Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why is it called Green?

The most constant argument used by Darrell and his slate partners during a rezoning is if you use Eco-density, you can grow dramatically while decreasing the impact on the environment.  Of course, they look at the situation per-capita while the effect on the environment is by the total numbers.

While they claim to be fighting climate change, they are increasing the total damage caused by the extra people and cars. At the potential Safeway site, 2 18 story buildings and a 12 story one is being proposed.  There are no residents now.  Do the math.

You can’t reduce greenhouse gases by turning a 3 story apt building into a 12, 18 or even 24 story tower. 4, 6 or even 8 times the number of living spaces even when done better than 20 years ago, it is still a large increase of people and cars into our small city that will produce far more GHGs. 

You cannot pretend to be green when are addicted to growth. 

Their battle for density has become a war on single family housing, Darrell has proposed taking this to the next level.

"In a recent interview, Mayor Darrell Mussatto told me he would like to see property tax rates eventually be based on neighbourhood density.”
Metro column, EcoDensity thrives after Citizen Sam

It does reveal what is really behind the density drive, it is the need to keep increasing the budget and sustain more staff with 4% pay increases every year.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Outlook Questionnaire

After I had sent in my questionnaire for the Outlook, they called and said they were scrapping it and just asking a few questions.  Since it was done, here it is.

George Pringle

1) Occupation, marital status, children (w/ages) and neighbourhood in which you reside?
Assistant Apartment Manager ,Single, Lower Lonsdale (Keith Road)

2) What kind of car do you drive? (make, model and year)
Transit user until there is an affordable hydrogen fueled car

3) Would you like to see the Harry Jerome rec centre renovated or rebuilt?
Rebuild the most important functions as a phase one and ask residents for funding through a referendum.  Never allow park and recreation land to be turned into high rise towers to fund Harry Jerome.  We should consider alternate funding like selling naming rights if the funds donated are large enough.

4) Would you support amalgamating North Vancouver District and City?
Unite North Vancouver. A key point of my campaign is to hold a referendum on amalgamation with the District.  We have to act before the Province forces an amalgamation on all Vancouver, Toronto style which would be one council for all the Lower Mainland with two elected per provincial riding.

5) Would you like to keep the RCMP or have a regional police force?
I’d rather have a BC Police Force to get the Ottawa bureaucratic way and their rules out but it would cost too much money.  Regional based police would have us subsidizing Vancouver and the downtown eastside.  Keep the RCMP but get more power for a local North Van Police Board.

6) In terms of residential growth, would you like to see:

b) growth of  less than 1% a year;  We could be redeveloping the older shops on Lonsdale and maintaining  the general style of a non-chain storefront stores with a second floor for small offices or residences instead of the Lonsdale  180 foot high canyon that is now going up.

7) Biggest challenge currently facing the City?
Addiction to growth. Council’s building an unsustainable house of cards to keep their budget ever growing. Someday the room for development will run out.  It’s only a question of what we create.  200,000 person Yaletown2 or a sustainable community?  The new OCP must have more certainty and tangible growth limits.

8) Three specific steps to solving North Van's affordable housing crisis?
There is not a solution to address affordable housing when most of Canada and many in the world want to move here.  Same old promises during re-election but all we see is expensive condo towers. Existing tenants need their rights protected and health, safety, licensing and disabled access laws followed.

9) In 50 words or less, sum up your desire to be an elected municipal
In the Mayor’s re-election site it is obvious he only sees a North Van driven by “a period of unprecedented growth”.  those who disagree with Darryl and his slate.

10)  Your election slogan and website:
Respect the citizen’s OCP

Saturday, October 22, 2011

North Shore News Questionnaire

1)  George Pringle

2)  52

3)   Apartment Manager

 4)  BC Liberal Party and Conservative Party of Canada

5) No

6) No

7) 7 years

8) NA

9) Task Force on Civic Engagement and Member - The Lonsdale Community Association

10) What are your priority changes if elected? 25 words
        Strengthening renter rights by a rental ombudsperson. Owner rights by adhering to the citizen’s Official Community Plan. A three year freeze on the tax rate.

