Regional Growth Strategy dispute heats up
Port Moody’s and Coquitlam’s decision to reject Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy has bought West Vancouver time.
Last month, the district, along with 22 other local governments, accepted the new RGS, which provides guidance for coordinated regional decision-making. The municipality supported the plan with the request for two amendments to the document — that the entire old growth conservancy be included in the conservation recreation designation and that all lands above the 1,200 foot contour line be included in a study area.
Port Moody didn’t accept the strategy because it didn’t include the Murray Clarke Connector, a four-lane road approved by the TransLink Board in 2007. Coquitlam fears the RGS allows Metro Vancouver more control in local governments’ land use and development decisions.
As a result, on Friday, April 8, the Metro Vancouver Board will try and resolve Port Moody’s complaint. However, in response to Coquitlam, Metro Vancouver staff is asking the board to seek a binding resolution with minister of community sport and cultural development Ida Chong.
Assuming the outcome is the RGS doesn’t change, then Metro Vancouver will bring forward West Vancouver’s amendments to address, said Geri Boyle, West Van’s manager of community planning.
If the final decision is that the RGS needs to be changed, then the district would push to include its amendments in the new draft. Either way it buys West Van time to work on its regional context statements, Boyle said.
If Metro votes to move toward a non-binding resolution to resolve the disputes, municipalities such as West Van could also make sure their concerns are met, said Vancouverite Elizabeth Murphy, who has studied the RGS for the past year and a half and has written on the issue in various Lower Mainland newspapers.
“This could be an opportunity for them if they want to take it,” she said.
The problem is Metro seems to be avoiding the possibility of any lengthy discussion on the RGS, Murphy said.
“This raises so many alarm bells about the power and lack of democracy if they can strong arm this kind of thing,” she said.