What will Vancouver look like in the future? Many players and interests influence City Council’s decisions. CityHallWatch aims to balance the game by giving citizens the confidence and tools to engage City Hall effectively. Read more here.
Today is the deadline for online comments on Vancouver’s Regional Context Statement – Official Development Plan. Anyone who missed the Open House last week can still add comments today. Note that a Public Hearing will be held on June 11.
Official background info:
Go straight to the survey: http://vancouver.fluidsurveys.com/s/rcs/
Here is one reader’s crystallation of the issues:
Given the influence and control ceded through the RGS to Metro and Translink, if the excessive land development policies that are being forced upon many Vancouver neighbourhoods by the current developer-beholden council are enshrined in the RCS, it could be difficult to amend them in the future to limit negative impacts on livability, affordability, heritage and character. Continue reading
Today Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the initial outputs of his Engaged City Task Force. CityHallWatch looks forward to a good public discussion about not only the outputs presented, but also the context and core issues surrounding the Mayor’s creation of this task force, how it was selected, how it functioned, what was covered, and what has been left out.
As a current test case for the Mayor’s sincerity, we encourage a public scrutiny of City Hall’s behaviour regarding the 30-year Official Development Plan (“Regional Context Statement”) which is moving rapidly and quietly toward adoption on June 11. Very few people realize that this is happening, and the magnitude of what is going on. See our Report of open house on Regional Context Statement – Official Development Plan May 16, and Virtual silence continues. Here is an example of many items of correspondence on which neither the Mayor nor City staff have replied: Vancouver Councillors misleading the public? CityHallWatch asks Mayor Gregor to clarify communication rules. We also direct people to sign the CityHallWatch Petition for Municipal Election Campaign Finance Reform: “Get Big Money out of Civic Politics!” which we believe goes to the core of many of the problems we are observing in Vancouver.
We encourage people to observe how the mainstream media cover this story. Watch how each media organization and each reporter covers it. Simply restating the messaging from the Mayor? Or examining the topic more deeply? Each new story is a chance for the public to learn and observe how things work. Are they serving the interests of society? Are they rather conveyors of political messaging? Continue reading
This brief report is for future reference. It covers the City’s Open House on Vancouver’s Regional Context Statement – Official Development Plan, held 4 pm to 8 pm on Thursday, May 16. The RCS-ODP supposedly has a time window of about thirty years, which would bring Vancouver to 2043. That’s a long time. For posterity, we are recording events as they unfold. In the future, maybe some dots will connect and more will become clear. Professionals and students of urban planning around the world may some day be shocked to see the state of public engagement and consultation in Vancouver in the twenty-first century.
Panels from the Open House are now online on the City website (about 4MB in PDF, posted the day after the open house). The panels do not add much new information beyond the staff report that went to Council April 23 (see PDF of staff report including cover and actual RCS-ODP).
In previous posts, we have expressed concerns about the process and content of the RCS-ODP, soon to become enshrined as legislation governing urban development in Vancouver for decades to come.
Here is a photo showing dots where participants live. All 22 of them, from a city of just over 600,000 people. Very few people knew about this event.
By closing time at 8 pm, only 24 people had registered on the sign-in sheets. Continue reading
Nothing to see here folks…move along….move along…
[One of the functions of CityHallWatch is to put information together for later reference. The flow of information here is just one little snapshot of things going on. Is this typical in Vancouver, the Metro Vancouver region, and our province as a whole? Read on...]
DOT ONE: “The MLA, The Mayor And A Sweetheart Deal” (Mark Hasiuk, Contributing Columnist for The Province, in Huffington Post, 13-May-2013)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/mark-hasiuk/bc-liberal-housing-vancouver_b_3267632.html Continue reading
(15-May-2013 — Please see our recent story about the Regional Context Statement – Official Development Plan for which Open House is May 16, Public Hearing June 11, plus background information.) (Update 17-May: See our separate report of this date. Unsurprisingly, public turnout at the Open House was sparse. Still today, media coverage is zero.)
Today’s post is just for the record at this point in time. CityHallWatch continues tracking mainstream media attention for Vancouver’s Regional Context Statement – Official Development Plan. In the future, this will all take on more significance. We have documented that until just hours ago, not even the City of Vancouver’s official web page dedicated to the RCS mentioned the Open House, though today it is there, apparently “back-dated.” Until today, mainstream media attention to the RCS was at absolute zero. A Google search for “regional context statement” and “Vancouver” turns up posts by MetroVanWatch and CityHallWatch prominently, but limited coverage otherwise. The City of Vancouver is quietly moving to adopt a 30-year Official Development Plan. Is the failure to cover this a media blindspot or a media blackout? Is this phenomenon intentional or due to incompetence? Is it conspiracy or confusion?
Over the past few years, we have observed and documented some oddities in information disclosure and public consultation relating to the Metro Vancouver’s 30-year Regional Growth Strategy. Johnny Carline, the former head of Metro Vancouver used false claims of legislative restrictions and bluffing to block public contact to board members. A supposed computer glitch in the City of Surrey appears to have cheated citizens from having adequate notice before the RGS went to City Council in 2011. What else has gone on unnoticed?
Below is a summary of newspaper and web-based coverage to today, for the key words “regional context statement” and “Vancouver.”
The Committee on City Finances and Services on Thursday, May 16, will decide on a staff proposal on Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan Implementation – Public Benefits Strategy and Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy (download PDF). CityHallWatch sees this as an important document for not only that neighbourhood, but for all of Vancouver. What happens in Norquay is a sign of what the forces working at City Hall have in store for many other neighbourhoods. Below we summarize points from the staff report, and then share an independent response kindly provided by Jeanette Jones of Eye on Norquay. Continue reading
(Vancouver , May 13, 2013) With a letter to leaders of the four main parties in the May 14 provincial election, CityHallWatch today launched a petition for municipal election campaign finance reform, entitled “Get Big Money Out of Civic Politics!” CityHallWatch calls upon all civic electoral organizations to take up these reforms voluntarily, and invites individuals, as well as electoral and non-electoral civic groups, to endorse the petition. [Click here to see petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bc-civic-campaign-finance-reform/]