How Vancouver is Being Destroyed by NDP/GREENS/COPE

It’s actually NOT their fault: Vancouver’s NDP Mayor and his allies, Council Members representing the Greens and COPE, are just pursuing their left-wing ideology and agendas … serving their base.

It’s YOUR fault, if your part of the 60% of eligible Vancouver voters who couldn’t be bothered to vote in the 2017 civic election.

Now you’re paying for it … figuratively and literally … with a spreading cancer of destroyed neighborhoods, where local residents/families no longer feel safe, where used needles litter city parks, where anyone who goes into the downtown core to shop, obtain services or have a meal now feels like an unwelcome invader … unless they come on foot or on a bike .

And even then, they are at greater risk than ever in that area … thanks to the downward transformation inflicted on the downtown by City Hall.

Just take a look at what’s happened to Granville Street, Vancouver’s once prime shopping and tourist street: long-established retailers have fled, as have several family style restaurants.

Now, drug-users, criminals, crazies are allowed to run amok, panhandle, harass, threaten and frighten strollers, shoppers or nearby residents. I would urge anyone NOT to walk there alone, even during the day.

And it’s City Hall’s fault.

They have over the years, slowly but steadily, turned the area around downtown Granville Street into an extension of Hastings/Main … home now to a plethora of homeless shelters, drug treatment facilities, troubled youth service centers, drop-in sites and even a permanent opioid overdose prevention facility, just approved there by City Council.

You can read about that neighborhood destroying decision here: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/yaletown-overdose-prevention-site-1101-seymour-street

No doubt these are services needed in the city … but WHY so foolishly located along the length or abutting what’s supposed to be Vancouver’s prime downtown shopping/tourist/dining street?

I believe it’s part of the radical agenda of the lefties now controlling City Hall who ENJOY pushing their socialist ideology … and thumbs into the faces of middle class and wealthy condo and homeowners.

Madame Defarge would perhaps approve, but City Hall has signed the death warrant for not just the Granville downtown area, but also nearby Yaletown, another neighborhood that was revitalizing and even attracting families with young children. Who would want to buy/rent there now?

By the way, all of these projects , destroying the city’s downtown, have been happily supported/funded by the NDP provincial government.

And that was just the beginning!

Also this week, from those who brought you the “new” Strathcona Park, there has been another “proposal” (meaning a foregone conclusion to proceed! : to use the Youth Hostel at Jericho/Locarno park/beach for “temporary” homeless housing. https://www.citynews1130.com/2020/11/17/jericho-beach-shelter-flyers/

Dows City Council really believe the new “residents” won’t be panhandling, intimidating, harassing and frightening those who now stroll the Jericho/Locarno trails and paths weekdays, alone or in couples, well out of sight of the road or the beach; mothers with kids, seniors who walk the paths alone or elderly couples from seniors’ homes nearby?

This is NOT just theory: ask the residents/families of Strathcona and Yaletown about the REALITY they now live!

Did Council even consider the impact on nearby homes (there go their backyard chairs, bicycles, tables, toys and anything else that can be used by the new “neighbours” or sold on Hastings Street or Terminal Avenue!)

I believe the lefties on City Council know that … but just don’t care. Maybe even chuckle at the transformational neighborhood prospect!

Looks to me like it’s all being done on purpose: the socialists deliberately “sticking it” to the middle class and wealthy.

And, yes, there’s still more!

The hate on and the war on cars by the Greens/COPE continues, with the encouragement of the NDP Mayor: millions more dollars are to be spent studying/implementing ways to keep cars (ie people) away from Vancouver businesses, shops, dining and entertainment: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/downtown-toll-roads-possible-vancouver-council-votes-to-pursue-controversial-climate-plan-1.5194168 .

The details are frightening: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/vancouver-climate-emergency-action-plan-approved.

Even asking staff to “study” such proposals and bring back recommendations will push away businesses that had been even THINKING of establishing themselves, their corporate operations or headquarters … and jobs … in downtown Vancouver.

The REAL winners of this latest Peoples’ Republic of Vancouver decree, and the uncertainty it will bring over the next two or three years, will be Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, etc.

And while they’re waiting for that new set of neighborhood, business and development-killing recommendation , the City socialists voted to impose street parking PAY permit requirements throughout the entire city, not just the densest areas. Apparently, they don’t think residents (owners and renters) pay enough yet with their city taxes!! https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/vancouver-mandatory-residential-street-parking-permits-approved

As if Vancouver taxpayers … residential and commercial … all of them struggling just to hang on in the midst of an escalating Covid pandemic need THAT to add to their current angst!!!

Remember, just this year … to finance their societal destruction/reconstruction/transformation of Vancouver into a revolutionary socialist mini-state, the NDP/Green/COPE dominated Council raised City Taxes 7%. That was on top of increases of 5% in 2019; 4% in 2018; and, 4% in 2017.

I don’t know how your income has been doing, but mine sure hasn’t gone up that much each year. Not to mention all the other increases in taxes, fees, rates, charges other governments/agencies have also added onto our backs in those same years.)

Vancouver Council has either lost touch with reality … or is oblivious to the hurt, stress and pain they now are inflicting so frequently on so many of the city’s population.

As CKNW’s Commentator Bruce Allen’s Reality Check pointed out Wednesday : THIS Council does not listen to those with opinions different from theirs: https://omny.fm/shows/reality-check-with-bruce-allen/reality-check-city-of-vancouver-does-not-listen?in_playlist=reality-check-with-bruce-allen!podcast .

He’s right!

And Vancouver’s Council’s arrogant, non-responsive disrespect for working, tax-paying citizens was made possible because their NDP/Green/COPE voters and their activist supporters showed up to vote in Vancouver’s last civic election. To their credit!

So the activist crowd … advocating on behalf of the homeless, drug users, cyclists, the anti-car crowd now hold sway … completely. (By the way, WHY is Beach Ave still “temporarily” closed to cars eastbound? Even in the pouring rain season? )

Because far too many of the rest of Vancouver’s voters … 60% of those eligible … did not bother to show up at the polls. To their shame!

And now they’re paying for it! Big time!

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts to all new postings on this Blog., No spam …just alerts to new topics.)

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23 Responses to How Vancouver is Being Destroyed by NDP/GREENS/COPE

  1. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    one of your best post yet.

