This civic election is more important than in the past. The election cycle has been extended from three to four years. The civic election is on Saturday, November 15, 2014.
This City of Vancouver election needs to be about restoring democracy through a balanced city council. The current majority rule under Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver has overridden all civic opposition. Through their last two terms Vision have typically voted in block, often against the will of the people. In 2011 Vision only got support from 12 percent of eligible voters (34 percent of the 34 percent of eligible voters who voted), yet Vision used its majority to implement its agenda regardless of community opposition.
Vision's track record shows they undermine democratic process. Moving away from long held practices of involving the community in the planning of their neighbourhoods they have created a quota system chosen by lottery. This was introduced in the ongoing plan for the Commercial Drive neighbourhood of Grandview. Entire neighbourhoods have been re-planned without community support in Norquay, the West End, Downtown Eastside (Chinatown, Gastown, Strathcona) and Marpole. If Vision gets another majority Kitsilano is next. We cannot let this continue.
Spot rezoning used to be the exception; it has become the rule. Huge towers in neighbourhoods that oppose them are becoming standard practice. Recent community plans such as that developed for Mount Pleasant are ignored.
The obstacle to achieving a balanced council in this election is that there are too many alternatives to Vision. This results in vote splitting. It will take careful consideration of voters before we go to the polls if we are to achieve the change to an inclusive, representative and cooperative city council.
Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV), came together during the debate over EcoDensity policy that began in 2007. Over 30 neighbourhood groups across Vancouver recognized serious negative implications so became inspired to communicate with one another to issue joint position statements. Like a previous coalition called Neighbour 2 Neighbour, NSV brought together diverse neighbourhoods that span the political spectrum.
Due in part to that backlash against EcoDensity, the 2008 civic election resulted in a Vision majority. Although Vision was elected on their stated promise to reconsider EcoDensity, they have included EcoDensity into their current policies encouraging rampant over-development.
The effects of developer contributions to election funding continue to be of grave concern. Vision accepts millions in campaign funding from certain developers who benefit from high-density planning decisions
NSV’s goal is to move the City of Vancouver toward democratic and genuinely sustainable planning . Although NSV ran candidates in 2011, this election NSV is not running candidates. There are already too many new parties and independents splitting the opposition vote.
NSV, acting as a third party sponsor, instead endorses a mixed slate. Based on strategy and consistency with their principles and policies, the recommended slate is posted on the NSV website: www.nsvancouver.ca.
NSV’s aim is to give a political voice to the view that it’s time for change and help make it happen by advancing a strategic slate of candidates for mayor and city council that:
- appeals to a broad cross-section of voters,
- avoids a single-party majority,
- has the best chance of being elected, and
- is representative of the following set of basic principles that NSV believes are essential to Vancouver’s future as a truly sustainable city of diverse and livable neighbourhoods.
Councillor Adriane Carr and the Green Party of Vancouver, the Green Party candidates, COPE, and selected NPA candidates have endorsed the NSV principles and policies.
The slate is equally divided between Greens (incumbent Adriane Carr, Cleta Brown, Pete Fry) , COPE (Tim Louis, Lisa Barrett, Gayle Glavin) and NPA (incumbents George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball, Greg Baker), recommending three candidates from each party. The final tenth seat will be a matter of personal choice (from Cedar or COPE or NPA).
The mayoral candidacy has two options. The strategic vote (most likely to succeed in ousting the incumbent) is Kirk LaPointe of NPA. For others Meena Wong of COPE may be the only palatable choice.
The park board and school board slates are now complete as well. Please see the ballot below and on the website.
Watch the Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver website at www.nsvancouver.ca for updates as the election campaign proceeds.