22 June 2014

Letter of the week: I’ll vote based on my dream for a far better Vancouver

The Province June 22, 2014. • Section: Opinion

Imagine a better city. Imagine a civic government that engaged citizens as partners rather than adversaries. Imagine a city where the civil service is empowered to speak out and speak with taxpayers. Imagine a city where civil discourse and debate is respectful of all, regardless of your point of view. Idealistic? Not possible? Dreaming? No. Many cities in Canada and around the world have civic governments that work by consensus and respect rather than adversary and insult. Vancouver can too.

I think of a city government that focuses on civic issues, issues that matter to the residents and are within the purview of the city charter. I think of a city government that isn’t built on elected officials beholden to developer donors who pay for campaigns with their deep pockets. I think of a civic government that puts people first and focuses on community development.

I want a city that moves people by engaging them, not demonizing them. There is room for pedestrians, bicycles, and cars in our city. Demeaning one group isn’t helpful. Can you imagine a city that couldn’t move goods and services? Our road network is necessary for transportation of goods, services and people. It has to be accessible to all.

Envisage a city that focuses on the root causes of poverty and helps those who, for whatever reason, can’t help themselves, with an integrated housing, health, and education plan. A city that has affordable housing for everyone.

I imagine a beautiful city with parks and gardens open to all. A city where children, families, elders, and youth can play in their own neighbourhoods. Where summer outdoor swimming is as close as a public library or community centre should be.

I can imagine such a city. I can imagine that this city is Vancouver. In five months, the citizens of Vancouver will choose what kind of a city they want. I’ll be choosing a better city.

Stuart Mackinnon, former Vancouver park board commissioner

The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at gclark@theprovince.com. Letters to the editor can be sent to provletters@theprovince.com.

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