    We left Vancouver over 10 years ago for the fraser valley , what a great choice.
    lots of free parking, parks , shopping and cities that listen . ahhh democracy what a novel idea.

    We come into vancouver proper every few months for health care, over the last decade what a difference , not for the good. the city is dirtier , more empty store fronts ,try to find gas stations in the downtown core ,they are virtually gone just as the parking is reduced and fees rise, the density is crazy high rises everywhere yet little affordable housing built ,little mountain housing is still vacant land . they could of not razed the property and still housed several hundred families , sush a shame

    the mayor issues a press release about asking council to write a letter and CKNW treats it as breaking news . wow

    vancouver has gone down the tubes since vision vancouver i see no hope for recovery .

    perhaps it is time to cancel the vancouver charter and bring it under the municipal act or merge all the lower mainland to one super governance system .there is only one tax payer , perhaps the low voter turn out is due to exhaustion from trying to survive

    (Response: If there’s one … maybe the only one … rule I remember from high school physics is that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Businesses, investors and people looking for places to build,establish and live would be remiss to not take into account all the changes/increases in costs … HUGE in the cumulative … the current Council is adding to the cost of living in Vancouver. Just think WHY a middle class or working family would even think of choosing Vancouver. As you say, the suburbs are much more friendly, welcoming and cheaper! How ironic, the “socialists” are turning Vancouver into a haven for the REALLY RICH … and the homeless, druggies. Crazy!!! h.o)

  2. Rainclouds says:

    Bang On!

    Two More years. I am thinking there is a lot of seething resentment with the antics at Cambie St which will encourage the electorate to show up.If apathy reigns again in 2022 then folks, you deserve it, these people are dangerous due to incompetence.

    As you illustrate, this Mayor and his cabal of ideologs seem to have no problem picking pockets of the stressed taxpayer. Haven’t heard much about getting their own fiscal house in order. Just whining and hand wringing from a former Leftist MP and academic whose resume seems to be thin on the financial skill sets desperately needed. Thirty years of development money GUSHING into the city coffers and 3 months into a pandemic they are crying poverty?

    Running a City with a budget of 1.5 Billion requires a semblance of fiscal acumen.

    EG: Richards St Bike Path , Tearing up the road from Cordova to Pacific Blvd which is taking MONTHS because this one will be a permanent, Concrete, separate, meandering, paved path being constructed at the same time Mayor Socialist is crying poverty.

    To Lead means difficult decisions need to be made, the current Mayor and Vision acolytes will probably learn this too late for them or us.

    (Response: The challenge will be to get those voters who do not vote in civic elections to get out there and vote! They have to be educated to realize that it’s THEIR inaction that has allowed City Hall become what ii its: a radical left revolutionary council out to destroy the previous norms and transform Vancouver into a People’s Socialist City. And like other such “experiments”, if not curbed, Vancouver will end up broke, deserted by the middle class, families, the VERY wealthy, and a refuge for homeless and druggies from across BC and the country … coming for the ever-increasing free housing, Canada’s most open drug acceptance policies and minimum or enforcement-free crime zones. h.o)

  3. D. M. Johnston says:

    Vancouver is a dump.

    Strong words, but that is one man’s opinion.

    Vancouver is ruled by a clique of “higher purpose persons:” who know all and are wondrous experts of everything. They also believe that the taxpayer is solely their toy for plundering.

    With few exceptions, such as Councillor Coleen Hardwick, Vancouver is ruled with an iron fist by a malignant narcissist cadre of Trumpian politicians, who have had power go to their heads.

    Mayor Dithers a former NDP MP, just reminds me why I do not vote for the NDP, just whines and whines and does nothing and council follow suit.

    How did Vancouver get this way?

    The seeds were sown by Vision Vancouver, the Westside cocktail NDP set, which gutted proper planning and installed a politicized bureaucracy in the city, which welcomed land speculation and development on a scale unheard of.

    In 2015, Vision Vancouver had TransLink’s two top planners fired because they stated the obvious that Broadway did not have anywhere near the traffic flows to justify a subway. Vinson(less) Vancouver , with the likes of former Councillor Geoff Meggs (now Horgan’s chief advisor) wanting the subway as a driver for land speculation and development (a good place to further launder casino laundered money) and the odious belief that subways make a city world class.

    Truth be know, subways pauper cities with their massive operating and maintenance costs.

    Bike lanes with little or no bikes, fake environmental concerns and a war on the car, and towers and high rise condos for the overseas (read casino) investor, yet a blind eye to homelessness and tent cities, etc. has made Vancouver a dodgy place to go these days.

    Vancouver council would rather spend $300k plus for new furniture, so City Hall looks less colonial, than feed the poor, which grows at an alarming pace. The United Gospel Mission, the last chance life raft of the poor, is turning away the hungry for a lack of food! Give your head a shake Dithers!

    The sad thing is that Vancouver has spread its faux Visionista philosophy throughout metro Vancouver and I shudder what the region will look like in just a few years hence. Vision Vancouver left the city with a corrupted bureaucracy where they actually believe that they run the city and the politicians are nothing more than a uneducated rabble.

    We should go back to civic elections every two years, because as it stands we elected idiots for four years and the voter can do nothing during the intervening time to get them out. Less elections = less democracy.

    Sadly I do not see any change on the horizon, where mediocrity is worshiped and common sense is sneered at.

    Yes Minister on steroids.

    (Response: To me it’s a case of “do-gooders” gone bad! They don’t seem to realize …or care about … cause and effect: back to that scientific equation “for every action …” (Thank you at last to my physics teacher, Mr Hutton!!). When City Council policies not only tolerate, but encourages people from everywhere to just come here, demand and get free housing, acceptance and legalization of hard drugs, little or no enforcement or jail terms for thefts, robberies or physical attacks … what do we expect??? h.o)

  4. Wesley Mussio says:

    Well said. I wish more people would come forward and expose this far left radical agenda. Let us hope the residents of Vancouver get angry enough to vote out the left. The NPA also needs to better select center right leaning candidates to ensure a collective block of votes to stop the move towards socialism.

