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Learning from Practice: Lessons from the Creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan (2011) Cullingham, Sarah Catherine Aug 31, 2012

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Learning From Practice Lessons from the Creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan (2011) Sarah Cullingham MA Candidate | Social Planning School of Community and Regional Planning The University of British Columbia August, 2012 l e a r n i n g  f r o m p r a c t i c e lessons from the creation of the britannia strategic master plan Cover Image: Community Art  Project  (Summer 2011) Acknowledgements: Thank you to the members of  my research commit tee, Dr.  Nora Angeles and Cynthia Low, who helped guide me through this process. To my research part ic ipants,  who made this project  possible.  To members of  the Br i tannia Planning & Development Commit tee for their  ongoing inspirat ion.  To my mum, Susan Bacque, and fr iend, Sandra Vigi l  Fonseca, for  reviewing count less draf ts of  th is report .  To Norma- Jean McLaren and Nathan Edelson for recogniz ing a good f i t  when they see i t .  To Dr. Chr ist ine St.  Peter,  at  the Universi ty of  Victor ia,  for  her support  in gett ing me started on this path.  To my partner Devin for  knowing when to ask “aren’ t  you done yet?”.  To my sister Jess for feeding me and reminding me that there is,  in fact ,  l i fe af ter  grad school .  To my dad, James Cul l ingham, for  providing mot ivat ional  ‘ toons’ .  To Li  Robbins for  asking how i t  was going even when she had more important th ings on her mind. To my sister Rachel  and the whole Pett ingham clan for stopping in and spreading some love. Final ly,  a big thank you to everyone in the Br i tannia Community,  who together have helped create a very special  p lace indeed. This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanit ies Research Counci l . LEARNING FROM PRACTICE: LESSONS FROM THE CREATION OF THE BRITANNIA STRATEGIC MASTER PLAN (2011) by SARAH CATHERINE CULLINGHAM B.A., The University of Victoria, 2008 A PROJECT SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this project as conforming to the required standard    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2012 © Sarah Catherine Cullingham, 2012 Left Blank for Double Sided Printing Contents List of Tables 6 List of Figures 6 List of Boxes 6 List of Acronyms 7 Executive Summary 8 1. Introduction 10  1.1.  Project Overview: Professional Master’s Project 10   1.2.  Partner Organization: BCSCS 10 	 1.3.		Research	Mandate:	A	Process	of	Collective	Reflection	 11 2. Background 12  2.1.  The Britannia Community Services Centre (1976) 12  2.2.  The Community Services Centre Model 15  2.3.  Service Provision & Site Activities 18  2.4.  The Britannia Strategic Master Plan (2011) 19 3. Methodology 25  3.1.  Analytical Framework 25 3.2.  Research Procedures & Project Timelines 28  3.3.  Research Questions & Areas of Inquiry 30 4. Findings & Analysis 31  4.1.  Context: Working Through Complexity 32  4.2.  Process: Negotiation & Adjustment 35  4.3.  Outcomes: Community Development & Capacity Building 39 4.4.  Next Steps: Nurturing A Living Plan  44 5. Lessons For Practice 48 6.	Final	Reflections	 52 Sources 55 Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan6 List of Tables Table 1. Planning Process Stakeholders Table 2. Interview Participants List of Figures Figure 1. Vancouver Local Areas Figure 2. Grandview-Woodland Local Area Figure 3. Britannia Site Map Figure 4. City of Vancouver Redevelopment Map Figure 5. Community Services Centre Model Figure 6. Britannia Site Partnerships Figure 7. Planning Timeline Figure 8. Britannia Master Plan Vision Statement Figure 9. Britannia Master Plan Design Principles Figure 10. Selected Site Scenarios Figure 11. Project Timeline List of Boxes Box 4.1.1 Challenges of Complex Partnerships Box	4.1.2	Benefits	of	Complex	Partnerships Box 4.2.1 The Process of Discussion Box 4.2.2 Negotiating Multiple Partner Priorities Box 4.2.3 Adjusting Expectations and Timeframes Box 4.3.1 Participation as Community Development Box 4.3.2 Citizen Capacity Building Box 4.3.3 Organizational Capacity Building Box 4.3.4 Outreach & Engagement Box 4.4.1 Ongoing Planning Activities Box 4.4.2 Engaging in the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 7 List of Acronyms ATTAC -  Association to Tackle Adverse Conditions BCSCS - Britannia Community Services Centre Society BAP - Britannia Action Planning (Working Group) BoM - Board of Management (Britannia) CAG - City Advisory Group CMT - Corporate Management Team (City of Vancouver) CoV - City of Vancouver ESFPS - East Side Family Place Society GWAC - Grandview-Woodland Area Council GWAST - Grandview Woodland Area Services Team NHA - National Housing Act P&D - Planning & Development (Committee) SCARP - School of Community and Regional Planning (UBC) SMP - Strategic Master Plan SPOTA - Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association VPL - Vancouver Public Library VPB - Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board) VRS - Vancouver Redevelopment Study VSB - Vancouver School Board Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan8 Executive Summary This report examines the collaborative planning process that led to the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan (SMP) in 2011. The plan is the product of three years of discussion and negotiation between stakeholders involved in the operation of the Britannia Community Services Centre, an integrated community facility located in East Vancouver, British Columbia. The report draws on the voices of multiple stakeholders, including civic agency managers, site staff, and local citizens, to build a collective record of their experience as participants in the process. Based on these experiences three main lessons for practice, with associated recommendations	for	action,	are	developed.	Together,	these	act	as	a	flexible	framework	which can be used to guide future planning activities at the Britannia Community Services Centre. The report is the product of a research study conducted by a graduate student at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, working in partnership with the Britannia Community Services Centre Society (BCSCS). Following the social learning model of policy research, the study was conducted with close interaction between the researcher and client organization in a transformative process of knowledge creation. Drawing from contemporary theories	of	organizational	change,	the	process	of	inquiry	emphasized	the	identification	of strengths and successes to act as the foundation for future organizational development. Thus, the research process was envisioned as a means to generate knowledge about the planning process while simultaneously strengthening the organization’s capacity to plan. The study draws from both primary and secondary data sources, including participant observations,	interviews,	and	organizational	files.	The	researcher’s	own	experience	working with the organization as a member of the planning committee since the Fall of 2010, allowed for personal observations over a two year period. Between April and June 2012, ten interviews were conducted with key stakeholders to obtain feedback on their experience in the planning process, and to gather their ideas about moving forward with the organization’s planning activities. Additional background material was obtained from a review of organizational records and relevant planning reports. Primary data was coded using using four key areas of analysis (context, process, outcomes, and next steps) and analysed for themes within each in order to generate	the	research	findings. Findings indicate that the Britannia planning process has taken place in a complex legal environment resulting from the multiple partnership and lease agreements in place for Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 9 operating the Centre. In this context, the negotiation of multiple stakeholder priorities has been critical to the creation of the SMP, and has shifted the focus of planning from responding to immediate needs to developing a long-term strategic vision for the site and facilities. The experiences of stakeholders suggest that this process has been successful as both a community development and capacity building initiative, and further demonstrate a need to ensure	these	benefits	are	shared	amongst	all	stakeholders,	including	citizens	and	site	staff not	able	to	participate	on	the	planning	committee.	Finally,	findings	suggest	that	there	is	value in ongoing activity aimed to keep the SMP active and relevant in the context of multiple and overlapping planning processes which have direct bearing on the future development of the site. Together	these	findings	suggest	the	need	for	careful	process	management	and	expectation setting to ensure clear communication between stakeholders, and mitigate against potential frustrations of those seeking immediate results. They further indicate the need to recognize and make productive use of each stakeholders’ unique skills and perspectives, as these are critical to the process of negotiation and decision-making. Finally, they demonstrate the importance of long-term capacity building and sustainable community development to ensure that stakeholders continue to develop their ability to collaborate in decisions regarding the future of the Britannia site and facilities. To act on the lessons emanating from the study findings,	it	is	recommended	that	the	organization:	develop	structured	means	of	communication between stakeholders, formalize each stakeholders’ contribution to site planning, commit to a process of ongoing and adaptive site planning, and experiment with new forms of partnership and operating agreements. Through these actions the organization can continue to develop the foundation of mutual understanding that will be necessary to achieve a negotiated agreement in the future. Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan10 1. Introduction  1.1.  Project Overview: Professional Master’s Project This	research	was	undertaken	as	a	final	professional	project	to	satisfy	the	requirements	of The University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) Master’s Program. An alternative to a traditional Master’s thesis, a professional project requires that	students	work	with	a	partner	organization	to	complete	research	that	will	benefit	the	agency while contributing to the student’s learning and professional experience. The project scope and mandate is negotiated between the student researcher, a representative from the partner organization,	and	an	academic	supervisor.	Project	findings	are	compiled	in	the	form	of	a professional report (or otherwise negotiated deliverable) for use by the partner organization and submission to the student’s academic supervisor as a pre-requisite to program completion.  1.2.  Partner Organization: Britannia Community Services Centre Society This project was conceived and executed in partnership with the Britannia Community Services	Centre	Society	(BCSCS).	The	BCSCS	is	a	registered	non-profit	society,	governed	by a locally elected Board of Management, responsible for managing the Britannia Community Services Centre, a unique community facility located in the the north-east sector of the City of Vancouver [see Figure 1], in the Grandview-Woodland local area [see Figure 2]. The Centre, opened in 1976, occupies an 18-acre site on land owned by the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver	School	Board.	Lease	agreements	and	operating	relationships	are	defined	in	a Master Agreement between the two public land owners and the BCSCS. Other partners with working relationships or formal operating agreements with the BCSCS include the Vancouver Public Library, the Vancouver Park Board, and the East Side Family Place Society. Facilities located on the site include: an elementary school, secondary school, library,	ice	rink,	pool,	fitness	facilities,	child care centres, a senior’s lounge, and youth activity spaces [see Figure 3]. Figure 1. Vancouver Local Areas Source: Vancouver Sun, with overlay by author Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 11 	 1.3.		Research	Mandate:	A	Process	of	Collective	Reflection The BCSCS has been working for many years to secure capital funding to renew the facilities located on site, many of which are at the end of their life-span. In the winter of 2008, the BCSCS’ application for capital improvement funds from the City of Vancouver “was deferred pending further discussion among all the stakeholders” (City of Vancouver, 2008). In 2009, with planning funds secured from the City, the BCSCS began to engage their stakeholders in the development of a new Master Plan for the site and facilities. The Britannia Strategic Master Plan (SMP), completed in the Fall of 2011, provides a framework for the phased renewal of the Centre’s facilities with the aim of consolidating community program space in a multi-purpose building. The BCSCS is currently seeking their partners’ endorsement of the plan, and funding for	the	proposed	first	phase,	the	renewal	of	pool	and	fitness	facilities,	has	yet	to	be	secured. Source: Britannia Strategic Master Plan Figure 2. Grandview-Woodland Local Area: Selected Community Facilities & Amenities Source: City of Vancouver Planning Department Figure 3. Britannia Site Map Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan12 This	research	project	was	conceived	as	a	process	of	collective	reflection	among	the	multiple stakeholders involved in the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan. The purpose of which was to both document the process that led to the creation of the SMP, and provide an opportunity for the BCSCS to learn from the experiences of their stakeholders. Due to the number of stakeholders involved in planning at Britannia, establishing a clear record of events was seen as critical in order to build the organization’s own institutional memory of the planning process. Additionally, the organization was interested in obtaining feedback about the experience of their stakeholders to determine how best to move forward with their planning activities in the future. Thus, the primary objective of the research was to enhance the organization’s ability to plan by contributing to its institutional memory and distilling lessons for practice based on the collective experience of its stakeholders. 2. Background  2.1.  The Britannia Community Services Centre (1976) The creation of the Britannia Community Services Centre was part of an important moment in the City of Vancouver’s development. As such, much has been written about its development and a ‘mythic narrative’ now surrounds the Centre’s origins (Clague, 1979; Clague, 1988; Cooking & Culos, 2008; Davitt and Martin, 2001). Despite differences of opinion in the details of the Britannia ‘creation myth’, the Centre continues to stand as a physical representation of the power of collective action and citizen engagement. Its continued operation as a hub of social action, community development, and place-based service delivery speaks to the influence	of	this	narrative	in	citizen’s	conception	of,	and	engagement	in,	the	Centre.  Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Canadian cities were the focus of a coordinated, government sponsored, urban renewal program facilitated through the legislation of the National Housing Act (NHA) of 1954 (Lee, 1997). The program brought together three levels of government— municipal, provincial, and federal—to renew what were seen to be ‘depressed’ urban areas through land clearance and modern reconstruction. As with similar programs in Europe and the United States these plans often targeted racialized and socially stigmatized areas, those with high proportions of working-class and/or immigrant residents (Sandercock, 1998). In the City of Vancouver planning interventions focused on the north-east sector of the City, centering around the neighbourhood of Strathcona, a predominantly low-income Chinese immigrant community (Lee, 2007) [see Figure 4]. Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 13 In 1958, Vancouver City Council approved the Vancouver Redevelopment Study (VRS), which set out the framework for the renewal of the Strathcona neighbourhood (Lee, 2007). The plan was sponsored by all three levels of government and followed the established pattern of urban renewal through “expropriation, demolition, and a combination of new public housing, private development, and new industrial uses” (Gutstein, 1975, p.157). Despite opposition from the residents of Strathcona, implementation of the plan began in 1961, and by 1967 had resulted in the displacement of approximately 3,300 people (Pendakur, 1972). In response a new community group, the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA), was formed in order to resist the continued demolition of their neighbourhood and resultant fracturing of their community. Using, what Jo-Anne Lee (2007) has termed, ‘culturally hybrid forms of resistance’ the group successfully resisted the implementation of subsequent phases of the plan. Meanwhile, east of Strathcona in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood, a predominantly Italian immigrant community, a different movement was emerging out of the local high school. Surveying the services offered in their neighbourhood, students in John Minichiello’s social studies class at the Britannia High School were shocked to discover that their own community lacked many of the services and amenities offered in other parts of the City (Cocking & Culos,	2008).	Spurred	to	action	by	their	findings,	the	students	formed	a	group	known	as	the Figure 4. City of Vancouver Redevelopment Map Source: City of Vancouver Archives Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan14 Association To Tackle Adverse Conditions (ATTAC). Under the tagline of ‘You live in a slum - do something about it’, they began organizing local residents to lobby for increased services and recreational amenities in their area (Davitt and Martin, 2001). In 1967, the local area councils for Grandview-Woodland and Strathcona collaborated in drafting a proposal to develop new community facilities to serve their two neighbourhoods (Cooley, 1974). Drawing from an emerging model of integrated service delivery the proposal advocated for the development of “multi-purpose services centres using schools as the focal point” (Cooley, 1974, p.2). The proposal was brought before Vancouver City Council in 1967 but action was deferred to allow the School Board, Library Board, and Park Board to study its contents. In 1969, $2.25M to fund the development of the Britannia Community Services Centre was secured from the City’s 1970-1975 Capital Plan (Roberts, 1972). Over the coming years, a further $2.25M was secured from the Vancouver School Board, and an additional $1M of Federal urban renewal funds were allocated to assist with land purchase (Roberts, 1972). In 1971, an advisory committee composed of six citizens, and one representative from each of the Vancouver School Board, the Vancouver Park Board, the City’s Planning and Social Planning Departments, was struck to help plan for the development of the Centre (Cooley, 1974). Between 1971 and 1973 schematic drawings were developed for the construction of a community recreation complex around the existing Britannia High School building (Cooley, 1974). The drawings attempted to re-create the feel of a small European village by disrupting the established street grid and developing an assortment of small buildings with narrow winding passages between them. Realizing this new pattern of development required the expropriation of approximately four residential city blocks, and the partial closure of four city streets. Construction of the Centre began in 1974, and on June 5th, 1976 the Britannia Community	Services	Centre	officially	opened	its	doors	(Cocking	&	Culos,	2008). Micheal Clague, a community development professional active in early years of the Britannia Community Centre, has suggested that its creation is a powerful example of the use of “social service planning & community development as prime tools in reviving inner city areas” (Clague, 1988, p.5). In this way, it is an early example of place-based policy development, which disrupted the established pattern of urban renewal in favor of a locally developed, context-specific	strategy	(Bradford,	2005).	In	this	story	we	also	see	how	citizens	involved	in the process moved away from a position of ‘defensive opposition’ building their capacity as ‘visionary	active	citizens’,	“scoping	alternative	futures	and	finding	better	ways	of	‘doing	things’” Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 15 (Kenny,	2010,	p.	10).	In	this	example	residents,	through	collaboration	with	political	officials	and bureaucrats,	were	able	to	successfully	define	a	‘better	way’	to	renew	their	neighbourhood.  2.2.  The Community Services Centre Model The creation of the Britannia Community Services Centre in the 1970s marked an experiment with a new and innovative form of service delivery in the City of Vancouver. Britannia was the first	community	centre	in	Vancouver	to	be	developed	based	on	a	new	model	of	integrated service delivery [see Figure 5]. The ‘Community Services Centre’ model was promoted in the 1970s and 80s as a means to enhance collaboration between service agencies in order to “increase quality and delivery of services to people” (Woo, 1995, p.2). Recognizing the compatibility between the goals of various service agencies, the model sought to realize the potential	for	mutually	beneficial	working	relationships	and	cost	sharing	by	co-locating	and functionally integrating services on one site (Woo, 1995). In recent years different forms of multi-service centres and co-located facilities have become quite common in Vancouver. However, the particular forms of partnership and level of service integration at Britannia remain unique in the City to this day. Partnerships are at the core of the Britannia Community Services Centre’s model of integrated service delivery. Those involved in the creation of the Centre have referred to these partnerships as the ‘life- blood’ of the organization (Davitt & Martin, 2001). The three primary partners involved in the operation of the Britannia Community Services Centre are the Britannia Community Services Centre Society, the Vancouver School Board, and the City of Vancouver. The relationship Figure 5. Community Services Centre Model Source: Clague, 1988, p.12 Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan16 between these agencies, including lease agreements and operational responsibilities, are described	in	a	Master	Agreement	first	signed	in	1976,	and	subsequently	updated	1981	(Master Agreement, 1981). According to the provisions of this agreement land ownership is split between the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver School Board, while the BCSCS holds a covenant to act as the manager for the Centre (Master Agreement, 1981). Other partners operating on the site include the Vancouver Public Library Board, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and the East Side Family Place Society. An additional operating agreement signed between the VSB and the VPL governs the shared use of the library facility, which acts as both a public library and a library for the schools located on site. In 2002, an additional lease agreement was entered into between the BCSCS, the CoV, and the East Side Family Place Society for the construction of a new two storey building at the southern extent of the site. The relationship between the BCSCS and the ESFPS in the use of, and care for, the building are described in a Joint Operating Agreement signed by the two agencies in 2003. Though the Park Board is not a signatory on any of the legal agreements in place for the site, they support the BCSCS by seconding recreational staff and managers to work at the Centre [see Figure 6].  Figure 6. Britannia Site Partnerships Source: drawn by author, concept from City Staff, 2012 Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 17 The mandate of the BCSCS is to “develop, coordinate and support a wide range of excellent programs and services to Grandview-Woodland and Strathcona by working with community members, partners and local agencies” (BCSCS, 2012a, sidebar). The organization is governed by a locally elected Board of Management composed of local residents, site staff, and representatives from public agencies. The Board is composed of 18 Directors: 14 elected citizens with voting rights (of which a minimum of 10 must reside in either Grandview- Woodland or Strathcona), one elected non-voting staff representative, and one appointed site administrator from each of the Vancouver School Board, the Vancouver Park Board, and the Vancouver Public Library (BCSCS, 2010a). Each partner organization is also invited to appoint	one	political	official	to	occupy	a	Board	Liaison	position,	for	a	total	of	four	such	positions occupied to be occupied by a City of Vancouver Councillors, a Park Board Commissioner, a School Board Trustee, and a Library Board Member (BCSCS, 2010a). This governance structure	provides	a	means	for	public	agency	staff,	political	officials,	and	citizens	to	work collaboratively	to	define	the	services	provided	on	the	site. The multi-stakeholder governance structure in place for the Britannia Community Services Centre is unique in the City of Vancouver. While a handful of other community centres have active Boards or Community Associations, most report directly to the Park Board and none include all of the partners present on the Britannia site. This governance structure is an important feature of the social infrastructure of the site, which extends beyond the provision of services and recreational programmes to the institutionalization of direct citizen engagement and participatory decision-making. This form of governance is aligned with the social-inclusion framework developed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which recognizes the primary importance of supporting “active citizen engagement in local planning and decision- making processes” (Clutterbuck & Novick, 2003). It is also fundamental to the founding principles of the organization, which are: “decentralization, integration, local accountability, and citizen participation” (Clague, 1988, p.15). The Britannia Community Services Centre operates outside the established City management systems, employing a complex partnership model which provides unprecedented opportunities for collaboration between civic agencies and local communities. As such the Centre serves as an important piece of social infrastructure, providing opportunities to foster active citizen engagement and participatory decision-making. While the values underlying this model, including direct citizen participation and co-ordination of service provision, have become well Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan18 established tenants of social planning practice, Britannia remains the only community centre to employ this model in the City of Vancouver. Thus, Britannia’s continued operation as a ‘Community Services Centre’ remains a bold experiment in collaborative governance and integrated service delivery.  2.3.  Service Provision & Site Activities The Britannia Community Services Centre is set up primarily to serve the residents of the Grandview-Woodland and Strathcona neighbourhoods. Together these two areas account for approximately 7% of the City’s population (City of Vancouver, 2009b). While the majority of users are drawn from these two areas, “enrollment data indicate that up to 40% of program patrons are drawn from a larger catchment area, including Mount Pleasant, Hastings-Sunrise, and Burnaby Heights” (BCSCS, 2012b), suggesting that the Centre serves a larger proportion of the City and metro-region populations. Census data collected in 2006 for the Grandview- Woodland and Strathcona neighbourhoods indicate that, as compared to City-wide averages, the local population includes a higher proportion of low-income households and single-parent families.	These	communities	are	also	home	to	a	significant	proportion	of	Vancouver’s	Urban Aboriginal Community (City of Vancouver, 2009b).The Grandview-Woodland area in particular also has a “high concentration of arts and cultural workers” (City of Vancouver, 2012a, p.18). In order to adequately serve the local population the Centre offers a diverse array of programs and services, some of which are offered for free or at subsidized rates. Recreational programs offered on the site include: skating lessons, swimming lessons, summer day-camps, a variety of	fitness	programs,	and	cultural	programming.	Community	services	offered	on	site	include: child care programs, bulk-food buying, multi-cultural cooking classes, youth leadership programs, and legal aid services. The Vancouver School Board operates both an elementary and secondary school on site, as well as adult education services offered through the Hastings Education Centre. The Vancouver Public Library manages the operation of the shared-use library, and offers additional literacy programs out of the facility. East Side Family Place Society provides support services to families and care-givers on site, in addition to the child care programs offered through the Britannia Out-of-School Care program. The Centre also hosts meetings of local organizations and service networks, including the Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC) and the Grandview-Woodland Area Services Team (GWAST).  Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 19 Operating costs are shared between the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver School Board, and the BCSCS. The VSB is responsible for all site maintenance and repairs and receives payment for services rendered in the community facilities from the City of Vancouver through the BCSCS. The City of Vancouver provides approximately 50% of the core funding necessary for the administrative operation of the centre (BCSCS, 2012b). Additional program funding is secured through user fees and a mix of government (provincial and federal) and other grants (BCSCS, 2012b). Site staff and administrative managers for the recreation facilities are seconded from the Vancouver Park Board. Additional community-service staff are supported through grants and must, therefore, continually seek funding for their positions through ongoing grant submission processes. The Britannia Community Services Centre serves a complex local community with unique programming and service needs. A variety of recreational, educational, and social services are delivered on site, some of which are offered at no-cost or for subsidized rates in order to meet the needs of the low-income population in the area. Costs are shared between the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver School Board, and the BCSCS, and additional funding is secured through	a	variety	of	external	sources.	