Quoting from Paul Sullivan’s article in the NS News today “Meanwhile, it looks like development as usual in the city, where they appear to be testing the boundaries of the word “density.”
Quotes from the new ‘slate’ – ranging from Mayor-elect Buchanan referring to growth ‘I’m comfortable with where we are and the density we’ve put in’ to two of the new Councillors ‘our City has the lowest population growth in the Province and no growth 2017/2018’ and ‘the City has followed the plans for growth … in the Metro Vancouver Regional Plan’ are concerning. Who have these people been listening to? Certainly not the average resident who is very aware that the City of North Van has already exceeded the 2041 Regional Growth Targets.
Quoting from the article ‘And it was a near thing in the city – Heywood lost to Buchanan by a mere 400 votes, and altogether, the slow growth faction received twice as many votes as Buchanan in the race for mayor. This leaves Don Bell as the foremost advocate for slowing things down in the city: “Too much density, too fast” he told the North Shore News. I have a feeling he ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’
We wish Councillor Bell all the best as the people’s advocate.
The District of North Vancouver has seen the biggest shift in the balance of power where candidates with more conservative platforms essentially ran the table.
In the City of North Vancouver, mayor-elect Linda Buchanan certainly benefited from vote splitting with three high-profile opponents all running on a similar message. But when you look at the rest of council, there is no question that urbanism has a mandate in the city.
We have been pleased to see this peaceful transfer of power oiled, for the most part, by clean and positive campaigns.
And we commend as well the roughly 35 per cent of North Shore residents who found their way to a ballot box. In reality, it is a pitifully low number but it’s a huge increase from the last election.
Surely there are a handful of West Vancouver folks who couldn’t shut off Netflix for an hour now wishing they had. The mayoral race there was decided by just 21 votes, as if we needed any more reminders that every vote counts.
With the well of democracy refreshed, we are eager to see all our new councils sworn in on Nov. 5.
Whether you campaigned on bringing about change or making things more like they used to be, there is a lot of work to be done and those bylaws aren’t going to pass themselves.
Would you vote for Mayoral candidates who have shown themselves to be less than honest, trustworthy and ethical? Two incidents in the past day showing that two candidates – Kerry Morris and Linda Buchanan fail that test.
Kerry Morris has posted a list of campaign donors on his website with the following comment on facebook: ‘ Released all my donations publicly so you can see I’m beholden to no one but our cities community (as far as I can tell currently no one else has released there’s): http://kerrymorris4mayor.com/2018-campaign-donations/.’
Problem? He has listed Pam Bookham with a ‘donation’ of $250, the truth is that this was not a donation. Earlier this year, Bob Heywood, Pam Bookham and Rod Clark asked Kerry Morris to remove their 2014 endorsements from his website. He refused, unless they paid to have them removed. Pam Bookham paid for all three, he then refused to remove their pictures after the endorsements were removed. This leaves people with the impression that he had received their endorsements. She is not supporting him and for him to now refer the charge as a ‘donation’ is a lie. Would you now trust this person to be a Mayor? He says he is running on an ‘open and honest’ platform – not true.
Linda Buchanan during the Mayoral debate last night took a shot at candidate Rod Clark for ‘turning down a proposal for 10 suites at 10% below CMHC. The actual proposal at the public hearing April 23rd ‘ for 4 units – was defeated by Coun. Bell, Back, Bookham and Clark because it was throught to be an insignificant contribution for the massive development. Brought back for reconsideration as a last minute agenda addition on May 14th by the Mayor because the developer continued negotiating after the public hearing was closed (not allowed). This is the project she used to try to show Rod Clark as being ‘against affordable housing”.
This is a comment by a resident who attended ‘What this shows is that Linda Buchanan has no sense of what legal proceedings are. This is an example of why the community that cares about how things are done at City Hall, is so angry and frustrated about how all the development projects are handled at City Hall. Backroom deals are done that favour the developers and the community comes forward at Public Hearings and their input is totally ignored – the deals are already done.’
‘This shows that she supports developers above and beyond even standard legal procedures.’
Andrea Lebowitz, a valuable community member no longer with us (2011) and missed by many, wrote a series of articles for City of North Van community associations ten years ago in the days prior to the 2008 election. Here’s a reminder still very relevant.
