Vancouver voters will choose a new mayor and council on Oct. 15. For perhaps the first time in the city’s history, there are seven different parties with incumbent council members running. To help voters choose, city columnist Dan Fumano has compiled brief summaries from those parties, plus two others, on where they stand on key issues facing the city.
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1. Economic recovery
Do you have plans for promoting local businesses and economic activity coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic? What is city hall’s role there?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): An ABC majority on council is committed to reducing business permit waiting times from 8.2 months to three weeks, and would address the growing burden of taxes on businesses by opposing any proposed taxes on driving or on empty storefronts. We will also work to enhance tourism by revitalizing the Granville Entertainment District and creating a night mayor position to advocate for the nighttime economy.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): When we talk to businesses, the biggest concerns we hear are finding housing for their employees and navigating the permit process at city hall. This is why we plan to approve and enable 220,000 new homes so it is easier for businesses to attract and hire the people they need. We will also continue the progress we have made on speeding up permits and removing unnecessary red tape.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): First, no one is going to come to our businesses if they don’t feel safe. We have a major crime issue, which scares away customers from our businesses and forces them to deal with stolen goods and broken windows. People do not want to come to Chinatown or downtown and the crime issues are spreading across the city. We will also revitalize downtown and bring NBA basketball back to Vancouver.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Progress Vancouver will support business as the recovery continues. We will get micromanagers at city hall out of the way and reduce the burden of dealing with the City of Vancouver. We will streamline permit processing, establish binding performance standards for permit processing and hold staff accountable to those standards. Micro-management and permit delays raise costs, make housing less affordable, and hurt small business.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): COVID losses combined with high taxes have threatened the survival of many smaller businesses, as our many empty storefronts show. The pandemic is receding now, but under current council policies, the rezoning craze that inflates land values and boosts taxes for small business continues and threatens to worsen with the Broadway and Vancouver plans. TEAM will reverse that with the neighbourhood-based planning our city was famous for.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE’s rent control policy will put hundreds of millions of dollars back in the pockets of renters, allowing them to support local stores, arts and culture. COPE will also push the province to change the tax system so that triple-net leases will no longer crush small businesses. COPE’s policy on homelessness will provide folks with a place to go so they don’t have to camp in front of businesses.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): We will continue our focus on cutting red tape and processing time for licences and permits. Greens have pushed for a business support office and shift to online processing. Next term we’ll focus on reviving our tourism industry, allowing more business types in zones across the city, implementing maximum waiting times for permits, and building upon the business community’s innovations during the pandemic to create new policy and regulations.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): OneCity wants to get Vancouver working again by substantially streamlining municipal permit processing, including pre-approvals. We are focused on supporting the small and local businesses that make our neighbourhoods unique, while adding more housing and ground-floor retail across the city. We also want to kickstart growth in Vancouver by respecting Metro Vancouver’s industrial land strategy, and making existing industrial land more efficient through intensification, a.k.a. upzoning.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): The past few years have been hard for local businesses. We’d work with neighbourhood cultural business hubs like Davie Village, Joyce-Collingwood, Punjabi Market and Chinatown to promote Vancouver neighbourhoods as destinations for locals and tourists alike. We’ll work with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and Destination Vancouver to help revitalize Vancouver’s struggling tourism industry. And we’ll work with neighbourhoods and police to address public safety issues and graffiti.
