Vision-NPA Axis

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After the 2002 civic election, COPE spawned a malformed child that only had a right arm — a child that presumed to name itself Vision Vancouver. Since then, the already tired party politics of Vancouver has morphed into desperate farce.

While Vision and NPA have competed over the past six years to be right and righter, they have obscured the truth that their similarity matters much more than their superficial differences. The evidence? Vancouver’s development industry happily funds both, and the same developer often funds both sides, though sometimes not equally.

To judge by Council voting records, developers do not care whether Vision or NPA candidates are elected — as long as the majority of Council is dominated by the Vision-NPA axis that favors their interests.

A report posted by Think City on 31 March 2009 calculates that Vision spent $2.5 million in the 2008 Vancouver municipal election, while the almost-decimated NPA spent $2.1 million.

Vision went on to raise even more money after its initial required reporting. Developer money played a big role in erasing their 2008 debt of almost a quarter of a million dollars.

How can a sitting Council with a strong majority have no conflict of interest while routinely rubber-stamping applications from the developers who are still pouring money into their pockets?

Neighborhoods as Wild Card

From 2005 to 2008 Tweedledum aka NPA held sway, giving way to Tweedledee aka Vision for 2008 to 2011. The continuity of this developer-funded axis has brought rezoning disaster to neighborhood after neighborhood across Vancouver. In this swirl of rezoning maelstrom, Norquay stood out as struggling victim about to go under.

Only two days ago, in an end-game display of contempt, the Vision-NPA juggernaut rolled over a hapless three acres in far east Vancouver.

Desperate neighborhoods were hoping that Vision might mitigate the suffering that they had experienced under the NPA. See below for two letters published right after the 2008 election. Vision proved to be no savior to neighborhoods, as Vancouver Council Votes demonstrates. Rezoning after rezoning saw hordes of Vancouver residents waste countless hours at public hearings, trying to speak to a deaf and sometimes insulting Council.

In this 2011 election, therefore, no hope should be placed in the axis. The good news is that there are a wealth of other strong candidates to choose from, candidates that could form a Council not dominated by developer interests. In particular:

  Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) has candidates for Mayor and four seats on Council
  COPE has three candidates for Council
  Sandy Garossino is making a strong run as an independent
  Adriane Carr is running under the Green banner
  Bill McCreery has demonstrated strong support for neighborhood interests despite his NPA affiliation

2011 could be the year that neighborhoods take revenge on the developer-funded Vision-NPA axis, and vote in a Council that has more ears to hear with and is less impaired by Strangelovian rubber-stamp jerk reflexes.

Two Letters from the Archives

Joseph Jones. “NPA paid price for ignoring neighbourhood’s wants” [letter]. Vancouver Sun (20 Nov 2008) A18

Re: Eastside immigrant areas switched from NPA to Vision, Nov. 18

Let me offer a further explanation for the dramatic shift away from Non-Partisan Association in eastside municipal voting, especially in Renfrew-Collingwood, the area that this article highlights.

As a founder of Norquay Neighbours, I can tell you that my immigrant neighbours and I were appalled by the June 2007 attempt to initiate the mass rezoning of 2,400 of our homes. Our dismay then spread right across the city.

The out-of-nowhere “draft plan” for our neighbourhood clearly violated the Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision approved by city council.

Despite official denials, city documents confirmed that this move was rooted in premature EcoDensity. After a survey attached to the draft proposal met with strong rejection, the city at first withheld the results, and then hired an “independent adviser” who said those results should be disregarded!

I feel certain that this recent history provided the cornerstone for successful COPE and Vision campaigning in East Vancouver.

=     =     =

Joseph Jones. NPA rezoning sowed the seeds of their defeat [letter]. Georgia Straight (27 Nov 2008)

Carlito Pablo offers Ladner’s ousting of Sullivan as an explanation for the NPA defeat [“Coup blamed for NPA loss”, November 20-27]. Recent history provides a reason for both a West Side drop in NPA turnout and for a dramatic shift away from the NPA in an increased East Side immigrant vote. A sudden mass-rezoning proposal that violated the city council–approved Renfrew-Collingwood Community Visions provoked the June 2007 formation of Norquay Neighbours. That group’s first public action saw about 40 people, diverse in age and ethnicity, picketing and leafleting the city’s June 23, 2007, EcoDensity forum.

In that setting, Norquay residents established connections with other anxious neighborhoods from across Vancouver and found ongoing support for their opposition to a reckless EcoDensity. Acquaintances developed further during the unprecedented seven nights of public hearings on EcoDensity in the spring of 2008 at City Hall. Not voting for and voting against are two sides of the same ballot.

Historical note: Origins of Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver can be detected in the phrases “right across the city” and “other anxious neighborhoods from across Vancouver.” ]

*     *     *


[ Note:  Figures may be less than full totals ]

Developer           Vision           NPA
Aquilini             5,000        14,801

Concert              5,000         7,086

Concord Pacific     34,586        35,600

Holborn              7,000

Millennium           3,250           500

Pattison            10,000        10,000

Rennie              17,500        35,000

Rize                              16,961

Wall                14,250         6,161

Westbank             2,000         5,000

                    98,586       131,109

Data Source:  B.C. Municipal Election Donation Database (Vancouver Sun)

Further Reading

Lori Culbert / Chad Skelton. “Developers, condo king top civic campaign donors list.” Vancouver Sun (14 Mar 2009) A3

Mike Klassen. Vision’s big debt erased by big donations from big developers. (29 July 2010)

Tom Sandborn. Show me the money in Vancouver civic election. Vancouver Courier (27 Oct 2011)


Written by eyeonnorquay

3 November 2011 at 11:02 am

Posted in Context, Events, History

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