‘An eligible municipal voter is entitled to vote for Mayor and up to six councillors. Now the question is how to choose. Mayors and councillors will have a direct and immediate impact on your quality of life and it’s important to put care into local politics.
INDEPENDANCE OR PART OF A SLATE?
Some candidates have no party affiliations while others are part of a party or group. A voter must decide which is more important. Should we be looking for independent candidates who will respond to each issue without predetermined outcomes? Or do we want candidates who vote together and in a predictable pattern. Municipal politics have tended toward the independent model. However, particularly in the City of North Vancouver, party politics have prevailed. Look at the records of incumbents to see how they have voted in the past and how often they voted with the same people. Have they always been in favour of increasing density? Do they underweigh the problems of gridlock on our streets and inadequare infrastructure? Or the reverse.
Once you’re done your homework, attended meetings and read the pamphlets, blogs and local papers, it’s up to you to decide if you want to go for the independent candidates. Is it time to try some new approaches to problems?
For candidates who are seeking a seat for the first time, look to their record of volunteer action in the community. Have they served on volunteer committees and organizations. Have they contributed to municipal events and groups? What is their work background? Have they volunteered for sports, arts groups, service providers. Councillors will decide matters for these groups and it is important to know how they will vote on issues of community funding as well as land use, infrastructure and transportation issues.
The challenge is to pick candidates who have demonstrated their position on community concerns and who will treat the citizens they serve with respect and dignity.
WHY IT MATTERS
It’s important for voters to be confident about their choices when they mark their ballot. Do I have to vote for a full slate? No, a voter can vote for fewer than the maximum – it’s wise to vote for only those candidates whose background, position on major issues, voting record and volunteer efforts coincide with your own point of view. Don’t just vote for a name, check into it. It is better to cast fewer votes than to vote because a name is vaguely familiar to you.
Exercise your right and duty as citizen. Look for those who have the commitment, volunteer record and independence to serve in this next challenging period of our civic life. We all live with the results on a daily basis.
Article from the North Shore News: with a summary of the Candidate Meeting at Ridgeway School earlier this week:
Things need to slow down around here – and fast!
The expedient rate of growth in the City of North Vancouver was one of several key issues that 22 council hopefuls sounded off on during an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Grand Boulevard Residents Association Wednesday night.
“It’s been frustrating for the last four years to be part of too many 4-3 votes in which I was one of the three,” said incumbent Coun. Don Bell, addressing a packed-to-the-rafters gym at Ridgeway Elementary. “I was concerned about the rate of development. I don’t think we can or need to stop it, but we need to slow it down. We need to allow infrastructure to catch up.”
With regards to developers, the city shouldn’t “roll out the red carpet for them,” noted business owner Alborz Jaberolansar. “You make them earn their place in the City of North Vancouver.”
Citing the need to address the city’s myriad traffic and parking problems, business owner and former city councillor Bill Bell stated: “It’s time to slow things down. Increasing density is not the answer.”
A sizable number of council candidates talked about the need for more rental options in the city, including Mack McCorkindale, who encouraged more affordable housing projects so that people could continue to live and work in the community.
“You have to approve the projects that have affordable components to them,” he said. “Prioritize rental projects so that they’re at the front of the line. We don’t need more market condos, we need to build affordable rental housing.”
Jessica McIlroy, a renewable energy and sustainability consultant, noted that the “appropriate housing issue” was paramount in the city. “That means housing that our seniors can age in, housing that our working staff can stay in our community, housing that allows young people to move into their first homes.”
Almost all the candidates got involved when it came to talking about motor vehicles – whether it was bemoaning a lack of parking in the city or brainstorming how to get them moving swiftly through traffic again.
“We are in a sorry state of traffic, affordability and shrinking personal spaces,” said planning manager Shervin Shahriari.
“It’s just not a very good situation,” he said. “One of the ways I think we can do it is to make sure that there’s a one-to-one ratio between development, condominiums and parking.”
“The reason I vote against many of the developments that come before council is because they’re not providing ample parking,” added Coun. Don Bell.
Candidate Bob Fearnley suggested the city look into a free shuttle bus that traverses Lonsdale and other busy areas as a way to “reduce the need for us to always use a car. It would be a simple solution to parking.”
Seniors’ transportation advocate John McCann, when referring to an earlier moment in the meeting when candidates were discussing how to combat climate change, said he thought it was ironic that the conversation then turned to motor vehicles. “On one hand we were talking about greenhouse gas emissions, and we got to get the cars off the road, and now we want more parking spots,” he said. “It just doesn’t sit well with me.”
University student Mica Jensen said in order to solve the parking issue, the number of cars being used needed to be reduced. She offered the upcoming Main-Marine B-Line and other transit options as a possible remedy to this. “That could really work for our community,” she said.
Most candidates observed that the new $237-million Harry Jerome rec centre would be a benefit to the city, with some reservations.
“I’m very excited that Harry Jerome is finally going to get rebuilt. It’s been 15 years in the planning and we’ve done report after report after report,” said incumbent Coun. Holly Back. “The meeting spaces for all ages, from daycares to seniors, are going to be amazing.”
The new rec centre, which will replace the more than 50-year-old building, will include curling and skating rinks, two pools, the Silver Harbour Seniors’ Centre, a fitness centre, gym, as well as housing in the form of the nearby Harry Jerome neighbourhood lands that will include an 802-unit Upper Lonsdale development.
Immigration consultant Thomas Tofigh said he “totally and completely” supported the new rec centre, but said parts of it needed to go back to the drawing board since Flicka Gymnastics, a youth sports organization with more than 2,000 members, was left out of latest plans for the rebuild.
Business consultant Tina Hu said she wanted to bring her “financial expertise” to council in order to help with the new rec centre. “I think it’s going to be a great community centre for all to share,” she said. “I know it comes with a price tag and I know there’s a huge financial commitment.”
With regards to the rec centre, Joe Heilman said he thought it would be a “great thing for all of us,” but he bemoaned the number of residential units – which will include one 30-storey tower and one 26-storey tower in addition to three six-storey buildings and one five-storey – being built along with the project at 21st and 23rd streets along Lonsdale Avenue.
Candidate Angela Girard raised the issue of child care. “Our great city has attracted many young families to it, but now we’re faced with a lack of child care,” she said. “We need to build child care in new developments where families are living.”
Elsewhere throughout the meeting, environmental researcher Anna Boltenko talked about how there’s a discrepancy between the definition of affordable housing and what’s actually affordable; Ron Sostad talked about his desire for more social housing in the community; and Ron Polly talked about protecting city parkland and the environment.
Brett Thorburn said he felt that the city has a responsibility to create vibrant public spaces in order to attract people to nearby local small businesses; Tony Valente said the city must prioritize public transit and provide a variety of housing forms; and Antje Wilson, referring to the recently released Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project report, said she was in favour of making the city even more pedestrian friendly. “I want to continue to encourage people to walk and we can do this by building sustainable, complete communities so people don’t need to go off the Shore to get what they need,” she said.
If elected, candidate Max Zehedi talked about introducing a motion to ban all single-use plastics “as soon as possible.”
Candidates Pooneh Alizadeh and Aaron Lobo did not attend Wednesday’s all-candidates meeting.
From the Vancouver Courier, addressing in part the recent announcements by the Vancouver and District Labour Council promoting certain candidates in the City of North Vancouver. CUPE has also endorsed certain candidates. CUPE endorsements mirror the VDLC plus an additional three, ignoring other qualified candidates who have been long time union members. There is the 2018 election slate. So much for getting ‘big money’ out of local politics, quoting in part:
What the labour council didn’t tweet—and what was reported by Dan Fumano at The Vancouver Sun—is that it is also paying the salaries of four union employees seconded to work on its campaign to get Stewart and the other candidates elected.
As I learned in my interview with VDLC president Stephen von Sychowski, two of the union employees belong to the Hospital Employees’ Union, one is from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and another from the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Two of them began work Sept. 4 and two others joined Sept. 24. Some of their work is also focused on getting Linda Buchanan elected mayor in the City of North Vancouver and candidates Angela Girard and Mack McCorkindale onto North Vancouver city council.
As von Sychowski understands it, all of the VDLC’s campaign work is within the rules. And whatever has to be disclosed, will be disclosed, he said.
“We’ve been working hard to make sure that we have a solid, clear understanding of the rules and it’s been challenging at times because they are brand new, and untested,” he said, noting he doesn’t anticipate the VDLC campaign will exceed the allowable $150,000 it can spend on advertising during the campaign period.