As	such,	site	activities	reflect	a	dynamic	service	delivery system composed of many functionally integrated parts.  2.4  The Britannia Strategic Master Plan (2011) The desire to make changes to the Britannia site emerged as early as the 1980s, when a local architecture	firm	was	commissioned	to	assess	the	potential	for	creating	covered	walkways between the pool and other facilities on the site. In 1985 renovations to the pool complex were completed with no changes made to the exterior walkways. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that a coordinated movement for facilities renewal took shape under the direction of then Executive Director, Enzo Guerrero. In 2005, a Needs Assessment (Wilson & June, 2005) commissioned by the BCSCS generated momentum for the renewal of the site and facilities in	order	to	address	identified	gaps	in	service	delivery.	These	included	the	need	for	additional programming space, integrated health and recreation facilities, increased accessibility for those with mobility challenges, and better signage and visibility. At this time the Planning & Development committee, a sub-committee of the Board of Management, was charged to help develop a new plan for the site. The membership of the committee included BCSCS directors, local residents, site staff, and community users. In Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan20 2006, DGBK architects were hired as project consultants and worked with the Planning & Development committee to complete a Facilities Master Plan in 2007 (DGBK, 2007). The plan proposed the redevelopment of the Information Centre and Senior’s Lounge to accommodate additional art programming space and community meeting rooms. Using the Facilities Master Plan as a foundation the BCSCS developed a capital funding request, which they brought before Vancouver City Council in 2008. Despite having a large audience of community supporters at Council, funding was deferred pending further consultation with stakeholders, in particular the VSB who own the land being considered for development (City of Vancouver, 2010). Though the capital funding request was deferred, Council did allocate $100,000 to fund additional planning and architectural service procurement. In 2009, with the planning funds allocated by the City, the BCSCS re-initiated the planning process under the leadership of newly appointed Executive Director, Cynthia Low [see Figure 7]. The Planning & Development Committee was re-tasked to help coordinate the process and secure participation from community members and site partner organizations [see Table 1 next page]. Some members continued in their previous role with new members secured from the Board of Management, partner organizations, and the wider community. Throughout the Figure 7. Planning Timeline Source: author Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 21 process public meetings of the Planning & Development committee were held in the Britannia Information Centre meeting room, on a schedule that varied from once a week to once a month depending on the level of planning activity. Table 1. Britannia Stakeholders Stakeholder Role Means of Involvement Britannia Community Services Centre Society Manage Process; Approve Plan Board of Management Vancouver School Board Advise Process;Approve Plan City Advisory Group City of Vancouver Advise Process;Approve Plan City Advisory Group Vancouver Park Board Advise Process; Approve Plan City Advisory Group Vancouver Public Library Advise Process;Approves Plan City Advisory Group Site Staff Participate in Process P&D Committee; Outreach & Events Local Service Agencies Participate in Process P&D Committee;Outreach & Events Local Residents Participate in Process P&D Committee;Outreach Other Users Participate in Process P&D Committee;Outreach & Events  From September 2009 to April 2010 four classes from the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) were enlisted to support the organization in the planning process. In the fall term of 2009, SCARP’s Urban Design Studio course completed a comprehensive study of the Grandview-Woodland area, leading to a more detailed site analysis in the spring of 2010. A public workshop was held with community members on March 6th 2010 and included “a co-design station, asset mapping, a dot-mocracy voting	on	objectives,	sketch-up	model	demonstration	station,	history	of	Britannia	film	viewing, and an image survey” (Mills & Gillette, 2010). Community consultations continued through the spring and summer with the help of SCARP student intern, Sam Mohamad-Khany. Asset mapping sessions were held with a variety of different user groups including students, seniors, youth, and site staff. Information tables were set up at a number of local area events, including Italian Day and the Stone Soup Festival held on site.  A community survey was also used to collect information on site use patterns and desired change. At the end of this process the Planning & Development Committee drafted a Vision Statement for site planning at Britannia [see Figure 8 next page]. Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan22 In the summer of 2010, negotiations began among the site partners to establish a Terms of Reference	(TOR)	for	the	BCSCS’	capital	submission	process.	Once	complete	the	TOR	defined the terms of site partner participation in the development of a strategic long-range facilities plan, emphasizing the need for alignment with each agencies’ own capital planning priorities. Through the TOR a City Advisory Group (CAG) was established to help guide the BCSCS in their planning activities (BCSCS, 2010c). Throughout the planning process members of the Advisory Group, including the Executive Director of the BCSCS, and senior managers from the CoV, VSB, VPL, and VPB, met monthly to advise the organization on the capital submission process, and schedule meetings with, and presentations to, the City’s Corporate Management Team (CMT) as needed. In	August	2010,	the	consulting	firms	of	Phillips	Farevaag	Smallenberg	and	Hughes	Condon Marler were contracted to complete more detailed studies and facilitate the consultation process with partner agencies. Their initial work involved consolidating the information gathered through previous consultation processes and conducting a more detailed and up- to-date site analysis. In the fall of 2010 individual meetings were held with each site partner The Britannia Community Services Centre is the heart of the community, serv- ing as an integrated hub of education, arts, culture, recreation, wellness, and sus- tainability. Britannia’s strength lies in its innovative public sector partnerships. These give life to unparalleled opportunities for collaborative decision-making, program- ming, and service delivery, and the flexibility to continually meet the evolving needs of the community. Britannia is accessible and welcoming; drawing users whose diversity is matched by the diversity of programs offered by the centre. The Britannia Centre respects and celebrates its social and physical context, fos- tering a sense of stewardship towards the people and setting that are the source of its richness. Britannia Master Plan Vision Statement Figure 8. Britannia Master Plan Vision Statememt Source: Display panel, Hughes Condon Marler & Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 23 organization in order to obtain further information as to their particular needs and priorities. A workshop, facilitated and organized by the consulting team, was held on October 18, 2010 to provide site partners with an opportunity to share information and discuss their respective plans for renewal. A second community survey was completed in the winter of 2010 to obtain feedback on the vision, and overall direction for planning. A total of 277 responses were received and indicated a general approval of the direction taken for facilities planning (Cullingham, 2011). Based on this work, in February 2011, the Planning & Development Committee drafted a report entitled “Britannia Community Services Centre: A Case for Inclusion in the City of Vancouver’s 10-Year Capital Strategy” and distributed it to partner organizations (Britannia Planning & Development Committee, 2011). Through the information gathered from these partner meetings and community consultations a set of six design principles were articulated to help guide the development of more detailed site scenarios [see Figure 9]. Summer 2011 Planning Process Brochure – V.1
 Summer 2011 Planning Process Brochure – V.1 Emphasize the main entrance to the site at Commercial Drive and Napier Street, the location of the Napier Square Greenway. Establish a stronger presence on, and enhance access to Commercial Drive. Enhance views of the 1908/1911 historic secondary school building. Group facilities and programming spaces into one complex that includes new indoor areas for public seating and community gatherings. Preserve views from the site, particularly those of the city and the North Shore mountains. Connect the site to the street grid with pathways and greenways so that you can cycle or walk from William to Venables and/or Commercial to McLean. The following design principles were developed out of discussions between the Planning & Development Committee, the community, and our partners. They are the product of a ‘blank-slate’ visioning process and reflect some of the considerations that may be taken into account in drafting site plans and designs. They are not all of equal importance, but will help guide us in developing site scenarios. Design Principles: Guiding Planning at BritanniaFigure 9. Britannia Master Plan Design Principles Source: Britannia Planning Process Brochure Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan24 On February 3, 2011 a workshop was held with the Planning & Development committee to review various site layout and massing options developed by the consulting team. On May 27, 2011 these were presented to partner agencies at a workshop held at Hughes Condon Marler	offices,	which	was	attended	by	approximately	12	individuals,	including	members	of the Planning & Development Committee, site partner managers, and City staff. Based on feedback received from the partners, three site scenarios were selected for the basis of further community consultation. In the summer of 2011 a third community survey was initiated to gauge support for the design principles, and obtain feedback on priorities for renewal. Surveys were collected on line, at discussion tables mounted on site and at local community events, and at a dedicated open house held on July 7, 2011, which was attended by over 150 people. Between June and August 2011, 350 survey responses were collected and indicated solid community support for the phased renewal of the Britannia facilities. As a result of this work the Britannia Strategic Master Plan (SMP) was completed in September 2011. The plan develops a framework for the phased renewal of the Britannia recreation	facilities,	with	the	redevelopment	of	the	pool	and	fitness	facilities	as	the	suggested first	phase.	The	plan	proves	out	three	different	options	for	the	first	phase	of	facilities	renewal, which	range	from	the	redevelopment	of	the	facilities	in	place,	to	the	expansion	of	the	fitness centre and relocation of the pool adjacent to the rink, to the complete redevelopment of both facilities in the north-west corner of the site [see Figure 10]. The plan was reviewed by representatives from the partner organizations and circulated to their respective Boards and Councils in advance of the November 2011 municipal election. The plan has since been approved in principle by sub-committees of the Vancouver Park Board and the Vancouver School Board, has been received by the Vancouver Public Library Board, and is pending consideration by Vancouver City Council. Figure 10. Selected Site Scenarios Source: Britannia Strategic Master Plan Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 25 3. Methodology  3.1  Analytical Framework The analytical framework used in this report draws on three main bodies of theory. These are: collaborative planning, social learning, and organizational change. Together these theories have guided the process of inquiry and shaped the lens through which information was organized and interpreted for the purpose of knowledge creation. In this study the creation of the SMP is understood as the result of a collaborative planning process, thus theories of collaborative practice are used to understand and analyse the dynamics of this process. Social learning theory is used to explain the process of knowledge creation as it is manifest in both planning practice and in the research process. Finally, the methods of inquiry selected for use in this research, particularly the technique of appreciative inquiry used in the interview process, have been guided by theories of organizational change and development. The following section examines each of these theories in turn, describing their relevance to the Britannia case,	and	the	influence	they	have	had	in	shaping	research	procedures	and	study	findings. Collaborative	planning	processes	are	now	a	well	established	feature	of	the	planning	field. Theories	of	collaborative	planning	first	emerged	in	the	1970s	in	response	to	the	perceived failure of expert-driven planning processes to accommodate diverse stakeholder interests, and thus realize planning’s full democratic potential (Healey, 1997). As such, collaborative planning processes seek to engage multiple stakeholders in decision-making with the goal of developing trust, fostering mutual understanding, and building consensus (Innes & Booher, 1999). To achieve these goals theories of collaborative planning emphasize the need for sustained dialogue between multiple stakeholder groups in the process of planning (Margerum, 2002). Drawing from the tradition of communicative rationality, collaborative planning theory understands reason to be the product of engaged dialogue between multiple subjects, as opposed to the result of abstract thought (Healey, 1997). Such an approach suggests that no right or wrong answers exist in abstraction from the relationship between the parties involved, but instead recognizes that “right and good actions are those we can come to agree on” (Healey, 1997, p.151). Thus, theories of collaborative planning are process oriented, and emphasize the importance of relationship building and open communication over discrete outcomes or measurable deliverables. In the context of this study the process that led to the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan is understood as an example of collaborative planning. This form of planning is Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan26 particularly relevant to the Britannia context given that it accommodates multiple stakeholders, and recognizes the importance of discussion in determining appropriate courses of action. Through this lens planning at Britannia is understood as a process of ongoing dialogue between multiple parties with the intent “to produce new relationships, new practices, and new ideas”	(Innes	&	Booher,	1999,	p.413).	