With the Vancouver civic election coming up next year, one hot topic will be at the forefront: bike lanes.
The Vancouver Cedar Party, a new civic party in the City of Vancouver, believes the rampant installation of bike lanes are a major and dividing issue in the city. They are vowing to take on the bike lanes if elected in November 2014’s Vancouver civic election.
“There are a number of bike lanes around town that just don’t make sense,” Vancouver Cedar Party leader Glen Chernen told News1130. “There are too many and they’re taking up too much room in some places.”
He believes Vision Vancouver has lost its way and is being funded and driven by special interest groups. He promises to evaluate all the bike lanes built and has taken a stance that the Point Grey bike lane will be removed if his party is elected.
Chernen is not against bike lanes, however, he feels the city has focused too much time on them, installs the infrastructure in a way that unnecessarily causes congestion, and uses them as a distraction from some of the bigger issues like homelessness and affordability.
“We’re going to have no part in that (special interests) at all, because we think it takes away from providing the solutions for the things that really matter in the city. They’re all just being forgotten,” said Chernen.
As a part of its election platform, the Vancouver Cedar Party will install an anti-corruption office within City Hall and implement a $2,400 annual maximum individual donation limit on all parties.
Besides criticizing the city’s mandate of expanding bike lanes across the city, the Vancouver Cedar Party is also against Vision Vancouver’s policy of densifying the city’s neighbourhoods, including the proposed plan to expand and redevelop Oakridge Centre. The new party is against densification despite its highly sensible locale near SkyTrain stations and major arterial roads.
The Vancouver Cedar Party seemingly (and strangely) seems to be supportive of near zero development and a no-growth economic policy, in favour of even more park space but without the revenue to support it.
It is a party that ignores Vancouver’s economic reality in the province and country, instead choosing to place greater value in policies that would be more suitable for managing a fishing village. It also ignores the region’s constrained geography – the only way to grow physically and sustainably is upwards as in densification. It would rather choose to look at issues and policy solutions with merely a neighbourhood lens rather than a holistic approach of considering the overall system in relation to both the entire city and the Metro Vancouver region.
It is true that Vision Vancouver’s banner of change has been shocking and jarring at times, however, the ‘real sensible alternative’ that the Vancouver Cedar Party advertises itself to be would probably be much closer to the brand of conservatism (or Fordism) brought to Toronto by its highly controversial Mayor Rob Ford.
Vancouver does not need a conservative presbyterian-like fringe “Cedar” Party, but it needs a strong and effective opposition party to keep Vision Vancouver accountable.
Whether it be civic, provincial or federal politics, strong opposition parties hold ruling majority governments accountable for their actions and provide checks and balances to the overall political system. Vancouver civic politics currently lacks a strong opposition, which is only upheld by the Non-Partisan Association’s lone remaining city councillor George Affleck.
Source: News 1130 / Image: City of Vancouver