Open Letter to Council from Jerry Zaslove

Open Letter to Council

Councilman Bell wrote to voters:

“During this period it is critical that Council actively engage the public to ensure there is a clear understanding of any proposed development and how it is beneficial to our community.”

Here is a response from someone who was not able to come and watch you in action on Monday:

Municipal p0litics is always conflict ridden. Informed participation is the heart of the matter on all sides, both before and after critical decisions.  Council is clearly not informed about alternative ways to build communities. The shift of opinion about another public hearing leaves the voters in the dark about reasons and leaves ahead a future of conflict.

The democratic social contract requires negotiation, bargaining and goodwill and if necessary lengthy discussions and listening.

Curtailing Public Hearings is a backward step from consensus building. The time allotted at City Council meetings is a recipe for disaster. Public discussions ensure that a democratic social contract is not  limited to the special interest of  insiders.

This is especially the case in municipalities like North Vancouver which elects a Council with a miniscule percentage of eligible voters.  Council must go out of its way to hear, consider and try to understand why this Development Mania has alienated so many and will continue to do so.

This is even more the case if the deck is stacked by special interest advocates.

The council should  reflect on the massive changes that are already underway that will change the face of this community forever. This is not consensus building or rational planning but aggressive managing of the issues to ensure that  that debate is limited and you get what you want.

“Density” is not a license to build  faceless, ugly glass and concrete bunkers  that have no character.  Density was  meant to increase housing and ensure that social contact with neighbors was a good, while maintaining an open sense of place with meaning, beauty and proportion. It was not meant to do what this Council is doing: creating rigid, brittle and faceless urban anti-social confines masked with bad architecture and surrounded by more and more traffic, high rents and oversized buildings.

Planners should know this because those who first used the term “density” did not mean simply “tall buildings”. Council is playing fast and loose with the term ‘density’ by making it mean what they want it to mean – anything goes.

Council’s development mania will result in massive congestion and impersonality – an urban mess.  This neutralizes and deadens the livability of North Vancouver City. You are creating a city of strangers. Is this what you want?

This council is destined to create conflict by their lack of understanding of the issues rather than work to build consensus.

Jerry Zaslove
Long-time Resident of North Vancouver

 

 

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