(To be updated as info comes in – this version 5 pm Sept 30) This post will capture many bits of information about the lead-up to the Vancouver City Council vote to approve the recommendations in Community Plans: Next Steps by director of planning Brian Jackson regarding extension of community plan processes. This discussion was precipitated by a motion by Clr Adriane Carr to examine extending community plan processes.
- Grandview Woodland gets an extension of at least 12 months, a budget of about $275,000 for a revamped process, and the creation of a “Citizens’ Assembly.” For the local community association’s cautiously hopeful response to this outcome, visit Grandview-Woodland Area Council.
- Marpole gets an extension for the Marpole community plan, and additional public consultation events were promised this fall. The City calls it 6 months, but the Marpole Residents Coalition considers it to be 5 months and has commented on this outcome: “We have made progress but there are still single family homes and duplexes being rezoned, including the area between Granville St and Adera St, which makes no sense to us…”
- The Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Process (LAPP) gets an extension, thanks to an intervention by Ray Spaxman, legendary urban planner. Staff are to report back to Council in January 2014.
- The West End gets no extension, no new consultation, no new budget. This is extremely unfair compared to the treatment other neighbourhoods are getting. City staff and Vision councillors claimed there was strong support from the community for the plan to go ahead without further consultation. They failed to substantiate their statements. One round of open houses will be held in October 2013, followed by a final draft plan going to Council a few weeks later. Mayor/Council promised two weeks of advance notice before any report goes to Council — but this promise was violated this week. The final step would be a Public Hearing, followed soon by changes to the zoning schedule for the West End. (The public has learned that once a staff report goes to Council, it is a done deal, so in reality, very little is likely to change at this point, from the documents presented at open houses in June 2013.) West End Neighbours will be issuing a statement soon, but here is their letter to Council requesting an extension.
The vote ended at about 7:45 pm on Friday, September 27, 2013, after three days of speakers. Speakers could only speak weekday working hours. Over 80 people had signed up, but only 35 had the opportunity to speak. Comments are open. Video and materials below will be fertile ground for analysis into the functioning of our civic government today. In particular, planning professionals worldwide are invited to provide their input to us on how their peers are functioning here in Vancouver. We will have to wait a few days to see the exact text of the motion passed, but you can see it yourself in the second video.
Tally of speakers by tweet from Clr Reimer. Downtown Eastside (LAPP) - 2. West End – 2. Grandview-Woodland – 8. Marpole – 23.
Here is video of staff responses to the citizen speakers on each of the four community plan processes, for in-depth analysis.
Video of Council justifications, and their votes.
A common approach by developers and architects, and by councillors and even seniors planners now, is to select certain assertions from the community which they deem to be “myths” and then bust them – as “myth busters.” This tactic is highly selective, facts presented are highly filtered to lead to a specific outcome, and the trick is typically used to distract reporters and the general public from other, probably more cutting and profound problems they hope people will forget. Watch out, and don’t let them get away with it.
MEDIA – newest additions at top
Planning process changes approved
BY DAN FUMANO, SUNDAY PROVINCE SEPTEMBER 29, 2013
Vancouver city council votes for more engagement on community planning
BY DAN FUMANO, THE PROVINCE SEPTEMBER 28, 2013
No need to extend West End plan, says LGBTQ advisory committee co-chair
http://dailyxtra.com/vancouver/news/need-extend-west-end-plan-says-lgbtq-advisory-committee-co-chair?market=208 [Disclosure alert: Dean Malone is chair of Vision Vancouver's West End caucus.]
Without clearly indicating which source issued the statement, Councillor Andrea Reimer’s personal facebook account carried a “News Release” dated September 27. https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10151868908465690. The CBC article cited below carries the same storey, almost verbatim.
Jonathan Baker: Protesting the quality of protests.
Culture of fear and blame replaces citizen engagement – Alan Garr, Vancouver Courier.
COMMENTARY ON BLOC VOTING
Whipped documentary about bloc voting by politicians: http://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/whipped-bc-video/
CityHallWatch “Doublespeak Guide“
For the West End, only two speakers spoke. Randy Helten for West End Neighbours. And Dean Malone, who presented himself as an individual, but failed to mention that he is Chair of Vision Vancouver’s West End branch.
Powerful industry lobby group Urban Development Institute was actively lobbying City Hall.
City of Vancouver Community Plans: Next Steps – UDI Submission
On September 25th, UDI submitted a letter to Mayor and Council on Vancouver’s four Community Plans currently under review. Download.
Since 2011, UDI has been working with City of Vancouver staff, stakeholders, and local community groups, to provide feedback on the City’s four Community Plans. Overall, our industry has been very satisfied with the progress made by staff, keeping on target with timeframes and delivering on key City priorities while ensuring there has been a robust consultation process. UDI believes that all of the Community Plans need to move forward in a timely and efficient manner.
CityHallWatch comment: UDI is a powerful lobby group of developers, many of which are major political donors to Vision Vancouver. The public should ask if citizens and neighbourhoods are getting fair treatment compared to UDI — in terms of timing and content of information from the City, and listening to input.