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CITY HALL NEEDS TO BE TRANSPARENT AND FAIR AS IT LOOKS AT THE FUTURE OF THE FALSE CREEK SOUTH NEIGHBOURHOOD

The voices of Vancouverites living in False Creek South need to be heard. These families are partners, not just tenants: Councillor Colleen Hardwick

 Vancouver, B.C. (October 4, 2021): TEAM Councillor Colleen Hardwick says City Hall needs to “stop keeping families in the dark” and assure the 6,000 residents of False Creek South that they will have a home in the award-winning neighbourhood as council makes plans for its future. Hardwick is putting forward a motion at the Oct. 5 council meeting that would proceed with lease extensions for strata leaseholds, co-ops and non-profit housing and implement a transparent community-planning process for the 40+ year-old neighbourhood.

“In 2018, council unanimously approved principles that would guide the future development of the area and directed staff to focus on negotiating new leases before work on the community plan proceeded,” said Hardwick. “Three years later the families in False Creek South are no further ahead and the city has shrouded plans for False Creek South in secrecy, rather than being transparent with the people who live there.”

Hardwick said the innovative False Creek South neighbourhood envisioned by then-Mayor Art Phillips, and Hardwick’s late father Alderman Walter Hardwick when he was chair of the False Creek Redevelopment Committee, proved to be “an incredible success story that brought a mix of incomes, household diversity and affordability to the heart of the city.”

Hardwick said the neighbourhood’s residents “support collaborative community planning to densify their neighbourhood further,” with an emphasis on more youth, Indigenous people, recent immigrants, and a campus of care with supportive housing for seniors and Vancouverites who have experienced homelessness.

“The people who call False Creek South home have created an incredibly livable neighbourhood over the years,” added Hardwick. “These Vancouver families are more than just tenants; they have shown all of us how to successfully build a diverse downtown neighbourhood that can thrive on change, inclusion, and creative urban planning and development.

“False Creek South is more than just another real estate deal, and City Hall needs to be transparent, open and creative about its future, including giving the current residents the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will have a home there in the years ahead.”

Hardwick’s motion emphasizes the need for a fully transparent and collaborative planning process that includes existing residents, and that “no other plan for the area should be considered by council” until such planning is carried out and completed. Additionally, Hardwick’s motion supports retaining existing housing in False Creek South until it is truly in need of replacement with any initial new development taking place on vacant land and infill sites.

“The Vancouverites living in False Creek South have been part of one of North America’s most innovative and successful urban development experiments ever,” added Hardwick. “They are the first to recognize that the neighbourhood needs to continually evolve as it welcomes more people and diversity. Now, our job at city hall is to be honest, transparent and as creative as council was back in the 1970s when False Creek South was first introduced.”

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Councillor Colleen Hardwick Joins a New TEAM

TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, a big tent that puts Vancouverites ahead of city hall: Colleen Hardwick

 

Vancouver, B.C. (September 29, 2021): Councillor Colleen Hardwick today announced that she has joined TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, a new citizen-based movement. Hardwick resigned from the NPA in May and has been sitting as an independent.

 

“Effective immediately I will be sitting on council as a member of TEAM for a Livable Vancouver,” said Hardwick.  She said that like the original TEAM (The Electors' Action Movement) founded by Art Phillips and her father Walter Hardwick in 1968, the new TEAM will put Vancouverites at the centre in tackling the key issues of our time. "The first TEAM united residents to defend their neighbourhoods from demolition, stopped plans to run freeways through downtown Vancouver, and created the award-winning False Creek South neighbourhood, an inspiring legacy worth fighting for,” Hardwick said.

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Open Letter to NPA Members and Supporters

Dear NPA Members and supporters:

We hope that you are safe and healthy during these unprecedented times we find ourselves in. Regretfully, we are writing to inform you that we are leaving the Non-Partisan Association (NPA).

As many of you know, we were completely taken aback by the recent appointment of John Coupar as the NPA’s 2022 Mayoral candidate. Immediately following the announcement, NPA supporters and members reached out to us expressing deep concern about the lack of transparency, accountability and integrity of the selection process. Many of you questioned this secret appointment, which excluded all elected caucus members including four women on Council. If the past few weeks has taught us anything, it is that women in politics have to stand up for their point of view.

The NPA is supposed to represent your values of good governance and responsible leadership, transparency and accountability to citizens, diversity and inclusion of all Vancouver citizens. This secret appointment did not meet your minimum standards the NPA should represent. Your questions were simple and legitimate: How could this happen and is this the end of the NPA as we know it?

November 2019: The November 2019 NPA Annual General Meeting elected a new Board of Directors. Following the AGM, there were a series of media reports characterizing board members as far right-wing, citing specific examples.

December 2019: Councillor Rebecca Bligh resigned citing concerns that the newly elected board harboured anti-2SLGBTQ+ sentiments. The NPA caucus responded with a statement of support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and SOGI 123.

January 2020: NPA elected Councillors, Trustees and Park Board Commissioners issued a letter to the NPA Board asking them to affirm their commitment to inclusion and diversity.

July 2020: Four NPA directors resigned citing concerns over the board’s ineffectiveness.

September 2020: The elected caucus issued a statement regarding an NPA board member's comments.

January 2021: The elected NPA Councillors, School Board Trustees and Park Board Commissioners met and collectively decided to call on the NPA Board to hold an AGM. To date, an AGM date has not been announced.

February 2021: The NPA Caucus met and began the process of activating 10% of the association’s membership to trigger a Special Meeting under the By-laws and Societies Act to set a date for the AGM. 

April 2021: The NPA Board announced John Coupar as the Mayoral Candidate. Elected NPA caucus members were kept in the dark and NPA members did not have a say in the decision.

April 2021: Councillors Hardwick, Dominato and Sarah Kirby-Yung issued a public statement in response to the appointment, which they stand by today.

Over the past 18 months, the NPA elected caucus has responded to multiple media enquiries regarding the Board’s directors and policy direction, and issued several statements reiterating the elected caucus’ commitment to inclusion, diversity and stand against hate and discrimination. This has been an enormous distraction from focusing on the critical issues facing the city.

Despite our many efforts, the NPA Board has failed to address a number of issues that NPA members and supporters want:

1. Open, accountable and responsible governance, as set out in the British Columbia Societies Act and the NPA bylaws.

2. An open and transparent candidate selection process for the positions of Mayor, Councillors, School Trustees and Park Board Commissioners, elected democratically by the membership of the NPA.

3. A clear and unequivocal statement of support for inclusion and diversity,.

We have lost confidence in the NPA’s ability to govern fairly and responsibly.  We don’t have faith the NPA will represent the priorities and values of Vancouver residents, and are looking forward to restoring hope and setting a new direction for the future of Vancouver. 

Therefore, we are leaving the NPA and will sit as a group of independents. It is 18 months until the next election. We will continue to provide leadership at Council and consider the best interests of the city.


VANCOUVERITES AND NPA MEMBERS DESERVE BETTER THAN BACKROOM DEAL

Councillors Dominato, Hardwick and Kirby-Yung leave NPA

Vancouver, BC (April 21, 2021): Vancouver Councillors Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick and Sarah Kirby-Yung are leaving the NPA (Non- Partisan Association) to sit as a group of independents after being blindsided by the NPA board’s secret backroom decision to run John Coupar as the party’s mayoral candidate for the upcoming 2022 municipal election. 

“We have heard loud and clear from NPA members and supporters that the actions of the Board and John Coupar do not reflect the standards of transparency, integrity and accountability we all expect from the NPA and each other,” said Hardwick. “NPA supporters and Vancouverites deserve better, which is why the three of us are stepping away from the NPA to sit as a group of independents. Instead of a fair and democratic process to select the best mayoral candidate, the NPA Board and John Coupar sidelined the elected members of the NPA and made a backroom deal. By any measure, it was about as old-boys-club as it gets.”

In an open letter to NPA members and supporters the councillors said the NPA organization as it stands today cannot be trusted to govern fairly or responsibly and that it does not represent the values and standards that Vancouver residents and NPA supporters expect and deserve. The letter outlines a series of events that unfolded since the current board took control in November 2019, including Caucus demands for an open NPA Annual General Meeting and renewal that have been ignored.

”The NPA Board has gone in the wrong direction and is out of touch with supporters and residents who have been reaching out to express their concerns,” said Dominato. “Women in politics need to stand up for their point of view and lead by example. As a group of independents, we will continue to provide strong leadership at the Council table, focused on bringing the city together rather than divisive politicking.”

