Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods seeks more public input on city planning

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      A new coalition of community groups has formed in Vancouver, aimed at making changes to the city’s planning process.

      Jak King, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, said the 18 groups currently involved in the initiative will work to create “a new planning and development paradigm”, which they will bring forward before the November 2014 civic election.

      “The neighbourhoods have to be at the centre of it,” King told the Straight by phone. “They have to be involved, and the neighbourhoods have to have influence.

      “What we’re seeing right now is we have a form of engagement, but there is no influence, there’s no real genuine involvement—and that’s what we need to change.”

      King said proposals outlined in the “emerging directions” for the four neighbourhood plans that are currently underway were what prompted the formation of the coalition.

      “We spoke together because we were facing similar problems, all four of us, and it was agreed that there were also problems in Oakridge, there were problems in Norquay, there were problems elsewhere," he stated.

      “So it felt suitable to include as many neighbourhoods as we can, so that the city understands that they’re not just dealing with a problem with one neighbourhood at a time. We all have the same issues, and we want something done about it.”

      He noted an example of a measure he'd like to see implemented is the use of joint working groups to manage the planning process.

      Vancouver city council recently voted to extend the timeline for the Grandview-Woodland community planning process by at least a year and to establish a citizens' assembly. The process for Marpole has also been given some additional time, while council is expected to consider a plan for the West End next month, and the local area plan for the Downtown Eastside by the end of January 2014.

      The new coalition features resident groups from communities across the city, including Arbutus Ridge, the Downtown Eastside, Dunbar, False Creek, Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, Mount Pleasant, Oakridge Langara, and the West End. 

      King said the groups will continue to meet about once a month as the coalition works to produce “a comprehensive planning strategy”.

      “This is an attempt to be positive,” he said. “We want to regain the initiative in planning by creating a positive atmosphere between the city and the neighbourhoods, which is exactly what we don’t have right now. We have a very negative relationship, and we need to sort that out.”




      Oct 24, 2013 at 8:15pm

      Thx RAMP. you guys rock

      Sid Tan

      Oct 24, 2013 at 8:22pm

      The Vision Vancouver politicians and COV bureaucrats are arrogance and dismissive to views which don't serve their developer friendly agenda. This is clear in the Downtown Eastside. They take the photo ops and vote pander but leave the hard work undone.

      Today's Vision Vancouver flavour is mental health. The hard work needed is more safe, sane and affordable housing. So now we have mental health task force even though we know at the root is more social and supportive housing within a treatment plan for the mentally ill and addicted.

      All flash, all style, little substance except developer money creating a so-called world class city. A city where most residents are considered servants for the rich and privileged global and local elite.

      Hard to believe so many Vancouver residents drank and still drinking the Vision Vancouver kool aid!


      Oct 25, 2013 at 11:39am

      @Sid Tan,

      In your first paragraph you complain about Vision's 'developer friendly agenda'. Then in your second you cite the need for more affordable housing. You can't have it both ways. I'm not a fan of everything that Vision has done, but we do need more affordable housing in this city and the only way that will happen is by increasing density and simply building more housing.


      I'm concerned that if we start to give more of a voice to neighbourhood / community groups that nothing will be accomplished. The NIBMYs are out in full force lately for every single change that the city has tried to make. It is important to listen to people's concerns, especially the people that live in affected areas, but if we start giving them too much of a say then all progress will stop. This is why we elect a central governing body, to oversee decisions that go beyond the immediate local area. Vancouver is not perfect and change needs to happen, even if it not am improvement for every single person.


      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:39pm


      Your rebutal to Sid Tan is a specious argument. Being developer friendly has nothing to do with affordable housing - as we've seen with Vision's STIR project and Little Mountain.

      What we see with Vision's upzoning to allow more tower development is that it actually does very little to address the need for affordable housing, indeed it seems to be doing the very opposite.

      For example, even Woodwards with its affordable housing onsite contributed to so much land lift, that any net gains in low income housing were lost as the real estate values and speculation increased in the surrounding area.

      We know that towers are attractive to investors and developers - but are they the panacea for affordable housing? Why isn't Vision pushing ideas like mid rise wood construction - which is far greener, less expensive to build and doesn't contribute to land-lift.

      THAT is the framework for why Vision might be considered "developer-friendy"


      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:53pm

      If you think density is better for affordability you have had too much of the kool aid. Not with the way our real estate market works.

