ACTION: Target Vancouver on Regional Growth Strategy now (in council Thursday)

The Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy is a major bylaw that will affect land use decisions in the entire region for the next generation and more. A very critical moment is coming this Thursday at a 2 pm meeting when Vancouver Council (with over 23% of the weighted vote in Metro Vancouver) will discuss the RGS. For background on the RGS, please see our website, and see the “most recent best summary” link near the top as well as video of Richmond Councillor Harold Steves about the threats posed by the RGS. Tomorrow we will post new material, including responses to some of the typical messaging coming from staff and councillors defending the RGS.

UPDATE: Yesterday, Surrey accepted the RGS, in effect, by stealth. Richmond also accepted the RGS without advance warning in an evening meeting. The Township of Langley deferred a decision for one week. More updates on other municipalities’ status is on our website.

ACTION: We urge you to read the text below and write to Vancouver Mayor and Council (addresses at bottom)–whether or not you live in Vancouver. Also, please spread the word to anyone in Metro Vancouver. If you are able, please sign up to speak to council in person, 2 pm, Thursday, Vancouver City Hall. You can even attend on the day and speak.

The bottom line is that the RGS still has too many problems, and Vancouver Council should do the right thing by getting an extension and holding a meaningful discussion with the public.

Sincerely, Randy Helten, Coordinator, www.MetroVanWatch.ca

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References:

Agenda for Thursday meeting (Vancouver Council):  http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110303/penv20110303ag.htm

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Suggested messaging to Vancouver City Council for discussion about Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy, 2 pm, Thursday, March 3, 2011.

PREAMBLE

l  The Regional Growth Strategy is the most important document ever created by Metro Vancouver, a region of over 20 municipalities and over 2 million people.

l  Although this important bylaw has been in the works for several years, public consultation was mainly done in the early stages, and many of the most critical aspects took shape in the final months when planners of each municipality negotiated the most critical details. The public across the region have not been meaningfully involved in the final, most important part of the process.

CORE MESSAGE

Vote NO. – We urge Vancouver City Council to vote against acceptance of the Regional Growth Strategy.

Request extension – Request an extension of the municipal RGS process as per section 857(4)(b) of the Local Government Act.

Request independent analysis – Request professional independent analysis of the governance, legal, financial, environmental and social implications of the RGS.

Inform and dialogue with the public – Providing an extension will permit the citizens of Vancouver to engage in a meaningful dialogue based on the independent analysis.

Substantive issues – The following substantive issues require clarification and public dialogue:

Ø  The RGS will likely fail to meet many of its stated objectives.

Ø  The RGS will promote urban sprawl, and threaten green space and agricultural land.

Ø  The RGS will transfer land use authority over urban areas from municipalities to the region with undo influence of the unelected bureaucracy of TransLink.

Ø  The RGS will be illegal, as current text as it relates to certain ALR land violates the Agricultural Land Commission Act.

Ø  The RGS will add a layer of bureaucracy and costs to municipalities and their taxpayers.

Ø  Citizens of Vancouver have not yet received an independent analysis of the governance, legal, financial, environmental and social implications of the RGS, which we believe will be large.

In conclusion – We urge Council to get an extension of the acceptance period to allow more time to address the many serious problems with the RGS.

Send to: mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca, gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca, suzanne.anton@vancouver.ca, george.chow@vancouver.ca, kerry.jang@vancouver.ca, andrea.reimer@vancouver.ca, Ellen.Woodsworth@vancouver.ca, tim.stevenson@vancouver.ca, geoff.meggs@vancouver.ca, david.cadman@vancouver.ca, heather.deal@vancouver.ca, raymond.louie@vancouver.ca

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MetroVanWatch (www.MetroVanWatch.ca), citizenYVR@gmail.com
Our dream: A socially, environmentally, agriculturally sustainable “Metro Vancouver” (2.5 million in 22 municipalities). Our focus now: Problems with the “Regional Growth Strategy.”
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About cityhallwatch

Citizens concerned about public benefits arising from decisions at Vancouver's City Hall.
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