Last night I joined Dr. Wendy Sarkissian‘s Urban Planning class at Langara University in the company of dedicated civic activists including Eileen Mosca of Grandview, Gudrun Langolf of Marpole, Ned Jacobs of Riley Park/South Cambie, Randy Helten of Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver and Jak King, president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council.
It was a great conversation. King’s overview of the event is here on his blog: Jak’s View of Vancouver. And kudos to students April and Elona who did a great job of of organizing the session.
Dr. Wendy Sarkissian was featured in a video I posted last year titled: Densification Wars: A Conversation with Dr. Wendy Sarkissian PhD. Sarkissian’s students who come from all parts of the globe, were eager to be informed about the current state of community and urban planning in Vancouver.
The Langara class began with a discussion of the Little Mountain Project. A key discussion point was the clip A Moment of Truth. The flaw within the community consultation process is clearly visible. Planner Ben Johnson must inform the community that their recommendations will never be accepted: “a higher level of direction” controls the process that includes both senior staff and City Council — all Vision Party dominated — rendering the entire process, nearly irrelevant.
I qualify the process as “nearly irrelevant” because the community, with the assistance of the planning department accomplished what they set out to do. The community was ready to unanimously support a final document but that document wasn’t good enough for “senior staff” who opted for a higher density than that recommended by the community. The fact that Vision staff and councillors chose to poison the well in the end was a huge disappointment to everyone, except the developer Holborn Properties, of course.
This, and many other flawed consultation processes are coming back to haunt the Vision Party as it seeks re-election by angry Vancouver communities seeking input into the future of their city.
All for now,
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