As a community activist one of the first things you learn is that the Vision dominated council is not interested in hearing from you. They don’t want to know what you have to say and it is assumed by many that their decisions on development projects and urban planning have been decided by them and their cronies well before any meaningful public input or response can be gathered.
In the not too distant past, at least, this elitist we-know-best attitude also permeated a number of important civic departments, especially planning. Their methodology shifted, over the course of a decade or more, from a bottom-up City Plan approach to a top-down EcoDensity insistence that those at the top can do the thinking for those at the bottom, i.e., the residents of the neighbourhood about to be pillaged and altered beyond recognition.
That’s the case today, and oddly enough, it was also the case in 1910. In that year, the engineering department wanted to radically alter the shape and appearance of Salsbury Drive (the details are not germane, but can be found here). However, as the “Vancouver World” reported, the residents were outraged:
“They protested. They signed petitions. They went down to city hall. They got a committee of the board of works to look over the situation again. It was all useless. Wilful board must have its way.”
And by that September, the “World” was able to say that the work had been a disaster and city taxpayers and property owners both will be on the hook for “more thousands than have already been spent” to fix.
Does it make me feel angry that residents have been messed around here for more than a hundred years, and therefore it is somehow “normal” in Vancouver? Or do I feel the cold dread that this will keep going on until the people of our city wake up and realise that Vision Vancouver is the developer’s plaything and not your friend?
Either way, things have to change.