well Hugh, last time I checked Lonsdale was a major bus route that led directly to the Seabus terminal. Lonsdale and 13th is an urban area where no wildlife will be displaced and quite frankly it’s developments like this that stop the sprawl of suburbs which means no more “gobbled up mountainside” or “displaced wildlife”. Stick that in your bong and smoke it, Hugh.

Up next we have “KatyT”. Katy says “I’m sick of all the new development, I agree with the councillors that didn’t want this, how much more building are you going to do? traffic is getting worse and more congested, I think there needs to be a stop to new developments and especially building houses on the back of Grouse, that is getting as ugly as the eyesore you see coming west off the Port Mann bridge“. So Katy doesn’t want houses up Grouse Mountain… I don’t know about you but I think that’s sprawl, no? The best way to stop sprawl is to build tall, high density buildings in urban areas, such as the one proposed for the corner of Lonsdale and 13th. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here people, do you even understand what you’re protesting?

This reeks of a part of society that makes my blood boil, the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). These people are against any change in their neighbourhood, they are a small loud group in every community who overpower the sane with picket signs, protests and general bitching and moaning. The NIMBY’s in Mount Pleasant almost stopped a new development on Main and Kingsway a while back but when the project was put to an actual vote it turned out the community was largely in favour of it.

The moral of the story is that when NIMBY’s get themselves on city council they can actually stop progress. When your next civic election rolls around make sure you vote and make sure you know who you’re voting for. Imagine Vancouver with no downtown…if NIMBY’s existed 100 years ago that’s what we would have today and a city without a downtown is not a city at all, it is nothing.



5 thoughts on “Progress vs. the squeaky wheel. NIMBYism has become an epidemic.

  1. The truly unfortunate outcome from all of this is young people in North Vancouver will continue to find it more difficult to access housing, whether rental or ownership, and this development in particular would have provided much, much more than just new housing… and in the centre of the major commercial and retail corridor of North Van. Developers will continue to build, because people will continue to want to live here. If you want to stop sprawl, you can’t stop building entirely. You need to build the right developments in the right locations to try and meet demand without building out, as you’ve said. This WAS the right development in the right location.

    If the city doesn’t have the infrastructural capacity, then why not just build a wall around it to ensure no new residents/visitors/shoppers/tourists/businesses
    enter? Problem solved, North Van. Well done.

  2. Pingback: North Vancouver NIMBY’s, playing politics and taking control « WFLBC

  3. Onni wants DOUBLE what is “allowed” under the current OCP and zoning restrictions in the area, that is the ONLY reason that this is even required to go through any public process. Are we so desperate for density above and beyond what has been planned for that we should allow a large developer that makes millions from it’s projects to come in and do whatever they want and just be grateful they want to build it? Why stop at double the size, why not triple? Let’s just give them carte blanche and they can do whatever they want, maybe even build the tallest box building,in the lower mainland? I’m sure Onni has nothing but the community’s best interests at heart, I’m sure their intentions are pure, they aren’t interested in just getting the highest profit they can out of it. Er, I’m sure they will be even more active and support our community if we let them do this. Oh wait, they have a decorated tree down at Ship Builder’s Square, and have contributed to a number of politicians (take a look at the campaigns of those who voted the other way). I’m sure there’s more somewhere, the owners are from the City and have been active in the community for decades, according to their VP, I just can’t seem to recall seeing it anywhere.

    Here’s a perspective from a young person, living in the City of North Vancouver and looking to buy something “affordable:” If Onni wants to DOUBLE the size of their development, they need to offer more, make it an amazing development, address traffic issues to the satisfaction of council (that was just one of the many reasons a MAJORITY of the councillors asked for more public input). If addressing the City’s desperate need for childcare options is the goal, rather than spending $5.3 million on including it at a busy intersection without a playground/park perhaps the City and Onni could work with the school board which is looking at “repurposing” numerous properties; imagine how many childcare spaces could be provided for $5.3 million on a site ALREADY built and designed for children (imagine the good PR for Onni). Although they would lose some density with that. The City (not the District) of North Vancouver is only 5 square miles – so it is possible to utilize a school site near another major transit route (3rd, Keith, Marine) where there is ALREADY a playground, green space, etcetera). I would prefer that kind of childcare for my two toddlers and they may need the land for schools down the road.

    Perhaps someone independent needs to evaluate the numbers put forward by Onni and the City or build to the height and density that is “allowed” under the current OCP and zoning (although I’m sure there are those that don’t want that even). I think we all know that Onni isn’t going to do that, there is far too much profit at stake for them. If they did actually withdraw their application as threatened in the original letter they would have to wait a year to reapply. Hmm, wonder why they have been on this media blitz to discredit some of the councillors that wanted more public input or some of the naysayers? The motion was to allow the public that did not get input at the public meeting that ran until 12:47 am an opportunity to have their say, not to kill the project. So, why all the hoopla over more public input? There is so much more to this than simply density vs. no density.

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