Robert Mangelsdorf, editor of the Westender, put together a brief questionnaire for “some of Vancouver’s leading citizens,” from all walks of life, about the issues that matter most to them.

I’m honoured to be among them, with Gwen Haworth, Ryan McCormick and Katrina Pacey.  You can go here to read all the responses – but here are my answers:
Question 1:
What issue is most important to you personally as a voter, and how would you like to see it addressed?
The gap between the price of our real estate and the value of a diverse community, especially generationally, is too great.  But no one thinks that local government would or could lower housing prices as a deliberate act of public policy.  At best, the need to take the pressure off, to find alternatives, to accommodate growth throughout the city while maintaining its character is a generational challenge.  It will take time, consistency, enough community support and the willingness to make tough decisions that pay off over time.  I wish there was a quick fix.  If there was, it wouldn’t be one we’d like.
Question 2:
What qualities do you look for in a candidate?
What we call leadership is also about followership.  Good leaders assess the community’s needs (even when they’re not immediately apparent or opposed by special interests) and then judge how far they can go before there’s not enough support behind them to succeed.  It takes courage to act, skill to maintain support, and judgment to shift course when needed.
Question 3:
Why is it important for Vancouverites to get out and vote on Nov. 15?
We’re going to have to live with whomever we elect for four years.  It’s worth forty minutes.


  1. First, loc gov’t policy & procedures severely constrain supply of housing, and what does get through pays dearly when they take their financial cut. Many studies (here in BC and elsewhere in N. America), have demonstrated that loc gov’t clearly have the ability to maintain negative impacts in the housing market.
    Secondly, these are contradictory terms when the latter creates a veto:
    “…. accommodate growth … while maintaining … character …”
    The freezing of perpetual character is the cliche that prevents vast areas of centrally-located, over-serviced, environmentally-unsustainable, low-density, SFD neighborhoods from evolving.
    Character is just a state; it can be good or bad, and for many people, the actual characteristic with which critically-needed infill is measured is PAST character; “how things used to be”, or “how I rosily imagine the past.”
    The essential problem with this region is that it’s ‘character’ needs to evolve. And because that natural change has been artificially surpressed, it now needs to do that in significant steps. That’s the only way the carefree adolescence of Vancouver can face some of the harsh realities of adulthood.

  2. Vancouver is too small and it is land locked. if it annexed all MetroVan municipalities into one “Greater Vancouver” city like London, UK, the average prices in “Vancouver” would drop and be more normal.
    MetroVan also chose, for no good reason besides alleged ocean rising, to not allow more land to be created west of Surrey, Richmond or Delta, off UBC or in Boundary Bay. A debate on how much farmland we need in the city, right next door to 12 story buildings is also not happening. Much could be done on the local level to create affordability, but it is not.
    For example, the Canada Line could be extended south through Richmond, then into Delta and all the way to Tsawwassen and a sedond to WhiteRock. All nodes along the way could be like a mini-Burnaby: highrises close to the train station and lower density a little further out. Very sustainable and bike/pedestrian oriented. A million new residents could easily be accommodated along this one line. Is this even discussed today ? Not to my knowledge as it is not in the 2040 MetroVan growth plan. Instead we grow raspberries there and complain about congestion and too many cars.
    Where is the vision here ?

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