UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Continuing citizen participation and local area planning Enns, Cheryl Carlene


Continued citizen participation in the Vancouver Local Area Planning Program (L.A.P.P) is not a new issue. As early as 1973, Vancouver planners documented a commitment to not only produce a plan for a local area, but to initiate an ongoing process that would respond to area issues and facilitate continuous citizen input (Community planning Division, 1973, 10). However, no firm policy establishes continued, effective citizen participation in the Vancouver planning process. Presently, planning staff work with a Citizen Planning Committee (C.P.C.) to create a plan for a local area, but upon completion and adoption of the plan, technical and financial support is gradually withdrawn from the local area. The L.A.P. staff implement and monitor the effects of the plan without formalized citizen's participation. Initially, citizens remain active in the L.A.P. process, but as the major area plan policies are implemented, citizen interest and involvement decreases. When the implementation stage of the L.A.P.P. is reached, concern is often expressed by the local area planner and by the C.P.C. as how to facilitate continued participation in the planning process. The purpose of this thesis is: To Outline A Model For Continued Effective Citizen Participation In The Vancouver L.A.P.P. In order to outline this model, three objectives must be accomplished: 1) To define a theory of effective continued citizen participation in Vancouver; 2) To evaluate selected Vancouver local areas and determine the effectiveness of participation during the plan creation stage relative to the long term plan implementation stage; 3) To apply effective participation theory and L.A.P.P. evaluation results to Mount Pleasant, a Vancouver Local Area interested in continued citizen participation and monitoring their recently adopted community plan. The methods to accomplish these three objectives include: a literature review on Citizen Participation; telephone interviews with one planner and one citizen from four selected L.A.P.P's.; and participant observation in Mount Pleasant, where as an intern student, the author of this thesis was involved in developing continued citizen participation in the Mount Pleasant local area planning program. The literature review, is used to define effective participation. Generally, effective citizen participation in Vancouver should involve four "elements: 1) An advisory level of citizen participation, citizens interact in the planning process, they are not just informed; 2) A civic consultation strategy, city staff respect and facilitate an advisory level of citizen participation; 3) A representative citizen group technique, citizens participate as representatives of a group, not as individuals; 4) An area council structure for the representative group technique, the citizen group receives recognition as an official participant in the planning process. Further, a model that advocates effective citizen participation must also be adaptable to community variables and facilitate continued components such as access to technical resources. The results of the telephone interviews indicate that participation was less effective during the long term plan implementation stage than during plan creation stage. Revisions to the L.A.P.P. to ensure effective participation elements could involve planning staff organizing continued citizen participation prior to completing the plan creation stage of the program. In addition, it is advised that planning staff periodically review each local area plan to help ensure continued citizen interest in the planning process. Participant observation results document Mount Pleasant residents' efforts to organize continued participation, reinforing the earlier conclusion that planning staff need to facilitate an amalgamation of the C.P.C. with an existing community organization that is interested in monitoring their area plan. Examples of other Vancouver local areas and of other urban centres efforts to initiate continued citizen participation give further insight into an appropriate model outline for continued citizen participation in Vancouver's L.A.P.P. The thesis conclusion synthesizes preceding theory and analysis in a model for effective continued citizen participation within Vancouver. To summarize, the major recommendation of this thesis is: That the City of Vancouver develop a Recognition Policy for a representative citizen's group existing within a local area that is interested in monitoring the Local Area Plan and in amalgamating with the Citizen's Planning Committee upon adoption of the area plan. This recognition policy must: 1) Reflect our continued citizen participation effective elements; 2) State criteria and procedures for local arta council recognition election; 3) Develop functions and responsibilities of the recognized neighbourhood or area council; 4) Develop responding functions and responsibilites for the City and civic staff. It is hoped that this thesis will initiate concepts, ideas, and further research that will be relevant to future Vancouver L.A.P.P. progress.

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