Virtual council meetings, online public meetings and public hearings, plus a new digital system of development and permit processes

Description

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in suspension in March of all advisory-board and commission meetings and open houses, workshops, pop-ups and street activities.  Council had its first virtual public meeting in April and expanded public access to council meetings and public hearings that month. The first virtual public hearing was held in May and attended by almost 60 people, and the Urban Design Panel resumed public meetings (via Webex) that month. The Development Permit Board and civic boards began online public meetings later.

The city launched the first virtual open house in June, along with a new digital engagement platform, Shape Your City Vancouver, which allows residents to provide feedback and  input on proposed rezoning applications and provide updates and engagement opportunities on the new Vancouver Plan.

Phone access was also made available for these events.

Significance

These virtual  events  and the Shape Your City site were meant to encourage  and improve public engagement and participation during the pandemic. Time periods of open houses were extended from the three-hours in person  to three weeks online, with live question sessions.

Have these measures made city operations more accessible?

Will  the city continue to use some of these engagement methods post-pandemic?

Background

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, all public council and advisory-body meetings, as well as public hearings and open houses, were held in-person (although council meetings were live streamed and open house documents were available online).

Sources

City of Vancouver news releases,  March 17, April 8 and May 27, 2020

Shape Your City web site


Prepared by:  VCPC Chronology Committee
Last Updated: December 14, 2020