Neighbourhood Development Consultation, Kitsilano, Vancouver, B.C.:

As a former staff member of The Vancouver City Planning department (1993-2000), familiarity with development application and rezoning processes provided background to serve a collective client (four Westside lumberyard owners and three area hardware store owners) and liaise with The Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents’ Association. This group wished to effectively communicate to City Planning that they opposed the proposed rezoning of property at Maple and West Broadway for a Home Depot big box retail store. Meetings with City staff, articles placed in local newspapers, media interviews, resident surveys, and organized presentations at The City run public information open houses were managed. The local schools’ parent committees were also contacted and encouraged to speak out related to the significant traffic increase and likely impact on student safety. Web research provided useful information strategies from other community groups in the U.S.A. and Canada who had fought off big box retail stores in inappropriate locations. Though the Home Depot Corporation prided itself on rarely failing to achieve its development objectives, this managed grass roots neighbourhood effort resulted in City Council not only rejecting their rezoning application but also creating new policies making big box stores (other than grocery and drug stores) unacceptable future development.