2. Crime and public safety
How would you describe crime and public safety in Vancouver? Getting worse? Not a top priority right now? Do you have any plans for change in this area? What changes, if any, would you make to the Vancouver Police Department’s budget?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): Vancouver is in a public safety crisis, which has only got worse over the past four years. The VPD has been underfunded for several years. Short-term, the fastest way to address street disorder is by enhancing both front-line police and mental health services. That’s why ABC plans to hire 100 new police officers and 100 mental health nurses.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): Everyone deserves to feel safe. That’s why we have fully funded the Vancouver Police Department. However, COVID-19 has been tough on Vancouver and many people have fallen through the cracks. We can’t treat mental illness and homelessness as crimes. We need to provide more supportive housing with wraparound services and complex care, increase harm reduction and safe supply, and deploy specialized teams to assist people in crisis.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): Our public safety crisis is so bad it has shot past housing as the issue Vancouver is most concerned about. Kennedy Stewart looks to treat it with more housing and Ken Sim with more cops, which only treat the symptoms. The root cause of this crisis is harm reduction not tied to treatment. The NPA will fix this, support the VPD more, and remove the tents by Christmas.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Everyone deserves to feel safe. City hall needs to take public safety seriously. The police need to be adequately resourced to do their job of getting violent repeat offenders off the streets. But we have to recognize police are not social workers or mental health professionals and should not be asked to do that job. We need a holistic approach that includes more resources dedicated to non-police mental-health responses.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): These are major issues in Vancouver, and getting worse. TEAM mayoral candidate Colleen Hardwick opposed the current council’s vote to cut the police budget by $5.7 million, she supports putting police officers walking the beat and a well-resourced police force that can work with other agencies to tackle the problems. A TEAM council will appoint a DTES commissioner to audit the needs of the community.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE will continue Coun. Jean Swanson’s work to redirect the bloat from the VPD budget to community-led safety programs. Over-funded policing has never worked. COPE will implement solutions proven around the world, such as supporting housing first with community-led services. The costs of effective community safety programs will be covered by bringing our police budget in line with cities like Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, and Halifax.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Greens believe we need a comprehensive approach to community health and safety. Most problems in our city stem from a lack of housing and health services. Currently the VPD deal with too many issues outside its mandate. Greens will continue working to expand community policing models, crisis intervention and de-escalation, restorative justice, and programs like CAHOOTS, a mobile first response mental health crisis intervention that’s been successful in other cities.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): The status quo isn’t working. We want to strengthen our emergency response by adding trained mental health workers to 911, ensuring the most appropriate response team for each crisis call. But that is only a short-term solution. Long-term, we need to build safe, dignified and affordable housing that gives people a chance to get back on their feet. That means approving and building social and supportive housing across the city.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Everyone deserves to be safe. There is no doubt property and violent crime have been on the rise in some neighbourhoods. There are many reasons for that — COVID-19, poverty, stigma, lack of belonging — and these issues need to be addressed. We also believe public safety is about better policing: expertly prepared, well-trained and accountable to the public. That’s why Vision supports measures that deal with reform and accountability.
3. Broadway plan
What is your position on the plan that council approved in June? If you oppose the plan, why? And would you try to repeal the plan if elected? If you support the Broadway Plan overall, are there any aspects you would like to improve or change in the future if elected?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): ABC believes in increasing density along mass transit lines while ensuring the number of parks, schools, and community centres keeps pace with increased development. We support the obligations to increase housing density and affordability along the Broadway corridor as agreed to in the Broadway subway funding agreements. We feel it’s critical rental units are protected and incentives provided to deliver more affordable rental units across our city.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): We fully support the Broadway plan. It will create homes for 50,000 new residents — two thirds of which will be rental and many permanently affordable. Renters will also benefit from the strongest tenant protections in Canada — which we want to extend across Vancouver — ensuring tenants in older buildings will pay the same rent or less if their building is redeveloped.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): It took over two years of delays while the city came up with a plan that was whittled down so much it doesn’t even allow new housing to be financially viable. There is nothing more green than new housing above transit. Changes to the plan reduced the amount of homes that can be built. We would look to add more rental around transit hubs and all along the plan.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Progress Vancouver supports the general direction of the Broadway Plan. If we are spending billions on a new subway, it is just common sense and good climate policy to build more housing nearby. We would look to improve the plan by increasing parks and other amenities. Progress would accelerate implementation by reducing the reliance on spot rezonings and instead pre-zone to implement the land use changes in the plan.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): TEAM would rescind the Broadway plan and redo it from a neighbourhood perspective, with a proper consultation process. As TEAM mayoral candidate Colleen Hardwick said when she voted against it at council, the plan will dramatically increase housing prices, be a huge gift to land speculators, hurt livability in cherished neighbourhoods, and does not have a mandate from citizens.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE will build 5,000 units a year of rent-controlled apartments and co-op housing for working-class people. We will build them where affordable rental buildings are lacking, like SkyTrain stations and underserved neighbourhoods. Coun. Jean Swanson voted against the final Broadway plan because it did not include rent control nor save existing rental buildings.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): We support the Broadway plan with the amendments specifically for stronger tenant protections, but we’d like to see additional green space, amenities and community services incorporated into the plan to accommodate the incoming growth it will bring.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We supported the Broadway plan. It included more market and non-market housing around transit, strong renter protections, and a strong active transportation component, which OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle led at council. However, the plan did nothing to end the ban on apartments in many neighbourhoods. OneCity is advocating rental and social housing be built across the city. Less tall and sprawl, more communities for all.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Vision Vancouver supports the Broadway plan. We also think many of the details in the plan require more work — like provisions for community infrastructure (like schools, parks, community centre capacity) that go hand-in-hand with growth, and our city council candidates are ready to begin that work on day one, in partnership with our candidates running for school board and park board.
