Vancouver City Planning Commission urged City Council to extend West End planning process – request denied

VCPC logo 2013 websiteOn September 27, 2013, City Council debated a motion (see “Community Plans: Next Steps”) about extending four concurrent community planning processes, including the process in the West End. Three community plans got extensions, and one (Grandview-Woodland) even got an extra $250,000 budget, a “Citizens’ Assembly” and an open-ended extension. Council decided, however, that the West End process should continue with no change to the schedule.

It has just now come to our attention that the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC), a citizens’ advisory group, had written to City Council (download PDF) on Sept. 25, 2013, calling for an extension for the West End planning process. WEN appreciates the efforts of the VCPC to get this extension, though Council decided not to do so. To our knowledge, this letter was not mentioned in Council’s consideration of the plan process extension. We bring up the letter now, for the record, as it contains some important comments, plus a reminder of the planning processes’ terms of reference – including need to provide “clear direction” for neighbourhoods (like height and density provisions in all areas. Here are some important excerpts.

ABOUT THE EXTENSION REQUESTED:

We are speaking today to encourage Council to agree to extensions for community planning in Grandview Woodland, Marpole and the West End, as needed, in order to support the City’s desire for a collaborative process for developing community y plan direct ions in all three communities.

…. The Commission believes that the timelines of the Grandview-Woodland, Marpole and West End Community planning programs should be extended as needed so that staff and communities can further discuss, debate, and select preferred options for the emerging directions that will be included within the community Plans. The successful conclusion of these community planning programs now underway is very important for future city-wide plan initiatives.

ABOUT CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS, IN THE TERMS OF REFERENCE:

The Commission has also reviewed the new approaches that were set out in 2011 to “enhance and diversify” engagement. These approaches became the basis for a set of 
principles to guide outreach and engagement, as outlined in the general terms of 
reference. For each community plan, the terms of reference included the same nine 
criteria for success:

  1. fulfill the core principles outlined inn the Terms of Reference; 
  2. be achieved through broad collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders; 
  3. be completed within the allocated timeframe and resources; 
  4. provide a clear sense of direction for the future of the Local Area; 
  5. bee practical and easily implemented; 
  6. have general community buy-in; 
  7. help to make the community a better place to live, work and play; 
  8. have the commitment of the City (and, where appropriate) its partners to tracking its long-term effectiveness; and 
  9. provide a framework for positive change in the well-being of [neighbourhood]

CONCLUSION, REGARDING “LEAD TIME” ON REPORTS:

In closing, we recall Council’s motion of March 28, 2012, to “make all reports coming to
Council regarding these three community plans available to respective communities for at least two weeks prior to the Council meeting at which the report is to be heard,” and hope that future reports will be released according to that Council motion to allow time for review.

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More information:

The Vancouver City Planning Commission website contains a wealth of other information.

Under its mandate, the Commission is looked to for comment on City issues on Council’s current or upcoming agendas. Planning staff often meet with the Commission to seek feedback on policy and planning directions. On some topics, the Commission undertakes a deeper study of a topic leading to a written comment to Council. The comment may be presented during the Council meeting on the matter, or submitted as a memo to Councilhttp://www.vancouverplanning.ca/comment

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