Last night, quite a few of us heritage-interested folks from Grandview attended a Heritage Vancouver event downtown that was about “Heritage and the Community Plans”. The evening was all about the newly-approved Plan in the West End, and the Downtown Eastside Plan that is going to Council next week. The speakers were City Planners Tom Wanklin (DTES) and Holly Sovdi West End).
Anthony Norfolk of Heritage Vancouver introduced Holly as having achieved a plan in the West End that was so perfect in its consultation that “there was no opposition to it” when it came up for approval. At the close, Norfolk said that the DTES Plan was equally splendid and that what was being said in the newspapers about the Plan was absolute rubbish (and he should know, he said, because he was closely involved in it from the beginning).
Everything between these two statements was pollyana-ish, with the two well-mannered planners giving ten minute tours of their respective Plans and then responding to questions with predictable responses. “I do so love what’s happening to the City,” exclaimed one young person – it was that kind of meeting. It is clear that among a certain crowd, Vision Vancouver and their planners have succeeded in getting the poisoned Kool-Aid into the food chain.
Norfolk’s nonsensical remarks (belied by innumerable facts that he simply ignored — or perhaps from his Olympian height he simply cannot see or understand) were just the worst of a bad bunch. We have to remember that his organization, without bothering to ask either GWAC or the Grandview Heritage Group, wrote to the City that Grandview’s “Emerging Directions” Community Plan was a promising document. They did this just a few days before the entire Plan was chucked out due to the extent of public outrage.
When they stick strictly to heritage work, Heritage Vancouver perform a wonderful service for citizens and historians alike. It would be good for them to stay quiet about more contentious public policy.