Community groups protest Vancouver's EcoDensity plan

Community groups opposing Vancouver's EcoDensity plan demonstrated at city hall Tuesday, saying residents have not been properly consulted.

Community groups opposing Vancouver's EcoDensity plan demonstrated at city hall Tuesday, saying residents have not been properly consulted.

The EcoDensity charter calls for greater housing density to reduce sprawl and energy use, but the community groups said the city is using it as an excuse to rush development.

Mel Lehan, a spokesman for Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver, said the plan lacks community amenities like parks and pools, which is why the 28 different neighbourhoods in his group oppose it.

"We feel that it is not about the environment. We feel it's not very much about density. It is basically all about development," he said.

"[We] want to be involved in a process that builds a sustainable city. This process doesn't do it. It just creates a development city and we want so much more than that. We want good transportation. We want affordability."

Coun. Suzanne Anton said the city has consulted the public for nearly two years and she's "mystified" why anyone would oppose the charter now.

Vancouverites will benefit from greater density, Anton insists.

"If you don't allow any growth and you pull up the drawbridge, our prices would go sky high," she said.

"We do need to be able to allow for a certain amount of growth to create affordability."

City council will host a hearing next week to see what residents think about the plan. More than 80 people have signed up to speak so far.