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Mayor Uses Shiny Baubles to Avoid the Real Questions

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Vancouver Sun

What fun to see Ken Sim’s little tummy poking out between his Duer jeans and his cool polo top in the photo accompanying Dan Fumano’s article on the mayor’s first year in office. Quite the little teddy bear, our Ken.

But distraction much? Lost in the 10 chin-ups, the Ken-doll Halloween outfit, the “cool boss” image and the strategically placed whiteboard were any probing questions for the man undertaking the remaking of our city at a pivotal point in its history.

Questions like: What has he and his ABC majority done so far to make Vancouver more affordable? Will they continue to grant the development industry’s every wish — whether it’s refunding $3.8 million in vacancy taxes, further concessions on the never-ending Little Mountain housing debacle, or delay of community-amenity contribution payments? That’s all been done, but next up: a study of view cones that is raising fears that higher towers will soon wipe out our mountain views.

How is Sim balancing the wishes of developers against the impact on the citizens of the city — you know, the people who elected him a year ago to represent them? What’s his idea of the role of citizens and neighbourhoods as the city is remade around them? With volunteer-created community plans destined for the scrap heap, where do residents fit in? And, given that ABC slammed Vancouverites with a 10.7-per-cent property tax increase this year, how is it doing with its plans to prevent similar huge hikes in the future? The budget task force appointed in April to do that very thing has already missed its October deadline, and the silence is ominous.

So many questions. Such a great chance to squeeze serious answers out of our often-elusive leader. But, like magicians and con artists, he understands the value of flashy distractions. In this case, the shiny baubles — the perfect chin-ups, the hip-CEO persona, the neon pink “Ken” costume — won.

Carol Volkart, Vancouver


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