Future of Vancouver event summary, December 5, 2012

Thank you to all who attended the NSV “The Future of Vancouver” event at the Hollywood Theatre on December 5, 2012. A report is posted on the NSV website here, including video and selected transcripts.

Jak King, a published historian, gave the opening, followed by Elizabeth Murphy, who presented a slide presentation detailing concrete examples the current crisis in originating at Vancouver City Hall. Giving context to the current crisis, Elizabeth introduced former city councillors (Jonathan Baker, Margeurite Ford and Darlene Marzari) who then spoke. They were with The Electors Action Movement (TEAM), which existed from 1968 to the mid-1980s and set in place many policies that have helped make Vancouver the liveable city it is today. This legacy includes respecting community and neighbourhood input to decision-making in Vancouver, stopping the freeway and urban renewal development in Strathcona, creating the Property Endowment Fund, building social housing, and creating the view corridors, among many other things. However, these legacies are currently being dismantled.

Next came speakers on what’s wrong with City Hall today and how it can be fixed. Green City Councillor Adrian Carr, now 12 months into her first term on Council, gave concrete and recent examples of how the current majority at City Hall has been eroding democracy in Vancouver. Ned Jacobs spoke about systemic conflicts of interest with the NPA and Vision Vancouver depending so heavily on corporate donations from the development industry. David Chudnovsky, on the executive committee of the Coalition of Progressive Electors gave the COPE perspective. indicating that current regime could do a much better job of addressing housing affordability, and that the influence of big money must be eliminated from local politics. Terry Martin spoke about NSV’s intent to run a winning slate for the November 2014 election. Randy Helten moderated the speakers, and the open mic session.

The messages of the evening are powerful. Major changes are needed in Vancouver.

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