The Scene at 6th & Commercial

January 31, 2014

JJ Bean

I am a member of a number of neighbourhood email groups and recently one of them has been alive with discussions about what is or isn’t happening in the back patio/parking lot of JJ Bean Coffee Shop at 6th & Commercial, and around the Post Office building across the street. About half the folks posting say there is a problem with aggressive behaviour and, perhaps, drugs, while the other half are saying they don’t see a problem and a laissez-faire rapprochement is the best solution.

This is highly reminiscent of the public meeting we had last month about Victoria Park.

In view of the concerns expressed and the obvious differences of opinion, Community Policing Constable Mike Lemon has organized a meeting to discuss these issues. It will take place at 6:30pm on Wednesday 19th February at the Britannia Learning Centre under the south side of the Library.  The City, JJ Bean, and the Post Office have been invited to attend.

All residents are welcome.

Happy Chinese New Year

January 31, 2014


The Ups and Downs of Civic Engagement

January 30, 2014

My day began with a wonderfully constructive and productive meeting with several members of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods — not to mention a very fine breakfast at Adeline’s on the Drive.  The meeting was full of great ideas and companionship and the sharing of news from across the City. Made me feel good.

But when I got home at noon I discovered the City of Vancouver had released the Final Report of the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force.  What could be wrong with that you might well ask. After all, I am always going on about improving community engagement.  Well, this Final Report on engaging residents was created without the members of the Task Force or its staff meeting with any of the city’s local Residents’ Associations.  That is just nuts!

I have skimmed the Report and am now going through it in detail, and I know I’ll be writing more about it.  But how can it be taken seriously when they didn’t even try to communicate with the locals who deal with the problems of civic engagement on a daily basis?

Very disappointing.


The View Through

January 30, 2014

The View Through

Interviews, On and Off

January 29, 2014

On Monday, I had a long chat about the Citizens’ Assembly with Yolande Cole of the Georgia Straight which was included in this piece today.

This morning, I chatted with Jane Bouey on Coop Radio, which I always enjoy immensely, even though it is usually really early.  Today, we covered the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods’ position on the West End rezoning, and our own Assembly. You can hear it here, starting at about 49mins:

I was also supposed to be part of a meeting with Heather Redfern of the Cultch about her desire to demolish the heritage Green House beside the theatre.  Unfortunately, I was waiting almost four hours to meet with my doctor at the clinic and missed it.  Luckily, Penny Street, Michael Kluckner and Bruce Macdonald were there to stick-handle it in fine fashion.

Upon Reflection: Marine Building #1

January 29, 2014

upon reflection_Marine Building I

Public Participation Helps (Of Course)

January 28, 2014

Thanks to Francis Bula for pointing us to this article from last November which I would certainly not have seen otherwise.

The article refers to a theory that shows including public participation, what we like to call community engagement, speeds the implementation of new ideas.

Creighton’s theory compares two types of decisions: Unilateral and Public Participation. Unilateral decisions result in a quicker decision being made, but implementation time can take significantly longer because of legal issues, controversy, or other delays. Conversely, a decision made with public participation increases the amount of time it takes to make a decision, however, that time and much more is made up in the implementation process. Thus, including more voices at the table results in a more efficient and timely process compared to unilateral decisions.


They include a graph to illustrate the point:



The example they use in the article is about bike share in Los Angeles.  But the theory seems to be useful for all development and planning decision making.