Candidates for the Green Party of Vancouver have rolled out their Green Plans for a better, truly sustainable Vancouver. And they’re already getting some great reactions.
Patrick Condon, noted Canadian urban designer, planner, professor and author, sees many points in the platform for City Council that would go a long way toward creating the kind of sustainable communities he advocates.
“Many of us have long argued for many of the changes proposed in the Green Party [of Vancouver] platform: an increased emphasis on working with neighbourhoods; replacing "spot zoning" with a predictable and detailed city plan; developing a zero-greenhouse-gas transit strategy — a transit strategy that is affordable, serves the whole city, and can be implemented in years not decades,” says University of British Columbia Professor Condon, author of Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities.
The Green Plan for City Council sets the tone for school and park board plans as well: putting people’s interests first and bringing them into the decision-making processes as well as offering solutions to put Vancouver on track to be a genuinely green city, not a greenwashed one.
“City Hall has been making decisions with no real metrics in place and no real consultation with people, and more spin than facts — that includes touting Vancouver as the greenest city when we’re badly lagging on our most important goals,” says Green Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr.
“How do you know where you’re headed and what you’re building if you don’t know where you’ve been or where people want to go?”
Carr points out that all three platforms for the Vancouver civic election are based on principles of fairness and inclusion balanced with what Condon points out as practical, doable strategies for making real sustainable communities in the city people love.
“For every decision at City Council, we are going to ask: does this decision put public interest first? Is it fair? Will it make our city more livable and affordable?” says Carr.
“Our Green Team wants to see things like real solutions to affordability and congestion, and our small local businesses thriving — and we’ll do it based on solid information and community input, not what serves the interests of privileged insiders.”
Vancouver Green Park Board candidates are focused on comparable improvements based on fairness and sustainable values, including: accessible, safe public spaces for everyone; parks that focus on natural features; and revitalizing facility and park infrastructure that’s been neglected for years.
“Parks have become the backyards for many people and should be maintained to enhance and enliven their urban experience. We can do this best through community-based planning processes,” says Park Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon, Green Party of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner, 2008-11, and Vice President, VanDusen Botanical Garden Association. He is running for Park Board along with Michael Wiebe, local restaurant owner and Vice President Mount Pleasant BIA.
“When the Park Board works together with the community we can achieve all kinds of things that make all of our neighbourhoods more livable.”
For Vancouver Green School Board candidates Janet Fraser and Mischa Oak, their top priorities are listening to the community — especially parents — and standing up for fair funding for Vancouver schools.
“I know our schools, and right now they’re suffering,” says Oak, who has taught at nearly every Vancouver school.
“We need new fresh tactics to make sure we're creating a solid education system that prepares all students — and our city — for the future.”
The full Green Party of Vancouver 2014 platforms for Council, Parks and Schools can be found at vote.vangreens.ca/platform
Photos by Don Barthel