Self-interest of few drove OCP

Comment from Voices:  Evident from the actions of the new majority on Council that there is some truth in this letter from Guy Heywood, published in the North Shore News.  Whether it’s the recent actions of the change in priorities: the de-emphasis on the Harry Jerome rebuild, or the seeming lack of support for the new Museum, or the overwhelming support for the new Presentation House Gallery, or the bringing forward of the Shipyards (Roger Brooks) plan, or the planning priority of the Moodyville area – too many others to list and so many questions.

Self-interest of few drove OCP.

Dear Editor: In your March 6 editorial, City Shaped, you said that certain councillors “monkeyed” with the timing of the passage of the city’s official community plan in order to make it an election issue, implying it was somehow inappropriate. I cast the changed vote that caused that to happen and I strongly object to that characterization of my motives. I have the sincere belief that the Corporation of the City of North Vancouver does not represent or govern a jurisdiction that can be called a true “community” in any natural, geographic, social, recreational, educational, cultural or logical sense. The city’s OCP, beyond the first chapter which dealt with land use and density, overstepped both its authority and capacity as a corporate organization when it tries to describe and “shape” a community inside its awkward boundary.

I also believe the long arduous OCP process was more about a city “shaping” a community to suit the interests that have the ear of its political leadership and the bureaucracy than it was sincere consultation in which the community could have a real say in how it was to be governed for the next 30 years.

To those of us who don’t directly benefit (or do business) with it, the “city” has been a mildly confusing, sometimes annoying, duplicate local government in the community that most of us know, love, and enjoy as North Vancouver.

But the “city” is no longer the benign oddity that it has been treated as for most of its history. It is increasingly a community in the sense of shared self-interest between certain politicians, senior city officials, particular landowners and developers who would not have the entitlements they have or the profit making opportunities they enjoy if the city had not been carved out by self-interested developers from a sparsely settled North Vancouver in 1907.

This “community of self-interest” is sustained by election campaigns that are brazenly paid for by those same self-interested groups, by voter apathy, by disinformation from bureaucracy and by patronizingly superficial editorials like yours of March 6. Perhaps the news should consider whether the three monkeys that are not able to hear, speak or see the truth about the deplorable state of our democracy and local government is a more apt characterization of its editorial viewpoint.

Guy Heywood former councillor, City of North Vancouver

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