    (Response: The NPA, and any others representing middle class, working people, families, businesses etc. have to do a better job of organizing and getting their message out> That’s one thing the homeless activist types, cyclists lobby, left wing socialists have done very well and, as I said, things will only continue to get worse and more and more costly for those who pay the bills as demands by those who don’t continue to escalate …and the left-leaning socialists on council do everything they can to bleed more and more money out of the rest of us to meet their base’s demands. h.o)

  5. e.a.f. says:

    I don’t know if I’d refer to these politicians as ‘lefties’. There are those who are on the left of the political spectrum and will agree with you on any number of points you make in this article. In my opinion, these people are very misguided–the Mayor of Vancouver, etc. They’re “out of touchers”. They aren’t trying to “stick it to” the middle class or whatever class. There are lots of people who live in Vancouver who are not part of even the middle class who don’t like the turn the city has taken. They live in basement suites, share apartments with others, etc.

    The homeless have to be housed. Housing large groups of people in need of mental health care or have criminal tendencies in the same area or close by is plan stupid. Its not left, its stupid. There have to be rules if a society is going to make a go of it and some of the things which go on in Vancouver, aren’t lawful. That needs to end. Now that is going to take a lot more police and that is going to take a lot more money for salaries, etc. The “catch and release” program we have now, works for a lot of people and saves the government money, but it might be an idea to put a limit on how many times you can participate in “catch and release”. Perhaps if you’re “caught” more than 3 times in a year
    , you’re in jail until the trial. While they’re in jail they can participate in training, health care, detox, etc.

    Putting people in the Jericho hostel, I’m O.K. with that. People need to be housed. Why put the homeless in one area. This is a city wide problem and has to have a city wide solution. However, there can be rules. it can be fenced. In Nanaimo we have two homeless housing sites. They’re fenced, guarded, etc. Now there are those who object and say its a problem, but those homeless were in tents prior to that and there were problems. I know of people who own a house within a few blocks of one of the housing sites and they haven’t had any problems.

    We used to have a charge, drunk and disorderly in a public space. I’m sure its still on the books. Its time the police used it. City hall can get out of the way on that one. The selling of stolen goods in a vacant lot–arrest the lot of them. No catch and release. Its going to take time and they may need to use the PNE buildings to hold everyone, but it can be done. The question is, are the citizens of Vancouver willing to pay the cost of that.

    We need housing for the homeless in all parts of B.C. Some one gets arrested, part of the release could be as simple as, you’re restricted to your home area. would take a lot of people out of Vancouver. Of course there needs to be housing for that person in their home community.

    Of course a lot of homeless come to Vancouver. Have you ever been homeless in 20 or 40 below zero. Its a tad cold You could die. People have the right to move freely in this country, so lets not thrown the baby out with the bath water.

    Ah, yes, hard drugs. They kill and we’ve had a lot of deaths. The Mayor’s call for semi legal hard drugs for personal use is just going to encourage the H.A., in my opinion, and their franchisees. If we’re going to allow semi legal hard drugs for personal use, it has to be dispensed by the government so we have quality control or we’re not going to improve anything. It also has to be attached to a program of sorts which could include 90 day rehab programs. I know there are 30 day programs, but really, they don’t do much. Places which have any sort of success rate have 90 day programs with a year follow up. Yes its expensive, but change is never cheap. It can be cost effective, but cheap, not so much. that in my opinion is also part of the problem. Politicians are looking for cheap and easy. How about they look for effective and cost effective.

    The mental health act or whatever is not suited to the current problem. Just ask any number of parents and families who have tried to help their loved ones. Well if you keep having to be dealt with by first responders because you keep taking fent. you need to be in care of some sort with appropriate health care and that needs to be in a confined space so you don’t die.

    Dying, yes, we have a lot of it. The B.C. Lieberals didn’t do anything about it. Didn’t even ban pill presses. Might as well have said, we’re open for the drug business. Any dealer caught with drugs laced with fent. needs to go to jail. It might go a long way to cleaning up the problem. Don’t know if an attempted murder charge would work, but I’m sure some nice Crown Prosecutor could figure it out.

    WE have mentally ill people walking the streets high on drugs and its scary for a lot of people. Even I can’t run as fast or fight like I once could. People ought not to have to be afraid in their own neighbourhoods.

    the people we see on the streets some times are people we once knew, make no mistake about it. there just wasn’t any help when the problem was solveable. Now politicians are trying to deal with the symptoms instead of the disease.

    I’ve got no problem with people who truly like the living in camp life style. However, they impinge upon the rights of those who live in a city and no longer can use public parks. this is an issue of whose rights supercede others. My suggestion has always been, want to live the camping life style, fine. the government can open a camp ground for the homeless about 60 miles from the nearest town, home, etc. Give them tents, 3 meals a dAY, HEALTH care, etc. whatever they need. You’ll find no one will be interested. But hey, its a solution.

    Some of those living on the streets or are drug addicts, criminals, etc. have no life skills. They need them. Its not cool to scream at others walking in public. If you can’t get that through your head, its time to go to the hospital and not VGH, or the regular hospital, but a medical outfit suited to your problems. Life skills can be taught.

    Some people really would like to get out of the “life”. They just don’t know how. There aren’t services available, except this patch work which City Council thinks will solve the problem. Well its not going to. When I was the president of a housing co op in Vancouver I figured out for every 50 units we could have on acholic–mental health issue and a couple of semi mental health issue people. That was it. Not having been around kids much until I was in my 30’s it became apparent, by a specific age you could tell which kids, before they started school, were going to need help and which weren’t. If a parent lost the “battle of the terrible 2s to 4s” they’d lost it for life. the thing about co-ops, they had rules. You couldn’t have drunken parties which kept up the neighbours. If you did, you lost your unit. Now in some places, which have been provided for the homeless there are few rules and they just party it up. that isn’t going to work. People in housing for the homeless need to be kept indoors if they are impaired. Its just that easy because being drunk in a public place can get you arrested.

    People in Vancouver need to get their act together. the politicians might want to listen to the police and mental health workers and not their ideological buddies. As BMCQ used to write, they spend about a million a day on the DTES but there hasn’t been any improvement. He was very correct–see agreed with him, even if he isn’t commenting. I do that once in a while. If something doesn’t work, find a new model.

