Coquitlam remains the only Metro Vancouver municipality that has not ratified the Regional Growth Strategy. That’s because the municipality has a number of concerns around the landmark regional planning document.
Tuesday (June 14) marked the first meeting between Coquitlam council members and Metro Vancouver staff to seek a solution via non-binding arbitration.
Metro did not allow Coquitlam to switch its cameras on at City Hall to record the proceedings, according to Coun. Selina Robinson. However, Gerry McGuire, from a group called VCVYV—Vancouver Citizens Voice TV—filmed the meeting and posted several segments on YouTube.
In her remarks stating the case for Coquitlam, Robinson honed in once again on lands that are deemed “regionally significant”, an ongoing concern for the first-term councillor.
“I certainly struggled, and our council certainly struggled, around what it means to be regionally significant,” Robinson said at the meeting. “It became pretty challenging for us in terms of how do we decide on those land uses without some clear guidelines? And I think that the plan becomes a stronger and richer and better document if we can find a way to create such a definition that would guide us in future councils.”
Overall, Robinson said she agrees with the overall aims of the document, which will replace the Livable Region Strategic Plan from 1996 and outline how to grow to 2040 through principles that include creating small, compact communities, providing cleaner transportation choices, protecting the environment, and avoiding urban sprawl.
Robinson said she was keen not to trash the plan; instead she said she wanted to make it better.
“I do come in completely supporting regional planning,” she said at the meeting. “The goals, I think, are fabulous. I think they’re realistic and they speak to the values of our residents. The concerns that started to bubble up in me came up in the process as we went through each successive draft, because it was such a steep learning curve.”
The second meeting takes place Thursday (June 16) between 1 and 5 p.m. at Metro Vancouver’s Burnaby HQ.