Beware the Carve-Out
The single greatest surprise ever experienced by Norquay residents probably came on 2 November 2009, when then Director of Planning Brent Toderian came back at Norquay with an entirely new team of city planners.
For four months, the City of Vancouver had left the Norquay Working Group dangling and wondering … “What next?” An awkward 9 July 2009 meeting had ended with City of Vancouver grudgingly receiving a plan that was supported by a two-thirds majority of members present. This happened only after city planning pursued every possible maneuver to avoid any acknowledgment of a resident-produced plan. Well-informed external observers provided crucial support at that meeting.
The shocker after four months of silence? Going forward, the northern area of Norquay (you can see the map) would be excluded from the planning process. (As would any further “participation” by Norquay Working Group.) This large irregular SkyTrain area stretched from Nanaimo Street to Rupert Street, an area where a substantial number of the Norquay Working Group happened to live. After over three and a half years of “planning,” the City of Vancouver lopped off about 28% of the designated Norquay area. Whack!
Why This History Matters to Grandview-Woodland
Grandview-Woodland planning is right now entering the eye of the hurricane. A “Citizens Assembly” restart process has been grinding along since September 2014. Two “sub-area workshops,” Cedar Cove on 29 November 2014 and Britannia-Woodland on 6 December 2014 —
Image from Vancouver Courier, 21 November 2014, A13
Two more sub-areas, Grandview on 10 January 2015 and Nanaimo Street on 17 January 2015, are in the process of getting the gears.
Image from Vancouver Courier, 9 January 2015, A13
Notice this. Of the four sub-area workshops scheduled so far, all of them deal with areas lying north of and outside of the primary site of contention.
Meanwhile, just-released previous plan sketches for the most contentious area have emerged from the dark archives of city planning and been rendered comprehensible by CityHallWatch analysis.
To repeat that well-worn question … “What next?”
Odds look ever stronger for instant replay of the carve-out tactic. City of Vancouver might say something like this:
It has become clear that Broadway/Commercial SkyTrain and the adjoining Safeway site need to be integrated into a transit corridor planning that stretches eastward to include the next two Millennium Line stations, Nanaimo and 29th Avenue. In the interests of timely completion of a new Grandview-Woodland Local Area Plan, this sub-area will be carved out.
Well, they won’t say “carve-out.” But this may very well be what they decide to do.
After all, they did a carve-out on Norquay after three and a half years. And General Manager of Planning and Development Brian Jackson said last year that return to Norquay sits high on the “planning” agenda.
All of this could be just the next scenario in an already delineated series of eerie parallels between Norquay and Grandview-Woodland.
In between Norquay 2009 and Grandview-Woodland 2015, City of Vancouver on 20 January 2011 went into panic mode — they themselves called it “emergency” — and did a fast carve-out on the Downtown Eastside. After years and years of planning.
Those politician-ridden planners wield a nasty, unpredictable knife. And a local area plan always has to become the arena for a fight. That’s just how Vancouver local area planning consistently fails to work, at least for its existing residents.