We are just waiting a moment for Mayor Gregor Robertson to join the live blog. Please stand by...
We have a few questions ready to get us started...
Let’s start with what has turned into one of the biggest issues in this election campaign.. . the Occupy Vancouver encampment at the art gallery.
Why did you pursue getting an injunction when you could have removed the encampment at any time for violating city bylaws?
It's important to have the Supreme Court's authority to toughen up consequences for those who refuse to abide by city bylaws
Amanda has another question related to Occupy Vancouver....
The city supports the right to protest and will enable that to continue. The tent camp cannot stay though, it is unsafe and undermining the larger concerns of the Occupy movement globally
Thank you Mr. Mayor. With the recent death at the camp, do you regret not stepping in to end the encampment sooner?
There is steady dialogue between City and Occupiers to pursue next steps too
On the Stanley Cup riot, what will you do as mayor to make sure another riot doesn’t happen again?
My top priority is to ensure everything remains peaceful. Other cities have intervened and caused violence and chaos
We have a large events organizing committee that is focused on ensuring future big events plan for worst case scenario
We have a question from Michael on the city budget.
We've been very focused on efficiency at city ha'll, cutting an average of $5
0million/yr in each of the last 3 budgets
$50 mill a year that is. I keep my office lean!
Thank you. We now have a question via e-mail from Aaron Chapman: "In the last three years we've seen some inaction on Vancouver Heritage issues, notably the demolition of the Pantages Theatre. What will Vision Vancouver do to significantly improve on the Vancouver heritage issues."
We've saved the York theatre and made heritage protection a priority across the city. Some buildings like Pantages are too far gone and budgets tight, we can't save them all sadly.
Federally regulated and part of the health care system. Vancouver has a history of tolerance that I support
Thank you. Let's move on to housing and affordability.
Affordability is one of the biggest challenges facing Vancouver. What will you do to help make the city more affordable for average working people?
52% of residents rent, and we will keep creating new rental housing, start a renters database for problem buildings/landlords, create a rent bank. We want to see more affordable home ownership too, co-ops, etc
Do you a support a moratorium on new condo development in the Downtown Eastside? What direction do you see the neighbourhood heading in?
Vision wants to see more affordable housing in the DTES, so we're open to mixed housing projects that include a good supply of low-income units. We've just started a neighbourhood planning process which is long overdue, to help shape the development to come
Thank you. Now we have a question from WestCoaster.
Vancouver Council voted against burning raw garbage, which the Province included in their approval. We will continue to push for smaller "conversion" technologies that convert waste to fuel/energy/etc. We don't want to see a giant incinerator that is outdated tech in a decade
I worked with a majority of Mayors across the region to approve more $ for improving bus service and building the Evergreen line. We need to eliminate pass-ups asap and this 4 will help. But we need Broadway rapid transit asap after Evergreen gets going, we'll work hard for that!
Do you support a skytrain system, subway, or at-grade light rail for the extension to UBC?
Definitely need skytrain system as far as Arbutus, the volumes are huge and we need to extend Millenium to the west. From there I believe light rail would be best but Translink is still studying and working with the community to plan this
We've added over 4000 new businesses in Vancouver in these last few years after losing businesses for a decade under the NPA. As an entrepreneur, I know that lower tax rates, good customer service from city hall and streamlining the reg's are vital, and we're committed to all 3
OK thank you, Mr. Mayor. A question now from Kelly on crime in the DTES:
We're very committed to our 4 Pillars approach to drugs. Our crime rate is dropping at 2x the rate of other Canadian cities, so we're making progress towards being the safest major city in Canada. We will add another 30 VPD officers to keep on top of gang violence and neighbourhood safety
What are the city’s plans for social housing after the 14 city owned sites are developed?
We approved a 10 yr plan to build 38,000 affordable homes, Suzanne was the only vote against. We'll use city land to leverage funding partnerships with government, private and community partners. We need at least another 10 sites for social housing to solve homelessness after the 14 are open.
On the Olympic Village...