Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Local consultations

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Two stories in the Richmond News today show how much attention is paid to community input in Richmond.

On the north side of Lulu Island the stretch of land north of the railway and east of No 6 Road is pretty grim. Most of it is still zoned agricultural but there is a lot of other activity of other kins. And on the 16000 block of River Road most of it is illegal. Mainly vehicle and other commercial storage.

At an open house in October, the majority of respondents filling out feedback forms opposed the rezonings. Traffic safety issues resulting from increased truck traffic topped their list of concerns.

“Many respondents also questioned the performance record of property owners in the 16,000 block of River Road, which were undertaking activities in non-compliance with zoning regulations,” a staff report says.

The city wants to legitimize the businesses, but as a condition of rezoning, it wants some concessions, like road dedication for a future industrial road access.

Now the actual decision would have been made last night after the paper went to bed. But the principles here are worth thinking about. Zoning is supposed to achieve something that the market would not produce left to itself. The zoning of this land maybe should have been changed, but wasn’t. And now the city seems to be on the point of allowing a change in land use which will certainly increase the value of the land for the current owners. But may make the current nuisances that the neighbours complain of worse. And the owners do not appear to be doing much to meet the city’s perfectly reasonable requests to try and reduce traffic impacts of truck movements now and in the future. But staff are recommending that they be given approval anyway.

Why?

Meanwhile over at YVR – another one of those unaccountable, “professional” organizations, are trying to enlarge their fuel storage and have more of it shipped by barge. Which may or may not be a good idea: barges are certainly better in terms of diesel exhaust and ghg emissions than trucks. But then there is the risk of spills. So it is always going to be controversial. So YVR comes up with a way to deflect it. Would you like the tanks green or white?

The expansion was the subject of two open houses Jan. 31 and Feb. 2.

The Fraser River Coalition says the open houses were not well advertised and did not provide a forum for dialogue.

“This whole public input process is flawed,” coalition member Judy Williams told the media. “Why did they limit public input to two three-hour open houses without the benefit of a panel or an open mike so people could listen to other people’s concerns?”

[Member of the Richmond Advisory Committee on the Environment Gordon] Kibble said he was not even aware of the proposal and open houses. Neither were Councillors Harold Steves and Bill McNulty.

McNulty called the open houses “typical YVR consultation method.”

The deadline for public comment is February 15

Fans of the H2G2 will find a ring of familiarity about this.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 12, 2008 at 12:52 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I didn’t see a reference in the YVR documents on shipment by barge – there’s reference to tanker trucks from Washington State and to an existing TransMountain Pipelines aviation fuel pipeline to YVR from Burnaby, but I didn’t see barges mentioned.

    And yes, the questions as to the tanks are laughable. (i.e. there could have been questions about location, size, configuration, etc.).

    Ron C

    February 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm

  2. Which is why the newspaper story I referenced is important. The intentions of the proponent were concealed.

    Stephen Rees

    February 13, 2008 at 8:09 am


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