Earlier today I published the media release for the new TEAM party that is gearing up to fight the 2022 Vancouver civic election. Regular readers will be aware that Councillor Colleen Hardwick, the driving force behind the new party, has spent the last two years battling the entrenched interests at City Hall to improve the governance of our city which, many of us believe, has been failing the citizens in so many ways.
She worked tirelessly for months — and against bitter opposition from city staff — to get us an Auditor General, one of the keys to improving efficiency and delivery of services to us all. And she has continued to press staff to justify their housing policies which, it is now shown, they developed without adequate data and which appear to be aimed at grabbing CAC revenues rather than meeting the needs of the majority of Vancouver’s working population.
I declare an interest here: I have spent a few weeks working with the new TEAM to help develop the guidelines for their policies on community and neighbourhood representation. I very much like the transparent way in which they plan to develop policies (there will be a full-on policy development conference in the next few weeks), and I greatly respect the talents of the group that Hardwick has put together, many of whom I have worked with over the years and some who are new to me.
We can certainly do a lot better than the Vision 2.0 coalition we have on Council today (or even a revival, God forbid, of the former Vision). In the next short while a website will be available for those interested in joining TEAM, in helping develop the policies we need to solve the city’s problems and move us forward into the future. I encourage everyone to take a look and join in.
This morning, Councillor Colleen Hardwick issued the following media release:
Vancouver, B.C. (September 29, 2021): Councillor Colleen Hardwick today announced that she has joined TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, a new citizen-based movement. Hardwick resigned from the NPA in May and has been sitting as an independent.
“Effective immediately I will be sitting on council as a member of TEAM for a Livable Vancouver,” said Hardwick. She said that like the original TEAM (The Electors’ Action Movement) founded by Art Phillips and her father Walter Hardwick in 1968, the new TEAM will put Vancouverites at the centre in tackling the key issues of our time. “The first TEAM united residents to defend their neighbourhoods from demolition, stopped plans to run freeways through downtown Vancouver, and created the award-winning False Creek South neighbourhood, an inspiring legacy worth fighting for,” Hardwick said.
“I look at city hall today and what I see is a city government that treats Vancouverites like ATMs while ignoring the issues that are most important to Vancouver’s families,” added Hardwick. “Too often residents are simply seen as a source of more and more revenue for a bloated city government that takes too long to get things done and sidelines the valuable opinions of citizens. Meanwhile, small businesses are buried in red tape, renters are stressed, neighbourhoods and parks are neglected.”
Hardwick said citizens are right to be feeling ignored, as there are fewer and fewer opportunities for real public input. “City advisory committees are deliberately stacked and filled with the ‘right’ people. Neighbourhood opinions are regularly dismissed. In fact, just recently the city canvassed Vancouverites on its new ‘climate emergency’ parking plan that imposed additional fees. When 19,000 people taking the survey overwhelmingly said no, the city hired a market research firm to get the answer it wanted.”
“TEAM then and now share a community-based approach, one that appeals to people of every political persuasion who are committed to putting Vancouver, its people and its neighbourhoods first,” said Hardwick. “Being focused on our citizens first and foremost is an approach that makes sense, and something that will always stand the test of time. In fact, as we head towards the next municipal election, I have just one question for every Vancouverite: Do you like what’s happening to your city?”
“Too many politicians have a knack for talking about the need for more affordability, then out of the other side of their mouth they’re jacking up city costs and taxes that make our city less affordable,” said Hardwick. “There is an incredible disconnect between city hall and Vancouver’s working families, and the
gap is only getting wider as the city ignores the fundamentals of running a city for people who live and work here. That’s what happens when politicians don’t listen and get caught up in their vanity projects, while ignoring the very people who live and operate businesses here …”
Besides Hardwick, the founding board of TEAM for a Livable Vancouver Association includes award-winning filmmaker David Fine, information technology consultant and SFU student Sean Nardi, retired educator Sal Robinson, and architect David Wong.
“This new party was created by people from different backgrounds, but we all have a common concern about our city’s current direction,” explained Fine. “Our goal is to offer our fellow citizens a better, progressive and forward-thinking option in the 2022 civic election.” Wong said “the group has been meeting for several months, looking for better ways of dealing with issues such as Vancouver’s deteriorating livability, the ongoing housing crisis, the ever-increasing cost of living, the increase in crime and growing concerns about public safety in many of the city’s neighbourhoods.” “TEAM is built around the belief that Vancouverites need to be heard, particularly when it comes to how our city is run and what its future should look like,” noted Robinson. “Vancouverites deserve a city council, school and park board with an agenda that puts citizens front and centre: people who listen to the residents that elected them.”
“Our policies are still being formulated and we consider our launch as an open invitation to our fellow citizens to join us in shaping them,” added Hardwick. “Our aim is to create a broad-based coalition of people with innovative ideas that will fix what’s broken in our city. Vancouver is rife with division and anger, and we need to respond better and address issues that people really care about: livability, fairness, safety, and a truly sustainable and affordable city.”