    Mayor Dithers, cute name, but my take on him is, he thinks he knows best and he doesn’t. He’s just a politicians. he ought to stay out of the business of health care, policing, housing, etc. He knows jack shit about that. He might want to turn that over to the professionals and his job is to co ordinate and provide money to ensure positive changes can be made.

    I don’t see this as a type of class war fare. its people trying to do something they know nothing about. Some of these politicians have limited life experience or can’t understand that Europe and N. A. are very different.

    another solution is to simply cut off the drug supply. it comes into the country via the harbour. test every container. its expensive, but rewarding. then round up all the drug dealers and put them in jail and let them go through the court system to get out. Sort of like a Dr. Henry two week lock down. Now there is an idea, try a two week lock down on all drug users and drug dealers and see how things go. Now of course the City/Province whatever is going to be in court for a constitutional challenge, but right about now, I’d suggest that person who is afraid to walk outside in their own neighbourhood has had their rights violated also. its time to decide whose rights take priority. As to rights, citizens need to exercise their rights, VOTE next time or you could wind up with a Canadian version of Trump and it looks like the current Mayor of Vancouver is heading this way, Canadian style.

    While we’re on the subject, have a look at how little money is spent on dealing with sexually exploited women and children in this province. Its part of the drug problem also.

    (Response: It’s no coincidence: on every description of the political spectrum I’m aware of, the NDP, Greens and COPE would be regarded as left-leaning. So when it’s an NDP Mayor, and GREEN and COPE councilors leading the moves/motions/menacing actions I’ve outlined, YES, I’ll call them “lefties”. Although your description as “out of touchers” also rings true! I am very sympathetic to people who need help: in terms of health, addiction, housing … very sympathetic, and would agree with anyone who says programs/facilities for them must be improved. However, when did it become VANCOUVER taxpayers’ responsibility to provide HOUSING to anyone who comes here from anywhere around the province, the country or even from other countries????? This has become ridiculous! No one seems to even ask the homeless anymore WHERE they came from? If they’re from elsewhere … SEND THEM HOME! Let THEIR communities, the provincial and federal governments provide housing for them … where they are from! The horrible truth, which the lefty do-gooders don’t seem to grasp, is that now that the word is out: FREE HOUSING IN VANCOUVER …. the flow from other BC communities, other Canadian communities will NEVER cease!!! And no one should expect Vancouver taxpayers to absorb, pay for them all to live here. h.o)

  6. nonconfidencevote says:

    Kennedy Stewart
    A opportunistic political hack if there ever was one.
    A political science degree from Nova Scotia in his pocket and he parachuted into the safest NDP riding in BC….Svend Robinsons riding for decades until he had a diamond ring “meltdown”……
    Kennedy kept his federal mouth shut and drew his plans……..
    Burnaby North Riding was divided into North and South…..and Kennedy being the astute political hack that he is …. scurried to BBY South ( BBY North included the rich tax fearing people of North Vancouvers Deep Cove….no socialist there) .
    Burnaby South was a win win win since he waltzed into a new riding virtually unopposed.
    Then the fun began.
    Gregor the Dim announced he was stepping down as Hizzoner. “I’m not running again”….because he knew he had a better chance reuniting with his wife than getting re-elected.
    The Mayor’s job…….. soon to be Vacant …waiting…..available.
    All while the newly appointed leader of the federal NDP Jagmeet needed a safe NDP riding to call his own.
    Could this get any better for Kennedy?
    He couldnt lose,
    Give his Federal riding to Jagmeet and lose the mayors election?
    He’s a shoe in for some plum federal NDP hack job.
    Win the Mayors job? He’s sure to be a BC Premier some day!

    So Kennedy did the right thing that any self serving politicians would do…. he fell on his sword for his beloved bangra dancing leader and became Mayor.

    Unfortunately, running the city of Vancouver isnt as easy as being the 3000 miles away , Ottawa based MP for sleepy Burnaby North or South….
    His angry constituents actually want to see him every day.
    How has Mayor Kennedy reacted?
    His “invisible man” routine deserves an Oscar.

    I dare say Kennedy has politically “peaked” and has finally reached his level of incompetence …….. thank god.

    (Response: What has happened to Vancouver is much more than a Kennedy Stewart problem: it’s a COUNCIL problem. And from what I’ve observed, that’s primarily a GREENS/COPE problem. Some people think I pick on them …but they should just open their eyes ..and SEE what they have done or allowed to happen to the city since they took office … and then honestly evaluate the additional impacts the latest ideas they are promoting will have on taxes, taxpayers, businesses. Sure looks to me like a prescription for turning Vancouver into a home only for the very rich or the publicly-funded poor or homeless, drug users, drug dealers and the social service agencies that serve and live off of them. h.o)

  7. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, your question as to when did it become the responsibility of Vancouver to house……. Basically when they arrived. We can not restrict free movement within our country based on income, former province/city, health issues, etc. As a min. the City would be in court or the H.R. Tribunal for violating a person’s right based on a disability, etc.. It won’t work. What we would be doing is saying, you’re from B.C., you get a cot and 3 hots. You’re from Sask or Ont and you stay outside and freeze to death or starve, the choice is yours. Sending people back to their former province city isn’t cost effective, against the Constitution, and very, very expensive.

    Housing needs to be a national strategy. It isn’t. Its a patch work quilt and it isn’t pretty. Ottawa makes transfer payments to provinces. Perhaps its time for the federal government to insist the money they send to provinces be spent on specific items such as this portion is for housing, this portion is for health care, this portion is for whatever. It might force provinces to provide a level of service in each province.
    Even in times of COVID we can’t seem to keep people from moving around, so how does any one expect to keep people in one spot if they want to leave for a warmer climate. Telling people they have to stay in Winnipeg and freeze to death just isn’t a solution, but then neither is what is going on in Vancouver.

    The citizens of Vancouver need to start voting or they are actually saying they are O.K. with all these social problems. The NPA needs to get their act together because they have not been able to offer a viable alternative to the other side. My take on it is, many vote for COPE, Greens, Vision, etc.. because there is no alternative because the alternative isn’t pretty either.

    It might be “interesting” to see what would happen to a lawsuit which represented people in a neighbourhood who felt their rights were being restricted by being unable to use public parks they pay for. Perhaps there might be a few people who are willing to put their money where their mouths are. Having the homeless live in public parks is just not on. It penalizes the people who use them for the purpose they were intended to. The parks are being destroyed. What ever happened to arresting people for destruction of public property?

