Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's time for voters to occupy the ballot box

How many of us have these concerns, yet bemoan the fact that civic election voter turnout is so low? Robert Bransford touches down on a touchy subject in Saturday's Vancouver Sun:

The Occupy Wall Street movement spreads across the globe, yet most people don't bother to vote in civic elections, which affect them most

Do you wonder if your kids will ever be able to afford their own home? Are you a renter wishing you could afford an apartment that's just a little bigger and in a more convenient neighbourhood?

Are you finding your daily commute is taking longer and longer?

Is traffic now congested on local streets when you drive to the grocery store?

Have property taxes and the cost of utility charges for your home climbed to a level where they are now a noticeable financial burden?

Do you often feel as though decisions are being made without your knowledge or input about changes in your neighbourhood that are literally reshaping the place you call home?

Do you worry about the sprawl that continues to gobble up land as it follows the growth of freeway expansion extending up the Fraser Valley?

Have school closures in your neighbourhood over the last few years made you wonder about the future of your community?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, then let me ask you: What you are going to do about it?

Read more:
And Benjamin Alldritt, the North Shore News' Inquiring Reporter, asked five people on the street:
"Are you interested in this year's civic elections?

But while there’s no shortage of politicians, there are likely precious few voters paying attention. In the 2008 elections, fewer than one in five North Shore voters made it out to the polls.

Will things be different this year?

Three young people approached "on the street" replied:
"They (civic elections) do matter to me, but I should probably learn more. I don’t think local politics is very interesting, but I don’t know why."

"Generally not. I did notice someone going around handing out leaflets yesterday, but most of them just end up as litter."

"I didn’t know they (civic elections) were coming up."


These three responses were in great contrast to two older adults/seniors. Why do you think this is, and how can we encourage our young people back to the ballot box? How does civic politics need to change? Better yet, how do our politicians need to change?


Mocrael said...

Two of our young adult children live in rentals in Vancouver, where they can get a pretty decent place for a decent rent. Both vote. Obviously, this is not the norm...I wish there were a way for them to be able to afford the North Shore, even rental-wise...

Anonymous said...

Voter apathy has been a long standing problem, particularly in local politics. I recall Ernie chiding the electorate for poor turnout time after time.

I don't think that civic politics or the politicians have to change at all.

It's the voters that need to pay attention and participate, if not then don't complain about decisions made.

Anonymous said...

Local candidates that stand out with their show of independence, honesty and ability to stand up for the general citizens:

Pam Bookham and Rod Clark.

John Sharpe said...

Point of clarification.

Anon 5:25 PM said;

"I don't think that civic politics or the politicians have to change at all."

It's most important that voter's pay attention so that those elected represent more of the people but, if the politicians don't change then you still have the 'same ol'' to choose from.

Perhaps if more people voted say, 65% then different politicians would be elected municipally. It would be wonderful to see local voters as excited about voting as the politicians are at being voted for.

John Sharpe said...


Both articles you posted links for in the Vancouver Sun and the North Shore News are very good.

Mocrael said...

Here is another feature from November issue of Vancouver Magazine on a similar subject:

Going, Going Gone...

"The exorbitant cost of housing, lack of decent jobs, and changing nature of the economy have squeezed the middle class out. That’s why a generation of ambitious young people is leaving Vancouver."
It also offers up some solutions that work. But in the end, will it be enough?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

To John at 9:45. Don't buy the concept that local politicians "have to change" to attract additional voters.

You can vote for every possible age and flavour of politician so there's every chance for change if that's what someone wants.

Sorry but blame doesn't go to the politician it sits in the lap of the apathetic voter.

Anonymous said...

Yes, our children born and raised in N. Van all live in the Fraser Valley now with our grandchildren.

Housing prices in London, New York, Tokyo, Rio, Sydney, Vancouver and many of the world's most desirable cities has gone through the roof due to pressure from emerging economies.

Interesting development with the ship building contract that will provide significant employment on the N. Shore with potential real estate spin-offs. Where will it lead?

John Sharpe said...

Anon at 7:46,

What I meant was that it is precisely how you might get some change by having a higher voter turnout. The current pool of incumbent talent isn't likely to change but, perhaps a higher voter turnout would shake things up with some new faces and they would have wake up to the changes that were voted in. One can hope anyway.

sue lakes cook said...

I believe the reason the voter turn out is so low is because people have generally given up hope and trust towards politicians.

Who is really trying to do something about helping provide afforable houseing for the thousands of people in low paying service jobs? Who cares about the coming wave of extreme poverty which is about to hit Canada with an enourmous force, and that is seniors living far below poverty, and many being forced into homelessness?
Who will have the guts to stand up to the CUPE and Fire fighters endless demands? Who is willing to make a stand against our "justice" system that thinks criminals have more rights then victims?
Who is willing to stand up against developers demands and realize that smaller governments create smaller taxes?

We could also blame the North Shore News who has decided to get rid of any writers or subjects that might actually get people to think. After all they are getting $172,000.00 per year from the City for "advertising"

Thank heavens we have two such people in the City of North Vancouver and those people are Pam Bookham and Rod Clark. I will be doing everything that I can for these two people, dropping off flyers not only for my building but every building on my street.
Don't the voter for not voting, maybe they just don't feel there is anyone worth voting for

sue lakes cook

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I have lost my faith in politics and politicians. I vote because it is the necessary duty of democracy. But the choices we have seem no longer made of honest service and leadership calibre, but of self-serving egos.