This	body	of	theory	provides	the	rationale	for	defining the research study as an investigation into the process which led to the creation of the SMP, rather than an evaluation of the Plan itself. It has also guided the research process, focusing the researcher’s attention on the dynamics of stakeholder relations, the process of discussion, and the building of mutual understanding and consensus. The research approach used in this study is based on the social learning model of policy research articulated by John Friedmann and George Abonyi (Friedmann & Abonyi, 1976). This model was developed as an alternative to traditional forms of policy research in which knowledge is exchanged as a commodity between researcher and client removed from the ‘social practice’ in which each is embedded. ‘Social practice’ in this theory is conceptualized as “four interrelated processes: the formation of a theory of reality, the articulation of relevant social values, the selection of an appropriate political strategy, and the implementation of practical measures or social action” (Friedmann & Abonyi 1976, p.932). Traditional research models are critiqued for their inability to effect change because they attempt to formulate new theories of reality in isolation from related social values, political strategies, and social actions. The social learning model suggests that in order for policy research to be effective the whole of both the researcher’s and the client’s social practice must be transformed in the process of knowledge creation. According to the model, this transformation is achieved through a series of experimental interventions, which engender a process of experiential learning. In sum, the social learning model of policy research provides a framework through which policy research is conducted with adequate interaction between researcher and client, through a process of experiential learning, with the intent of prompting a transformation in social practice. The	social	learning	model	was	specifically	developed	for	addressing	‘wicked’	policy	problems, those in which “explicit agreement on goals is lacking, and means-ends relationships are not	clearly	defined”	(Friedmann	&	Abonyi,	p.929).	Given	the	complex,	strategic,	nature	of	the Britannia ‘policy problem’ this model is particularly appropriate for use in this research study. Using this model as a framework, the researcher has worked closely with the organization throughout the research process as a member of the Planning & Development Committee. Involvement in the committee has allowed the researcher to develop a better understanding Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 27 of	the	‘social	practice’	of	the	organization,	helping	to	ensure	that	the	research	and	findings are relevant to their particular needs and aspirations. In addition, particular effort was made to initiate a process learning and experimentation in conversations with interview participants and strategic interventions in the work of the organization. While the report serves as a record for what has been learnt and accomplished through the research process, it is not conceived as	an	end	in	itself	but	rather	as	an	opportunity	for	collective	reflection	and	a	basis	for	ongoing discussion.	While	the	theory	of	social	learning	has	influenced	the	overall	research	process, complementary	theories	of	organizational	change	have	been	drawn	upon	to	shape	the	specific methods of inquiry used. In	recent	years,	theories	of	organizational	change	have	begun	to	emphasize	the	identification of	strengths	and	assets,	over	problems	and	deficiencies,	as	the	primary	tools	for	driving organizational development. Drawing in part from the theory of asset based community development	articulated	by	Kretzmann	and	Mcknight	(1996),	this	field	of	theory	has	begun	to develop an ‘appreciative language’ to evaluate organizational capacity and identify strategies for further development (Preskill and Catsambas, 2006). Out of this has developed the practice of appreciative inquiry, an alternative method of evaluation which attempts to identify areas of organizational strength in order to build on them. Preskill and Catsambas have suggested that using appreciative inquiry as an evaluation tool has the potential to: (a) increase the richness of the data collected, (b) help the evaluator obtain important contextual and stakeholder information, (c) increase the	efficiency	of	the	data	collection	process,	(d)	increase	participants’ level of trust and participation in the evaluation, and (e) respect the diversity of participants’ experiences and opinions. (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006, p.50) Though some have critiqued this method for its potential to “silence dissenting voices” and its reliance on “questionable assumptions about social change” it is still recognized as reliable research	method	when	used	conscientiously	within	specific	contexts	(Aldred,	2011,	p.69,	p.57). In the context of this research process, the method of appreciative inquiry has been used to shape research procedures and guide interview questions. In particular, it has been used to guide the process of inquiry away from questions of ‘what went wrong’, focusing instead on engaging participants in thinking about what went well, the conditions that led to success, and how these can be nurtured and sustained. Though this technique was used Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan28 in the development of interview questions and procedures, and conversations did focus on strengths and successes, some discussion of the challenges faced in the planning process were also recorded. Following the method of appreciative inquiry attempts were made by the researcher to prompt participants to consider how these challenges were addressed, or could be overcome in the future. While the study’s primary areas of inquiry have been developed so as not to include a particular analysis of these challenges, in order to accurately portray the sentiments expressed by participants references to them do appear in the context of broader discussions. This research study is grounded in three main bodies of thought, which together have influenced	the	process	of	inquiry	and	analysis.	Theories	of	collaborative	planning	have	shaped the researcher’s understanding of the subject of inquiry, and guided the process of analysis. The social learning model of policy research has structured the overarching framework through which	the	research	was	conducted,	while	theories	of	organization	change	have	influenced the selection of interview questions and procedures. Based on this analytical framework the research process has been conceived as an inquiry into a collaborative planning process, conducted through participation in an active organizational context, with the intent of fostering organizational development.  3.2  Research Procedures & Project Timelines This research project is the result of nearly two years of work with the BCSCS. The researcher began working with the organization in the Fall of 2010 as a student in the ‘Building Inclusive Communities: Social Learning Studio’ course taught by professors Nathan Edelson and Norma-Jean McLaren at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP). Over the summer of 2011 the student-researcher was employed as a planning intern with the organization and helped to coordinate a community engagement program for the planning process. In January 2012, following the completion of the SMP, the researcher returned to the organization and began to develop the framework for this research study. In March of 2012, the research received ‘support in principle’ from the organization, with the understanding that both the P&D Committee and the BoM would be kept abreast of the researcher’s activities. Feedback	on	the	research	process	and	preliminary	findings	were	obtained	at	meetings,	and in personal communications, with the research supervising committee and members of the organization, including citizen representatives and professional staff [see Figure 11 next page]. Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 29 Data collection for the study was completed between March and June 2012, and included both primary and secondary data sources. Secondary data sources used in the research include BCSCS	historical	records	and	organizational	files,	planning	reports	written	or	commissioned	by the BSCSC and their public agency partners, and academic literature relating to collaborative planning, social learning, community development, and organizational change. Primary data sources used in the research include notes taken through observation of organizational meetings and attendance at public events held by partner agencies, and one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders. Between April 2012 and June 2012 ten interviews were conducted with different stakeholders involved in the planning process, including: citizen members of the Planning & Development Committee; professional advisors to the organization; members of the consulting team; and partner agency representatives (including site staff and departmental directors) [see Table 2 next page]. Figure 11. Project Timeline Source: author Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan30 Table 2. Interview Participants Participant I.D. Agency Position Interview Date Committee Member 1 BCSCS P&D Committee Member April 4, 2012 Committee Member 2 BCSCS P&D Committee Member April 6, 2012 Committee Member 3 BCSCS P&D Committee Member April 19, 2012 Committee Member 4 BCSCS P&D Committee Member April 19, 2012 City Staff CoV Planning Department Staff April 24, 2012 Consultant Private Contracted Consultant April 26, 2012 School Board Staff VSB Britannia Site Staff April 26, 2012 Park Board Staff VPB Departmental Director May 8, 2012 Advisor Private Committee Advisor May 9, 2012 Public Library Staff VPL Departmental Director June 15, 2012 Interviews ranged from just over half an hour to nearly two hours in length, and were audio recorded for the purpose of transcription and analysis. Participants were led through a series of	five	to	seven	open	ended	questions,	followed	by	an	unstructured	discussion	in	which	they were	invited	to	offer	any	further	information	or	points	of	clarification.	Targeted	questions	were developed for participants drawn from different stakeholder groups (i.e. committee members vs. agency representatives), while all interviews involved some discussion of the relationship between the partners and several core questions were asked of all participants, including: ► How were you involved in the Britannia planning process? ► What do you understand to be the purpose of the Britannia planning process? ► What were the key successes of the process from your perspective, and how can these be built on?  3.3  Research Questions & Areas of Inquiry The	purpose	of	this	research	study	was	to	initiate	a	process	of	collective	reflection	between multiple stakeholders involved in creating the Britannia Strategic Master Plan in order to distill lessons for practice to guide the organization’s future planning activities. Based on this mandate,	the	primary	research	question	guiding	this	research	was	defined	as: ►		 What can the BCSCS organization learn from their stakeholders’ experience completing the Strategic Master Plan? Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 31 This primary research question was broken down into the following sub-research questions: (1) What stakeholders were involved in the process? (2) Did the planning process unfold the same, or differently, for different stakeholders? (3) What do different stakeholders see as the major successes of the process? (4) What further work do stakeholders see as necessary in order to achieve the goals articulated in the SMP? Based on these questions, four primary areas of inquiry were developed in order to facilitate data	analysis	and	develop	a	structure	for	reporting	the	study	findings.	These	are:	(1) understanding the planning context, (2) unpacking the planning process, (3) reviewing planning outcomes, and (4) identifying next steps. Given the researcher’s grounding in collaborative planning theory, emphasis was put on identifying the ‘intangible‘ outcomes of the process (enhanced knowledge sharing, mutual understanding, and learning) which, according to theorists, “can be more important than the tangible products” of plans and agreements (Innes & Booher, 1999, p.414).The remainder of this report is dedicated to describing and analysing the	findings	identified	in	each	of	these	areas,	and	developing	lessons	for	practice	based	on	this	work. 4. Findings & Analysis This	section	of	the	report	describes	the	main	study	findings,	identified	through	an	analysis	of data collected in interviews with key stakeholders. Data collected during these interviews was analyzed using a qualitative research technique known as coding, in which relevant extracts are ascribed a meaning and categorized accordingly for cross reference across the data series (multiple interview transcripts). Four a priori codes—context, process, outcomes, and next steps—were developed in reference to the study’s primary areas of inquiry, described in section 3.3 of this report. Sorted responses were then analysed to identify themes emerging within each of these categories. In what follows, the actual voices of stakeholders interviewed appear	in	formatted	boxes	that	reflect	the	dominant	themes	identified,	which	themselves constitute	the	study	findings. Findings indicate that, in reference to the planning context, the partnerships in place for the Britannia site have produced a complex stakeholder environment, the navigation of which has Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan32 proven challenging for those involved. In spite of these challenges, participants in this study continue to see value in the partnerships in place at Britannia. In	relation	to	the	process,	key	findings	suggest	that	planning	for	the	future	development	of	the Britannia site has required ongoing discussion between stakeholders, and the negotiation of multiple agency priorities. This, in turn, has required that emphasis be put on developing a long-term strategic outlook, in order to accommodate the varying priorities and timelines of the agencies involved. Findings in reference to the outcomes of the most recent planning process indicate that it has been particularly successful as both a community development and capacity building initiative. Citizens	interviewed	in	this	research	identified	multiple	benefits	to	their	participation	as members of the P&D Committee, while agency staff described how, through their involvement in the process, they increased their capacity to engage in decision-making about the future of the Britannia site and facilities. Finally,	key	findings	in	the	area	of	‘identifying	next	steps’	suggest	that	those	involved	in	this	study see value in keeping the Strategic Master Plan active in community, and can identify a variety of strategic opportunities to advance the organization’s planning objectives. The details of these findings,	with	supporting	documentation	from	the	interviews	conducted,	are	discussed	below.   4.1  Context: Working Through Complexity The context of the Britannia planning process has been shaped by the unique partnerships in place for operating the Centre. Comments received from participants indicate that these	partnerships,	though	challenging,	also	hold	many	benefits,	as	seen	from	a	variety of stakeholder perspectives. These partnerships are governed by various lease and operating agreements signed between the public agency partners, most importantly the Master Agreement between the BCSCS, CoV, and VSB. The Master Agreement governs the ownership and operational responsibilities for the three major site partners, but lacks a framework for site planning and development. In the absence of such a framework, the complexity of stakeholder relations has produced challenges to site planning and development. According to the provisions of the Master Agreement, land ownership is split between the Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 33 Vancouver School Board and the City of Vancouver. Land use patterns do not coincide with ownership boundaries, as many of the community recreation facilities are located on VSB owned property, while the parking lot used by teachers and school administrators is located on the	land	parcel	owned	by	the	City.	