Category Archives: Letters

On Public Participation and Hearing Schedules

February 27, 2014

Mayor Gregor Robertson
City Hall
Vancouver, BC

Mayor Robertson:

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods is writing to ask that you urgently reconsider the City’s recent decision to schedule vitally important public hearings during inconvenient daytime work hours. These scheduled hearings include significant and controversial rezonings for the Oakridge Centre Mall project, for Casa Mia in Southlands, as well as contested spot rezoning proposals in Kitsilano and other neighbourhoods.

The Coalition notes that public hearings held during traditional working hours severely limit the ability of most citizens to attend, imposing barriers to public access to City decision-making that are inconsistent with the recent publication of the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force Report. In particular, these hearings fail to meet any of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)’s core values that were included in the Task Force’s recommendations.

The Core Values define the expectations and aspirations of the public participation process as follows:

1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.

2. Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.

3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.

4. Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.

6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

However, these ideals appear to have been ignored almost entirely by the actions of Council in scheduling these hearings. Public access, input, and influence are priorities officially accepted by Council. These should be honoured and fulfilled.

Mayor Robertson, you stated on January 30 this year that “I’ve heard the concerns people have raised over how City Hall engages with residents. There’s no question we can do better.” We ask you to confirm those fine words with concrete action.

The Coalition understands that evening and weekend hearings are inconvenient for Councillors and City staff but notes that this is the people’s business and the people’s convenience too.

For and on behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Jak King


Clr. Affleck
Clr. Ball
Clr. Carr
Clr. Deal
Clr. Jang
Clr. Louie
Clr. Meggs
Clr. Reimer
Clr. Stevenson
Clr. Tang
Dr. Penny Ballem
City Clerk Janice MacKenzie

Letter: Neighbourhood coalitions working

Re: “City forms truce with Marpole residents,” Dec. 4,
Editorial and Letters, Vancouver Courier

To the editor:

Re: “City forms truce with Marpole residents,” Dec. 4.

We were interested to read this story about the new attitude city planners seem to have adopted regarding community engagement in Marpole.

As your readers will recall, this summer and fall witnessed unprecedented levels of discontent with the City of Vancouver’s planning process.

This was particularly evident in the neighbourhoods where the city is drawing up 30-year plans — the West End, Marpole, Downtown Eastside, and Grandview-Woodland — but also in many other districts where innumerable hours of residents’ participation has led to little but frustration.

The loudly expressed anger of thousands of residents gave rise to the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, which is now  made up of 21 community associations from across the city.

The prime goal of the coalition is to redesign the planning process to ensure that residents are actively involved in development decisions and that their views are respected.

The coalition has engaged with the planning department and city council to argue for the greater involvement of residents in land use, development and zoning issues.

The apparently more respectful attitude by planners in Marpole is evidence that the efforts of the Coalition, along with those of the Marpole Residents who are part of our Coalition, are having a positive impact.

We will continue to work on behalf of residents across the city, especially where development and zoning projects are being pursued in opposition to the expressed wishes of residents’ representatives and we look forward to better results right across the city.

Jak King, spokesperson,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods


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