Earlier this week, the Provincial government introduced amendments to the Local Government Act that will reduce public consultation on zoning and planning matters and increase even more (if that were possible) the insider influence of developers. To quote the government:
“The proposed changes will remove the default requirement for local governments to hold public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments that are consistent with the official community plan. The amendments will also enable municipalities and regional districts to delegate decisions on minor development variance permits to local government staff.”
The matter is well covered in an article in the Georgia Straight today, primarily with an interview with the always excellent Randy Helten of CityHallWatch.
Vancouver operates outside the Local Government Act but , as I mentioned in my own interview with the paper: “What [the Province is] doing is catching with what Vancouver has already done, which is to reduce public engagement as much as they can.”
The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, which the City now uses to cover a multitude of sins and as an excuse to restrict public engagement, was never a community-driven process. It began as a Planners’ plan and ended the same way as I described in my book “Battleground: Grandview“. Local activists say the same thing about the West End Plan, the Marpole Plan, the DTES Plan.
Pretty soon we will have the Broadway Plan and, eventually, the Vancouver Plan, all of which will be manipulated in the same developer-first way unless we radically change the membership of City Council and, they in turn, instruct Planners to heed the needs of local residents first and profit-driven developers a distant second.