Whew, it has been a busy decade, but today, CityHallWatch marks a ten-year milestone with our 3,033rd post. Yes, CityHallWatch just turned ten!
Above all today, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to our readers. And to the people who have shared tips, information and content with us, people who really care about our City today and its future.
Our first post, on October 15, 2010, started our activities off with a case study looking at a proposed rezoning at 1569 West 6th Avenue in Vancouver. Since then we have covered many community plans, meetings, forums, events, City policies, elections, elected officials, controversies, breakthroughs, problems and solutions, protests, and more.
Over the past ten years, with over 3,000 posts, we’ve had nearly a half million visitors and well over a million page views. We’ve covered stories from the perspective of the community, neighbourhood, individual, and taxpayer. Common themes, always with a focus on our own municipal government, have been accountability, pro-transparency and anti-corruption, regulatory capture, the role of big money. We have tried to shine a light on things. We have made an effort to drive web traffic to other grassroots and community based-blogs and writers like Eye on Norquay and Jak’s View, as well as the websites of neighbourhood groups and associations across Vancouver, and indeed the whole Metro Vancouver region through partner site MetroVanWatch.org. We have tried to see where the dots connect, and to connect them. We’ve tried to deconstruct and understand the processes at City Hall. All of this, from a perspective of being outside the real estate and development industry, and outside of the government. Everything we do has been a volunteer effort — original research, FOI inquiries, getting photos, making illustrations, developing computer models of proposed buildings, etc. Our budget is basically zero.
Some progress has been made in some areas due in part to our efforts and almost always in cooperation with others. We ran a petition to get the Big Money Out of municipal elections, and reforms finally did kick in for the 2018 municipal elections (though still having loopholes). We have seen media, elected officials, and City staff respond to issues and questions we have raised. We hope our content has been helpful for the people of Vancouver.
We lament the loss of many civic reporters and journalists over the years, and even entire newspapers like the Vancouver Courier, and MetroNews / Star, and many local papers around the region. That makes the role of grassroots citizens blogs even more important. Now in 2020 and beyond, the City of Vancouver is engaged in a number of major planning initiatives. It will be important for the public to stay alert and involved, to ensure that community voices are heard and not drowned out by voices backed by big money and influence. There is wisdom in communities.
A city is a living thing, and we are all part of it! The story goes on.
So from CityHallWatch Media Foundation, THANK YOU!
Randy, Steve, Gudrun