11) Is the city managing growth appropriately? 50 words
        No. Our City and developers are addicted to growth to feed an ever increasing budget. The Safeway site could be a pedestrian shopping area with two 6 story residences where the density fits into the OCP. But some will complain about not making an instant large profit and the City listens.

12) Should the city amalgamate with the District of North Vancouver? 25words
        It is the only way to achieve long term savings.  We must act before the Province decides to amalgamate all of Metro Vancouver, Toronto style.

13) What is the worst decision made by the present council and why? 25 words
        Council makes that “worst decision” often, approving the conversation (destruction) of a single family home (RS-1) to a much larger unit or group of units.


Friday, October 21, 2011


Amalgamation is the issue I have received the most questions and comments on, it might be priority number four but it is fundamental to achieving the goals of the other priorities in the long term.

Simply, if elected, I will propose a motion to hold a referendum on the City and District becoming one municipality under a set of listed questions. The District would have to conduct a referendum with the exact same question during the election of 2014.  If both "yes" sides win, the province would be asked to create one municipality.

We would have two years to work out a referendum deal but one thing is clear from the start, the resulting Council of nine members should be a Mayor and four Councillors from each party.

I have been questioned on why it is the City's interest when our reserves are far greater than that of the District.   Funds like the Lower Lonsdale Amenity Fund are fixed to a particular geographic area and its spending is fixed to that area. 

It is also essential that the amalgamation is used to kept orientated as a cost saving measure.  The Council and residents have to be completely involved and keep a close eye on how it is implemented.  That is the pitfall that other cities have fallen into, they let the process be done behind closed doors where the vested interests control things.

P.S. Some areas, like our Fire departments should be merged as a shared service with all three municipalities on the North Shore.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Priority Three - Renter Rights

It is time that the City cares more for the renting residents that actually live here rather than the ones who some are trying to pack into our small suburb. Most of our rental stock (apt buildings) is getting older and some need more upkeep then they are getting.  Our citizens are suffering the consequences.

The City licenses owners of apartment units and has a Bylaw (Rental Premises Standard of Maintenance 7931) which applies to all rental property.  City inspectors should be doing an annual check as part of their business license to ensure there is compliance with all health, safety and disabled access laws.

Council should establish a Rental Ombudsperson to assist citizens who are being denied the basic services and repairs due them.   This does not have to be an expensive function but even a place where the complaints are gathered so that when a company comes to Council to convert their current 3 story rental unit into a 12 story strata building, Council members can educate themselves as to if the company has been a good corporate citizen.

A Ombudsperson can act, like a navigator in the Health system, to help residents fight to achieve their rights.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Priority Two - Property Owner Rights

If you live in a house, you don't want your Council approving a monster house in your neighborhood.  A normal house should only be allowed to be upgraded to a duplex or to a normal house with a coach house or a normal house with a basement suite.

This gives us a reasonable amount of growth to create some affordability. Our Council can never approve a duplex to build a basement suite and/or a coach house.

If you've bought an expensive strata unit, you don't want Council changing the Official Community Plan to allow a huge tower right next to you.

If amalgamation is pursued, the combining of our OCPs will allow us to coordinate, Marine Drive as a prime example.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Priority One - A Freeze in the Tax Rate for 3 years

This is not an easy task, it would take a Council with the willpower to look at each item dispassionately.  We have to do a full program review with the aim of not increasing the tax rate. 
Every program and function funded in our City Budget has to be assessed to see if we still need it and if at the current level of funding. Council should save their passion for our overtaxed neighbors who are having a hard time to make ends meet.

As my part I would take a pay cut of $20,000 and not take the $9500 car allowance.

Council itself has do its part by canceling luxury items like the free Council/Staff dinners before every meeting.  The sister city program has to end, no more unproductive trips to Japan and China even if partially subsidized by our provincial tax dollars.   In fact, there should a limit of 3 conventions per year that members of Council can be reimbursed for.

