Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver wishes Vancouver a wonderful 2013. On January 15, in “Is saving the Waldorf a first step to preserving both the city’s body and soul?” Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham refers to new alliances being created by NSV. Stay tuned for a busy year in civic affairs. Here are just a few of the issues on the radar for Vancouver in the coming months.
Everyone is encouraged to watch these carefully and let our officials know what you think:
- Community Plan processes are now underway in four neighbourhoods (Downtown Eastside, Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, and the West End). The City should make a greater effort to raise public awareness of the details and importance of these processes. Citizens should get more involved. Council decisions made later this year will affect civic finances and tax bills and guide change in our neighbourhoods for the next several decades. This administration is far too close to the real estate development industry, which provides much of their political funding. Without sufficient engagement and pushback from citizens the new Community Plans will be tailored to primarily serve those interests.
- In December the public heard for the first time about plans by city manager Penny Ballem to unilaterally dictate new operating “agreements” between the Parks Board and the Community Centre Associations (CCA). The purpose of this unprecedented attack on the authority of the Parks Board and the locally elected CCA boards is to gain control of funds raised by the CCAs and revenues generated by the centres. Community centre facilities and programs are of vital importance. Instead of undercutting local initiative by confiscating the CCA’s well-managed funds for redistribution or for other purposes, Council and Parks Board should help all CCAs obtain sufficient resources to serve the needs of their neighbourhoods. This is yet another example of an administration that has steadily centralized control in the hands of a few while reducing transparency, accountability and meaningful public involvement in decision making. Citizens must actively oppose this trend. NSV is committed to the restoration of civic democracy in Vancouver .
- By the end of July, Vancouver City Council must adopt a “Regional Context Statement” (a detailed land-use plan) that by law must comply with Metro Vancouver’s new “Regional Growth Strategy.” Vancouver citizens have heard nothing about this RCS yet, and media are not giving it attention, but we believe that already last year, City staff and Council were slotting pieces into place without telling the public what’s really going on — the work of the Mayor’s Task Force Force on Housing Affordability, the “Interim” Rezoning Policy affecting all arterial streets in Vancouver, the Transportation 2040 plan, the Norquay neighbourhood planning process (new zoning bylaws will be used as a precedent, cookie cutter for all of Vancouver), and the four community planning processes now underway. This violates the spirit and policies of CityPlan.