Dan Fumano: Vancouver’s new, friendlier city council set for first meeting of 2019


Although Vancouver’s new mixed council seems — at least so far — quite collegial compared with its predecessor, they’ve seen at least one early behind-the-scenes disagreement.

In November, as the new mayor and council left their swearing-in ceremony at Creekside Community Centre in Olympic Village to head to their inaugural meeting at city hall, they held a flash vote on whether to stop for a treat at Earnest Ice Cream. To the clear disappointment of the councillor who later told the story, the ice cream proposal was voted down.

But, apart from that early divergence, Vancouver’s most politically diverse council in recent memory — with an independent mayor presiding over councillors from four different parties — seemed to be getting along well in their first weeks together before the winter break.

This coming week brings Vancouver’s first council meetings of 2019, and an agenda touching on several of the most talked-about issues in the city right now: money laundering, climate change, ride-hailing, transit, and, as always, real estate.

For the first time in decades, no one party has a majority, but this council has appeared broadly aligned early on around the top issues, voting unanimously in their first meetings on measures addressing housing and overdose deaths. Perhaps the closest thing to a wedge issue so far is one that seems, to many, pretty innocuous: duplexes. NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick had sought to rescind the previous council’s decision to allow duplexes in low-density residential neighbourhoods, but council decided last month to leave the existing zoning in place, at least on a trial basis.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart has joked, more than once, about his running tally of how many items council can pass with unanimous …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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