After a decade as Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson has announced he will not seek re-election in the October 2018 municipal election.
Robertson has been Mayor for the past 10 years, and will have had the longest consecutive run as Mayor in Vancouver’s history – and there is no term limit in the city.
It’s not clear exactly what his plans are for the future, but here’s a look back at some of the highs and lows of Gregor Robertson and his time as Mayor of Vancouver.
Gregor Robertson is elected Mayor in February with 54% of the vote, on the Vision Vancouver slate, which captured seven other Council seats, and a controlling majority.
- Homeless Emergency Action Team created – several shelters set up to help Vancouver’s homeless citizens during winter.
- Burrard Bridge bike lane trial launches – one southbound lane and the northbound sidewalk are re-allocated to bikes.
- The Central Valley Greenway bike corridor from Vancouver to Burnaby and New Westminster opens.
- Construction of Olympic Village is completed, but only after a funding crisis in which the City had to borrow an extra $467 million.
Vancouver holds the Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics. Huge crowds of Canadian fans celebrating the Games in the streets make global headlines.
- Funding issues with Olympic Village continue; the City agrees to place the property into voluntary receivership.
- Separate bike lane installed on Dunsmuir Street, and another approved for Hornby Street.
- Robertson caught mocking people who had spoken at a Council session. “Who are all these fucking…who are these hacks?” The video went viral, and he apologized.
- The world is shocked as the Stanley Cup Riot devastates the streets of Vancouver. At least 140 people are injured, 101 people arrested, and 887 charges eventually laid.
- Robertson and the City were criticized for not doing enough to prepare for the large crowds flocking to Vancouver to watch the game on big public screens.
VIVA Vancouver program launched, converting the 800 block of Robson and parts of Granville Street to pedestrian only zones in summer.
- Greenest City 2020 Action Plan adopted, as part of his bid to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world.
- Robertson wins re-election as Mayor with 53% of the vote.
- Vancouver becomes first Canadian city to adopt Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, aimed at dealing with flood risk due to rising sea levels.
Transportation 2040 Plan adopted, aimed at shifting the mode share of most trips made within the city from private vehicles to foot, bike and public transit.
- Building permit values for the first half of 2012 reached $1.1 billion.
Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency created by Council to develop thousands of affordable homes on City and other land by 2021.
Local Area Plan for the Downtown Eastside, aimed at improving the lives of low-income residents in the impoverished neighbourhood.
- West End areas rezoned to allow for low-rise infill housing behind existing buildings in the lanes.
- Construction of the Seaside Greenway bike lane, between Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach, begins. This controversially blocks car access from areas of Point Grey.
- In an election campaign debate, Robertson famously apologizes for disappointing voters. He is re-elected, but fails to win with a majority, getting only 46% of the vote.
- The rising cost of buying a home in Vancouver hits the headlines and all politicians, including Robertson, come under pressure to do something to help local residents.
- The City adopts the Renewable City Strategy, aiming to be the first city in North America to use 100% renewable energy and eliminate gas-powered cars.
- City decides to demolish the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, to free up land for new housing and reconnect east side and downtown neighbourhoods.
- Referendum across Metro Vancouver on whether to increase sales tax to fund transit improvements fails, despite Vancouver City Council’s unanimous support.
- Robertson criticizes the federal government’s response to a major oil spill in English Bay, which leaked 2,700 litres of toxic bunker fuel into Vancouver’s waters.
- Vancouver has a rental vacancy rate of almost 0%, and concerns over the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver hit crisis point.
- Robertson calls on the province for more action; the City approves an Empty Homes Tax, and looks into regulating short-term rentals.
City-owned sites are rezoned to help provide housing for seniors, families and low-income workers, and initiate plans for new rental housing.
- After a long-running dispute with CP Rail, the City finally buys the Arbutus Corridor for $55 million, and rebrands it the Arbutus Greenway.
- The Arbutus Greenway is turned into an urban route for pedestrians and cyclists. Light rail to be added at some point in the future.
- The City of Vancouver begins cracking down on pot shops, requiring them to apply for a business licence, at a cost of $30,000. The first pot shop licence is granted in May.
Mobi bike share program launches.
- 800-block of Robson Street in downtown Vancouver is permanently closed to traffic.
First ever Vancouver Mural Festival held by local artists, in partnership with the City.
- Overdose crisis becomes apparent in Vancouver, as drug users begin to die in huge numbers from overdoses involving fentanyl.
Construction work begins on Burrard Street Bridge to make the bike lanes permanent, install suicide bars, and change the traffic patterns at either end.
- Council adopts all of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
- 2017 Homeless Count shows the rate of homelessness in Metro Vancouver continues to rise; around 1,000 people in BC die from fentanyl overdoses.
- A development application refused for the first time in Vancouver’s history, due to local opposition concerned about gentrification in Chinatown.
- Chinatown zoning changed to slow land speculation and development, and single-family neighbourhoods rezoned to allow for more density.
Regulation of short-term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo approved, to try to increase the long-term rental housing stock.
- New Housing Vancouver Strategy to create 72,000 new homes for renters, families, and vulnerable residents over 10 years.
- So many tickets have been issued to unlicensed pot shops that refuse to close, they now owe the City at least $1 million in fines. Only 17 licences have been issued.
New City logo approved at a cost of $8,000, without any public consultation. When questioned about it by reporters, Robertson loses his temper. Logo scrapped.
Seaside Greenway bike lane along Point Grey Rd completed.
- Construction begins on bike lanes along 10th Avenue, near Vancouver General Hospital, with more bike lane upgrades planned in the area for 2018.
- Nearby, 14th Avenue and Alder Street become bike routes, and across Vancouver upgrades to biking spots, including traffic calming, diversions, and signage, begin.
- Cost of City parking spots in the West End increased to market prices and Burrard Bridge construction work, making the bike lanes permanent, was completed.
What was the highlight or lowlight of Robertson’s run for you? Let us know in the Facebook comments.