Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council hoping for mixed council

Whatever the election outcome is, the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council is hoping for a mixed result.

“From our perspective, we just want a mayor and council that will engage with the Downtown Eastside a little more than they have in the past six years,” said co-president Matthew Greenwood in a phone interview with the Courier.

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The neighbourhood council is part of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, which formed last year after nearly 20 community groups banned together in an effort to change the city’s planning process.

“We didn’t feel like we had a voice, that everything that was said fell on deaf ears,” he said. “Jak King did a great job of organizing us. Frankly, we’d go to the consultation meetings and it seemed there’s not one thing that made it from the consultation meetings into the actual plan.”

Greenwood added having a variety of political views in city hall will allow for better representation, benefiting all neighbourhoods because “more voices are better than one.”

While critical of Vision Vancouver in the past, Greenwood said if incumbent Vision Mayor Gregor Robertson is handed the reins again, his council and the coalition will continue to work with the party.

“We don’t endorse any one candidate. We just want whoever is in power to work with us.”

If it were up to him, Greenwood would like to see a ward system put in place to accurately reflect the needs of each neighbourhood.

“Each area is unique and having councillors spread all over the city seems kind of the wrong approach. We need one person who knows Downtown Eastside issues, we don’t need 10 people that graze over a file whenever it comes up on the agenda at city council meetings.”

When asked who will win the city’s top job, Greenwood couldn’t call it, but anticipated a larger voter turnout than in 2011.

“People are excited and they’re engaged.”

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