    (Response: First, let me respond to your last line/question: a murderer who killed two people was recently released from prison after he served three years of a 10-year sentence. EVERYTHING about that seems horribly wrong to me! So I no longer expect our current Justice (?) system to do anything to those who destroy property … other than apologize for taking up their time with questions and paperwork. As for housing, I DO recognize the need for national and provincial strategies to provide shelter for those unable to care for themselves. And those from the Vancouver area should be helped in the Vancouver area …but they should NOT have the right to demand downtown/waterfront or accommodation in areas where even most of the rest of us who worked all our lives could not afford to live. And no one from other cities or communities across the country should even think they have the right to just come to Vancouver and then demand Vancouverites provide them free housing! Even those who feel housing is a basic right should keep it real: realize that “right” should not include the ability to demand housing in any area THEY pick. h.o)

  8. nonconfidencevote says:

    True enough about Council being responsible for the mess Vancouver is in.
    Perhaps I can offer a solution?

    Granville Island.
    The Covid pandemic has rendered it empty.
    Move all the transients to Granville Island, (They can use the cement from the Lafarge plant to build sturdy, fireproof dwellings),
    They will have organic food delivered daily, Beer brewed on site, an art school to discover their “Inner Protester”.
    The rotating million dollar chandelier under the bridge (approved by city council) can provide light and warmth at night.
    Police can patrol the False Creek moat to ensure no one in or out (because more than one taxpayer might want to move in and live on the City’s dime tax free).
    No more free loaders on Vancouver City’s dwindling budget!
    A BC Casino cash Looto Lotto would pay for it all………
    Just a thought.

  9. Jason says:

    I can remember reading your piece on the decline of the Granville Mall nearly five years ago now. Aside from a short piece on Global News (where a reporter and cameraman were nearly attacked) no one seemed to pick up on it. But now, lo and behold, the reckoning has come.

    Someone posted an old Webster episode on a previous story. Here’s another from February 4, 1986: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqzA1prknmU&list=LL&index=1&t=2656s&ab_channel=RoyalBCMuseum

    Mark Schneider went down to the Granville Mall to report on the problem of non-returnable warrants (the story starts about 43 minutes into the video).

    It’s interesting to see how lively the Granville Strip was back then; lots of shops open, regular people out and about, things seem calm and pretty orderly (and clean!). Yes, there is a slight edge present, people loitering who ought not to be loitering, a lot of young guys hanging about, some up to no good and some perhaps getting ready to do no good. Something you don’t seem to see are any panhandlers, any homeless people sleeping rough in doorways or anyone who is obviously mentally ill or under the influence of drugs, things which you do see a lot of today.

    The heavy police presence is notable (which is something you certainly don’t see today!). Constables on foot, (not in cars), foot patrolling the street, with lots of stop and searching, which is very important when trying to prevent crime before it happens and lending to a sense of order.

    Funnily enough the City Council was quite left-wing in those days. Mike Harcourt was Mayor and COPE had at least half the seats on the Council. Today, left wingers would have a nervous breakdown to see Policemen acting like Policeman. There is also a strong push to reduce (or as the hip people say ‘defund’) the Police Budget and to have stop and searching and carding completely eliminated (Mayor Stewart and all the COPE, Green, and One City Councillors all support it), which would hamstring the police and lead to more crime and disorder. The Left consider policing as a de facto racist/authoritarian concept nowadays but back in 1986, it seems to me the Vancouver City Police were stopping people up to no good on an equal opportunity basis! And remember that Harcourt was a former storefront lawyer, and he used to defend the police as Mayor. And I doubt even Alderman Harry Rankin (the furthest person to the left ever elected to public office in Canada except for Fred Rose) wouldn’t have gone in for something as insane as gutting the police department.

    According to the Global News last night, the Mayor is also spending his time writing letters to Ottawa demanding the decriminalisation of the possession of small amounts of any type of Narcotics. It’s an absurd proposition; one can look up the court schedules online nowadays and you’d see there are virtually no prosecutions for simple possession. Drugs are essentially legal, just from the sheer lack of prosecutions. (I have to say I was amazed at the report on Global; there was no dissenting voice on the proposal. The Mayor was interviewed and two advocates for the scheme were brought on to give their approval, with no one to give a counter argument. You can think what you like about the issue, but I feel, just in the interest of basic fairness, some dissenting voice should have been presented. I can only imagine what the great Jack Webster would have to say on the subject!).

    This is political grandstanding from the Mayor, which is all I think is the extent of his skill set; he seems to have no idea how to run anything. In that sense, he’s similar to Gregor Robertson and most of the Mayor’s going back several election cycles now. I remember about 3 years ago, the Merchant’s association on Commercial Drive was getting fed up with street crime. They offered the pay the equivalent cost of the salaries of two Constables in exchange for having daily foot patrols from the police. City Hall and the City police ignored them and things continue to go downhill on the Drive (which was always such a wonderful part of the City, a real shame to see).

    Of course, in the interest of fairness, some of this isn’t solely the fault of the City. I think successive provincial governments have contributed to the mess we are in: allowing the development community to run wild, a lack of investment in affordable housing, closing Riverview, deregulating drug rehab, cutting courts, prosecutors, the coordinated law enforcement unit, and closing many provincial jails. The suburbs aren’t immune from all this, I know a lot of people in Maple Ridge, Surrey, even out towards Chilliwack who are complaining about rising crime and social problems.

    I’ve read that the last NPA candidate for Mayor is planning on running again on a new slate. I hope that isn’t the case, if only because the vote splitting would give Stewart a shot at a second term. As a right leaning NDPer I could live with Colleen Hardwick as Mayor, she seems sensible (and her Father was a brilliant City Planner). Things must change at City Hall. The ship of state has veered way too far off course for my liking.

