The mandate of the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) is to advise City Council on matters relating to the planning and development of the City; and in particular, to represent ideas and opinions about the future of the city and to consider and report to Council on any proposal likely to have a significant effect on this future.
The Planning Commission aspires to serve as a catalyst for dialogue and action, using our convening power to work together with partners, thus bringing forward to Mayor and Council the best advice we can on behalf of Vancouver citizens. The Planning Commission is aware of its small size, limited resources, and the need to work within a regional context, particularly on matters such as resilience.
To help inform its work, in 2016 the VCPC looked to United Nations Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda (NUA), which lays out a framework for resilient and sustainable urban development at the local, national and international level for the next 20 years. The NUA has benefited from the highest level of expertise from around the world in its background papers, and a series of extensive consultations (Preparatory Committee meetings) and meetings conducted by partner organizations. VCPC embraced these aspirations for Vancouver and adopted the NUA as a framework to guide its work for the next 5 years and beyond.
Specifically VCPC adopted an umbrella framework of resiliency (2016-17) and four sub-themes:
- ‘Engagement for Real’ (2017) – Participatory and responsive planning, including exploring the quality of consultation/engagement and communication as an ongoing endeavor;
- ‘A City for All’ (2018) – ensuring an inclusive community with no one left behind (including but not limited to issues such as reconciliation);
- ‘Design of Places and Spaces’ (2020) – related to inclusive public space, and the development of sustainable and complete communities and neighbourhoods, and
- ‘Resourcing the Vision’(2021) – financing a resilient city and building public ownership over city processes.
Each year we operate in five key areas of focus:
- Convene dialogues related to the themes above.
- Provide responsive and proactive advice to Mayor and Council on larger planning initiatives on an ongoing basis and early on in the process,
- Enhance the learning of VCPC Commissioners through training on Intersectionality, Reconciliation, LGBTQ2S etc .
- Provide representation on the Urban Design Panel, the Heritage Action Plan, Transportation 2040, etc. and engagement with other key advisory committees on areas of common interest,
- Continue with the Chronology Program.
Work Plan 2019 – 2020
The theme for this work period is the Design of Places and Spaces. Our aim is to strengthen the development of complete, sustainable communities/neighbourhoods, and improve our understanding of neighbourhoods and their evolution in light of mobility corridors and affordability. Balancing the development of “place” and “passage” when done well, can support a vibrant civic community.
We will achieve our mandate and plan through focusing on:
Focus on the City-wide Plan
VCPC’s first priority is being an integral part of the Vancouver City-wide Plan (CWP) formation. We will advise on process and content through a variety of avenues:
- Focus on key parts of the City-wide Plan, working with the CWP team;
- Continue to work with advisory committees and community-based non-profits; and
- Hold a Summit event in the spring of 2020 to create recommendations for staff and City Council.
Continue to review and pass motions to provide responsive and proactive advice to Mayor and Council on larger planning initiatives on an ongoing basis and early on in the process.
- Topic areas that may be of interest include Broadway Corridor, Jericho Lands, Heather Lands, Beach Avenue study, etc…
- The Planning Commission will ask to be advised on what is coming up by our Commission Liaisons and to decide on which plans to pursue/review. This will include reviewing with staff during meetings as plans at early stages.
- Criteria for commenting on specific plans should be within framework of original strategic plan which will focus on the Design of Spaces + Places and include any City-wide Plan relevance, reconciliation, high level policy on engagement, resilience, and inclusion.
- Participate in Cultural Competency Training to enhance our learning on reconciliation and inclusion.
- Consider undertaking a Colonization Audit of planning decisions.
- Engage with Indigenous persons to advise the VCPC on our path to reconciliation.
Continued Engagement with Advisory Committees and Related Roles
- Continue participation on established advisory roles of UDP and Transportation 2040.
- Convene meetings with relevant Advisory Committees on areas of common interest including the City-wide Plan work.
- Meet with other city advisory committees up to four times per year on topics of mutual interest.
- Continue to oversee and resource the Chronology Program, hosting the 2019 Year-in-Review Event in early 2020.
- Establish partners to undertake the work for both the content research and the event organization.
- Recruit a Planning Commissioner to lead this program.
What Does Success Look Like?
- Be an empowered voice that interacts with City Council and staff to have an impact on planning issues; engage in dialogue and receive feedback.
- Incorporate evaluation mechanisms of our activities to demonstrate positive results.
- Work is shared in a balanced way among all Commissioners.
- Each Commissioner is empowered to have a voice at the table (round-table process).
- Have a clear visible role in the City Wide Planning process and product.
- Create a visionary Planning Commission: leading on engagement, pushing boundaries, and asking the difficult questions.
- Have fun working meaningfully together!