[Update as of 7-Dec-2018] On November 20, 2013, the West End Community Plan was adopted, setting off a land rush and scores of development projects. Thus, November 20, 2018 marks five years of implementation of the plan, so it’s time for a review of how things have gone and it’s a chance to look forward to the next five years.
Here is our web post to mark the 5th anniversary: “November 20 marks FIFTH anniversary of the West End Community Plan: How has it been for you?” https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/fifth-anniversary-wecp/
For the City’s official information on the West End Plan, including the actual document adopted in November 2013, please click here: www.vancouver.ca/westendplan
The West End Community Plan (draft) went before City Council on November 20, 2013. Council adopted the plan after 10 pm that night. The subsequent zoning amendments to comply with the directions set forth by the WECP went to a Public Hearing on January 23, 2014 (click for documents, minutes, video). Council voted that same day — eight votes in favour (Vision Vancouver), three against (NPA, Greens).
WEN’s November 19, 2013, submission to City Council for that Public Hearing starts by saying, “West End Neighbours opposes the Council adoption of the draft West End Community Plan as currently written. We have many serious concerns about both the content and process… We ask Council not to adopt the Plan, but rather extend and improve the process to help achieve a successful planning outcome supported by a broader spectrum of the community. Our reasons for this include: The West End Community Plan was not the product of a meaningful public engagement exercise…”
The Council decision ignored many citizens’ views. See City Council gets 90%+ opposed to zoning amendments: “West End Speaks” survey of 367 residents submitted to City Council for Public Hearing Jan 23.
Here is WEN’s written submission to the Public Hearing: WEN letter to Council, on West End zoning amendments, Public Hearing, January 23, 2014, asking Council to reject the zoning amendments. Excerpt: “The Plan and the zoning changes proposed are imposing what the vast majority of residents did NOT want. Most residents surveyed by the City indicated they did not want new buildings exceeding 11 storeys in height.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson, chairing the meeting, refused to let the representative for WEN speak to Council, citing his interpretation of an obscure provision in the City’s Procedural Bylaw, which was amended with no public consultation in 2012.
Text below is here for archival purposes, with info on consultation for the WECP leading up to 2013.
West End Neighbours was established in 2010 and has been involved in development and livability issues in our community since then. Our website carries a wealth of information about the saga. We have made many web posts in October and November 2013 as the process moves quickly to its completion. The draft plan has many good points, but many questions and concerns remain, so public involvement is very important right now.
This particular web page carries older information, but if you would like the latest, please go back to our top page and review the most recent posts — for the most up-to-date information, resources, and analysis.
Most important now is that the City released the final package of Community Plan materials on November 6, 2013. An online survey is open until midnight on November 13. If you provide comments before that time, they are to be included in the staff report to City Council, likely on November 20.
Official City web page – www.vancouver.ca/westendplan
Survey to midnight, Nov 13, 2013 – https://www.talkvancouver.com/westend
Update: About 250 people attended the West End Neighbour’s forum on August 28, 2013. See our report here: Packed hall discusses West End plan Aug 28 – Summary report of meeting (includes video, commentary, report of meeting, and MANY outstanding questions on the plan.
August 28 (Wed) Special Forum on City’s Draft Community Plan for West End
Special Forum on City’s Draft: Community Plan for West End
- 7 to 9 pm
- August 28, 2013 (Wednesday)
- West End Community Centre
- (Barclay Room, at front, 870 Denman Street)
- Register online (https://wencommunityforumaug28.eventbrite.com) or just show up
- Download poster in PDF format: WEN, West End Community Plan Forum, 28-Aug-2013, revised
Moderator: Charlie Smith, Editor, The Georgia Straight
Senior City Staff present: Brian Jackson, Director of Planning, City of Vancouver
Within a couple of months, Vancouver’s West End may be at the end of an 18-month community planning process that began in the spring of 2012. The Plan is expected to guide development and change in our neighbourhood for the next generation or two and some big changes are being proposed. Read more here: https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/august-28-special-forum-city-draft-community-plan/
West End Community Plan. Deadline for public input at this phase was July 19, 2013. Next up may be in September.