“The public response shows the party has lost any connection with the people of Vancouver with this move of pulling a power play behind the backs of their elected Councillors, and with no transparency to the public. We stand up every day in and out of Council chambers to bring Vancouverites voices forward, and wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t stand against this. I’m proud to be serving on Vancouver’s first-ever majority women council and I won’t diminish that by not drawing the line. In 2021 we shouldn’t have to fight for a level playing field but we are,” said Kirby-Yung. “Moving forward, we’ll be sitting as independents working together and across the aisle to deliver strong and smart leadership to help move Vancouver forward. This story is far from over; we expect to have more to say about the future of our incredible city, people and our neighbourhoods in the months ahead.”

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Media contacts:

Councillor Lisa Dominato 778-980-4422

Colleen Hardwick 778-999-7677 

Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung 604-788-1352


Joint Statement - Municipal Auditor General Informal Working Group

An independent Auditor General Office will provide additional oversight of over a billion and a half in operating and hundreds of millions in capital budgets, and further support a culture of excellence through transparent, accountable review and reporting on behalf of the public.

The establishment of an independent Auditor General is an initiative of Vancouver City Council that was unanimously approved. Once in place, the IAG will be directly accountable to Council.

The legwork to develop the framework, bylaws and establishment of relevant IAG Council Committees has been conducted over the past months by an Informal Working Group of Council with support from the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation and the City Solicitor.

By its very nature, the IAG function is independent of City staff in order to maintain the integrity of the office. By necessity, the work was performed independently of staff, so it is entirely appropriate and expected that the city manager’s office would not be in a position to endorse. Accordingly, Vancouver City staff have no oversight of the function which is why concurrence of the City Manager was not sought or required for this report.


Council Working Group Quotes: (alphabetical)

“The office of the auditor gener al will fill a unique role in fostering accountability around spending, efficiencies and general stewardship of public funding and programs. We have a responsibility to ensure the office remains at arms length and fully independent of regular organizational management. The important work of this committee is to shepherd the establishment of the office of the auditor general through this process while maintaining that independence”. - Councillor Rebecca Bligh

“Our role as elected councillors is to put public interest first, the establishment of an Independent AGO compliments and supports that commitment, in a fair and unequivocal way.” – Councillor Adriane Carr

“An independent auditor general compliments the City’s existing internal audit function and annual external audit. It adds a level of transparency and accountability to ensure both high quality services and good value for money”. - Councillor Lisa Dominato

“An Auditor General office will be a great tool for our city moving forward. I think it provides an important layer of transparency and accountability for the public, and for the organization it serves a good evidence based analysis to test feasibility, practicality and cost-effectiveness of our work.” – Councillor Pete Fry

“The most fundamental characteristic and principle of the auditor general model is independence. The principle of independence means that AGO Vancouver must be independent from both City administration and City Council. This means that City administration should not control or influence the Office’s budget, staffing, or mode of reporting, and City Council should not direct the subjects to be audited or the content of audit reports”.  - Councillor Colleen Hardwick

“The fulfillment of Council’s commitment to establishing an Independent Auditor General will demonstrate we’re delivering on our promise of increased transparency at Vancouver City Hall. Having an Independent Auditor General can provide residents and businesses with assurance that public funds are being spent appropriately and that public services are being delivered effectively. I also think it’s important to recognize that Canadian cities with IAG’s across the country have demonstrated the function delivers a net positive contribution to city budgets over time.” -  Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung


 


Meet your new Vancouver city councillors

Newly elected officials discuss their top priorities over the next four years

"The obvious politically correct answer is to say — solve the affordability issue. But that oversimplifies a complex set of interrelated problems. I believe the key steps include a forensic audit and core review in order to determine where we stand so we can plot our course forward. This means a full, independent review of city finances to ensure tax dollars being spent responsibly and identify areas for improvement. It also means a review of city policies and programs introduced in the past 10 years to evaluate whether they are making Vancouver more liveable and affordable. This will go a long way toward restoring the public trust. Starting with the line item detail in the city’s budget, we must make transparency and disclosure the default.

Armed with the knowledge of where we stand financially, we can implement measures that address affordability by conducting a new city-wide plan that respects the nuance of neighbourhoods with a mix of densities including rental or below-market housing units, more closely aligned with incomes. Introducing new housing forms on unassembled lots will underpin these connections, enhancing how we care for the young and the old and each other. We need undertake a study to determine if our transit spending is making our housing crisis better or worse. If worse, how can we redirect that spending? None of these goals will be achieved without restored public faith in our municipal political institutions, processes, and leaders." - Colleen Hardwick

Read full article here!


