Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

By Jill Glover

March 6, 2014 at 11:58 PM

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Coming up at City Hall: Oakridge Centre, the DTES plan, greenspace, art carts and more

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Next week sees an array of important public space initiatives being discussed at City Hall. Here are some of the key items from a four-day run of meetings between Monday and Thursday (a stretch that includes two public hearings, a regular Council session, and a meeting of the City Finance and Services Committee).

On Monday, March 10, the first public hearing will consider three projects, including the proposed Oakridge Centre rezoning and development. There’s a lot to be discussed on this latter item – higher buildings, new park and plaza space, and key transportation considerations – and it promises to be a lively debate. (Some of the public correspondence is already on-line, and in case you missed it, we outlined some of the public space-specific considerations in a blog post on February 19.)

The following day, Tuesday, March 11, the regular sitting of Council sees a full suite of items.

Curious about how much Mayor and Council took home as pay this year? The 2013 Council Remuneration and Expenses report details salaries, travel and other expenses.

Following that, there’s a number of Motions being proposed in the meeting, including:

  • Protecting Vancouver’s Public Green Space – which, if passed, would direct City staff to develop a policy of no net loss of public green space. Interestingly, this idea was proposed by former Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert (now an MLA) back in 2007. It didn’t pass back then, so it will be interesting to see how the discussion goes this time around. (The VPSN wrote in support of the motion back in ’07 and plan to offer our support this time as well). We’ll share more on this item in a few days time.
  • Traffic Safety and Increased Traffic Volume – 4th Avenue West of Macdonald – The Pt. Grey Road active transportation corridor has created some changes in local traffic patterns. While the City is monitoring these impacts, there are reports in some corners that southbound left-turns onto 4th Avenue are becoming more challenging. This motion looks at the possibility of installing traffic signals to respond to these concerns. (Of interest to sustainable transportation enthusiasts: it’s proposed that funding for these signals be “found within found within the up to $6.0 million budget previously approved by Council for Phase 1 of the completion of the Seaside Greenway and creation of the York Bikeway.”)
  • Proposed Service Cuts on TransLink Bus Route 49 UBC/Metrotown Station – as part a program of “service optimization,” TransLink is considering changes to the 49 UBC/Metrotown Station bus. This would eliminate key transit service to Champlain Heights, “a community which includes a high proportion of seniors, young families and people with disabilities who rely on transit service to work, go to school and complete essential daily tasks.” The proposed Council motion would direct staff to advise TransLink that the City “opposes any reduction of service” on this route.

Lastly (at least for our update), Wednesday, March 12 features a key City Finance and Service and Services Committee meeting – one which will see Council deliberate over the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, an ambitious neighbourhood-scale policy document that will set out land-use directions, social and cultural policy, and public realm considerations for the next few decades. The VPSN is currently reviewing this document and will be presenting our take on it very shortly.

Interested in letting Council know your thoughts on any of these items? Follow this link to find out how you can have your say (either in person, or via letter/email).

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