Deadline midnight TONIGHT for online survey on draft West End Plan

Talk Vancouver West End Plan coverThe deadline for the online survey on the draft West End Plan is midnight tonight (Wed, Nov 13). WEN encourages citizens to complete the survey today, write to City Council soon, and speak to Council on November 20. We hope that as many citizens as possible can go on record with their thoughts. The West End is part of Vancouver, and what City Hall does here affects everyone somehow — living for residents, experiences of guests and visitors, and finances and infrastructure of the City.

We invite citizens to join West End Neighbours with a strong message to Mayor and Council: PLEASE DO NOT APPROVE THE DRAFT WEST END PLAN. Instead, give the community more time and a new, improved process to address many gaps and concerns about content and process. 

 ABOUT THE TALK VANCOUVER SURVEY — AND BACKGROUND FOR YOUR COMMUNICATIONS WITH COUNCIL

 If you do the survey or speak or write to Council, here are some points for consideration that may be of concern:

  • Potential for citywide or regional policies to override what is written in the Plan.
  • Lack of adequate time for the public to review the 30-year plan (parts were available earlier, but the complete 200-page package was just released Nov 6, for Council decision Nov 20)
  • Major gaps remaining in information, lack of specificity on heights and densities in some areas, too much use of general phrases.
  • Need for more time for larger segment of the community to be properly engaged and influence the Plan
  • Addition of significant population and density to an already dense area
  • Proposal for conversion of Davie Street to an entertainment zone
  • Removal of residential as a permitted use from all shopping streets
  • Lack of density guidance for Burrard corridor
  • “Filling in” of Lower Davie street with podium-and-tower developments (example recently constructed at Davie and Bidwell) mixed-use developments at up to 7.0 FSR from Broughton to Denman
  • Removal of block face tower separation guideline for Lower Davie Street
  • Pre-zoning of Lower Davie Street to permit additional density without CAC or Public Hearing
  • High density development (up to 8.75 FSR on Robson Street from Jervis to Denman)
  • Excessive height (six storeys) of some proposed laneway infill construction

The West End is one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in Vancouver and has a population of over 45,000 people. It is in the final days before City Hall’s planned adoption of the draft West End Plan. This story goes back to 2009 when we started collecting over 13,000 signatures on our petition “No Rezoning Without A Comprehensive Plan” (based on meaningful consultation). In the meantime, controversial rezonings still continued, and a community plan process began, but we do NOT feel the community had meaningful consultation. The final complete package of the draft West End Plan and related zoning documents was made public only a few days ago, on November 6. It is set to go before Council and be adopted on November 20. 

 While there are some good things in the draft West End Plan, the 200 pages of material in the total package are voluminous, complex, and filled with jargon. The short time frame before it goes to Council makes it impossible to have a complete review. Our best analysis to date is that it gives excessive height (20, 30, up to 70 stories or more in places) and density in some areas, is too vague on many important points, and still has large gaps in information.  Despite attempts to portray the process as extensive consultation, the quality of information provided was very limited, and timing very unfair for the community.

The City’s official website for the West End Plan is www.vancouver.ca/westendplan. Soon, the WEN website will provide a list of pages of problems with the draft Plan. We welcome you to review them.

We are also concerned that the community will quickly lose any power for public input into decision-making. Other neighbourhood should watch this carefully, as this could happen to you too. Once adopted by Council, the Plan would become official. Council would then be able to use it as the basis for one single public hearing in Jan/Feb 2014 at which Council would rezone entire sections of the West End. As many have experienced, major Public Hearings often end in disappointment for neighbourhoods. The mass rezoning would create enormous increases in land values of rezoned areas in one fell swoop. So some stakeholders will be happy. But after that, development applications in those areas would only have to be approved by Director of Planning or the three-person Development Permit Board, virtually completely removed from the public eye.

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Below is a copy of the Talk Vancouver questions. We encourage you to prepare your thoughts, and also, to keep a record of your responses for future reference.

TALK VANCOUVER WEST END SURVEY NOVEMBER 2013

https://www.talkvancouver.com/westend

1. Do you feel that the Draft West End Community Plan meets the needs of your community today and into the future?

Please select one response only.

  •  Yes
  • Yes, except
  • No, because
  • Don’t know

2. What elements of the plan are you excited about? What are you looking forward to seeing happen on the ground?

Please be as specific as possible.

3. What concern(s) do you have and why? How would you address your concern(s) through the plan?

Please select one response only.

  • I have no concerns
  • Like the plan except concerned about
  • Don’t like the plan and concerned about
  • Don’t know

4. Do you have any additional comments about the West End Community Draft plan?

Please be as specific as possible.

 5. Please tell us a little more about yourself

[NOTE – YOU CAN SKIP THIS QUESTION IF YOU WISH — SCREEN WILL JUST MOVE TO THE NEXT.]

It’s extremely important to us that we hear from a diversity of people. The following questions help us to determine how the feedback we receive represents the community. Individual responses are treated as anonymous and demographic information is always kept separate from personal identifiers.

Which of the following describes you? I…

Please select all that apply.

  •  Am a renter in the West End
  • Am a home-owner in the West End
  • Am a co-op resident in the West End
  • Am staying with friends in the West End
  • Work in the West End
  • Own a business in the West End
  • Go to school in the West End
  • I don’t live, work or go to school here
  • Other (please specify)

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[NOTE – YOU CAN SKIP THIS QUESTION IF YOU WISH — SCREEN WILL JUST MOVE TO THE NEXT.]

  • What is your postal code?
  • Please be as specific as possible.
  • Do you primarily identify as….?
  • Please select one response only.
  • Which age group do you belong to?
  • Please select one response only.
  •  What language(s) do you speak most often at home?

Please select all that apply.

  •  English
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Farsi
  • Italian
  • Punjabi
  • Tagalog
  • Spanish
  • Other (please specify)

I consider my ethnic cultural origin to be…

Please be as specific as possible.

Do you have children under the age of 19 at home?

Please select one response only.

Which of the following categories best describes your total household income? That is, the total income of all persons in your household combined, before taxes?

Please select one response only.

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 We hope you enjoyed filling out this Talk Vancouver questionnaire!

This questionnaire is available online until November 13th, so please pass on this link – http://www.talkvancouver.com/westend to friends and colleagues so they can also share their thoughts.

For more information about the West End community plan, please visit vancouver.ca/westend .

 Would you be interested in receiving Talk Vancouver questionnaires in the future?

Please select one response only.

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 Thank you for taking part in today’s questionnaire!

 The Talk Vancouver Team

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