Restart – Part II

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… Or, Spawn of Norquay

It is becoming apparent that Grandview-Woodland — in the one respect of indefinite process suspension — may be the neighborhood that comes closest to reproducing the excruciations that Norquay has suffered.

Only under the direction of a maestro of horror can Part II outdo Part I. The City of Vancouver has this demonstrated capability.

Just as color, props, and setting (a fortress shopping mall replacing an isolated farmhouse) made it possible for Dawn of the Dead (1978) to take the themes of Night of the Living Dead (1968) to an entirely new level, so too may the Grandview-Woodland production surpass that of Norquay, all played out in our ever more zombified city.

The common element in the two histories is stop-dead-in-tracks, followed by dragged-out fumble toward a restart destined to lead to predetermined closure. The G-W sequel has a blockbuster and publicly-known budget of $275,000.

Scrutinize the parallels in this chart:


Council initiates 21 November 2005

Council initiates 28 July 2011
One “kick-off” Open House March 2006

Two “launch” Open Houses May 2012
Norquay Village Draft Plan distributed May 2007        

Broadway & Commercial workshop 6 July 2013
Ruckus w Toderian June 2007

Ruckus w Jackson June-July 2013
Indefinite suspension starting June 2007

Indefinite suspension starting August 2013
Municipal election 2008 — NPA decimated

Municipal election 2014 — ???
Open House restart late November 2008

“Citizens Assembly” restart September 2014
Unsupported plan imposed November 2010

???  2015  ???

Meanwhile …

The latest Grandview-Woodland face-off, appearing on the same date of 3 July 2014, sees hired-gun consultant Rachel Magnusson op-edding in the Vancouver Sun about jury democracy, while Grandview-Woodland defender Jak King over at the Georgia Straight takes the City of Vancouver to task.

Lessons of Possible Use to Grandview-Woodland

Norquay residents must have surprised the City of Vancouver by coming back in January 2009 with a sizeable group of committed persons who stuck it out through the whole slog — of what eventually proved to be only one phase of a “process” that ran for close to five years.

Altogether there were about four dozen individuals who connected with the Norquay Working Group throughout 2009 (notably, about that same number is scheduled for the upcoming Grandview-Woodland “Citizen’s Assembly”). Norquay’s faithful-attendance core settled down to around a dozen and a half. Within that group, the minority of City of Vancouver supporters tended either to have ties to development interests, stakes in networking for possible employment opportunities, or naive trust in what planners were pushing (that listing is in decreasing order).

In hindsight, it seems clear that the City of Vancouver had no idea how to deal with a group of local residents that really wanted to play a part in specifying their own future. The City of Vancouver abruptly terminated the Norquay Working Group in February 2011, shortly after Council approved an imposed plan. Norquay was not allowed to have a group to “implement” plan proposals. From that point forward, everything about us has been done without us. (Until the Norquay Village Plan Public Realm Workshop of 16 June 2014.)

People on the Mount Pleasant Implementation Committee (November 2012 to October 2013) had far more experience and competence than the Norquay group, and did their best to hold city planners accountable. They felt very frustrated throughout, and deeply disappointed in the results. That probably was the last voluntary local area planning group that the City of Vancouver will allow to exist. More control is the agenda.

The randomness or stratification or whatever happens with the impending selection of the engineered Grandview 48 will not be transparent, and probably will “represent” a lot of Vision Vancouver plants and picks.

Painful and hopeless as the task may seem, people with history and understanding in the Grandview-Woodland struggle should consider putting in their applications.

The 2009 Norquay experience suggests that the City of Vancouver will always have considerable difficulty in rounding up and sustaining a substantial number of compradors. Truth will out, especially if even a few informed and persistent individuals manage to find their way into the forum.


Since the time of Kingsway & Knight (in Kensington-Cedar Cottage) and Norquay (mostly in Renfrew-Collingwood), the City of Vancouver has abandoned the list of 19 projected “neighbourhood centres” and generally avoided messing with the other seven of the nine residential neighborhoods covered by community visions. (For the record, those seven are/were: Dunbar, Victoria/Fraserview/Killarney, Sunset, Hastings Sunrise, Arbutus Ridge/Kerrisdale/Shaughnessy, Riley Park/South Cambie, West Point Grey.)

[ Postcript above copied from

Kingsway & Knight : Vancouver neighborhoods in turmoil — what it all goes back to … ]


Written by eyeonnorquay

4 July 2014 at 10:58 am

Posted in History, Parallels

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