Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mayor's debate speech

You came here tonight to hear a vision of leadership. To have leadership you have to present a strong open point of view. It is not good enough to just say “vote for me because I’m a nice guy”.  That is not showing positive leadership.
Darryl’s message is clear, “I’m a nice guy”. It is, in fact, his whole campaign.

My four priorities are very open and clear.

Property Owner Rights The new OCP needs to be ratified by referendum of all the people not just Council. The Council will not find it as easy to disobey the citizen’s OCP in the future.

Renter Rights Darryl wonders why most renters don’t vote, well, if you enforced your own bylaw which protects the health and safety rights of renters        maybe        they would feel they are a part of this City too.
I must point out that Bylaw 7931 does not even include a requirement for disabled access, no wonder there are so many buildings without even a simple wheelchair ramp.  Our government should not be just collecting fees.

A Tax Rate Freeze which includes the canceling of luxury items like sister cities and free dinners for Council and staff prior to every Council meeting is a good start.
A strict limit needs to be put on the number of conventions attended by Councilors. As my contribution, I will take a $20,000 pay cut and not take the $9500 car allowance. I will also take every    after tax dollar    earned from sitting at Metro Van meetings and donate it to local North Van charities.

Finally, a referendum on an amalgamation with the District from the City’s point of view.

There are many myths being created by Darryl and his team, the first is leadership.  Darryl paints a picture of a Council that is all rowing happily to the cadence he provides but a Councilor openly calls him a liar during an all candidates meeting. The fact is Darryl acts as the leader of his undeclared political party, I call it Vision NVan, more than he acts as leader of our City.

If Vision NVan is ever given a majority on Council they will steamroll their undeclared agenda on NVan.  Our 2009 3.6% population increase, the highest in Metro Van, with 5% appearing likely for 2010    will seem like the good old days compared to what we will be forced to endure under an unrestrained Vision NVan.  The big developers and unions are not funding the Vision NVan candidates out of the goodness of their hearts.  They want construction contracts to build massive Yaletownesque towers and much more staff with 4% pay increases every year.

This leads into the second myth being sold by Darryl, that we have a modest growth rate of less than 1%. In fact, as published in BC Stats last January we had a population of 48,994 in 2009 and 50,724 in 2010.  That 50,000 number is important as the Community Charter orders us to have 8 Councilors when we pass that mark.  But perhaps this is part of Vision NVan’s plan.

The third myth is Darryl’s Eco-Density which is based on the premise that you can re-develop a 4 story apartment to a 24 story apartment and reduce the number of cars and green house gases produced in NVan. It is a wolf dressed up in green clothing. What Darryl has publicly stated he wants is property taxes to be based on density so if you are not in a large tower you will pay a lot more taxes.  Is there any wonder schools are closing down when family housing is being eradicated?

The City needs to get back to the basics like making sure that the roads and sidewalks are kept in better condition.

The City needs to enforce their bylaws so a resident who pays to have a legal secondary suite and pays their taxes as well doesn’t subsidize an absentee landlord who illegally packs people into a house with no regards to tenants. I have watched a Council that not only turns a blind eye to their bylaws but votes to approve of the exploitation of tenants and I think there is something very wrong with that.

(Closing 2 minutes)

As Marc Anthony said, “I come here not to praise Darrell but to defeat him”.  Well I’m paraphrasing Shakespeare a bit.
Rod Clark has warned us that the population from all the development already approved will show in a few years.  Actually, it started in 2009 and does not include 17 projects approved or in process now, including the Extra Foods Tower or the ONNI towers on the Safeway site or the monster double duplexes of Bewicke.
If you get a small patch of green space on Marine, an apt complex destroys it, forever.

Almost 100 single family homes per year are converted to duplexes each year. The larger Comprehensive Development Zoning turns a couple of lots into an 11 unit project or larger is created more and more each year.

The density addiction creates a rush to build more and more until what is NVan is destroyed.  We can say NO, we live in a democracy, you are allowed to say NO.

I’m just a guy who joined the Princess Patrica’s Canadian Light Infantry and became partially disabled at 20.

I went to UVic and obtained a Political Science degree with a focus on Public Administration.  I started post grad work in Public Admin in the Local Government program but left BC for work in Ontario.  I was training to be a bureaucrat in a municipal government, I know how the system works.

I’ve sat in the Council chambers or at home watching the meeting on the internet for seven years.  I’ve served on the North Shore Canada Day parade committee and on the Task Force for Civic Engagement.

I tend to think outside of the box.  I don’t have the tunnel vision that sitting too long on Council creates.  I don’t say “it can’t be done because that’s not the way we do things.”

Metro Vancouver has assigned us a large piece of the 35,000 population increase they seek in their growth target.  The voters of North Van can say NO. The people Metro wants to move here don’t have a vote, you do.

Darrell has said “they’re coming and we can’t stop them.”  I don’t believe that.  If we don’t build it, they can’t come.

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