The City of Vancouver and its developers and politicians and planners count on two things:
• Perpetuation of an ever-shifting simulacrum of consultation and due process
• Rapid disappearance of disenchanted participants (along with their bitter experiences)
Cynical measures destroy continuities in order to facilitate municipal capacity to do whatever is wanted in the present with little respect for anything in the past. The City of Vancouver pursues a blunderbuss strategy of here-there-and-everywhere on a variety of fronts:
Turnover among planners — Norquay from 2006 to 2013 has been subjected to at least four different “lead” planners who have had minimal connection with what preceded or followed. At least three Norquay planners have skipped out of the scene and shown some discomfiture at what they were made to do to ordinary Vancouver residents.
Disrespect for existing policy — Perhaps the most egregious example is the way in which the broad framework of CityPlan, established in 1995, became a target for subversion by the Sullivan dream of EcoDensity™ circa 2007.
Obfuscation of information — Planners multiply their generation of disparate materials, with or in spite of the participants, to swell the grab-bag of snippets used to justify whatever they want to do.
Minimization of lead time — City of Vancouver reports and Council agendas encounter public light on shortest possible notice, with further time reduction engineered through ploys like “late distribution” and “yellow memo.”
Stonewalling — Freedom of Information requests are routinely met with demand for up-front payment of estimates on the order of $500, with no guarantee that the result will be anything other than half a dozen sheets of paper redacted into uselessness.
Simultaneity of onslaughts — City planning is in the midst of executing simultaneous planning processes for Downtown Eastside, Grandview-Woodland, West End, and Marpole. Meanwhile processes for Norquay and Mount Pleasant and Cambie Corridor limp along. Background haze from STIR and STIR Jr augments the smoke billowing from brushfire spot rezonings like 955 East Hastings.
Trashing the data — Despite the power of current information technologies, much cannot be found on the City of Vancouver web site. A 2012 remake costing over $3 million managed to eliminate existing sources and to make recovery of previously accessible documents and files difficult and uncertain.
Multiplication of so-called policy — A big report to Council can “reference” a raft of policies that are said to be applicable. This set-up promotes the incoherence of “pick and choose” to suit present purposes.
Council cannot be “fettered” — Today’s whim can always overthrow yesterday’s clear decision.
The substrate for all of this frenetic activity is desire — financial desire to gorge on an influx of uncontrolled capital that seeks safe haven. Concurrent bafflegab on “housing affordability” befuddles the clueless to believe … to believe that VisionVancouver has some project beyond maximizing profit opportunities for the developers whose pockets they dwell in. A real estate market downturn seems to have brought an interlude to the rage of condo fever.
Here’s hoping that uncertainties attaching to every fee simple title in Vancouver will gain traction alongside the activities of Idle No More. If condition l) applies to treaty land, then how can purported “fee simple” property law provide useful security to “possessors” of unceded stolen Native land?
This is the backside of a fee simple title in the City of Vancouver: