With four-year terms, Vision will govern Vancouver to 2015

Post by Mike Klassen in


Four More Years of social change under Gregor after 2011?

The BC government confirmed today that the entire list of recommendations of their Local Government Elections Task Force will be implemented next spring in time for the November 2011 municipal elections. One of the recommendations is to expand municipal terms of government to four years, instead of the current three years. This was a request from the Union of BC Municipalities that Minister Bill Bennett and his committee abided.

For many, the recommendations of the Task Force seemed like good ideas, while labour-backed groups complained it didn't set enough limits. However, I predict the move to four-year terms will be a harder sell for a public already incensed by the process around the HST. It's been about a generation since we moved from two year terms to three year. While four year terms conform with those of the Provincial government (who are also considering moving the end of the mandate to the fall rather than in May), there is already grumbling about what it means to have four year terms.

For Vancouver and its currently lacklustre NPA, it virtually ensures that Vision Vancouver will rule through 2015. The significance of that date is interesting, because 2015 is the year Mayor Gregor Robertson promised to "end homelessness" in Vancouver. Of course, he's been working hard to insert the word "street" into his promise, as in we'll woo homeless folks off the street and warehouse them until someone can deal with them.

The year 2015 is also the halfway mark to Robertson's promised 20,000 "green jobs" within city limits by 2020. That of course is the year Vancouver becomes the world's "greenest city" (whatever that means). He's been making the rounds in New York and, recently, San Francisco to make sure that all the big US foundations know about his pledge.

It's been said to me by some wise folks that you can fix the damage done to Vancouver's professional civil service by governments like Vision after one term, but it becomes much more difficult after two terms, or more accurately, after seven years in office. So the November 2011 election has some high stakes attached to it.

Will Vision be able to continue their 500-year vision for systemic social change using the power of Vancouver City Hall? Or will a sensible alternative rise up and spoil the broth for the Hollyhock set?

I wish I had a magic ball to tell you what will happen, but alas I do not. But what I do suspect is that there will be a fierceness to the 2011 campaign on both sides of the aisle. With four year terms in play, the game just got 33% more important.

You might have noticed I didn't say that Gregor Robertson would stick it out until 2015. Given the fact he skipped out of his mandate as an MLA early, I think Robertson will drop the Mayor's job like a hot potato when a better opportunity arises – either provincially or federally. I predict he will not finish a full second term as Mayor.

In fact, someone should ask him to promise to do so during the 2011 campaign – will you, Gregor, commit to a full second term in office? Not only should he promise to do so, if he causes an avoidable by-election by bailing early, voters should demand that his financial backers to cover the cost. Given the big bucks behind him, they could easily pay the tab.

- post by Mike


Robertson is an opportunistic quitter. As long as other people are paying for his shenanigans of course. To say that you don't expect him to serve a full second term is basically suggesting that he is going to get to see another day. Pathetic on your part. This guy should not have seen the inside of a political office ever! Like today's Burrard Bridge bike lane "unanimous" approval, their definition of "temporary trial" is in fact a collective FYou Vancouver! His Gang has to go. Not soon. Yesterday.

What's with bike lanes and the right?
Geez, what do you want? LA, Phoenix, Houston or Paris, San Fran, Amsterdam etc... I have to say, get a grip, this is a small step forward for livability.

It won't stop global warming and it won't make the city uninhabitable for car drivers. But it helps with alternatives, as do - in spades - the skytrain lines. It's a combination of transportation alternatives that make getting around work.

Makes you wonder whether people like Higgins ever get around - LA, the driver's city, sucks for driving as do Phoenix and Houston. Cities that encourage all forms of transportation, from walking and biking to cars, buses and rapid transit work best.

If the best the NPA can do is attack bikes then Klassen is right: no revival in sight.

Ian were there no bike lanes in Vancouver before Vision came to power? I seem to recall the NPA built hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes? Were all those a figmant of our imaginations? Stop spreading lies that the NPA doesn't support bike routes.

Your vision pals don't have a lock on virtuousness. Just remember this before you post another arrogant comment.

Ian: you are absolutely correct; it is clear which cities make better models.

More importantly: I come from a family of refugees and to see a vocal minority of whiners complaining about "bike lanes" is embarrassing.

This seems to be a major gripe among some people, in addition to the opposition party. It amounts to *zero*.

Please concentrate on real issues.


I think what people take issue with is the tactics that Vision has used to install these lanes - not some much the the lanes themselves.

The statements made by the Mayor contradict those of various council members - which included the stats that they are just now claiming.

Not two months ago when they were putting the Dunsmuir lanes into place, Councilor Meggs told various news outlets that the numbers of cyclists had stayed static at 3.7%. They had hoped that with the Burrard Bridge lane to achieve 10%, but it did not happen. By their own numbers, the city reported 70,000 trips between July and September 2009. Not toomany people cycle here during the wet weather.

And as it stands now, the Mayor states that the increase is 24%.

From CBC: ...'According to city staff, the number of cyclists using the bridge has increased 24 per cent...'

Which I take it as a 24% increase of the 3.7% riders already accounted for, which means the ridership only increased by 0.8% and is now at a 4.5% level. Not great gains.

As for the supposed number of 500 - 800 riders in an hours time, that number does not fly. Nor does the 'one-millionth' rider - unless we are looking back YEARS to satisfy that number.

I would be willing to sit bridge side myself and do the count.

"Geez, what do you want? LA, Phoenix, Houston or Paris, San Fran, Amsterdam etc... I have to say, get a grip, this is a small step forward for livability."

Actually, I think you need to get a grip. Vancouver was already a very liveable city before the introduction of the Burrard and Dunsmuir bike lanes comparable to any world class city. To suggest that these measures which benefit a miniscule part of the population while inconveniencing the majority improves liveablility is the height of arrogance.

Isn't it odd that the Vision faithful are whining about the NPA being against bike lanes while the lone NPA councillor voted YES to both major new ones. Suzanne is a bike enthusiast, as was former Councillor Peter Ladner. As Kerry mentioned, NPA Councillors installed many kilometers of bike lanes throughout Vancouver in the past.

People are sick and tired of the "divide and conquer" tactics coming from the Vision camp and the constant blame game. According to them, their mistakes are always the NPA's fault. It won't be long until they start trotting out that meme again when questions about their Olympic Village financing debacle comes into focus.

There is an awakening in the West End that they are getting screwed by the congestion and accompanying pollution caused by poor planning and poor engineering of the Burrard Bridge bike lanes. The Dunsmuir bike lanes are the result of Council thinking that they "got away with it" on the Burrard. You can fool some of the people etc etc... Vision, Geoff Meggs and this Frankenstein's monster of a council will find themselves on the outside looking in if they really believe they're going to get away with de-Viaducting Vancouver.
They have become a joke even to some of their very powerful supporters.

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