Vancouver residents rally for planning changes at City Hall protest

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      A rally at Vancouver City Hall calling for changes to the city’s community planning process drew residents from neighbourhoods across Vancouver today (September 24).

      Dozens of people carrying signs listened as representatives from communities including Marpole, the West End, Grandview-Woodland, Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, and the Downtown Eastside criticized the city’s planning and consultation processes.

      “It’ s a sad commentary on the state of politics in Vancouver today that we have to meet like this in order to get our voices heard, rather than have sensible debate and conversation with city council and our planners,” Jak King, the president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council, told the crowd.

      The rally took place a day before city council is scheduled to consider a report on four community plans that are currently being developed. 

      City staff have recommended an extension on the plan underway for Grandview-Woodland in order to establish a “citizens’ assembly”, and have called for a brief delay on the Marpole plan to allow for consultation on proposed changes.

      Two other plans for the Downtown Eastside and the West End are expected to go before council as scheduled in November.

      Ginny Richards of West End Neighbours said her group has written to city council asking for an extension on the community’s plan and a “re-think” of the process.

      “Did you know the city wants to increase our neighbourhood by 9,000 people? It’s already one of the densest neighbourhoods in the city, and they can’t even explain how they arrived at those numbers,” she said.

      “We ask the city council Vision people to show us the options and start a discussion. That’s the type of challenge that creates true engagement.”

      Mike Burdick of the Marpole Residents Coalition told protesters the changes that city staff have recommended to the plan in the neighbourhood are “not nearly enough”.

      “But you know what, it was a start,” he said. “And now we have to keep going, and with the support of all of you, we can change this broken planning process.”

      Some speakers said density increases are being proposed without the expanded infrastructure and transit necessary to support the changes.

      “As we all know, densification without transit is just plain dense,” stated Kitsilano resident Garry Chalk.

      Other demonstrators, like Ned Jacobs, criticized the nature of the city’s consultation with residents as they formulate the four neighbourhood plans.

      “What Vancouverites are now being subjected to is not really community planning—it is developer planning,” he charged.

      The report going before city council Wednesday (September 25) includes a summary of consultations held to date on the four community plans, including open houses, workshops, and questionnaires. 

      City council is scheduled to hear from staff and members of the public on the next steps for the plans at 1:30 p.m.



      Blurred Vision

      Sep 24, 2013 at 10:05pm

      Just another group to be belittled, berated, and ignored by the Vision Vancouver bullies - the group who assured the electorate that they would listen to neighbourhoods and "open up City Hall."

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      Sep 24, 2013 at 10:36pm

      If anything, Vancouver's planning process is TOO democratic. It gives citizens groups opposed to development far too much power to grind it to a halt.

      When demand is high and supply is low, you end up with high prices. This is why housing is expensive in the city.

      We can't really control the demand to live in Vancouver, but what we can do is supply enough housing so more people can. If we don't, eager new Vancouverites are going to bid up the price of housing even higher and it's already at levels which are harmful to the economy. We need to let the market correct a little bit. If these protesters succeed in stopping densification in Vancouver, I'll never afford to live here and will have to move to Calgary or something. BOOOOO

      Lee L

      Sep 24, 2013 at 11:53pm

      “What Vancouverites are now being subjected to is not really community planning—it is developer planning,” he charged"

      Not exactly. It is so called United Nations Sustainable Development. Jam everyone into stac n pac small boxes, think you are saving the planet and be damned with democracy. Vision Vancouver to a tee and it just happens also to be a developer's wet dream.

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      James W. Halarewicz, AIA, PE, PEng

      Sep 25, 2013 at 12:40am

      Single family detached houses don't work well in a city context. Four story and higher buildings work in urban city settings better. Single detached houses are not urban. Our buildings need to be more solid, taller, and have substance. Well designed higher density city areas are more 'sociable' than areas with two story detached houses. The areas where rezoning is to occur should have higher densities. Look at the European and North American east coast cities. The cities are great. A Vancouver area of detached houses just doesn't have the energy, charm, and the available social character that the inner areas of London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Boston, or Montreal have. In addition to being 'laid back' in many ways Vancouver is quite a bland and dull city. We should change that.

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      Sep 25, 2013 at 12:50am

      DEVELOPERS own city hall, end of story. By the time plans get in front of residents, they're already a done deal. The protest should be to get business out of government.

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      Sep 25, 2013 at 5:42am

      Being a resident of Marpole,I have a front row seat to the true nature of Vision Vancouver and their NPA style "leadership".Their motto is really:"Every inch of Vancouver would look better with a high end condo on it".From the loss of sight lines to the intensification of megalith towers,this council works for the developers that back them.They give lip service to affordable housing and low rent construction.Then they change the definition of what those things mean.My building hasn't had a working elevator for over two years.It was down for a year,up for 6 months and has been down ever since.The underground parking garage door stopped working a year ago.I offered a new door at cost and never even got a response.The 6 months the elevator worked was accompanied by a rent increase.Now,the owner is just waiting for a developer to make an offer.I have been here for 20 years.I am now surrounded by condos.When I moved here there were none.First the NPA and now Vision Vancouver.Developers have had control of the council for most of my life.

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      Sep 25, 2013 at 7:41am

      Witness the preponderance of grey hair in the crowd, the overweening boomer sense of entitlement. The presence of Ned Jacobs, who not long ago claimed as his priority "saving" the wealthy neighbourhood around Cambie and 33rd. Vancouver's long history of exclusion of the poor continues, this time with the rhetoric of sustainability as a cover. The answer of the lefty boomer to the housing crisis? Restrict supply...

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      Save Vancouver

      Sep 25, 2013 at 7:42am

      The populace has finally awoken to the fact that Gregor and his Vision goons are nothing but a rapacious pro-developer party.

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      Stop Vision

      Sep 25, 2013 at 8:08am

      Look at the video and photographs of the protest and it is immediately apparent that there were no "dozens of people carrying signs," but rather hundreds. The entire walkway from 12th Ave to the front entrance to City Hall was jammed with people, shoulder to shoulder. The entry and exit vehicle lanes on each side were too clogged with people to allow easy car entry and exit. And finally, people were standing under the trees and in the garden plantings on both sides of the City Hall entrance. There were not less than 300 people there, and likely many more. Check out the visual evidence:,, and
      Crowd number assessments are critical in reporting accuracy, as also in we sadly found out during the Vancouver riots. They are also a critical issue in furthering democracy. Please watch your use of numbers.

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      Mark Bowen

      Sep 25, 2013 at 9:30am

      And just what percentage of these people own million dollar plus single family homes in these areas? Homes that the vast majority of us will never be able to afford?

      I totally understand loving your neighbourhood the way it is and wanting to freeze it in time, but that's just not realistic or fair in a city like Vancouver.

      These people moan that the changes are too drastic or they haven't been consulted enough, but lets be honest here, any change is going to be "too much" and any consultation beyond agreeing to change nothing at all (and allowing the value of their homes to climb ever higher into the stratosphere) is going to be "inadequate consultation."

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