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"Apocalyptic chicken coops": Mayor's complete speech from Westin Bayshore Vision Vancouver Gala

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That’s what you can do when you choose vision.

We launched the most extensive consultation in Vancouver’s history, and brought the people of Vancouver together to create the Greenest City Action Plan.

And yes, indeed: we’ve led the country on urban agriculture, and green transportation options.

That's what you can do when you marry vision to action, and work with people all across Vancouver.

And as proud as we can be of the big, sweeping changes, it’s when you see them making a difference on the ground that you know you’ve truly achieved something.

That was brought home to me just a few weeks ago, at the official opening of Karis Place. It’s a new development with 90 units of supportive housing, right downtown.

I met a man named Paul West. Paul has spent a lot of the past decade homeless, battling addictions, and most recently a head injury from a car accident.

It was a desperate, discouraging way to live. But when he moved into Karis Place, he told me he felt like he won the lottery. Not just because he was in a home of his own, but because he gets the support he needs.

And that would be reason enough to celebrate. But it also turns out that Paul is a talented carver and woodworker.

And Karis Place gave him space downstairs for a workshop, where he could keep his tools and make and sell furniture. They’re beautiful pieces, and you can tell they’re made with skill and passion.

And because we worked together with the community and with other levels of government to create Karis place, Vancouver has regained Paul’s skill and passion.

We thrive when we unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and artists, of youth and seniors, of people in business and people on the streets.

Some people say you can’t do that in tough times.

I say tough times are when Vancouver needs to be firing on all cylinders. I say tough times are when we need to make the most of all our strengths. And I say that Vancouver’s greatest strength is that when times are tough, we pull together.

I’ve learned a lot over the last three years.

But there’s something I still don’t understand. And that’s the mentality that I so often hear from our opponents––the mentality that can't imagine Vancouver moving boldly forward. That can't see what we are becoming.

It's a mentality that sees in every purposeful step forward, a threat. In every sign of hope, a fear.

It's the mentality that sees calamity in a new bike lane, and apocalypse in a chicken coop.

It’s the mentality that reads Winnie the Pooh, sees the character of Eeyore and says, “Finally – a role model.”

Three years ago, Vancouver said we are not that fearful, timid city. And every day since then, we have reaffirmed it.

My proudest moment as mayor wasn't the lighting of the Olympic flame, as great as that was. It was a morning in June, when the people of Vancouver came out onto glass-strewn streets downtown clutching brooms, shovels and garbage bags, and went to work cleaning up.

If the NPA took the same attitude towards that as they take toward traffic, or homelessness, or affordability, or green jobs, they'd have been telling people, "Put those brooms down. Leave the broken glass and debris in the streets. It'll only make things worse."

But of course they didn't say that. Our opponents are decent people, and good neighbours. They know we can do more and go further when we work together. But their political ideology won't let them bring that spirit to the civic level.

And right now, we need that spirit more than ever.

Yes, we’ve made progress together–– terrific progress. But I don’t point to our record of accomplishment to say “Vote for us – we did this.”

I point to it to say, “Vote for us – and demand that we do more. This is the new normal. This is the standard to beat in the next three years and beyond.”

I don’t point to our record and say, “Reward our party.”

I point to it and say, “This is what Vancouver can do with a strong, progressive majority on Council, Park Board and School Board. This is what Vancouver can do when our communities come together in common purpose.”

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