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Here’s what's up at North Shore councils this week (Feb. 13)

The Harry Jerome rebuild is over budget and the district is thinking of allowing short-term rentals like Airbnb. Here's what's up on Monday night.

It’s a tale of two North Vancouvers, Monday night, with both the city and the district holding council meetings with heady agendas to get through.

City of North Vancouver

After a council proclamation for Heritage Week and a delegation from Ocean Ambassadors Canada on their plans for a new shoreline cleanup initiative, council gets down to matters of finance.

City council members are expected to have their first public discussion on the 2023 municipal budget, which is expected to bring a 5.24 per cent tax increase for property owners based on the draft financial plan.

After that, city staff will update council on the redevelopment of the Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre, including the not-so-fortunate news that the project is now expected to cost $25 million more than council had budgeted for in 2021. Reasons cited by staff include higher-than-expected quotes from sub-trades working on the project, rising interest rates, supply chain issues, growing labour costs and an unexpected $4 million in soil remediation bills. Staff are expected to present some plans on mitigating the cost overruns.

And council will consider a new initiative to allow small-scale supportive housing and care services to set up and operate within the city’s low-density neighbourhoods, which is currently not permitted under the official community plan. Examples cited by staff include assisted living, women's shelters, end-of-life care services, adult day services, and community nursing.

Sign up on the city's webpage to speak virtually. Watch the meeting live online

District of North Vancouver

The new district council members are getting along so well, they’ve decided to have not one but two meetings on Monday.

At 5 p.m., they are holding a special council meeting (that just means it wasn’t previously scheduled), at which they will appoint members of their various advisory committees and commissions for the next one-year term.

District council too will be discussing their 2023 budget, which is currently projected to bring a 4.5-per-cent tax hike (though the draft financial plan has been subject to a lot of early debate so far, particularly where it relates to new sports fields and active transportation infrastructure).

On the subject of finances, staff will update council on the district’s ongoing economic development initiatives and propose some new ones. Among those being considered: a review of permitting and licensing for business, and offering more services online.

And council member are being asked to review and approve a new policy aimed at ensuring any new buildings constructed for the municipality are “climate ready,” meaning they are designed with the highest energy efficiency standards, using low-carbon materials and operations, and that they designed to accommodate a changing climate.

That’s just the beginning though. Council reconvenes at 7 p.m. for a more informal workshop on some proposed rule changes for what’s allowed in single-family neighbourhoods. The first part of the workshop is dedicated to concepts like larger secondary suites than what are currently permitted, allowing higher homes so basement suites can be further above ground, and allowing infill housing like duplexes and triplexes.

That is followed by a discussion on the pros and cons on the potential for allowing people to operate short-term rentals like Airbnb in their homes.
In both cases, staff will present council with the results of public consultations they carried out on the issues in 2022.

The meetings are open to the public at district hall (355 West Queens Rd. in North Vancouver). To sign up to speak at the regular meeting of council, email before noon on Monday. Watch it live online.

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