CityHallWatch celebrates 10 years on October 15. THANK YOU, readers!

On October 15, 2020, CityHallWatch celebrates a decade of serving Vancouver.

Whew, it has been a busy decade, but today, CityHallWatch marks a ten-year milestone with our 3,033rd post. Yes, CityHallWatch just turned ten!

Above all today, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to our readers. And to the people who have shared tips, information and content with us, people who really care about our City today and its future.

Our first post, on October 15, 2010, started our activities off with a case study looking at a proposed rezoning at 1569 West 6th Avenue in Vancouver. Since then we have covered many community plans, meetings, forums, events, City policies, elections, elected officials, controversies, breakthroughs, problems and solutions, protests, and more.

Over the past ten years, with over 3,000 posts, we’ve had nearly a half million visitors and well over a million page views. We’ve covered stories from the perspective of the community, neighbourhood, individual, and taxpayer. Common themes, always with a focus on our own municipal government, have been accountability, pro-transparency and anti-corruption, regulatory capture, the role of big money. We have tried to shine a light on things. We have made an effort to drive web traffic to other grassroots and community based-blogs and writers like Eye on Norquay and Jak’s View, as well as the websites of neighbourhood groups and associations across Vancouver, and indeed the whole Metro Vancouver region through partner site We have tried to see where the dots connect, and to connect them. We’ve tried to deconstruct and understand the processes at City Hall. All of this, from a perspective of being outside the real estate and development industry, and outside of the government. Everything we do has been a volunteer effort — original research, FOI inquiries, getting photos, making illustrations, developing computer models of proposed buildings, etc. Our budget is basically zero.

Some progress has been made in some areas due in part to our efforts and almost always in cooperation with others. We ran a petition to get the Big Money Out of municipal elections, and reforms finally did kick in for the 2018 municipal elections (though still having loopholes). We have seen media, elected officials, and City staff respond to issues and questions we have raised. We hope our content has been helpful for the people of Vancouver.

We lament the loss of many civic reporters and journalists over the years, and even entire newspapers like the Vancouver Courier, and MetroNews / Star, and many local papers around the region. That makes the role of grassroots citizens blogs even more important. Now in 2020 and beyond, the City of Vancouver is engaged in a number of major planning initiatives. It will be important for the public to stay alert and involved, to ensure that community voices are heard and not drowned out by voices backed by big money and influence. There is wisdom in communities.

A city is a living thing, and we are all part of it! The story goes on.

So from CityHallWatch Media Foundation, THANK YOU!

Randy, Steve, Gudrun

More about CityHallWatch here. Continue reading

Hot this week of June 27, 2011 (City Council, UDP, Parks Board)

Here are some of the issues citizens may find of interest and concern this week in Vancouver City Council, Urban Design Panel, and Parks Board this week. We have only excerpted selected topics as a service to the public, and bold font is for extra attention. For full agendas and documents please visit the official websites. Vancouver is at Continue reading

Metro Vancouver dispute resolution process with Coquitlam on Regional Growth Strategy continues June 29, July 5

New dates for meetings #3 and #4 in the non-binding dispute resolution process between Metro Vancouver and Coquitlam have been announced.
June 29 (Wednesday) 1 to 5 pm
July 5 (Tuesday)  12 noon to 5 pm
Both meetings will be at the Metro Vancouver Board Room, 4330 Kingsway, Burnaby. Closest SkyTrain station is Patterson. These meetings are open to the public. We encourage concerned citizens and groups to attend. Detailed coverage of the issues and video of previous meetings are at In essence, the Board of Directors of Metro Vancouver is trying to force Coquitlam and its citizens to accept the RGS, a powerful bylaw that will affect every aspect of land use planning affecting 24 local governments for the next 30 years. Vancouver is the most powerful member of the Board, with six votes, all held by Vision Vancouver. The City of Vancouver  held no public meetings to explain the final text of the RGS for its own citizens. Coquitlam has raised several fundamental reasons to reject the RGS, which should be of concern to all citizens of the region. Metro Vancouver is seeking to force the RGS through with no changes. As an example of  concerns, Vancouver, Surrey, and either Burnaby (or Richmond) could virtually control all future majority votes relating to the RGS, as the three biggest municipalities (in population) have nearly 50% of the votes. This would make it very hard for any of the other municipalities to change any aspect of the RGS, or even to trigger a review of the RGS, for the next thirty years.

Burnaby Council defends its community plans. Why can Vancouver not do this?

CityHallWatch received a tip about an interesting article in the paper. The question that arises is this: Why can Vancouver’s Planning Department and the current City Council not defend current plans and guidelines? Vancouver citizens are getting used to being told in public hearings for major spot rezonings that guidelines are only guidelines, and all must submit to the discretionary powers of the Director of Planning. Summary below, link to full article at bottom.

Safeway’s proposed towers don’t jibe with Burnaby vision (by Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun, 24-June-2011). Summary by CityHallWatch.

  • Canada Safeway is marketing its land using images suggesting seven highrise buildings could be built on its prime 17-hectare Burnaby property. Safeway suggests there is a potential to develop up to 1,500 residential units on the property. The site, bordered by 11th and 14th Avenues, and 15th and 18th Streets, was formerly Safeway’s distribution centre.
  • Burnaby City says it has received many inquiries based on Safeway’s marketing materials.
  • In response, Burnaby council has issued a statement. Excerpt: “To clarify, this Safeway vision is not consistent with the city’s adopted plan for the area, and was not shared with city council or staff prior to its release.”
  • The site is currently zoned industrial and the city’s council-adopted community plan for the Edmonds Town Centre designates it for low-rise multi-family residential redevelopment. Under the community plan, all buildings would be no higher than three or four storeys, says Burnaby’s director of planning and building.

