The City of Vancouver proudly declares its commitment to public engagement. On the list below, the first of seven stated values is “We believe that people who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.”
We put this information up here as a reference point and to hold Vancouver City Council and public employees accountable as the City enters an intensive series of public hearings during the summer of 2018. People may wish to bring up IAP2 when communicating with the current City Council.
Is the City violating its own declared values, for example, by numerous impending “stealthy” rezonings under “Making Room” policies. One example is in the RS-1 (one-family + secondary suite) zones that reportedly cover 70% of the city. Significant changes are going quickly to the final with a Public Hearing, though most residents in those zones don’t have the slightest idea it’s about to happen. A second example among several is in our recent post “Heads up from West Kitsilano Residents Association on impending ‘stealthy changes’ in RT-7 & RT-8 [two- and multi-family] zones.” How things have changed. We point out that in the 1990s, changes in RT-7 and RT-8 zoning were only adopted after extensive public consultation, and a mail-in referendum for 100% of residents.
Now in 2018, we believe that only a minute percentage of the affected residents have any idea what Council is setting out to do within a matter of weeks while many people are out on summer vacation. There has been virtually no notification to them. The City seems to be doing its utmost to keep the public notification to the absolute statutory minimum without breaking the law. More will come on “Making Room” in separate posts.
Below is an excerpt from the City of Vancouver website on “How we do community engagement” (https://vancouver.ca/your-government/how-we-do-community-engagement.aspx).
Nurturing community engagement (also called public engagement, public participation, or public involvement) is a fundamental civic goal.
We’re working to create an engaged city that brings you and other people together to: Address issues of common importance, Solve shared problems, Create positive social change.
Our core values for public participation
We apply the following values from the IAP2 when we design public engagement processes. [See International Association for Public Participation.]
If you participate in one of our public engagement processes, hold it accountable to these values.
- We believe that people who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
- We promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
- We promote sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision-makers.
- We seek out and facilitate the involvement of people potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
- We seek input from participants in designing how they participate.
- We provide participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
- We communicate to participants how their input affected the decision.
City of Vancouver staff have served on the board of the International Association for Public Participationand proudly declares its commitment to the IAP2 values. They are a standard to hold our municipal government to account.