Further,	despite	their	role	in	staffing	the	Centre	and	planning for community centre facilities the Park Board is not a signatory on any of the legal agreements in place for the site. Many interview participants commented on the unique position of the Britannia community centre within the City’s administrative system, and described a variety of challenges this poses to site planning and development [see Box 4.1.1].  Box 4.1.1 Challenges of Complex Partnerships Britannia is such an unusual model in that we’re the only community centre that is set up the way we are. We are the only centre that reports directly to the City... We are not a Park Board community centre.  -Committee Member 2 Britannia is, in a sense, its own entity that tries to bring these things together. Its not above them, there’s no hierarchy. It’s one of the stakeholders, it’s not the stakeholder, although in terms of day to day they are the stakeholder, but... they are technically part of the City. -Committee Member 4 When you have too many legal conditions and unclear ownership and user agreements and tenant agreements it’s hard to move forward. -Park Board Staff When	you	think	of	the	partners	on	site	here...it’s	very	difficult	to	have	any kind of homogeneous planning activity or anything that pulls people together. -School Board Staff Maybe that’s something that’s bad about having all these partners is that everybody is like ‘well maybe they’re on their list’. -Committee Member 3 There are a variety of jurisdictional considerations relating to both the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the Britannia facilities and the different users responsible for operations, programming, etc… These considerations have also changed – or become fuzzier – over time. -City Staff A big part of Britannia is sharing the space...so this is our continual dialogue which is getting louder and louder and louder. The different users argue about who should pay for maintenance around the place, the sharing of costs etc. -School Board Staff [The model] has been weakened over the years, or has weakened over the years. -Advisor It is clear from these comments that those involved in the Centre recognize the unique position that it occupies within the City’s administrative system (Committee Member 2, 2012; Committee Member 4, 2012). Further comments indicate that the “unclear ownership” and layering of multiple user and tenant agreements on the site has produced particular challenges in	the	context	of	site	planning,	making	it	difficult	to	have	any	“homogeneous	planning	activity” (Park Board Staff, 2012; School Board Staff, 2012). Although the operationalization of partner relations, in the terms and conditions of legal agreements has been an ongoing struggle at the Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan34 Centre (Clague, 1988), comments received indicate that tensions between the partners may be growing	(School	Board	Staff,	2012;	Advisor,	2012).	This	may	reflect	difficulties	emerging	from increased costs associated with the aging facilities, and the constrained funding environments currently facing most public agencies. Though	participants	identified	multiple	challenges	posed	by	the	legal	relationships	between the	partners,	many	also	described	a	number	of	benefits	that	can	result	from	the	Britannia partnership model. The Britannia Community Services Centre was originally “designed to encourage a mature partnership between civic agencies and the communities served by the centre” (Cooley, 1974, p.2). The use of an integrated service delivery model established working relationships between public agencies, while the creation of a locally elected Board of Management facilitated citizen participation in the decision-making process. Participants in this study recognized this unique heritage, and further described the value they saw in retaining these partnerships for the Britannia site [see Box 4.1.2]. Box 4.1.2 Benefits	of	Complex Partnerships Organizations all over the world have come here to see this model...it’s alway cited as a unique kind of partnership model - integrated service delivery is what they call it. -School Board Staff Britannia was a very revolutionary model of integrating the City's programming and facilities, but also a new model of allowing the community to have a say in those programs that they’re interested in...Not only providing services but also engaging those people that need the services in the life cycle of their facilities. -Committee Member 4 The opportunity that was created in the 70s, having a partnership between the School Board and the City particularly, is so vital to retaining the spirit of community that has always been there at Britannia. -Advisor There is a really great opportunity with Britannia, in having all these stakeholders and service providers on the same site...The fact that we are all on the same site gives us so much more opportunity to be creative and provide something that really works for people. -Park Board Staff I really love Britannia, it performs fabulous services for the community...the fact that there’s the library, the elementary school, the secondary school, the pool, the	fitness	centre,	the	rink,	and	the	meeting	space,	and	all	the	events,	and	of course programs that go on down there, it’s really a spectacular place to live close to. -Committee Member 2 The broader role that Britannia plays [is] in being a point of interface between the City structure and the community. -City Staff There's this feeling that the City and its bureaucracies are not in a good relationship with Grandview-Woodland or Strathcona, whereas I think this shows they can work together; this is a model they are all together in. -Committee Member 4 The combination of things, which is a struggle at times, is still worth hanging on to because the original objectives are still extremely valid. -Advisor Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 35 Those	interviewed	in	this	study	identified	the	significance	of	the	partnership	model	in	place at Britannia (School Board Staff, 2012; Committee Member 4, 2012), and went so far as to suggest that it is vital to “the spirit of community” present at the Centre (Advisor, 2012). Both the representative from the Park Board and a member of the Planning & Development Committee	described	the	benefits	of	these	partnerships	in	terms	of	opportunities	for	enhanced service delivery, while the representative from the City Planning Department described how the Centre acts as “a point of interface” between the City and community (City Staff, 2012). The potential for modeling a positive working relationship between the City and the communities served by the Centre was echoed by a member of the committee, who described the partnership model as something they are “all together in” (Committee Member 4, 2012). Comments from the committee Advisor identify that though the partnerships are “a struggle at times”, they are worth retaining (Advisor, 2012). These comments indicate that, in spite of the	challenges	identified,	both	those	involved	in	the	BCSCS	organization	and	partner	agency representatives continue to see value in the partnerships in place for Britannia. Britannia occupies a unique position within the City of Vancouver’s administrative system, due in part to the partnerships in place for the site. The participants involved in this study continue to see value in these partnerships; however, the legal agreements in place to govern them have proven challenging in the context of planning for future site development. In this way,	the	context	of	the	planning	process	reflects	a	need	to	balance	the	ideals	of	relationship building with the realities of legally mandated roles and responsibilities. Within this discussion it should be noted that there is nothing inherently problematic about this complex stakeholder environment; however it does require sustained commitment from those involved in order to move change forward.  4.2  Process: Negotiation & Adjustment The	planning	process	at	Britannia	has	been	defined	by	ongoing	discussion	between stakeholders, the negotiation of multiple agency priorities, and a resultant adjustment of expected	timelines	for	renewal.	The	findings	of	this	study	suggest	that	those	involved	in the most recent planning process recognize the need for ongoing discussion between stakeholders. Given the number of public agencies involved on the Britannia site, these discussions have necessarily involved the negotiation of the partner agencies’ individual priorities, and varying funding cycles. Through this process, it has become clear that Britannia’s plans for renewal must be considered alongside other agency priorities in the Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan36 context of a constrained funding environment. In light of this understanding, the focus of the most recent planning process was necessarily adjusted to emphasize the development of a long-term vision for the site and facilities. Recognizing the realities of a constrained funding environment and competing partner priorities, participants in this study continue to see value in this long-term planning process. Discussion between multiple stakeholders has been an important feature of the Britannia planning process. Throughout the process, Britannia’s public partners were involved in a number of workshops and design charrettes which provided them with an opportunity to share their unique visions and perspectives, and determine how Britannia’s plans for renewal might fit	within	their	own	capital	planning	processes	and	funding	timeframes.	Participants	in	this study described how they felt these discussions were invaluable to the process, particularly because of the number of partners involved on the site and the division of land ownership between them [see Box 4.2.1]. Box 4.2.1 The Process of Discussion Britannia is a bit unique because another community centre...wouldn’t need all the partners to be like ‘that sounds good’, whereas we do. -Committee Member 3 The School Board owns the land...you can’t take somebody else’s property and change it. -School Board Staff We did invite and get the right people at the table for several hours and hours of discussion and people were forthright and open and heard each other, so that’s a good start to a situation where there is a coming together. -Consultant Having a wide array of stakeholder input involved in planning community facilities is important in any process. The fact that so many key players are already involved gives the Britannia process considerable merit. -City Staff Certainly we were invited to participate as a partner and a few of us... participated in the early meetings with the architects and consultants that were on board at the beginning. -Public Library Staff We had really good discussions over last year and a half when Britannia hired consultants and started talking more about this with all the stakeholders around the table. I thought that was very useful. -Park Board Staff That’s been the biggest success of the [process], actually involving all of the partners. -Committee Member 1 Comments received from interview participants demonstrate that those involved on the Britannia site recognize the need to include all the partners in the planning process (Committee Member 3, 2012; School Board Staff, 2012). As a result, the project Consultant prioritized this process in their work, acknowledging it as a necessary step to achieving “a coming together” between the stakeholders (Consultant, 2012). Responses from partner representatives further Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 37 demonstrate that they recognize their participation in these discussions, and felt that they were a useful part of the planning process (Public Library Staff, 2012; Park Board Staff, 2012). Through these discussions, it became clear that Britannia’s plans for renewal should be considered in relation to multiple agency priorities and in the context of a limited funding environment. Within the City family (CoV, VPL, VPB) the renewal of the Britannia site and facilities, has had to be weighed against the renewal of other civic facilities, while the VSB has had to consider it in relation to their responsibilities for seismically upgrading existing school facilities. Interview participants from partner agencies, in particular, described the importance of this process of negotiation [see Box 4.2.2]. Box 4.2.2 Negotiating Multiple Partner Priorities As much as Britannia would want to be number one priority, and it is for themselves, when you compare them with other priorities within City they are not necessarily there yet. -Park Board Staff If you look at the array of community centres we have across the City, Britannia has a certain set of challenges—limited space, age of facility, etc. But other Centres have similar, even more pronounced challenges. Prioritizing which	Centres	will	be	the	next	to	get	upgraded	is	a	difficult	process	in	itself. -City Staff [From] our perspective it’s not critical in terms of a facility renewal, however we respect what’s come up from the plan. -Public LIbrary Staff Obviously [the School Board] is on a different page in terms of seismic upgrading, improvements to the existing portfolio. They will be at that task for a while now because they have plenty to go and not enough funding unfortunately to do it all at once. -Park Board Staff [The School Board] came to the table, they were open about where they stood and what they wanted from the process and likewise the Park Board made it very	clear	that	Britannia	wasn’t	first	on	their	list	but	they	were	also	interested	in resolving their planning for future facilities as much as they could. -Consultant The comments received from partner agency representatives indicate that the renewal of Britannia’s facilities, may not yet be a top priority as compared to other facilities in the City (Park Board Staff, 2012; City Staff, 2012; Public Library Staff, 2012). Those involved in this study also recognized the prioritization of seismic upgrading within the School Board’s current capital planning process (Park Board Staff, 2012). Though Britannia’s plans for renewal are being negotiated alongside a variety of other agency priorities, comments received from the Consultant indicate that these agencies still see value in “resolving their planning for future facilities” on the site (Consultant, 2012). Given the limited funding currently available for capital projects, interview participants Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan38 recognized that it may take more time than expected to realize the renewal of Britannia’s facilities.	