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West End plan wins Gold Award

BC association recognizes plan’s community outreach and innovation

“It’s quite significant to be acknowledged by our planning peers across the province as having the most innovative and creative plan for a large community; it’s a nice accolade,” Kevin McNaney, the City of Vancouver’s assistant director of planning, tells Xtra.  Credit: City of Vancouver

City of Vancouver planners will receive an award for policy planning in city and urban areas in recognition of their work on the West End plan.

The Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC), the professional association of planners in BC and Yukon, will present its Gold Award to the city’s planning team at a ceremony to be held at the Sheraton Wall Centre May 14. 

“It’s quite significant to be acknowledged by our planning peers across the province as having the most innovative and creative plan for a large community; it’s a nice accolade,” Kevin McNaney, the City of Vancouver’s assistant director of planning, tells Xtra

The award recognizes the work of the planning department, engineering and all the other departments that combined efforts to develop the plan, he says.

McNaney says the institute acknowledged city planners’ approach to outreach and consultation with the communities that make up the West End, policies pertaining to how and where growth is projected to occur, and their village strategy that focuses on fostering local business support and vibrant community spaces in the Davie, Denman and Robson street areas.

“That was so important to West Enders — everything from wider sidewalks and patios and nighttime economy and nightlife to decorative lighting,” McNaney says.

The PIBC also recognized the plan’s inclusion of a public benefits strategy for the next 30 years and the ways in which it will be financed, he notes.

Part of that strategy includes the establishment of new queer community centre.

“I think overall the plan is really strong in almost every evaluation area that the awards committee looks at,” James Moore, the awards committee chair, tells Xtra. Criteria considered include innovation, sustainability and public process.

“To get a Gold Award, especially in a category with a lot of competition, you have to [have] a really exceptional plan, and the West End plan certainly achieved that this year,” he says, noting the plan’s public outreach in particular.

“I think it recognizes the diversity in the area, the really unique populations that are there, that help make that place so special,” Moore adds.

“I just think it’s fantastic,” Councillor Tim Stevenson says of the award. “A plan for the first time actually has embedded in it the words GLBTQ, and it recognizes the community and the history and the culture of our community, which is exceedingly important.”