Former Mayor of Vancouver (and current BC Liberal MLA for False Creek) Sam Sullivan wants to revisit how decisions are made at City Hall. This triggered by past battles over — you guessed it — density. Thanks to Max Fawcett at Vancouver Magazine for the article.

sullivan-sam. . . he’s now pitching a major change to that system’s design, one that would see the legislative and judicial functions at city hall separated from each other. As it stands, city council does both, a vestige of the Baldwin Act of 1849 (which laid the legal groundwork for cities in Canada). He’s not the only one who finds the arrangement unusual either. “It is the weirdest thing in the world that councils sit as a policy-making body in the day, and people will come and make presentations to them on that basis,” says Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer. “But then, at night, they come and it’s the same people sitting there, and suddenly we’re a regulatory body.” . . .

. . .  According to Sullivan, the current arrangement makes the urgent conversation around development in Vancouver impossible to navigate. “Right now,” he says, “it’s easy to bully the council.” And he’s not alone in thinking this. Beau Jarvis, a local developer who’s been the target of disgruntled residents, says the city is stuck in what he calls the “paradox of planning”—that the people who are most likely to come out to public meetings and be vocal about planning decisions are the ones least likely to be affected by them over the long run. It’s older residents—“people who don’t have kids in the house any more, people who are retired”—who have the time to show up, he says, whereas young parents and busy professionals do not.

Meanwhile, on a related topic, the Province may release a report shortly on transit and land use.  Idle but reasonably well-informed speculation is that transit funding increases may be tied to a requirement to turn over any CAC-like upzoning fees to the transit cause.

I am reminded of an earlier PT post on a vaguely similar transit/planning Provincial mandate in Ontario.  In this case, part of the plan requires munis to upzone before transit investments take place, to curb unhealthy and expensive sprawl.  We called it “Density Mandated In GTA.”

Of particular interest to me is Ontario’s tie-in between transit planning, land use and infrastructure investments, given the narrow transit funding tussle now in play in Metro Vancouver. Not to mention Ontario’s Greenbelt protection, in the light of BC’s apparent intention to enable good ol’ sprawl onto our ALR and elsewhere with a 1950’s debate-free program of building freeways and massive bridges.  BC may have some sort of plan, but I’m not sure what it is.

A broader look at the Ontario Gov’t material is HERE, and it pertains to shaping land use in the entire “Greater Golden Horseshoe” around Toronto. Driven, it seems, by Ontario Prov gov’t plans for some $31.5 B in transit investments, this represents steps towards a green and livable region, while making best use of the money.