This	realization,	in	turn,	has	led	to	an	emphasis	on	defining	a	long-term,	strategic, outlook for future site development and facilities renewal. In light of the short-term funding constraints currently facing the partner agencies on site, many participants saw the development of a long-term vision for the site as a strategic priority. Those involved in the BCSCS organization acknowledge that it may take some time before they receive funding for facilities	renewal;	however	many	continue	to	see	benefit	in	the	process	of	defining	long-term planning priorities for the site and facilities [see Box 4.2.3]. Box 4.2.3 Adjusting Expectations and Timeframes I hope over the last two years we managed to set clear goals and expectations and understanding as to how to move forward and where Britannia is in the grand scheme of things. -Park Board Staff We spent a certain amount of time at the beginning getting [the committee] to perhaps change what they thought a Master Plan would be, from the expectation they had from the previous Master Plan to a document that was a little bit more aligned to the opportunities that existed, which were not related to a Capital Plan item that was ready to be implemented, but more to a process of determining what could be done and trying to get people on line with the idea. -Consultant Between	the	2007	Master	Plan	and	the	one	we	just	finished	in	2011,	I	think that the scope and the timeframe really changed a lot. It went from something that we might be able to do in 5 to 10 years to ‘What kind of site do we want in 20 years?’. -Committee Member 2 One way around all these issues was to look 30 years in advance not just in terms of physical design but in terms of organizationally...if you have a plan for 30 years from now and a goal, maybe it doesn’t matter that you didn’t get funding, at least you know where you are going. -Committee Member 4 I	am	confident	that	the	Master	Planning	process	has	been	a	very	good	one for the Community Centre. It’s essential to involve people in planning for site renewal and getting them to think about ‘what do we want?’ in a community centre. It will also be important to keep this momentum and dialogue going. Even though a Master Plan has been developed, the actual process of site renewal has only just begun. -City Staff Within this discussion, partner representatives expressed the need for “clear goals and expectations” in the planning process (Park Board Staff, 2012). Recognizing this, the Consultant who worked on the project necessarily adjusted the scope of the most recent plan to emphasize the development of a long-term vision for the site and facilities. Those involved on the Planning & Development Committee observed this shift in the “scope and timeframe” of	the	most	recent	planning	process,	and	acknowledged	the	strategic	significance	of	defining long-term planning goals (Committee Member 2, 2012; Committee Member 4, 2012). The value of this long-term visioning process was echoed in the comments received from City Staff, Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 39 who	identified	the	significance	of	keeping	people	engaged	in	thinking	about	the	future	of	their community centre facilities. The negotiation of multiple stakeholder interests is necessary in any collaborative planning process. The number of public agencies involved on the Britannia site has made this a particularly important component of the planning process examined in this study. Through the process of discussion Britannia’s stakeholders have been given an opportunity to hear each	other’s	perspectives,	and	determine	how	Britannia’s	plans	for	renewal	fit	within	their own	planning	priorities.	Given	that	Britannia	will	require	political	and	financial	support	from its public partners in order to realize facilities renewal, the realities of their limited capital funding environment have to be taken into consideration within the organization’s planning process. Responding to this reality, the scope and timeframe of the organization’s plans have necessarily been adjusted. In spite of these constraints, many involved in this study saw the process of long-term strategic visioning as a valuable exercise, helping to ensure that the organization “knows where it is going” in terms of its capital project priorities (Committee Member 4, 2012).  4.3  Outcomes: Community Development & Capacity Building Planning at Britannia is an ongoing process, as such it would be premature to attempt to distill	any	final	outcomes	at	this	time.	However,	the	data	collected	in	this	study	indicates	that the process has been particularly successful as both a community development and capacity building initiative. As members of the Planning & Development Committee, citizens were given an opportunity to discuss various development options and learned to work through differences of opinion in order to realize their objectives. Similarly, the involvement of senior managers as members of the City Advisory Group and participants in stakeholder workshops has increased each organization’s capacity to engage in questions about planning at Britannia. While participants	in	this	study	saw	the	benefits	of	these	in-depth	engagement	processes,	many	also recognized that not all those with an interest in the process were able to participate at this level of	involvement.	This	suggests	that	the	benefits	of	in-depth	participation	should	be	balanced with the need to reach as wide a constituency as possible. The involvement of local residents and community users in the planning process has primarily been secured through participation in the Planning & Development Committee. The participation of citizens in the planning process is consistent with organization’s approach Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan40 to community development, which recognizes a relationship between citizen participation, social development, and quality of life (Clague, 1988). In the context of this study community development is understood as the process of “empowering people to take collective control of their own lives” (Kenny, 2010, p.i7). This process requires that the skills and expertise of citizens	be	recognized,	in	order	to	increase	their	confidence	as	active	participants	in	civic	life. The comments received from participants involved on the Planning & Development Committee indicate that the most recent planning process was successful in achieving these goals [see Box 4.3.1]. Box 4.3.1. Participation as Community Develeopment I applaud the Planning & Development committee in the sense of pulling in the neighbours, pulling in the community, people from the community who maybe would not have taken part if this had not happened. -School Board Staff Towards	the	end	I	thought	I	really	liked	this	place	and	developed	an	affinity	with the people there and I thought I would be a useful member of the Planning & Development committee and that’s when I joined formally. -Committee Member 4 What the committee has done is made me more interested in Britannia as a Community Centre, as a model, to the point that I want to run for the Board and become more involved in that. -Commitee Member 1 I've learned more about Britannia too, stuff I wouldn’t have known had I just been taking classes. It’s sort of like behind the scenes of Brit and what it takes, what it involves, and what is necessary to get a renewal. -Committee Member 3 I	guess	a	lot	of	it	was	finding	out	the	breadth	and	wealth	of	knowledge	of the people sitting around the table, not knowing that there are people on the committee that are very knowledgeable in their area; initially you don’t know that, they’re just somebody that lives nearby. -Committee Member 1 I’ve learned a lot about the planning process, and what it takes, and how to get the community involved, and how to talk to people about a project and ideally make it really interesting for them if it's not something they would necessarily be interested in. -Committee Member 3 Really it’s an outreach program, the plan is one aspect, the outreach was way more	important.	It’s	a	confidence	building	exercise,	and	I	think	that	was	really great. -Consultant In	their	interviews,	members	of	the	Planning	&	Development	Committee	identified	a	number	of benefits	to	their	participation,	including	establishing	closer	ties	with	their	neighbours,	increasing their knowledge of, and engagement in, the Britannia organization, and developing a better understanding	of	planning	processes	generally.	These	benefits,	in	turn,	are	all	elements	of	the community	development	process	as	defined	above.	The	comments	received	from	the	School Board	Staff	and	professional	Consultant	suggest	that,	they	too,	recognized	the	significance	of the	process	in	“pulling	in	the	community”	and	building	their	confidence	as	active	participants	in the planning process (School Board Staff, 2012). Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 41 In	addition	to	the	benefits	identified	above,	the	committee	structure	also	provided	those involved with an opportunity to engage in sustained discussions of various development options. The process face-to-face discussion and engagement in complex problem solving appears	to	have	been	a	significant	benefit	of	the	committee	structure,	as	seen	from	those involved. This suggests that the committee process was successful in building citizens’ capacity to “exercise ‘voice’, debate, [and] contest” (Appadurai, 2004, p.66), and has contributed to the development of a “visionary active citizenry” which can help identify alternative futures (Kenny, 2011, i117). Data collected in this study suggests that, though this process	was	difficult	at	times,	it	proved	meaningful	for	those	involved	[see	Box	4.3.2]. Box 4.3.2. Citizen Capacity Building There were some difference of opinion that caused quite useful discussion. Sometimes	that	discussion	felt	awkward	and	difficult. -Advisor When people are really really opposed to something it might be because they haven’t fully explored all of the options that that would entail, [so] discussing things over a longer period of time and looking at potential options [can be helpful]. -Committee Member 1 If there are people in the community who are activists or rabble-rousers and they aren’t on the committee, they will bad mouth what your committee is doing from the outside. But if you can keep them on the committee and make sure their voices are heard, then it validates the process and makes it more inclusive. -Committee Member 2 It was interesting to see people who were against a proposal just forming words and sentences to say why they were against something. Rather than writing emails, the face to face interaction somehow makes you realize ‘oh the thing I am saying is empty’. -Committee Member 4 The success of the process, as I saw it when I left, was that the committee had learnt how to work together to follow work programs, complex work programs, to form subcommittees in order to deal with issues between meetings. -Advisor One of the successes was the willingness of the committee to get behind the ideas of	the	plan,	general	as	they	were,	and	speak	with	a	unified	voice. -Consultant Comments received from participants indicate that the process of face-to-face discussion allowed them to build their capacity to constructively engage in collective problem solving. The success of the process in developing citizens’ capacity work through differences of opinion, “follow	work	programs”,	and	speak	with	a	“unified	voice”	was	recognized	by	both	the	Advisor (2012) and Consultant (2012) who worked with the committee in developing the SMP. Similarly, the involvement of senior managers as members of the City Advisory Group and participants in stakeholder workshops appears to have been successful in building each Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan42 organization’s capacity to engage in planning at Britannia. Here, organizational capacity building is understood as the process of building stakeholders’ ability “to evaluate and address crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among different options for development” (Teohareva, 2011, p.1804). Given the complexity of stakeholder relations on the Britannia site, bringing individual agencies together to discuss how to move forward has been critical to the process. Agency representatives involved in this study suggested that, as a result of the latest planning process, they are now more prepared to engage in conversations about planning at Britannia [see Box 4.3.3]. Box 4.3.3. Organizational Capacity Building [Representatives from the BCSCS organization] felt that Britannia was likely to be	shoveled	to	the	bottom	of	the	pile	because	it	was	seen	to	be	difficult.	And so that was one of the main priorities of the Master Plan, to move away from being seen to be complicated. -Consultant In engaging political types, it did garner some attention to Britannia and make them come and see a little bit. -School Board Staff The meetings were well organized, and I appreciated the good work of [the consultants]. They did a nice job of guiding the discussions. -City Staff It has been challenging for Britannia and the Park Board because it took us a while to even clarify what the governance is, and who does what, and who’s owner of what, and to read through all the contracts and understand fully. -Park Board Staff [Britannia] is getting lots of guidance in terms of the City’s Capital Planning Process, and I think that’s really good for all of us, understanding those cycles, how they work. -Public Library Staff There is [still] value in having these meetings where people can brainstorm and come up with effective ways of moving forward. -Park Board Staff Comments received from the Consultant and the School Board staff suggest that the process of raising awareness was itself an important part of the capacity building process. Senior managers interviewed in the study described how, by participating in the process, they were able	to	develop	a	better	understanding	of	the	organization	and	how	it	fits	within	their	own agency’s structures and the City’s capital planning cycle. Some described the value they saw in sustaining this process of capacity building in order to generate “effective ways of moving forward” together (Park Board Staff, 2012). While it is important to acknowledge the success of the process as both a capacity building and	community	development	initiative,	realizing	these	outcomes	has	required	a	significant investment of time and energy from those involved. The time required for participation appears to have restricted the number of people who were able to engage in the process. Though efforts were made to reach as broad a constituency as possible, some participants were left Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 43 feeling	that	the	benefits	of	the	process	may	not	have	been	shared	equitably	between	site	staff and senior managers, of with the “community-at-large” (City Staff, 2012) [see Box 4.3.4]. Box 4.3.4. Outreach & Engagement People would come [to the committee] as visitors, and if they appeared particularly bright or interested we'd co-opt them...some wouldn’t show up, but some	did,	and	most	were	terrific.	