To Mayors, Councillors

[6-Jan-2012] The inaugural meeting of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors this new term was on December 16, 2011. Some are returning and some new to the board. MetroVanWatch covers information about critical issues of the last term, and will continue to promote citizen engagement in decision-making at Metro Vancouver. On this page we will do our best to post publicly information on key issues  that come to attention before each monthly Board meeting. The information is not just mayors and councillors who happen to be on the Board or committees, but for all mayors and councillors in the region, as you represent the citizens in the entire region. For January 2012 meetings…

  1. Committees are now established. We hope that each one, especially relating to regional planning (Regional Context Statements coming up) will emphasize public input, and how to make Metro Vancouver more transparent, accessible, and accountable to the public.
  2. Please continue to encourage your city council, starting now, to call for live and archived web video of ALL Metro board and committee meetings. This is because these meetings are always held during working hours on week days, making it difficult for many members of the public who might otherwise attend. Public scrutiny is close to zero. Web video would be a step in the right direction. Many municipalities already offer it. Why not Metro Vancouver?
  3. More to be added after review of the agenda http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/Pages/BoardsCommittees.aspx.

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ARCHIVE

We provide this page as a forum for input to you, our elected officials. We take input from citizens and analysts and post it here. Above all, we ask you to take the necessary time for a good discussion about the implications of the RGS, and to truly engage in open dialogue with public, whose interests are your top civic responsibility. If you have questions, please e-mail citizenYVR@gmail.com and we will try to investigate and reply. Our goal is to support this process of dialogue.

  • (27-June-2011) The fourth and fifth meetings of the dispute resolution process are on June 29 and July 5. Please visit our posts on the top page for reporting and video of the first two meetings.
  • (13-June-2011) Dispute resolution process with Coquitlam and Metro Vancouver begins with initial meetings on June 14 and 16. Please see our post of today’s date for details. We believe Metro Vancouver has done the absolute minimum of notification, and feel that this is an issue not only for the Board, but for all elected officials serving the public in the region.
  • (6-May-2011) The Metro Vancouver website today indicates that The Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development has directed Metro Vancouver and Coquitlam to begin a non-binding resolution process by May 16, 2011. All Affected Local Governments can participate in the non-binding resolution process if they choose. MetroVanWatch urges citizens and all elected officials in this region to monitor this process. Coquitlam has raised valid concerns that have not been adequately addressed through process of public consultation, negotiation and adoption of the RGS bylaw. All municipal council members are encouraged to discuss these matters with your citizens and your appointed Metro board member(s).
  • (5-Apr-2011) We urge all mayors and councillors (even those not on the Metro Board) to carefully follow the dispute resolution process between Metro Vancouver and Coquitlam. The issues raised by Coquitlam are very relevant and many point apply to all municipalities. For more information on this please see our post on the top page regarding the April 8 special meeting of the board.
  • It is our understanding that some of the most important aspects of the RGS only took concrete form from April 2010 onwards, when the top planners from each municipality met for 6 to 8 hours a week working out the details. Most of the public consultation occurred BEFORE this stage. It is our belief that in the majority of municipalities, there was no significant outreach to the public to explain the RGS, and the public hearing held in Nov/Dec was only in four locations, advertised very minimally, and only one line vaguely indicating the nature of the RGS.
  • Many of the key trade-offs between municipalities and Metro Vancouver were negotiated by staff (senior planners) and Metro Vancouver Board members. Are all elected officials fully informed of these tradeoffs, risks, and opportunities posed by the RGS? This means not only the Board members representing each municipality, but ALL elected officials in each municipality, who together bear the responsibility of protecting the public interest.
  • Over the thirty years of the RGS, to 2040, politicians will change, but the policy will remain. Are you fully confident that when the RGS bylaw comes before your Council for a vote, you will have adequately covered  all the key points on behalf of not only today’s but the next generation of politicians and citizens in your municipality? If not, we understand, municipalities CAN ask for more time to review the RGS and negotiate specific changes.

QUESTIONS FOR COUNCILS TO CONSIDER

  • How much oversight has our entire Council had of the entire process of development of the RGS. Much of the detailed work of this highly technical document was done by senior planners since April 2010, after any substantial public consultation. Have we received independent expert opinion on critical aspects of the RGS, including how it will reduce our own autonomy, or are we relying only upon our staff opinions?
  • Has our municipality made the best possible effort to engage our community in good faith to let them know about the nature and implications of the RGS?
  • Have we as elected officials made enough effort to question our planning departments regarding the details in staff reports about the RGS, regarding implications on agricultural land, green space, and the autonomy of our own municipality in key land use decisions.
  • Has there been enough review with the involvement of the public and key stakeholder groups in your municipality of the parcel by parcel prescriptions embedded in the RGS?
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