COPE releases Vancouver civic election platform
The Coalition of Progressive Electors released their full election platform today (November 8), which includes plans for a city housing authority, inclusionary zoning, and a tiered business taxation system.
"If Vancouver is to live up to its reputation, we need everyone, from artists, to small business owners, to seniors, to students and new families, to be able to reach their full potential," said city council candidate RJ Aquino as he outlined the party's platform.
Aquino said COPEs wants a housing authority to oversee the creation of more affordable housing in the city. The independent commission, as proposed by COPE, would also ensure inclusionary zoning laws are applied to all new developments, and support non-profit developers to build and sell new units at the cost of construction.
The COPE platform also includes commitments to: create 1,000 affordable rental units in Vancouver every year; to launch an “affordability crisis commission” to determine the extent of the city’s housing crisis; to propose the creation of Neighbourhood Planning Councils; to look at creating community transit passes, and to advocate for electoral reform and changes to elections spending.
COPE’s platform on schools includes pledges to work to ensure seismic upgrading and proper building maintenance, and to advocate for smaller class sizes, support for children with special needs, and more English as a second language instruction.
The party’s park board policies include plans to oppose fee increases of services that are above the rate of inflation, unless the services are used to encourage more sustainable options, and to call for more public washrooms.
Aquino said the platform hasn’t been endorsed or approved by Vision Vancouver, but noted that COPE and Vision will be “working together” through their common slate.
“It’s our job to make sure that our voices are heard,” Aquino told reporters. “This platform has been voted on and approved by our membership, and it is an ambitious program, but we have to take bold steps in order to make bold changes to the city, and I’m sure our colleagues at council will see that and we’ll do our best to demonstrate the positive changes that we’re outlining here.”
As part of an electoral agreement with Vision Vancouver, COPE is running three candidates for city council, two for the park board, and four for the school board.
At COPE’s news conference at SFU Harbour Centre today, Aquino was also asked about COPE’s stance on the city seeking an injunction to clear tents from the Occupy Vancouver protest site at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“COPE supports peaceful protest, and we need to make sure the message is heard,” he said.
“What we do support is dealing with this without a heavy hand – making sure that everyone’s concerns are addressed, that everything is peaceful and that the protest and the message continues to be heard.”