RJ Aquino: Many voices, one city

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      “This entire paycheque is going toward rent."

      When 50 to 80 percent of your income is going to housing, how can you set aside savings or afford clothes for your growing kids? Vancouver has become two cities, one for those who have money and power and one for those who don’t. I believe it doesn’t have to be that way.

      "I'd be paying to go to work. It's better financially for me to stay home with the kids."

      Across the city, many families are paying more for childcare than they do for rent. Often it doesn't make sense for a parent to work because the costs of childcare would negate that one parent's income. Waitlists are long. Fees are too high. Families need affordable and neighbourhood-based child care now. That is why OneCity supports the $10 a day child-care plan and opposes for-profit corporate options that sacrifice our children to profit margins.

      "The worst part of my morning is taking transit to work."

      Sometimes a 30-minute commute turns into an hour and a half as full buses pass you by because they can't squeeze in one more passenger. People agree that transit needs to be improved throughout the city now, not later. It's simply not good enough to focus only on a Broadway subway line. That’s why OneCity supports a transit plan that makes more buses across the whole city a priority right now, and that opens the door to long-term planning that isn’t compromised by the interests of a few big players.

      "What's the point? This council doesn't listen. Consultations are a sham."

      When community input is collected but the "findings" do not resemble what the community has expressed, there's clearly something wrong. People are frustrated and angry. We need genuine community engagement and not just a rubber-stamp process. That’s why OneCity supports the creation of neighbourhood councils that will be able to provide formal and meaningful advice to the city on issues pertaining to their communities.

      "There are better opportunities for young people elsewhere."

      And it's not just young people. Rents everywhere are going up. Out-of-control condo development undermines the character and affordability of our neighbourhoods. We have new condos that working people can’t afford or that don’t have enough space for families. When people can't clearly see their future in this city, there's something wrong. That’s why OneCity is committed to an achievable and practical housing strategy that would see living spaces built and reserved for low-and middle-income people, as well as taxation that discourages empty dwellings and dangerous speculation.

      People have lost faith in a political system that often seems to care more about its relationship with corporations that fund their machinery than improving the lives of people in the city.

      Are things better off than they were six years ago? Have we made sufficient strides in addressing the affordability crisis? Or homelessness? Is it easier for young people and families to plant their roots in this city? I’m not the only one for whom the answer to these questions is a resounding no.

      I do, however, believe there is something special happening right now in municipal politics.

      OneCity is a place where young people, parents, new Canadians and seniors can join together, talk about the pressing issues, and decide together what we can do about them.

      This city has to work for everyone who lives here. Right now it does not.

      Join OneCity and me and let’s make Vancouver a kinder, more affordable place to live.

      RJ Aquino is the OneCity candidate for Vancouver city council.

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      1 Comments

      'One City' the name says it all

      Oct 5, 2014 at 10:18am

      The name 'One City' suggests a conflict free zone of friends and family. This is of course simply the utopian day dream of a bunch of sorry liberals. Look around, if you believe Vancouver is a conflict free zone you really must be blind and deaf. The city is riven with conflict. Go back to your pathetic day dreams 'One City'. These are the same people that worked for years to destroy COPE and turn it into an farm team for Vision.