Despite its flaws, EcoDensity is worthy of support
Trevor Boddy gives an update on Vancouver's EcoDensity plan:
VANCOUVER — After nearly two years of work, the city's EcoDensity plan comes closer to reality with city council's public hearings on the initiative this Tuesday. Opponents have already planned a demonstration at the steps of City Hall ahead of the hearing. Many are angry homeowners who want to keep their streets and backyards as they are by blocking new infill and laneway development, and staunching the upward pressure on house assessments and taxes they feel will come with ever-higher housing densities.
Rallying in favour of the scheme is a potent alignment of sustainability advocates and the city's powerful real estate development community.
In the last few weeks I have sat in on some of the city-sponsored EcoDensity workshops and watched ordinary citizens struggle as city staff led them through the "EcoDensity Charter" and listed off the "EcoDensity Initial Actions." Participants were bombarded with way too much informational nitty gritty.
Since there is much to assimilate here, an opinionated guide and critique of portions of this massive initiative might help scare out the real issues lurking in the verbiage.There is little here a guilty SUV-driver or even a Northern Alberta oil sands operator could not sign on to. Being a generic credo of sustainability, the EcoDensity Charter should pass, but some of us would have preferred fewer, tougher calls to direct action. The Vancouver Public Space Network has published a useful critique (www.vancouverpublicspace.ca) of how the scheme has been watered down.