If she is elected mayor in the Oct.20 municipal election, Coalition Vancouver mayoral candidate Wai Young promises to eliminate two separated bike lanes--one recently installed on the Cambie Bridge, one under construction on West 10th Avenue--and another paved cycling path planned for Kitsilano Beach.
Young officially launched her campaign Thursday at the Helena Gutteridge Plaza at city hall and received the loudest applause from her supporters when she promised to scrap the bike lanes, which have increased across the city since the Vision Vancouver administration took office in 2008.
“We will no longer allow a radical, agenda-driven war on transportation,” said Young, who arrived by car to her launch, where she was welcomed by the music of a violinist. “As your mayor, and with a Coalition Vancouver council, there will be no more new bike lanes—there will be no more new bike lanes without removing a bike lane from somewhere else.”
Young, the former Vancouver-South Conservative MP, said bike lanes are “divisive and discriminatory.”
“They discriminate against seniors, they discriminate against single moms and many other groups,” she said. “They are a private roadway system which only benefits a very few specific [people] in our society. There are many places where this private road system is dangerous—I’ve heard that from people all over Vancouver—or where it simply makes no sense.”
Young named the recently installed “superfluous” separated bike lane on the Cambie Bridge, the separated bike lane under construction in front of Vancouver General Hospital along West 10th Avenue and a proposed paved lane to run through the Kitsilano Beach area.
“I also want to confirm that no new bike lanes will ever be imposed on communities without specific consultation and voting by those communities that are directly affected,” said Young, who didn’t elaborate on how residents would “vote” on a bike lane, or specify with reporters whether she includes painted bike lanes in her campaign.
She promised free parking on Sundays.
Much of Young’s speech focused on “a broken city hall,” saying it has been influenced by big business, developers and special interest groups and ignored seniors, children, families, youth and small business owners.
She said taxes are too high, homelessness has increased and garbage cans are overflowing. There has also been an increase in syringes on city streets and playgrounds, she said, calling the current administration “inept.”
She talked about her opposition to the provincial government’s so-called school tax, which imposes taxes on people whose homes are worth more than $3 million. Young was involved in the protests against the school tax and against a temporary modular housing complex in Marpole for homeless people.
Initially interested in a run with the Non Partisan Association, Young referred to the party in her speech as “the dusty old NPA with their backroom boys” and “Vision Lite,” saying “they have agreed with Gregor Robertson and his failed policies on virtually every issue.”
Asked to clarify that statement in a scrum with reporters, Young referred to a joint-operating agreement related to the park board. She provided no specific examples of votes at city hall, many of which divided Vision and the NPA on major issues such as the Northeast False Creek plan, various developments, tax increases and bike lanes.
Solutions to affordable housing, which has become the top issue in the civic campaign, were absent from Young’s speech. She told reporters she would provide details on her party’s housing platform at a later date.
Peter Labrie, president of Coalition Vancouver, was one of the two people to introduce Young—the other was friend Cynthia Friesen, who called Young a “change maker.” Labrie, a former NPA board member, also focused on bike lanes, saying “city hall has created a bike-versus-car crusade to generate headlines and split communities.”
Labrie said he left the NPA because “the party doesn’t fundamentally represent the centre of Vancouver.” He said he didn’t know how many members belonged to Coalition Vancouver. Young said in her speech that people from all over Vancouver and all municipal parties belonged to the party.
Both Labrie and Young said the party plans to run full slates for council, school board and park board.
Young’s official entry into the mayoral race makes for a crowded field.
Others competing to take over for the retiring Mayor Gregor Robertson include Ken Sim of the NPA, Ian Campbell of Vision Vancouver, independents Kennedy Stewart and Shauna Sylvester, potentially Patrick Condon of COPE, David Chen of ProVancouver and councillor Hector Bremner, who will soon launch his new party after being dumped by the NPA as a potential mayoral nominee.