A new master plan will determine how the city of Vancouver will grow physically

Jul 18 2019, 1:17 am

The physical master planning of the city of Vancouver has been green-lit, following a city council’s decision this week to move forward with a citywide planning and engagement process.

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The municipal government says the 2.5-year-long process of consultation, researching, and drafting a long-term citywide plan will begin this fall, with the plan creating a framework for Vancouver’s urban growth, land-use and transportation planning, while also addressing social, economic, environmental, and cultural aspects of daily life.

It will answer this fundamental question: “What kind of city do we want to become over the coming decades, and why?”

Residents, workers, businesses, institutions, non-profits, and neighbourhood groups will be consulted. An established set of draft principles will guide the city’s public consultation approach.

The plan will align with, and inform, existing planning and policies by the municipality and the region.

“This is a major opportunity for residents to get involved and plan their future together, and chart a course for how our city can continue to grow while helping to make life more affordable,” said Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement.

“This plan will help us make sure that people can continue to live in the communities they love while welcoming in new neighbours.”

According to the city, this is the first time in over two decades the municipal government has undertaken a citywide planning process.

Specific topics that are expected to be addressed include neighbourhood needs and growth, housing affordability and supply, climate change and earthquake resiliency, technological transformations for enhanced livability and productivity, future of the economy, investments for improved transportation infrastructure and community amenities, environmental systems such as green space, well-designed gathering spaces, and ways to promote arts and culture.

Previously approved area-specific plans over the past decade will not be revisited, but there could be some “updates and enhancements to various policies and plans” to “improve directions towards the overall vision for the city” and “respond to urgent issues and opportunities.”

These area-specific plans include the Cambie Corridor Plan (2018), Northeast False Creek Plan (2018), Joyce Collingwood Station Area Precinct (2017), False Creek Flats Plan (2017), Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (2016), Marpole Community, Plan (2014), Downtown Eastside Plan (2014), and West End Community Plan (2013).

Between Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, public consultation will be held to establish a baseline on the common values, key issues, and guiding principles for the citywide plan. After considering “key choices and trade-offs and developing strategic directions” from Spring 2020 to Winter 2021, a draft citywide plan will be made.

It is anticipated a finalized plan will be presented to city council in the spring of 2022, with implementation occurring at the same time.

City staff and city council have stated that a new updated citywide plan is needed as the last one for the entire city dates back to the Harland Bartholomew’s plan in the 1920s. A city plan was also created in 1995, which outlined broad policy directions for the downtown peninsula, neighbourhood centres, community services, the economy, and the environment.

The total cost of the citywide planning process is about $18 million, including $7.5 million for the public consultation efforts. Between 30 and 35 city staff will be assembled for this project.

Contrast this with the $3-million cost of the city’s two-year Broadway Corridor planning process, which is expected to reach completion in 2020.

Currently, the city of Vancouver has as a population of 630,000 people and is the location of 425,000 jobs. Metro Vancouver Regional District forecasts Vancouver will see an additional 150,000 residents and about 90,000 jobs by 2041.

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