Well we had a swell meeting about the Community Plan last night. My hope was that a lot of people would get to speak their mind and I think we succeeded there in spades! There were over 200 people in a very hot room on a very warm evening, but the general mood remained respectful of everyone’s right to speak and to be heard.
We heard a lot of the residents’ complaints about specific development proposals, but even more about the utter failure of the process to this point. And that really is the point — one can argue the benefits or horrors of a particular building proposal, but if the process by which the decision is made is flawed then it doesn’t matter what the facts of the case are because the most powerful (generally the City and the developers) will always win.
When I started to organize this meeting I was advised by several people that we needed to have an “expert” panel to help keep the conversation on track and useful. I’m glad we didn’t go that route because, as I always thought, the people are articulate, intelligent and don’t need steering to get their points across. There were a number of marvelous three-minute speeches last night, many that received loud ovations. People spoke from the heart about their love for our neighbourhood, some of which were downright moving.
And I can tell you that from my point of view, the people made a lot more sense than some of the responses that came from the City which often ducked and dived around the real issues. If the planners really think that by lowering the towers at Commercial & Broadway they can solve the issues of this Plan, then they will be sorely mistaken.
Many thanks to a couple of people from CityHallWatch who videotaped the meeting. The following is the only clip I have right now, but it is a good one: Shane Simpson our MLA tells the planners that sometimes a plan just fails, and this is one of those times.