1. WHAT IS METRO VANCOUVER?
- Metro Vancouver (formerly known as GVRD) is a nonpartisan political body and corporate entity originally formed in 1967. It is one of 29 regional districts created by the Provincial Government, for the purpose of providing service delivery, planning control and political leadership.
- Metro Vancouver consists of four separate corporate entities operating under the name “Metro Vancouver”. They are (1) Greater Vancouver Regional District, (2) Greater Vancouver Sewerage & Drainage District, (3) Greater Vancouver Water District, and (4) Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation.
- Metro Vancouver is comprised of 22 member municipalities, one electoral area (Electoral Area “A”), and one treaty First Nation (Tsawwassen), who appoint members to the Metro Vancouver Board in a number commensurate with the member municipalities’ population.
- More detailed information about Metro Vancouver can be found at their “about us” webpage, accessible via this hyperlink: http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/Pages/default.aspx
2. WHAT IS THE METRO VANCOUVER 2040 REGIONAL GROWTH STRATEGY BYLAW?
- The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw (the RGS Bylaw) is a bylaw to adopt a Regional Growth Strategy for the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
- The current working version of the RGS Bylaw is accessible via this hyperlink: http://www.metrovancouver.org/planning/development/strategy/ Pages/default.aspx
3. WHAT IS THE PROPOSED METRO VANCOUVER 2040 REGIONAL GROWTH STRATEGY?
- The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy (the Regional Growth Strategy) is one plan among a suite of interconnected management plans, developed to guide Metro Vancouver’s vision for sustainable regional growth.
- The proposed Regional Growth Strategy is clearly intended to be an evolution of previous planning instruments, and is a step towards the implementation of Metro Vancouver’s Sustainable Region Initiative.
- The Local Government Act (Part 25) grants the legislative authority for the RGS. It is accessible via this hyperlink: http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/laws/stat/rsbc-1996-c-323/latest/part-30/rsbc-1996-c-323-part-30.html
- Key partners in the Regional Growth Strategy are TransLink, First Nations, and the Provincial and Federal Governments.
4. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE METRO VANCOUVER 2040 REGIONAL GROWTH STRATEGY BYLAW?
- Metro Vancouver put the RGS Bylaw through 2nd reading on January 14 and immediately submitted the RGS to all affected local governments for their acceptance or refusal, to be confirmed within 60 days.
- If after 60 days all affected local governments have accepted the proposed Regional Growth Strategy, Metro Vancouver will be asked to consider final adoption of the RGS Bylaw.
- If one or more affected local government refuses to accept the proposed Regional Growth Strategy, then the Metro Vancouver Board must notify the responsible Minister (being the Minister of Community, Sport & Cultural Development), who will then set in motion a settlement process to resolve the concerns of the non-accepting local government(s).
- The RGS Bylaw cannot be adopted until all affected local governments have adopted the Regional Growth Strategy, whether at first instance, or through a settlement process.
- Representatives of several local governments have publically expressed reservations about land use designations under the proposed Regional Growth Strategy, so it is unlikely that the RGS Bylaw will be universally adopted at first instance.
- The process of acceptance by affected local governments was explained at the GVRD Board meeting held on January 14, 2011. Page RD-207 of the meeting minutes sets out the details of that process, which minutes are accessible via this hyperlink: http://www.metrovancouver.org/planning/development/strategy/RGSDocs/ ProposedAmmendmentsNextSteps RatificationProcess.pdf
5. WHAT ARE THE STATED GOALS OF THE PROPOSED METRO VANCOUVER 2040 REGIONAL GROWTH STRATEGY BYLAW?
- There are five stated goals to the Regional Growth Strategy:
- Create a Compact Urban Area;
- Support a Sustainable Economy;
- Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Impacts;
- Develop Complete Communities; and
- Support Sustainable Transportation Choices.
- The proposed Regional Growth Strategy’s land use designations, which are integral to the implementation of the five stated goals, can be found here: http://www.metrovancouver.org/planning/development/strategy/LandUseDesignationMapsNov/Map2.pdf
6. HOW DOES THE METRO VANCOUVER 2040 REGIONAL GROWTH STRATEGY BYLAW FIT INTO THE EXISTING LAND USE PLANNING FRAMEWORK?
- Within 2 years of Metro Vancouver’s Board adopting the Regional Growth Strategy, each affected local government must include in its Official Community Plan, and submit to the Metro Vancouver Board for acceptance, a Regional Context Statement.
- The Regional Context Statements must identify the relationship between each affected local government’s Official Community Plan and the Regional Growth Strategy, and where possible, identify how the Official Community Plan will be amended to make it consistent with the Regional Growth Strategy.
- The Regional Growth Strategy is designed to give Metro Vancouver more input into decision making on more regionally significant issues, and less input on less regionally significant issues.
- This collaborative decision making process applies to:
- acceptance by affected local governments of the initial Regional Growth Strategy and subsequent amendments;
- acceptance by Metro Vancouver of initial municipal Regional Context Statements and subsequent amendments; and
- ongoing Regional Growth Strategy and Regional Context Statement administration and procedures.
7. HOW WILL THE PROPOSED METRO VANCOUVER 2040 REGIONAL GROWTH STRATEGY IMPACT DEVELOPERS AND LANDOWNERS?
- The process for transitioning the permitted use of a given parcel of land will probably become more difficult, because rather than merely applying to a municipality for rezoning approval or exemption from a provision of a Official Community Plan, developers and other landowners will have to consider the impact of their applications on that municipality’s Regional Context Statement and the obligations imposed on the municipality by the Regional Growth Strategy.
- The Regional Growth Strategy (at p. 57 – Table 4), sets out an Implementation Framework that explains how more regionally significant changes to land use have a more complex and onerous approval process, while land use changes that are only of local significance allow for more municipal autonomy.
- In short, a given developer or landowner’s objective will govern the complexity and difficulty of obtaining necessary approvals. Proposals that seek fundamental changes to core goals of the Regional Growth Strategy will become more onerous than such proposals would have been prior to the passage of the Regional Growth Strategy.
- Rezoning applications that are consistent with existing Official Community Plans, or involve only small scale urban designation changes, will require no reference to Regional Context Statement goals, and will not require the Metro Vancouver’s involvement.