Monday, October 27, 2008

Effective Local Leadership

Charles is a strong supporter of community-based democracy. As the chair of the Schools Action Committee of the University Neighbourhoods Association at UBC Charles has advocated on behalf of his community for appropriate school and community facilities. Many of our children are forced to bus away from their neighbourhoods. Many others are turned away with little consideration. Development pressure at UBC is impacting upon public green spaces, such as the UBC Farm, increasing pressure on social amenities, and contributing to the lack of public school spaces for our children.

It’s time for real political leadership and real local government. The status quo might work for a few, but not for the rest of us.

The current Metro Vancouver system cannot deal with local issues in the same manner that a 'real' municipal government might be able to. For some of us living west of Blanca in Metro Vancouver local associations have provided some redress; but our local associations don't have the legal authority to deal with many of the issues that we must face as our community west of Blanca grows into a medium-sized city of several thousand residents.

Over the past several years increasing development by UBC and in the UEL has placed increasing pressure on local facilities such as schools and community centres. As a result of our lack of real political power and our lack of our own local government very little gets done to meet our needs and our concerns.

The University Neighbourhoods Association and the local council in the UEL do have some capacity to intervene and advocate for local needs. However, UBC, Metro Vancouver, the province, and the Vancouver Board of Education only seem to listen to us as a measure of last recourse.

One way to deal with this is to make certain that we have real local government. However, achieving local government will take several years. In the meantime we need to make certain that we involve ourselves in the local elections that we have involvement in: Metro Vancouver Board of Directors and the Vancouver Board of Education.

I am running for the position of Electoral Area A, which includes Metro Vancouver west of Blanca (UEL/UBC/UNA), Bowyer, Passage, and Barnston Island, and a large swath of unincorporated lands to the north of Metro Vancouver.

I am also urging UBC/UEL residents to vote for school trustees who care about working with our community to deal with inadequate educational facilities. In future posts I will be listing the trustees that I plan to endorse as candidates who care about the needs of our local children.


REY said...

What is your position on the reduction in size and moving of the UBC farm, and will you be bringing this up during the campaign as an issue?

Charles Menzies said...

First a technical note -I will normally only publish attributed comments that can be linked to a real person. And, in future unidentified comments will not be posted. However, given the importance of this question, I will post and respond to it.

Second, my answer: There does not seem to me to be any good reason to move the farm from its currently size and location.

Student housing needs can be accommodated in a variety of mixed-use options currently under discussion by members of the university community. It is also reasonable to find ways to add student housing into the as of yet undeveloped sections of Westbrook Place (the area immediately adjacent to the farm)

The farm plays a critical role in the academic purpose of this university and is an important link to the wider community that we all live within.

The farm and related greenspace, woodland issues are important ones. They are not, however the only issues. As a local area resident who has lived in the UBC/UEL area since 1996 I am very much aware that the issue of our local government is also very important.

Many people see UBC/UEL as part of their rightful domain. There is, however a large residential community who's needs and concerns must not be silenced in this debate.

Our families need appropriate social and community facilities that will meet our needs. Part of this will be ensuring that places like the UBC Farm remain in place.