GREEN’S CARR HITS A SNAG IN MAYORAL BID
Green city councillor Adriane Carr admits that she has suffered a “setback” in her potential bid for the mayoralty of Vancouver.
Whether or not it will be the end of her tentative plan to put her name on the October 2018 ballot, Carr can’t say just yet.
Carr earlier wrote the ruling Vision Vancouver party, the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), and Onecity to ask for their support. She said she requested replies before the start of May as to whether or not they were going to run or endorse another candidate for mayor.
According to Carr, Vision didn’t give an answer. COPE, for its part, informed her that it wants more discussions with her about policies, and that it hasn’t ruled out running its own candidate. Onecity told her it isn’t ready at this time to back her because the Greens have not presented a platform.
“It’s a setback, certainly, in terms of time,” Carr told the Straight in a phone interview.
However, Carr also noted that COPE and Onecity were “clear in their responses” that they consider her a contender who is in the “best position to possibly win as a mayoralty candidate”.
“It’s impossible to develop a platform until you’ve nominated your candidates, because the candidates have to participate in that process. So that won’t happen for a while for us, until June, and I think for most parties until June,” Carr said. “So it does create a bit of a bind. I understand that bind, but I just can’t wait forever, not knowing what the outcome might be.”
Carr said she needs to make a decision and that this may come next week. That will be after the May 6 and 7 talks being hosted by the Vancouver and District Labour Council with representatives of Vision, COPE, Onecity, the Green Party of Vancouver, and antipoverty advocate Jean Swanson’s team about a possible electoral deal to thwart either a mayoral candidate or return to power of the Non-partisan Association (NPA).
Asked how disappointed she was about her failure to win the support of the parties within her time frame, Carr said: “I’m sort of more curious and interested in their explanation. So…at this point, I’m still, as I say, very open to running for mayor, and I’m open to running for mayor because I’ve been urged to do it. And I feel that I would make a good mayor and I really could contribute to the city that way.” Thousands of people have signed up to vote in the Vancouver mayoral-nomination process of the Nonpartisan Association (NPA). However, they won’t find the name of former Conservative MP Wai Young on the list of prospective candidates.
Young, who previously expressed interest in representing the NPA, did not submit an application for the nomination, according to party president Gregory Baker.
Young may run with a new organization called Coalition Vancouver, but Baker indicated that he is “not too concerned” about a split in the centre and centre-right vote that could arise from such a move.
“Our candidate will be the logical choice, and I have faith in our constituency to support the NPA,” Baker told the Straight in a phone interview.
Baker said five hopefuls have submitted applications for the nomination: councillor Hector Bremner, park-board commissioner John Coupar, financial analyst Glen Chernen, entrepreneur Ken Sim, and engineer George Steeves.
Baker said all five have to go through interviews by a “green-light committee” in the coming days. They will be assessed based on factors that include integrity and electability.
The committee will submit a report to the NPA board next week about who it recommends. The final list of contenders will be released afterward; the party’s mayoral nomination is on May 29.
According to Baker, the NPA’S ranks have swelled from only about 100 members last summer to more than 5,000 with the sign-ups this year for the mayoral race.
> CARLITO PABLO
TREE COVER BEING LOST TO URBAN DEVELOPMENT More than 20 years ago, a fifth of Vancouver was covered by trees.
But since 1995, the city has been gradually losing its tree cover as properties are cleared for new developments. A report that went to the Vancouver park board on April 30 notes that the urban forest canopy is “incrementally decreasing”.
“While many trees run their natural course of life and die, the recent accelerated decrease in urban forest canopy cover is primarily due to the loss of trees to urban development,” it states.
The report—by Nick Page and Dave Hutch, both with the planning and research department—reveals that the current urban forest canopy covers 18 percent of the city.
“A recent improved estimate indicates that Vancouver has lost canopy cover over the last 20 years (18% in 2014 from 20% in 1995) but fortunately the rate of loss has not been as rapid as first reported,” the report says.
The urban forest encompasses all trees in the city, including those on private property. Public lands, including streets, are home to 63 percent of trees.
According to the report, about 147,000 street trees and 68,000 largecanopy park trees are maintained by park-board workers. The park board does not have authority over trees on private land.
City hall’s planning, urban design, and sustainability department is “responsible for tree protection, development planning, and permitting on private land”, the report notes.
“Vancouver’s urban forest is not equally distributed across the city,” the report also explains. “Neighbourhoods vary from 6% to 28% canopy cover.”
The residential neighbourhoods with the least urban-forest cover are: Strathcona, six percent; Downtown, eight percent; Sunset, nine percent; and Renfrew Collingwood, 10 percent.
> CARLITO PABLO