Top bureaucrat Brian Jackson defends proposed West End community plan

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      Vancouver’s general manager of planning and development, Brian Jackson, has claimed that the city has no option but to increase density in the West End.

      At an August 28 public meeting about the proposed West End community plan, Jackson explained that there are no federal or provincial policies in place to restrict people’s mobility after they’ve immigrated to Canada. He also told the crowd of about 200 at the West End Community Centre that there are no measures in place to prevent people from having children.

      Then Jackson described the city as “an attractive place to live with a great climate and a good economy”—setting up the justification for the city’s proposed increase in the West End’s population from 44,000 to 53,000 over the next 30 years.

      “What the plan has to do then is recognize that people are going to be coming to Vancouver,” Jackson said. “What we have to do is look at the areas that have the capacity for additional growth.”

      That brought on some heckling from audience members who wondered why the city isn’t concentrating population increases in Shaughnessy.

      Jackson soldiered on, brusquely demanding that the crowd let him finish.

      “We’re trying to direct the growth into the periphery of the West End between Thurlow and Burrard, and between Alberni and Georgia,” he said.

      He added that there are also going to be opportunities for growth on lower Davie and lower Robson streets. However, he noted that there won’t be additional densification in the villages along Denman, Robson, and Davie streets.

      The plan proposes seven buildings of between 15 and 30 storeys along Davie Street between Denman and Jervis streets. The three proposed buildings of between 10 and 15 storeys along Denman are concentrated between Robson and Alberni streets.

      Jackson acknowledged that some in the audience were opposed to the plan’s call for laneway housing, but he emphasized that it would be different from that built in other parts of Vancouver. “It is, in fact, to help us renew the rental stock that we have here,” he insisted.

      The city anticipates that more development in the West End will provide housing options for the additional 27,000 to 38,000 people expected to be working in the adjacent Central Business District by 2031.

      John Weldon was one of several West End residents who criticized the city’s approach, calling it a “very top-down planning model with the city controlling the planning process and the decision-making”.

      “An increase of 9,000 people representing 20 percent of the population is projected over the 30-year course of the plan,” Weldon said at the meeting. “No meaningful discussion has taken place with the community concerning this projection, or with respect to neighbourhood equity relating to environmental sustainability and densification. Substantial density is being added to our already dense community, while other city communities are permitted to continue with relatively unsustainable land uses.”



      Broken Planning Department

      Sep 4, 2013 at 3:40pm

      Yes, Mr. Jackson, the West End as one of the most densely-populated neighbourhoods in the city is clearly the best place to "pile more in." And yes, the laneway housing will be "different" in the West End - it will be up to six freakin' storeys tall. Churn that density machine and create more dollars for the Vision Vancouver donors....


      Sep 4, 2013 at 5:15pm

      I thought the City decided to consult with those in the West End to see what they wanted to see happen in our community. The reality is Mr. Jackson, a professional planner is apparently dictating what gets built where. Hopefully those in his profession will reacquaint him with the ethics section of the Planning Institute of BC.
      An excerpt below:
      14.1.2 They must have integrity. This means: They must have a keen sense of responsibility to their profession and employers and the public; and They must retain a sense of independence that will enable them to exercise their professional judgment independently and without bias.

      west end renter

      Sep 4, 2013 at 7:18pm

      I attended this meeting. Out of the nearly 30 west end residents who were lucky enough to get a chance to speak, all but one person voiced their disappointment with the city's broken process of 'consultation'. This is par for the course I suppose, as not a single other neighbourhood in Vancouver has been happy with their community plan either! When will the citizen's of Vancouver unite to throw this Vision council out off office?


      Sep 13, 2013 at 10:35am

      The current development boom has always been about Vancouver's popularity with overseas investors and making buckets of money, not about accommodating population growth. A walk by neighbouring Coal Harbour at night will verify to anyone that most of those massive new towers are indeed empty. Vancouver has no obligation to continue bulldozing itself, (including its landmarks, heritage and street culture) and until every inch of the city is an unrecognizable sea of high rises. I will note that Paris, Venice, London, Rome and other great cities of the world feel no similar obligation, despite their greater populations and desirability. These mature cities have evolved beyond the point where their civic governments are no longer simply extensions of the development community, a concept I sincerely hope we introduce to Vancouver in the next municipal election.