This week *RePlan members were pleased to learn that Chris Baas, a member of the City of Vancouver’s Service Review Team, has been appointed Project Manager to coordinate the work of City departments on the issues facing False Creek South – including lease renewal, a sustainable community plan and a review of models for the future governance of the area.
Discussions on the future of False Creek South have taken place at various times over the last five years with City staff from different departments. Progress on resolving these complex issues required the work of several different City departments. This has been challenging because no staff were empowered to establish common deadlines or secure needed resources. The work was also affected by significant personnel changes in 2015, including the departure of the City Manager, Penny Ballem, and the resignation of Brian Jackson as the Director of Planning. While meetings continued with other staff, until the appointment of Chris Baas there was no single point person assigned to explore the various issues that are top of mind in our neighbourhood.
As his first introduction to False Creek South, *RePlan consultants Nathan Edelson and Peer-Daniel Krause, and FCSNA President Sharon Yandle took Chris and senior City planner Karis Hiebert, on a community “walkabout” to help him identify the physical neighbourhood and talk informally about the issues that will occupy much of his time over the coming year.
As well as appointing a project manager, the City has also established a cross-department coordinating committee of senior staff from the Housing, Planning, and Real Estate divisions, and including, of course, Chris Baas. Other departments such as Parks, Engineering, Finance and Law will be brought into the project as the program moves forward.
As meeting dates are finalized toward establishing a firm work plan, *RePlan representatives will continue to urge that lease renewal be at the forefront of discussions. Especially urgent is the situation of three False Creek South housing co-ops whose lease expiry dates are very close at hand.