The ‘Five Minute City’: A New Way to Imagine a Better Vancouver

Imagine a city where everything you need to do is just a short walk away.

By Scot Hein and Colleen Hardwick Yesterday | TheTyee.ca

What kind of city do Vancouverites want? We envision a Vancouver transformed to be the “Five Minute City.”

By this we mean a city of neighbourhoods, each home to locally owned shops and services, public amenities including parks, schools, community centres, childcare facilities, seniors centres and libraries. Neighbourhoods would include a mix of densities including rental or below-market housing units, more closely aligned with incomes, and all within a five minute walk of shopping, work, schools.

How do we achieve this fairly and democratically? That raises another question. Given that housing and transportation have emerged as top contentious issues in the current Vancouver municipal election campaign, how can we renew the city’s official community plan and radically improve the urban design process for the benefit of all Vancouverites?

Read full article here!


Hardwick to comment on Broadway subway

NPA candidate for Vancouver council Colleen Hardwick will hold a media availability and photo opportunity on Wednesday October 10 at 3 p.m. at the corner of Broadway and Arbutus streets to discuss her perspectives on the proposed Broadway subway.

Ms Hardwick has extensive experience in urban planning and city governance issues and is committed to enabling distributed density throughout the City by reactivating streetcar/surface passenger rail services in areas where there are existing right-of-ways suitable for that use, and in transit and transportation solutions in general.

Ms Hardwick provided a preliminary summary of her views about transportation and housing policy reforms in Vancouver at her election campaign launch on Sept. 5 in Olympic Village near the existing rail right-of-way (see photo) that was used during the 2010 Winter Olympics. A video clip of her remarks there can be viewed here.

Ms. Hardwick is advocating for alternatives to the proposed Broadway subway which recently increased from $2.1 billion to $2.8 billion with a proposed $700 million coming from the City.  Most cost estimates for more than doubling the length of the line to cover the extra 6.5 to 7.5 km between Arbutus Street and UBC are north of $4 billion.

Instead, she suggests that the City reactivate the Downtown Streetcar project which would support existing density on the north and south sides of False Creek, originating at the Convention Centre, swinging around Science World, proceeding  past Granville Island and up to Arbutus and Broadway. There the line would split with some trains going to UBC and others down the Arbutus Greenway and eventually to the Fraser Lands. This approach will enable distributed density throughout the city as a whole, is far less expensive and is in keeping with the legacy of the Liveable City.


Weekly Roundup - October 6th

Welcome to This Week in Hardwick Campaign Coverage, a weekly roundup of notable election highlights from the Colleen Hardwick for Vancouver City Council campaign. Look for it every week until Election Day.

Here's what you may have missed this week (Sept 30 - Oct 6):

Sunday, September 30th - Chinese Benevolent Association Dinner to celebrate the 69th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China at the Floata Seafood Restaurant - attended by Ken Sim and the NPA Team including Colleen Hardwick, Melissa De Genova, John Coupar, Sarah Kirby-Yung, Lisa Dominato, David Grewal, Rebecca Bligh, Fraser Ballantyne, Tricia Barker, Ann-Marie Copping, Oliver Hanson, and Jojo Quimpo.    

Tuesday, October 2nd - Colleen attended the University Women’s Club Women Candidates Civic Election Forum held at Hycroft Manor in support of fellow NPA candidates Rebecca Bligh and Carmen Cho. Also in attendance were incumbent City Councillor Melissa De Genova, and candidates Lisa Dominato and Ann-Marie Copping.

Wednesday, October 3rd - The Colleen Hardwick For Council Team attended the Last Candidate Standing: 2018 Vancouver Election Debate. Incumbent City Councillor, Melissa De Genova participated for the NPA. The event turned the typical debate format on its head, allowing each and every party-affiliated and independent candidate a chance to take the stage and respond to questions on key local issues. It's part politics, part game-show, and 100% fun. Colleen was en-route back from meetings in Victoria.

The Colleen Hardwick For Council Team also attended the Sunset Community Association All Candidates Forum with NPA’s John Cooper and Paul Beesla who shared their views regarding the current Park Board policies.

Later in the evening, the Colleen Hardwick For Council Team attended the Grandview Community Centre Association All Candidates Meeting at Trout Lake in support of NPA Park Board candidate Casey Crawford who answered questions and comments about the roles Vancouver’s community centres and associations have in creating a healthy, inclusive and equitable community.