-Advisor It’s the job of the Planning & Development committee to reach out to the community	and	find	out	what	they	want,	because	ultimately	it	should	be	used by the community, currently it’s not in many respects. -Committee Member 1 There have been options that have been weighed and some pretty good community process around determining what those are and what people want to do on the site. -City Staff [The partners face challenges] providing staff, paying staff to participate in a process like ours that may go on for years, and in fact would go on for years. -Committee Member 2 Ideas [were taken] to the people in high levels of the Park Board organization, School Board organization...instead of coming here. -School Board Staff The part I always get worried about with community processes is…the idea that it’s a restricted set of people that are doing the planning work. It’s important the community-at-large also feels that they have a voice in the process.. -City Staff Those involved in the Planning & Development Committee clearly made efforts to involve as many people as possible within the process, both in the committee work and through outreach initiatives (Advisor, 2012; Committee Member 1, 2012). Although the representative from the City of Vancouver (2012) recognized that there has been “some pretty good community process” in decision making, some concerns were raised about the number of people reached	in	the	process.	A	member	of	the	Planning	&	Development	Committee	identified	that the time commitment required for the committee process proved challenging for staff, while the representative from the School Board voiced concern about the engagement of senior managers over site staff. The representative from the City further cautioned about the potential for community processes to engage “a restricted set of people” (City Staff, 2012). These findings	are	certainly	not	unique	to	the	Britannia	case,	and	analyses	of	planning	processes often recognize a negative correlation between the depth of engagement and the number of people reached. However, it does suggest a need to carefully balance the important outcomes that can be realized through in-depth participation processes with the equitable involvement of a broad set of representatives. The literature on collaborative planning emphasizes the importance of process over discrete planning	outcomes.	Within	this	literature	the	most	significant	outcomes	are	often	defined	in Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan44 terms of building mutual understanding and developing positive working relationships between the stakeholders involved. Given this understanding, it is clear that community development and capacity building (both citizen and organizational) should be understood as important outcomes	of	this	process,	in	addition	to	the	creation	of	the	SMP	itself.	The	findings	of	this	study indicate that those involved in the Britannia planning process have increased their capacity to engage with one and other in the planning for the future of the site and facilities. While caution is	needed	to	ensure	that	these	benefits	are	shared	amongst	as	wide	a	group	as	possible,	it	is clear	this	planning	process	has	been	a	beneficial	experience	for	those	involved.  4.4  Next Steps: Nurturing A Living Plan Britannia has yet to secure the necessary capital funding for facilities renewal. This suggests that more	work	will	be	necessary	in	order	to	achieve	the	goals	specified	in	the	Strategic	Master	Plan. Data collected in this study indicates that those involved in the planning process see value in ongoing planning activities, and can identify a number of strategic opportunities to advance the organization’s planning objectives. During their interviews, many participants discussed the need to	adapt	and	refine	the	organization’s	plans	in	order	to	keep	them	relevant.	Britannia’s	partners are currently involved in a number of planning processes which could provide opportunities for the	organization	to	refine	their	plans	in	light	of	new	information	and	ideas,	thus	ensuring	that	they remain relevant in the context of their partners’ evolving strategic objectives. Although	the	BCSCS	organization	is	no	longer	working	towards	a	specific	capital	funding submission, many involved in this study continue to see a need to engage in ongoing planning activities. For many, this ongoing work is seen as necessary in order to ensure that the results of their efforts can ultimately be realized. Given that a number of plans have been developed for the site, some voiced concern over the possibility for the SMP to simply fade away as others have before it. Those involved in the P&D Committee, also described the potential to ‘reform’ the committee around the idea of ongoing planning in order address these concerns [see Box 4.4.1, next page]. These comments indicate that those involved in the process see value in sustaining the energy and momentum that has been developed through the most recent planning process. While many participants described the need to ‘keep the plan alive’ in the context of P&D committee, a number also commented on the strategic opportunities that could be presented by engaging in the Grandview-Woodland community planning process. Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 45 Box 4.4.1 Ongoing Planning Activities I am not exactly sure where we should go from here, since we haven’t gotten funding to do any of the things that we have envisioned. We just have a pile of documents, and they will start to feel old in a few years. I have been involved in this process for long enough now. We have been through the “master planning” process twice. We have two different very detailed “master plan” documents, and now they will both sit on a shelf gathering dust. I’m a little distressed about that. -Committee Member 2 I am sure this is a topic of discussion that you're having, is where do you take that energy from here, right? What do you do, now that you've come through this process, lots of good ideas generated, how do you carry them forward when we know that Britannia did not get into this year’s capital plan. -City Staff It'll be interesting to see where that goes now we have a plan, and to see how that evolves and how people get involved, and how Britannia will get renewal. It will be interesting to see the future of the Planning & Development committee. -Committee Member 3 Maybe the committee has to reform around the idea of how do we keep this [plan] relevant and alive, because if it doesn't it will get out of date again, like the last one did. -Advisor  In	March	of	2012,	the	City	of	Vancouver	officially	launched	a	community	planning	process for the Grandview-Woodland Local Area, which will result in an area-wide plan intended “to guide positive change and development” (City of Vancouver, 2012a, p.3). Though participants recognized the strategic importance of embedding the Britannia SMP within this plan, many realized that this will require that the organization be willing to respond to new information or ideas that may emerge [see Box 4.4.2]. Box 4.4.2 Engaging in the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan The strategic question for Britannia and others is how to advance the objectives that have been determined through their process as part of a larger community planning exercise, and also what sort of room for compromise may exist within that. -City Staff I also appreciate, that part about linking in with the Grandview-Woodland community planning process, which I know is underway right now...I think strategically that’s smart because it is lining up with what council believes is the way to go based in what they’ve heard from the community. -Library Board Staff The timing is good, even though it might be frustrating for the committee, to have gotten this far and then have the Grandview-Woodland plan happening, which will, I am sure, keep Britannia as a very central and important facility, and maybe identify some other components that will help it be the centre of the community. -Consultant When you do move this forward what sort of internal tradeoffs may emerge. If it’s going to cost x amount of money to do the design people really like, the plan they really like, and only 80% of that can reasonable be achieved is there room for tradeoff, is this an all or nothing thing? -City Staff Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan46 These comments suggest that both agency staff and professional associates of the P&D Committee	see	potential	benefits	of	engaging	in	the	community	planning	process.	Some	see this as way to ensure that the organization’s plans for renewal are aligned with Council’s goals and	strategic	directions	(Library	Board	Staff,	2012)	while	others	see	it	as	a	way	to	further	refine the ideas articulated in the plan (Consultant, 2012). Within this discussion, it is important to recognize the need for more detailed analyses of potential funding strategies and emergent trade-offs. This need was articulated by the representative from the City of Vancouver, and	has	also	been	identified	in	the	Terms	of	Reference	for	the	process	(City	of	Vancouver, 2012a). From these comments it is clear that engaging in the Grandview-Woodland planning process could provide opportunities to advance the renewal of Britannia’s facilities, should the organization be willing to respond to new ideas, and participate in discussions of potential funding	strategies	and	financial	trade-offs. Though the CoV planning process was the clear focus of attention for many participants, some also discussed opportunities to engage with the VSB in their planning activities. The VSB is currently involved in a sectoral review process, intended “to align student program and space needs with facility resources in individual sectors of the city and further align and co-locate other city-wide community resources in the same facilities” (Vancouver School Board, 2012, p.5). The VSB has now completed their preliminary report as part of this process, and has identified	a	range	of	challenges	facing	the	organization,	including:	“the	desire	for	accessible, quality public education”; “shifting demographics”; “declining enrolment”; “reduced funding”; “pressures to increase revenue”; “aging facilities and infrastructure”; and “the desire for responsible use of valuable public lands and facilities” (Vancouver School Board, 2012, p. 7-8). The organization is now involved in a consultation process to identify community supportable strategies to address these challenges. The representative from the Park Board discussed how, in the face of these challenges “the School Board has been much more eager to work with	us	and	we	have	had	numerous	meetings	over	the	last	year	to	find	some	efficiencies in both of our operating systems” (Park Board Staff, 2012). At this time, no particular strategies	have	been	identified	for	Britannia,	and	those	involved	in	the	BCSCS	recognize that	changes	to	the	Britannia	site	alone	will	not	be	sufficient	to	address	the	challenges	faced by the organization, particularly those relating to declining school enrolment (Advisor, 2012). However, given the partnerships already in place at Britannia, and the conversations taking place between the Park Board and the School Board, there could be opportunities to model innovative strategies to address some of these challenges on the Britannia site. Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 47 In the interview process, representatives from the Park Board and Library Board organization also discussed a number of planning processes currently underway or anticipated within their own organizations. Though these partner processes may not have a direct bearing on site-level considerations at Britannia, discussions with staff indicate that they could provide important cues for the BCSCS as to how to proceed with their planning activities. At this time the Park Board is preparing to undergo a city-wide service review, which may lead to a comprehensive facilities review in coming years (Park Board Staff, 2012). The framework for this review is still in development, however staff interviewed in this study described that the process is intended to set future directions for service provision based on new public expectations and service needs (Park Board Staff, 2012). Leading up to the process the Park Board representative suggested that it would be best if Britannia “really crystallized what it is they are best at delivering, what types of service” (Park Board Staff, 2012). Within the VPL organization, staff are currently involved in assessing the condition of their asset portfolio and identifying “pressure points” in service delivery, information that will be used to help guide their long term facility renewal priorities (Public Library Staff, 2012). The representative from the VPL suggested that although the Britannia Library has not been identified	in	the	organization’s	short	or	medium	term	renewal	priorities,	they	will	continue	to provide the BCSCS with information regarding their strategic priorities and vision for future library development (Public Library Staff, 2012). The participant went on to specify that part of their process has been to align their priorities with council’s strategic directions, stating that “Vancouver Public Library is 90% funded by the City of Vancouver and we certainly align ourselves with what the community wants but also with council’s strategic perspective, their current mandate” (Public Library Staff, 2012). Moving forward the staff representative suggested that it would be important for their Board Members to have more clarity about how Britannia’s	plans	for	renewal	fit	“in	respect	to	what	the	City	is	trying	to	do”	(Public	Library Staff, 2012). Together these comments indicate that further work may be required to identify particular competency areas for the organization, and articulate strategic alignment with council’s current priorities. Britannia has been involved in planning for facilities renewal for many years. A number of plans have been developed for the site as a means to secure capital funding for renewal. As this investment has yet to be secured, it is important that the organization continue to engage in ongoing planning activity to ensure that their goals and objectives stay relevant in the Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan48 context of their users’ changing needs, and partners’ evolving priorities. There are currently a number of strategic opportunities present for the organization to advance their objectives in the context of their partners’ established planning frameworks. Realizing these opportunities will require	that	the	organization	is	willing,	and	able,	to	adapt	and	refine	their	plans	in	light	of	new information and ideas. 5.  Lessons For Practice The creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan in 2011 marks an important milestone in the BCSCS organization’s journey to secure capital funding for facilities renewal. The plan develops a long-term strategic outlook for the phased renewal of the site and facilities, which can be used to guide capital re-investment. The process through which the plan was created has	provided	significant	learning	opportunities	for	the	organization,	and	its	many	stakeholders. Given	that	funding	for	the	first	phase	of	the	plan	has	yet	to	be	secured,	further	work	will	be needed before facilities renewal can be realized. As the organization continues in this journey it	is	important	that	time	is	taken	to	reflect	on,	and	learn	from,	past	experience	to	ensure	that	it can continue to move forward in a coordinated and sustainable manner. The	intent	of	this	research	study	has	been	to	initiate	a	structured	process	of	reflection	between the	various	stakeholders	involved	in	planning	at	Britannia.	The	findings	recorded	represent the	collective	reflections	of	the	stakeholders	and	provide	important	insights	as	to	how	the organization can or should move forward in this process. Many lessons could be drawn from these	findings,	and	readers	of	this	report	are	invited	to	distill	their	own	interpretations	of	the data presented. The lessons presented below represent the researcher’s own interpretation of the	findings	and	their	implications	for	the	organization’s	planning	practice,	they	reflect	some	of the considerations that should be taken into account in the organization’s future activities. Each lesson has been developed with accompanying recommendations for action, which, though specific	in	their	content,	remain	open	in	terms	of	their	potential	execution.	