A new day begins in Vancouver politics (2018 to 2022) with Green wave, independent mayor, and diverse political views in Council, park board, school board

City HallBelow are the unofficial election results. Vancouver voters have elected 27 people to public office (mayor, councillor, Park Board commissioner, and school trustee) following the preliminary count of 2018 city election ballots. About 176,744 ballots were cast and voter turn-out is estimated to be about 39.43%. Both are lower than in 2014, though a record 158 candidates ran. Official results will be declared by the Chief Election Officer by October 24, 2018. As of this moment (morning, Oct 21), the NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim had not conceded defeat — the gap from him to Kennedy Steward was just 984 votes (see all vote counts here).

Composition: The new City Council will have an independent mayor, five NPAs, three Greens, one COPE and one OneCity. With a total of eleven votes on Council, no party has a majority, and that situation will probably result in some real discussion, something absent for ten years due to Vision Vancouver’s arrogance and absolute majority. Public input might actually be able to influence policy more than in the past decade. Let’s hope they all focus on who they are serving — the people of Vancouver.

Vision Vancouver was almost completely obliterated, electing only ONE candidate in the final slot on the school board (with Allan Wong, reelected as school board trustee, only 693 votes ahead of COPE’s Diana Day). This is a stunning rejection of Vision Vancouver, almost sending the entire organization to the dust bin of history for a disastrous ten years with absolute control of City Council.

With one exception, new parties and independents did not get elected. Other than Kennedy Stewart as “independent” mayor, not a single independent candidate was elected, a sign of how hard it is for an independent to get elected. In fact, Stewart was not entirely “independent,” as he inherited massive support from Big Labour and Vision Vancouver. Not a single member of a first-time new party running in this election was elected.

Election finance money flows will become clearer once the dust settles. There was a lot of in-kind money flowing particularly from Big Labour, which favoured Kennedy Stewart and funding just before the official election period. It will be interesting to see the numbers once everything is factored in. Worthy of special mention — the Green Party has always had strict rules on donations, rejecting corporate and union donations. Their total budget this time was just a fraction of what the big players had, yet they garnered the top votes in all the races they ran — a testament to their track record, credibility and trust they have earned from the community.

What next? We hope that the many people who got engaged in this election as candidates and supporters will continue to be engaged in dialogue and help Vancouver address the many challenges facing it for the next four years!


Kennedy Stewart (independent) – 49,812 votes

Adriane Carr (Green) – 69,885 votes
Pete Fry (Green) – 61,925 votes
Melissa de Genova (NPA) – 53,324 votes
Jean Swanson (COPE) – 48,955 votes
Colleen Hardwick (NPA) – 47,811 votes
Michael Wiebe (Green) – 45,700 votes
Christine Boyle (OneCity) – 45,529 votes
Lisa Dominato (NPA) – 44,769 votes
Rebecca Bligh (NPA) – 44,117 votes
Sarah Kirby-Yung (NPA) – 43,646 votes Continue reading

Vancouver election voting options? Consider this slate by Elizabeth Murphy, housing policy commentator

Advance Poll Voting City HallElizabeth Murphy is a long-time watcher and commentator on Vancouver civic affairs. For people wondering about options for the 2018 civic election, below is her recommended slate for the civic election on October 20.

Related, here is her current article in Common Ground: “2018 Vancouver civic election: to change or not to change“:

The big question is who will also work for a change in direction. There are many options, perhaps too many. And although many are good people, will any get elected in such a split broad field? When the public are confused, they tend to go with familiar names

Vancouver Civic Election 2018 Slate from Murphy.

“This is a critical election. There is finally an opportunity for a big change at city hall with most incumbents not running again. We need a new direction from Vision’s failed decade in power. The challenge is that there are too many people and parties running for office. Many have good intentions, but will not likely be elected and are only splitting the vote…”



  • CARR, Adriane (Green)
  • FRY, Pete (Green)
  • WIEBE, Michael (Green)
  • WONG, David (Green)
  • HARDWICK, Colleen (NPA)
  • NOBLE, Penny (Independent)

PARK BOARD (7): Continue reading

Bob Dylan’s secret message for civic elections in 2018: Gotta Serve Somebody

Civic elections in the province of British Columbia are on Saturday, October 20, 2018. The term is for FOUR years to October 2022.

CityHallWatch has a theory that Bob Dylan, when he released “Gotta Serve Somebody” almost forty years ago in 1979, was actually sending a secret message to candidates in this election. See the full lyrics on his official website here. Enjoy his performance on YouTube above. Below we share a few excerpts.

The question to all candidates: WHO are YOU gonna serve?

Specific supporter or interest groups? Donors? Political insiders? Your party? Young? Old? Renters? Owners? Developers? Friends and connections? Or the whole city and its people?


Gotta Serve Somebody
(By Bob Dylan)

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

See the whole lyrics here.


Advance voting TWO days left (Oct 16 + 17), 29,000+ ballots cast so far, probably 80% on election day

Here below is some useful information from the City of Vancouver issued Oct 16, 2018 regarding final two advance voting dates (Oct 16 + 17), and Election Day Oct 20. 