Thursday, October 4th - Hosted by Maria Wells and the Colleen Hardwick for City Council team, the investment community gathered to talk civic politics at the Gramercy Grill for a Happy Hour ‘Meet & Greet’ with NPA candidate Colleen Hardwick. Thanks to all who attended!

The Meet Your Next Mayor event held at Congregation Beth Israel by the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee to engage with electoral candidates and learn about volunteering in the October 20th local election. Colleen attended together with other NPA candidates, Sarah Kirby-Yung, Rebecca Bligh and David Grewal.

The False Creek Residents Association held their 2018 Vancouver Election Q&A with Mayoral & Council Candidates at the Creekside Community Centre in Olympic Village. Ken Sim and Sarah Kirby-Yung were on the panel from the NPA, while Colleen and other NPA candidates and supporters were in the audience of 100+ residents.

At the end of the evening, Colleen attended the Director’s Guild of Canada’s Vancouver International Film Festival event to mingle with Film and TV professionals and friends. Colleen has been a member of the DGC BC District Council since 1984.

Friday, October 5th - Friday Night Supper Hosted by Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral.  Ukrainian Suppers (Perogy Night in Vancouver) held on the first Friday of the month. Colleen attended with members of her campaign team.

Saturday, October 6th - Visited the Sunrise Seniors Centre with other NPA candidates including incumbent Councillor Melissa De Genova.   

Circumnavigated the City of Vancouver visiting each of the four corners from Hastings-Sunrise to West Point Grey to Marpole and Victoria-Fraserview.


Weekly Roundup - Sept. 28th

Welcome to This Week in Hardwick Campaign Coverage, a weekly roundup of notable election highlights from the Colleen Hardwick for Vancouver City Council campaign. Look for it every Friday until Election Day.

Here's what you may have missed this week (Sept 23 - Sept 28):

Sunday, September 23rd - Hosted by Steve Sach and the Colleen Hardwick for City Council team, the Film and TV Industry gathered to talk civic politics at the Elephant and Castle for a ‘Meet & Greet’ with NPA candidate Colleen Hardwick. Mayoral Candidate, Ken Sim, also made an appearance as did City Councillor, Melissa De Genova and candidates Lisa Dominato and Rebecca Bligh.

Monday, September, 24th - Colleen began the day with Ken Sim and the rest of the NPA TEAM unveiling their plan to bring transparency and accountability back to City Hall. To read the full policy visit: https://npavancouver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/platform_transparency.pdf

Later that evening, Colleen attended an open house meet & greet with Ken Sim and other NPA candidates together with residents of the Kitsilano beach area. Ken Sim spoke about the NPA’s core policies from the rooftop looking back across the City.

Tuesday, September 25th - Colleen attended and spoke at the West Point Grey Residents Association All Candidates Meeting held at West Point Grey United Church. Colleen addressed questions regarding the need for a newed City-wide plan, affordable housing and transportation solutions.

Wednesday September 26th - Colleen took part in a press conference and rally held by the tenants of Berkeley Tower to bring attention to their critical situation, and to highlight the loopholes at the provincial and municipal government levels that contribute to the housing crisis in Vancouver.

Thursday September 27th - Together with other NPA candidates, Melissa De Genova, Lisa Dominato and Jojo Quimpo, Colleen visited the senior care community home, Villa Carital, in East Vancouver to discuss issues that are important to residents.

Colleen later attended the Vancouver Historical Society's Housing Vancouver, 1972-2017: The Long View on a Present Crisis lecture by Dr. David Ley at the Museum of Vancouver which provided a historical view on our present housing crisis. David Ley was Professor of Urban Geography at UBC from 1972-2017.

Friday, September 28th -  The *RePlan Committee of the False Creek South Neighbourhood Association invited several candidates from the NPA to participate in a two-hour "conversation" with several leaders from their community to speak about the issues facing False Creek South concerning their leases on City-owned land, a community plan to guide the area's future and a governance model to help implement the plan with strong community and City engagement.

Saturday, September 29th - Colleen will be attending the NPA Campaign Rally at Alpen Club Ballroom.  Election day is just around the corner! To keep this exciting momentum, we would like you to join us at our upcoming Campaign Rally! Hear from Ken directly and be introduced to all City Council, Park Board and School Board Candidates.