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Flood of reports outlines Vision's campaign platform

Every summer break at city hall begins like this. Only in years when there is an election it is worse. You may have noticed the avalanche of reports.

Every summer break at city hall begins like this. Only in years when there is an election it is worse.

You may have noticed the avalanche of reports. This year it includes ones on pedestrian safety, others on viaducts, the housing and homeless strategy, a Vancouver separated bike lane business impact study and, the mother of them all, the Greenest City Action Plan.

Staff appears exhausted in the whip-cracking frenzy to get decisions made by council and policy papers at least on the table before the often equally exhausted politicians head out on a bike trip, to a lake or into their gardens.

But just consider those reports and youll see the guts of Visions campaign platform. The issues they care about and promised to act on when they were elected.

There may be, as critics from all sides have rightly pointed out, a lack of detail in the housing strategy for example. Besides, it doesnt kick in until next year and runs until 2021. But there is enough to say its much more ambitious than simply dealing with the hard to house. It suggests the city will use its resources to create affordable housing for those among us who choose to buy or rent but are now being out priced by the market place.

The car culture that has ruled for so long will find no comfort in the reports on pedestrian safety, the prospects for eliminating the viaducts or the Greenest City Action Plan.

They will continue to grouse about a lack of bicycle traffic on the Burrard Street Bridge and Hornby and Dunsmuir.

While no businesses have actually been bankrupted by road space being removed from cars to either move or park and given over to bikes on Hornby, last weeks report, a first of its kind ever anywhere were told, shows a moderate loss of a $2.4 million to businesses. One wonders what income bracket you have to be in to consider that moderate.

Never mind, engineering is coming to the rescue and will tweak a few things to try and improve matters. But dont expect a great deal to change; as the report notes: As with any major infrastructure change in a city there is normally an adjustment period, so it may take years for the business impacts to become clear and definitive.

If you dont like it, you can vote for the other guys, that being Suzanne Anton and the NPA. You may already have decided to do that. And you wont be alone.

The final hours of work in July are often sucked up by public hearings. Anton reminded me that in 2008, the final summer of the Sam Sullivan regime, seven nights were filled with public discourse about EcoDensity. (That would have been Sullivans show piece in his election campaign if his own party hadnt turfed him first.)

On Tuesday, council was bracing for an evening rezoning hearing on the Shannon Mews project, a Bruno Wall development of a large chunk of real estate his family has owned for decades at 57th and Granville.

Leading the charge is Randy Helton, a resident of the West End who is a former member of Vision. Helton gained prominence about a year ago when he was one of a number of folks speaking against a council plan for housing in his neighborhood under the STIR (Short Term Incentive Rental) program.

It was on the occasion of that hearing that Mayor Gregor Robertson, not realizing his microphone was still on, infamously muttered about the f***ing hacks who he assumed were all NPA supporters. As it turned out a number were members of COPE and those, like Helton, who were Vision supporters.

Helton has since created a website called City Hall Watch and is assembling folks from a number of neighbourhoods who share his concern that Robertson and his crowd make development decisions without proper consultation.

Once the summer break is over and the election campaign picks up steam you will hear lots more of that. So enjoy what ever calm there is for the next few weeks.

agarr@vancourier.com