Meet your Councillors meeting recap (Monday, January 14th meeting)

Vancouver City Councillors and Neighbourhood Councils 
GWAC Public Meeting Monday, 14 January 2019

Activity Room, Britannia Ice Rink

Special Guest Speakers: Councillors Adriane Carr, Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick, Jean Swanson, Michael Wiebe
The meeting began at 7:00pm
D. Cromie chaired the meeting and began the meeting by introducing our guests.

Community Announcements
 Thursday, January 17, Grandview Heritage Club, Britannia Board Room, 7 – 9 pm.
Thursday, January 17, Grandview Garden Club, Learning Resource Centre, 7 – 9 pm
Saturday, March 17, GWAC AGM, 11:00 – 1:45 pm (Note: Time Change)

D. Cromie opens the discussion with a question about the validity and value of Grandview Woodland Community Plan (GWCP), saying that people worked diligently, in good faith for a long time to create this plan, only to be told by city planners that the plan is a “guide” only. A guide for whom, and what does that mean? Is there a city-wide plan?
Each of the councillors present addressed the issue:

Colleen Hardwick—Ms. Hardwick began by saying she was elected to represent the people of Vancouver, all of them and had to think of our children and children’s children when making decisions. She calls for creation of a new city-wide planning process (the last was in the early 1990’s and she would re-visit those plans).  Ms. Hardwick claims that councillors recognize there has been a lot of top down directives and that they want to put forward an antidote to that style of governance. She wants to start on a positive note—make a plan that takes into account the nuances of each community.

Adriane Carr–Thanks GWAC for the invitation to speak, noting that Grandview Woodland always has packed meetings. Ms. Carr went on to explain that her 1st motion this year was to call for a new city-wide plan (the first city-wide plan was created in 1928/29). She says that City Councillors worked together to make this motion a true collaboration.  She would like to use neighbourhood plans to inform the city-wide plan and to set some goals by asking what kind of city do citizens want? Ms. Carr believes council must ask citizens the big questions: How do we make a city-wide plan. How do we organize it? What should the process of consultation look like?

Michael Wiebe–He said he understands the community plans creation process because he worked on the Mount Pleasant Community Plan and was a member of its Implementation Committee. Mr. Wiebe related how his neighbours were frustrated as they saw proposal after proposal failing to follow the neighbourhood plan, despite the thousands of hours spent on developing it. Recognizing that the process was so broken, Mr. Wiebe ran for council. He felt no one at City Hall acknowledged or implemented the good ideas that came from the community. As a consequence, valuable ideas and time were lost.

Lisa Dominato She started by citing her background in the Hastings Sunrise area and in public planning. Ms. Dominato insists that public planning needs local input to succeed but that the “big picture” also must be acknowledged (transit, other infrastructure, diversity, etc.). She said that neighbourhood nuances need to be considered.

Jean Swanson Ms. Swanson related her experiences as a member of the Downtown East Side (DTES) Planning Committee, five-years ago. She does not think there is much to celebrate in this plan, noting that all involved must acknowledge problems with implementation and insist that the neighbourhood plan has value and is recorded. Ms. Swanson urged the audience to be sure what they really want is translated back to council. Her key concerns, however, are for tenants and housing affordability. She is the “go-to person” for this issue. Ms. Swanson wants needs to be met and cited the Kettle Friendship’s dire need for affordable housing. She wants to see that the Kettle gets the housing it so needs and without the towers. 

Questions from the Floor

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