The following letter went out to Vancouver Mayor and Council today.
January 16, 2019
Re: Request for a five-year review and report on the West End Community Plan (WECP)
Dear Mayor and Council, City of Vancouver:
We write to introduce West End Neighbours and to request a five-year review and report on the West End Community Plan (WECP). We believe such a report will be of value to West End residents. It could also be valuable information for the entire city now that Vancouver has initiated a citywide planning process.
In 2009, West End Neighbours launched the “No Rezoning Without a Comprehensive Plan” petition and garnered over 13,000 signatures. We held many public meetings and events on community issues, and these activities factored into City Council’s decision to eventually start the West End Community Plan process in 2012. Our website (www.WestEndNeighbours.ca) provides an extensive archive of our correspondence, reports, issues and activities. We are a member of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN). Please also refer to the Appendix to this letter for additional background on some of the issues in the community.
Five years have passed since Council’s adoption of the WECP (November 20, 2013), so we think it is appropriate now to undertake a review of the results of the WECP to date, and to look ahead to the future. The community has been subject to a great deal of change over the last five years, and quite a lot more is still expected. Residents deserve a review of how the community plan has been working, and the outcomes to date.
In fact, the City’s planning department must already have much of this information. The criteria for “definition of success” (WECP original Terms of Reference) include these two points: “Have the commitment of the City (and, where appropriate) its partners to tracking its [WECP’s] long-term effectiveness” (Item 8); and “Provide a framework for positive change in the well-being of the West End” (Item 9). Presumably, City staff are already tracking the plan’s effectiveness and have criteria and means of verifying positive change, the results of which should be shared in the community.
As a start, topics for documentation could include:
- How many projects and units have been approved since the adoption of the WECP?
- How many projects and units are under application but not yet approved?
- What Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) have been secured to date?
- Where are CAC’s being allocated and how do they benefit life in the West End?
- How much social housing and rental housing has been created?
- How many existing rental units have been demolished or are proposed to be demolished?
- How much density from the Heritage Density Bank has been absorbed in the West End?
- Did approved projects, including laneway infill projects, comply with guidelines in the WECP and have they achieved outcomes that were suggested in the plan?
- What is the City doing to reduce construction impacts and protect the quality of life of existing residents during construction?
- Who can residents speak with regarding negative impacts of construction work, and what are the statistics on reports or complaints?
Conclusions reached from examining these types of questions can inform whether adjustments to guidelines or zoning are appropriate to ensure plan objectives are being met, and could help to inform policy development on the overall citywide plan. Continue reading