Robertson makes Vancouver a Happy Planet

Written by Brian Revel on November 15th, 2008

Vision Vancouver Mayor-electAfter the most despicable civil election campaign season in Vancouver’s history, it looks like Gregor Robertson is going to be our new mayor and starting tomorrow he is going to have his work cut out for him.

The first item on his agenda will be to find a way to douse the open flames that are burning both on the deck of his ship, Vision Vancouver, as well as on the deck of his rival, the Non-Partisan Association.

Accusations have been flying between Vision Vancouver and the NPA over the hundred million dollar loan guarantee. First it was about whether it was appropriate to keep the deal behind closed doors. Then it turned out that the numbered copy of the discussion paper that went missing had been assigned to none other than Finance Committee Chair and NPA Mayoral candidate Peter Ladner. Just as Ladner started to cry foul, Vision Vancouver’s Raymond Louie threatened to sue everybody except Santa Claus over an unattributed report on Global Television that it was he who made the document disappear.

Lost in all the screaming and yelling have been all the other issues that affect Vancouver. While both mayoral candidates and their respective parties both agree that homelessness is the number one priority facing the city, neither side had a chance to make their positions clear to the electorate before the loan guarantee hullabaloo.

Other issues that were not discussed but will be white-hot topics of contention during this term will be the final preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics. And then as though that won’t be contentious enough- it will also be in this term that Vancouver is actually going to play host to these games. Council better be ready for the onslaught of complaints from local residents concerning traffic, hotel vacancy rates, rents, and general disruption of everybody’s precious little worlds here in Lotusland.

Former mayor and Premier of the province Gordon Campbell can’t seem to keep his hand out of the civic arena either. Now that he has lost his ally, outgoing mayor Sam Sullivan, it is quite possible that Grandpa Gordo will start fishing around, stirring the pot that much more. Campbell would do well to stay out of the City’s business.

And so would Robertson do well to stay out of provincial affairs. Vancouver civic elections are often referenda on the provincial government’s performance but this time it doesn’t look like it was. Robertson, a former opposition MLA in the Legislature will have to manage expectations that he will want to pick fights with the BC Liberals when there needs to be continued good relations that front.

It’s good to know that there are points of common interest between the civic parties. Hopefully, our new mayor will be able to bring the council together to peaceably complete the financial arrangements surrounding the Olympic Village and get on with the business of making Vancouver a more liveable city- especially for the homeless.

There has been too much bickering on Vancouver City Council for too long. Now that the election is behind us it’s time for our councillors to grow up and get things done. After all, that’s what we’ve elected them to do.

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