Terry Martin: Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver is dedicated to grassroots democracy
Terry Martin, November 15, 2011
My name is Terry Martin.
Along with Nicole Benson, Elizabeth Murphy, Marie Kerchum, and Randy Helton, our first-class Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) mayoral candidate—a man of integrity, a true democrat, and the strongest choice for mayor in the 2011 Vancouver municipal election—I am seeking your support come election day, November 19.
In 2011, you can sense change is in the air, as citizens across Vancouver call out for a seismic shift in the way our city has been governed over the past six years.
Vancouverites with whom I’ve spoken at all-candidates meetings, candidate forums of every description; from the citizens on our streets to the people I’ve met in our parks and community centres; Vancouverites who call Grandview-Woodlands, Dunbar, Riley Park-Little Mountain, Killarney, Fairview, West Point Grey, Marpole, the Downtown Eastside, Kerrisdale, Kensington-Cedar Cottage home; in every one of the 23 neighbourhoods which make our city what it is, a community of communities—NSV candidates have heard a clarion message: We, the citizens of Vancouver, are sick and tired of a Vancouver city council who govern not for us, but for the rich developers who fund their municipal parties, in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, allowing developers to call the tune in their self-interest, not ours.
From the NPA’s Suzanne Anton to Sam Sullivan’s inept and wrongheaded 2005-2008 council, to Vision Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson and his motley crew of greenwashers, the NPA and Vision Vancouver councils have ignored the concerns of neighbourhood community associations, and citizens resident across every one of Vancouver’s 23 neighbourhoods.
Turn on your TV, listen to the radio, open up a newspaper, or surf the Internet for news about Vancouver municipal politics, and what do you see? Vancouver city councillors acting week-in, week-out, month-in, month-out on a development-driven agenda, where over-height towers to be marketed to offshore interests are approved meeting after council meeting, in every neighbourhood of our city, by a Vancouver city council beholden to their developer “friends”.
What has that meant for us? Skyrocketing housing prices which prevent our children from ever considering taking residence in their home, Vancouver; property taxes that have gone through the roof; an unaffordable city that is quickly becoming a playground for the wealthy, who’ve created an economic malaise for us, and a Valhalla for themselves.
We need change, and we need change now!
Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver has dedicated itself to grassroots neighbourhood democracy and:
• Campaign finance reform to ensure that land use policy decisions are not decided solely by councillors who are beholden to the developers who fund them.
• A respect for neighbourhoods: Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver will promote grassroots, local community planning processes that respect existing community visions, and local area plans.
• Strengthen neighbourhood representation: through partial or full wards, neighbourhood councils, and community advisory bodies, and the development of a new-millennia, web-based, grassroots civic democracy that will ensure that the voice of every Vancouverite is heard on crucial issues that will shape our Vancouver in the years to come.
Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver is not anti-development. As Harry Rankin once said, without development we’d all be living in caves. No, we’re in favour of development, but development that takes into account and acts on the concerns of the majority, the citizens who live in every neighbourhood of our city.
Come November 19, should the citizens of Vancouver vote for Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver, as well as the COPE candidates on the ballot, with a majority on council and working together, we can shape a world-class city, a Vancouver that is dedicated to social justice, direct democracy, developer-funded affordable rental and social housing, child care and arts centres, and a livable city dedicated to slow, thoughtful growth—a city for all of us, not just the wealthy few.