Neighborhoods in the 2011 Election
On Monday 24 October 2011 both of Vancouver’s free daily newspapers purveyed municipal civic party propaganda from Vision Vancouver. Metro Vancouver proposed that “Vision aims for more livable city,” while 24 Hours touted “Neighbourhood Vision.” Both of the stories retailed a platform plank that Visioneers had hauled out just the day before.
At the Saturday 22 October 2011 “some candidates” meeting at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House — a venue located just outside the western boundary of Norquay — the Vision component of the panel (Kerry Jang, Andrea Reimer, Geoff Meggs) said nothing about neighborhoods.
Useful and promising comments on the topic did come from the mouths of three of the panelists: Tim Louis (COPE), Bill McCreery (NPA), and Elizabeth Murphy (NSV). Murphy even made explicit reference to the plight of adjacent Norquay.
All of Vision and the rest of the NPA are the developer’s team. McCreery is a lone exception, a person who has spent a lot of time in Norquay and has demonstrated his stand with the neighborhood, despite having an NPA affiliation. The developers who heavily fund the two parties really do not care what individual candidates are voted in, as long as their Vision-NPA axis maintains control over Vancouver City Council.
The two Vision candidates who emphasized their residential proximity to the Cedar Cottage venue, Jang and Reimer, also happened to be the two Councillors that members of Norquay Working Group spent a year communicating with, in an attempt to inform and educate them (and Vision) as the Norquay Plan developed.
In retrospect, all those meetings and conversations and briefs 2009-2010 came to look like an utter waste of time. On 4 November 2010, the Vision bloc disregarded majority community opinion — and at the last minute even went far beyond the Plan with unapproved and never consulted on “considerations”: to wall one mile of Kingsway with a ten-storey base height, and to bury Earles Street and Norquay Park in four-storey apartments.
Why has Vision Vancouver suddenly started to emit blather about livable neighborhoods? Because this issue seems destined to become pivotal in how the vote goes in the 2011 Vancouver municipal election on November 19.
A key factor in the contest for Council seats is the emergence of Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) as an electoral organization that is running five candidates for Mayor and Council. Persons long associated with NSV provided strong and sustained support to members of Norquay Working Group over their many months of struggle with Vancouver city planners.
Here’s hoping that Norquay voters will have no respect for this cynical Vision strategy: Do one thing and then say another. The evidence is clear. Go back to what Gregor Robertson told Norquay and other neighborhoods on 10 December 2008, as Vision Vancouver waltzed into City Hall, propelled by the hopes of many Vancouver neighborhoods desperate for a change from the NPA assault under Sam Sullivan 2005-2008.
Consider what the Visioneers have done to Norquay, not what they have said and are saying about their love for neighborhoods. And remember that their program has only amplified an existing NPA agenda.