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Tim Louis going to go to battle against Vision/COPE deal

September 9th, 2008 · 6 Comments

In case anyone had any doubts, The Tyee has extensive quotes from Tim Louis about how and why he’s going to try to negate the “co-operative agreement” that the parties have reached on slate-splitting.

The interesting part of this news is the way Louis identifies what is the almost the only issue that the two parties really seem to disagree on any more: development. The issues that originally split the two — gambling, the RAV line, and the Olympics — are all faits accomplis, with little left to argue. (Although I suppose they could start up a brawl about the 10-years-off Millennium line.)

But what stance to take about development — oppose it all, try to shape it, let everyone run wild — that’s still an ongoing debate. For years, COPE was the stalwart anti-developer party and it even won votes from the west side for that.

But the people who eventually joined Vision tended to have a different approach. When I was talking to city councillor Heather Deal today about what the two parties actually disagree on, growth and development was the only one that she came up with easily. I remember Anita Zaenker (former COPE board, later Vision supporter) saying to me once something along the lines of, “The fact is that Vancouver is a growing city. Are you just going to oppose everything or are you going to try to work with the good developers and get them to build something that adds to the city in a positive way?”

Louis still talks about developers as though they are unmitigated demons from hell and blasts Vision (or “the NPA lite,” as he calls it) for accepting so much money from them. He says that he would push to get 8,000 new units of social housing in the city instead. While that’s a noble goal to fight for, it’s hard to imagine that it will ever happen — or at least not in the time frame that Louis would like.

But whether it’s possible or not, the issue of development is going to be an interesting one to watch the two parties dance around during the campaign.

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  • Dawn Steele

    It’s a pity that so many still see civic elections as being all about City Hall. The issues facing school board and parks are entirely different and at least as important as urban development and merit at least equal attention.

    If one sets aside the political tribalism and considers the critical public education issues at stake in this election, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for COPE and Vision school board candidates to be competing against each other. I’ve worked closely on many education issues with many of the candidates running for both teams and I haven’t seen anything relating to education per se that would distinguish a COPE candidate from a Vision one, (or for that matter from the odd NPA trustee like Eleanor Gregory who really “gets” the role of a trustee as amounting to more than managing a budget that Victoria hands down to them.

    Yes, I can see why people on both sides would have reason to complain, but that’s the nature of compromise. Whatever else it is, this deal is very good news for public education – kudos to both Gregor and the COPE leaders who were able to stay focussed on the big picture and pull it off.

    (And I would hope that education is another key area, like homelessness, where the teams will be working closely together …and where the leaders on both sides consider that news important enough to mention as well.)

  • Wagamuffin

    Personally, I look forward to seeing the Che Guevera t-shirt make a big fashion comeback.

  • Reed Eurchuk

    As much as I like this website, and follow Ms Bula’s work as close as I can, I disagree that Tim Louis and others that support his type of COPE politics believe all development is bad. In fact, Mr Louis has said on a number of occasions that increasing density is inevitable and not necessarily bad. What Louis and others believe needs to happen is that development has to take a more social perspective and must serve the needs of the people of the city. As it stands now the city serves the needs of the developers, and in fact during the reign of Mayor Campbell (which was a de facto Vision/NPA coalition government) many of the worst development project currently under way were green lighted. Vancouver needs to regulate and guide development closely, and Vancouver needs to recoup a large part of the windfall profits they provide to developers through taxation (the rezoning or land / approval of certain developments creates wealth out of nothing, yet the city refuses to recoup any of the wealth they create).

  • Reed–

    And how to best get a shot at making that happen?

    Blow it all up let the real NPA have all the marbles to do as they please?

    Or work with somebody that may not give you everything you want but who will give you a shot.

    I mean, think about how much more affordable housing would be being built down on SE FalseCreek right now if just a little bit more far left effort had gone into getting Jim Green elected last time out.

    (and if that rump faction from the old guard hadn’t thrown their support behind/given cover to the Smilin’ One).


  • MB

    So, Reed, the Woodward’s project is undoubtedly on your “worst development project” list, along with the pre-NPA SE False Creek plan? Both have / had very significant social housing components.

  • jr


    Perhaps it would be better to go back and write for the Sun, at least we could put your comments into some kind of perspective, but lets face it, your objectiveness is becoming offensive.

    The problem with only 2 councillors for COPE is that its too little, should be four, that way the likes of Louie and Stevenson will have to fight harder for their Visionless nominations. Two of the folks who attempted to destroy COPE while using their supporters and money to help them get elected should step aside and go back bottom feeding. If these two rotters were not on the ballot then I could stomach this unilateral retreat by COPE. Otherwise this so called executive order could return to where the sun don’t shine.

    The reason Jim Green didn’t get elected last time is that his usual COPE support, which he needed to win, just couldn’t hold their noses tight enough to mark their ballots beside his name.

    He knows where he can stuff that pork barrel hat of his.