Three former City Councillors write current Mayor and Council on hiring a chief planner

city-council-2014-large(Vancouver is currently without a chief planner. Former City Councillors May BrownMarguerite Ford, and Darlene Marzari have sent the following message on that topic to Vancouver’s current Mayor and City Council. Copied below with the authors’ kind permission.)

Sent Jan 22nd, 2016

To Mayor and Council,

There seems to be a growing concern about City Council’s quest to hire a new Planner. As former city councillors, still in touch with a cross section of our community, we would add our voices to a gathering consensus that a new City Plan might help us to manage and set targets for growth, regulate where it occurs as well as retain affordable housing.

Our years of experience in working with neighborhood and downtown core planning gave us a liveable city. It was never easy, but the discussion included everyone and public hearings were taken seriously as part of a social contract with communities. Similarly, zoning bylaws gave citizens and developers alike a level playing field where each knew what to expect. The recent spate of spot zonings that now dot the city, fuelled by money from zoning “uplifts”, and the resultant tower mentality have undermined trust in the land use process, threatened neighborhoods and favored large developments over smaller more liveable projects. The last CityPlan was developed in 1994. It has been a template for what has come to be lauded as “Vancouverism” even though it never included a city wide land use map (a feature common to all official community plans produced by the other 20 member communities of the Vancouver Metro planning area). This deficiency can and should be redressed now, in the context of an updated and more explicit CityPlan.

The Green Plan for Vancouver is admirable in its intent, but it cannot replace the city’s major contract with its citizens: an explicit zoning bylaw, including a zoning map that would be the embodiment of our collective future hopes for our city rather than a record of all our spot zone exceptions. A new plan, developed inclusively and operated transparently, is achieveable. We do hope that the new City Planner will be hired with this in mind!

Sincerely, Former City Councillors
May Brown
Marguerite Ford
Darlene Marzari


3 thoughts on “Three former City Councillors write current Mayor and Council on hiring a chief planner

  1. Ah, the 3 councillors who want their Point Grey area kept as it is and have fought re-densification =newcomers of lesser status to their neighbourhoods.

  2. Both Marguerite Ford and Darlene Marzari were sitting aldermen when they supported Vancouver City Council’s behind closed doors deal to sell off 4.15 acres ( 30% ) of our Inner-City park, China Creek Park North.
    Once completed the monies from the sale were siphoned off to other parts of the city and not 1 dollar was re-invested back into our Inner-City Neighbourhood to replace the lost parkland, demolished amenities or even address long-standing area resident needs at what remains of China Creek Park North but their alchemist skills did manage to turn scarce Inner-City greenspace into 2 blocks of concrete and asphalt.
    No other nbhd in Vancouver has been forced to endure this level of insult from it’s elected officials.
    Rather than name all the other players I suggest readers take a look at who was on Vancouver City Council and the Park Board from 1978-1980, very revealing.
    Suffice it to say, screwing over our Inner-City Nbhd was just a stepping stone.

  3. I would hope that Marzari, Ford and Brown, as former city councillors, would know the difference between an OCP map and a zoning map. They wrote that they hoped that a new OCP would include “a zoning map that would be the embodiment of our collective future hopes for our city rather than a record of all our spot zone exceptions”. A zoning map is not “a map that would be the embodiment of our collective future hopes for our city” but a map of CURRENTLY permitted land use designations and densities/

    As far as spot zonings are concerned, there is nothing wrong with that method of land use planning, particularly considering that any zoning change in Vancouver involves a public process that takes two years or more. This allows plenty of opportunity for public input. Ultimately, zoning decisions are made by Council, presumably based on their opinion of what is in the best public interest.

    It is true that not everyone is happy with the decisions, but that does not make the zoning decisions wrong. If such a process did not exist, Vancouver were surely metasticise.

    By the way, not all municipalities in Metro Vancouver have OCP maps of generalized future land use. Burnaby does not have one. Here is a link to their OCP:

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