      Arthur Vandelay

      Oct 25, 2013 at 3:46pm

      @Sid Tan "A city where most residents are considered servants for the rich and privileged global and local elite." Wow. Issues.

      @Wankoover - There is no panacea for affordable housing. Increasing density is going to be as close as you are going to get in the long term and on a sustainable basis. The land itself may be more valuable, but the amount of land associated with each unit will be less. Net, the price of the end units will fall. At the end of the day, however, people will need to realize that social/subsidized housing on False Creek will never fly with those people who are footing the bill and living in places not nearly as phat.

      William Gibbens

      Oct 25, 2013 at 4:00pm

      Concerned citizens of Vancouver neighbourhoods should take heed that one of the key drivers for the Vancouver parks Board's current attempt to bulldoze a Paved Bike Path through Hadden and Kitsilano Beach Park green space is the Vancouver “BikeShare” scheme.

      Indeed, analysis indicates that at least to 57 parks and public spaces will be directly affected in business, residential, parks and public areas. Residents throughout the system will be waking up to big surprises when Bixi dumps there stations in their neighbourhoods and parks (school, daycare, community centre, playingfield, plaza) spaces. Yet there has been absolutely no public discussion of these issues thus far generally or specifically.

      “BikeShare” scheme operations – such as 18-hour a day bike and helmet balancing activities - will also have multiple effects on the safe movement of drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and more so during rush hours.

      Be prepared in your neighbourhood, we can expect more moves to pave and commercialize parks and public spaces, natural foreshores and so forth... Visit for the scoop on all this and other aspects including a taste of the insider deals, disasters, money and machinations at play.


      Oct 25, 2013 at 4:30pm

      @Arthur Vandelay

      another specious argument (why to Vision supporters tend to view things as only black or white?) increasing density has nothing to do with towers or being 'developer friendly' - in fact, I suspect a less 'developer-friendly' government might be closer to a panacea for affordable housing because they aren't protecting developer profits.

      Agree on the Olympic Village as far as luxury condo buyers might want to live phat away from the plebians - but the CofV NEVER should have bankrolled the Village in the first place.. the market could very well have built its own Village on False Creek without our help, we could have used that infrastructure money to build housing elsewhere and more appropriate to amateur athletes and left a far more appropriate legacy of affordable housing..


      Oct 26, 2013 at 2:37pm

      I applaud this group but unfortunately the only way to take this city back from the developers is to remove Vision from power (while preventing the NPA from taking their place). As one poster noted, many still drink the Vision Kool-Aid, but people are quickly realising that Vision is simply a development greenwashing machine for an overseas investor funded development profit machine.

      After almost two terms of Vision government housing is more expensive than ever. Relationships in the city are absolutely poisonous after years of Vision's divisive behaviour. In forcing through their agenda Vision have deliberately pitted home owners against renters, the East Side against the West side, motorists against cyclists, gays against straights, rich against poor.

      At this stage there is only one solution, a political one. Only Vancouver voters can deliver it. Here's hoping they do, or we'll be watching condo towers go up in Stanley Park (and you think I'm joking).

      Mike 4 mayor 2014

      Oct 7, 2014 at 3:16pm

      "Applied democracy" seems be what you're all looking for! If The Voters control city hall, problem solved. Here's how it works, check it out!
      Independent candidate @ “Applied Democracy” is the very same system large corporations operate under. Shareholders want to know their money and investment's are safe. A billion dollar corporation like Vancouver, provides mandatory quarterly reports and AGMs to enforce accountability and transparency! A facilitator of “Applied Democracy” swears an oath to The Voters. Making The Voters the mayor's 'councillors' through plebiscites on all extra spending. The elected councillors will become 'Ombudspersons' for the Citizens interests and concerns. As city facilitator, my mandate will be The Voters/Taxpayers best interests. Facilitating “Applied Democracy” in Vancouver will offer the best return for your $tax dollars$! Fiscal prudence is the order of the day. No more out of control spending on travels, galas and visions of entitlement. As mayor, I won't travel outside the Greater Vancouver area. Attending meetings by CCTV conferencing! Implementing city hall, parks and transit “budget freezes” to start the accountability and transparency process. Voters will receive a 'one voting share' certificate in the incorporation of Vancouver! I encourage all to vote for change and become part of The New Vancouver! Your Children depend on it. Implementing 21st Century solutions to colonial dysfunctions! Making Vancouver the Worlds Safest City!
      It's much better than what others have proposed!
      Mike Hansen