Governance & Politics
September 18, 2018

The Random Order Ballot — 2018 Vancouver Civic Election

Amid concerns about an advantage conferred to some candidates because their name appeared at the top of the ballot, the City of Vancouver will introduce an alphabetically randomized ballot for the October 20, 2018 civic election.  All voters will see the same ballot layout.

Read more about this in the City’s administrative report from earlier this year:

There is a longstanding collection of empirical evidence demonstrating that voters without well-defined preferences are more likely to select the top-listed names on ballots due to cognitive fatigue.

So how do we get from here to there?

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From May 2 until October 13  1986  there was an international exposition in Vancouver with the theme “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion~World in Touch”.

World fairs used to be a big thing, enabling people to look at different pavilions and cultures without travelling. Canada has hosted two, with Expo 67 being held in Montreal during Canada’s centennial year. Expo 86 coincided with Vancouver’s centennial year, and it was the last world’s fair held in North America in the 20th century.

The story of how the north shore of False Creek between the Granville and Cambie  Street Bridges was transformed from an industrial working harbour into a fair representing 54 countries and a number of corporations has already been told. So too has the awful reality that  people in Single Room Hotels (SRO’s) were displaced for Expo visitors. Rooming house hotels  were subject to an Innkeeper’s Regulation and not the standard Tenancy Act, meaning that long-term tenants could be evicted on just a week’s notice.

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The temperature is going up.  As the election approaches and the City moves towards a ‘Making Room’ rezoning in traditional neighbourhoods, positions are hardening.

On one hand, a desire to take change slow (if not stop it outright), reflected in the columns of Elizabeth Murphy in The Sun, especially her latest: “city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning.

The city’s consultants confirmed as far back as 2014 that there is more than enough existing zoned capacity to meet population growth beyond 2041. Yet the city continues a manic rush to rezone.

The most recent example is the rushed rezoning of Kitsilano RT7/RT8, Cedar Cottage RT10 and all the RS zones citywide of 68,000 properties, all without public consultation. The public hearing for all of this is coming Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. 

But there’s another constituency, rarely if ever heard until recently, that insists these changes are not ambitious enough.  Some of them composed an open letter to Council to spell out what they mean and what they want.  Here it is:

 

Comments to the proposed Amendments to the Zoning and Development By­law for Most RS Zones to Allow Two-­Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice

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In this 4th in our series of Mayoral Exit Interviews, Richard Walton of the District of West Vancouver, who has spent fully one-third of his life in public service — as school trustee (1986-’93), then as councillor (2002-’05), and finally as mayor (’05-’18).

Walton has also done what many of today’s mayoral candidates may not fully appreciate as an essential part of the job — serving on the Boards of a number of organizations representing the enormous operational complexity and cultural diversity of this region: B.C. Games for Athletes with Disability, Fraser Basin Council, Metro Vancouver, Municipal Finance Authority of BC, Mayors’ Council, North Vancouver Police Committee, and Metro Vancouver (GVRD) committees on Culture, Environment and Energy, Federal Gas Tax, Finance, Performance and Audit, Port Cities, to name a few.

In 2004, Walton also reinforced one of the more unfortunate stereotypes of chartered accountants everywhere, by co-founding the World Mountain Bike Conference and Festival.

The brain drain continues with his retirement this fall; here’s part I of our exit interview. 

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A few pix from a rapidly-growing event:  HUB’s Bike the Night.  Aside from being highly social and fun, it’s a way to introduce people to riding outside their comfort zone.  Families, goofy hats and blinking bikes make it all the more fun.

The sponsor list is impressive:  MEC; Translink; LaFarge; Richards, Buell, Sutton; YVR Airport Authority; and many more. From this, you can get an impression of big community support for people riding bikes.  The attendees alone could go a long way towards putting bike-friendly candidates into the Mayor’s office and city council in the upcoming 2018 Vancouver civic election.

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A big thank you to James and Errin Bligh for sharing insights and images from their August travels across Europe.

This final post contains quite a few videos, many of which focus on public spaces. But the big takeaway for our urbanist duo was on bicycles, and the fact that even the country considered the international paragon for urban cycling can be an intimidating place for an important segment of the population— the uninitiated.

“A combined 3 days in Amsterdam and Rotterdam served as our last stop on the tour, and our first attempt at cycling abroad.

Unsurprisingly, the central historical (and tourist packed) neighbourhoods with tiny shared streets were treacherous for cycling, while nearby the relatively quiet new developments outside of the four main canals served for a scenic and relaxing bike ride.

Errin, a new cyclist, shares her thoughts on what additional facilities would have made cycling in Amsterdam more accessible to newbies:

A passing bike lane and a slow bike lane

Physical separation from both cars and pedestrians

Adjustable rental bikes (default size can be too big)

Accessible source of helmets”

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