Although it is from their budget, I will donate all after tax pay received from Metro Vancouver to local North Van City charities.

Our City has many funding challenges including the new sewer treatment plant and we cannot be discounting a single way of saving money.  The current collective agreement with CUPE 389 runs out at the end of the year, there is no way we can afford to paying as much as we did last time.

In the long run only amalgamation will provide any tax savings past the first three years.

Friday, October 14, 2011

4 Candidates at closing

With 4 candidates for Mayor, we all have to work hard to get our City's turnout to at least 30% voter turnout rather than the 17% of last time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sue Cook is considering adding her hat into the race for Mayor.   Sue is a loud activist voice raising awareness of Translink's under serving of North Vancouver, crime in her part of Lower Lonsdale and the lack of attention paid to renters rights.  Her idea of an City Ombudsperson if scaled down not to cost as much by focusing it solely on assisting renters who are fighting to get proper service from their apartment owners is a good idea.

I hope we have more than the usual one all-candidates meeting so that we can all hear the practical solutions to these and other problems proposed by the three  or more candidates.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One of the first questions I received was, "Why would the people vote for an ex-Reform Party member who has worked on campaign to elect our Conservative MP and our BC Liberal MLA?"

First, while the Reform Party is now part of the governing party of Canada, I am not an ex-Reformer.   Reformers like to look at government systems and ... reform them.  I like change structures when something doesn't work as well as it could.

As a member of the CNV's Task Force on Civic Engagement, I proposed practical recommendations aimed at increasing our voter turnout.  In this election, we will have more polling stations, more days of advanced polling and information kiosks available to candidates.  We won't get a ward system so you will have to choose 6 from over 20 candidates instead of 1 from 3 or 4 candidates who have concentrated their campaign in your neighbourhood. A little too much reform style change for the other members of the Task Force.

I will be proposing a referendum during the next election on amalgamation with the District.  That is a much needed reform. It is the best way of cutting the cost of local government in the long run.

Municipal politics is not about right and left, it is mostly about pro and anti development and where a person sits on that scale.  There are no right wing pawns of the big developers on our Council, in fact the ones most likely to support a large OCP busting development are more likely to be members of Council associated with the NDP.

The first priority of my platform is to strengthen and respect the OCP which is being redrafted right now and the new Council will vote on in just over a year.

The second priority will focus on the City budget, we need to cut spending so that utility charges and new taxes are being brought in like the new Eco Levy and a new sewer treatment plant are not an extra burden on the taxpayers.  In the long term, an amalgamation will give us the ability to deal with rising costs.  In the short term we must cut luxury items like sister cities and limit the Councilor trips to conventions.  We must publicly, in detail go over each line of the budget not just the proposed changes which are usually increases.

If elected, as my share, I would take a $20,000 pay cut and not take the $9500 car allowance. Further, any compensation I receive from attendance at Metro Vancouver meetings, I would donate to a City based charity.

The third priority is renter's rights.  Our City issues licenses to the businesses that own our apartment buildings.  Our bylaw enforcement officers should be doing an annual inspection to see that sure that all laws concerning health, safety and disabled access are being obeyed.  Further, we should establish a Rental Ombudsperson so that when citizens are being mistreated by owner not providing the basic services and repairs that they have an legal obligation to, the City can assist.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I watched the news of the death of Steve Jobs and read his words "Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary."  I decided in that moment that I was going to run for Mayor of the City of North Vancouver. 

Along with my inner voice, I have heard the voices of other residents dissatisfied with most of the recent large developments in our city.  I have heard citizens concerned about density transfers from locations where they could not be used.  I have heard many of my neighbours outraged at the radical amending of the Official Community Plan.

Steve Jobs also said "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your inner voice".  I've been told that no one could ever beat Darryl Mussatto because he owns this town and I think the voters deserve the opportunity to cast a vote on more than one point of view concerning how our City will evolve.  I will do my best to provide voters with another option.