The former NPA councillor most critical of the development industry has hitched her wagon to a new political party.
Coun. Colleen Hardwick has joined TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, which was inspired by the original TEAM that held a majority of seats on council from 1972 to 1976.
One of the founding members of the original TEAM was Hardwick's father, Walter, who sat on council from 1968 to 1974.
"The first TEAM united residents to defend their neighbourhoods from demolition, stopped plans to run freeways through downtown Vancouver, and created the award-winning False Creek South neighbourhood, an inspiring legacy worth fighting for,” Hardwick said in a news release.
“I look at city hall today and what I see is a city government that treats Vancouverites like ATMs while ignoring the issues that are most important to Vancouver’s families,” Hardwick continued.
“Too often residents are simply seen as a source of more and more revenue for a bloated city government that takes too long to get things done and sidelines the valuable opinions of citizens. Meanwhile, small businesses are buried in red tape, renters are stressed, neighbourhoods and parks are neglected.”
Hardwick voted against the seven-percent increase in property taxes in the 2020 budget, suggesting that it would result in the city hitting a "financial wall".
She also objected to more than $500 million in new spending under a three-year capital plan.
On April 21, Hardwick was one of three councillors who quit the NPA after the board decided that park commissioner John Coupar was going to be the party's 2022 mayoral candidate.
Hardwick has a history of voting against rezonings that would increase the number of rental units. For example, in July 2020, she was among a minority that opposed an application for an additional 258 secured rentals in a controversial highrise project on the former Denny's Restaurant site on West Broadway.
That same month, Hardwick was the only member of council to vote against an 81-unit rental project in Shaughnessy, which would replace two single-family homes.
In April, Hardwick was the only NPA member of council who voted to extend the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan to commercial zones. That move was vehemently opposed by the development industry and strongly supported by tenant groups.
She joined the three Green councillors and two left-wing councillors (Jean Swanson and Christine Boyle) in requiring developers to require one-to-one replacement of rental units. This affected 3,050 units in 380 purpose-built rental buildings—and was condemned by the development industry.
Back in 2019, Hardwick voted against receiving a city report on reconciliation by the city's manager of Indigenous relations, Katelyn Crabtree.
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun's Dan Fumano, Hardwick didn't deny that Indigenous people had suffered in the past and insisted that she supports reconciliation.
However, she questioned whether the financial costs of this should be the responsibility of senior levels of government rather than requiring expenditures by the local level.
That drew a sharp rebuke from former Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer.
In the past, Hardwick has been a supporter of the federal Liberals. In 2019, however, she called for a review of the city's relationship with SkyTrain car manufacturer Bombardier Inc. and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. The latter company was at the centre of a scandal involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Hardwick has previously suggested that demand for housing will subside as a result of the pandemic. In fact, housing demand appears to have increased substantially, judging by the number of sales in the region.
“A revised and more accurate understanding of demographic needs and demand will assist in properly planning for the post COVID-19 reality,” Hardwick proposed in one motion.
TEAM for a Livable Vancouver's board members include architect David Wong, SFU student Sean Nardi, retired educator Sal Robinson, and filmmaker David Fine.
Fine has been a vocal critic of "foreign money" in the Vancouver housing market.
He recently came under criticism from Elimin8Hate antiracism campaigner Eileen Park Robertson (wife of former mayor Gregor Robertson) after she was barred from participating in a social-media discussion about housing issues.