We have moved coverage of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy to MetroVanWatch (www.metrovanwatch.ca).
After what we consider to be an unsatisfactory consultation process, the Board of Directors of Metro Vancouver (the Greater Vancouver Regional District) adopted the Regional Growth Strategy, a bylaw intended to control growth in the region to 2040. (The Board intended to adopt the RGS bylaw in January 2011, but final adoption was delayed until July 2011 due to a dispute by Coquitlam.)
Despite the importance of the RGS (the Urban Development Institute said it was the most important document ever produced by the GVRD — Metro Vancouver), public hearings were poorly advertised and poorly attended, and held in only four locations before the RGS legislation was adopted. The administration even tried to block public access to the Directors based on flawed excuses. No public hearing was held in Vancouver. In some municipalities (e.g., Vancouver) we know that some elected members of city council did not receive adequate information from staff or Directors on negotiations leading up to the final text of the RGS. And it appears there was virtually a media blackout, despite our attempts to get the mainstream media to cover the topic in late 2010 and early 2011.
Now local governments have until July 2013 to adopt regional context statements that are required to comply with the RGS. Citizens should be concerned about the trend toward top-down control of land-use planning and decisions — and should scrutinize these processes more carefully. The public should write to newspaper/media owners and editors asking them to report more often about the RGS, and quiz their mayors and councillors to get status updates. The public has a right to know in detail what is going on.
Below is what the RGS could mean for the North Shore mountains in a few decades if the full extent of the bylaw were to be exploited.
This graph shows the population breakdown of Metro Vancouver. Weighted voting of the Board is roughly based on these ratios. For Vancouver, Vision Vancouver decided that only its own members are given all six directors’ positions on the Board, preventing other elected Councillors from access to information and influence.