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Crowded stage as 8 Vancouver mayoral hopefuls debate

Last Updated Sep 27, 2018 at 11:51 am PDT

FILE - Vancouver City Hall (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

From housing and transportation, campaigning for Vancouver's municipal election takes off with first mayoral debate

Those wanting to be Vancouver's next mayor debate for the first time with some facing tough questions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Eight people who want to be Vancouver’s next mayor tried to stand out from the crowd during the first debate of the election Monday night.

Candidates tackled the city’s most pressing issues with housing, naturally, coming up first and resurfacing throughout the night.

Hector Bremner, with the newly created YES Vancouver party, touting his 3 year action plan.

“We’re gonna make sure that we put 50,000 to 70,000 new approvals on the books, make sure that we’re gonna build rentals for the people that need it.”

Independent Kennedy Stewart also promising to inject more housing.

“My plan is to build 85,000 units over 10 years,” he told the over 100 people at SFU’s Harbour Centre. “60% of that would be for renters, 25,000 units would be operated by not for profits and that would be affordable rent, below market rate. 25,000 would be market rate,”

As for what forms of housing should be allowed in single family neighborhoods, the NPA’s Ken Sim says it’s up to the people.

“And the next question I get is, ‘Well, Ken they’re a bunch of NIMBY’S, everyone’s gonna say no’. That has not been my experience.”

Pro Vancouver’s David Chen also advocating for a community plan.

Many candidates pushing their plan to address issues in the Downtown Eastside. Former cop, Fred Harding with the Vancouver First party says the crime market needs to go.

“We have to bring in some common sense policies and common sense policing. People who are down there threatening people need to be taken off the streets,” he says “We have a myriad of crisis, mental health and opioid addiction.”

To transportation, many candidates, including Bremner, Chen, and Independent Shauna Sylvester, all agree the Broadway coordinator should extend all the way to UBC.

“And that’s as much an economic decision and connecting a really important part of our population as it is trying not to create a choke hold in Arbutus,” says Sylvester.

Independant Wai Young continuing her controversial plan to rip out the city’s bike lanes.

“2% of the people are cycling and using those bike lanes at the detriment of 98,” she says “We should not have a private, elite, luxury roadway system that’s paid for by the people.”

Young was later pressed to explain how she would pay to get rid of the lanes. “We are not going to tear down the viaducts, the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which is a $4.5 billion cost.”

She wasn’t the only one who had to address controversy surrounding them.

Addressing the mysterious group that’s been campaigning for him, Bremner insists he doesn’t know who they are.

“If someone wants to come out and say it was them, I’d love to know about it as well,” he says. “The reality is that they created this PAC system, and so our campaign did not ask for, did not collaborate with, and did not have any knowledge of this campaign.”

With his opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion well known, Stewart responded to concerns from the business community.

“I don’t make it personal, I fight on policy issues, but then I can also make friends on policy issues and I think businesses should be really assured.”

Some candidates also making some announcements. Sim saying he’ll bring liquor to corner stores and Harding promising to bring back an NBA team to the city.

Another candidate raising some eyebrows was Gölök Buday who made remarks that would prompt the audience to chuckle.

“We gotta go back to the individual, we gotta trust the individual. If the government doesn’t trust the individual, why they should trust us.” he said during a debate about making Vancouver more attractive to larger employers.

Vancouver Courier, Vancouver is Awesome and Business in Vancouver hosted the debate.