Do you have any proposals regarding existing taxes, such as increasing, reducing or eliminating the empty homes tax? Ideas for new taxes? Vancouver’s property tax increases over the past four years have totalled 25 percentage points — have those increases been reasonable? Too high? Too low? If you would support trimming the budget, which areas would you cut?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): Property tax increases over the past four years have had significant impacts on rental affordability, business viability and home security, without producing a commensurate increase in services. An ABC majority would produce public line-item budgets so that outsiders can understand the financial health of the city. ABC is opposed to the idea of a “road tax” on driving in Downtown Vancouver and an empty store tax.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): Despite a fragmented council and the challenges associated with the pandemic, we have managed to keep property tax increases moderate and maintain our AAA credit rating. We will continue our fiscally prudent approach while protecting city services that people rely on like libraries, community centres, child care, emergency services and overdose prevention. We’re coming through an incredibly challenging time and people are struggling. Now is not the time for cuts.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): The NPA believes we need to get back to providing safety, affordability and core services instead of spending money on needless ideological battles and social engineering. Since 2018, our budget has gone from $1.4 billion to $1.76 billion. This out-of-control spending has happened while our homelessness and housing crises have only got worse. The NPA will go back to the basics of running the city.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Taxes have increased by 25 per cent, but we haven’t got 25 per cent better services. That is unacceptable. Progress Vancouver will review all spending to ensure we are getting value for our tax dollars. We would also work with the province to enact a luxury housing surtax on the top one per cent of homes, which would allow us to reduce the tax burden on average homeowners.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): TEAM believes the city has helped make Vancouver one of the most unaffordable in the world by increasing property taxes, fees and charges well beyond inflation to fund expansion into areas that are often outside the city’s mandate. TEAM will stop treating residents as virtual ATMs and focus first on the core services, such as police, fire, sanitation and road repair, that cities are supposed to provide.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE introduced the idea of an empty homes tax in 2014 and continues to support its implementation. COPE Coun. Jean Swanson’s motion proposing a “mansion tax” failed a 5-5 tie council vote, when Mayor Stewart was not present to vote. COPE will keep fighting for a progressive mansion tax on properties valued over $5 million. We estimate this could generate $230 million toward ending homelessness and increasing affordability.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Greens believe taxpayers deserve value for their money and we support the new auditor general’s work to ensure Vancouver is optimizing tax dollars. Amid unprecedented downloading from senior governments, increased policing and mental health costs, and infrastructure deficits resulting from years of underspending, Greens are looking for new municipal tools like property transfer tax, assessment modernization, and cannabis revenue shares to offset some of these new costs.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We have long supported a land value tax. It would allow us to capture increases in land value associated with public investments or rezonings, to invest in public benefits. However, to implement a land value tax, we need provincial action. In the meantime, we support the use of land value capture tools like community amenity contributions to fund affordable housing and neighbourhood amenities.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): We’d like to stabilize property taxes and avoid increases higher than the rate of inflation. Business owners are paying higher property taxes than ever, and we support planned provincial assessment changes so that Vancouver businesses are taxed on the property’s actual use. We also believe reform of the city’s permit process is desperately needed to increase efficiency and reduce costs for homeowners and businesses alike.
5. Rental housing
The most recent annual update on Vancouver’s 10-year housing strategy shows that at the halfway point, the city had approved 43 per cent of its target of 20,000 purpose-built market rental homes by 2027. Is that target appropriate? Too high? Or too low? Would you do anything to speed up or increase construction of purpose-built rental housing?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): An ABC majority will focus on speeding up permits to increase the supply of market, non-market, and supportive housing. We will aim to reduce permit waiting times for home renovations and construction of all kinds of housing, including townhouses, single-family homes, and highrises and large-scale projects. ABC will also work to expand the number of co-op homes, and improve the quality of supportive housing.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | S6ix council candidates): Ask anyone who is a renter in Vancouver and they will tell you we desperately need more rental housing in this city. That is why we will approve 140,000 new units of market rental, below-market rental, social and co-op housing. We will also extend the strongest renter protections in Canada across Vancouver, so that no renters will see their rent go up if their building is redeveloped.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): This target is too low. But even more importantly, we need to fix the root causes of the rental crisis. Rental builders cannot build in Vancouver anymore. We can approve all the rental housing we want. It is currently not economically viable to build it. Rental housing is a key policy pillar for the NPA.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Vancouver housing targets are insufficient. It is still too hard to find an apartment to rent, let alone an affordable one. The City of Vancouver’s housing-needs assessment says there is an 86,000 home deficit, with an additional 50,000 homes needed over the next decade for population growth. We support raising the housing production targets to at least 15,000 a year.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): Only a tiny fraction of the housing approved in rezonings over the past four years has been completed — the target is irrelevant if almost none is actually built. A TEAM majority council would work continuously with designers, builders, developers and housing sponsors to accelerate city processes. We will aim to half the permit processing time for every city licence and permit.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE will build homes that are affordable for the 86,000 households in housing need. This will start with ending homelessness, then move on to building homes for renters with modest incomes. COPE will implement higher development taxes and land value capture mechanisms for higher-density luxury housing to help fund 5,000 rent-controlled apartments and co-op homes a year, which would constitute over 50 per cent of development in the city.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Greens’ top priority is truly affordable rental housing, meaning 30 per cent of income. Approvals are good but we need shovels in the ground and to speed up time between approval and construction. Greens want to change our process so rezonings and development permits happen simultaneously, digitize the permit process, implement maximum permit waiting times, and create a simple menu of repeatable pre-approved building forms, from tiny homes to multi-family buildings.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): Too many people are being priced out of Vancouver. OneCity has a plan to address that, by making it faster and easier to build much more social, co-op and rental housing everywhere in Vancouver, especially in neighbourhoods with declining populations. We were the first party to launch our housing platform, and other parties have since followed suit with similar policies.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Vision is pro-housing. We strongly support increasing the supply of purpose-built rental housing in Vancouver, with a focus on non-profit, cooperative and public housing that offers greater affordability for individuals, families, seniors, persons with disabilities and those living on low incomes. We also support strong protections for renters. Having said that, we also need to increase the supply of market rental housing and other housing types.
6. Drugs and addiction
What should the city do to reduce deaths from drug overdoses and poisonings, or is that the responsibility of senior governments? What about our current strategy is working or not working? What is your position on safe supply?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): An ABC majority will work to establish a free, low-barrier, 24-hour recovery centre for those struggling with drug addiction. ABC will work with the provincial government and Canadian Mental Health Association to establish peer-assisted care teams. ABC will support all Vancouver Coastal and Providence Health Authority-led initiatives that enhance the safety of the drug supply to address the drug poisoning crisis.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): This is a massive crisis faced by our community, and it is claiming too many lives. Everybody knows someone who has died from poisoned drugs. While we have made progress, the situation has been exacerbated by the increasingly toxic drug supply. Solutions include decriminalization, safe supply, harm reduction, overdose prevention sites, and treatment. We will continue to partner with all levels of government to implement solutions to save lives.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): We have to tie harm reduction to treatment. That is the root cause of our public safety and opioid crisis. We must stop treating the symptoms and treat the root cause. For every 100 new cops we hire, our crime will still increase as more criminals come. Safe supply must be tied to treatment or our crisis will simply perpetuate itself.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): The first, second and third priority should be to save lives. Progress Vancouver supports safe supply and will work with Victoria to establish a provincially funded safe supply program to replace poisoned drugs with accessible, regulated prescriptions. We need to save lives and get people on the path to recovery. We will work with the province to increase addiction treatment resources.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): The current approach forgets the Four Pillars approach, introduced in Vancouver in the 1990s. The Four Pillars are: harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and enforcement. Vancouver has abandoned all but harm reduction. TEAM will implement the prevention and treatment recommendations of Julian Somers, distributing small numbers of affected people throughout the city, with supports. Enforcement requires supporting police in apprehending, prosecuting and incarcerating prolific offenders, suppliers and dealers.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): Our neighbours are dying from the failure to provide consumer protection for people who use drugs. COPE will push to regulate all drugs in Vancouver. We will face any challenge as a charter matter of “life, liberty, and security of the person.” COPE will establish City of Vancouver business licences for compassion clubs and other legitimate organizations that provide consumer protection for the safe, clean, and identifiable supply of drugs.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Greens support safe supply, decriminalization, expanded treatment facilities, and overdose prevention sites. Greens will ensure there are adequate wraparound services and staffing in supportive housing by making tenanting and operational agreements a condition of occupancy permits. What we need is more supportive, recovery-based housing across the city and treatment options on demand, so people can get help when they are ready.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): Amid an epidemic of poisoned drugs, the city must do what is necessary to save lives. That means making harm reduction services much more widely accessible — including safer supply, supporting front-line responses (including by funding the Vancouver Firefighters’ growth plan), and by ensuring naloxone is much more widely available. And advocating loudly for urgent action from senior governments.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Health care is a B.C. responsibility. However, as with Insite, North America’s first supervised consumption site, city hall should play a leadership role. Vision councillors will support continuing work to decriminalize opioids, support the expansion of safe supply, and advocate for expanded treatment options and for people with serious mental illness. We’ll also work to address underlying reasons for substance use, including mental health, homelessness, poverty and trauma.
