1. How many projects and units have been approved since the date of the WECP?
2. How many projects and units are under application but not yet approved?
3. What CAC’s have been secured to date?
4. Where are CAC’s being allocated and how do they benefit life in the West End?
5. How much social housing and rental housing has been created?
6. How many existing rental units have been demolished or are proposed to be demolished?
7. How much density from the heritage density bank has been absorbed in the West End?
8. Are the approved projects, including laneway infill project, complying with guidelines in the WECP and achieving outcomes that were suggested in the plan?
9. What is the City doing to reduce construction impacts and protect quality of life?
10. Who can residents speak with when things go wrong on construction projects?
Making deliberative democracy possible
The rezoning of property without a consideration of the cost to the lives of those affected and the character and experience of the community militates against our interests in creating community and creating a better future for our communities in our neighbourhoods, in the city, and in the region. I think we would do well to focus our attention and creative energy on the planning process, particularly in such a rapidly changing and complex world where so much is at stake.
The communities in the west end who have an interest and are playing an active role in contributing to creating a better future for the community are not alone in their concerns and enterprise. I think there is a great opportunity and a significant contribution the communities in the west end could make to everyone’s interests in exploring for and finding better ways to do things in planning community development, starting with where we are now, how we got here, what we can learn from our experience and what our creative interests are within the context of the creative interests of the communities we are part of and contributing to and benefiting from.
Because this is an important issue of concern, we could focus our creative exploration on zoning practices, rezoning practices, and zoning administration and the costs, benefits, and consequences of what we are doing and how we are doing things, along with the distribution of public resources related to zoning changes, and how these practices contribute to and militate against our community and creative interests.
What are best practices in the context of our common interests as communities and our interests in creating our communities for our future? What are our best practices in Vancouver? What best practices can we explore in other communities in the Greater Vancouver region, – in Canada, – in other urban communities around the world?
Ray Spaxman recently observed
The city has decided to produce a plan for the future. People are wondering how the City of Vancouver will undertake what should be one of the most influential achievements of the 21st Century – the preparation of our Plan for the Future. Will this coming century be a time when successive populations will say, “How fortunate we are that at the start of this century the Council of that time had the foresight and ability to create and implement a continuous planning process that has successfully enabled Vancouver to flourish in times of unprecedented technological, social, economic and political change”.
Hopefully, as we learn more from City Hall about how they intend to involve us all in such a process, we will be able to participate as positively as possible in an exciting city wide process of building a community that can handle future change, however that might occur.
He referenced Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability who said recently:
“This is an opportunity to look quite broadly and quite deeply into the city’s future, – so I would say policies—whether they are recent or old—are fair game for review. I think this exercise, honestly, is more than a review of existing bylaws and plans. It’s an opportunity to actually think bigger than Vancouver has done in generations, perhaps”.
I think putting a system and a process in place to make deliberative democracy possible is the only way I see us being able to make a better future for ourselves. Governments cannot create deliberative democracy. The best we can do is insist our governments create an environment which contributes to making deliberative democracy possible.
Holding the City to Promises made in the West End Plan
Mayor-elect Stewart prefaced his response by stating “The West End has got it right for so long,” and said he really understands this community. He cited Mole Hill as a beacon for how this neighbourhood should work and said he thinks it (Mole Hill) is “encapsulated in the Plan that we have.” He stated that “There is no other neighbourhood in Vancouver that’s under more stress than the West End. There’s so much pressure to develop because people are used to development here, but it can’t all just be in the West End.” He ended by mentioning plans to bring in a renters’ advocate because the “West End is a renter’s neighbourhood. And we have to protect renters here and that’s what I’ll do if I’m mayor.”
According to the city’s 2016 census, the West End, with 80% renters, is a diverse community with a blend of buildings that also includes equity co-ops and housing cooperatives. The 2016 median income was $51,410 and the community, along with the downtown area, has carried 50% of the city’s density for decades.
