These are the highlights of my speech this morning. Friends and the media joined me at the Arbutus Corridor as I announced my bid for a COPE nomination to run for City Council in Vancouver’s November municipal election.
I will be running for a nomination at COPE’s Nominating Conference Sunday Sept. 7th.
I am here today at the Arbutus Corridor because once again Vision Vancouver has failed the citizens of Vancouver. These lands were given to the CPR in the early 1900’s on condition that CPR provide passenger service from Richmond to Downtown Vancouver. CPR has failed to keep its end of the bargain for many years. The line is now dormant. Much of it has become thriving community green space –witness these award winning community gardens. It’s time we put the Arbutus Corridor in the hands of the public. It’s time for City Hall to immediately expropriate the Arbutus Corridor.
We live in one of the richest cities in the world and in the richest time in the history of humankind. Housing is a human right. There is no excuse for homelessness in Vancouver today. Real estate developers are making record profits turning dirt into gold through rezoning. COPE is the only municipal party with a concrete proposal to address this crisis: COPE will establish a Housing Authority which is wholly owned and operated by the City. This Housing Authority will reinvest any profits into the building of social housing.”
“Vision Vancouver rode to victory at City Hall in 2008 and 2011 promising to end the crisis of homelessness. All they have done to date is redefine terms so it looks like they are making progress. Egs. affordable housing is now defined as anything that is ‘rental’ regardless of how unaffordable it may be; homelessness has been redefined as ‘streethomelessness’. COPE offers more than just a juggling act of words.
Transit for all Vancouver citizens is an issue. With the money it would cost to build the proposed underground Skytrain from Commercial to UBC, we could build a network of at-grade rail on every major artery throughout the entire City of Vancouver.”
Many people don’t realize that HandyDART, Translink’s custom transit service for those with mobility problems due to disability or age, is in crisis. In 2009, 6,000 requests for rides — for medical appointments, work, social events and so on — were turned down by HandyDART. 6,000 requests is bad enough. In 2013, that number of denied requests ballooned to 42,000.This is not healthy for those individuals involved; nor is it healthy for the community overall as these folk become isolated from the community.
COPE has been my party for over 30 years – it is the only party that fits with my commitment to a city that works for all Vancouverites, to standing up for the underdog to make real this commitment, and to working full out to see that this commitment becomes reality quickly.
We need fundamental change at City Hall. I bring not only a strong understanding of the key issues facing Vancouverites but, having been on Council and on Park Board, I know how municipal government works – I can really ‘hit the road running’.
I am ready to work with a COPE team on the many issues that demand socially equitable solutions. My key issues are: homelessness, transit including HandyDART and a city hall that puts people, not developers’ or the CPR’s needs, first!
Please join us at the COPE Nominating Conference 11am this Sunday, September 7th at the Japanese Hall, 487 Alexander Street @ Jackson Avenue.
More media coverage of the event is here: