Perma pressed election season grins slip and crowd grows hostile at Creekside candidates' debate

 Frayed tempers and a tough audience at the edge of False Creek.

Photos: Jordan Yerman

The latest debate ahead of Vancouver's civic election took place at Creekside Community Centre, in front of a sometimes-hostile crowd. This debate was organized by the False Creek Residents Association (FCRA), which has been fighting for a park that Concord Pacific keeps refusing to deliver.

The candidates received the questions in advance, which avoided any deer-in-the-headlight moments; but the audience did get to see the masks of congeniality slip, which can be gratifying in the face of perma-pressed election-season grins.

The debaters were:

L-R: De Genova, Louie, Kasting, Shandler, Carr, Fry, G. Chernen, N. Chernen, Aquino, Wong, O'Keefe, Mergoci, Johl.

The format was fairly constrained: sort of a rapid-fire Q&A. Unless you happened to be Clr. Raymond Louie, in which case it was more like a firing squad. The burden of incumbency: the questions mostly presupposed wrongdoing on behalf of Vision. (Clr. Geoff Meggs was scheduled to take this one for the Vision team, but had to pull out for personal reasons.) This debate was a bit more inside-baseball than the last few, so let's start with some background.

Previously, on 'What's Going on in Vancouver'...

The biggest issues raised at the debate were real estate development and donor influence, but the flashpoints were two very specific events: a long-promised park, and a suspect union donation.

The FCRA are at the forefront of the green light campaign, holding the City's feet to the fire over the stagnant Concord Pacific deal. Note that Bob Kasting represented the FCRA in its lawsuit to force the City to force Concord Pacific to make good on its decades-old promise. The developer has a permit to use the site as a presentation centre until 2017; that much cannot be changed by anyone who wins on November 15.

Concorde has thrown around a lot of civic campaign money, and not just at Vision.

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