By all accounts on local television last night, the place to be was at the Sheraton Wall Centre, where Vision Vancouver was headquartered to await final election results. Mayor Gregor Robertson’s third term re-election was announced past 10 pm, and just before 11:30, he made his way through a stoked crowd and onto the stage, bringing his entire Vision team up with him, high-fives and hugs all around.
Thinking back to having lived nine years in Vancouver so far, it dawned on me as to why I too am pretty stoked with our city’s mayor thus far.
Mayor Gregor and I grew up in the same decade – the early 60’s – a tad too young to be involved with the Vietnam War protests, living through the disco-enhanced 70’s and indulgent 80’s, into the dot-com burst of the 90’s, and into a new millennium, a new frontier where the moving economy’s brought more entrepreneurs to the forefront than ever before.
When the Burrard Bike Lane Trials were complete, my husband and me were thrilled to see Vancouver begin to take serious steps towards becoming more bike-friendly. We spent eight years living in The Netherlands together, where bikes are prominent and bike routes are found not just in cities, but alongside many of the country’s provincial roadways.
Vancouver’s attractive on many fronts; steady population growth plus crazy housing prices have moved thousands to the suburbs. With high-rises dominating the downtown skyline, it’s no wonder residents are aiming to live closer to their workplaces and choose to cycle or walk rather than drive.
Notice that I didn’t mention transit. I have issues with a transit system that’s costlier to use than my own car (and that includes parking). Still, there’s hope that Gregor and his colleagues will expand Skytrain lines and add that badly-needed Broadway subway from Commercial to Point Grey in the not-too-distant-future.
The Mayor’s a great role model. He’s active, fit, musical, forward-thinking, tech savvy, and environmentally-friendly, and loves a good craft beer. Not perfect, but taking on some pretty tough issues — affordability, climate change, and Vancouver’s homeless population. We’re looking forward to seeing what he’ll do in this next term.