NPA announces community forums in lead-up to November 2014 Vancouver election

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      The Non-Partisan Association has identified 70 potential candidates a year in advance of the Vancouver civic election, according to party organizers.

      At a press conference held exactly one year before voters head to the ballot box in November 2014, elected NPA officials and other party representatives said their plan for the coming months includes holding regular policy forums with community members.

      “All of the forums that we’re planning over the next eight months will be issue-based or neighbourhood-based,” said NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball. “They will be large, they will be small, they will be in every possible community hall…so that we can really hear what our citizens want.”

      According to NPA city councillor George Affleck, demonstrations of community opposition across the city over recent months are a sign that residents are not being heard.

      “Whether it’s Point Grey Road, or the Marpole community plan, Kits park or a massive up-zoned building in the West End, one thing is clear: Vision doesn’t listen, and they don’t consult,” he said. “The examples are countless, and the people of Vancouver have lost their trust in city hall and the government under Vision Vancouver.”

      NPA park board commissioner Melissa De Genova noted the city has faced lawsuits during the last year from resident groups over community issues.

      “The public has told me how disappointed they are that Vision has ripped the community out of our community centres,” she said. Six community centres launched legal action against the park board earlier this year in the wake of a new interim agreement and changes to membership cards at centres around the city.

      The first of the NPA’s policy forums will take place at the Joyce Walley Learning Centre in Kitsilano on Monday, December 11 at 6:30 p.m. According to Ball, the series of forums will focus on issues including development, small business, parks, housing, and arts and culture.

      In addition to helping the party form its policies for the next election, NPA political organizer Natasha Westover said the forums will also provide an opportunity to recruit more potential candidates.

      Westover noted the party has seen a 200 percent growth in its membership over the past 15 months. The NPA currently has just under 1,000 members.

      The list of 70 potential candidates for city council, park board and school board includes several mayoral candidates, according to NPA board member Tim Laidler. A candidate recruitment committee has been established comprised of “a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds”, he said.

      Affleck said he “wouldn’t want even to speculate” on a potential mayoral run in 2014.

      “To pre-suppose what I might do in the next election is premature,” he told reporters. “Until we know what our policies are, until we know what the people of this city want…that will then feed into what kind of candidates we’re looking for, including the mayor.”

      He added that running is "obviously an interesting question".

      "That's a big decision...if I make that decision, I will let you know, but at this point my job is to be a councillor and to work with the NPA and do our job as a party."

      Affleck cited property development, parks, and citizen engagement as some of what he sees as central issues for Vancouver residents.

      “I think there’s an assumption that people go online and will answer all these questions,” he said. “I think we have to reach out to the citizens better.”

      Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said the city has been conducting “an enormous amount of outreach”.

      He criticized Affleck’s voting record on rental housing, charging the councillor has “opposed that every step of the way”.

      “The NPA does need to sit down and listen to people, because I think the votes that we’ve seen from George Affleck at city council have been really contrary to the direction a lot of voters would like the city to go in,” he told the Straight by phone. “So if they want to hear from renters, that’ll be good. If they have no intention of helping, they should just tell them not to bother coming to the listening sessions.”

      Meggs indicated Vision Vancouver will have its own engagement process with the community and its membership on emerging issues.




      Nov 15, 2013 at 3:17pm

      I have no faith that either the NPA or Vision will enact any policy that doesn't fit their pre-defined agendas. If the people of Vancouver really want something different they need to stop voting for the big money candidates.

      Things Looking Up?

      Nov 15, 2013 at 4:45pm

      Great to see that the NPA is heading out the community for input on the 2014 election issues. I wish them well in putting together a sensible platform that can help to reduce the Vision Vancouver stranglehold on City Council.


      Nov 16, 2013 at 3:16pm

      This is the election for returning city hall back to the NPA! Vision is just COPE lite but not as bright!


      Nov 16, 2013 at 3:16pm

      The NPA and Vision are just represent two factions of the real estate sector fighting over aesthetics and symbols: would you like your RE-speculation based economy with or without bike lanes? The middle class is being run out of the city either way.


      Nov 17, 2013 at 3:02pm

      There are few differences between Vision & the NPA aside from some donors and the effectiveness of their respective propaganda machines. Only Tom Campbell had the drive to serve his developer friends regardless of neighbourhood opposition anywhere near to the extent Vision has under Robertson. Vision have managed to put more money in the pockets of their friends than any government in the history of the city and often done so whilst supporters lauded how "green" or "culture friendly" or "social justicey" (sic) the party was being.

      "Saving" the Waldorf gives the developer, Solterra, an increased profit thanks to the heritage bonus, and the company happens to be a Vision donor. Other heritage properties weren't saved over the last few years and strangely those were projects by developers who I didn't see on the various donors lists from Vision events. The Vision Parks Board cut $5 million from the budget city wide to pay for Emery Barnes Park, yet years before we were told the park would be paid for by developers of local parcels through community charges. Vision decides how much developers have to pay for community charges and also determine what bonus they city will give them for "saving" heritage buildings. Vision already provides developers with a means to reduce the number of parking spots in new developments through a range of means from direct payments to the city to green washing the project.

      Vision's master stroke was neutering COPE by infiltrating their board and membership with folks eager to leverage the left turnout into a perpetual majority. Somehow Vision has managed to differentiate their message between disparate areas of the city. COPE strongholds are bombarded with the idea of Vision as an "electable social justice party" or with the idea that Vision is artist friendly, hence the official explanation for saving the Waldorf.

      Vision sell themselves as the bike riding green machine in the range of communities that share those "concerns" even as some of them drive an SUV 2 blocks to shop at Capers or get to Yoga or the next fitness trend. From the drive to kits & point grey cycling is a "lifestyle" or "statement" about how committed one is to the currently accepted "green ideal." Vision also sell themselves to another group but it is a more discreet process where balance sheets convince managers & CEOs that Vision is good for business.


      Nov 17, 2013 at 5:01pm

      The NPA have nowhere to go so effective has the Vision machine been. Developers know Vision has delivered more than the NPA could dream of, and understand only Vision can manage the process that will lead to Langara Golf Course land being sold to private interests. The NPA fell into a beautiful trap laid by Vision when they decided bike lanes were an important issue worth fighting over rather than focussing attacks on issues important to fringe Vision support like spending and taxes.

      The NPA need to get over bike lanes and start focussing on wasteful spending and increasing bureaucracy to have any hope of being relevant again. One positive for the NPA is that Suzanne Anton isn't running again but it is tough to counter a 1%er in the mayor's office who is a warrior for social justice, a crusader for the environment and a lapdog for the developers.


      Nov 18, 2013 at 8:53am

      I fully agree with G although he means it in a bad way