December 28, 2007

Say something, dammit

Lorin, a PT reader, reminds us: 

Metro Vancouver is getting to the end of public meetings on the new regional growth strategy (there are a few more in January). I noticed they’ve extended the comment period from January 15 to January 31.
I have seen almost no commentary or analysis in the blogosphere. But perhaps I’m not looking in the right places.
MV has set up an online forum, but so far it’s got just three members (2 are MV staff) and ONE non-staff posting.

The problem is two-fold, I think: there’s nothing particularly contentious in the proposed strategy.  The options are nuanced versions of past directions, and the strategy as a whole is another iteration of the vision that goes back to the Lower Mainland Regional Planning Board in the 1950s: “Cities in a sea of green.”
But hey, it’s been a vision that’s worked – at least when our decisions are consistent. 
The other reason why there may not be a lot of response is the requirement to register.  People are too used to commenting with a single click, as with this blog.
No excuse not to participate of course – and that works best at the public meetings.  But almost by definition, those who attend meetings are not typical of the citizenry in general.
And that’s why, too often, because those who care or are generally satisfied with the status quo do not speak up, the debate moves to the extremes, and it’s easy to denigrate the achievements we as a society actually make.  
I think that’s what happened to TransLink: failure to recognize what it did well, constant criticism of its failures and general contempt in the media made it easy for the provincial government to dismantle it.

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