BC Housing’s short and limited public input period is not consistent with good public consultation practice and should not be accepted as adequate consultation. Online responses to concerns, for example, are canned responses and in some cases, accusatory. The lack of direct answers to questions in the information sessions cannot be considered to be consultation.
The short duration also runs counter to BC Housing’s own advice that enough time is allocated for public engagement well in advance of such projects. Based on the current plans and approach BC Housing has taken, we have no confidence at this point that community impact will be considered at all.
It is unacceptable that a project of this density has proceeded directly through the design stage without any meaningful public consultation. It is not acceptable to engage the community and residents in “consultation” adecisions have already been made on the form, fit and function of the development. In fact, we have seen zero evidence that neighbourhood will have any meaningful input into any of those aspects.
The current “consultations” have been information sessions that focus on telling the community why homeless people need support; not trying to understand surrounding community concerns or being open to changes that may garner community support. The BC Housing consultations have not been based around well-developed models for real community consultation and engagement, which include understanding the areas of concern in the community, reaching agreements together on real issues that impact the community, planning together, or making informed decisions together.
The timeline for the current development specifically does not allow for any meaningful consultation, even though BC Housing and the City of Vancouver have been engaged in land use, rezoning and architectural design activities with a substantial team for many months. This is evidence of a complete disregard for community engagement.
The inadequate manner in which BC Housing has engaged the community at this stage, and their conduct during the discussion sessions is tone-deaf and shows a callous disregard for the community concerns and recommendations.