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City of Vancouver launches virtual open house

City of Vancouver launches virtual open house

VANCOUVER — The City of Vancouver is launching digital tools to facilitate public consultation through virtual open houses as COVID-19 continues to require physical distancing and a refrain from in-person gatherings.

As of June 8, Vancouverites can share their thoughts on proposed rezoning applications using Shape Your City Vancouver, the city’s new digital engagement platform.

“We’re going from holding a single event where staff shares information with individuals one-on-one, to having a longer online Q and A with city staff and all content, slides and modelling available,” said City of Vancouver general manager of planning, urban design and sustainability Gil Kelley in a statement.

“This new format provides many accessibility benefits and we’re excited to provide the public with a more interactive, convenient and informative way to participate in our decision-making.”

Four virtual open houses have already launched:

In place of a standard three-hour in-person event, virtual open houses for rezonings will provide a three-week open period (Monday to Sunday) for the general public to ask questions from staff with a commitment of two business days for a publicly posted response.

The public can also add comments via a form on the Shape Your City site along with background information about each project. All comments submitted will be summarized in a staff report for council, which will be made public.

“We recognize that an online option isn’t for everyone, and rezoning planners will continue to be available by phone to share project information and answer questions,” the release added.

There are no changes to public notifications and the applicant must post a site sign with details on how to comment on the project. Postcards will be mailed to nearby residents and new applications will be posted on Shape Your City as they are processed.

“As part of our recovery efforts we’re continuing to process and review rezoning applications to help generate employment and meet urgent housing needs,” the release added.

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