MetroVanWatch initial report. At the Special Meeting of the Metro Van Board on April 8, this is what happened:
- Directors rejected the only public request to speak (by CityHallWatch/ MetroVanWatch), for fear they (or Metro Van) could be sued for hearing from the public on the RGS Bylaw, blaming legislation relating to Public Hearings. [Note that, in what appears to be a strategic attempt to to use this excuse as a shield and mute public input in exactly this kind of scenario, the Board had voluntarily chosen last year to adopt a Public Hearing process. The Public Hearing was entirely voluntary.) [For this meeting, Metro Vancouver failed to arrange to have a lawyer present to answer legal questions, but Metro’s top official Carliner admitted that this was a gray area between second and third readings of the Bylaw, saying you never know if there was a risk until too late. Both the Metro Chair (Delta’s Lois Jackson) and Mr. Carliner strongly emphasized how risky it was for the Directors to hear from the waiting speaker, for fear the speaker might say something unexpectedly that might get them sued.]. Result: No speaker.
- After many opinions were exchanged, the Directors voted to accept the staff proposal with no changes — that is, to tell the BC Minister responsible that the Board seeks binding arbitration with Coquitlam (which has rejected several parts of the RGS). This is equivalent to using a hammer to get Coquitlam to accept the RGS.
We are making note of the performance of Metro Vancouver at every stage. The meeting schedule almost appears to have been designed to Coquitlam’s disadvantage. It began just after 9 am. The entire morning was taken up by a “Workshop — Pre Budget Presentation” (no time limit was set), after which it was necessary to take a lunch break until about 12:15. Most of Coquitlam’s City Council had attended the meeting from the start to show their support for their Mayor, but had to leave before their topic came up. The meeting dragged on. Upon resumption, a dwindled number of observers present. Dedicated media also remained to cover this topic. Finally, the most critical business at hand came up (Coquitlam’s rejection of the RGS). The results of the Board decision disappointed Coquitlam. The discussion now turns to Victoria. In due course, we will post audio and video of this meeting here.
Some media coverage:
Metro wants hammer to end growth plan impasse
Metro Vancouver to pursue arbitration on growth strategy
Municipalities gear up for fight
[Burnaby Mayor] Corrigan lashes Metro Vancouver growth plan holdouts