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Vancouver launches virtual open houses

June 8 2020 –

With physical distancing orders in place and a firm commitment to support recovery efforts, we're continuing to enhance our online tools for public involvement in City business by launching digital tools to facilitate virtual open houses.

Starting today, you can share your thoughts on proposed rezoning applications using our new digital engagement platform, Shape Your City Vancouver.

Four virtual open houses are launching today with more to follow:

About our virtual open houses

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

The public can also share their thoughts via comment form, which can also be found on Shape Your City 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. 

Public notifications remain the same

There are no changes to public notifications. The applicant must post a site sign with details on how to comment on the project. We will continue to mail postcards to nearby residents. New applications will be posted on Shape Your City as they are processed.

Processing and reviewing rezoning applications continues

Across BC the property development industry was estimated to employ 233,600 people in direct and indirect positions. 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 rezoning process is an important step for applicants and the public, as it is helps us consider if the application needs to be revised before the public hearing and City Council decision.

Holding open houses online is one of the many ways we're supporting recovery, and is linked to the Planning Vancouver Together initiative that will both identify short-term actions to help communities recover and culminate in a city-wide Vancouver Plan to guide strategic priorities.

Ongoing business support

In an effort to assist the businesses community, we have established the COVID-19 Business Communications and Support Office.

The office is a single point of contact for Vancouver’s local business owners to get information from the City of Vancouver regarding business support programs, to learn what City-run business services are currently available, and to make suggestions to us concerning business and the economy.

Local businesses seeking help can connect with the office by:

Engaging online

Earlier this spring, we asked community members to share their thoughts on engagement during COVID-19, and received more than 3,000 responses from Talk Vancouver members and the general public.

The majority of respondents said they are in favour of virtual engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic (84%) and most said they were likely to participate (between 67% to 80%).

Review a summary of the results (917 KB)


General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability Gil Kelley

“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 modeling available,” said Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. “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.”