7. Vancouver plan
The Vancouver plan approved in July contemplates multiplexes and apartments in lower-density areas — is the plan’s vision appropriate? What kind of building types should be allowed in the lowest density areas, the residential side streets currently zoned for only detached houses and duplexes?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): ABC councillors voted in support of the Vancouver plan, and ABC is committed to developing an official community plan during our first four-year mandate. We see significant opportunities for more laneway homes, duplexes, townhouses, low-rise and mid-rise apartments throughout the city, but it may not be appropriate in absolutely every single neighbourhood to have six-storey buildings. ABC does not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution for every neighbourhood.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): We fully support the plan. It will unlock housing across the city for hundreds of thousands of new residents who are expected to move here over the next 30 years. Like the Broadway plan, we want it to include strong renter protections that will safeguard tenants from displacement and higher rents if their building is redeveloped. Ultimately, this plan will make our city more equitable, sustainable, caring and prosperous.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): The Vancouver plan is not well thought-out, and is really a plan for more plans. The plan is a $30-million PowerPoint.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): The Vancouver plan has some good ideas but the problem is the plan isn’t a real plan, it is a plan to make a plan. The actual implementation won’t happen for years. Progress Vancouver would move to allow multi-family housing across the city, starting around schools and transit. Progress Vancouver would allow four-storey strata and six-storey rental across the city.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): Vancouver’s 23 neighbourhoods were not adequately consulted for the plan, which includes six “neighbourhood types” scattered around the city. The existing zoning already allows way more homes than currently needed. The Vancouver plan’s true “vision” is to obliterate Vancouver’s planning history in favour of naive cartoons about density.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE is focused on making sure working-class people can afford to live in Vancouver. That means building non-market and co-op homes in areas of the city that don’t have them, and strongly opposing the gentrification and destruction of existing low-rent housing by luxury development. COPE refuses all campaign contributions from developers, so we are not beholden to corporations seeking to profit from displacement of renters.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): The Vancouver plan was initiated by Green Coun. Adriane Carr’s first motion this term, our first citywide plan in over 100 years. Every other municipality in B.C. is required to have one. The lack of clarity around long-term growth and redevelopment has resulted in drawn-out, divisive public hearings, and difficulties for construction starts and financing. Vancouver is a growing city, we need to accommodate that growth citywide.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): There is a lot to like about the Vancouver plan. Land use planning is the city’s most powerful tool, and applying a climate and equity lens to it is welcome. But it falls short on ambition, urgency, and equality. OneCity will build on the Vancouver plan to end the apartment ban and build rental and social housing in every neighbourhood, allowing renters, seniors and families to continue to call Vancouver home.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Vision calls for a council vote within 90 days on citywide zoning reform to open up all Vancouver neighbourhoods to low- and mid-rise housing options. We support the removal of public hearing requirements for all below-market housing, including non-profit, public and co-op housing, and will build more affordable housing on city-owned land. We’ll expand protection and advocacy for renters, and address permit delays, with guaranteed turnaround for permits.
What do you think about city hall raising money for climate measures while also changing consumer behaviour through fees for things like disposable coffee cups and transport pricing? Or the climate emergency parking program, which the current council narrowly defeated? What else should the city be doing in terms of the climate emergency?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): ABC Vancouver has a 10-point plan for climate change and sustainability, including exploring a tax credit for Vancouverites who don’t use a car. An ABC majority would work with senior governments to reduce the number of motorized pleasure watercraft in Vancouver waters in favour of wind and non-motorized pleasure craft. ABC opposes the “climate emergency parking program” that would have punished renters for not having garages to park in.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): We are in a climate emergency. While bold action is needed, it must be just and equitable. Mayor Stewart opposes mobility pricing and voted against the climate emergency parking program. We will work with senior levels of government to fully fund and implement the climate emergency plan. We will accelerate new transit infrastructure (like the “Vancouver Loop”) to get people out of cars and make Vancouver a 15-minute city.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): The climate is changing, we all can see that. We need to get out of the ideological battles and focus on practical steps. We would like to also foster a green economy. We have so many green regulations but what about innovation? Look at what Tesla has done for the climate with the growth in electric cars and battery technology.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): The best thing Vancouver can do for the environment and climate action is to fight suburban sprawl. Progress supports real climate action, instead of empty measures like the cup fee that just go to corporations’ bottom lines. Families are leaving Vancouver in search of affordability in the Valley, increasing emissions as they drive into the city for work. Progress Vancouver will build housing for families here in Vancouver in walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented communities.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): TEAM believes climate-change initiatives should consider financial impact on residents and businesses. Vancouver is a very small part of a much bigger region and must consider how much practical impact its measures will have. TEAM sees the coffee-cup tax and citywide parking permits as examples of ineffective, inequitable and awkward efforts to extract money from residents without measurable impacts on climate change.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE will take action to address the climate emergency and climate justice. The disposable cup program has had some growing pains but is necessary. COPE supported the parking program and agrees with exploring transport pricing at the Metro level to see how much it can reduce our GHGs without putting undue burden on lower-income people. COPE’s climate program also includes working toward free transit and expanding transit service.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Greens supported the parking proposal to charge vehicles 14 cents a day to park overnight on public streets, but we amended it with specific considerations for equity and workers. Transport pricing must be explored regionally to be effective. The cup charge is about making the cost of disposable cups transparent. Local governments should do all they can to address the climate emergency, and advocate to senior governments for more support.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We believe the municipal government has a huge role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through policies aligned with climate science and rooted in equity. Our commitment to climate action is spread throughout our platform, because we understand that housing policy is climate policy, as is transportation policy, as is the building code.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Vision will step up action on the climate plan and renewable city strategy to return Vancouver to the forefront of clean energy, pilot reforestation projects, expand car and bike sharing, and improve the city’s emergency heat response. We’ll take steps to enforce rules around how hot buildings can get, open pools until midnight during extreme heat waves and promote tree planting to create more shade.
