Monday, April 18, 2011

Coquitlam - Metro Vancouver Stand-off

Things have been heating up over the adoption of Metro Vancouver's new regional growth strategy which is meant to replace the 15 year old Livable Region Strategic Plan. To date all local governments, TransLink, and the Tsawwassen First Nation have accepted the plan. The only hold out is Coquitlam. One of the more controversial parts of the new growth strategy is the new urban growth boundary. You would have thought that Surrey, the Township of Langley, Pitt Meadows or Maple Ridge would have been the ones to reject the plan. These municipalities have land outside the urban growth boundary that is not also in the agricultural land reserve. They are giving up some local autonomy and managed to pass the plan even if they had to hold their noses. I'm trying to figure out why Coquitlam is not being a team player. According to Metro Vancouver:
After years of discussion, negotiation and accommodation, the City of Coquitlam has resolved to not accept the Regional Growth Strategy. It is evident from the history of the process, including the many adjustments to drafts of the Strategy made to accommodate Coquitlam’s requests and the nature of the reasons given by Coquitlam for non-acceptance, that the nature of the dispute is not technical or related to any of the specific provisions. Rather, it is a fundamental rejection of the regional growth strategy legislation.
The only thing I can think of is that they are upset that Surrey is the second downtown and not them because they don't have to submit to any regional governance on land use as all their land is within the urban growth boundary.

It looks like the provincial government will have to get involved with this local government issue which is an embarrassment for the region and local governance in the province.
The Metro Vancouver Board must notify the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development of Coquitlam’s non-acceptance of the Regional Growth Strategy and can advise the Minister of the Board’s view that a non-binding dispute resolution process is extremely unlikely to resolve the dispute and that the Board requests the Minister to direct the parties to proceed directly to binding arbitration.
The following chart shows how the new regional growth strategy will be enforced. I think that the plan finds the right balanced between local autonomy and the bigger picture.

Click Table to Enlarge

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