    (Response: I like pedestrian malls. Really enjoyed the last one I visited in downtown one in Denver, but that was deliberately made successful by a City Council that DREW IN lots of people in cars to come/visit downtown with lots of fairly cheap street meter marking on side streets all along its length, attracting first class stores and restaurants. Vancouver’s street mall, and the area south of it from Smithe to the bridge is horrible … I’d even say dangerous, even during the day. What did Council really expect with the large numbers of social service agencies, homeless housing, drug treatment centres on streets abutting Granville???? I believe this is INCOMPETENCE at its worst by Council and the “planners” (LOL!!!) at City Hall. h.o)

  10. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    some interesting responses,

    Vancouver didnt get this way overnight it has been a slow and painful progression over many decades ,
    i remember the great work the downtown eastside residents association did withe getting fire sprinklers put in to the rooming houses and hotels, in the late 60″s then they slowly lost their way.

    we have watched the court system become as joke , remember justice is only a perception.

    we have had to endure the downloading of federal and provincial responsibilities to the municipal level, the closure of tranquille and riverview mental health hospitals as well as the failure of the health authorities to absorb the patients in the community and provide safe care as promised and funded . it just didn’t happen.

    Vancouver has sold off and rezoned most of their industrial land and built condos ,not so wise

    the turn for the worst was Mayor Gregor Robertson , He laid off street cleaners and expanded communications dept from a few to around 20, Vancouver lost so many senior competent managers and staff to other municipalities across canada ,while having to pay severance and wrongful dismissal cost. Vancouver’s loss their gain .

    some will blame Expo or the olympics , poor public policy and they are correct to a degree . the ultimate blame is on the electorate .

    democracy is supposed to be a interaction.

    (Response: As far as “interaction”, if Bruce Allen was correct in his evaluation of how the City/Parks Board now deal with feedback (and his assessment/observations in this regard matches mine exactly) then the only ones being listened to in “consultations” are those who support the Council/Parks Board’s ideology, proposals, biases. Sad! And with municipal elections now only every four years, the changes (harm and damage) an errant Council or Parks Board can inflict can result in very long term harm to the city and its residents/businesses. h.o)

  11. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, you are quite correct about the person who was released after murdering two people. Personally, that is too short a time. It sends a message its O.K. to murder and get out after 3 1/2 yrs. If that is all you get for murdering two people, gee…….I’ve always been of the opinion, if you murder some one you ought to do at least 10 yrs. If only to send a message to the rest of society. I’m sure there has been times in our lives some of us would have killed if we had to think we only had 3 1/2 yrs to serve. O.K. enough of that.

    Back in the day, I figured out usually governments/people cared more about “things” than people. It goes back to the PLO days when they hijacked jets. Killing a passenger didn’t change much. When the PLO started blowing up plans, that got attention. In my opinion, governments aren’t paying much attention to property damage because it isn’t their property and the property isn’t that expensive. I’m sure “Mayor Kennedy” would have a whole different tune if some one walked up to him and threw feces on him or one of his loved ones, or stole from his vehicle after breaking the window, etc. When it happens often enough its just put down to a nuiscense in an urban setting. that needs to stop. Some one worked for that item which was stolen, some times it has emotional value beyond money. There is also the emotional toll these acts take and for society at large that is not a good thing.

  12. e.a.f. says:

    Jason, the difference in my opinion is Harcourt and Rankin did not live in a vacuum They were Vancouver. They lived in Vancouver, they worked in Vancover and they went out and about in Vancouver. if I remember correctly Harcourt’s father ran an insurance agency. You bet Harcourt knew about property damage. He and his family would be on the ferry going to the Gulf Islands and was quite approachable. Although both Rankin and Harcourt were politicians they were also lawyers. Bruce Erkson was also from that era. All of them understood that out of control people could hurt other people and that was not on.

    The down fall of the Granville Strip started when Art Philips turned it into a walking mall. We are not Europe and it was all down hill from there. Now there were bars on the upper end of the Granville Strip and some of them had an “interesting” clientele. The St. Helen’s opened about 9 a.m. The Blackstone, had a number of interesting “violent” men in it. The Austin’s clientele were a little “safer” because they frequently had families and operated in “both worlds”. Never felt unsafe on the strip back in those days. There were cars, people, movement, etc. As teenagers (mid 1960s) we went to movies on Saturday on the strip and never gave it a thought and neither did our parents. Just told us to stay together and not talk to strangers.

    Looking back on things, back in the day, some of the people on the strip were criminals, but they were criminals, not wacked out on drugs, had rooms in hotels or actually rented apartments, owned houses, etc. They were criminals who made their living that way, doing criminal things. Then what had been confined to the DTES moved onto the Granville strip.

    The population in Vancouver has grown and we have Sky train. Now you can live anywhere and come into the core of Vancouver and create problems. You see back in the day criminals lived in the areas they worked in. Today, not so much that also applies to the police. they don’t live in Vancouver, the live in Surrey, Port Moody, anywhere they can afford to live, but they can’t afford to live in Vancouver. that doesn’t help a city. For that matter fire fighters don’t live in Vancouver either. They live in Nanaimo, Hope, Schelt, etc. None of these workers can afford to live in Vancouver neighbourhoods and that also makes a difference. The City of Vancouver has a police force of approx. 1,400. I’d bet not even a quarter live in the City of Vancouver. That does not help a city.

    (Response: The strangest part of what is going on in the city is how the socialists THINK they’re making Vancouver more “people-orientated” but it’s the OPPOSITE that is happening. Every tax increase, every building/development fee boost, every imposition of higher parking meter fees, every rise in residential parking permit charges, every new residential parking fee added in previously-unrestricted area just ADD to the cost of living in the city. Vancouver is fast becoming a city of the richest and the poorest …no place for working families or even young couples. Vancouver Council is the suburbs’ best friend: sending thousands of additional working people (and the businesses that cater to them) OUT of Vancouver … into the welcoming hands of other communities. h.o)

  13. WTF says:

    Regarding NPA getting their act together.

    I see Ken Sim has thrown his hat in the ring this week. Assuming the NPA can avoid the internal squabbling evident last election he probably has a good chance, given he only lost by 970 ish votes last time.

    Assuming adults who actually have to balance their own budgets bother to vote . Apathy and a chronic lack of critical thinking are the enemies

    (Response: You’re absolutely right: apathy and a lack of critical thinking by residents/owners has allowed what we see and suffer through today. Because at election time, the activists, the cycle lobby, the homeless advocates, the social revolutionaries show up, put their allies in office, get their projects and transformational objectives pushed through … and then, those who did not show up to vote are really adversely affected and are also handed the bills!!! h.o)

  14. nonconfidencevote says:

    ‘….some will blame Expo or the olympics ….”

