As some of you might be aware, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is currently work to create a new riding in Vancouver, which means they are making changes to the boundaries of existing Vancouver ridings. The current plan shows that Mount Pleasant would be split in half, moving one half into the new riding of Vancouver Granville, with the other half of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood remaining in Vancouver East. I firmly believe that Mount Pleasant is an integral part of our community, and I will be testifying at the Commission’s hearing in Vancouver today, to urge them to keep our community intact. To learn more about why I want to keep representing Mount Pleasant, follow the link below to my speech.
You can also check out this video, created by local resident Theresa Ho, about why we need to keep Mount Pleasant a part of our community:
Note: You can also check out the proposed new riding boundaries at or check out the maps referenced here at: http://www.redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca/content.asp?section=bc&dir=now/proposals&document=index&lang=e
Thank you Commissioners.
- I support 6 ridings for Vancouver.
- And appreciate the work of the Commission.
- Macro approach: It’s very clear the criteria used was to come up with similar populations for Vancouver (see Map #1) – 101,000 to 104,000.
- This, however presents a major problem for Vancouver East:
- Map #2 – The Commission proposes that our western boundary be the East Side of Kingsway, thus eliminating the West side of side of Kingsway; both sides of Main, and Ontario Street.
- The small triangle that is therefore eliminated in the proposed boundary is critical to Mount Pleasant and East Vancouver.
- Map #3 shows our existing boundary and our community office on Main Street, at East 8th Avenue.
- As you will hear today, and from written submissions: Main Street and Ontario Street are historically significant parts of East Vancouver and the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant.
- Map #4 shows the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association that goes to Ontario Street.
- Map #5 shows the City of Vancouver map of Mount Pleasant that also includes Main Street and Ontario.
- Bruce Macdonald, a well-known Vancouver Historian, and author of “Vancouver: A Visual History” and resident of East Van, has presented some fascinating information that document when Israel Powell laid out the streets of Vancouver in the early 1900’s, the 00 block for east and west was divided at Ontario (for Central Canada). Ontario has always been the dividing line of the east side and the west side.
- He also points out that Mount Pleasant has the oldest buildings in the city, after Gastown – and that the boundary has always been considered as Ontario, not Kingsway.
- Indeed, where Kingsway splits from Main, and where the Mount Pleasant clock is located, at the so-called Main, Broadway and Kingsway triangle, this is the heart of Mount Pleasant.
Map #6 shows the iconic clock located in the triangle where Kingsway splits from Main Street.
- My submission to you today is that maintaining the integrity of the historical, cultural, economic, and social demographics of Mount Pleasant is key to East Vancouver and overrides a relatively small population variance that would result.
- Local film maker Theresa Ho has produced a short video using her volunteer time; interviewing many local businesses and residents – who, in their own words – all say basically the same thing: Mount Pleasant is a distinct and important community of interest. From the edgy and usual businesses, to the diversity of residents, many of whom are renters, new immigrants and artists, and young people; they all see Mount Pleasant as coherent in its “raw” diversity and unthinkable that it would fit with Vancouver Granville.
- Simply put: half of Mount Pleasant does not belong with Vancouver Granville. It would be lost there, and as one resident says in the video, it would be a foster child or orphan in the newly created riding of Vancouver Granville.
- My plea is this: As Commissioners, you have the mandate to ensure that the new boundaries don’t become a strict number exercise. It’s easy to see how Kingsway was selected as the new boundary.
It is a major street and it’s unusual to have 2 major streets adjacent to each other, and it makes the numbers work. But by using Kingsway as the boundary, it slices a community through its heart, right down the middle! And we all know how important hearts are!
We have petitions to submit today and more to come later, and an excellent video to come later, for you to view, that includes homeowners, businesses, building owners, landlords and tenants.
- In conclusion: it makes no sense to “sever” Mount Pleasant. I want to recommend that our boundary remain as Ontario, from 6th Avenue to 16th Avenue. The population variance (about 5,000) is, I believe acceptable and very manageable.
It is more important to keep this key neighbourhood intact. Indeed our community office on Main Street has been here for 15 years. We are part of the community too!
Mount Pleasant is a thriving and unique local business area and a community with a long history and generations of people who see Mount Pleasant as their home and community. People identify themselves within this community so strongly that it seems inconceivable to us that half of Mount Pleasant could become part of South Granville, Arbutus, and other parts of the new riding.
I look forward to your decision and hope you will stop by Mount Pleasant to feel the Eastside vibe, and incredible sense of community that exists here.
Member of Parliament
September 24, 2012