The Dangers of Voting
Municipal elections almost upon us and once again we pick the people that will guide the future of our respectives home towns. And in every November 19th vote lies the danger of electing the wrong people for the job. We’ve done it before and we’ll probably do it again. Take my home town for example.
Port Moody is a quaint little town, part of the tri-cities which includes Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. It was quiet and uncongested until our city council decided to award building permits to every schmoe that held out their hands. Since our arrival from the bowels of Vancouver our daily commute time in and out of Port Moody has doubled, lineups for banking, shopping and most other services have increased and the general quality of life has been diluted thanks to their decisions. Too many people and too little infrastructure to support them have contributed to the decline of our little oasis and it will only get worse as the Evergreen Line project draws near. (Thanks to Translink for imposing another tax on gasoline to pay for it all.
So how do I vote? Here’s my decision-making criteria:
- Has the candidate lived in Port Moody since the unchecked development began (5-6 years) and will they continue the practice of allowing developers to erect oversized bulidings on every green space in the city?
- Do they support the Evergreen Line? If they answer yes, I won’t vote for them. Period.
- Could they have alterior motives? Rumours have swirled for some time about our present Mayor’s interest in various real estate in Port Moody prior to the Evergreen Line and his personal profit from the project. I have yet to see any solid proof but I’ve learned never to underestimate the greed of politicians.
- Do they appreciate the quality of life in Port Moody and will they initiate anything that jeopardizes it?
- What do they do for a living and what is their field of expertise? I’ve had some experience with the ignorant authorities that populate government and I’ve always theorized that unless politicians truly understand the technicalities and implications of their decisions they shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions that affect the quality of MY life. Your 6 years in the gardening department of Home Depot doesn’t elicit trust and faith. Sorry but you’re a bozo.
One council candidate that will probably get my vote is Shane Kennedy, a resident since 1997 who “wanted to raise their children in a small, community oriented city”. He refers to the Evergreen Line as a “Cadillac system that the tri-cities just might not be able to afford” and theorizes that paying $8,000 to paint trees outside city hall blue may not be the best use of taxpayer money. I agree. (8,000 bucks to paint some trees? Is our city council completely fucking insane?) Do yourself a favour and download Shane’s two page 56kb PDF outlining his background and comments on Port Moody issues by clicking HERE. And have a look at his facebook page while you’re at it.
Take some time this November to understand the candidates that will shape your community and get out and vote for those that will protect your city’s future. And for my hometown of Port Moody it’s time we took our community back from some of the greedy bastards that have been running the show for too long. No more unchecked development that’s congesting our city. No more extravagent expenditures and taxation by a unelected body to finance transportation projects that will contribute to the erosion of our quality of life. And no more fucking blue trees.
Beware of Robert Simons, mayoralty candidate, and his smooth-talking chicanery (Encarta dictionary: deception or trickery, especially by the clever manipulation of language). Proponent for major “transit-oriented development.” Supported by some big players who want to cash in with development.
The same, unfounded, bitter and libelous, accusations of anon-PM Centre could easily be leveled against Mike Clay, Katie Kickbush, or mayoralty candidates anywhere. Let’s have facts and objectivity please, and not the silly, slanderous, slagging, of any candidate who is willing to stand for elected public office.
I’m interested to understand exactly what it is Shane Kennedy is proposing in his platform to win your favour?
The GVRD’s Liveable Region Strategic Plan set out the population growth targets for every Lower Mainland municipality in the mid 90’s. Metro’s Regional Growth Strategy continues to provide a plan going forward. Regardless of who is elected, Port Moody’s 30,000 population will unavoidably grow, and those elected will need to plan for continued growth through 2040. The Evergreen Line will require areas within a 400m radius of a station to be densified, and that’s a given. The “too little infrastructure” you refer to has been missing to this point because our existing council (including Clay, Elliott, Nuttall and Dilworth, who want your vote this time around) and other levels, have all failed to deliver or take advantage of the proven benefits of transit-oriented development, and nothing in our OCP offers any improvement, so congestion is going to get much worse before it gets better.
To explain my comment above, Mr. Simons stated clearly in 2008 while running for council that increased density and growth in Port Moody should be on hold until improved infrastructure was in place and traffic gridlock was reduced. Then, starting in 2009, he actively promoted growth based on the promise of the Evergreen transit line. He spoke for a group, the Western Station Committee, that included some major landowners and others who might benefit from increased development.
Mr. Simons is now openly advocating transit oriented development in his campaign to become Mayor, but his stated position was very different when he ran for council in 2008. Transparency is welcomed. Trust must be earned.
Port Moody’s current gridlock is a result of several factors, but a major one is that Port Moody has over-developed based on the promise of Evergreen, and the recent OCP strategy of zero to minimal growth is based on recognition of this problem. When and if gridlock is substantially reduced, it may be reasonable to revisit the growth strategy. That could take years.
I believe a corrective update is necessary concerning inaccurate comments directed at mayoralty candidate Robert Simons and his positive contributions working with the Western Station Committee, which I chaired. It has been suggested that Mr. Simons changed a position he took in the 2008 election concerning added growth and density and that the change was influenced by his active involvement with members of the Western Station Committee.
In 2008 and up until this past month the Evergreen Line was still a planned project but with no definitive date for construction and completion. In the spirit of transparency I challenged Mr. Simons to defend his 2008 position that – “no more high-rise towers are acceptable in the next few years” – and whether he still holds that position.
Here is Mr. Simons’ response:
“My position in 2008 was based on two key factors: 1) Transportation Infrastructure must be in-place prior to undertaking any significant new development; 2) Timing and location of any new high-rise tower would be dependent on transportation infrastructure and ensuring the development fits with the community and local environment. Both of these factors are still my guiding principles when considering any new high-rises beyond lands already zoned for high-rise development.
Beginning in 2012 Port Moody will be entering a challenging yet opportune phase of change as a direct result of the construction of the Evergreen Line. The challenges and opportunities will affect both residents and businesses – especially the residents of Moody Centre and the businesses adjacent to the Evergreen Line corridor. Prior to completion of the Evergreen Line it is incumbent on Port Moody and its residents and businesses to ensure the line enhances our community and specifically the Moody Centre neighbourhood. This inevitable change is the primary reason I support opening the OCP now to incorporate appropriate Amendments to properly address community expectations that can be achieved through the Evergreen Line.
Since the initial design documents for the Evergreen Line were announced I along with a broad cross-section of local residents and businesses have been actively involved in seeking added Evergreen stations and amenities with specific emphasis for a third station to serve the western part of Moody Centre. I will continue to pursue on behalf of all Port Moody residents and businesses the best designs and amenities that can be achieved from the Evergreen Line and TransLink to ensure the transportation service enhance our communities.
I received no compensation in my public role voluntarily representing the residents and businesses of the Western Station Committee. I would also note that I do not accept any monetary contribution for my mayoralty campaign from any corporate developer.”
Thanks Robert for being so forthcoming.
A review of the Moody Centre Community Association survey for all candidates running in the 2008 election (www.moodycentre.org/default2.asp?active_page_id=125) will show the position of Robert Simons as well as that of other candidates running in the 2011 election. You may want to ask for their current position on some of the issues noted in the survey, and where is their funding support coming from?
You asked what it is that I am proposing in my platform to win Adam’s favour.
I think it is simply this – I don’t claim to have all the answers or be an expert in all matters affecting our city, but I believe I am the type of person anyone will feel comfortable approaching when they have an issue or a concern. If I am elected I won’t be Councillor Kennedy – I’ll just be plain old Shane like I have been my whole life.
I am taking a pay freeze because so many people in our city haven’t had pay raises in a long time.
I will be against junkets to places like Beijing or Nova Scotia under the guise of drumming up business deals for our city that never seem to materialize.
Oh, and one last thing.
No more blue trees.
When you say “no more (fucking) blue trees” what do you mean? No more blue trees, or no more funding for public art in general?
I mean that it pisses me off when they spend my tax money on such dumbass crap like painting trees blue. Isn”t there a number of projects that deserve consideration and would better serve the residents of Port Moody rather than flushing my money down the loo in the name of a silly ‘art’ project? A disgusting waste of time and money.