Vision Vancouver election explainer
Familiar names from City Council like Tim Stevenson, Geoff Meggs, Heather Deal and Raymond Louie appear alongside newcomers, including Tony Tang, an engineer in home construction who has spent two years as chair of the Vancouver Board of Variance. Parks Board candidates include current chair Aaron Jasper and commissioners Constance Barnes and Sarah Blyth. They’ve also added West End hockey enthusiast Trevor Loke, who co-founded the organization United Against Gang Violence. And the School Board slate sees more councillors seeking re-election, along with newbies Rob Wynen and Cherie Payne.
According to Vision spokesperson, Ian Baillie, the party’s focus in this election is on four major issues: homelessness, affordable housing, transportation and the environment.
“Obviously homelessness has been a centre piece of what Vision has been working towards accomplishing – ending street homelessness by 2015 has been one of Gregor’s signature promises,” said Baillie.
While Vision reports significant reductions in the homeless population this year – up to 110 people off the streets – there is still a lot of work to be done. And affordable housing goes hand in hand with the homelessness debate, as even working families are increasingly having trouble affording a home in what used to be the world’s “most livable city”.
“It consistently is a top of mind issue for Vancouverites,” said Baillie.
“It comes down to, you know, can people afford to live here and work here? It’s one of those things that is mentioned many times, even if you talk to people in casual conversations, as being one of their chief concerns.”
As for transportation, Vision intends to work toward service expansions with the Evergreen Line and a rapid transit solution for the Broadway corridor. And the Greenest City Action Plan has laid out environmental goals that the party promises to follow through on – including building local jobs and green businesses to make Vancouver more of a hub for clean energy and green building technologies.
Baillie also gave The Observer a heads up on a few key events coming up for Vision Vancouver, including some major fundraising events and important debates. For the rest of October, he said, Vancouverites should be looking out for updates as both parties officially outline their platforms.
“October is really going to be the time – I think for both parties, the NPA and Vision – that you get a sense of the platform,” Baillie said.
“We’re going to be saying to Vancouverites, ‘Here’s what we’ve done, but here’s what we plan to do for the next three years.’”
Apart from the platform announcements, here are some other Vision events to watch for:
October 19, 2011 - Power the Vision Party
A licensed (19+) event held at Club 560, with DJs, dancing and hors d’oeuvres. Featuring DJ Michael Ziff and DJ Hebegebe, the fundraiser offers partygoers a pay-what-you-can ticket price that starts at $10. The event goes from 6 to 10 p.m.
November 2, 2011 - Vision Celebrates Vancouver Gala
The party’s major fundraising event takes place at the Westin Bayshore hotel, featuring live entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets are $250 per person.
November 7, 2011 - Mayoralty Debate on Homelessness and Affordable Housing
Gregor Robertson and NPA’s Suzanne Anton go head to head on two of the biggest election issues. The debate starts at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church. It will be moderated by CBC host Stephen Quinn and features panelists Patrick Stewart, Mike Howell and Frances Bula.