My updated website; Official Community Plan deadline extended to March 29th; proposed increases to P
Updated: Mar 31, 2018
I’m so glad to see the daffodils and crocuses starting to bloom as signs that spring is finally here, and we can say good-bye to winter for another year.
My Updated Website and Facebook Page
With spring comes spring cleaning and renewal. To keep you better informed, I’ve taken the opportunity to refresh my website www.maryannbooth.com with new content including a “Meet Mary-Ann” page, compilations of all my newsletters and media coverage, and a photo gallery. I hope you enjoy the new look, and that you will visit it regularly for updates.
I’ve also launched a new Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MaryAnnBoothCouncillor. Please take a look, follow along and like the page to stay up to date.
At this time, I would like to bring two important matters to your attention:
Official Community Plan Review
As you may be aware, the District is updating its Official Community Plan, or OCP.
Q: What is an OCP and why is it important?
A: West Vancouver’s Official Community Plan (OCP) is a community-wide land-use policy document that helps shape the future of our community. It includes policy chapters about housing, economy, transportation, parks, environment and social well-being. It is the District’s number one planning tool for the next decade, and touches citizens’ lives in some ways every day – from how housing needs can be met, to where shops, services and community facilities are located, to how we move around, and to how we protect the environment and respond to climate change. Because of this, public engagement is an integral part of the OCP review process.
Q: What has been done to date?
A: In early 2017, the District started a review of the plan (which was last updated in 2004). Over the last year (Phases 1 through 3), staff collaborated with residents to collect and refine their ideas in a number of ways. Phase 1 identified core community objectives. Phase 2 invited the community to generate ideas to meet these high-level objectives. In Phase 3, the community evaluated and refined the directions that emerged from their Phase 2 ideas. A range of engagement opportunities provided citizens with diverse and innovative ways to provide their input, including 14 public events with 441 participants; 886 surveys and workbooks completed; 14 stakeholder meetings with 250 participants; eight youth events with 130 participants; and 28 “pop-up” events with 1,250 interactions.
Q: What happens next?
A: Now, we want you to review the Draft OCP and tell us if there are items that you don’t understand and need clarifying; items that you simply don’t agree with (and why); and any additions you would make, with your rationale. We will take your responses into consideration as we gather all of the other feedback that we are receiving from the community.
Please send us your comments by March 29.
Q: When will the process be concluded?
A: The community consultation of this policy review is not over after this phase. Once all community input on the Draft OCP is collected, we will prepare a second draft (the proposed plan). This second draft will be presented to Council in May and shared with the entire community. Also in May, a Town Hall Meeting will be held so everyone can learn what’s in the proposed plan. Watch your mailboxes—information will be sent to every household when the date has been confirmed. Information regarding the meeting will also be posted online.
Q: Will there be an opportunity for further input?
A: If Council chooses to move the proposed plan to the next stage, residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback to Council on the proposed plan at a Public Hearing in June. If Council adopts the OCP, it triggers further, more specific community consultation about West Vancouver’s local area plans in the future.
Q: What is a Local Area Plan, and how are these two connected?
A: Local Area Plans (LAPs) guide decisions on planning and land use management in key centres and corridors. A LAP would include guidelines regarding height, density, built form, and design. The one for the Marine Drive and Taylor Way area has been completed and can be found at (https://westvancouver.ca/home-building-property/major-projects/marine-drive-local-area-plan-and-design-guidelines). LAPs will be developed for the Ambleside Town Centre, Horseshoe Bay, Taylor Way and Cypress Village. Each of the LAPs will have a comprehensive public consultation process.
Proposed Provincial School Tax increases
In its recent budget, the Government of B.C. announced a number of new taxes. While the ones to address speculation in residential real estate, in particular by foreign investors, is welcomed news, a proposed increase to school tax will disproportionally affect West Vancouver residents. More specifically, starting in 2019, an additional school tax will be applied to all residential properties in the province valued at $3 million and above.
The additional tax rate is:
• 0.2% on the residential portion assessed between $3 million and $4 million
• 0.4% on the residential portion assessed at over $4 million
For example, on a property valued at $4.5 million, this will mean an increase of $4,000 per year on top of the $3,680 already charged for a total of $7,680, just for the school tax portionof your tax bill. To be clear, this is a tax that the District of West Vancouver will collect from its residents on behalf of the Province. Almost half, or 7,100 homes in West Vancouver will be affected by this tax, which will result in about $50 million dollars in revenue to the Province. As a former Chair of the School Board, I know investing in public education is important, but this tax increase was unexpected and will have a significant impact on many of our residents, regardless of their ability to pay.
I believe in working collaboratively with the other levels of government, and have already had discussions with our MLAs Ralph Sultan and Jordan Sturdy to advocate for solutions which will both improve housing affordability and address our education needs.
Councillor, District of West Vancouver