    I’d say Expo brought a lot of good things to Vancouver.
    The olympics seemed to be a developer free for all, before during and after.

    As for Gregor’s reign….. A vapid figurehead.
    I’d put the blame more on Penny Ballem for “nuking and paving” and purging the experienced senior staff out of City Hall.
    Now?
    A legion of politically correct ex human resources lick spittles that couldn’t decide to run from a threat without 2 weeks of meetings and group consensus that no minorities would be offended …..
    Analysis paralysis seems to rule the day in most govt depts. these days.

    (Response: Nothing we see happening today in Vancouver can/should be blamed on Expo 86. I feel the shabbiness, the deterioration, the near death of Granville Street and the abutting streets on both sides, between Georgia and Drake, are a direct result of policies adopted and inflicted on the neighborhood by more recent City Councils and their bureaucratic minions: area planning, social service agencies, drop-in centers, homeless housing (temporary of course), higher and higher parking fees, removal of parking spaces, and ever expanding and space consuming bike lanes, along with traffic-flow limiting and vehicle discouraging obstacles. Not sure what the objectives were …but judging by what Granville and the surrounding area has now become, fair to say it isn’t better …to put it mildly! h.,o)

  15. R says:

    Fall 2022 election

    (Response: Oct 15, 2022 to be exact. Plenty of advance notice for EVERYONE to get ready, set aside that day (or the advance polls) so they are CERTAIN to vote! But just think of the havoc the commissars at City Hall can inflict on us until then! h.o)

  16. Gilbert says:

    It is very sad to see what has happened to the city of Vancouver. Unfortunately, many voters don’t understand how important it is to vote. If Kennedy Stewart is re-elected, it will be very unfortunate for the city.

    My vision for the city of Vancouver is very different from that of the socialists at City Hall. Let’s begin with transportation. While I agree that bicycles and public transportation are good, we shouldn’t punish those who drive. It takes too long to drive into the city. Environments and left-wing politicians don’t want a freeway that goes downtown, but that is no excuse for the inadequate roads and great inconvenience to drivers.

    Granville Street is a disgrace. It’s full of beggars and drug addicts, and many people stay away. Homeless shelters and drug treatment facilities shouldn’t be in this area. It should be an elegant area with nice restaurants and shops, and a place that people want to visit.

    The Vancouver Art Gallery is in the heart of downtown, but is not so prominent. It makes no sense to me that the front doors are always closed. They should obviously be the main entrance. A former employee at the Vancouver Art Gallery told me that the directors have a low opinion of Emily Carr and consider her provincial. It makes no sense to me that one of the most famous Canadian painters is given so little respect there. Surely her art should be much more visible. The fountain at the front should always be on during the day and ticket prices should be reasonable. After all, don’t we want people to visit the gallery?

    The proposal to use the youth hostel at Jericho to house the homeless is a terrible idea. It makes no sense to house them in such a nice part of the city. I recommend that we house the homeless in an area that is not very populated such as Maple Ridge. Maybe we could build a shelter there for that particular purpose.

    I urge all the citizens of Vancouver to study the issues and vote. It’s time to remove the socialists who have no problem with tent cities, drug treatment centres and homeless centres downtown, used needles and litter in parks, inadequate roads and streets that don’t feel safe. Let’s make Vancouver a better city!

    (Response: What the revolutionists at City Hall don’t understand is that SUCCESSFUL environmental/traffic improvements are based on co-operation, integration and mutual respect ..not fascist style dictatorial governance. A perfect example is one of my favorite cities, Amsterdam. They have bike paths, pedestrian paths and roadways for cars throughout the city …side by side, sometimes integrated … and largely respectful of each other. Cars are allowed to park right beside the canals …miles of parking places on narrow straats also shared by bikes and pedestrians, often with little or no sidewalks…and everyone co-exists without a second thought. In Vancouver, the cars would be banned by the NDP/GREEN/COPE socialists.. causing disruptions, conflict, anger. For what??? Is Class conflict the ultimate goal??? The long downtown Amsterdam pedestrian mall, Kalverstraat, running from Dam Square to Muntplein, is highly popular, vibrant, successful day and night…. wiith tourist style, mid range and even HIGH END shops. Why? Because it’s comfortable … the police are there all the time and no one is allowed to camp there, shoot up there, sleep in the doorways or harass visitors. It’s not that Vancouver’s objectives are terrible: they just don’t know how to do it properly, without denigrating so many …and they apparently haven’t a clue about the inability of most of their residents to pay for it. h.O)

  17. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Vancouver is a prime example of social planning or should i say socialist planning gone wrong.

    Want to revive the city , clean it up and keep it clean, reduce parking fees and restrictions. restructure the tax system, make the city user friendly.

    within a month you would notice a huge difference

    (Response: Very good ideas … problem is they do not fit the ideology of the comrades at City Hall who think everyone who works and lives in the city can be squeezed even more to cater to those who don’t! h.o)

  18. e.a.f. says:

    Gilbert, Maple Ridge????? what did the people of Maple Ridge ever do to you to have you suggest they build those places out there. Its nice out there. Its where the working middle class lives these days. OMG that is not nice, suggesting Maple Ridge. its the suburbs these days. people communte from there to work in Vancouver, Burnaby, etc. Give the people out there a break. Oh, really, I know people out there………….not nice.
    O.K. I’m sort of over it. My suggestion is that every community should have social and/or affordable housing for the members of their community. that way people don’t wind up homeless. Each community ought to have decent help for those in crisis so they don’t become homeless and drug addicted.
    Buying up hotels is not the answer. Putting large groups of people with issues in one location is never a good thing unless of course they are hospitals. these places the government is buying are not hospitals, but perhaps they could start having mental health people there with addiction specialists, AA meetings, etc. Might help. Might help if they had cops there to ensure they don’t bring in stolen goods either. Property theft will cease if it is no longer lucrative enough to purchase drugs. Now some addicts will still try, but on the whole even if you’re crazy you aren’t necessarily stupid. Its why in my opinion Mayor Vancouver wants to decriminalize hard drugs for personal use. Reduce the number of police needed to deal with it, but it is not a solution because addicts still have to purchase the drugs and that requires theft. So if they decriminalize drugs they’re going to have to hand them out for free. Don’t see that happening any time soon. People on methadone can live fairly normal lives, work, raise their families, etc. However, methadone doesn’t always work for every one. But just one action isn’t going to work. We need the whole ball of wax to make things work better for drug addicts and that starts before the kid is born or in Norway after WW II, they started the baby boxes.