[Note that in 2014, 43.4% of registered voters voted. There were 415,978 registered voters in 2014, and 180,668 ballots cast in Vancouver. (Don’t quote us on these numbers. Not 100% checked.) But it looks like with 29,000 ballots cost on the first six of eight advance voting days, we are on track for about 39,000 advance ballots, and with a few assumptions it looks to us like about 80 percent of ballots will be cast on the actual election day. So stay tuned for relevant news in the final days to Oct 20.] below is the text from the City today.

Last day of advance voting is tomorrow, October 17

Over 29,000 ballots cast so far

The last day for advance voting in the Vancouver city election is tomorrow, Wednesday October 17.

Over the first six days of advance voting, over 29,000 votes have been cast, which is higher than the 23,811 votes cast in the first six days of advance voting in 2014.

As well, over 900 ballots were cast in the first ever Kids Vote program, held this past weekend. Results from the Kids Vote will be announced on October 20 after 8pm.

Citizens can vote at any of the following locations during advance voting [Oct 10 to 17, from 8 am to 8 pm]:

  • Britannia Community Services Centre, 1661 Napier Street
  • Hastings Community Centre, 3096 East Hastings Street
  • Kerrisdale Community Centre, 5851 West Boulevard
  • Killarney Community Centre, 6260 Killarney Street
  • Kitsilano War Memorial Community Centre, 2690 Larch Street
  • Marpole – Oakridge Community Centre, 990 West 59th Avenue
  • Renfrew Park Community Centre, 2929 East 22nd Avenue
  • Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews
  • Sunset Community Centre, 6810 Main Street
  • Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360 Victoria Drive
  • West End Community Centre, 870 Denman Street
  • Vancouver City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue

Election day is October 20, when over 100 voting places will be open from 8am to 8pm. Continue reading

Vancouver voters: Think about the city you want before you vote (Elizabeth Murphy in Vancouver Sun)

Voting dayWe have paraphrased the title, but here is the full text of a op ed in the Vancouver Sun on October 9, 2018. Very timely, as the civic election is on October 20, and advanced voting has begun. Whoever is elected is in there for the next FOUR years, til 2022.  Full text follows, but we have bolded some words for emphasis.


Vancouver voters need to think about the city they want before they vote


This is a critical year for Vancouver to restore its reputation for the Jacobs model of planning and move away from Moses-type destruction

Elizabeth Murphy, Vancouver Sun, October 9, 2018

Vancouver became renowned for participatory community planning based on the principles of Jane Jacobs. But over the last decade, this reputation has become undeserved. There has been a shift from a sustainable complex city of neighbourhoods for people to bland density obsession for the benefit of developers. Vancouver has lost its way.

Jacobs’ influential writing was central to stopping major highway and urban renewal that was destroying inner-city neighbourhoods in the 1960s. She stopped the Lower Manhattan Expressway through her neighbourhood of Greenwich Village in New York City, the Spadina Expressway when she moved to Toronto and this also inspired the 1970s cancellation of Vancouver’s proposed highway through Grandview, Strathcona, Chinatown, Gastown and the waterfront.

This set Vancouver on a new sustainable path based on Jacobs’ principles of neighbourhood-based participatory planning.

Prior to 2007, the planning process in Vancouver included meaningful involvement from the people who lived here, such as CityPlan and earlier Local Area Planning. This was a basic principle that resulted in a sustainable mix of neighbourhoods that focused on social capital. However, the shift over the last decade from livability to growth, at both the regional and civic level, has resulted in housing primarily as a commodity that has caused a severe affordability crisis and increased homelessness.

Globalization has only made this worse as over-development has been consumed by inflationary forces that locals cannot compete with. Yet those who live here are increasingly being excluded from the decision making process that is dominated by the development industry that benefits through their control of city council.

Recent citywide rezonings are a case in point. Without community consultation, the outgoing Vision council is forcing through rezonings that affect the majority of the city right before an election when few are running for office again. Adriane Carr (Greens) and the NPA voted against the rezoning while Hector Bremner (of Yes Vancouver) voted with Vision for the rezoning.

The reasons why this approach is failing Vancouver are many. In simple terms, it is because we are demolishing the older more affordable housing and replacing it with new, more expensive units that most locals cannot afford. So as rezoning increases outright supply, this cycle continues. Continue reading

Hot off the presses, “Light Rail Transit – Smart for Vancouver” video challenges Broadway subway

“There is only so much taxpayer money available for transit. Do we use it all up on one street? Or create sustainable transit for all of Vancouver …”

In this video, city planners Adam Fitch and Patrick Condon weigh in on Vancouver’s best options for sustainable transit.

In the lead-up to the 2018 municipal elections on October 20, 2018, there’s been lots of discussion about the future of rapid transit in Vancouver. The Broadway corridor along Broadway Street – reportedly the busiest street in western Canada – is due for a transit upgrade.

A Skytrain extension and subway is one solution but will cost about $10 billion dollars and take at least 10 years. Some mayoral and council candidates have declared their support or opposition for a subway on Broadway to Arbutus, and onward to UBC.

Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a cheaper, quicker and more sustainable option but has yet to be implemented.

See Adam Fitch’s website fore more information: www.smartforvancouver.com