The Community Panel reviewed technical information, heard from experts, stakeholders, and the public, then provided a recommendation to the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board.
Vancouver, BC–The Flats Arterial Community Panel, composed of 37 people selected to represent the diversity of Flats-area residents and businesses, as well as City residents, gathered today to recommend the route for a new east-west grade-separated arterial.
After extensive deliberation, using a Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Runoff process, the Panel ranked 5 route options: Prior/Venables – Underpass; Malkin North; National-Grant; National-Charles; National-Civic Facilities.
In the instant runoff process, National-Charles was selected as the Panel’s recommended arterial route, receiving 67.6% of the vote. Prior/Venables – Underpass was runner-up, with 32.4% of the vote.
In an Executive Statement summarizing their work together, the Panel emphasized the following:
“Each option had strong pros and cons. There is information and answers we still wish we had. And many of us came in with our own positions, biases, and agendas that were shaped and changed by listening to one another. Even if we didn’t always agree with one another, we are now more able to understand one another and those whose experiences and perspectives differ from our own.
While there remains conflicting priorities and tensions, we feel we ultimately arrived at a place where everyone was committed to recommend the best option for everyone in the community, not just for our own personal interests.”
No clear preference for an arterial route surfaced during the City of Vancouver’s False Creek Flats planning process, a result of the complex trade-offs presented by the options. In November 2017, the City of Vancouver recognized the need for further stakeholder engagement, and decided to form a Community Panel. Panelists would consider route trade-offs and work towards an arterial option that best met the needs of the neighbourhood, city, and region as a whole. The City put forward 9 route options for Panelists to consider: Malkin Avenue (North, Central, and South variations), National Avenue (National-Grant, National-Charles, and National-Civic variations), Prior/Venables (overpass and underpass variations), and William Street.
Approximately 200 people applied to sit on the Panel during the recruitment period in late 2018. From the group of volunteer applicants, Panel members were selected anonymously and randomly to represent the gender, ethnicity, and age makeup of local residents, businesses, and residents from across Vancouver.
Over the past 4 months, Panelists have listened to expert and stakeholder presentations, examined key information, and participated in deep discussions during eight full-day meetings. Throughout these sessions they weighed values, technical information, and advantages and drawbacks with the concerns, goals, and needs of all involved and affected by the potential alignment options. The broader community and stakeholders were also invited to contribute to the Panel’s learning through two public workshops and provided 75 online submissions.
“The community members who served as volunteers on the Flats Arterial Community Panel worked tirelessly, over multiple weekends on behalf of their neighbours and the City of Vancouver,” said Kyle Bozentko, Executive Director of the Jefferson Center and Project Principal. “The effort, diligence, and spirit of cooperation they brought to the task of developing this recommendation, with an emphasis on making a decision that best serves the interests of community and the residents of the entire city of Vancouver, should be commended and celebrated.”
Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver Park Board will use the Panel’s recommendation as a significant input in the selection of a grade-separated arterial alignment through the False Creek Flats, but may request further community discussions, learning and technical analysis before making a recommendation to City Council later in 2019. Vancouver City Council and Vancouver Park Board will have the final authority to accept, modify or reject specific recommendations at its discretion, or refer aspects to appropriate City and Park staff.[
A final report detailing the Community Panel’s journey and their recommendations is currently being reviewed and finalized by Panelists. This report will be made available prior to presentation to City Council and Park Board in late April at fcfcommunitypanel.com
About the Flats Arterial Community Panel Team
The Jefferson Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic engagement organization committed to advancing informed, innovative, and democratic solutions to public challenges. They partnered with local public engagement specialist Susanna Haas Lyons, Panel Chair, to conduct the Panel. Haas Lyons has worked for over 15-years on complex public and stakeholder engagement projects across North America, including local and province-wide community panels.
To learn more about the Flats Arterial Community Panel, including the selection process, Panel schedule, learning program, and detailed results, visit fcfcommunitypanel.com