Opinion from Mayoral Candidate Ken Sim: "Vancouver needs bold leadership at City Hall"

Oct 14 2021, 4:30 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Ken Sim, Vancouver Mayoral Candidate for A Better City.

Vancouver Needs Bold Leadership at City Hall

Everyone can see that streets and public spaces across our city are in a state of chaos. Unfortunately, our council lacks unity of purpose and vision, and basic services are failing our residents.

We need to tackle our city’s pressing issues head-on with courage, compassion and common sense. Over the past decade, we have seen our city collapse from the height of the 2010 Olympics, to being ravaged by a poisoned drug crisis, a homelessness crisis, a mental health crisis, and a housing affordability crisis.

I am a proud Vancouverite – born and raised. While I am still proud to call Vancouver home, I am saddened by where we find ourselves today. The city’s leadership has stood by and watched decay set in, and determined that solving our many crises is best served with endless meetings and statements of concern without action.

We require bold leadership, not only to tackle the problems facing our city, but also to seize the opportunities that will make Vancouver the best city on the planet.

We need accountable government

On Kennedy Stewart’s watch, we’ve seen the occupation and destruction of our public spaces while the elected Park Board spent their time squabbling about bike lanes and community gardens. Hundreds of our fellow citizens became homeless and were taken advantage of by criminal elements – making our communities less safe.

Many issues need to be addressed to provide accountability at City Hall, but first, we need to eliminate the petty politics and distractions of our elected Park Board. We need to roll the Park Board back into city government, appoint commissioners, and assign political responsibility to the mayor and council – just like every other city in Canada.

We need sustainable government

As we build our team and grow our movement, I’m going to focus on:

  • Environmental sustainability
  • Sustainable business
  • Sustainable growth

Vancouver has the potential to tackle the biggest problem facing humanity. We do this by greening our city, refocusing our efforts to build and champion sustainable finance and clean technology hubs, and prioritizing sustainable growth.

While banning plastic straws might provide a symbolic win, it won’t help fight climate change. We need to think and act bolder. If I am elected mayor of Vancouver, I will commit to building a “15 Minute City” under the new Vancouver Plan – so that people can access 90% of their life within 15 minutes of their front door.

I will focus on attracting world-leading environmental companies to relocate to Vancouver, creating great career opportunities and a world-leading centre of environmental excellence.

We need an inclusive government 

Building a 15 minute city will mean we’re building an inclusive city. Unfortunately, our current mayor spends his time pitting renters against homeowners to capitalize on the cheap politics of division.

A lot of work needs to be done to tackle issues of inclusivity – such as confronting hate crimes that have spun out of control over the past two years. That is why I’m committed to increasing funding for community safety initiatives.

And to increase representation at City Hall, I’ll introduce a split ward system that will balance our city’s diversity with a need for consensus building in the council chamber.

Under the split ward system, there will be:

  • five councillors elected to represent five large regions of our city, and
  • five councillors and a mayor elected at large to be the voices for all Vancouverites

We need service-focused government

I want every Vancouverite to believe that our best days are ahead of us. That is why I am focused on building a more vibrant, affordable, liveable and safer city.

Elected officials need to refocus on serving our community instead of championing their pet projects. That is why I supported the launch of A Better City and ran to become their Mayoral nominee. We are building a team and a movement that works together to serve our city.

We need A Better City

Vancouverites deserve a city government that unites us. As we move past the pandemic, we need to focus not only on tackling the challenges in front of us, but also seizing the amazing opportunities that are presented to Vancouver. Let’s put an end to divisive and petty politics. Let’s focus on building a more affordable, livable, and safer city for everyone.

If you believe in Vancouver like I do, I invite you to join our movement. We can build a better city, together.

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