9th September 2013
General Manager, Planning and Development Vancouver City Hall
Dear Mr. Jackson:
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because,
and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs
Further to the conversations between you, your staff, Directors of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC), and other residents of Grandview-Woodland, this letter is our response to your public statements that the processes leading to a new Grandview-Woodland Community Plan need to be and will be re-set.
GWAC, which has taken a prominent leadership role in the discussions on the Plan – with hundreds of residents attending our meetings and more than a thousand signing petitions of support for our position — agrees with you that what might be called the first phase of the Community Plan process was seriously flawed. This letter includes specific recommendations that we believe are of vital importance to ensure that a new Grandview-Woodland Community Plan is achieved in a way that will encourage the greatest level of community support.
We note that this letter discusses process issues only and does not refer to specific program, land-use or zoning proposals outlined in the “Emerging Directions” document.
1. Community Plan Management
Recommendation 1.1: That there be established a Joint Management Group to manage the development of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan; that the Joint Management Group be comprised of an equal number of participants chosen (a) by City Planning, and (b) by the Grandview-Woodland community at large; and that the chair, with vote, be a Planner.
GWAC believes that the primary failure of the Community Plan process to date has been the lack of coordination between the Planners and the community at large in regard to land-use policies and suggested rezoning policies. We note that no specific mention of land-use or rezoning options were made during any of the workshops and open houses prior to the publication of the “Emerging Directions” document on 1st June 2013.
GWAC believes that this failure was structural and will be avoided in the future by the implementation of a Joint Management Group, in which the community and the Planners jointly manage the process of developing the Community Plan. GWAC notes that a switch from a top-down process to one that is more balanced and consciously designed to ensure bottom-up community participation was a feature of the highly-successful Vancouver planning of the 1970s through the 1990s including City Plan and Community Visions. We believe those successes need to be replicated in the GW Community Plan of 2012-2014.
Responsibilities of the Joint Management Group shall be as outlined in the revised Table 2 of the Terms of Reference (TOR) described below.
Recommendation 1.2: That community-led Working Groups for Community Amenities, Low- Income Housing, and Community Engagement (and possibly other areas) be established, funded and resourced sufficiently to undertake detailed research and policy option development.
We note that Section 8.1 of the TOR specifically discusses the uses and purposes of Working Groups. However, we further note that no Working Groups were created during the first phase of the Grandview- Woodland Community Plan process. GWAC believes this was a significant mistake, and we recommend the creation of community-led Working Groups to undertake detailed research and policy option development that will be fed into the Community Plan process.
These Working Groups must include two groups — Community Amenities and Low-Income Housing – which were barely discussed in the first phase. We also believe there is value in establishing Working Groups for Arts & Culture, Heritage, Transportation, Land Use & Zoning, Parks and Recreation, and Local Economy.
In addition, a further Working Group must be established specifically to engage in outreach to those sections of the Grandview-Woodland population (including but not limited to youth, Chinese, Vietnamese, First Nations, and renters) who have not yet been able to engage in the process to a useful degree. This particular Working Group would take over and supplement the responsibilities of the PACE Group.
Continue reading “September 9, 2013 – Letter: Grandview-Woodland Community Plan”