Op-Ed in today's Vancouver Sun

Post by Mike Klassen in


Mike and Daniel are in today's Vancouver Sun Op-Ed page discussing Gregor's green plan are once again privileged to be on the Editorial pages of the Vancouver Sun. The piece titled, Mayor Robertson's green dream is just that is a critical look at the 70+ page plan by Gregor and his GCAT team to achieve green greatness.

For Vancouver city council, green has become the new black. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's 10-point plan for becoming the world's greenest city was rolled out recently.

The mayor's handpicked team of advisers has held their meetings out of public view. Now what should Vancouver residents make of the plan developed by the mayor's team without their input?

We are weighing into the debate by asking are the Mayor's goals, such as achieving 20,000 green-oriented jobs within a decade in city limits, actually achievable? Where are the hard decisions around land use? Why the rush toward social enterprises and making changes to the Vancouver Charter?

We've got much more to say about Gregor's Green Dream, so stay tuned for upcoming posts.

On other media appearances,'s Daniel Fontaine made his weekly appearance on CKNW's Civic Affairs Panel on the Bill Good Show this morning. Topics included whether there is a future in large single-family homes, and should cities limit the size of houses or find better ways to tax the square footage?

You can check out the discussion by visiting CKNW's Audio Vault, and going to 9am on Tuesday, October 27th.


Interesting article, and I agree with many of the criticisms. However, one complaint:

Robertson has set out some formidable objectives. For example, he proposes that 20,000 jobs in green-oriented businesses can be created -- that's 2,000 new jobs annually within city boundaries.

To put that into perspective, top video game producer Electronic Arts Canada has just 1,600 employees at its Burnaby studio after 27 years in business. Vancouver would need a dozen companies the size of EA Canada in full swing within 10 years to reach the mayor's jobs target.

20000 jobs doesn't necessarily mean 15 EA-sized eco companies. It means 20000 people working in whatever is defined as "green-oriented". Over 10 years, that's not such a huge number, especially given current trends in green business and the opportunity to play loosely with the definition of "green-oriented". I bet this milestone can be met without even trying.

Good column. I hope the Sun plans to run a few more from you guys on different topics.

This whole green plan has totally fallen flat on its face. Not a single person is even talking about it. It seems like nothing more than a pr exercise. Another waste of money from Gregorio.

Two more good reasons to not read The Vancouver Sun nor listen to CKNW.

Thanks for verifying my decision to give up both!

2000 new jobs every year in a single industry focus inside the boundaries of the City of Vancouver is a huge expectation in our opinion. Of the 10 or so companies that GCAT names as industry leaders, the overwhelming majority our based outside Vancouver.

A company with even 100 employees requires a large amount of space, which Vancouver doesn't have much of. The False Creek flats, even if they are proposing to go here, has almost no structures in place yet, and few official plans in place.

Permanent businesses (not just ones running out their start-up capital) based inside Vancouver would be an amazing feat. But the reality is that it is very difficult to make it happen. I don't begrudge Gregor from aiming high, but how on Earth can he pull it off?

When Sam Sullivan said he would cut homelessness in half by 2010 with housing initiatives (that's 700-1000 people with a roof over their head), his critics balked at the promise. Now when Gregor sounds pie-in-the-sky is it any different?

Hi guys, a few days ago I left these comment on Frances Bula "Vision plan for making Vancouver a green zone" post.October 21st, 2009.
It was addressed to the Mayor@ comp.and it suits your post as a glove too.
there it goes:

Mr. Mayor, I appreciate that you always want to look busy and concerned for all of us but there are other ways to mess up the city, like the …Games coming to town for example. But wait, you already have that covered, and as we speak you are chasing cars, trains and airplanes around the world so all those charlat… eh, good people involved in it can start their party. By the way, how do you plan to offset your needles travel carbon quota? Invite Al Gore to speak about it? Surely the Greek Gods are lenient on this one.
Just make sure you don’t get the “Shoes too big to fill” flu on your travels. I know that torch is futuristic ugly like hell I may add but who cares, next to Ochi, Mochi and Ghilochi the mascots, it looks the better of them.
What was I saying? Yes, it is not the fact that this Green plan was concocted behind closed doors, by you and your handpicked Friends and completely out of touch with the constituents you allegedly “serve” but the ideas of this plan are in the same class as the ideas of the first Soviet era Five Year Plan of 1928… And look where those multiples of Five took them!
Good thing that your plan is spread out over 10(20, 30!) years (Ten Years Plan, Twenty, Thirty); one more a reason to not believe a word of it (same as the one with” eradicate homelessness by 2015 and “bring it on” affordable housing”).
First, who would remember it; second, you’ll probably be kicked out of politics by then anyway; third, the majority might be dead and already composted civically.
I could probably argue on every item on that recycled paper shopping list of yours but that would take too much of my time.
However, I’ll end with an insightful analysis of your Green Plan that I found on the Web:

Tom, above, said:

"It seems like nothing more than a pr exercise....."

Right on!



Hang on a second.....

I thought Tom was talking about City Caucus.

My mistake - sorry.

On a not un-related note...

Just wondering when the reports about 'Leafaggedon!' and the clogging of storm drains being the fault of his Gregorness are going to begin.....

(so I can set my watch)


Guys if I am not mistaken I sent you a comment yesterday on this post. What's up? Feel free to edit just don't discard it completely. Censorship FLU got to you?
Bbbbby for you! caught up in spam filter. now posted

Have you looked at the San Jose example given in the green jobs section? I'd be curious to know what their experience has been.

Also - if Vancouver is expecting to add 50,000 jobs by 2020, then having 20,000 of those be green doesn't seem outrageous. Sounds more like you disagree with the 50,000 jobs number (since I think GCAT is really just saying that 40% of new jobs should be green)... which came from the Metro Vancouver’s Growth Strategy (prelim draft).

PK, thanks for your comments. According to Metro Vancouver's own stats, Vancouver increased total jobs by 27,000 between 1991-2001. Now given that was the so-called 'dismal decade' where our city fell into a downward slide late in the 1990s, let's add 20% or so and say that an optimistic job creation target for Vancouver is 35,000. Most large increases in employment are directly related to development – i.e. construction jobs building condos.

Is 20,000 in green-related industries sounding less achievable yet? I'm prepared to admit if I'm wrong on this, but for a city that has made no effort to develop a region-wide economic strategy with its neighbours, I see this as a very steep hill to climb. Regrettably, Gregor's "Greenest City" or "Green Capital" come across only as empty marketing ploys.

As for San Jose, I'd also like to see how they fair. It is the heart of the world's tech industry, with a population twice that of Vancouver, giving them a few obvious advantages.

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