Mayor Robertson vows ‘positive’ election, slams NPA
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke to Vision Vancouver faithful on Sunday with a campaign-style speech attacking his Non-Partisan Association opponents as “out of touch” — yet vowing a “positive” election campaign in November.
The mayor spoke to more than 300 participants at the civic party's annual general meeting downtown, which voted in new executive members and approved incumbents' performance, but did not vote on election candidates or platforms.
“We are shocked and dismayed to see some of the votes made by NPA council members, school trustees and park commissioners,” he said. “We are not going to be backing away from taking it to the NPA in this campaign … but we're going to be relentlessly positive.”
Robertson insisted the administration is on the “right track” towards its goals around sustainability and ending homelessness — even though the number without lodgings has risen in the past year, according to the most recent count. He received the most enthusiastic applause for the city's stance against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
But the mayor also admitted his party's record after two terms in office has not always been “very perfect,” singling out Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood's widespread outrage over a draft plan to build highrise towers at the corner of Broadway and Commercial. After protests, Vision sent that plan back to the drawing board and launched a citizen's assembly to consult.
“We heard full-force that this is unacceptable to the community,” Robertson said. “When we make mistakes it's our duty and our responsibility to turn that around. Sometimes we move too fast.”
Vision announced recently it will only be running eight council candidates, plus Robertson for mayor.
George Affleck, one of two Non-Partisan Association councillors, said Robertson's accusations that his party has “not supported initiatives to solve homelessness and solve affordable housing” were “simply not true.” And on Grandview-Woodlands “mistakes,” Affleck said Robertson ignored wider dissatisfaction including in Dunbar, Marpole, West End and Kitsilano.
“If they think it's just the Grandview-Woodlands plan, they're living in some sort of vacuum,” Affleck said. “There is no corner of this city where they have not angered the people ... with absolute arrogance and lack of ability to listen to what the people of this city really want.”
The NPA has not announced any candidates yet or any details of a party membership meeting.