Community consultation — city-owned lands and neighbourhoods

Community consultation — city-owned lands and neighbourhoods

Update, June 12th:
The city now has an online survey for your feedback, link here. Unfortunately, the survey is designed to force answers to certain questions (i.e., mandatory), such as ranking your preferences from the limited choices provided. If your idea or choice is different, and you do not answer the question, you cannot submit your feedback online.
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Communication-barrier

 

 

 

The first “Community Fair” open house to discuss the future of city-owned land will be held in less than one week, on Saturday, June 11, 2016. City calendar link here.

Our elected council will not be in attendance at this, or other, consultation events.

On May 10, 2016, council (in a 4:3 split vote) considered a motion to ban any member of council from attending community input opportunities. The idea is “to prevent unduly influencing the range and types of feedback offered by the public.”

This motion may be well-intended, but have unintended consequences in terms of creating barriers between those elected to serve the community and the community itself.

It’s not clear what interactions are permitted and what are not.

If council cannot attend public input events such as the upcoming open houses on city-owned land, should members of council be permitted to engage on Facebook, other social media, email, telephone, in-person, or other methods of communication?

For example, is this okay?  Five days after the council decision, the following was posted on a Port Moody Facebook discussion group on the topic of city-owned lands.

Mike Clay – what if you could sell 1 unit of city land and use the proceeds to by 3 or 4 units ? is that good use of city money ? or better to sit on land and completely devalue it ?

It would be useful to have clarification on what’s OK, what’s not OK, and the reasons why.

The meeting agenda, minutes, and video from council’s May 10th meeting can be accessed here.

Excerpt from minutes:
AND THAT members of Council not attend the Community Fairs on City Land Strategies for Inlet Centre (June 11, 2016), Kyle Centre (June 25, 2016), and Former Barnet Landfill (Fall 2016), as well as other public consultations that have already been approved, that is, Coronation Park and Moody Centre, to prevent unduly influencing the range and types of feedback offered by the public;

Related:
Public lands consultation — former fire hall, works yard, Kyle Centre, Barnet landfill (with publicly-owned lands map link)
Public Consultation Plan for the Review of Land Use Policies in the Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development Area
Coronation Park Neighbourhood Plan Open House
Aragon proposal back to the drawing board (and the importance of public input)

Of interest:
Don’t Leave City Planning to the Planners
Why non-experts should have last say in changing neighbourhoods.
By Michael Kluckner, June 3, 2016, TheTyee.ca

Excerpts:
“Who should have the last say in our cities’ planning decisions, the planner experts or the non-expert citizens who must live with the results?
[…]
Why is public involvement necessary? Because the public is essentially skeptical and conservative — they are the only people whose interests in cities extend beyond the economic and ideological. The public provides a necessary brake on the swings of fashion that bedevil the practice of planning and land development.
[…]
Planners, and their bosses, are addicted to change: neighbourhoods may work in practice but if they don’t work in theory they get “planned for the future.” Fixing things that aren’t broken is a way of destroying the natural evolution of cities. Without the check-and-balance of empowered citizens, you get a situation like the 1950s and 1960s, which is on the verge of happening again. It’s called “green” now; it looked exactly the same but was called “progress” then.

However, I’m not making an argument for no change, but an argument for citizens as partners who are given the same status as planners. City-building is like a three-legged stool: planners, the public, and the property industry. If any leg gets too long the edifice is unstable. City Council, which sits on the stool, is then in danger of being pitched off.”

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