West End Action Now
We are a group of West End residents who were involved in the development of Vancouver’s West End Community Plan. We know what we agreed to and we understand the repercussions of the city’s current interpretation. We are concerned by what we are seeing.
West End Neighbours
West End Neighbours has the following mission: To enhance and celebrate the quality of life, the distinct, diverse character and the heritage of the West End, a livable neighbourhood between downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park. We accomplish this by influencing policy decisions and ensuring change is based on evolving community needs, is neighbourly and respectful and reflects relevant and timely engagement with residents.
The promotion of community engagement in decisions affecting the neighbourhood is one of our key themes. The West End is a densely populated urban community in Vancouver, with a population of about 46,000 people and a history of over 100 years.
We are currently gearing up for a five-year review of the West End Community Plan adopted in November 2013 and a look forward. We aim to ensure that the City of Vancouver engaged in this process.
The West End Journal
The West End Journal is the only media outlet exclusively serving Vancouver’s West End community, residents, and businesses. We define our West End as extending west from Burrard Street, from shore to shore. Davie Village, English Bay, The Robson and Denman neighbourhood, Coal Harbour, and the Robson High Street are the cornerstones of our community.
City of Vancouver West End Community Plan
The West End is a liveable neighbourhood that is home to a unique mix of people and places.
It is a community that features a range of housing, land use, heritage buildings, transportation options, and amenities.
Because demand for new development is growing, we have prepared a community plan to ensure that future growth in the West End meets the needs of the community.
In 2013, community members supported a set of emerging and refined plan directions, including the West End Community Values, which helped shape the community plan. The plan focuses on neighbourhood character, housing, local business, heritage, transportation, and parking.
Vancouver to embark on new City plan process
Vancouver City Council has directed staff to expedite the development of a city-wide plan.
“Creating a long-term plan that takes into account the needs of all residents – current and future – is a positive and proactive way to collectively guide our future,”
Mayor Kennedy Stewart
Overview of Key Planning Themes
Although the West End is already a livable and sustainable community, it faces a series of challenges related to the potential loss of neighbourhood character, housing affordability and availability, local business viability, the risk of losing important heritage buildings, and the need to renew aging public facilities. While some of these challenges are bigger than can be addressed by the community plan alone, the plan aligns with other City and regional plans to provide directions and actions that can address
these important challenges.
From NIMBY to YIMBY
Vancouver’s Cityplan process
Dr Ann McAfee, Co-Director of Planning 1994-2006
City of Vancouver
Improving sustainability in the context of limited land and funds and many demands places pressure on city councils to make difficult choices. Policies to make more efficient use of existing infrastructure and provide housing choice in established neighbourhoods often pit existing residents against newcomers. In the mid-1990s Vancouver Council was faced with a NIMBY-YIMBY debate. Over three years Vancouver involved 100,000 people in identifying and directing city choices. This talk will describe the Vancouver engagement process, successes in finding shared values for change, and challenges in maintaining momentum in the context of changing political directions.
As Co-Director of Planning from 1994-2006, Dr. McAfee led Vancouver’s CityPlan process. Since ‘retiring’ Ann has worked internationally advising on policy planning and public engagement. As advisor to Auckland’s Unitary Plan, Ann advanced public engagement methods using social media. Dr. McAfee is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, a member of Lambda Alpha International Honorary Land Economics Society, and co-recipient of the Kevin Lynch award for distinguished planning practice. Ann is an Adjunct Professor of Planning at UBC.
Denman and West Neighbours Community Association
The West End is a welcoming community filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. Renowned for livability, affordability, and sociability, it offers a vibrant home to individuals and families in Vancouver. Its walkability, proximity to services and shopping, plus surrounding natural beauty provide an idyllic urban setting for residents and tourists alike. And we cherish it. But it is threatened. Daily.
West End needs a formal community association. Residents and local organizations met to discuss the current situation and concluded that to shape development for the future we need a powerful and effective community association to represent the community’s viewpoint. This community association needs to rise above political party affiliations and emphasize common goals for all residents in a respectful, collaborative manner.