Too Familiar Community Misery
Members of the Norquay Working Group should experience strong déjà vu in reading a recent statement issued to the City of Vancouver about a Joint Working Group for planning Northeast False Creek. To judge by the extracts below, it appears that the False Creek Residents Association (FCRA) has endured an abuse that parallels — and possibly even exceeds — what Norquay has suffered.
One obvious difference is that the FCRA is up against Concord Pacific, a single developer that tends to hold the City of Vancouver in the palm of its hand. FCRA faces a complex set of proposals that went to City Council public hearing on February 17 as items 3, 4, 5, and 6. The package is still in process, to continue on March 7 with an epic set of sessions on the item 6 proposal to locate a casino complex in the area.
After considerable discussion and persuasion we were convinced to come back to the table and participate in the new process. We were assured that we would be heard. … FCRA members have devoted countless volunteer hours … we find ourselves back at the same point … staff recommendations to City Council fly in the face of everything our association has communicated with respect to community perspectives and concerns. …
There is nothing in the Community Benefits package that benefits the existing community, or the people who will be living in the proposed 4 new high rise towers. The Joint Working Group could have been and should have been a collaborative, transparent and open process. It has now deteriorated into secrecy and back room deals that have nothing to do with the community or its needs. In our view the City’s strategy has been to keep us busy with junior staff at various tables while senior staff negotiate the real deal.
Statement to the Joint Working Group, February 3, 2011 — Patsy McMillan and Fern Jeffries, Co-Chairs, False Creek Residents Association
[ Note: Emphases in original; Extracts from nine paragraph statement. ]