Disgruntled Developers and Residents Have Vancouver Planning Chief Talking Transparency

Just two months into his job as Vancouver's Chief Planner, Brian Jackson is responding to a growing backlash from developers and residents unhappy about an opaque system for determining and implementing community benefits.

Vancouver's ad hoc system for determining community benefits in exchange for increased density of development, which seemed to serve the city fine over the past two decades as industrial lands downtown were redeveloped, is no longer working for residents or developers, reports Frances Bula. At a recent meeting at the Urban Development Institute, Jackson promised developers that the city would be more transparent in defining community benefits required of developers, and talked of setting up a joint task force with the Institute to identify ways to reduce negotiation times.  

"As well," writes Bula, "the task force will work to ensure that most community benefits go back into the projects from which the developer contributions are coming. And the city will establish defined heights and densities for new buildings in whole areas rather than individual projects."

"Mr. Jackson, who started his job in September, six months after the previous director of planning was fired, also begged developers to help the city communicate more with residents. He said city staff are being drowned out by residents’ new capacity to get their message across through social media when they oppose a particular project."

“'We are being out-tweeted, out-Facebooked and out-blogged,' Mr. Jackson said, on the eve of a rally at City Hall by residents unhappy about developments in Dunbar, Oakridge, the West End, the Downtown Eastside and elsewhere."

Full Story: Vancouver planning chief promises clarity

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