    (Response: I like your idea/suggestion: ” My suggestion is that every community should have social and/or affordable housing for the members of their community. that way people don’t wind up homeless. Each community ought to have decent help for those in crisis so they don’t become homeless and drug addicted.” Canada is a rich enough country to provide a roof of some type over the head of everyone who legitimately needs it and cannot provide for themselves. BUT it should be in their own communities or nearby … they should not have the right to pick and choose which city they would live to live and then demand that city provide free housing to accommodate them. And why the City of Vancouver is just rolling right over andf catering to such demands is beyond me! h.o)

  19. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    Lets have a post on how to rescue Vancouver , we cant count on tje politictions to get it right so why can’t we make a effort its not rocket science.

    (Response: People interested in following up and/or getting involved in speaking up/helping out on this topic should have a look at this website: http://www.STEPupnow.ca . Apparently they are also on Facebook. h.o)

  20. D. M. Johnston says:

    On soapbox!

    First of all, if many of you haven’t guessed, I am a long time transit advocate and after over 35 years talking and emailing real transportation experts and planners, I am afraid Vancouver has passed the point of no return.

    Now I do not want this to turn into a transit discussion, you can read that for yourself on the Rail for the Valley blog, which i contribute to.

    Simple fact is, we are spending over three times more for the transit than we should, with no extra benefit and the operating and maintenance costs are massive. No one talks about that either.

    We have spent so much money on needless infrastructure that change will not happen and in fact, unless Horgan’s NDP do a dramatic about face, our SkyTrain/density madness will continue for at least two more decades.

    We are currently spending $4.6 billion to extend the Expo and Millennium Lines a mere 12.8 km; with added annual operating costs exceeding $70 million annually.

    $4.6 billion investment and not one car will come off the road.

    Taxes are going to climb dramatically because ridership has flat lined during the pandemic, with many former transit customers staying with the car and not returning to transit, ridership levels will stagnate.

    The density myth was designed to complement expensive light metro construction, but has been somewhat rejected internationally as no one has copied Vancouver’s exclusive use of light-metro.

    The Greens, COPE, NDP, and even the Liberals and NPA have bought in to the density/SkyTrain planning but what happens, is affordable low rise apartments are torn down to build with unaffordable high rise condos and towers.

    The more this is done, the more homelessness and despair continues.

    The future costs for the light-metro system is simply staggering and I have been told that metro Vancouver is planning massive tax hikes to pay for this. This will be dealt with after the next civic elections and will not be a political issue as transit is a mom and apple pie issue.

    Again, it has been pointed out to me that Vancouver’s current transit planning is based on purely political prestige and not hard planning.

    The following best describes Vancouver’s downward spiral into mediocrity, as there is no one brave enough to bell the cat.

    Bent Flyvberg’s Iron Law of Megaprojects specifically addresses why politicians are obsessed with infrastructure at any cost.

    …the “political sublime,” which here is understood as the rapture politicians get from building monuments to themselves and their causes. Megaprojects are manifest, garner attention, and lend an air of proactiveness to their promoters. Moreover, they are media magnets, which appeals to politicians who seem to enjoy few things better than the visibility they get from starting megaprojects. Except maybe cutting the ribbon of one in the company of royals or presidents, who are likely to be present lured by the unique monumentality and historical import of many megaprojects. This is the type of public exposure that helps get politicians re-elected. They therefore actively seek it out.

    Off soapbox!

  21. Gilbert says:

    It was not my intention to offend anyone from Maple Ridge. I have a cousin who lives there. It’s clear no community wants homeless shelters. Most of us probably agree they shouldn’t be in downtown Vancouver. In an ideal world, everyone would have a home.

  22. Tommy says:

    I am a life long Vancouver resident who walked away the Left and supported Wai Young for mayor of Vancouver in 2018. In return for supporting her, I have paid a heavy price, which I will not elaborate on now. I have tried to express similar views as Harvey has expressed here and when I do so I am censored across virtually all platforms. I will be shocked if this comment is not censored.

    Vancouver would be a better place if people had free speech and if people with independent, deeply rooted Vancouver points of view were not shunned by the champagne socialists and hypocritical neoliberals who run our city. I call BOTH Left and Right out, which is a major reason why I have no free speech.

    (Response: This blog is different: I WELCOME comments and diverse opinions. About all I try to do is keep them on topic, and of course, don’t allow insults, libel, slander, swearing etc. Pass it around! 🙂 As for your point about “the champagne socialists and hypocritical neoliberals who run our city”, I see myself as quite socially liberal, sympathetic to those people from here, who live here and legitimately need help with accommodation, health and social services etc. The problem is those I view as extremists … GREENS and COPE … have taken over and don’t seem to care at all about sharing/accommodation of anyone other than their base or ideology. So the homeless, criminals, druggies are allowed to totrally run amok and that’s becoming a HUGE problem VISIBLE now all around Vancouver …to our shame! Even small issues are ENCOURAGED to become big issues/problems, unnecessarily divisive. No greater proof of that is WHY is Beach Avenue STILL closed to cars eastbound …in the pouring rain season. Surely, with a seawall, a sidewalk and a four lane wide roadway, there is more than enough room for pedestrians, cyclists, cars to SHARE!! But no …the NDP/Green/COPE extremists at City Hall (and the Park Board) don’t SHARE: they are bullies and dictators … h.o)

  23. J.L. says:

    Hi – thought your article on the destruction of Vancouver by the NDP/Greens
    is right on (sadly). Like many others I can’t wait for the next municipal
    election and wish it was back to the 2-year term as it used to be. I just
    hope opponents to the current crowd don’t split the vote by having too many
    candidates in the mix.

    Please continue your excellent writing.

    (Response: Thanks. I agree … municipal elections should be held more often… I’d say three years. The current four years is just too long: just look at how much damage can be done to the city/citizens/tax base with Councils, Parks Board and administrations like we have now! h.o)

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