A contentious community plan for Grandview-Woodland and the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts were some of the topics of questions posed by residents at a multiparty candidates meeting Wednesday (October 15).
The pre-election event, which was hosted by the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, drew more than 300 people to St. James Hall for a discussion focused on community planning.
On the subject of the potential removal of the viaducts, Green council incumbent Adriane Carr said she wants to know “who is paying for the removal of the viaducts, and who is gaining from the removal of the viaducts."
Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer said she has concerns about the traffic impacts on the region if the viaducts are removed.
“It’s a long-standing issue that you’ve got the highway on the east side of Vancouver, and then downtown, and that all of the communities between the highway and downtown Vancouver have…challenges with traffic trying to find a faster way through their neighbourhoods,” she said in an interview.
“My concern from day one, and articulated in council, is that before a decision is made on removal, for me to be supportive I would need to know that those traffic issues have been resolved.”
Many of the candidates at the meeting were critical of the city’s approach to an area plan for Grandview-Woodland. A proposal for towers clustered near the Commercial and Broadway intersection was scrapped following community outcry, and city council opted to extend the planning process and establish a citizens’ assembly.
NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe called the assembly “the equivalent of punting the ball down the field”, while OneCity council candidate RJ Aquino described it as another level of theatre.
“It was a plan that was repelled by the community, and then an extremely inauthentic, faux consultation process was put in place,” said LaPointe.
During his remarks at the event, Aquino revealed some of his party’s proposals, including the establishment of democratically elected and funded neighbourhood councils to conduct community consultations, and a ward system with councillors representing neighbourhoods.
He noted that he lives in a one-bedroom apartment in East Vancouver with his wife and two children.
“There’s a lot of young families in my neighbourhood that are leaving the city because it’s so unaffordable,” he said.
In addition to Carr, Reimer, LaPointe, and Aquino, the panel of candidates also featured the NPA’s Melissa De Genova, Green council candidate Cleta Brown, Nicholas and Glen Chernen from the Cedar Party, COPE mayoral candidate Meena Wong and council candidate Lisa Barrett, and independent mayoral candidate Bob Kasting.