With a little over a month before Vancouverites take to the polls, mayoral candidates Gregor Roberston, Kirk LaPointe, Meena Wong and Bob Kasting are preparing to face off over issues impacting the city including the economy, transit, housing and the environment.
Earlier this year, the provincial government implemented reforms for civic elections that would see municipal politicians run for office every four years instead of the existing three year cycles. Whoever wins the upcoming election on November 15, 2014 will hold on to the seat until late-2018.
It is important to know the candidates and their platforms, so Vancity Buzz has compiled a short profile of all four prospective mayors and some background information about themselves and their respective parties.
Party: Vision Vancouver
Gregor Roberston is seeking re-election with the Vision Vancouver Party. Robertson is the co-founder of Happy Planet, an organic juice company. In the 2011 municipal election, Robertson won with overwhelming support as all of Vision Vancouver’s city council, park board and school board candidates were elected. Vision Vancouver’s platform revolves around several aspects:
- Economic growth by continuing to support thriving sectors in clean technology, digital media, medical research, tourism, creativity and culture.
- Finding solutions for affordable housing through creative models such as co-ops, co-housing and laneway homes. Also, to combat homelessness by building new shelters and interim housing.
- Ensuring safe, inclusive neighborhoods by investing in childcare, making new buildings age-friendly, standing up for public schools supporting the LGBTQ community and expanding access to community centres.
- Supporting creativity and culture around the city by increasing support for community festivals, increasing public ‘fun spaces’ around the city, supporting local artists and growing Vancouver’s creative economy.
- Continuing to focus on environmental standards in hopes to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world. Vision has worked to plant more community gardens, build wider sidewalks and separated bike lanes, creating more park space, and develop the greenest building standards in North America.
Besides politics, Kirk LaPointe has led a successful career in journalism. He has worked as a senior editor at the Vancouver Sun, CTV, the National Post and The Canadian Press. He also works as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. The NPA claims to be a civically focused political organization. According to their party platform, some of the NPA’s goals include:
- Supporting the hiring and fostering of professional, experienced civic management at every level in the City of Vancouver, to run our city with proven best practices and innovative thinking.
- Support the thorough engagement of neighbourhoods and listening sincerely to the opinions of citizens regarding any development or re-development in their neighbourhood.
- Building a vibrant Vancouver economy, by growing business, promoting innovation and embracing entrepreneurship, in order to foster well-paying jobs and economic opportunities for Vancouver residents.
- Develop, and continually enhance, our transportation system and infrastructure to serve all Vancouver residents.
Meena Wong is an activist from South Vancouver. Born in China, Wong immigrated to Canada when she was 19 years old. Wong has previous political experience working for the federal NDP party. If Wong is elected, she will be the first woman and the first person of Chinese descent to become Vancouver’s mayor. COPE ‘s wants to work to make Vancouver affordable and sustainable. COPE has some of the following goals for Vancouver:
- Prioritize education by providing funding for smaller class sizes for elementary and secondary schools. Furthermore, COPE aims to change the current provincial educational funding model to prioritize public education and end funding for private schools.
- Create affordable housing by establishing a Vancouver Housing Authority. Furthermore, COPE will work to build quality social housing in the Downtown Eastside and place a moratorium on condo development in the DTES in order to stop gentrification and displacement.
- Improve Transit by working to reduce transit fares and invest in lower-cost bus and light rail transit services, specifically along the Broadway corridor.
- Expanding park space in the city by creating 1.1 hectare of new park space per 1000 new citizens. Also, COPE aims to upgrade community and recreation center facilities.
- Prioritize affordable living by proposing an amendment to the Vancouver Charter to set a municipal minimum wage for the City of Vancouver at $15/hr.
Party: Running as an independent candidate
Bob Kasting is a Vancouver-based lawyer. He currently practices estate litigation, administrative law, and civil litigation. He is representing the False Creek Residents Association and their ongoing battle with the city and Concord Pacific over the building of a park near the Seawall. Kasting wants to bring the focus back to Vancouver neighbourhoods, as he believes that Vision Vancouver and the NPA are too involved with big developers.
Feature Image: Joseph Hanus Via Shutterstock