City councillor proposes delaying Broadway Plan decision until after election

Jun 9 2022, 9:50 pm

At the eleventh hour, TEAM City Councillor Colleen Hardwick has indicated she will ask Vancouver City Council to defer the decision and debate on the Broadway Plan to the next city council — after the October 2022 civic election.

She noted her intent in a news release just after 2 pm today — just under an hour before 3 pm, when city council is scheduled to reconvene to deliberate on city staff’s Broadway Plan, and the 42 amendments proposed by city councillors and the mayor.

But it should be emphasized that a decision to delay the debate and decision is extremely unlikely. This is also not the first time Hardwick has proposed to defer a policy decision.

Hardwick, who has been critical of density, tower heights, and the need for more housing supply, asserts the Broadway Plan is “flawed” and that “few Vancouver citizens have had a chance to review or consider its impact on their neighbourhoods.” She is the TEAM party’s candidate for mayor.

‘“Now Council is debating 42 amendments that would substantially alter an already extremely complicated plan – it’s ridiculous and it’s unfair to Vancouver residents. None of these amendments will have even been seen by Vancouver citizens, let alone will they have had a chance to review and make comment to city council on them before a vote takes place on each one – this is the worst possible way of making informed decisions or urban planning.”

For instance, Mayor Kennedy Stewart has stated he will introduce amendments that protect existing renters within the Broadway Plan, given the planning area’s high concentration of rental housing, which generally have lower rents due to their older age.

Another amendment expected to be introduced by OneCity councillor Christine Boyle directs city staff to remove more vehicle lanes from Broadway — fewer than four vehicle lanes — to accommodate bike lanes. City staff have indicated there are major challenges, given that Broadway is a critical east-west regional arterial road.

City council spent four meeting dates last month going through a list of over 200 public speakers. It is unclear whether city council will be able to make a decision on the Broadway Plan today, given the number of proposed amendments that each requires debate and separate voting before city council is able to further debate and vote on the Broadway Plan as a whole and as amended.

The Broadway Plan planning process was launched in Summer 2017 by the previous city council. Under an agreement with TransLink and the provincial government, the City of Vancouver is required to plan for the densification of Broadway with more housing and employment density, in exchange for the $2.8 billion investment in building SkyTrain’s Millennium Line Broadway Extension to Arbutus. Public consultation for the various stages of the planning process was held over the last few years, and the draft plan’s finalization was delayed due to the pandemic to allow for more public input, according to city staff.

The Broadway Plan carries a similar area planning weight as the Cambie Corridor Plan, West End Plan, Grandview-Woodland Plan, Marpole Community Plan, and the Downtown Eastside Plan.

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