Would you support bringing back the police liaison officer program in schools? Any other key proposals for schools?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): An ABC-led school board would reinstate the school liaison officer program, as well as restore honours classes at schools. ABC believes in more individualized learning and supports the delivery of additional programs covering topics like financial literacy, coding, and sustainability. ABC is committed to fully funding music and fine arts programs in Vancouver elementary and secondary schools.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): Forward Together is not running any candidates for the Vancouver School Board.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): The NPA supports bringing back the school liaison officer program. Recognizing that each child learns differently, the NPA is committed to partnering with educators and parents to ensure our children have a fulfilling education. The core priorities of your NPA School Trustee majority will include restoring police liaison officers, addressing bullying, restoring the honours program, supporting those with learning disabilities and arts and musical interests.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Progress Vancouver is not running School Board candidates.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): TEAM is running Matiul Alam, a highly qualified educator, for school board. He will be a strong voice for TEAM policies, which include proper long-range planning with the city to ensure neighbourhood schools are built where and when they’re needed, eliminating the need for school-enrolment lotteries. TEAM also opposes the loss of many programs such as elementary band and strings that used to improve student outcomes.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): Community-based school safety programs are far superior to school liaison officer programs. We believe school liaison officers are likely to reinforce prejudices against BIPOC and 2SLGBTQQIA+ students. Fully funding education is imperative. For at least 20 years, the district has had budget shortfalls resulting in constant instability in the system. COPE also wants an immediate implementation of a universal meal program in all schools. We also want to preserve neighbourhood schools.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Our school board candidates are committed to the results of the collaborative, student-centred process that ended the school liaison officer program. Police with guns in schools made many students feel less safe, particularly students who self-identify as BIPOC. Greens are committed to finding more effective alternatives to cops in schools that promote safety and success for all students. Our Trustees will continue working with the local police to identify clear responsibilities and expectations as the role of critical responders in schools and society evolves. Three candidates for School Board: Janet Fraser, Lois Chan-Pedley, Nick Poppell
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We would not. The liaison officer program negatively impacted students who are already marginalized. We believe all children must have the best possible supports. That means matching interventions to students’ specific needs. This means: adequate per-pupil funding, addressing staff shortages, more rapid responses to requests for testing and designations, and more adult supervision and guidance by adults trained to support children’s learning and social needs.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Vision believes everyone at school has the right to feel safe. There is no evidence that having police officers in schools makes kids safer. We believe in investing in programs that support student wellbeing and violence prevention, not in bringing back SLOs. Vision is focused on high-quality education, increasing childcare spaces, better supports for kids with disabilities, mental health services and making buildings climate-proof, seismically safe and physically accessible.
