Coming to Vancouver City Council from staff sometime real soon now are the parameters of a Citywide Plan process. It promises to be the manifestation in studies, debate, framing and motions of the biggest issue facing the city and its leaders: Housing. What else.
It’s also a divide soon to be made real and brought into the open. It’s the class divide, where class-based exclusionary zoning has locked up most of the City of Vancouver’s land for low density forms. And both sides of the divide are represented on council.
With thanks to Frances Bula, whose tenacity and endurance are astonishing, we see the initial skirmishes at council, complete with predatory delay tactics:
In my mind, the lines have been drawn.
As Ken Sim (NPA mayoral candidate) says, the preservationist NPA wants to give a density and development veto to any and all neighbourhood associations.
Meanwhile, Kennedy Stewart (Mayor) and Gil Kelley (General Manager, Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability) seem to favour a Citywide Plan for everyone in the city, including people who don’t live here yet.
Kelley has ideas about what that public engagement process will look like. It should include not just people who already live in a neighbourhood, but people who might live there in the future. That might even include people who don’t live in Vancouver right now . . .
Kelley said the public consultation process needs to be designed to deeply involve residents, but also set out parameters that will make it clear all neighbourhoods are expected to accommodate population growth.
“The framing instructions for the community dialogue have to say, as you solve for your neighbourhood, how are you addressing the projected level of growth that we will allocate to the neighbourhood,” Kelley said. “And how are you providing options for multi-generational living, but also affordability.”
With thanks to Jen St. Denis the Star Vancouver.
And OneCity councilor Christine Boyle prefers “. . . fighting for low and modest income residents to live in every neighbourhood across the city.” A.K.A. “Every neighbourhood for everyone”. It’s sort of a wide gulf.
And the convolutions and conundrums get broader and deeper, as one faction tries to nudge the Citywide Plan process towards being neighbourhood-centric. A.K.A. “Keeping it exclusive.”
For me, it’s the bigger-than-everything-else thing to watch in Vancouver as this new council slogs onwards.
But to quote Gil Kelley again, via Jen St. Denis:
He expects the public consultation process for a citywide plan to take 18 to 20 months, and the finished plan to be ready in three to four years.