Media coverage

West End community plan approved in Vancouver: Plan proposes infill development in the centre of the neighbourhood, taller buildings around edges (CBC 20-Nov-2013).
Includes features and critiques of the plan.

Vancouver approves West End community plan
(Yolande Cole, Georgia Straight, 20-Nov-2013). Excerpt – “I did count the number of emails that came in, and there were a majority clearly that were not supportive of the plan in its current form that asked for an extension,” said [Councillor Adriane] Carr. “Not in today’s hearing have we had a majority speaking for deferral—the majority have come in support. But in the big scheme of things, we have had the majority of residents coming to us saying that they wish for more time.”

West End BIA welcomes new community plan: A West End business group is “thrilled” that a community plan for the area was approved this week by Vancouver city council. (22-Nov-2013) (Formerly Vancouver Courier)

West End Community Plan Flawed: Letter to Council by Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (November 18, 2013). “We request Council to not adopt the Plan at this time. Instead, we ask that it be referred back to staff and the community, utilizing an improved process, with innovation in engagement techniques to more fully address the community’s concerns.”

West End Community Plan – Full text of adopted motion, with record of Councillor votes, plus media coverage (November 21, 2013). Includes City’s media release. Quote: “The West End is one of Vancouver’s most unique and celebrated neighbourhoods,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. The new West End Community Plan makes protecting the distinct character of the neighbourhood a priority. Existing rental housing, in areas like Nelson slopes, south of Davie and west of Denman, maintain their zoning. The Public Benefits Strategy invests roughly $600 million over thirty years in new and upgraded community amenities. “Many of the facilities in the West End are either out-of-date or at capacity,” added the Mayor. “Whether it’s upgrades to the community centre and library, the aquatic centre or ice rink, we heard clearly from the public that their favourite recreation facilities are in need of renewal. The new Community Plan reflects what we heard and will make that happen.”

West End Community Plan as described by “Urban Sustainability Exchange” as shortlisted for the ‘Guangzhou Award’ (urban innovation) in 2014 as a “deserving initiative.” Must be based on submission by CoV. Interesting… Results and impacts
The West End Community Plan will impact on many levels; new housing, renewed and new public amenities, revitalized commercial opportunities, preservation of heritage buildings and fostering arts and culture. The plan anticipates growth of 10,00 new residents and 7,000 new jobs over three decades.
Barriers and challenges
To combat some initial resistance by both business groups and the community, Council commissioned a pilot project, Action While Planning to demonstrate the potential of the proposed changes and development. It further established the West End Neighbourhood Champions Network to provide advice on matters of public involvement and to assist with outreach to encourage wide participation in the public engagement process. The group was critical to achieving broad, inclusive and innovative engagement throughout the community.
Lessons learned and transferability
The innovative planning process demonstrates how a community plan can engage with a wide range of stakeholders in a relatively short time frame. Utilizing communications methods such as social media, 3-D computer modelling and interactive online mapping combined with surveys, meetings and “walk shops” provides many opportunities for the community and business groups to become involved with the process.
A fully defined and costed Public Benefits Strategy provides surety for partners, business groups and community.