City slow to act on Grandview-Woodland citizens' assembly

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Grandview-Woodland resident  Jak King is hoping the new year will bring some progress in the establishment of a citizens’ assembly as part of a neighbourhood-planning process for the area.

King said he and other residents asked city staff during a meeting earlier in December to send out an open call to all community members to participate in the assembly.

“The one absolute demand we had, and…as far as I understood, they agreed, was that there should be a full household survey—mail survey—sent out, talking about what the citizens’ assembly could be and inviting people to come along to meetings,” King told the Straight by phone.

The recent meeting with planning staff marked the first discussions they’d had with the city in relation to the Grandview-Woodland area planning process in four or five months, according to King.

“We wanted to make sure that every household in Grandview knew at least at some point what was going on and that they could be invited to join in on these discussions,” said King, who is the president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council.

King said there haven’t been any discussions with the city to date on what the broader planning process will look like.

“At that meeting in December, we again told them that we wanted to make sure that there were, at minimum, workshops in every one of the sub-areas,” King said. “They didn’t seem to want to deal with that. They want to deal with the citizens’ assembly first, which is right and proper, but it’s taken months and months to get here.”

Vancouver council voted in September to direct city staff to extend the schedule for the Grandview-Woodland community plan by at least 12 months in order to create a citizens’ assembly.

King is also a spokesperson for the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, which formed earlier this year with the aim of securing more community input in the city’s planning process.

The coalition is in the process of putting together a proposed “new planning paradigm”, according to King, who said that policy is expected to be made public in May.

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The extensions so generously given by the Vision government play into the hands of their developer friends. Vision won't reach an official decision before the next civic election for any of their redevelopment plans but if they are reelected things will move very quickly. Their grand design for 6 floor buildings lining every street within 500 metres of a "local shopping area" will be driven through along with their plans for towers in Marpole & Grandview-Woodlands. They will also push through the development of at least 50% of what is currently Langara Golf Course as the ultimate gift to the tower builders.

Vision has done a masterful job of using bike lanes as a red herring to distract people from their sweetheart deals for friendly developers. The Mayor and the other politicians in Vision know if they can win in 2014 they will be well taken care of by those for whom the make a profit. Board positions, campaign funding, cars, holidays and every other park will be therefor the asking if their master plan is implemented.
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