With Brent Toderian’s departure, Vancouver city planning is up in air

With Brent Toderian’s departure, some want housing policy changed.

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      A recent council candidate with Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver says she’s not yet sure how city planning director Brent Toderian’s exit from city hall will affect local planning in the near future.

      “Well, it all depends on who they hire and it all depends on why they are firing him,” Elizabeth Murphy told the Georgia Straight by phone. “I guess my concern is whether or not this council really cares about the opposition that he has created in the community or if this is just because of some of the conflicts he has had with some of the development community.”

      The City of Vancouver issued a news release on January 31 stating: “Today, City Council endorsed and confirmed that Brent Toderian will be moving on from the position of Director of Planning at the City of Vancouver.”

      An international search will be conducted for a new director, according to the release.

      Murphy already has one suggestion for the chosen successor. “First of all, I think we need to look at what the existing zone capacity of the city is,” Murphy said, “and what we can do for sustainability and future growth within what we have already, and to objectively determine what we need to go forward. And, also, for him to work with the communities rather than working against them is, I think, an important thing.”

      Regarding the so-called community amenity contributions, which the city assesses developers as part of a negotiated set of agreements related to rezoning proposals, Murphy said: “I think that we have to reassess how amenities are provided and how much development is actually costing the city in terms of servicing all of the people that we are bringing in through these new developments, and how that it is going to be provided.”

      Murphy also said the city has created citywide policies such as EcoDensity and the Short Term Incentive for Rental program, also known as STIR, but did not at the same time take into account the unique characteristics and needs of each individual community.

      “What the city needs to do is to look at things more holistically,” she said. “That’s a big part of sustainability: looking at all the aspects of it.”



      Lee Chapelle

      Feb 1, 2012 at 6:33pm

      I have a suggestion for a candidate for this vacant position, Elizabeth Murphy


      Feb 1, 2012 at 7:08pm

      Yeah, but Brent isn't worried. He's getting $200,000 in severance pay for just 6 years of being employed. Another example of city hall screwing the taxpayers!!


      Feb 1, 2012 at 8:56pm

      ahem...city of Vancouver planning has been up in the air for a long time. Just take a look around - this is planning? Let's not forget that the Director of Planning takes his/her direction from council. Sure, the planners have input, but council makes the decisions, and frankly for the past ten years at least, probably longer, the decisions have actually been made by developers and marketers and simply rubber stamped by council, with the requisite bafflegab to make it seem like they had given it some careful thought. The only thought that went into any of this was 'who's paying for my campaign next time around?' THAT passes as 'planning' in Vancouver. It's up in the air all right, and the air stinks.


      Feb 1, 2012 at 10:56pm

      Comments made by this Dude (Brent) on television such as "dont buy this property" were irresponsible.... He actually should have been fired much earlier "with Cause". Was he planning or setting market prices for others or what was his real job. CowBoy approach works in Alberta only. Thank you Brent for your departure.


      Feb 1, 2012 at 10:58pm

      The "international search" for a new planning director suggests that a US Hollyhock "yes man" will soon be arriving. I'm sure our new planner will be another "visionary," unencumbered by neither common sense nor respect for democracy.

      While we are at it, as the Vancouver planning board clearly doesn't actually do anything resembling planning, how about we rename it to the "Developer Facilitiation Office?"


      Feb 1, 2012 at 11:00pm

      Mr GOT:
      R U sure what U are talking about. Stamped by the council ... R U Drunk. We the people provide input and the exercise it takes to make any thing happen is beyond your comprehension Buddy !! identify yourself at the next community meeting !!!

      Dunsmuir's Ghosts

      Feb 2, 2012 at 12:26am

      What is Vision trying to hide? I assume that Toderian put up a stink about something and got the axe, and the severance package is to shut him up.

      Perhaps Little Mountain?


      Feb 2, 2012 at 6:04am

      @Joey101...it's precisely because I've been to community meetings, where there is indeed considerable input from 'we the people', which is then routinely ignored by council, that I am sure about what I'm talking about. The stubborn refusal to listen to 'we the people', and the arrogance with which council encouraged the underhanded manipulation of the 'planning process', then approved the construction of the townhouse monstrosity at the corner of Granville and 16th Ave was the last straw for me. You know when all the high-powered lawyers in First Shaughnessy can't save their neighbourhood from 'Ecodensity', despite having a legally established community development plan that forbids such development, that none of 'we the people' has the slightest impact on planning. Now I know most people will say 'oh boo hoo for Shaughnessy!', but the point is that project is an eyesore, will contribute to serious traffic congestion at a busy and dangerous intersection, and has established a precedent for the destruction of the only remaining original heritage neighbourhood in Vancouver and one of the most beautiful in Canada. Watching that unfold was one of the ugliest misuses of land and abuses of planning policy and so-called community input that I've ever seen. It was and is disgusting. And that's just one example. I'm sure readers can contribute many more. By the way, I live on the east side in a neighbourhood that still has some century-old appeal, but after watching Shaughnessy's losing battle, I know damn well that no-one's home is his/her castle in Vancouver, and no community development plan, no matter how much input it receieved from 'we the people' is worth the paper it's written on. That park down the street could be condos tomorrow. Keep an eye on Riley Park if you don't think that's the case. And watch Little Mountain too.


      Feb 2, 2012 at 9:59am

      Good thoughts "Dunsmuir's Ghosts" - it could be Little Mountain, but also Burrard Gateway, Granville Loops, the Rize Tower rezoning or something in the pipeline we don't know about yet. Or it may be even bigger than this. Whistleblowers please stand up and speak out.

      Michelle S citizen of Mt Pleasant

      Feb 2, 2012 at 1:12pm

      It is great that alot of the comments on here identify the every growing issue about the City's lack of identifying and communicating with the citizens but just talk will not change things.
      I have a growing concern that our democracy is turning into a dictatorship and that if taxpaying, hard working citizens do not take a stand and stop being so compliant then we are heading into a serious downward spiral of Developers being the puppet masters and our Mayor being the puppet.
      RIZE Development wants to put a 19 storey building (in actual fact 24 storey) in the heart of Mt Pleasant. They have forwarded a 'false' representation of the developement which has been uncovered by a concerned citizen who created a 'true' rendering of the project (see RAMP Vancouver for the proof).
      This information was passed onto the Mayor, City Councilors and City Planning yet the item still went forward to a Public Hearing! Ontop of everything this Developement does not meet with a vast majority of the criteria that is outlined in the Mt Pleasant Community Plan and over 75% of the community has consistantly said they oppose the project in its current state, yet the City and the Mayor himself has the audacity to continually say that they want to involve the community and respect their input.
      I put it out there to you, the citizens of Vancouver, to sign up to speak at the Public Hearing on Feb. 27th, 2012 at City Hall and have your say to stop this development and in turn help other communities have their say as to what happens in their backyards.
      Need you all be reminded its our tax paying dollars that pay these politicians salaries so in essence they work for us and should be doing right by us not by just a select few.