Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart has an unexpected problem in his bid for reelection on October 15.
Ever since homeless writer Stanley Q. Woodvine stumbled across his party's fundraising targets in a spreadsheet, Stewart is being painted by some as the developers' favourite.
That's because 26 senior development industry and real-estate executives were named as "captains" responsible for raising vast sums of money for the mayor's campaign.
Woodvine's discovery prompted an investigation by Elections B.C.
He found the document outside a No Frills store on the same day that Stewart promised 200,000 new homes in the next 10 years if he's reelected.
Fortunately for Stewart, he has an ally in OneCity Vancouver, which is running a slate of four candidates for council.
Today, OneCity Vancouver did Stewart a favour by condemning his two major rivals in the mayoral race, Ken Sim and Colleen Hardwick, for their housing policies.
It was done in a news release challenging Sim, who heads the ABC Vancouver ticket, to "commit to ending the apartment ban".
OneCity has already promised to end an apartment ban on many side streets as a key plank in its platform.
“We believe in a city that you can afford,” OneCity incumbent Christine Boyle said in the news release. “But we haven’t seen a serious housing plan from either ABC or TEAM. Is housing a priority for them? Voters deserve to know.”
In particular, Boyle noted that when ABC incumbent councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung asked city staff to disclose noncore spending, it turned out that of the $219 million identified, 75 percent—or $168 million—was for affordable housing.
“ABC and TEAM talk at length about cutting noncore spending. But the fact is, that money is being spent on affordable housing,” Boyle added. “Vancouver voters deserve to know whether housing is a core priority for either Ken Sim or Colleen Hardwick.”
Sim's party has promised that it will soon release its housing platform. TEAM for a Livable Vancouver has opposed the Broadway Plan, which would provide housing for an additional 50,000 residents over 30 years in the blocks bounded by 16th and 1st avenues and Vine Street and Clark Drive.
There's an upside for Stewart when OneCity condemns the housing policies of Sim and Hardwick rather than himself.
That's because Stewart's rivals can't just respond by accusing the mayor of being the developers' pawn—and therefore, anything he says on this subject should be discounted.
Stewart's Forward Together party is running six candidates for council.
Hypothetically, voters could choose the Forward Together and OneCity slates to try to fill all 10 council spots and the mayor's chair.
ABC Vancouver is running seven candidates for the 10-member council whereas Hardwick's Team for a Livable Vancouver is fielding six candidates for council.