10. Supportive housing
What do you think of the idea of the city approving more large-scale, deeply affordable, low-barrier social housing developments in different residential neighbourhoods, like the buildings approved this summer at 2091 West 8th Ave in Kitsilano, and 1410 Knight St. in Kensington-Cedar Cottage?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): An ABC majority will develop an overarching 20-year social and supportive housing plan for the city in partnership with B.C. Housing and other housing partners within two years. ABC will shift the city’s social and supportive housing strategy to focus on the delivery of quality, livable housing units, instead of the existing quantity-first approach, and ensure that a robust, appropriate continuum of care is enshrined in every project
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): The only way to tackle the homelessness crisis is by building more supportive housing like the developments on West 8th Ave. and Knight Street. Since 2018, we’ve obtained $1 billion from senior levels of government and added a record 1,600 new units of supportive housing. We will continue to work with senior levels of government and non-profits to provide more social housing with wraparound supports and complex care beds.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): This is a failed model. We need to tie treatment to harm reduction and spread out low-barrier housing. This type of housing is not compassionate. Even the abstinence-based women’s recovery program near the West 8th home asked for this model not to come near their program. These low barrier houses quickly become dirty and crime-ridden. Treatment must be tied to this model.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Progress Vancouver supports building social and supportive housing in Vancouver. We have a housing crisis in Vancouver, requiring significant expansion of deeply affordable and social housing to solve. We do not believe in concentrating all social and supportive housing in the Downtown Eastside.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): Seventeen years of research by SFU distinguished professor Julian Somers and his colleagues demonstrate congregate supportive housing, like the the two projects mentioned, does not work. After the Marguerite Ford supportive housing near Olympic Village opened, police calls in the area increased dramatically. What works is a distributed model of supportive housing, where much smaller numbers of residents needing support are distributed and supported through a larger number of facilities.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE totally supports building homes like these: deeply affordable and low-barrier.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): Vancouverites know we need more supportive housing. Unfortunately many of those in need have been housed in spaces and places absent the support and services they require. Greens will ensure there are adequate wrap-around services and staffing in supportive housing units by making tenanting, staffing and operational agreements a condition of occupancy permits, as well as make rezoning and development permit processes happen at the same time to fast-track construction and reduce costs.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We fully support it. When we say we’ll build rental and social housing everywhere, we mean it. This is critical to building a safer city for all. For too long, we have concentrated supportive housing and associated services in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). This is unfair for people in the DTES, but also for people in neighbouring areas like Chinatown and Strathcona. This has to change.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): We support housing for people with mixed-income levels in neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver, including supportive housing, accessible housing for folks with mobility issues, and housing for children and parents living on low incomes.
11. Parks and public spaces
What would you do to improve Vancouver’s parks, public spaces and plazas? Do you support the current bike lane through Stanley Park or support changing it back to the previous configuration?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): ABC will reopen vehicle access to the parking lots from Beach Avenue, and direct staff to open a permanent bike lane in spring 2023 to allow both vehicle and bike traffic throughout Stanley Park. An ABC park board majority will fix collapsing park board infrastructure through an ‘emergency restoration fund,’ support responsible alcohol consumption in all parks with adequate facilities, and ask Vancouver’s auditor general to review park board finances.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): Working closely with the park board, we will use the Vancouver plan to guide future work to restore and expand parks and green space across our city, and grow the tree canopy. We will also seek to increase access to public spaces, such as plazas, to strengthen residents’ connections and make the city’s 22 neighbourhoods more liveable. We will also work to add 50 public washrooms across Vancouver. Note: Forward Together is not running any candidates for the Park Board.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): We support the previous configuration of Stanley Park and think we can be smarter about how we use all parks. Our park board policy includes supporting and building outdoor pools, protecting the seawall from storms and climate change, fast-tracking the special event application process, and leasing closing schools from the school board to convert them to daycare facilities and community programming centres.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Progress Vancouver supports maintaining and expanding the car-free plazas and patios. Progress would expand on that success by converting sections of Granville Street to a permanent, weather-protected pedestrian-only space, making it a street for people not vehicles. We would explore similar conversions for Water Street, sections of Robson Street and other commercial high streets.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): TEAM will improve the safety and attractiveness of parks by expanding and improving maintenance and garbage pickup, actively enforcing bylaws and increasing the number of park rangers and lifeguards. It will ensure access to parks and facilities for all, a policy that includes restoring pre-COVID access to Stanley Park and Beach Avenue. A TEAM council will restore park board authority over its operations and facilities by transferring finance, operations and facilities back to park board jurisdiction from the city’s planning, real estate and facilities departments. TEAM is running six candidates for park board.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): Improvements outlined in the VanPlay 25-year plan, supported by COPE’s elected Commissioners, prioritize east-west equity through a lens of decolonization and reconciliation. The dominant automobile culture is transitioning to more active transport and fewer private vehicles. This calls for changes to mobility patterns in parks. COPE supports a lane for cyclists in Stanley Park, while maintaining necessary motor vehicle access and improving public transit in the park.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): The new Stanley Park bike lane provides an enjoyable way to access the park by active transport. Greens also want to add an electric trolley loop service. We want to see the final report to ensure concerns of those with mobility issues are addressed. Greens will explore new ways to come together in our public spaces year-round, while making it easier to host festivals, pop-up events, food trucks, and beer gardens. Two candidates for Park Board: Tricia Riley and Tom Digby
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We support the bike lane through Stanley Park. OneCity has a comprehensive platform for parks, including making high-quality recreation accessible to everybody. This means opening golf courses to the public as public parks, accelerating the Park Board’s efforts to meet its goals to make dog parks accessible within 15 minutes of every Vancouverite, and more. Our three Park Board candidates will fight for this in office.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): Vision supports both the Park Drive and Seawall bike lanes, in Stanley Park, and awaits the outcome of the mobility study. We’ll work with the Host Nations on co-management, the renaming/re-Indigenizing of parks, and to activate our parks. We will implement the park board’s motion to develop accessible and inclusive design guidelines for playgrounds, and the washroom strategy. Vision is running current commissioner John Irwin, and community advocate Carla Frenkel.
