Monday 12 July 2021

Ph 2 Review

 OCP Review - End of Phase 2 

Letter to Council - 12 July 2021

 Dear Mayor & Council, 

            This has been a difficult time for everyone in this discussion and we thank you for hanging in there at the “pointy end.” 

            I have reviewed all of the 5 documents made available on July 5, 2021.  I have also talked to some of my fellow residents and closely monitored social media. 

            For me, a few things stand out, primarily from Attachment 1: 

  1. The existence of Attachment 4, Response to Misconceptions is disconcerting.  My understanding is that misconceptions likely stem from misinformation and/or missing information.  While it is certainly important to correct misconceptions, it would be better to avoid them from the outset through improved clarity in the presented material.
  2. There is an overwhelming welter of public engagement outcomes.  There are many sources, all documented, and a dizzying array of statistical and free-form results presented in a variety of graphs, tables and bullet points covering about 50 pages.  While this is a rich trove of information,
    1. much of the free-form text results are not collated by keywords
    2. much of the data is in response to preconfigured questions and option lists
    3. much of the data was obtained during rapid fire on-line presentations with no assimilation opportunity
    4. much of the data appears to be more anecdotal than quantitative
    5. the sheer volume of the information makes assimilation difficult
  3. Unfortunately, there is no overall collation or summarization of this massive amount of public engagement feedback into a few standardized tables or graphs.  The reader is still left to look for consensus in the data.
  4. in addition, the extensive Post-it note feedback from the recent pop-up sessions will not be summarized for several months, well into Phase 3.  This is unfortunate because it bears directly upon the concepts recently presented and being assessed by you now.
  5. Thus, while the report thoroughly documents What We Did, Who We Heard From and What We Heard; it does not explain What This Means.
  6. Thus, it is still very difficult, if not impossible, for you or us residents to create an evidence-based link between the plethora of public engagement results and the Emerging Concepts and/or the Six Big Concepts.

In sharp contrast we have a significant, and growing, body of well informed public opinion that is highly unsupportive of the Emerging Concepts.  It is found in abundance on social media and in letters to Mayor and Council.  While some may not recognize social media material as legitimate, a large proportion of the writings there are very well thought out and fact-based; very few are poorly informed or nasty.  In fact, many of the letters to Mayor and Council are also posted to social media. 

To summarize, there is overwhelming rejection of the very weak support for agricultural and environmental values coupled with the strong urbanization theme “developed” in Phase 2.  These latest staff and consultant reports do little to counter those sentiments. 

Phase 3 is slated to further investigate and expand on this weakly supported densification theme although non-development topics may get some airtime.  They have received little to date. 

It would be a major mistake to bake the problems of Phase 2 in to Phase 3. 

We are at a pivotal point in the history of this OCP Review as it is an opportunity for us to re-assess, change course and establish the focus of the project where it should be, on the existing OCP and the existing Vision Statement.  Both of these entities enjoy significant support in the community, as they have always done, and should not be supplanted without exhaustive investigation and credible evidence. 

Earlier, I had concluded that this OCP Review project had divided the community.  Perhaps I was mistaken then, but certainly now it has brought the community together.  Please re-join your fellow residents in a thoughtful review of this project. 

I know that due to a workflow mistake, you are only now able to catch up to the entrenched body of public opinion.  Since May 19 your life in the public sphere has been made ever more difficult and we thank you for persevering. 

However, I ask you now to do the right thing by bringing our Community back into the process and simply reviewing our existing OCP. 

                  Sincerely, Spring Harrison

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