Public Engagement IS the Problem

There are a great many things wrong with the way Vancouver City Hall works today: the fact that we have political parties in municipal government (unlike any other city in Canada); immoral and secretive political financing rules; the at-large system; the fact that the ruling regime acts as cronies for the development industry; the historical fact that, due to the previous issue, the regime refuses to listen to the citizens in our neighbourhoods.

The combination of these structural and political problems has brought us to the dire situation we face today with housing unaffordability, an unworkable vacancy rate for rentals, increasing homelessness, and frustrated citizens who know that however strong their case their point of view will be ignored if it clashes with the greed of developers.

This last problem may be discussed at a forum called “Can Public Engagement Change Systems” to be held at SFU Harbour Centre on 6th October from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

Registration and further details can be found here.


3 Responses to Public Engagement IS the Problem

  1. David Carman says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one, Jak. Public engagement with the current city administration is a farce, unless of course your view already aligns with council and the development industry.

    Public engagement in Vancouver is simply a PR move, so that council can tell the media their decisions are a by-product of consultation.

    Even more disturbing is that city council and planners have the audacity to claim their decisions have strong public support even if the aforementioned public consultation clearly shows the complete opposite.

  2. artitectus says:

    The thing to ensure though is that ‘public engagement’ ends up actually being representative of the public. Seattle just changed its rules to take power away from neighbourhood groups for the exact reason that they weren’t representative anyway.

    • David Carman says:

      In my experience neighbourhood groups in Vancouver are powerless regardless if one thinks they are representative or not. The only group that seems to have any significant influence over council in public consultation is the development industry and they certainly are not representative of the public as a whole.

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