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- Vancouver (B.C.). Town Planning Commission
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The Vancouver Town Planning Commission was established by City Council on 1 Feb. 1926 (by-law no. 1771), following the passing of the Province's Town Planning Act (statutes, 1925, Ch. 55), according to federal leadership and, by that time, the precedent of all other provinces. The Town Planning Act had given Councils the authority to prepare official town plans (as well as harbour, railway, rapid-transit, and street-railway plans to coordinate with them), to designate land use districts and enforce the regulations (i.e. zoning regulations), and to consider any matters dealing with the physical development of a municipality. The City's by-law gave the Vancouver Town Planning Commission the authority to prepare and maintain a town plan (including harbour, etc., as indicated in the statute) and to carry out the land use designations and regulations called for in the plan (its recommendations went to City Council). Involvement in land use (i.e. zoning) matters decreased as of November 1952, when the City's Planning Department was established (which worked closely on land use matters with a committee of staff and officials, the Technical Planning Board). On 16 June 1960 (by-law no. 3850) the Vancouver Town Planning Commission formally became a City Council advisory body only, taking the broad view on land use issues and constituting an expression of public opinion on matters submitted to Council by the Director of Planning and Technical Planning Board. The 1926-1952 functions of the Vancouver Town Planning Commission were carried out as follows.
(1) City planning ("Town planning"). The first comprehensive town plan was prepared for the Town Planning Commission by the American consultants Harland Bartholomew and Associates in 1928, then revised in 1929 to include the newly added municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey. Followup reports were called for between 1944 and 1948. In consultation with the Town Planning Commission and Harland Bartholomew and Associates, City Council decided in 1950 that city planning was becoming increasingly complex, and required a dedicated Planning Department, which was in place by 1952.
(2) Zoning designation and regulation advisory. The earliest zoning or land use priority was preventing apartment houses from intruding into single family dwelling districts. The Zoning Committee was established in 1925, working toward the first Zoning By-law (no. 1830) which was passed on February 5, 1927. After amalgamation with South Vancouver and Point Grey, the Town Planning Commission contracted Harland Bartholomew and Associates to draft a subsequent Zoning By-law (passed 1930).
The functional predecessors of the Town Planning Commission were City Council, the Board of Works, and the City Engineer. The Commission was succeeded in the technical aspects of planning on 1 Oct. 1952 by the Planning Department, which worked in conjunction with the newly created Technical Planning Board. The Town Planning Commission was succeeded, in its advisory capacity, by the Vancouver City Planning Commission, established on January 18, 1972 (by-law no. 4599).
The Town Planning Commission reported to the City Council committee responsible for town planning (committee names changed frequently, e.g. the Building and Town Planning Committee).
From the beginning the Commission consisted of 9 members appointed by City Council and 5 or 6 who served as representatives of their bodies, e.g. the Mayor, the heads of the School Board and Park Board, the head of the National Harbours Board, etc. The appointed members elected a chair from among them. The position of Secretary was head of the paid staff and took responsibility for the recordkeeping, according to the by-law.
The Vancouver Town Planning Commission was renamed the Vancouver City Planning Commission on 18 Jan. 1972 (by-law no. 4599), some years after the Commission had become a lay advisory body.
The following individuals have served as chairmen of the Vancouver Town Planning Commission: Arthur G. Smith, 1926-1933; Frank E. Buck, 1934; G. L. Thornton Sharp, 1935; B. George Hansuld, 1936; Harry V. Jackson, 1937; J. C. McPherson, 1938; G. C. Miller, 1939; Frank E. Buck, 1939; W. R. Owen, 1940; F. N. Hamilton, 1941; E. M. Bennett, 1942; Charles T. Hamilton, 1943-1945; Harry V. Jackson, 1946-1947; Joseph Briggs, 1948-1949; C. Brakenbridge, 1950-1954; A. J. Harrison, 1955. The executive director was J. Alexander Walker, Secretary (known as the "Engineer-Secretary") , who had served in this position from the beginning until his retirement on 31 Oct. 1952 (6 Nov. 1952 Commission minutes).
For the records of the successor body see the Planning Department fonds. (The Archives has not yet received Vancouver City Planning Commission records.) See the Zoning Appeal Board fonds for its records (1927-1980, series 493). Also related are the basic records of the City kept as part of the City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds, e.g. "Council minutes" (series 31), "Subject files - including Council supporting documents" (series 20); "Public hearings - Council zoning supporting documents" (series 42); etc. The Corporation of Point Grey, which amalgamated with the City of Vancouver in 1929 also had a Town Planning Commission (1926-1928 Commission minutes are at 6-C-14; the 1922 Town Planning by-law is part of PD 1142; the official Point Grey plan is at 77-A-6 file 4).