Open Houses were held in June on the refined community plan directions. This is one of the most important stages of this process. Display boards with the most recent “plan direction information” are online here:
June 2013 open houses
- Plan Directions Open House Information Booklet (3.42 MB)
- Display panels:
Of special interest:
- One master image/model showing what the West End might look like in 2040 based on the West End plan (see the last page of the “Streets” panel, link above).
- Images of proposed new building heights along the main corridor streets
- Population projections based on the changes
- Benefits packages — improvements of community centre, library, etc.
- Built form — suggestions on what kinds of buildings might be added
February 2013. The first major event of this year for the West End planning process will be as follows. The City is planning this as a drop-in event, but we will be encouraging the staff to make a presentation with a Q&A session.
West End Plan –Information Session on Housing in the West End
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
5:30 to 8 pm
Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox St
October 2012. Visit the Open Houses (drop-in format) where City staff will display the results of the Phase 1 of the West End planning processes. October 24, 27, and 31. Download and print poster for your building: West End Plan CoV Oct 2012 open houses
September 3, 2012. The City of Vancouver is conducting similar community planning processes in three communities, including the West End, Marpole, and Grandview-Woodland. The official City web page for the West End Plan is here (http://vancouver.ca/westendplan). This important process is set to conclude in the autumn of 2013. Public involvement will be an important part in determining outcomes. The official background and details on the City’s overall community planning program is located here (note, link broken as of Sept 17). The next major step is the city staff presentation of a report to City Council regarding the results of Phase I (preliminary work) on the community plan — this is expected in September 2012. Stay tuned for analysis of the report and be ready to write or speak to Council when the time comes.
In response to major spot rezonings strongly opposed by many residents, WEN’s petition on “no rezoning without a comprehensive plan,” signed by 13,000 people, stated that: “I request in the event of considering general or site-specific land use and/or West End zoning changes, that these include meaningful consultation with residents, protect existing neighbourhood liveability, and respect/maintain the character of the neighbourhood. We need a comprehensive plan, not site-by-site rezoning.”
WEN will be encouraging meaningful consultation with residents calling for protection of existing neighbourhood liveability and for the need to respect and maintain the character of the neighbourhood.
We believe that WEN has the potential to play an important role in the planning process for the West End by raising awareness of the issues, promoting meaningful engagement, and encouraging education on relevant topics, such as zoning, planning and the development approval process.
On June 23, 2012, WEN was one of two citizen presentations at the West End Ideas Fair, with a comprehensive display about planning issues here. See slides here: https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/wen-releases-key-info-for-ideas-fair-on-west-end-community-plan-process-june-23-2012/
On June 19, 2012, WEN held a booth at Car Free Day, and spoke to hundreds of passers by. https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/wen-report-from-car-free-day-2011/
On June 4, 2012, WEN organized West End Town Hall 2012 to discuss critical development issues in the community. Details and outcomes are here:
On May 5 and 6, 2012, WEN held two walking tours as a part of the international Jane’s Walk neighbourhood walks. https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/west-end-village-quest-for-a-west-end-plan-wen-to-hold-janes-walks-may-5-and-6/
In March 2012, when the Terms of Reference for the community plan process were adopted by Vancouver City Counci, WEN addressed Council about the need for more time for the community to review draft documents under the plan (staff had released the TOR on a Thursday for Council decision on a Tuesday). Council adopted a motion to give the public a minimum of two weeks to review future documents, but we fell that this is still too short — City Hall should give the public at least a month to review important documents in this process.
On Saturday January 28, the City of Vancouver held a workshop for stakeholders with an interest in the community plan process for the West End. On February 28, another meeting was held, by invitation, for members of the newly-created “Neighbourhood Champions’ Network.”
WEN was represented at both events. On January 28, a total of twenty-one stakeholder groups confirmed attendance including representatives from organizations such as St. Paul’s Hospital, the West End Seniors’ Network, the Urban Development Institute and Gordon Neighbourhood House. About 40 people attended. City staff have posted the outcomes on the City website (http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/westendplan/) and are working internally to prepare a draft “terms of reference” for the planning process for the next 18 to 21 months, with plans to present it to City Council for approval on March 27 or 28. The public is likely to have about two business days to view the draft before it is approved at a daytime meeting of Council.
The workshop on January 28th was intended to help City staff refine the process for the Community Plan for the West End, with a focus on fine-tuning the “city-wide” General Terms of Reference document into a terms of reference document that is specific to the West End Community Plan.
The stated objectives of the workshop were:
- Confirm planning priorities for the West End;
- Confirm engagement principles and objectives; and
- Begin developing a network of community champions.
City Staff hosted the workshop with the assistance of a facilitator. Staff asked community groups to provide input to the process that reflects stakeholder group’s observations of the issues and priorities in the West End. Following the workshop, the outcomes will be summarized and posted online. The results will be used in conjunction with the results of previous community surveys (see below) to refine the General Terms of Reference for the West End planning process. WEN will provide information on the website when it is available.
The results of two previous community surveys were reviewed briefly at the meeting – one conducted by City Staff in June of 2010 and one conducted by the West End Mayor’s Advisory Committee (WEMAC) in July of 2011. A summary of the survey findings is below:
West End Discussion on Community Needs and Affordable Housing: Community Discussion Summary Report (June 2010)
City of Vancouver staff held two community meetings in May 2010 to discuss community needs and affordable housing in the West End. A survey was distributed at the meetings and was also available on-line; 600 surveys were completed in total. Participants self-selected rather than being selected randomly. Focus of the survey:
- Level of importance of general issues/concerns
- Level of agreement with statements by general topic area
Top Five Issues/Concerns (percentage of respondents who selected “very important”):
- Neighbourhood character – 69.3%
- Parks and green space – 67.4%
- Housing – 59.7%
- Sustainability – 55.5%
- Crime and safety – 54.7%
West End Mayor’s Advisory Committee: Community Priorities for the West End – Interim Report (July 2011)
To identify community priorities for the West End, WEMAC conducted a survey of West End residents between May 13 and June 10, 2011. The survey was available at key locations throughout the West End and also on-line; 994 surveys were completed in total. Participants self-selected rather than being selected randomly. Focus of the survey:
- Level of importance of priorities by general topic area* (note that weighting was used to reflect the strength of responses)
- Level of agreement with community concerns
Top Five Community Concerns (percentage of respondents who agreed with the concern):
- West End becoming less affordable – 58%
- Lack of protection for renters – 48%
- Neighbourhood character changing too quickly – 43%
- Lack of parking is a problem – 42%
- West End needs to be safer for pedestrians – 40%
High priority and recurring emphasis was placed on: preserving and expanding green space, ensuring housing affordability, safety for pedestrians and the value of small and local business owners.
Community Surveys: Overall Priority Issues
- Character (residential and commercial)
- Public realm (residential and commercial)
- Parks and open space
- Transportation and parking
- Public facilities
What do you think? Are there other issues that need to represented in the West End Planning process? Do the results of these surveys reflect your concerns for the West End? Do you think there should be a neighbourhood-wide survey conducted as a “fresh start” for the West End Planning process? If you would like to provide input on community priorities for the West End Planning Process, drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
Other, more general questions to consider in the planning process involve how citizens should be engaged and the important steps in the process.
- How should the City be notifying residents? Is a notice in the newspaper sufficient? Or should West End residents receive mail notifications?
- How would you most like to participate? Through on-line consultation? Public meetings? Small group sessions? Or something else?
- Should the opinions of interest groups from outside the West End, such as developers and transportation groups, carry the same weight as those of people who live and work in the community?
- Is there a need for a “planning committee” in the West End composed of interested West Enders? Or are you comfortable with directing information to City staff for incorporation into planning policies?
If you would like to provide input on these or other more general planning issues, please drop a note to email@example.com