LETTER: Years of planning shredded in six minutes? Give me a break.

Dear Editor:

Re: Years of Planning Shredded in Six Minutes, Dec. 21 The North Side opinion column by Paul Sullivan.

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In his Dec. 21 op-ed, columnist Paul Sullivan laments the demise of “democracy” in criticizing District of North Vancouver council’s rejection of the Boffo development proposal in Edgemont Village. Sullivan cites “years of planning shredded in six minutes,” while providing generous quotations from Adrian Chaster, who chaired the working group that produced the village community “plan.”

Give me a break.

Was there ever any doubt that Chaster, Boffo Developments and every other pro-growth stakeholder in town would not advocate for the kind of densification that has already occurred at the Edgemont/Ridgewood intersection? And ask for more of the same?

Voters have shown that they are unwilling to trade their hard-earned quality of life for vague, shopworn platitudes like “without density there will be no affordable housing” – as if stick-built condos starting at $1.5 million are “affordable” for the average North Shore family.

The pro-growth lobby should rethink their sales pitch.

Stop talking about density and start concentrating on quality of life, particularly when it comes to maintaining that quality of life for those that have lived here for years – those folks whose community contributions over the years and tax dollars have resulted in those “unique” neighbourhoods, like Edgemont, whose amenities are now shamelessly touted in slick ad campaigns.

As for democracy, it is alive and well. Voters have spoken. Sanity has made a small, but refreshing comeback at the DNV when it comes to “planning.”

Since Mr. Sullivan is unnerved by the “radical change underway at the DNV,” here’s a radical idea: why don’t we consider emulating our neighbours in Washington State, where every city, town and county has a planning commission, consisting of seven to nine appointed, unpaid citizens to provide review of all major development proposals and land use plans? Hardly a radical idea, but one I doubt our entrenched growth lobby would ever seriously consider.

John Lesow
North Vancouver

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