Vancouver community group calls for neighbourhood control over development

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      Suggestions for a Vancouver citywide development plan seem to be gaining ground. The idea of a comprehensive blueprint could be emerging as a major campaign issue in this year’s October 20 civic election.

      So far, two parties—the Coalition of Progressive Electors and Yes Vancouver—have started talking about this concept. Moreover, the Vancouver Greens may include it in their platform.

      With the growing interest in a citywide plan, a grassroots organization that has been advocating for this measure is poised to gain a bigger platform.

      Alicia Barsallo, chair of the Residents for Community Control on City Development, told the Straight by phone that the group was formed in 2015 out of frustration over what is seen as token community consultations on major developments in the city.

      A citywide plan, which establishes the minimum number and types of housing, services, and amenities in each community, is one of twin approaches that RCCCD is proposing to empower communities. The other is providing residents a chance to say yes or no to major developments, like towers.

      “The most important thing to gain is that there can be no significant rezoning of a neighbourhood without a vote,” Barsallo said.

      In its draft platform, COPE talks about the creation of a “co-design committee” in each neighbourhood. The committee will formulate a local plan, which will become part of an overall citywide program.

      Barsallo said that COPE’s approach is “not incompatible” with RCCCD’s idea.

      Yes Vancouver’s concept is one that will rezone areas on a wholesale basis, and remove city council from the approval process.

      RCCCD is inviting candidates to a forum about how to govern future developments in the city on September 19, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Shamrock Hall (2881 Main Street).

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