CVN letter to Council (5-Oct-2020): Opposed to approval of “Vancouver Plan Phase 1 Report”

This letter went out to Mayor and Council on October 5, 2020.

October 5, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Councilors and Housing Staff,

Re: Item 1. Vancouver Plan Phase 1 Report: Public Engagement Summary, Provisional Goals and Update on COVID-19 Community Recovery Actions      

Revised Report (5:30 pm):

Although the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) wants to participate in the Vancouver Plan process, we are opposed to the recommendations in this report and request that Council reconsider proceeding with this as proposed.

The 76 page report was only released to the public two business days ago on October 1, and it has even been revised just this afternoon with no indication of what has been changed until after 5:30 pm.

* Proposed Vancouver Plan Provisional Goals not ready for endorsement:

There has been no broad public consultation on these goals as drafted by staff. These are not ready to be adopted and should only be received for information. We urge City Council to refer this back to staff for public consultation, including more options and an emphasis on issues including affordability, liveability and neighbourhood character. Goals should be co-created by the public, not determined by staff.

The document makes no mention of recalibrating the Housing Vancouver Strategy targets using transparent data, which was directed by Council months ago. The full data requested has not yet been provided to Council and the public.

The report does not address the need for a meaningful neighbourhood-based community planning process, and instead is focused on specific groups.

* Appendix B Proposals should be for information only:

The proposed Appendix B includes actions to continue existing spot and area rezoning policies such as MIRHPP, arterial and transition area rental incentives, and C2 rezoning, all going ahead before the Vancouver Plan process and reframed here as COVID recovery. Those actions are in fact an implementation of the previous Council’s policies. Staff are proposing to continue implementation of them through a separate program, outside of the Vancouver Plan process, and contrary to recent Council direction to staff.

Please note that the “Our Communities Our Plans” city-wide petition  specifically opposes these proposed policies. It is now close to 3000 signatories and growing.

These policies should not be implemented where they result in significant  precedents being made, before consultation and plan development under the Vancouver Plan.

We ask that you immediately halt the precedent-setting rezonings, and instead allow each neighbourhood to consider and provide input into what kinds of new housing choices go forward and where, through the Vancouver Plan. Please refer to the CVN Principles and Goals document  for reference. In the 2018 civic election it was endorsed by all currently-elected parties. (Vision Vancouver did not endorse it.)

* Need for an Interim Rezoning Policy

Typically, whenever a planning process is undertaken, the City will have an interim rezoning policy. This was done for all of the past community plans and the corridor plans for Broadway.

Therefore, please consider adding the following to the Recommendations in this report:

D. THAT Council direct staff to implement an interim rezoning policy, with specific terms to be approved by Council as is typically done during planning processes in order to avoid pre-empting or diverting the planning process with rezonings that set new directions or preclude options that could emerge during the planning process, including quick starts for community supported options.

We encourage Council to receive this report for information, but not to approve the recommendations. Please send it back to staff for more work. Please also pause the current spot rezoning policies during the Vancouver Plan process and return to neighbourhood-based planning, where local community  opinions are reflected in the planning outcomes for their neighbourhoods. Emerging supported options can be brought forward as quick starts once identified by each community.

Thank you,

Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Joyce Area Residents
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association