Open letter to Richmond City Council,
Major changes in the character of a neighbourhood should require major involvement from the residents.
No answer, is not a yes.
Many people living in Edgemere think they have no say, that the decision is already made by Richmond City Council so why waste their time?
Ambivalence is not support, lack of involvement is not agreement. Until the City of Richmond receives expressed support from the residents, they don't have it.
I spoke to staff in the City of Delta and they have a much better process, more letters are sent out to homes and they do not have confidence in surveys because the results are often "questionable."
An excellent example of a faulty survey is the one done by the City of Richmond in April 2012 whereby the staff concluded there was "high support for granny flats and coach houses in Burkeville and Edgemere."
In Burkeville, 42 people voted yes and in Edgemere only 22 people voted yes. The questions where worded to indicate the decision was already made and the best the public could hope for was some say in the guidelines.
Below is an example of the questions on the City Of Richmond Public Survey-Granny Flats and Coach Houses:
Question # 1: Do you support the proposed Development Permit Guidelines to control the form and character of granny flats and coach houses in Burkeville and Edgemere?
Question # 2: Do you support the proposal that the City of Richmond amend the Zoning bylaw to permit and regulate granny flats and coach houses in Burkeville and Edgemere by Development Permit and Building Permit only (no rezoning)?
We could learn a lot from the City of Delta; they take longer to make decisions and they make better decisions.
But if we are going to talk about survey results then it is up to council to sift through the results because staff will not point out that in the 2041 OCP Concept Comment sheet feedback 29 per cent of the people who responded disagree that "The vision and objectives in the OCP concept provide the direction necessary to prepare the 2041 OCP update."
Almost one third of the people said the city was doing a poor job.
Please consider sending out a new survey to every home in the Edgemere neighbourhood and require that at least 50 per cent of homes respond and a minimum of 60 per cent give expressed approval for the zoning amendment.
The survey should not be worded to garner support but rather to inform residents that access to the granny flats and coach houses will be through the lanes, and that they can expect an increase in traffic and densification.
If, after the public is informed, it supports the densification of the Edgemere neighbourhood then, and only then, should Richmond City council vote to change the zoning.
We only have one chance to get it right, so let's take the time necessary to engage the people living in Edgemere and wait for their response. What's the hurry?
Carol Day Richmond