Lacking local leadership - The Orca
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Lacking local leadership

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Jody Vance: “Why is Vancouver’s reality an endless cycle of raised taxes, costs, fees, and charges?” Why indeed.

Let’s just state the obvious: the City of Vancouver failed miserably in its response to COVID-19.

This born and raised Vancouverite struggles to give our current mayor, council and park board a 2/10.

As we move past the emergency phase of this pandemic, looking back the lack of local leadership isn’t just lacklustre, but downright appalling.

Those who use their positions at Vancouver City Hall to float or ram through their agendas are actively harming this city.

I’m all for fighting climate change and doing whatever we can on a provincial and national scale to do my part, but it’s time to let go of the “Greenest City” ego march. Because the collateral damage built into the latest initiatives is a train wreck for the citizens leaders are elected to serve.

I can’t understand how any official can look to Vancouverites barely past this pandemic and think “now is the perfect time to add more costs.”

On top of the entrenched affordability angst in BC’s major metropolitan jewel we face more on multiple fronts. The Climate Emergency Initiative is a greenwashed tax grab that has citizens of Vancouver going nuclear.

City Hall has gone too far this time. The only Middle here is to walk back the residential permit parking fees, zero emissions fees, and any proposed mobility pricing to wall in the already hollowing out downtown core.

Enough. Uncle.

As my UnSpun Podcast partner says, we cannot afford another “bullshit cup of coffee.” That’s the catch phrase for “just a little more is needed for us to do _______.”

No. Done. Too many have already been forced to move from that cup of coffee to tap water to pay the tax on our taxed taxes.

Canada’s most spectacular city has long been a political running joke. It’s not that Vancouver’s municipal government suddenly became lacklustre, but has been allowed to continue through unprecedented times.

Massive spending on things that do nothing to address real, immediate urgent needs. Not another report or plan or study or survey.

No more pet projects, political virtue signalling, grand gestures at press availabilities that do nothing, or sweeping statements on City letterhead that have no impact, build nothing, and save no one.

The current trajectory of cost of living in Vancouver is unsustainable. Serving small slices of society at the cost of all others should be halted, and it might take the Provincial Government to step in.

Seriously, UNCLE. My Middle is a plea – a scream even – for an adult in the room – and an audit of City spending.

Why cannot the provincial government – with an eye to its urban support base and real concerns about affordability – mandate municipal transparency with how tax dollars are spent? Then, the budget should be slashed to the core before adding to the already prohibitive cost of living in Vancouver.

I’m a born and raised Vancouverite who has vehemently defended this city on a global, national, and provincial public stage – but after decades of defending mounting “reasons” for paying a premium to live here, I’m at my limit.

Vancouver sits amidst municipalities on all sides which, somehow, don’t just survive, but thrive.

Cities that meet budgets. Cities that support and protect citizens through a global pandemic. Cities that change regulations on a dime to help struggling businesses.

Cities that understand the role of municipal governments.

Why are the answers so elusive here where budgets are ten times the size yet services are deteriorating?

Why is Vancouver’s reality an endless cycle of raised taxes, costs, fees, and charges?

This is my call for our elected officials to clear the decks and get back to basics.

Public safety.
Garbage collection and street cleaning.

Accessibility for all with sidewalks curb cuts on every corner.

Beaches safe to swim in, with spaces and places for those with all abilities.

There should be a federal plan for Canadian Cities to pull their weight in the name of the climate emergency — but leaders should motivate steps to combat climate change by creating win/wins. Where’s the carrot? In Vancouver’s “Greenest City” I see only the stick.

Incentives work so much better than politically lazy cash grabs.

The Climate Emergency Plan with residential permit parking should be coupled with that line item coming off of the property taxes of those who already pay for street parking as well as street and sidewalk maintenance.

The overnight parking permits for visitors is remarkably tone deaf. The essential worker at Vancouver General Hospital, already costed out of living near work, will now lose $3 a day to park to work the night shift? Are you serious?

Any plan that incentivises more drinking and driving out of downtown is a bad plan.

It’s not been thought through, save for the bottom line add.

Vancouver’s municipal government is broken; now blatantly looking for more ways to squeeze its citizens, instead of serving them. The spending got out of control, and the belt to be tightened is at City Hall, not city homes.

George Affleck and I have a running joke in UnSpun Podcast about the “43 communications people” that work in Vancouver City Hall — FORTY THREE. It’s not funny that there are 43 full time, big salaried, positions in that building. It’s just one example of bloat – but an illustrative one.

Vancouver needs a hero prepared to take the medicine, instead of yet another bullshit cup of coffee.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

SWIM ON:

  • Jody Vance last wrote about the passing of her beloved Dad, and the long-term care workers – heroes, every one – who helped her family through the most difficult of times.
  • You’ll never believe this, but on last week’s UnSpun, George and Jody backed into the thorny issue of proposed new residential parking fees that could cost some thousands of dollars.
  • An acute labour shortage is made worse when young people have fewer options to get to work – which, as Dene Moore notes, is pretty much par for the course in rural BC.
SWIM ON