Citizens plan rally to say “The City Isn’t Listening”: June 26 (Sun) 11 am, Kits Beach

City HallCitizens are planning this event. It originated in Concerned Kitsilano Residents, but appears to be an effort to gauge and express citywide concern that Vancouver City Hall is not listening to people — a lack of meaningful and sincere consultation, and decisions apparently been made even before the public hears about the plan. Perhaps they are looking at the systemic problems going on in Vancouver’s municipal government.

CITY isn’t LISTENING
RALLY — SUNDAY JUNE 26, 2016
11 am
Kits Beach @ foot of Yew & Cornwall

 

Bruce Allen in his “Reality Check” spot on CKNW appears to be supporting the event and said it could be the most important rally in decades.

http://omnyapp.com/shows/reality-check-with-bruce-allen/reality-check-the-city-isnt-listening

Gordon Clark, The Province‘s editorial pages editor and columnist, has also covered the rally plans (text below).

Below is material from their promo poster.

ARE YOU FED UP WITH CITY HALL’S WASTEFUL INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES AND THEIR DONE DEALS?
Vision is governing by stealth, and they do NOT want you to know about their plans or how much it costs until it is a DONE DEAL

Did you know?
$6.4 million will be wasted on Point Grey Road to widen sidewalks and to cut down mature trees. The millions should be redirected to communities in need, not to one of the richest postal codes in the country.

Did you know?
Consultation is a sham….As a result of confusing infrastructure changes in our city, accidents have increased, arterial routes degraded, and congestion and pollution have increased.

Did you know?
$3.5 million will be spent on the Burrard Bridge for suicide fencing, forever ruining the appearance of this rare Art Deco Bridge, WHEN FUNDS COULD BE USED FOR MUCH NEEDED MENTAL HEALTH.

Did you know?
The Canadian Armed Forces WERE NOT CONSULTED about the upgraded Beatty Street bike lane (in front of BC Regiment Drill Hall) and call it a “recipe for disaster”. Consider Neighbourhood Referendums not dictatorship.

Did you know?
84% of Commercial Drive business owners do not support the new bike lane on Commercial Drive. WHERE IS THE CONSULTATION?

TAKE ACTION!
Defend your neighbourhood and support a return to CONSULTATION. The city is for everyone: pedestrians, bikers, and drivers. Join us on Sunday June 26th.

***************

Editorial by Gordon Clark in The Province, June 23, 2016. Bolding by CityHallWatch.

The Province Newspaper – 

Gordon Clark: Groundswell of opposition rises against city hall   June 23, 2016. 9:42 am • Section: Opinion

Many people hearing the complaints of Point Grey Road residents concerning Vision Vancouver’s decision to spend another $6.4 million on their “legacy” bike route — this time to widen a sidewalk, which includes axing dozens of trees — are apt to roll their eyes.

Wealthy people with what some consider first-world problems usually don’t elicit much sympathy, especially in B.C. with its rich history in some quarters of disdain for people who’ve done well in life.

But there is more going on in this dispute than a battle over bushes. It’s part of a semi-organized groundswell of opposition across the city by residents who continue to be upset about the lack of real consultation by city hall under Mayor Gregor Robertson when it comes to projects that affect them.

The Point Grey Road people aren’t alone and I don’t think anyone, least of all Vision politicians, should dismiss it as simple NIMBYism.

West End residents, for instance, are waking up to what Vision’s plan to add 10,000 more people to the city’s already densest neighbourhood actually means — hundreds of people being tossed from their homes so new towers can be built by the mayor’s financial supporters in the development community.

Shaughnessy residents are currently in B.C. Supreme Court fighting council’s decision to place a blanket heritage designation on their neighbourhood with little consideration for whether every one of the 300-plus homes is really worth preserving. The residents say the move has wiped out billions of dollars in equity by making their properties less attractive to buyers.

Then there is the overwhelming majority of Commercial Drive merchants who fear that the city’s plan to put a bike lane down their street will harm business. That’s on top of those in the same neighbourhood upset with the Boffo Properties tower at Commercial and Venables.

In Grandview-Woodland, many residents are worried about the city’s soon-to-be-released plan for their neighbourhood, specifically increased density and its impact on existing residents.

Hell, even the army is mad at Vision for its planned upgrades to the bike lane in front of the Beatty Street Drill Hall. Hon. Col. Ted Hawthorne with the B.C. Regiment told CBC earlier this month that the Armed Forces weren’t consulted about the plan, which he called unsafe and a “recipe for disaster.”

And those examples don’t include the constant imposition of new, usually unnecessary bike lanes and related intersection closures designed to make driving as miserable as possible that irritate folks all over our maddening metropolis.

Nina Cassils, a Point Grey Road resident and one of the organizers of an 11 a.m. protest Sunday at Kits Beach, said what bothers many people isn’t what Vision actually does, it’s the “condescending attitude” they display to citizens who disagree with them and the lack of real consultation with affected neighbours.

For instance, with the latest Point Grey Road project, Cassils said, city hall claims to have “consulted” 18,000 people, but residents affected by the project weren’t told.

They say they are consulting, but they are not,” she said. “They’ve already made up their mind before the open houses.”

Cassils also accused Vision politicians of being bullying, “awful, awful people” at meetings. “They are elected officials and they shouldn’t behave like that,” she said.

Alan Jones, a West End resident who works in the tech sector who is volunteering with the Point Grey protesters, noted that Robertson apologized before the last city election for not consulting citizens. Once re-elected, though, he said the mayor has “doubled down his efforts to be less transparent.”

Jones said he hopes many citizens from across the city will attend Sunday’s rally so Vision will take notice.

“I hope it awakens the giant, the citizens of Vancouver who believe that the city is not working for us.

“It used to be a beautiful city, but Gregor and his group have single-handedly ruined it.”

To be fair, Vision has been re-elected twice running on a “green agenda” that includes a plan to densify the city. You can disagree with that, but no one can be surprised. If voters don’t like it, don’t vote for Vision.

But a mandate doesn’t eliminate the need for governments — especially local governments — to seek and seriously consider citizen input in specific plans, including compromising at times so some citizens don’t feel like they’re losing. City politics shouldn’t be such a blood sport.

If Vancouver is going be run between elections as a dictatorship beholding to wealthy interests and against the wishes of citizens, we don’t have a first-world problem. It sounds more like a third-world problem.

Gordon Clark is the The Province editorial pages editor and a columnist. He can be reached at gclark@postmedia.com. Letters to the editor can be sent to provletters@theprovince.com.

 

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