MetroVanWatch just noticed a link this week on the Metro Vancouver website’s meeting agenda page saying “Board Live Webcast.” The previous Board meeting was apparently a test, but for the second time in history, on July 27, the Metro Vancouver Board meeting will be webcast. It starts on Friday at 9:30 am.
We confirmed with Media Relations that Metro Vancouver Board meetings will now be available for the world to see by Internet on streaming web video. For this, we say THANK YOU! But we have also learned that video archives are not being made available online, and there is currently no video streaming of committee meetings.
ACTION: Write to Board Chair Greg Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) showing appreciation for video streaming of board meetings, and encouraging him to push for online archives of all video, and the same video streaming for all committee meetings, as well as Metro Vancouver public hearings.
MetroVanWatch comment: Having web video at least for board meetings is a good step forward. The Metro region is large, and all these important meetings are held at the Metro Vancouver headquarters in Burnaby. They are also held during working hours. As a bureuacracy serving the more than two million citizens in the region, with a budget of about a billion dollars a year from taxpayers, the organization must be more transparent and accountable. We learned during the process resulting in the Regional Growth Strategy bylaw last year that the committees and board could work in relative secrecy and began more than a year ago calling or web video at Metro Vancouver. Media coverage of the final stages of development of the RGS was virtually nil. Very few members of the public followed the committee and board deliberations in 2010 and 2011. We have learned from Metro staff that there are normally no video records of those meetings, so the only video that exists may be what we at MetroVanWatch recorded, a portion of which we have posted online. However, Metro Vancouver apparently did record sound from some meetings, and to obtain any we had to make formal requests under Freedom of Information legislation, which we did in some cases.
Live streamed web video will facilitate better oversight. But the public needs to continue pushing for archive video and for coverage of committee meetings and public hearings. Many of the municipalities in the Metro region have this already. It’s time for Metro Vancouver to do so too.
Citizens need to also inquire at their own municipal government offices about how Metro directors report back to other elected officials on their own city councils. And how this information gets reported to local citizens, if at all. We learned that during the development of the Regional Growth Strategy, directors representing Vancouver did NOT share documents and did NOT report to the other members of City Council. And in the case of Vancouver, all six directors were then and are now with Vision Vancouver, which means that any elected officials outside that party did not have adequate access to information and could not serve their electors properly.
While we’re at it, we should mention that the next Board meeting will be on July 27. The agenda is here for download. http://www.metrovancouver.org/BOARDS/Pages/BoardsCommittees
On the agenda, we note an amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy, requested by the Village of Anmore. And below we note a few other interesting items on the agenda for July 27, excerpts below.
Metro Vancouver Board of Directors Meeting
At Headquarters Building, 9:30 am, Friday, July 27, 2012
AGENDA ITEM E1.1
1.1 Financial Projections for 2013 to 2017
MetroVanWatch note: Metro Vancouver’s annual budget is about a billion dollars. Taxpayers take note.
AGENDA ITEM E1.2
2013 Metro Vancouver Programs and Budget Consultation
Recommendation is that the Board receive for information the report titled “2013 Metro Vancouver Programs and Budget Consultation” dated July 17, 2012.
AGENDA ITEM E1.3
Metro Vancouver Response to the Provincial Carbon Tax Review
Recommendation is that the Board send a letter to the B.C. Minister of Finance communicating Metro Vancouver’s support for the carbon tax as approved in the Integrated Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Management Plan and request the Province consult with Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities on any significant changes to the carbon tax subsequent to this current consultation period.
MetroVanWatch note: Document is an interesting read.
AGENDA ITEM G1. 1. Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Amendment Bylaw No. 1168, 2012
MetroVanWatch note: Below are excerpts from the process for Anmore’s amendment to the RGS. This might be interesting as a small case study for people watching the RGS. Anmore village wants to make a small change. This case shows the process of notice, public hearing, etc., which should be standard procedure for any municipality that wants to make a change to the RGS. Note that not a single person from the public attended the public hearing. Citizens in each municipality need to watch for notices of further changes to the RGS and be ready to analyze and get involved to ensure the public voice is heard.
EXCERPTS THAT INDICATE THE PROCESS OF AMENDMENTS TO THE RGS:
Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Amendment Bylaw No. 1168, 2012
Metro Vancouver has received a formal request from the Village of Anmore Council to amend the Regional Growth Strategy. This amendment would change the regional land use designation of a proposed middle school site from Rural to Urban and include the site within the Urban Containment Boundary. The amendment would enable the extension of regional sewer services to the proposed School District 43 middle school building site.
Public Hearing: On Friday, May 25, 2012, the board gave first and second reading to the Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Amendment Bylaw No. 1168, 2012, and delegated the authority to hold the public hearing to the Board Directors who are appointed to the Metro Vancouver committee responsible for Planning and Agriculture matters.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Local Government Act, the notice of public hearing was published in consecutive editions of the Vancouver Sun on June 13 and 14, 2012. Additionally, notification of the public hearing was mailed, in accordance with the Village of Anmore practice, to all neighbouring property owners and residents.
On Wednesday, June 20, 2012 a public hearing was held in the 2nd floor boardroom, 4330 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC. There were no members of the public in attendance at the Public Hearing wishing to speak in connection with Bylaw 1168. One written submission was made and it was supportive of the proposed Bylaw.