Links – A Highrise Looms Over Civic Election 2011

Austin Heights Highrise Coquitlam

We’re into the last two weeks of Civic Election 2011 here in the Tri-Cities. As if I haven’t mentioned it enough, head on over to, check out the candidate bios, and fill out the cheat sheet. For those candidates who haven’t filled out the candidate info form, we’ll be putting up whatever we can find online about you this week. Might be flattering, might not, so why take the chance? You still have time to fill it out. Over 41,000 pageviews on that site so far, so thank you to everyone who has come by.

The new highrise in Austin Heights was approved in the last Coquitlam Council meeting before the civic election. Some residents are still claiming that Coquitlam council is being secretive in this article from the Province. I really don’t know at this point what you have to do to tell people what’s going on. There have been ample public consultations, and this has been talked about for two years. That picture you see at the top of this post is to promote a public consultation that was held in May of 2010. Personally I can’t see what is so wonderful about preserving the natural habitat of the corner of Blue Mountain and Austin. Of course, I live a five minute walk from Newport Village and the highrises there, so I clearly don’t understand the unique character of Austin and Blue Mountain that is so worth preserving. Anything to improve that part of town is a welcome improvement in my books.

The Now headed out to the All-Candidates meeting for Port Moody and came back with this report.

The Tri-City News has a list here of all the union endorsements for particular candidates in this upcoming civic election. The speculation and release of the union endorsement lists is always a hotly anticipated part of a civic election, and therefore gets a lot of coverage. I love this quote in the article from Bruce Richardson, vice-president of the School District 43 CUPE local 561.

“We’re not telling our members who to vote for,” he said. “It’s just, this is the list of approved candidates from your labour action party.”

So why release a list at all? Of course you’re telling your members who to vote for. And why does it work? Because the turnout for civic elections is so appalling that union members walking in with their approved lists can absolutely move the outcome of an election. Now they are well within their right to do that, but two things happen when you have low turnout. First, special interests, whether it’s a union or a business association have an outsized say over who gets elected. Second, our politics gets more polarized, as those candidates are now more beholden to those special interests in order to get elected.

CUPE is endorsing Gail Alty for school board in Coquitlam. Now I’m sure Gail is very nice and has done many great things for our schools in her 18 years as a trustee, but she has lived on Vancouver Island for the past two years. How she’s even running again boggles the mind. The fact that we don’t demand that our local elected officials shop at the same grocery stores we do is insane. But with that endorsement, many CUPE members will walk in and vote the slate without doing the basic research.

The only answer to all this is to get that voter turnout up. Is it time to think about the Australian model, where voting is mandatory? This article from the New York Times lays out an interesting argument on the subject. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here, but get out and vote. Make a sheet on, take 10 minutes out of your day, and do it.

Anmore had their all-candidates meeting. If you’ve got an evening free, you can watch the whole thing on Youtube.

Some news from New West, what the candidates think of transportation and what to do with the Pattullo Bridge.

PechaKucha 5 is coming up on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:30pm. Check out the speakers and get your tickets for an always interesting and entertaining evening..

Some great photos from around the Tri-Cities, Jav Photography hit Rocky Point with Dot and James, and Belle Meinerz has quite a cute baby this week.

Restaurants this week, Coffee.Foodies hits Pho Sen Lotus Beef Noodle Restaurant in Coquitlam and Fat Panda does a hilarious review of Joey’s in Coquitlam. Warning: the language is as salty as the fries.

Finally, I’m loving the time lapses of Port Moody these days. As much as we debate and disagree about civic issues, we can all agree that we are truly blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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  1. Hello! Thanks for the shout out, loving this blog!


  1. […] The speculation and release of the union endorsement lists is always a hotly anticipated part of a civic election, and therefore gets a lot of coverage. Here is Bruce Richardson, vice-president of the School District 43 CUPE local 561 as  quoted in […]