The owner of a limousine company says he's forming a new political party to offer greater neighbourhood representation at Vancouver City Hall.
In an interview outside the mayor's office during a recent public hearing, Gerry McGuire told the Georgia Straight that the party's name is "Vancouver Citizen's Voice". He's willing to put his name forward as a mayoral candidate.
"Neighbourhood representation is the main principle," he stated. "I would advocate for a ward system. In fact, you can institute a ward system simply by bylaw, as a matter of fact, according to the [Vancouver] Charter."
McGuire, owner of A-Ace Limousine Service, wouldn't reveal other potential candidates, but acknowledged that there have been "several expressions of interest". He hopes to run a full slate in the November election, with nominations being completed by the middle of September.
"The NPA was never really a party of the people," McGuire claimed. "And Vision Vancouver seemed like they were, but they're not. And COPE has basically allowed themselves to be folded into that particular wrong direction—I would call it that."
Gerry McGuire favours getting rid of concrete barriers on Hornby and Dunsmuir streets.
As a result, he maintained: "So there is room up the middle, and there is need for somebody in a group to take care of the actual electorate of Vancouver, as opposed to just special-interest groups, which is what we have going on now."
McGuire questioned whether there were any serious differences between Vision Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and his chief rival, NPA councillor Suzanne Anton.
He claimed that Anton likes tall buildings, whereas Robertson likes to "rezone, rezone, rezone, rezone—all tall buildings".
McGuire pointed out that the grade-separated Hornby bike lane won unanimous support from council, whereas he favours a different approach.
"I have no problem with sharing the road with cyclists, but bike lanes aren't sharing the road," he insisted. "Bike lanes balkanize the space. They're complex, confusing, and actually dangerous to bikers and automobilists—and pedestrians as well."
McGuire said he favours a concept called "shared space", which has been advanced by a Dutch road engineer named Hans Monderman.
"Basically, it involves slowing the traffic down and opening up the streets—taking away all the barriers to interaction between cyclists, pedestrians, and automobiles," McGuire explained. "Because of the necessity to interact on a human level, for some reason they work."
He favours getting rid of the heavy concrete barriers on the Burrard Bridge, replacing them with steel railings.
"The merge on Pacific is still a disaster area," he stated. "And those barriers, I do believe, are structurally damaging that old bridge."
He also argued in favour of sharing the space on Dunsmuir Street and eliminating the concrete barrier, though he said it's not so bad on the Dunsmuir Viaduct. He prefers retaining the Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts, claiming that a "real-estate play" is what's driving the discussion to get rid of them.
In addition, McGuire questioned why the stop lights are so close to one another at the new Citadel Parade street just east of Beatty Street.
As far as city budgets go, he would prefer increasing spending on libraries and reducing expenditures on the police. "I also have a problem wtih the logistics of the night-time club closings on Granville Street," he added.
McGuire said he is a Simon Fraser University graduate with two grown-up daughters. He served two terms on the SFU senate.