Intro: We have received a copy of this letter from the West Point Grey Residents Association to Vancouver City Council regarding the Jericho Lands Planning Program. A report on this matter goes before City Council on June 23, 2021 (see agenda here, see staff report on the topic here). We copy the letter here, with permission.
June 22, 2021
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Jericho Lands Planning Program – Process Update and Consideration of Draft Guiding Principles and Emerging Ideas to Guide Site Planning
West Point Grey Residents Association (WPGRA) only became aware of this report when it was posted on the public meeting agenda. This is far too rushed. We did not have an opportunity for meaningful input into the final documents attached as Appendix B, Jericho Lands Policy Planning Program.
While some community comments have been incorporated, we have some concerns and recommended revisions.
Jericho Lands is not a new neighbourhood – Jericho Lands are an integral part of the West Point Grey neighbourhood. It is not a new neighbourhood, but in fact part of an established neighbourhood, and that context should frame the planning of Jericho Lands.
The Jericho Lands will increase the population of the neighbourhood considerably and an essential part of associated planning should be to ensure that new development is accommodated in such a way that it is integrated with and supports the broader neighbourhood in a healthy and respectful way. New residents will require access to neighbourhood public schools, both elementary and secondary, as well as expanded parks, community centre, library and recreational capacity that complements and supports existing resources. Care must also be taken to ensure that existing shopping districts are not undermined by new commercial development at Jericho.
West Point Grey Community Vision – was approved by Council in 2010 for 30 years.
Although the Jericho Lands were excluded from the visioning process –despite concerns raised by the WPG Community Liaison Group –the resulting WPG Vision includes clear direction for appropriate consultation in the event that redevelopment of the Jericho Lands is proposed.
In particular, the WPG Community Vision Direction 26.2 states:
“…Consistent with the approach taken to create the WPG Community Vision, workshops and other consultations –including a survey of WPG residents–should be held to help determine the neighbourhood’s view on issues related to the development of the Jericho Lands not covered in the WPG Community Vision. There should be early feedback to City Council on the interests and concerns of the WPG community before any key decisions are made…”
Community Survey – However, despite efforts by the West Point Grey Residents Association (WPGRA) to advance the foregoing direction since 2014, the City has given no indication that it was willing to undertake such a survey.
Consequently, the WPGRA was compelled to undertake its own Jericho Lands survey in 2016, roughly consistent with the WPG Choices Survey upon which the WPG Vision was previously established. A four page survey booklet (see Appendix 1 in the link below) was distributed by hand and mail to every residential property in WPG and east to Blenheim St. in Kitsilano. The survey form was also available for download at wpgra.ca. Completed surveys were collected over a three month period in 2016. The results were compiled into a report in 2019 and submitted to the Jericho Lands planning process through the city’s Jericho Lands Working Group.
The survey background and results can be found here:
The results showed clear support for a mix of housing types, predominately ground oriented, with some typical of the Arbutus Walk development at 12th Ave. of up to about 6 storeys. While there was a small amount of support for a few buildings of 7 to 10 storeys, there was no support for tall towers.
City of Vancouver’s Survey:
And, significantly, we note that foregoing views are generally consistent with following results of the city’s own results, based on broader community consultation and surveys.
In particular, the City’s report states: “Many in the community cited an interest in ensuring redevelopment “fits” with the established neighbourhood context.” While there is concern from residents regarding housing affordability and a diversity of housing forms on the Jericho Lands, it is clear that the community would like to see this done onsite predominately through a variety of ground oriented forms.
There was very high support for view protection: Respondents to the WPGRA survey were in strong support of protecting access to sunlight and public views across the site, as well as from WPG-Trimble Park, Queen Mary Elementary School, W. 8th, Highbury St. and W. 4th. But, notably, the proposed planning program suggests only framing the views, rather than protecting the views.
Finally, any future planning for transit should also consider how best to serve the broader West Point Grey neighbourhood by emphasizing the central commercial district on W 10th Avenue, rather than the Jericho Lands.
We continue to advocate for ground-oriented affordable transit and housing options as preferred by the community, rather than a subway and tower model that encourages a form and scale of development that is inconsistent with the established community and foregoing public views.
In general, planning outcomes should reflect community feedback through meaningful consultation. We are encouraged that foregoing public feedback received through WPGRA and City surveys is consistent and clear.
However, we are concerned that the Jericho Lands Planning Program, as proposed in the subject report, does not adequately reflect the community feedback on a few key points:
- The Jericho Lands is part of the neighbourhood of West Point Grey, and not a new neighbourhood unto itself, and so needs to be planned in that context.
- Strong public support for view protection across the site should be respected and reflected into planning, and should not amount to framing limited views with unsupported towers.
- Healthy planning should be a collaborative process wherein community input is reflected in the outcomes of the Jericho Lands Planning Program.
Please amend the Jericho Lands Planning Program to reflect the issues above.
West Point Grey Residents Association Board of Directors