In recent years, Vancouver citizens’ views on planning, policy, and civic development have not been sought, or valued, by most of Council and City Staff. Additional rules and procedures introduced since the pandemic have merely reinforced a pattern of “top-down we-know-best” management that was already in place, and which have further reduced opportunities for these citizens to have their say. Simply said, the actions of Council and Staff have demonstrated that Vancouverites are not being heard.
TEAM Perspective and Action Plan
City government has veered away from the democratic concept of carrying out the wishes of the people who it represents. We believe that neighbourhood-based planning, consultation, and collaboration should form the heart of the City’s operations, policies, and future planning. The integrity, transparency, and robustness of this democratic, people-focused process is the foundation upon which resilient, inclusive neighbourhoods are built, and from these a great city is raised. It is incumbent upon the Mayor, Council, and City Staff to engage with people from across the City through this process to create a safe, prosperous, and livable city for all Vancouverites.
- Restore public trust in City operations, policy development, planning, and public engagements by ensuring that they are transparent, impartial, consultative and that only verified Vancouver residents, business owners and property owners have a say in these matters;
- Increase public engagement through integrated stakeholder meetings that are open to verified Vancouver residents, business owners and property owners, and which give priority to the local residents and business owners most affected by the outcomes of the engagement;
- Support a system of neighbourhood-based organizations to enable local planning, to build community and to provide a means for residents and businesses to engage with the City;
- Create Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) and Development Cost Levy (DCL) registers so that people will see whether new developments have provided a financial benefit to their neighbourhood;
- Study options for improved municipal representation and accountability, and alternative governance structures such as ward-style representative civic government;
- Develop diverse, inclusive City Advisory Committees for both renters and homeowners, and ensure that these Advisory Committees represent Vancouver’s diverse perspectives by randomly selecting from volunteer pools;
- Improve transparency by publishing all materials that relate to public proceedings, including all staff correspondence, financial documents, and Freedom of Information requests, at least one month prior to any discussion by Council, and ensuring that residents, businesses, and local groups are notified of their availability so they have time for analysis and reflection back to Council;
- Undertake a review of the current policies and practices around in camera meetings, with recommendations on how to limit in camera meetings to only when they are truly essential; ensure general staff briefings of Council are open to the public;
- Undertake a review of the Code of Conduct Policies for Council and staff, to ensure they are accountable to the public while not acting as an unreasonable barrier to the transparency and accountability efforts of Councillors to communicate with the public;
- Consistent with Federal and Provincial policies, create a registry of lobbyists and professional advocates that work on behalf of special interests, organizations, and businesses. Resident groups are excluded.
Related policies: All of them