Full article here:

Vancouver Parks Board’s 5-Year Strategy Plan consultations are on NOW

CityHallWatch has received this information and encourages citizens to study the issues and provide input into this important process. Public meetings (June 22, 23, 28, 29) are planned and people may also provide input online. The Park Board’s website says that the “Strategic Plan is a valuable tool that serves as a road map for the delivery of parks and recreation services and programs, helps frame policies, and links the work plans of our many business units.”  More information is here:

Continue reading

Public Hearing is ON for Thursday June 16th, 7:30pm (1650 Quebec, 6311 Cambie, 1090 Nicola)

A number of media reports have wrongly indicated that council meetings for June 16, 2011 have been cancelled in the aftermath of the riots. We have confirmed that the Public Hearing is still scheduled for 7:30pm. The City Clerk’s office has indicated that the Public Hearing cannot be cancelled due to legal requirements. (Regular council meeting meetings during the day have been cancelled, but the Public Hearing is not cancelled.) We have covered this hearing elsewhere on this site.

FYI, this message went to the City this morning. We hear rumors that this important meeting has been furtively rescheduled to start at noon today. Jimmy Pattison is behind the Burrard Gateway, a set of towers that could redefine part of the Vancouver skyline. Search and “gateway” for more information. The project, we believe was one of the main triggers behind the scenes driving the Vancouver Views policy antics back in December and January.

From all the signs we can see, the City is trying to reverse-engineer everything to get this project approved, and over-ride many policies and principles in the process.

The last UDP meeting rejected the application.

Proof: Certain Councillors consistently vote as a bloc, ignore community wishes — “Vancouver Council Votes” database update

CityHallWatch has obtained an announcement from citizen watchdog Vancouver Council Votes (, that its web site data file has just been updated for the votes by Mayor and Councillors in Vancouver City Council so far in 2011. The emphasis of the Council motions selected for analysis is on issues that are critical to the livability of neighbourhoods and the opinions expressed by neighbourhoods and communities. See also an article on this topic here (Bloc Vancouver: Join a Party and Stop Listening, Mostly (

The summary table indicates that…

  1. Vision Vancouver has voted as a bloc in these selected 39 votes. On one occasion each, four Vision councillors have gone against the bloc: George Chow, Raymond Louie, Geoff Meggs, Andrea Reimer.
    CityHallWatch comment: Citizens elected them as individuals. Is it a disservice to the public and to democracy that they vote as a bloc. What do you think?
  2. The numbers or percentages of speakers/writers opposed to an issue have no effect whatsoever on Vision’s bloc voting.
  3. COPE voting is much more consistent with NPA than with Vision (their supposed left-of-center ally, the ally with whom they strike candidate deals). According to the “Vancouver Council Votes” announcement, COPE/NPA reasons for the voting may differ greatly.

Each numbered link on the website leads to a separate issue summary where your comment can be registered. Suggestions for additions to the website owner (other votes, relevant links, etc.) are welcome.

Newly added to the database are:

39 – 1245 Harwood / Tulip Tree | 31 May
38 – Marpole Safeway | 17 May
37 – Cambie Corridor | 9 May
36 – Structures for Political Expression | 19 April
35 – Height Review / Chinatown | 19 April
34 – Northeast False Creek / Casino | 19 April
33 – Regional Growth Strategy | 3 Mar
32 – Views / Higher Buildings | 1 Feb

Metro Vancouver vs Coquitlam: Critical meetings June 14 & 16 on Regional Growth Strategy

MetroVanWatch has learned that what may be the most important meetings in the entire region this year will begin this week. Metro Vancouver begins non-binding arbitration for dispute resolution with Coquitlam on serious concerns about the Regional Growth Strategy. MetroVanWatch provides detailed coverage the issues.The RGS is the most important document ever produced by Metro Vancouver (the GVRD), has a time frame of 30 years, and will affect every aspect of land-use decisions in our region. We will try to report as the process proceeds. (Vision Vancouver rejected requests to hold a meeting for the public before Vancouver voted to accept the RGS on March 3.)

Initial meetings (both open to the public) for Metro Vancouver vs Coquitlam dispute resolution process on the Regional Growth Strategy:
June 14, 2011 (Tuesday), 1 to 5 pm, at Coquitlam Council Chambers, 3000 Guildford Way, Coquitlam. Here, Coquitlam will present its case. Very important meeting.
June 16, 2011 (Thursday), 1 to 5 pm, at Metro Vancouver Board Room, 4330 Kingsway, Burnaby

Arbutus Ridge group says ‘Respect Neighbourhood Plans, “No” to Spot Rezonings” (6,958 signature petition)

[Update 4 pm, 11-June-2011: Council meeting June 14 lasted only 20 minutes, adn this agenda item was adopted as part of a “consent motion” (not one councillor was opposed) so it goes to public hearing, probably July 12.] CityHallWatch has obtained the following media release from the Arbutus Ridge Concerned Citizens’ Association. Download ARCCA Press Release June 2011. ARCCA delivered 6958 signatures on a petition against the proposed Arbutus Village Shopping Centre rezoning was presented to Council (June 10). The 2 pm, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Council Meeting accepted by consent motion the City staff’s  policy report on the Rezoning for Arbutus Shopping Centre. As Council has accepted the Planning Department’s recommendation, the issue goes to a Public Hearing, probably on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Continue reading

Hot issues in Council and UDP (week of June 13, 2011)

[Updated 11 am, June 10] Here are some selected items coming up in Council, of concern to citizens, particularly relating to land use decisions, access to City Hall, and finances. List to be updated. See bottom for an important Urban Design Panel meeting too. We welcome tips and comments to

Regular Council, 2 pm, Tuesday, June 14,2011 Continue reading