Together,	these constitute	a	flexible	framework	that	can	be	used	to	guide	decision-making	and	shape	future planning activities. The lessons presented below emphasize the need for careful process management, the productive use of each stakeholder’s unique assets, and the sustainable development of long- term planning capacity. The planning process at Britannia requires particularly careful process Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 49 management in order to ensure a sense of cohesion between individual actions taken over a long period of time. Further, while the number of stakeholders involved in the process has been challenging at times, it is important to recognize and draw from their unique assets, as they are important resources for the organization. Finally, it is important that the organization commit to ongoing dialogue and negotiation with its stakeholders (both its public agencies partners and local residents and users) to sustain long-term capacity building and community development. Each of these lessons, and associated recommendations for action, are discussed below. The complexity of stakeholder relations and an institutional commitment to citizen participation has resulted in a lengthy planning process, the management of which requires clear communication and expectation setting in order to mitigate potential frustrations and ensure process consistency. The partnerships in place for the Britannia site are an important part of what makes the Centre unique, and continue to hold special significance	for	those	involved	in	the	organization.	The	BCSCS’	commitment	to	citizen participation in decision making has allowed citizen’s to become actively involved in the planning	process,	building	their	confidence	as	active	planning	agents.	While	there	are important	benefits	to	both	the	partnerships	in	place	on	site,	and	the	organization’s	commitment to citizen engagement, together these have resulted in a lengthy planning process. Though lengthy	processes	are	in	fact	quite	common	in	the	planning	field,	they	hold	the	potential	to frustrate those awaiting immediate results, and, if not carefully managed, can appear disjointed and uncoordinated. Given this, it is recommended that the organization: ► Maintain and enhance channels of communication between all stakeholders, recognizing	the	specific	needs	and	preferences	of	each.	It	is	critical	that	all stakeholders are provided with up to date information about the status of the planning process, and steps being taken to achieve the vision and objectives identified	in	the	SMP.	Communication	strategies	should	be	tailored	to	the	needs and preferences of each stakeholder group in order to maximize their impact. For instance, a planning process information kiosk could be established to provide up to date information to community users and site staff, while status updates from the Board of Management may be a more appropriate means to communicate with managers from partner agencies. ►				Identify the relationship between any short-term site enhancement projects and the long-term objectives articulated in the SMP. Given the 20 to 30 year outlook Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan50 currently envisioned for facilities renewal, small site enhancement projects are likely to take place in advance of larger renewal projects. Any enhancements made to the site should be seen as an opportunity to model, and experiment with, different means of achieving the long-term objectives articulated in the SMP. Identifying the relationship between short-term actions and long-term objectives will help raise awareness about the organization’s larger planning objectives, and build stakeholder buy-in. Each of Britannia’s stakeholders holds a unique set of skills and expertise, which should be recognized, respected, and utilized productively in the context of site planning and development. The BCSCS is well positioned to help identify community needs and priorities, and manage outreach and engagement processes. Partner agencies can provide a broader perspective and information regarding City-wide trends, new service delivery models, and offer technical support and expertise. Other stakeholder groups (including site staff, local service agencies, and residents) hold important information regarding their own needs and priorities, and are well positioned to help reach-out to others on site, and in the surrounding area, to widen the planning ‘circle’. It is important that these unique assets are recognized and respected, so that each stakeholder is able to make their own unique and important contribution to the process. Given this, it is recommended that the organization: ►			Confirm	 the	 contribution	 each	 stakeholder	 is	 willing	 to	 make	 in	 site planning and development, and seek ways to formalize them in working agreements and planning frameworks. While the roles and responsibilities for site operations are stipulated in legal agreements between the partners, there is, as yet, no formal division of responsibility for site planning. Through the latest planning process stakeholders have begun to carve out their respective roles in planning for the Britannia site, which could act as the foundation for developing a formal planning framework.	Though	this	framework	should	remain	flexible	to	account	for the	fluidity	of	stakeholder	relations,	it	would	be	useful	in	providing	more clarity about how facilities planning should be conducted in the future. ►		 Identify opportunities to enhance the BCSCS’ contribution to site planning and development, and continue to build organizational capacity in these areas. The Britannia Society, itself, has an important role Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 51 to play in planning for the future of the site and facilities, particularly in identifying local service needs and gaps. It is important that the organization continue to build its capacity in this area particularly. It would	be	beneficial	 for	 the	organization	to	work	with	 local	stakeholders to develop systems of communication and monitoring to ensure that information about local needs are collected systematically and kept up to date. This, in turn, could serve as an opportunity to create more ties with local residents and other service providers, building the organization’s capacity to act as a central node in the local area service network. Given that planning at Britannia is an ongoing and adaptive process, strategic steps need to be taken to ensure that it best contributes to long-term capacity building and sustainable community development. The BCSCS has been, and will continue to be, involved in various planning activities as a means to ensure facilities on site meet the changing needs of their constituency. The ongoing practice of planning has made important contributions to both organizational capacity building, and community development objectives. Within this process, stakeholders have been involved in an ongoing learning process, building their capacity to work with one and other and engage in planning at Britannia. These efforts have helped to shape a long-term vision for the site and facilities; however further discussions among the stakeholders will be needed in order to realize it. Given this, it is recommended that the organization: ►		 Revisit the mandate of the P&D Committee, to formalize a commitment to ongoing and adaptive site planning. The P&D Committee has played an important role in the development of the SMP, and should continue to be active in working towards its implementation. Though comprehensive facilities renewal is not likely in the short-term, smaller steps can be taken in the meantime. It is important that a commitment to ongoing and adaptive site planning be formalized within the committee’s mandate to ensure that their role in this process is clear to both new and returning members, and those observing the process. ►		 Develop opportunities to model new forms of partnerships and joint operating agreements within any short-term site enhancement projects. The latest planning process has shown that the relationships between Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan52 partners	 could	 benefit	 from	a	 reconsideration	 of	 the	 legal	 agreements between them. It is important that Britannia engage meaningfully in conversations regarding potential changes to the partner agreements as these will be critical to the organization’s future development. Providing opportunities to model new forms of partnership at a small scale could help the organization determine how best to enhance the public partnerships that are the foundation of its unique model of service delivery. 6. Final	Reflections It	has	been	nearly	two	years	since	I	first	became	involved	in	the	Britannia	planning	process. What began as a routine class assignment has, through a mix of circumstance and design, grown into something much larger, both for me and, I hope, for those with whom I have shared the experience. My ongoing engagement in this process has been fueled by personal and professional interests in the relationship between civic agencies and civil society in shaping public infrastructure and fostering community development. The Britannia Community Services Centre	offers	an	innovative	model	for	how	citizens,	municipal	staff,	and	public	officials	can	work together to create dynamic public facilities which respond to local needs, and contribute to social well-being and connectivity. The creation of the Centre in the 1970s was made possible because those involved at the time worked past jurisdictional disputes to seek common ground in the pursuit of important social goals. This collaboration was likely made easier because of senior government funding for municipal infrastructure projects, and a culture of innovation and experimentation that was emerging out of civil society and beginning to take root in public administrations at the time. It has now been over thirty years since this initial ‘coming together’, and stakeholder relations on the Britannia site appear to have become more diffuse as time has distanced the original agreement between them. To me the Master Planning process currently taking place is an	attempt	to	re-create	history	by	bringing	stakeholders	together	to	affirm	their	ongoing commitment to the model and secure its continued operation. What was already a lofty pursuit has been made all the more challenging as a result of the increased capital costs associated with maintaining aging facilities, and the constrained funding environment currently facing public agencies. Throughout the process I have been encouraged to see ongoing commitment and support from stakeholders to overcome these challenges, and realize the full potential of their collaboration. The most recent planning process has been critical in providing an Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan 53 opportunity for stakeholders to come together to negotiate the future of their collective assets and achieve their common social goals; however much work remains to be done. My own work in this process has not always been easy, and I have had my fair share of frustrations;	but	on	the	whole	my	experience	has	been	very	rewarding.	When	I	first	became involved	in	this	work,	as	a	first	year	planning	student	at	SCARP,	I	was	overwhelmed	by	the apparent ‘messiness’ of the process rapidly unfolding around me. Part of this undoubtedly stemmed from situations of miscommunication, and other operational hiccups not uncommon in	the	planning	field.	It	has	taken	me	some	time	to	realize	that	much	of	my	initial	reaction can	also	be	attributed	to	being	involved	in	a	process	that	does	not	easily	fit	into	‘step-model’ frameworks for how planning should be conducted. While these models certainly have their place, I am grateful to collaborative planning theorists who, in articulating an alternative model of planning which accommodates an ongoing process of experimentation and learning, have provided me with the conceptual tools necessary to make sense this process. My intent in using the social learning model of policy research in this study was to shed light on, and in so doing deepen, a process of learning that I already saw occurring in the work of	the	committee.	I	am	confident	that	this	report	can	serve	as	a	record	of	the	process,	and hope	that	it	accurately	reflects	the	experiences	of	my	research	participants;	but	recognize that the information contained in it likely does not come as a surprise to most who have been involved in this work with me. Instead, my intention with this report is to bring the experiential knowledge held by the various stakeholders to the surface, through a process of systematic inquiry and analysis, as a means to inform future discussions, which themselves can become the foundation for new strategies for action. The research informing this report has been envisioned as a means to initiate a process of embedded learning both with my research participants and with those in the organization with whom I continue to work. As such, I am encouraged to see conversations which began in the context of research interviews emerge in committee meetings, and begin to shape actions being taken. Likewise, I have been happy to see that, following their interviews, some research participants have voiced interest in becoming more actively involved in the work of the P&D committee, and have begun to act on these intentions. For me, the creation of the Britannia Action Planning (BAP) working group at the May meeting of the Planning & Development committee is a positive example of the effect of this research. I cannot say for sure that this was a direct product of conversations that took place in research interviews, correlation after all Learning from practice: lessons from the creation of the Britannia Strategic Master Plan54 does not equal causation; but to me it demonstrates the potential for the knowledge generated in the research to be acted upon in the ongoing work of the organization. Though I am encouraged by these research ‘results’, given that only ten stakeholders participated in one-on-one interviews, the results are necessarily limited in scope. Should I have the opportunity to engage in similar research in the future, I would hope to take more time in the process, to allow for broader participation through a mix of both one-on-one interviews and small group discussions. Further, it would provide an opportunity to monitor the effects of some of the discussions and actions that have been prompted through the research, which, still	being	in	the	early	stages	of	development,	could	simply	prove	to	be	a	‘flash	in	the	pan’. In	addition,	though	I	believe	this	research	will	be	of	benefit	to	the	organization	other,	more technical studies, are also needed to help inform their future planning activities. These include research into best practices of interest-based negotiation, detailed analyses of different financing	options,	and	case	studies	of	contemporary	partnership	models. There is still much work to be done before the BCSCS can realize its goal of facilities renewal. 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