Response to The Mayor’s GVBOT State of the City AddressOp-Ed
Ken Sim, Mayoral Candidate for A Better City
This week our Mayor spoke at the first in-person Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event since the start of the pandemic in his last address to VBOT before the next election.
Despite our city having successfully navigated a pandemic, looking towards a recovery, and this being the first in-person event for many of the attendees in years, I saw a room full of long faces.
Our Mayor gave a powerpoint presentation in which he talked about how excited he was about his slides. He discussed housing affordability, homelessness, and the poisoned drug crisis – he didn’t spend any time or energy talking to the people in the room, Vancouver’s business community.
There were a lot of things I didn’t hear the Mayor say.
I didn’t hear the Mayor thank the business community for the sacrifices they made, the hardships they endured, or the work they have yet to do in helping us recover.
I didn’t hear him address their concerns over the affordability crisis, the rising cost of taxes, fees, and services. This year, average combined property taxes and fees will increase by another 5.4% next year, bringing the cumulative increase under our Mayor’s watch to more than 25% in four years.
I didn’t hear the Mayor address the continuing rise in street disorder, window smashing, and property crime that the business community has to deal with every single day.
When asked, the Mayor stated, contrary to the business community’s lived experience, that ‘crime is down’. I didn’t hear him express compassion or empathy for the people who have to deal with this.
I did hear Councillor Dominato inform Global News that the Mayor has skipped the Vancouver Police Department budget briefings over the last few weeks.
I did hear the Mayor take credit for receiving provincial and the federal government funding for housing. I heard him take credit for 2,400 units of housing coming online. I heard him take credit for a plan to build up to 100,000 units over the next 10 years. However, if housing is being built, why are there still so many homeless individuals on our streets?
The Mayor might not know how to empathize with his audience, and he might not know how to work with the business community, but he knows how to take credit for other peoples’ work, and other peoples’ money.
I didn’t hear the Mayor lay out a recovery plan that provides opportunity, prosperity, and a path to a better city for every Vancouverite.
I didn’t hear anything that provided me with hope for our future.
This is what I will say:
Thank you to the business community for everything you have done, suffered through, and risk every day to invest in our city and our future.
Thank you to the police officers on the front lines being asked to do more in facing ongoing crises.
Thank you to our City staff, who have to deal with a Mayor who has a record of overrunning meetings, disordered decisions, and contradictory policies.
And this is what I will do:
Rebuild our city, starting with our business community, our builders, and our hardworking City staff, implementing a 15 Minute City. We will eliminate the permitting backlog by introducing a 3x3x3 mandate for permits:
• 3 days for simple retrofits & business permits
• 3 weeks for pre-approved builds with plans by accredited professionals
• 3 months for consultations and initial approvals on major works
We will institute a clock that city staff have to meet (and if they don’t, we will approve the permits when the clock runs out).
By tackling the permitting backlog, we can actually build the housing, the businesses, and the community spaces our city needs. Time is money, and once we eliminate the backlog, we will relieve cost pressures everywhere for everyone.
I will engage our officers in tackling the street disorder and chaos that is impacting our communities, while addressing the longer term challenges like the housing, mental health, and drug crises.
I will work with the business community to champion Vancouver as a place worth investing in.
We deserve a better city, and if you believe in building a more affordable, livable, and safer city for everyone, please join our movement.
Ken Sim is the Mayoral Candidate for A Better City, Vancouver’s newest political movement. He is a born and raised Vancouverite, entrepreneur, business and community leader who lives with his wife Teena, their two dogs, and their four boys.
Ken Sim, FCPA (FCA)
A Proud Vancouverite, Born & Raised
2022 Vancouver Mayoral Candidate
Twitter: @KenSimCity | Instagram: @KenSimCity | Facebook: @KenSimCity
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