Fighting City Hall: Community association takes on Vancouver government/developer axis to defend fair public processes

If there was ever an example of David versus Goliath, this is it. Except that there are two Goliaths and one David. The battle is escalating between the Community Association of New Yaletown on one side — and an axis created by the taxpayer-funded, deep-pocketed City of Vancouver and a major developer on the other. (The City’s legal budget has escalated by hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past two years. How much of that is to fight the 15+ citizen-initiated lawsuits?)

The B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered that a public hearing be held again, and cancelled a development permit due to “procedural unfairness” (Community Association of New Yaletown v. Vancouver (City), 2015 BCSC 117). But the CoV and Brenhill Developments have appealed the ruling, and the Court dates are set for April 16 and 17, 2015.

Donations are still urgently needed, and CANY has only 10 more days to reach its final fund-raising target. How to donate: http://www.newyaletown.ca/donate/

This is a landmark case that could affect how public hearings are conducted not only in Vancouver, but also other municipalities in Metro Vancouver region, across the province of British Columbia, and even across Canada. (See our story “Shockwaves from Supreme Court decision on New Yaletown public hearing: McMillan law firm bulletin reveals new realization in government and development industry?“)

As CityHallWatch has written, this case is about the integrity of City Hall. The Courts ruled that public hearings must be “fair, open and transparent.” It will be interesting to see what justifications our local government, guided by the elected Mayor and Council, use to fight that. How can anyone defend secrecy in public processes? And how far will the Courts go to permit it?

Please support CANY in their efforts on behalf of hundreds of neighbourhoods and many thousands of citizens. Local government is the closest one to the people. Let’s make it fair.

 

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