Are Vancouver's Leaders 'Tone-Deaf' to Residents' Vision for the City?

After less than a year on the job, Vancouver's planning manager is under fire for controversial proposals. Do the recent misfires reflect poor messaging, tight budgets, and short timelines; or a more fundamental problem with the city's leaders?

"After a series of public rebellions against new developments in Vancouver the last four years, the city’s recently hired planning manager promised that things would be different," writes Frances Bula. "Instead of getting embroiled in one-off battles over individual projects, general manager Brian Jackson said planners would develop thoughtful blueprints for four key neighbourhoods. They would listen to the residents. They would provide specific details about height and density so no one would be surprised by anything that came along."

"That utopian vision has taken a beating in the last couple of weeks after major uproars about two of the plans – one covering the city’s popular Commercial Drive area, called Grandview-Woodland, the other in the Marpole area near the Fraser River."

"In both cases, residents said those weren’t their ideas at all, but concepts that seemed to come out of nowhere," explains Bula. "And activists in the two other communities slated for plans – the West End and the Downtown Eastside – say more public opposition is coming."

"[T]he uproar has demonstrated to many residents that the city’s political leaders and planners are still tone-deaf when it comes to hearing what kind of city people want."

Full Story: Vancouver planning manager faces anger over community plans

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