Tag Archives: vanelxn

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #4: Homeless Shelters

Homelessness is one of those issues that gets a lot of attention, but seems too big to fix.

Last month, during Homeless Action Week, I went to a documentary night where Judy Graves and a street nurse answered questions after the films. What surprised me was how both of them were adamant that things have gotten better in the past 3 years. Still bad, but not desperate as things were 3 years ago when both documentaries were filmed in Vancouver.

What’s changed? Vancouver has opened HEAT shelters to ensure no one has to sleep on the streets in the winter. And there are 1500 new low-income units being built in Vancouver from a partnership with the province started under NPA mayor Sam Sullivan and continued by Gregor Robertson.

The number of homeless people in Vancouver has stabilized, but the biggest change has been in the number of shelter spots available. You can read more about the numbers on Frances Bula’s blog.

Vision Vancouver is promising to end street homelessness by 2015. I think that’s an ambitious and near-impossible task, especially without more help from the province and federal governments, but our current city council cares and will do as much as possible to help, and hopefully things will continue to improve.

Photo by quinet

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #3: Urban Agriculture

Trout Lake Farmer's Market
Reason #3: Urban Agriculture
Vancouver has always been a strong supporter of urban agriculture. The 100-mile diet was developed in BC, many restaurants showcase local ingredients, and the Farmers Markets have been growing since 1995. Vision Vancouver has continued that support by making legislative changes to support the farmers markets, increasing the number of community gardens, and allowing Vancouverites to keep backyard chickens and bee hives.

This shouldn’t be a political issue, but for some reason Suzanne Anton and the NPA have decided to attack Vancouver’s food security policies, even though former NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner is one its biggest supporters.

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #2: Separated Bike Lanes

Dunsmuir Bike Lane Opening Day
Reason #2: Separated Bike Lanes
From a numbers perspective, Vancouver’s separated bike lanes have been a huge success, and continue to be even as the weather cools. However, that hasn’t stopped some hotheads from turning bike lanes into a political issue.

Vision Vancouver deserves full credit for having the courage and conviction to create not one, not two, but three separated bike lanes in downtown Vancouver. They’ve also doubled the cycling budget, added traffic calming to residential neighbourhoods (especially along bike routes), and tendered an RFP for a bike share program.

It’s difficult to pin down the NPA’s position on bike lanes. Suzanne Anton originally voted in favour of the bike lanes, but later rescinded her support. The NPA takes offence at being labelled as anti-cyclist, but have suggested a moratorium on downtown bike lanes, ripping out bike lanes, removing bike lanes during the winter, and licensing cyclists. I’m not sure how to classify their plans as anything but anti-cyclist. They need to read this post: Debunked: Arguments Against Cycling.

The future of Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure will be one of the largest outcomes of this election. If the NPA wins, we could lose the separated bike lanes in the downtown. If Vision wins, we will likely see more bike lanes, a bike-share program, and a continued shift away from automobiles.

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #1: Street Food

Roaming Dragon
Reason #1: Street Food
I think the single biggest improvement to the city in the past 3 years has been the expanded food cart program. Don’t get me wrong, JapaDog is great, but it is so nice to see more than hot dog carts on the streets of Vancouver.

There are so many awesome new food trucks. My favourites are Tacofino, Cartel Taco, and Arturo’s – I can’t get enough Mexican fusion and they’re all within a few blocks of work. Even if you’re not a taco-fiend like me, there is something for everyone, including a vegan food cart – Loving Hut Express, and too many others to list here. If you’re looking to keep on top of Vancouver’s burgeoning street food scene, I highly recommend Vancouver Street Eats – they even have an iPhone App.

Even though our street cart program is only 2 years old, the quality and variety won high praise from The Guardian’s international food critic. Good-bye hotdog, Vancouver’s street food culture is growing up.

Vote Vancouver

Advanced polls are now open. The election is Saturday, November 19th. If you’re a Canadian citizen living in Vancouver, you are eligible to vote.

This an important election. Over the next week, I’ll be posting a series of reasons why I think you should vote for Vision Vancouver and COPE, but for now you can watch this inspiring video with music from Dan Mangan.

Where do Vancouver’s City Council Candidates Live?

Vancouver doesn’t have a ward system, so city council councillors don’t represent a neighbourhood, but rather the city as a whole. I don’t want to go into the pros/cons of a ward vs at-large system, but it is interesting to see where candidates live.

Vision-blue, NPA-red, and COPE-yellow, other-purple – I chose to put the other parties as purple dots to prevent clutter.

Interesting notes:
– south-east Vancouver has no candidates (from the major parties), even though it is densely populated.
– The breakdown of candidates by large geographical area is:
– Downtown: 1 Vision, 4 NPA, 7 other
– West side: 4 Vision, 3 NPA, 1 COPE, 8 other
– East side: 3 Vision, 3 NPA, 2 COPE, 15 other
– NPA candidate Bill McCreery lives in Richmond

Note: the address of each candidate is listed on their nomination papers available on the Vancouver Votes website.
Continue reading Where do Vancouver’s City Council Candidates Live?

Poll Shows Mayor Gregor Robertson With Huge Lead

The latest polling numbers released in the Vancouver election are good news for Mayor Gregor Robertson. Thankfully, Suzanne Anton’s anti-bike lane agenda seems to be floundering.

What interests me is the analysis of the numbers done by Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail – Poll shows Gregor Robertson in lead but predicts divided council

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson starts the 2011 municipal campaign with a comfortable lead, but could end up heading a divided council that could stall the agenda of his Vision Vancouver party, a new poll suggests.

What a flawed conclusion. The raw numbers from the polling are as follows:

Gregor Robertson 68%
Suzanne Anton 32%
Vision 37%
NPA 29%
Green 19%
COPE 11%

I’m guessing the conclusion that this would result in a “divided council” was made by taking the party support and assuming that it would correlate with the number of councillors elected from each party. But that’s not how the voting system works.

Each voter gets 10 votes for city councillors, to distribute as they see fit, but only the NPA is running a full slate of 10 candidates. COPE and Vision are running a co-operative slate of 7 and 3 candidates respectively, and the Green party only has a single candidate for Council.

Only the last sentence of the G&M article addresses this:
“since Vision and COPE are supporting each other and their supporters are likely to vote for each others’ council candidates, the two parties had combined support of 48 per cent in the recent poll.”

This is key. That and which other 9 candidates the 19% of respondents backing the Greens will vote for.

Because the pollster doesn’t ask about 2nd choice preferences, it’s difficult to judge what combinations of candidates voters will choose. But there is one indicator – the vote for mayor, which Gregor Robertson leads 68% to 32%.

Conveniently, if you add up Vision + COPE + Green party support, you get 67%. So, it’s highly likely that supporters of those parties will vote for candidates from the other parties. The only problem is there are 11 candidates and only 10 spots. That will likely allow 1 or 2 NPA candidates to squeeze in, but is unlikely to lead to a “divided council”. I wonder if Frances Bula was just trying to add some drama to the election.