Stephen Mikicich is a registered planner with considerable experience in Community Planning. I first met him 10 years ago when he worked in the West Vancouver Planning Department, and he was an ardent supporter of innovation and densification in what might best be described as a low-density town.
He had considerable experience as a private planning consultant before joining the District, and often worked with Business Improvement Areas. He was therefore appointed West Vancouver's first Manager of Economic Development and made great strides in developing an economic development strategy for the District. Today he is working with the District of Langley. He's a resident of Kitsilano.
Stephen and I often get together and argue about planning matters, given our diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Today, Stephen shared with me a letter he sent to Council. Since it addresses some important points that I omitted, (but with which I agree), I asked his permission to share it here. I think you'll find it most thoughtful and relevant
Engagement on goals and objectives, future aspirations, and emerging directions is a normal part of the planning process. However, the ability to fully review a draft plan and provide meaningful and comprehensive input is even more important. Council’s desire to adopt this plan in May only a few weeks since it was publicly released sets a dangerous precedent and may seriously damage public trust in the City.
I do not support the sterile and generic vision the Broadway Plan puts forward for Vancouver’s future. I am disappointed by the complete disregard for established neighbourhoods, and the legacy of past planning achievements that established Vancouver as a global leader in livable cities. It is still possible to increase densities, introduce greater housing options, and enhance public amenities in Vancouver’s valued neighbourhoods without destroying them.
City staff indicate that the Broadway Plan would be implemented over 30 years, and that development would occur slowly over decades. However, if Council rescinds existing policy plans and adopts the Broadway Plan this month – there is really nothing preventing land assembly and real estate speculation from occurring. I am concerned that the massive increase in density will put upward pressure on land values, and displace more tenants, homeowners, and small businesses.
If, on the other hand, Council does not feel it has broad community support, and it is politically expedient to adopt the Broadway Plan in advance of the election, I fully understand.
Sincerely, Stephen Mikicich (Vancouver resident)