Andrea Reimer: A Vision-COPE council will continue to remove barriers to citizen participation

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      In 2008, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver swept the NPA out of power and were given a mandate to bring much-needed change to city hall. Through a lot of hard work, we have achieved much in the last three years: over 650 fewer people sleeping on the street, an eight-percent increase in childcare spaces, and 10-year plans developed to make Vancouver the greenest city and create affordable housing for all.

      But despite these advances in Vancouver, too few people continue to make decisions for too many, whether it be through appalling voter turn-outs or archaic public processes that don’t accommodate the many people that are legitimately busy just trying to get by in these challenging times.

      We’ve worked hard to create made-in-Vancouver solutions that build on our city’s proud history of citizen engagement and activism. I was proud that one of my first acts on council was to reinstate citizen advisory committees that the previous NPA council had cut and create the city’s first ever LGBTQ advisory committee. We’ve also created a “council of councils” that allows all the city’s advisory committees to connect, collaborate, and build capacity.

      In May 2009, I brought in the Open 3 initiative to open up the city’s data to citizens, students, and policy advocates. Open data has driven massive change not just in Vancouver but indeed around the world with many cities taking our lead and building on it. It’s also been an economic driver for tech companies providing raw—and fully renewable!—material for innovative applications that benefit people and businesses. It resulted in BC Business awarding the City of Vancouver the Most Innovative Organization award, the first time this honour has ever gone to a public body. Sadly, the NPA voted against this initiative, citing a lack of benefit to the city and its residents by opening up data.

      The culture created by greater openness has had massive benefits on all city policies. For example, over 30,000 people helped to develop the Greenest City Action Plan, including over 100 partner organizations and innovative online tools.

      Even the public hearing process, while still in need of great improvement, has shown it can work when you have a mayor and council that listens to the clear will of the people. Nowhere was this more evident than in the council decision to stop the mega-casino proposed for downtown Vancouver. Although it was a unanimous decision, within hours of her vote, Suzanne Anton said that in fact she supported the casino, ignoring massive community opposition that had given up mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends over many weeks to have their voice heard.

      We are just getting started on getting rid of the barriers to citizen participation. Just this year, council supported initiating four new community-led plans (DTES, Grandview Woodlands, West End, Marpole) accelerating the opportunity for neighbourhoods to have modern amenities and contemporary aspirations for their future reflected in planning decisions. Under the NPA only one plan was started in their term and wasn’t even finished.

      We are also working on modernizing the voting system: we launched the first-ever all party committee on campaign finance reform and we’ve successfully secured preliminary approval from the province for online voting in 2014. Only one councillor didn’t support this work, and that was NPA councillor Suzanne Anton.

      Noticing a pattern here? A Vision-COPE council is committed to continuing the work we started on getting more people directly involved in the decisions that affect them. But we really can’t do it without you—we need your vote on November 19 and we need you to keep pushing mayor and council to find new ways to bring your ideas, your passion, and your energy into policies that build a Vancouver that works for everyone, because everyone helped build it.

      Andrea Reimer is a Vision Vancouver candidate for city council.



      James G

      Nov 3, 2011 at 4:16pm

      Will we ever know what was discussed between yourself, acting on behalf of the City of Vancouver and the residents of social housing at the Olympic Village? Why did you shut the doors to Councilor Anton?

      Who signed that contract with Enerpro? Are there plans to privatize the entire City's water supply by awarding contracts to companies close to Vision?

      Are there more "Green" experiments planned on the poor for which they will be expected to pick up the bills?

      You have been quoted as claiming that this Vision majority council is determined to set forth on it's agenda in the most costly manner possible in order to make it prohibitively expensive for the electorate to reverse. Is there any truth in that?

      good bye Andrea

      Nov 3, 2011 at 6:47pm

      Voters vote you in to make the decisions. If it is too much effort, we'll find others to take the time.


      Nov 3, 2011 at 7:34pm

      Remove barriers to citizen participation? What a laugh, where does having a mayor who swears at citiens and calls them f-ing hacks fall under that plan? Or mocking them with snide comments about "democracy cubed".


      Nov 3, 2011 at 9:04pm

      Andrea Reimer is awesome. She's largely responsible for bringing Vancouver it's food cart program. Thank you!

      Cambie Resident

      Nov 3, 2011 at 10:29pm

      Many have asked the city to get a handle on the noise increase after the Canada line. We suffered the construction for many years and lost the trolley buses after the construction.

      TransLink has increased the transit service to provide additional transit buses to the SkyTrain. the city has politely smiled.

      This is not fair to residents and a nightmare. If cars must adhere to the MVA, transit is not special. The city has not be supportive of our plight and I am not supportive of the current council.

      Live In The West End

      Nov 3, 2011 at 10:40pm

      Please tell GS readers why you turned your nose up at attending the all candidates meeting at the West End Community Centre last night. Several hundred were waiting to hear your support for the new community plan in the West End and perhaps to meet the members of your hand picked Mayor's Committee. Turns out you got a better offer to attend an evening at the Bayshore where virtually every developer was present. Not one of your Visionistas made the few block trek from the Bayshore to the WECC. Shame, shame, shame to you and especially to Tim Stevenson. A five minute walk, a three minute bike ride was to much for you and every other Vision candidate. Cope, Green, NPA, and NSV made it, but not one Vision, say why Ms. Planning Chair.

      W. End

      Nov 3, 2011 at 11:52pm

      Is "remove barriers to citizen participation" Vision Vancouver code for "continue to swear at constituents" and "conduct even more closed-door meetings"? It's remarkable how three years of this arrogant administration has damaged the trust that residents used to have in their municipality. In 2008 the Vision Vancouver crew campaigned on transparency and speaking up for neighbourhoods - they have failed miserably on both counts.

      East Van Arts

      Nov 4, 2011 at 1:24am

      Not very credible, Andrea.

      3 years ago you promised an Arts Council, to provide arms-length adjudication of grant applications in the arts. And to provide deep community consultation in planning for the arts. You failed miserably, and delivered nothing of the sort.

      You attempted, against near-universal community opposition, to ram through a scheme for towers in Chinatown and the DTES. Only when you realized, at 2am during one 'hearing', that you were being roundly excoriated by your own base did you relent. Even so, today a 17-storey tower is in the works for Main and Keefer.

      Not very credible, Andrea.

      A developer is pushing through another tower on The Drive, just north of Broadway, against almost unanimous local opposition. Once again, your idea of 'consultation' consists of a masquerade party run by developers.

      And you cynically use DTES residents to further your political agenda. Have you forgotten this meeting on the 3rd floor of Carnegie? Why, here you are, with Kerry Jang! It makes interesting watching:

      As you say, "You cannot be inside AND outside."

      You try to do both, and end up achieving neither.

      And we'll forget about this one too:

      Sorry, Andrea. You're just not very credible.

      So, tell us again Andrea: where is the Arts Council you promised last time? We can wait. At least until November 19th. Some voters have better memories than you ever imagined.

      Peter W

      Nov 4, 2011 at 5:05am

      Anyone who has seen first hand the appalling manner by which Vision treats citizens (aka f'ing hacks) who dare utter something contrary to the Vision agena in council will find Ms. Reimer's article most entertaining. I'm sure Kim Il Jung also maintains he has removed barriers to citizen participation in North Korea ....

      Frank Tyers

      Nov 4, 2011 at 7:55am

      Last election I voted for you and Vision as the city needed a change and got it; a change for the worse. Never before has public input been so scorned and access to information been next to impossible to obtain. Vision has managed to destroy even potentially good concepts like lane way housing by introducing a process that completely excludes usual zoning requirements and citizen input. Vision is blind.