In a well-argued piece on his blog yesterday, COPE’s Tim Louis writes about the public hearing so disastrously chaired by Clr. Raymond Louie about the Cresswell development on Commercial & 18th in Cedar Cottage. This was always going to be a divisive hearing about an important issue concerning development on arterial roads. Activists from Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours and from across the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods network had been discussing the hearing for some time before the event.
At the hearing, most resident speakers spoke against the development, and Louie made decisions as chair that clearly breached common sense and the City’s Procedure By-Law. In the end, the three NPA Councillors along with Green Clr. Adrianne Carr stormed out of the hearing, bringing it to a close due to lack of quorum. Joseph Jones has reported some of the goings on. Oddly, this was the first hearing in living memory when Vision Vancouver had failed to show up with a majority (the Mayor and three others were missing). There was something fishy going on from the off.
Tim Louis’s point in his post today is the Vision regime’s handling of public participation in public hearings has deteriorated over the years, and this anti-democratic behaviour is now institutionalized in the rules of Procedure passed by that same Vision majority.
It is these same anti-community rules that will constrain the way Grandview residents will be able to formally challenge the Boffo Tower proposal and, even more importantly, the redrafted Grandview Community Plan later this year.
It is from a series of such seemingly innocuous (by themselves) administrative changes that totalitarianism is made to work. They beat you down not with the barrel of the gun but with the letter of the law.