Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The South Granville BIA Responds

The South Granville BIA has responded to my post. You can read all my tweets as is on twitter to verify things. However, since they deleted theirs the only way to get the story out was to screen cap them all. I'd like both sides of the story to be told. This blog is about me and my love of urban planning - I think that BIA's are important neighbourhood/community agents. I do believe that some do better jobs at it than others. For instance, I tweeted to the SGBIA that they should look at the Strathcona BIA because of the amazing work they're doing. It's all about balance: I believe that businesses can benefit from sustainable practices and better place making for people. Here is their response:
Brandon, this is very disappointing.
You fail to mention that 3 days prior you came through with a 'you should do xyz like XXX BIA...' We gracefully accepted and thanked you for your suggestion. 3 days later we get another 'you should ...'
There are lots of things we should do. The pop up cafe idea sounds great unless you read some other info on the subject or walk in my shoes and have done my job for as long as I have. When I attempted to give you a small sample of the obstacles you kept at it. There is a list as long as my arm why this particular suggestion would simply not fly - Transit requirements and use of Granville is the first.
You have neglected to include my post where I suggested I handled things poorly. I should have accepted your suggestion (good - bad or otherwise) and walked away without comment. The truth is, I DID handle it poorly and I apologize. I would like to think that the SGBIA is a strong part of our community. We go far beyond our mandate when it comes to community development. We have been commended by great Public Space advocates such as Fred Kent for our efforts around public seating and streetscape enhancements. In reality we are on the same team and want to continue on that path.


  1. (I'm reposting to correct some grammatical mistakes)

    I think both you and the South Granville BIA made some mistakes here.

    On your side, you probably wouldn't have been satisfied if their only response was another along the lines of 'Neat idea, thanks @pre_planner'. You're an action kind of person, and you want results, and to be able to help as your knowledge/experience permits.

    On their side, they have all the stakeholders to answer to, and a history of decisions we don't know about. The twitter account holder may have felt like his/her expertise was disregarded, and the full costs/implications for the pop up cafe concept weren't considered.

    In the end, it doesn't seem entirely unfeasible to incorporate such a concept i.e. the side streets could be altered or closed temporarily, provided the BIA is open to such ideas (which I think they are, and should continue to be). There might even be one or two businesses along the west side of Granville which would be interested in paying for the parking space outside of their business, to set up a seating area during parking hours. I don't foresee this posing much, if any, negative impact in terms of cost to the BIA.

    However, the BIA commenter's proclamations of going 'beyond our mandate when it comes to community development' and being 'commended by great Public Space advocates' aren't necessarily helpful in this instance. For as good a job as they're doing (the public realm is quite nice), there's always room for improvement, and room for experimentation - EVEN if it has risks and opportunity for failure.

    That's my 2 cents.

  2. Robert, thank you. That is exactly how I felt.

    You are absolutely right - there is always room to do more. Some things work better than others and it is finding the right fit where the challenge truly lies.

    I mentioned Fred Kent because again... the impression has been left that we care nothing about public space and the community. That simply is not true. The neighbourhood is light years ahead of where we were 10 years ago. Have we arrived? Absolutely not. Would we like to do more? Absolutely yes.

    Is Twitter the best place to have the conversation on such a complex topic? Hardly. If Brandon wants to sit down with us and truly have a conversation about what ideas can be replicated in South Granville, I would be more than pleased to do so. He can reach me at info@southgranville.org

  3. Thank's for the comments! Good to see a discussion going. I still maintain that if you're going to use twitter, realize that it's a social media tool. It promotes two way conversation and I was trying to engage. Robert is correct in that I'm an eager individua and that I'm always willing to help out (as I tweeted). I would suggest that you handle suggestions differently in the futur but I would most definitely like to be involved. I'll e-mail you later.

  4. I am not a fan of 140 character conversations. Far too many opportunities to not articulate a complete thought or convey intent. I look forward to your email.