Heads up! Vancouver Plan goes to City Council for approval on July 6, 2022 with implications for everyone for generations ahead

Above: Vancouver Plan, main map and legend

Yet another major decision slated for the next several days as Vancouver’s planning department and City Council try to complete business before the summer hiatus in August and then the election season leading up to October 15, 2022.

The Vancouver Plan is a significant document, with the potential to become designated as the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP). What makes this upcoming decision so significant and risky at this point in time, is that BC’s housing minister David Eby, who could be vying to replace John Horgan as premier, has repeatedly threatened to have the province to impose development decisions on municipalities. In Vancouver, conceivably, anything that is consistent with the OCP could move forward without a Public Hearing or proper public oversight. Basically, straight from the developer to approval, short-circuiting meaningful neighbourhood and public input.

Council agenda (Wednesday, July 6, starting 9:30 am) including instructions on how to write or speak to Council, and how to observe online: https://council.vancouver.ca/20220706/cfsc20220706ag.htm

The report itself is 230 pages (warning, huge file at 227 MB): https://council.vancouver.ca/20220706/documents/cfsc1.pdf

Official website about the Vancouver Plan: https://vancouverplan.ca/about/

This is a significant document, and we firmly believe that the vast majority of Vancouver residents, including homeowners, renters and businesses alike, have little or no idea what’s really being proposed, nor the vast implications. We encourage neighbourhood groups and associations to organize quickly to review and analyze the content, discuss and be prepared to write or speak to Council with their comments and concerns. Once the decision is made to approve or reject, and dust settles in the coming weeks, individual votes by mayor and Council on the Vancouver Plan are likely to have an impact on their prospects for reelection in the October 15 election.

The Vancouver Plan is proposing new development building typologies throughout the city that are not grounded in neighbourhood-based planning principles and do not respond to local context.

The Vancouver Plan will effectively impact housing and development all across the city. This version is going to Council for approval with only a week’s public notice, with the expectation that it gets approved during a day-time Council meeting. Some initial observations… the Vancouver Plan:

  • Significantly increases higher density development across the city
  • Creates new regional designations for Major Transit Growth Corridors along existing bus routes, with huge implications for several blocks on either side
  • Expands transit development corridors and areas
  • Targets development growth near neighbourhood centres, up to heights of 12 storeys on side streets
  • Proposed 12 -18 storey towers close to stations, with high towers of 25+ storeys on stations and on major projects
  • Would allow multiplexes throughout RS and RT zones (this basically covers the rest of the city)
  • Contains little to no reference to neighbourhood character or heritage buildings
  • Incorporates other major plans such as Broadway Plan, Jericho Lands, etc.
  • Overrides existing community plans and visions
  • Promotes massive growth and housing targets that are not based on evidence or transparent data

We will provide further analysis/commentary as time permits in the coming days. We encourage people to have a good look at how the local civic reporters and media cover this story. They have an obligation to provide factual, timely, balanced information and analysis to the public. Will they? In a sense, this is a test.

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