British Columbia

Vancouver kicks off public consultation on first citywide plan in a generation

Approved by council in one of its first acts after the 2018 election, the three-year, $18-million project will create planning guidelines for all of Vancouver — rather than individual neighbourhoods — as had been the case in the city for decades. 

City seeking input on what to include on issues like affordability and climate change

The city says it will hold meetings with hundreds of groups in the next six months and hopes to receive feedback from over 10,000 people through its online survey. (City of Vancouver)

Vancouver's chief planner explains how the city is creating the blueprint for its future by referencing a car company that hasn't existed for 15 years.

"Just a little reminder that this is not your grandfather's Oldsmobile," said Gil Kelley on Thursday, as the city kicked off public meetings for its first citywide plan in a generation. 

Approved by council in one of its first acts after the 2018 election, the three-year, $18 million project will create planning guidelines for all of Vancouver — rather than individual neighbourhoods as has been the case in the city for decades. 

But Kelley said the plan wouldn't be a traditional — or "Oldsmobile" — land-use plan that focuses on rules for what can and can't be built on different parcels of land.

"We mean to take on issues of climate change, of affordability, of inclusive society, of risks from sea level rise and earthquakes and other things that we'll be facing undoubtedly over the coming decades," he said. 

The city has launched a website as part of the consultation, which includes a survey it hopes more than 10,000 people will fill out. 

Kennedy Stewart meets with members of the city's overdose crisis Community Action Team as part of the first round of discussions for the new citywide plan. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC News)

Which voices matter?

Over the next six months, the city plans to hold hundreds of meetings with different groups about what they want to see out of the plan, with the hope of taking the feedback to create key themes and topics.

"This first phase is about listening," said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who spent his morning at a meeting at the Woodwards Building with members of the Downtown Eastside community.

"It's about hearing from citizens, jogging their minds and getting them to dream a bit ... and think, what do we want Vancouver to look like in 2050?"

Most of the meetings on Thursday paired councillors with different social or demographic groups, including Adriane Carr with members of the youth environmental group Sustainabiliteens, Michael Wiebe with business association presidents and other community leaders, and Sarah Kirby-Yung with a mix of Chinese-Canadian elders and Indigenous youth in Strathcona. 

Coun. Colleen Hardwick argues the city's plan should prioritize neighbourhood voices. (Tristan Le Rudulier/CBC News)

But Coun. Colleen Hardwick, whose meeting at a coffee and bakery shop in Kerrisdale was held with a cross-section of people coming from west side neighbourhoods, argued the focus needed to be on issues within the city's jurisdiction. 

"I would like to see on a map, you know, this is where we are going to continue to see commercial development on our our high streets," she said. 

Hardwick has created her own custom map with 50 neighbourhoods and hopes to hold meetings in each of them over the next year. 

"This is what the city plan that I envisage, that I campaigned on, was all about," she said.

"I am concerned that the broad-based values approach ... is not really taking into consideration fully the people that actually live here and work here."

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