OCP survey shortcomings and opportunities

This post about Richmond’s Official Community Plan (OCP) 2041 Update Survey adds to the recent Arzeena Hamir letter and Jessica Lai letter in the Richmond News, especially Jessica’s letter. It is basically for residents of Richmond, BC, but I suspect that readers beyond Richmond can pick up some insights from it.

I encourage Richmond residents to do the survey. You have just until December 18, 2009.

As Jessica Lai pointed out, the Garden City Lands should be shown on the 2009 Richmond City Centre map in the survey flyer as being in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), and the survey’s failure to get that right is a cause for concern in several ways.

One of the less obvious causes for concern is related to land value. The flyer shows the lands as “Park/School.” That gives an impression that the property should be valued like a school site or as a non-ALR park site. It hinders the ability to obtain the lands for ongoing ALR uses. Also, any increase in price beyond ALR-value would tend to fuel ALR-land speculation, adding to the cost of local food production and hindering the future of the ALR.

When filling out the survey, I found that it consisted largely of questions that would yield data that spin artists could spin however they wanted.

As with previous surveys, it also included questions with blatant bias. For example, the question that includes the phrase “to strengthen neighbourhoods” when asking whether the respondent supports a particular measure is almost certain to elicit an appearance of support simply because no one is opposed to strengthening neighbourhoods. (Even if they don’t agree with the measure, they’ll be reluctant to disagree, since they don’t want weak neighbourhoods, whatever that may be.)

There are a couple of open-ended questions that allow scope for meaningful answers if people have not been sapped by the more mind-numbing questions and have the energy to answer them with the care they are worth:

  • After question 20, there is an unnumbered item that says “My top three exciting changes that I would like to see in Richmond in the future are. . . .” My first answer was something like “An agriculture-themed park in the ALR on the Garden City Lands.”
  • The question was also flipped to this: “My top three favourite things that I wouldn’t want to see changed in Richmond are. . . .” My answers were “The Garden City Lands as green space,” “The growing appreciation for local food,” and “The growing concern for the neediest.”

A few other tips if you’re a Richmond resident doing the survey online:

  • Check your responses as you go along. I tried using the preview feature, and the “Previous” button that should have allowed me to go back and edit did not actually work.
  • The online survey hurries you by telling you that you can be timed out but does not tell you how much time you have. If I were starting again, I would have answers to the important questions ready before beginning the survey so that I would not be rushed when providing those significant thoughts._
  • Also, the “Print” button did not work properly. It just enabled the printing of an uncompleted survey, not my completed one. If you will need a record of any answers, save them in some other way.

Reminder: The stated deadline for the survey is Dec. 18, 2009.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Olga Says:

    It is also important to answer a few questions re.types of the residential buildings that we have enough of every one of them, because there is obviously an oversupply on the market of every kind of the residences and the question is just likely aimed on getting new housing development approved (mostly high rises I guess).


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