FCRA calls on Mayor disqualify Councillor Meggs from hearing on Concord Pacific’s rezoning application
June 9, 2014: City Councillor Geoff Meggs must be disqualified from participating in the Public Hearing on Concord Pacific’s development application.
Under the Vancouver Charter, (sec 566), the public is entitled to be heard prior to any rezoning decisions. These Public Hearings are quasi-judicial proceedings and Councillors are expected to act in accordance with procedural fairness and natural justice. Simply put, this means that:
- Councillors are to maintain their neutrality until they have full information in an equitable and transparent manner.
- No one Councillor is to be given information aside from that provided to ALL councillors.
- There are to be no private conversations, no lobbying, and certainly no pontificating by Councillors beforehand.
A Public Hearing is scheduled for June 10, 2014 on Concord Pacific’s development proposal for 998 Expo Blvd. City of Vancouver Planning staff are recommending that Council approve this application for rezoning.
In a blog posting on Friday, June 6, Councillor Meggs quoted extensively from the staff report. He tweeted the FCRA on the subject of the report. “I was shocked to see this posting, and to receive a tweet from Councillor Meggs about it”, said Fern Jeffries, Co-Chair of the False Creek Residents Association.
“We are constantly warned by members of Council not to contact them on an issue once it is referred to Public Hearing, and here was Councillor Meggs proceeding in a most partisan manner, referring readers to Concord’s media release, and to those sections of the Staff Report that agree with the developer that we can’t expect any action on the park unless their current application is approved”.
“The City is certainly being held for ransom” added Patsy McMillan, FCRA Co-Chair. “To say that we must accept 998 Expo Blvd BEFORE we see any of the park is just a negotiating position. It has nothing to do with soil remediation or any technical or legal requirement for the park. “
The entire posting has now been deleted from Councillor Meggs’s blog. Of course, in this internet era, nothing is really deleted and the FCRA has a complete pdf version of the original posting, including Councillor Meggs’s referral of readers to the Concord Pacific web site and media release.
We now call on the Mayor to disqualify Clr Meggs from participating in the public hearing and from voting on the proposal. Deleting the blog posting is a clear admission of wrong-doing. There is sufficient appearance of bias and misconduct to warrant such action:
- publicly expressing support of the proposal before the Public Hearing
- alliance with developer’s media statement and position
- communication via twitter with the FCRA prior to the Public Hearing