Leave it to Gordon Price, Vancouver urban planning expert and former Vancouver city councillor, to answer this question quite succinctly:
“Nothing can affect day-to-day life more quickly and profoundly than a decision at the municipal level. Or a failure at the municipal level.”
Why does Vancouver have a great food cart program? Because City Council voted for it.
Why did Vancouver not build freeways into the city and become the walkable, liveable place it is today? Because City Council decided not to build them (well, it’s more complicated than that, but still ultimately a municipal decision).
Why are there bike lanes throughout the city? Because City Council voted for it.
Why is there no mega-casino in the heart of downtown? Because City Council voted against it.
Who controls the provision and spending on local services including police, firefighters, road upgrades, garbage services and libraries? YOUR CITY.
One of the many food carts in Vancouver, started by the City’s new street food cart program (Photo: Globe and Mail)
For many cities across British Columbia, this November 19th is voting day for municipal elections. Your vote will make a difference.
In the last Vancouver civic election in 2008, voter turnout was only 31 per cent, the lowest in 50 years.The info graphic below indicates voter division from the 2008 municipal election. And apparently, only 9 % of Vancouverites east of Cambie St voted in the last election while in Shaughnessy, the city’s wealthiest neighbourhood, turnout was over 90%.
What does this mean? In most municipal elections you don’t just get to vote for someone to represent your neighbourhood, you get to vote for the Mayor and the entire City Council, so you wield power just by showing up. In other words, Shaunnessy didn’t just elect one person to represent their riding (like in provinicial and federal elections), they elected the Mayor and Council. When one neighbourhood, or group of interests, get out and vote, they can majorly impact the results.
Here is an info graphic of the 2008 Vancouver civic election results. The red represents neighbourhoods in which the NPA’s Peter Ladner won the popular vote, while the green indicates neighbourhoods where Gregor Robertson won the popular vote.
Hmmm…..the West (Non Partisan Association) vs. East (Vision Vancouver) division seem pretty clear here.
Cities matter. Your VOTE matters. So please VOTE on November 19th (yes, that is this Saturday).
Elections are exciting. I always vote. Then again, I’m a nerd.
After a series of extremely unfortunate events, I am being asked to leave my current residence by December 1st. Even more unfortunate, I don’t return to Vancouver until November 16th.
If you know of anywhere <$800/month, in the city, close to transit/good for biking, let me know.. Perhaps you need an artsy roommate? Also, if you have a truck/van and are willing to help me move in exchange for photos/drinks/pizza, I would greatly appreciate it.