Anonymous said...

I sure hear alot of complaints about the cost of housing in the North Shore.

Can someone tell me in how, in a supply and demand economy can the price come down when the demand continues to grow and the supply is staganant.

As you assess your local candidates, I implore you to find out who is willing to allow the North Shore to densify.

We do not live in Winnipeg or Calgary where you can shoot out in any direction and take over a section for another subdivision. Our lower mainland geography and border force us to concentrate housing and go up.

That has to happen across the North Shore...yes including the Seymour area. Otherwise we will continue to loose young people, young family and a vibrant middle class.

Anonymous said...

Without the proper infrastructure in place, the North Shore is a sitting duck during an emergency or an earthquake (Disaster Routes are a disaster) if density is allowed to grow at the rate the OCP spells out.

Anonymous said...

CNV's answer to affordable housing to date has been to encourage smaller expensive units. Smaller meaning 400 sq ft in some cases.

John Sharpe said...

I was talking to a non-North Van resident today whom travels to North Van fairly regularly and from her point of view more densification which the OCP calls for with the lack of infrastructure support is absolute craziness in North Vancouver. The only access are the 2 bridges and the sea bus service which was never upgraded. Unless you want to hitch a freight train ride or go all the way around to Lillooet and approach from the north you are out of luck when the traffic goes bad. I'd say I'd have to agree with her.

Anonymous said...

Just keep in mind that the status quo will not do anything to make the shore affordable. Supply and demand will place property here further and further out of reach without an increase in density. If you want affordability, things will need to change. If you want things to remain as they are, you'll see more people forced to move to more affordable environs.

Keep this in mind when voting. Those councillors who are anti development are, more likely, promoting an agenda of keeping the North Shore an enclave for the well-to-do.

Anonymous said...

what a load of crap!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:32PM, care to elaborate? What do you think will happen to housing costs if no additional homes are built? Do you understand the basic principle of supply and demand? Look at how house prices have risen in the past 10 years with even moderate development. Imagine what those prices will be with no new homes being added to the present stock. Show me where I'm wrong. And no, you can't prevent new people from moving to the North Shore.

Anonymous said...

The ns real estate market is a world market with buyers from around the world. It's not a local market whose prices can be dramatically reduced by a couple of hundred new residents.

Opening up entire new areas to the detriment of green spaces would have a very spirited political impact.

We live in an expensive premium area by world standards and that is highly unlikely to change so let the politicians serve the taxbase that exists.

Anonymous said...

The District is doing a fine job of destroying prime forest land with the help of those aggressive mountain bikers. I would garner a guess that within 20 years the bike damaged slopes become clearcut for more expensive view housing. Take a walk in the woods and see for yourself the death of a forest by 1000cuts. There is nowhere to go but up. Highrises and mountain housing. Maybe that is the district's plan?

Anonymous said...

8:46 Am

I would guess you are a realtor or a developer by the way you talk. Your statement; " Those councillors who are anti development are, more likely, promoting an agenda of keeping the North Shore an enclave for the well-to-do." is a joke. There have been many councillors who have community oriented and not development oriented and have been in no way associated with the well- to-do.

sue lakes cook said...

To be politically uncorrect yet once again, local people cannot compete with the foreign and immigrant money coming to the North Shore.
The British Properties are sprinkled with emply homes just waiting for their gonzillionair owners from China to come and claim them. When that happens the wealth of these people will be staggering.

North Vancouver now has a huge increase with wealthy people from Iran. The impact can be seen at the city of North Vancouver Library where story time is now in English, French and Farsi. As well, signage is quite often in Farsi.
North Shore Neighborhood House has programs in Farsi (no other ethnic langauage that I can see) and the mission statement is in English and Farsi.
John Braithwaite has programs in Farsi and a program for Persian Women over the age of 55 in Farsi which is free (again no programs for other immigrant groups)
The comprehensive seniors survey which was in many public places in the Spring was only printed in English and Farsi.

North Vancouver is changing very quickly and yes, it will now be for the very wealthy.

sue lakes cook

pb said...

CBC reported today that an entire block along the Cambie Street transit corridor was purchased by an off-shore buyer for $3.4 million per lot. For sale signs are popping up all along the street. So much for eco-density and gentle densification.

Anonymous said...

Who claimed there would be gentle density along that particular corridor? Given the upgrade to transit, that's where higher density should go.

Also, this blog is about the North Shore, not Vancouver.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Anon 6:51!

Anonymous said...

It's all a joke. We've been sold down the river
by the federal and provincial governments.
How? They've downloaded alot of their responsib-
-ilities to municipal governments to look after.
Used to be things like garbage, water to look after
now it's everything from Farsi to Cantonese to
medical problems. Issues that used to be taken
care of by federal and provincial taxes are all now
downloaded to municipal governments (and taxes)
to look after. In otherwords the politicians have shirked
their responsibilities issue-wise and financially.
They give lip service but really all they care about
is padding their retirements. Next it will be profits
from our water and natural resources that are the next
scam and business tax grab. Just like they said
with the HST. The market DID NOT pass on ANY
savings to the consumer like the BC Liberals said they
would. And it's a year later after voting out the HST
and we're still paying it! It's all a joke about greed.
There will never be affordable property in the Lower
Mainland. It disappeared after expo 86. Now the banks
make billions in profit from our money. And everyone
idly sits by as they drive their children two blocks to
school ( or the nanny does) while sipping their bottled
water. Fools. Humans are just as stupid as they were
1000 years ago.