I wish I were there to watch it.
For decades, the so-called Lotus Land has prided itself on its premier status as the most liveable city in the world.
And so on.
Visiting Overseas Experts
Its retired or retrenched planners (those Visiting Overseas Experts) frequently visit this country as speakers and consultants and evoke images of delighted citizens embracing planning reforms — including (especially) housing density increases.
The proposed NSW planning reforms are apparently modelled on the now out-of-date, irrelevant and (for our State planning purposes) discredited “Vancouver model” of community engagement…
… which in NSW turns out to mean proposals for no substantial or authentic engagement about what matters when it matters.
What’s really happening in Vancouver?
The Vancouver vision is one of peaceful acceptance of housing density increases. Hmmm. Nothing could be further from the reality!
A basic Web search will reveal that community activism is alive and well in Canada’s Evergreen Playground — and the residents of ordinary suburbs (such as Marpole) are up in arms about rezoning.
And have a look at the ages of the activists. They remind me of the H.E.A.L. professionals in their sensible shoes in Sydney’s Northern Beaches protesting against the closure of the Manly Hospital.
The Mayor of the City of Lotus Land (oops, Vancouver) seems to keep backing down.
Ugly scenes occur as hundreds of protesters rally outside City Hall (just last week!).
And yet the juggernaut continues.
The word on the street is that the community planners ARE listening to the community — but (comme toujours), back at City Hall, they’re being rolled.
But ordinary citizens are saying that they don’t accept that “You can’t fight City Hall.”
They say it’s a vicious rumour spread by City Hall!
Video demonstrates this so well.
Take a look at this:
Let’s be careful in Australia not to be seduced by the Lotus Eaters from the Lotus Land. It’s a powerful drug: denial.
In another life, decades ago, I was a scholar of Victorian poetry. I wrote a thesis on Robert Browning’s long poem. A thesis about truth.
And I also read Tennyson.
Tennyson’s The Lotos-Eaters is salutary reading at this time, especially for our Australian politicians and planners who have inhaled deeply of the exotic fragrances, eaten the poisoned fruit and fallen for “Vancouverism”:
But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song
I say: Let’s wake up.
Inhale the fragrance of the lemon-scented gum.
Listen to the kookaburras.
And let’s stop this nonsense!
For more video from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), see: