Council Candidates’ Responses

To find out our candidates’ thoughts about public space in our city, Vancouver Votes sent out surveys to the council candidates.  Several have replied, and we’re now posting them.  You can see the original survey (Vancouver Votes’ Candidates Survey)  here.

  1. Do you see the need to develop a large public gathering space in Downtown Vancouver?  If so, how would you support such an initiative?

    George Affleck, NPA
      – DEFINITELY. We need to create a welcoming and open space for people to congregate and celebrate. This needs to be a priority when considering future development in the downtown core.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – No.
    Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver – I would support any reasonable, feasible community-backed proposal to create such a space. Frankly, I find it somewhat archaic and a touch shameful that downtown Vancouver does not have more pedestrianized areas.
    Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  It seems we de facto have such spaces that have been employed as such, successfully and not at the Olympics and Stanley Cup riots, respectively. The idea of closing roads to enable such spaces to occur on special occasions has merit, but needs to be better controlled than during the riot, for example.

Rick Orser, Independent – I liked the idea of a New Stadium over the railway tracks near the Seabus (Waterfront) transit stations.  Land is so expensive downtown that it would be pretty hard to do.  We are certainly lucky to have Stanley Park, maybe we could make some improvements there.

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – Hell yes. I would like to see a third of the streets ripped up and replaced with housing, commercial structures, and parks. I think we can fit a large public space in there.

Bill McCreery, NPA – Yes, but how and where is not a simple answer.  I support an integrated planning process which would look this matter within the entire downtown.  One of the assumed locations suggested has been the Larwell Park site.  There is an important aspect of this which needs to be carefully thought through.  That is this properties proximity to the Stadium and the Arena.  We need to understand the positive and negative implications of having a large public ‘gathering place’ near these large sports venues.  This may be a good thing or it may be not so good.  I have an open mind.  I just want the issues, possible outcomes and alternatives considered.

The interface of such a space with the surrounding urban fabric within the immediate precinct as well as the adjacent buildings is also crucial to a successful, safe and healthy ‘gathering space’. Again, what these uses are and how they interface with the space are critical.

I also would like to look at establishing smaller neighbourhood ‘gathering places’ in each of our City’s rich and varied neighbourhoods.  Among other things, such a place would help s achieve sustainable communities, reducing the need for people to have to get in their cars and drive to anything that counts.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Vision Vancouver commits to begin discussions on a new public square downtown. Building on the public’s desire to celebrate downtown as shown by the 2010 Olympic Games we will create a new public square downtown.

Mike Klassen, NPA – I’ve discussed this many times and even proposed after the Olympics that a reconfigured Robson Square would be an idea, south-facing central gathering place. Upon reflection I think that permanently closing off Robson Street to traffic is not practical. However, if we were to level the plaza (covering ice rink and other sub-street level areas) we could have temporarily (adaptable) street blockage for special events. I see Robson as a place we might display sculpture and/or other public artworks, big screen events, etc.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – Yes.  Large public gatherings downtown build community spirit and pride, and can be safe and fun — as we saw during the Olympics. I would support continued use of outdoor public spaces such as the plazas at the Vancouver Public Library and secure the ongoing use of the front and back areas of the current Vancouver Art Gallery.  I would also support incorporating a large public square into the new Art Gallery location. We also need permanent public gathering spaces throughout the city to build local neighbourhood spirit, possibly in association with community centres and parks. Street closures, such as car-free days, street festivals and during the Olympics, have provided great public gathering spaces. We should consider some permanent car-free streets as they have in Europe.

Tim Louis, COPE – Yes. On selected occasions, I would vote in favour of creating car-free space. I would also vote in favour of closing Robson Street between Hornby and Howe to cars permanently.

 

  1. If elected, what would you do to enhance public space in Vancouver to improve the experience throughout the year, day and night – specifically in the dark, wet winter months?

    George Affleck, NPA
      – We need to create public spaces we can use all year – including the portion of the year when it is dark and rainy. This means creating a space which takes into consideration protection from the elements, adequate lighting, and access to public transit.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – Unfortunately, I would expect to have no say in improvements to our city.
    Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver – I think solutions to area-specific problems should come from the residents/users of those specific areas and I would defer to proposals from these groups.
    Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  I’d encourage the use of public spaces for things like the German Christmas market where the vendors and organizers are themselves responsible for set up, tear down and security. Such events would not come as additional expenses to the tax paying public since the costs are borne by the organizers and repaid by those attending.

Rick Orser, Independent – More lighting would be nice, especially if it could be derived from Solar Power stored from light during the day.

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – We can start by using light rings to make sure as much street-light as possible makes it to the ground and not up into the sky. We can create plexiglass awnings that run the length of sidewalks in busy areas. We can institute a “safewalk” program for late night commuting in low-population neighbourhoods.

Bill McCreery, NPA – In the past Vancouver has developed Downtown public spaces, such as Cathedral Square, as relatively disconnected ‘places’ to go to from somewhere else.  They would be more successful and provide richer more varied experiences throughout the year, day and night –- particularly in the dark, wet winter months if adjacent buildings have a functional interface and link to the space, even across and including sidewalks and lanes.  As well, supporting services such as a snack bar or food carts could also be located on-site.  New York’s Paley Park comes to mind as a different variation of that notion.

As well, the many downtown buildings that have plazas and large interior foyers should be a lot more animated and have snack bars, coffee shops, newsstands and other support facilities working off them to enhance them being place people want to go to and spend time in.

The purpose, specialty, and/or qualities of such places also need to be identified and enhanced so that the urban landscape is contextualized, resulting in more varied and richer experiences.

In addition, adequate lighting, infrared heating, continuous awnings enlarging to gathering place indoor/outdoor canopies sheltering related activities can extent the day and season as well as free us from the constraints of our weather.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Vision Vancouver would continue the VIVA Vancouver model which is based on best practices learned from three public space pilot projects that re-imagined public spaces in innovative ways: Summer Spaces 2009, the 2010 Olympic Pedestrian Corridors and Rediscover Granville in 2010. These very successful programs repurposed street, parking and other spaces for public use.

Vision Vancouver will find innovative ways to create new green spaces throughout the city by converting currently under-used land to park spaces. Local communities would help us to identify those new spaces. In addition, we will work to create new public space along the Fraser River, allowing more public access to the water and creating enhanced park spaces.

Mike Klassen, NPA – Public spaces in Vancouver are only limited by imagination and community support. We could use LED light to brighten dark environments, or provide temporary cover for weather.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – I’d explore  a large open-sided covered space in front of the steps on the Georgia Street side of the current Art Gallery to make the space more user friendly during winter and in inclement weather, as well as push for both indoor and outdoor public gathering places at the new Art Gallery.

I would investigate the feasibility of installing lights for evening events (noting the need for consultation with the increasing numbers of people living downtown), and a storage place where chairs could be stored for use at public events by families with children, older people and others who cannot stand for long periods of time .

Tim Louis, COPE – I would identify financial resources within the City’s existing budget to be used to fund current initiatives as well as future proposals by VSPN, Public Dreams, artist run centres and other similar groups to illuminate and help celebrate winter. I would also push for the funding of more gazebos and other rain-shelter in public parks for use by everyone.

 

  1. In the aftermath of the Stanley Cup Riots, there were calls to limit or prevent large gatherings in Vancouver.  How do you think that the City should balance the need for safety and security with the desire of many residents to attend public gatherings within the city?

    George Affleck, NPA
      – We must promote the ability to share and experience together to foster a healthy social fabric. People want a place to celebrate – the Olympics taught us that. They also showed a family oriented celebration area can work. The Stanley Cup riots showed us what doesn’t work. We need to understand better the differences between the two and move forward. There is no going back to the days of limiting large gatherings. We just have to learn how to do this safely.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – People should be free to gather in public unfettered by security.  The problem with security is that it is for the safety of the rich and their supporters instead of all citizens.
    Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver – No response.
    Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  The riot pointed to a large scale failure on the part of the city to adequately plan the event, anticipate all possible outcomes, and provide the funding for all contingencies. As your members may be aware, Chief Constable Jim Chu asked the city for $1.3 million for policing in April on the assumption that the Canucks would make it through the finals. The city declined to provide the funding…and we know what happened when the mistaken assumptions about peaceful crowd behaviour collided with the understaffed police. There are indeed numerous valid reasons why large gatherings are beneficial, but the costs cannot be borne endlessly by Vancouverites unless there is a clear mandate from the same that they are willing to pay for whatever resources are needed alone or in concert with event organizers.  In the case of the riot, the de facto organizer was the city itself.

Rick Orser, Independent – We cannot allow what I believe was a predictable & preventable event such as the Stanley Cup Riot get in the way future events. The use of TransLink Smartcard technology could be used to manage crowds in and out of event areas. CCTV and better planning is all that is required.

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – We should have more events, giving preference to those that don’t involve a culture of drinking, rowdiness, machismo and violence. Having created a precinct of laid-back mass events (Tai Chi Wednesdays and Chess Thursdays up along the Granville Strip?) that should diffuse things.

Bill McCreery, NPA – Please see 1. Above.  This a complex matter and it must be very carefully thought through.  If Vancouver is to be a mature city it must be able to accommodate large community celebrations.  Questions about how this is accomplished, how large, what kind of security and cost are involved among others must be determined.

The above suggested community gathering places might also be able to make it unnecessary for everyone to have to go ‘Downtown’.  Surrey’s efforts during the Stanley Cup aftermath are a positive suburban rather than neigbourhood response to this notion.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Vision Vancouver committed to providing an opportunity for the public to celebrate downtown and will continue to balance the desire to celebrate and the need for public safety.

The Vision Vancouver led City Council have acted on the recommendations of the Stanley Cup Riot review (except for the closed circuit cameras which will be dealt with, in a separate public process).

One of the recommendations that has been implemented is the development of a City of Vancouver Large Event Oversight Committee (CLEOC) which is in charge of events in the City and will work with organizers to ensure safety plans are submitted for each event.

Mike Klassen, NPA – We must continue to be “Metro Vancouver’s downtown” and should be able to comfortably invite the rest of the region downtown. There must, however, be leadership and planning to go with it. This is why the hockey riots happened. No one was in charge, naivete reigned, no plans put in place for post-game.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – The Stanley Cup riot was fueled by alcohol. Increased police resources are needed (in the non-aggressive way that they were present during the Olympics), to prevent problems at the outset – e.g., by early removal of rowdy and intoxicated individuals and instigators. We need tighter restrictions on alcohol consumption for sports-related large public gatherings.

Tim Louis, COPE – I do not believe that the Stanley Cup riots should be used as a pretext to prevent large gatherings, or any gatherings for that matter.

 

  1. What do you think needs to be done in order to move people around Vancouver in a more active and sustainable way?

    George Affleck, NPA
      – We need to look at increasing public transit options for people – a streetcar system downtown provides an example of an additional option. We need to encourage people to take transit, cycle and walk. The broadway corridor should be more of a regional priority for transit enhancement. It is a failure of the current leadership that this is not one of the region’s transit priorities.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – I would support public transit obviously.  But why move people around?  Instead why not reduce commute times for the working, more blend of residential and commercial/industrial.  The same analogy would apply to students bothw orking and non-working.
    Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver– Increasing availability and use of public transit is of course essential and I support any measure to that effect. But in the context of public space, it must be said that the Bicycles is an amazing machine.

I cannot think of anything that would free up public space more than trading cars for bicycles. Imagine the space needed to park 50 cars, versus the space needed for 50 bikes. The city should facilitate the creation of a public bike sharing system. Such systems currently flourish in Montreal and other cities, so why not here, where cycling is feasible more-or-less year round. To go along with this, I would look at creating some bicycle-only streets and promoting the benefits of using them and existing bike paths.

Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  We need a different distribution of transportation priorities with public transport and bikes being the top, private vehicles being a minority. Other cities also license a variety of group taxis.

Rick Orser, Independent – Better Public Transit, Cycling & Walking. AND, a rewards system that encourages people to do this such as my -TransLink Wellness-Hub Proposal -see my websites  http://www.rickorser.ca and http://www.bcwellnesshub.ca

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – Institute a “bait bike” program (decoy bikes with embedded GPS units) to catch bike thieves. Increase vehicle levies, tax gas, and put the money into transit. Form a partnership with the Modo co-op to push car sharing. Sponsor a public awareness campaign about disability access and transportation (especially pointing out ho many disabilities are not immediately visible). Accelerate plans for expanding the Skytrain and build dedicated streetcar lanes.

Bill McCreery, NPA – We need to use as many tools in our chest as we possibly can to move people around efficiently and effectively with a smaller carbon footprint.  Bike lanes, buses, ‘C’ buses and the NPA proposed Streetcar system (initially Downtown and expanding along the Arbutus Corridor to Marpole and then to Boundary Road) all expand the types of complementary alternative transportation venues that can work together to get us around.

We need to continue what I, when I was a Park Commissioner, and my TEAM colleagues began in the 1970s, and that is to bring jobs and residential closer together.  We must also make our already very walkable City even more so.  This can be done by making our neighbourhood centres so that local residents can walk or bike to get the services and products required for daily life, and without having to get into the car to get a litre of milk.  Again, such sustainable initiatives help to reduce our carbon footprints.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Working in close co-operation with residents and businesses, we will continue to grow the bike network to improve accessibility, safety and convenience for cyclists. We will also implement a bike-sharing program.

Vision will build on our successful advocacy for the Canada Line and Translink’s funding plan to improve public transit in our city. Our immediate transit priority is to add more buses on busy routes and improve late-night service.

Vision Vancouver’s overarching priority is to work with Translink and the BC government to develop our east-west rapid transit along the Broadway corridor to UBC.

Mike Klassen, NPA – The NPA proposal to build Vancouver’s streetcar network is a good first step. The popular, street-level transportation is increasingly popular in Western cities, and with a P3 we can get this project underway.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – The most significant modes of active transportation are walking and cycling. Public transit is a key component of sustainable transportation, too. We should continue to invest in completing the city-wide bike network plus invest more in pedestrian routes and in better public transit. The goal has to be reduce car use and this can only be done by making alternative modes of transportation, especially active transportation, safe, convenient and affordable. We need implementation of the bike share program, more covered benches for pedestrians who need to sit down once in a while, and bus lanes to make transit more efficient. We should look into the costs and benefits of offering free bus service in the downtown core, and 24-7 Skytrain service.

Tim Louis, COPE – We need more public transit, preferably free public transit. We also need to reduce and eventually eliminate private motor vehicles from the downtown core. This would greatly improve public transit efficiency and at the same time create more public space.

 

  1. Vancouver voters select their city councillors at-large, which means that they lack strong neighbourhood representation.  What are some solutions that you would support for the creation of greater neighbourhood representation in civic politics?

    George Affleck, NPA  
    – We held a referendum on converting fully to a ward system recently, and it did not pass. Personally, I would propose a 5X5 blended voting system, where five candidates could be elected at-large, and five could be elected in specific areas (or wards) located throughout the city.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – I feel so strongly about this matter that all other issues are immaterial.  We have a failed democracy that can only be resolved by proportional representation.  The necessary changes are too numerous to list here but proportional representation and/or direct democracy is the only way to move forward.  A ward system is the first step but this should be done as proportional representation which would greatly increase the size of our government.  The DNC is a neighborhood group which epitomizes how proportional representation should work.  I would suggest a grassroots based tier system with various levels reporting up rather than the top-down hierarchy we currently have.  Other ideas include staggered ward elections and term length relative to the size of victory.  We would also need to eradicate financial influence on elections, incorporate laws regarding obligation to fulfill platform promises by politicians and have a strong and quick recall system.  To enhance all this we need autonomy from the province who currently dictate how municipal elections are run.
     Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver– De-growth Vancouver strongly supports empowering communities and de-facto communities. We believe ideas should come from the “bottom up”, with city council serving as a facilitator and mediator for overlapping interests.

Voters can ensure strong representation in city hall by 1) voting for candidates who understand the issues of their neighbourhood, and by 2) organizing within their de-facto communities and appearing before council with proposals.

 Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  One of our key principles calls for community-based democracy in decision making: if neighbourhoods make their own decisions, then we are not left with the current top- down approach that rarely satisfies the needs of Vancouver’s diverse communities. A ward system is also not an obvious answer since it makes the representatives of the ward the advocates for only their fraction of the city.

Rick Orser, Independent – I would be open to exploring other options such as the Ward System.

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – As wards impose artificial boundaries, are often subject to gerrymandering, and some people’s neighbourhoods are diffuse, I would suggest using the STV method to select our municipal candidates. Then we allow them to place personal offices around the city as they see fit. If they please a neighbourhood, they should get elected.

Bill McCreery, NPA – Having run in 2 at large elections and serving as a Park Commissioner I know 1st hand how difficult that task is.  Based on my experience there are pluses and minuses to both the at large vs. ward system.  I suspect a combined system could give the best of both worlds.

I also want to see the establishment of a strong, effective neighbourhood planning process where a ‘Neighbourhood Round Table’ not only represents the community during the neighbourhood planning process, but on an ongoing basis as well.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Vision Vancouver supports a ward system in Vancouver for better neighbourhood representation.

The Vision led City Council initiated an extensive neighbourhood consultation on the “Next Community Plan” that determined criteria for neighbourhoods that were most in need of a Community Plan update. Vision also listened a call by residents to bring all the different neighbourhood planning processes together under a wider city process which will called City Plan. Community Plans and City Plan will provide opportunities for residents to have a say in the future of their community.

Vision Vancouver led Council has neighbourhood granting programs, green grants, street party funding, and neighbourhood food networks.

Mike Klassen, NPA – I disagree with your fundamental premise that no “strong” n’hood representation exists in Vancouver. I see strong neighbourhood advocacy happening all around, and a ward system will not enhance that. In fact, it virtually ensures embedded separation of the interests across the city. As a measure of democratic reform at City Hall the NPA proposes finding new ways of engaging citizens, such as through telephone town halls.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – Implicit in this question is the notion of moving to a ward system  for civic elections. A ward system is a “first past the post” system which, if combined with the civic party system we now have, would not deliver better neighbourhood representation. Too many parties, especially if they form government, require their representatives to block vote. In addition, wards can end up balkanizing the city in  situations where councillors back the pet project of one councillor in trade for the backing of their pet project – decisions that may not be in the best interest of the city as a whole.  We believe the “at large” system currently used, with the addition of  STV ( Single Transferable Vote) where voters rank their choices for council, school board, and parks commissioner instead of just putting an x beside them as is currently done, will give better all around representation. Using the STV vote counting system will result in good proportional representation given that there are 10 council, 9 school and 7 parks positions, and result in better representation of groups of like-minded voters whether or not they are concentrated in any one neighbourhood in Vancouver.

Tim Louis, COPE – I have long been pushing for elected neighbourhood councils. These elected neighbourhood councils should be given real decision-making over major items such as rezonings. I am also a strong supporter of a ward system.

 

  1. How should Council promote civic engagement with youth and other groups that are rarely represented in community decisions and Council deliberations?

    George Affleck, NPA
      – We need to engage youth in the political process and empower them to become increasingly involed in the decisions about the city. I would encourage internet based engagement options targetting this segment of the population.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – Council needs to promote itself as being in the best interest of all rather than the largest donors.  When they appear corrupt or disinterested in what the public has to say, people stop listening.  The only way to promote themselves in this manner is to act in this manner, regardless of what group is concerned.
    Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver – Here’s my idea: through neighbourhood community centres, council should sponsor and attend free public workshops and discussions that are of interest to target communities. Topics could range from home canning or gardening workshops, to a dance or painting lesson, and they would all be followed by an informal discussion with the attending councillors. These events would create an opportunity for dialogue between community members who are perhaps not interested in attending council meetings, and for council members to encourage such participation.
    Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  As above, community-based decision making.

Rick Orser, Independent – Through Social Media.

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – Council meetings should be mobile, held in different venues where people ignored by politics might want to go. Lobby the provincial government to allow anyone who attends a public middle or high-school to vote and run for school board trustee.

Bill McCreery, NPA – This is a perplexing problem.  My own history, I came out of the activist tradition of the 60’s, has been of getting involved in civic affairs when I felt it necessary.  I think there is a problem of youth not trusting the political process and that they will not be taken seriously.  That was not my own experience.

The solutions are at several levels, starting with honest, sincere political leadership.  Youth need to be encouraged by the existing participants to get involved.  Maybe political parties could form youth groups at local universities and colleges (the NPA has, but it has not been effective).  To be effective they must be given a larger role in the senior bodies of the parent organizations.

Part of my neighbourhood planning process that I will be presenting to Council includes including youth representation on the ‘Neighbourhood Round Tables’ that deal with local area planning as well as on-going neighbourhood/city issues.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Vision Vancouver has reinstated citizen advisory committees for a wide range of groups that are not always represented at City Council.

Building on the successful Talk Green to Us program at the city, which engaged over 35,000 people in the development of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, we will develop new ways to reach our diverse communities, seniors,  youth and aboriginal groups so they continue to have a voice at City Hall. This will include a wide-reaching task force on Expanding Citizen Engagement to bring forward options to make city processes more transparent, accessible, and accountable to the public.

A Vision-led Council will also develop strategies to increase voter participation with young people.

Mike Klassen, NPA – Vancouver schools can become more involved in the process of teaching civics and helping youth to understand citizenship and our political system. “Youthpolitik” is an NPA initiative currently active at Vancouver City Hall that teaches youth about municipal politics. NPA propose a youth outreach council to engage concerns of young people at City Hall.

 

Adriane Carr, Green Party – To start with, the Council has to stop holding “sham” public hearing and token public information sessions that are too often poorly advertised and too late in the game to offer any real citizen power in decision-making. Citizens don’t engage when they know a process is merely window dressing, or allows for only minor inconsequential changes or is really designed to “manufacture” consent. Citizens get angry, as with the current turmoil over “spot rezoning” of high rise development in neighbourhoods around the city, when the vast majority of presenters express their opinion against a development but City Council votes for it anyway. If people felt that they have, and really do have real power to change things, or prevent a development, or create positive change in their communities, there will be much more involvement. Council must involve citizens from the beginning in developing community plans and then abide by those plans in subsequent land use decisions.

Tim Louis, COPE – Firstly, I would advocate a reduction in the voting age to 16. I would also advocate for the creation of a youth advisory committee at City Hall.

 

  1. What are your ideas to improve conditions for pedestrians in Vancouver? How can we bring life to the streets of Vancouver to keep them safe, interesting and accessible for people of all abilities?

    George Affleck, NPA
      – As a downtown resident, my favoured transportation mode is walking. I fully support any measures to increase pedestrian safety and ways to make walking attractive to all segments of society. One such example: I would  give priority to adddressing the Burrard Bridge situation, where pedestrians are treated poorly and banned from walking on one of the sidewalks. This is not a safe situation and must be addressed.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – If we are ever able to reduce traffic then we can enlarge sidewalks.
    Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver – I would imagine that more bike paths, bike only streets, and pedestrianized areas would create a safer environment for walking. For site-specific solutions, the ideas should ideally come from the highest users of those zones.
    Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  Go to a Roman model in which public space is paramount and which hence encourages pedestrians. For example, it is hard to find in Rome a city block that doesn’t have a fountain, public seating area, park, etc. where people can gather. We’d also increase the number of independent food stalls and encourage busking.

Rick Orser, Independent – Reward walking (& good health).

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – Increase the number of curb-cuts and sidewalks. If a car drives through a crowded crosswalk, the city sells it for parts.

Bill McCreery, NPA – We must continue to identify and repair unsafe sidewalk conditions and identifying and installing safe cross walks, including mid-block.  I would like to see a continuous planter buffer between the traffic and sidewalk particularly on heavy traffic areas such as Kingsway that would clearly establish the pedestrian zone as a quieter, safer place.  Not sure the solution, but cyclists/pedestrian conflicts must be reduced.  Part of the solution is more and better bike lanes next to the pedestrian zone, ie: a bike zone + a car zone.  There is confusion on the art of pedestrians at present at the separated bike lane intersections.  This must be clarified.  More benches need to added along business zones as well as streets in higher density areas.  As a Park commissioner in the 70’s we installed park benches in every block west of Denman as part of our efforts to make the West End more liveable.  That has not been continued and should be so seniors can stop and rest to and from their shopping.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – Vision Vancouver will build on our priority of pedestrian infrastructure, enhance pedestrian safety by expanding intersection improvements, and lower car speeds in certain neighbourhoods to make it safe for people of all ages.

Mike Klassen, NPA – I’ve actively lobbied for improvements for pedestrians in Vancouver. We need education programs, improved signage, sidewalk and greenway improvements, increased support for senior’s needs, neighbourhood centre development to shorten distances for shopping & services, etc. etc.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – We need to expand a network of pedestrian routes, provide more benches (including covered benches) publicly post more street maps, and keep sidewalks and wheelchair ramps in good repair to better enable wheelchair access. To increase pedestrian safety we need to make crosswalks more visible (for example, with reflective markers in the road) and enforce bylaws so pedestrians can be safe on sidewalks and in crosswalks. Overall, we must design all neighbourhoods for real walkability: walkable access to supermarkets, neighbourhood pubs, restaurants and the full range of shops and services so they do not have to use cars. Streets should be vibrant people-places, with more street cafes and pubs, more car-free streets, more public art, and more events.

Tim Louis, COPE – We need to reduce private motor vehicles. Neighbourhoods that democratically vote to make themselves car-free should be allowed to do so. We need more Carfree Days throughout the city. This would create much more space for pedestrians. We might consider permanently closing parts of Commercial Drive to private motor vehicles restricting vehicular traffic to transit, commercial vehicles and bicycles.

 

  1. What are your ideas to increase resident’s opportunities for public expression?

    George Affleck, NPA  
    – Vancouver needs a place for all Vancouverites to express themselves. A large public square with amenities and a lively atmosphere must be established in the downtown core. Aside from such a place, we need a better on-line based dialogue for public expression and debate. I would encourage internet based voting and on-line input and access to both development permit board meetings and other city matters which effect residents. We need to take better advantage of web based tools to increase the participation of the public in decision making.
    Grant Fraser, Independent – Join Occupy Vancouver, an alternative to being stifled by corporate money, government and police.  When it gets bigger it will become unstoppable.
     Chris Masson, De-Growth Vancouver – The aforementioned council-sponsored public workshops would be a great avenue for civic/political expression. As for more artistic expression, I feel that by-laws that put  unnecessary, prohibitive limits on artistic venues can and should be rescinded to allow for more performance events. We can also create tax breaks for spaces maintained as artists’ studios and workshops to help foster the creation of more art.
     Chris Shaw, De-Growth Vancouver –  Different cities have “speaker’s corners” and these should be accommodated in every public space in the city. Also, the city should sponsor panels on a range of issues (some proposed by council and staff, others from the communities themselves) that would seek to address the issues of the day. Various groups do so now, of course, but imagine how dynamic this would be if actively enabled by the city itself?

Rick Orser, Independent – Town Hall Meetings and rewards for being involved in Residents Associations as well as other volunteer activities.

Amy “Evil Genius” Fox – Giant canvas walls where you can paint anything you want using paint supplied by the city. Having the City publicize flash mobs. Roofed jamming space for musicians and music-fans. A giant chess board with big pieces that you can sign out.

Bill McCreery, NPA – I have many ideas, some are:

• set Council agendas so items that the public should be able to attend are held after 5.30; in-camera and the nuts and bolts business should be done before;

• install community notice boards outside of apartment building entrances so those residents can know what’s happening in their neighbourhoods;

• here are excerpts from my Neighbourhood Planning Process position paper:

1)               Establish ‘Neighbourhood Round-Tables’ that represents the community in each of Vancouver’s 22 neighbourhoods.  Identify and encourage the participation of community stakeholders (ie: those living and working in a neighbourhood) and interveners. Community Centre and Neighbourhood House boards, local area councils, churches, BIAs, youth rerpresentatives etc. are encouraged to participate in the Round-Table.  Identify cultural and geographic sub-neighbourhoods within a neighbourhood and ensure they are included in the process.  When a new neighbourhood planning process is underway, the Round-Tables will perform the function of the City Plan “Vision Implementation Committees” as well as be an ongoing forum for the local community to better manage and coordinate their particular affairs and liaise with the City.

2)              The Planning Department in cooperation with the Round Tables will conduct Citywide and neighbourhood discussions to establish and blend together Metro, Citywide and community values, goals, and priorities for the City as a whole and for each neigbourhood.  The importance of considerations such as neighbourhood character, heritage buildings, business viability, social goals, market, existing rental, new affordable and social housing, transit, pedestrian, cycling, parks, recreation, and cultural values are then defined.  Environmental, economic and social sustainability thresholds and rate of change objectives should be established.  Employ fair and inclusive internet based interactive technologies such as PlaceSpeak together with traditional outreach methods, such as the City Plan Choices Survey, to maximize citizen participation.  Survey results are to be transparent and publicly available.

Vision Vancouver (Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang and Tony Tang) – All of the above.

Mike Klassen, NPA – In our Eastside neighbourhood I’ve helped to erect community bulletin boards along popular walking routes, and advocated for them to be built on school grounds (no success in getting VSB to put them up though). I’ve also promoted use of online tools like QR codes for neighbourhood “knowledge sharing” and initiated a community plaques project which will have these codes in place on historical markers.

Adriane Carr, Green Party – The Vancouver Public Spaces Network’s 2008-2011 public manifesto has many good ideas. Although some have been initiated, I regard it as a “to-do” list for the next Council, including changing citizen consultation processes to enable true engagement in public planning. I believe people and their quality of life should be at the core of all decisions, and Vancouver can become a more livable city if we make every neighbourhood vibrant with opportunities for people to gather, get to know each other and enjoy leisure time together. Little things like public benches, picnic tables, public art, buskers and street cafes, make a big difference.  Public parks, community gardens, libraries, community centres, outdoor  pools, walking paths, cycling routes and cultural and community events unite us.

Tim Louis, COPE – As mentioned above, the creation of neighbourhood councils with real decision-making powers. It is important for the City to invest in multi-use public facilities that have flexible uses — these spaces should be freely available, like gazebos with electrical outlets.

 

 

4 responses to “Council Candidates’ Responses

  1. It’s unfortunate so few of the candidates responded. Hat-tip to the ones that did, their responses are interesting.

  2. Pingback: What Vancouver Council Candidates Think About Civic Engagement

  3. Pingback: Vancouver Mayoral Candidates on Community Engagement

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