(Updated 7-May-13) As municipalities in the Metro Vancouver region move toward adoption of their “Regional Context Statement,” which must comply with the “Regional Growth Strategy,” they are organizing consultations with their citizens. MetroVanWatch is attempting to get an overview of the status in every municipality at this point in time, though the task is not easy. Only bits and pieces of the current status are available to the public, so it is labour-intensive to put the puzzle together. If anyone at Metro Vancouver has a list of the current status, they are not telling the public.
This official web page (http://public.metrovancouver.org/planning/development/strategy/Pages/RegionalContextStatements.aspx) provides links to current Regional Context Statements and Official Development Plan for 21 local governments, but we are not aware of any up-to-date published information about current status. Written requests for this information result on no response so far. Anyone with more recent or detailed information, please e-mail citizenYVR@gmail.com for us to share online.
Here are a few bits of information we have gleaned:
- The region’s Council of Councils received a report on April 20, 2013, entitled “Update: Regional Context Statements and the Regional Growth Strategy,” presented by Derek Corrigan, Chair, Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee. He spoke from bullet point notes. MetroVanWatch is seeking more information. Council of Councils meetings are not routinely video or audio recorded. His main message was reportedly to urge municipalities to submit their RCSs.
- MetroVanWatch understands, based on communication with Metro Vancouver senior personnel, that there are no sanctions or penalties in the event a municipality fails to submit its RCS on July 29. And there is no requirement under legislation forcing a municipality to use its RCS as its Official Development Plan. That decision is optional, and has no time limit. (Note that the City of Vancouver is scheduling a public hearing, probably June 11, with the intention of using the RCS as an ODP — despite citizen criticism about the lack of due notification and adequate consultation.)
- Since December 2010, MetroVanWatch has being asking officials at Metro Vancouver to hold public meetings to explain the Regional Growth Strategy properly to the public. The day the RGS was adopted in 2011, former Chief Administrative Officer Johnny Carline told MetroVanWatch‘s Randy Helten over a handshake that he could do it, but did not. Now since April 12, we have been awaiting a response from the current CAO and Board Chair regarding our fresh request for Metro Vancouver to provide staff for a public event we would like to organize in June 2013. We have not yet even received acknowledgement of receipt, though we are quite sure the messages are getting through. This is all part of our efforts to document the behaviour of Metro Vancouver on critical matters of public engagement. How accountable and accessible is this unelected body, which our local governments are giving increasing power over land use regulation? Stay tuned. The story continues.
- We note that the Manager’s Report dated March 14, 2013 by Delia Laglagaron, Deputy CAO, General Manager, Planning, Policy and Environment, to the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee, reviewed by that committee on April 5, states the following: “By July 29, 2013, twenty-three affected local governments must submit a Regional Context Statement to the Metro Vancouver Board for consideration of acceptance. The Regional Context Statement is the document that outlines the relationship between a municipality’s Official Community Plan and the Regional Growth Strategy.”
- Her report continues, “Each month, staff will provide an update on the status of this work.”
- And her report provides the following information as of March 14 regarding Regional Context Statements, so presumably the status of other municipalities was not known at that time:
Village of Belcarra: ACCEPTED – July 29, 2011
City of Coquitlam: Draft Received; staff-to-staff feedback underway
Corporation of Delta: Draft Received; staff-to-staff feedback underway
City of Langley: Draft Received; staff-to-staff feedback underway
District of Maple Ridge: Draft Received; staff-to-staff feedback underway
City of Port Coquitlam: Council Approved Draft Received; Metro Vancouver staff
City of Richmond: ACCEPTED – November 16, 2012
City of Vancouver: Draft Received; staff-to-staff feedback underway
- MetroVanWatch encourages citizens in each municipality to have at least one civic watchdog to monitor the goings on at their own City Hall. We hope to have an annual forum for citizens to share information and support each other across the region. If interested, please send us an e-mail.