What should Vancouver’s top priorities be on transportation?
• ABC Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Ken Sim | 7 council candidates): Transportation priorities for an ABC majority would include: building Skytrain all the way to UBC and pushing for a second east-west line to be delivered in the next seven years, a new rapid bus line serving the River District, expansion of HandyDart, an accessibility audit of all city-owned assets, and promoting the “15-minute city,” where basic services and amenities can be accessed by walking.
• Forward Together (Mayoral candidate: Kennedy Stewart | 6 council candidates): We fought hard to move ahead with the Broadway Subway to UBC and secured millions of dollars from partners to fund the next phase of development. We will now fight just as hard to accelerate the Vancouver Loop expansion to bring rapid transit to South Vancouver – the Vancouver Loop would stretch from UBC east along 41st/49th Avenue to Metrotown, serving Langara College and Oakridge Centre along the way.
• Non-Partisan Association (Mayoral candidate: Fred Harding | 6 council candidates): We support transit expansion and want to also build transit hubs with affordable rental housing amenities and child care. We also think we should reduce or eliminate transit fares wherever possible for groups such as children, seniors and those needing financial support.
• Progress Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Mark Marissen | 6 council candidates): Progress Vancouver will get the subway to UBC built, with shovels in the ground by the end of the term. We would begin planning, securing funding and approvals for subsequent lines, including a Hastings Line to the North Shore, a UBC-Metrotown line along 41st Avenue. Progress would also work to bring back an upgraded Olympic Line streetcar connecting Sen̓áḵw, Granville Island, and Olympic Village with the Canada and Expo Lines.
• TEAM For A Livable Vancouver (Mayoral candidate: Colleen Hardwick | 6 council candidates): TEAM supports all modes of safe and efficient transportation, but believes frequent, preferably electric public transit within a five-minute walk of residents in all neighbourhoods is crucial to a livable city. It will hold a city-wide consultation on the proposed UBC subway extension to compare its costs and benefits with other options – residents should have a say in whether we focus on a widespread arterial network or a few expensive transit corridors. TEAM will encourage active forms of transportation like cycling and walking, but recognizes these are not possible or practical for everyone all the time, and that personal and commercial vehicles must also be accommodated.
• COPE (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): COPE worked with allonboard.ca to win free transit for kids 12 and under. COPE will continue working toward free transit, starting with kids up to 18 years, expanding the $43/year BC Bus Pass to all low-income people, and offering the U-Pass program to all Vancouverites. These transit passes will increase ridership, requiring increased system capacity, which can be funded by dedicating a portion of existing carbon tax revenues.
• Green Party of Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 5 council candidates): The Greens want to make transit more accessible and convenient, support the TransLink Transport 2040 plan and expansion of rapid bus routes, and complete the Broadway Subway to UBC. The Greens also want to continue work with the Ministry of Transportation and city engineering on slower safer streets, making active transportation a more attractive option by reducing speed limits on residential streets to 30kph, and we want to expand the public bike share network to transit stations city-wide to support last-mile commutes.
• OneCity (No mayoral candidate | 4 council candidates): We need to help people reduce their dependence on cars. This means making public transport faster and more accessible. It also means making walking and biking safer and more accessible through wider sidewalks, separated bike lanes and car-lite streets. And it means building walkable, complete communities, which is the centrepiece of our housing platform.
• Vision Vancouver (No mayoral candidate | 3 council candidates): We’ll aggressively tackle cycling and pedestrian safety by prioritizing enhanced, dedicated cycling infrastructure in three priority areas: Commercial Drive, Kingsway and Stanley Park. We will also improve transit service to pre-pandemic levels and beyond, with a focus on accessibility for people with a range of mobility needs. These improvements will reduce congestion, make Vancouver’s roads better for all drivers, and speed up movement of goods and services.
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