A transcript of City Council candidate RJ Aquino's remarks at the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods event at St. James Hall on October 15:
"Thank you for joining us tonight. And special thanks to the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods for hosting this event and leading this very important discussion.
"We know something is wrong with the relationships and connections between City Hall and what is happening in our neighbourhoods and communities.
"There is too much talking at communities instead of listening to them, too much marketing instead of authentic consultations. Consultations with teeth, that are creatively delivered and that affect how this city is run.
"We need to be talking together so we can work together to build a better city without destroying the things that make our neighbourhoods special right now.
"You will hear that a lot tonight. But what do we do about it? The OneCity team has been working hard on this and I’m going to put forward four solutions tonight:
"Number One, we believe Vancouver must establish Neighbourhood Councils. They must be democratically elected and funded by the city. And they must carry out real, meaningful community consultations that are listened to at City Hall. The voices of the neighbourhoods need to be heard loudly and clearly -- many neighbourhoods, OneCity.
"Secondly, to make sure that happens and happens city-wide, we need to apply decisions -- for example decisions about development, about density and supportive housing, about child care -- to every neighbourhood in Vancouver, not just one or two. So City Council sets the general direction, the long-term plan, and then it is up to the neighbourhoods, through their councils, to decide how those decisions are carried out and implemented in their communities. And then City Hall listens to them. We want to put into practice what the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has set out in its Principals and Goals.
"Number three, we need to change the way we elect our City Council. OneCity believes we need a ward system, with councillors representing neighbourhoods and constituents, councillors who are directly accountable to the residents of their neighbourhood.
"And number four, Vancouver needs the right kind of campaign finance reform. We need strict limits on donations and strict limits on spending by candidates in the elections themselves. Once those donation and spending limits are in place, then we can ban union and corporate donations.
"I’m looking forward to getting into more detail about these ideas tonight and throughout the campaign. Because we’ve built our new party around the idea of Many Voices, but OneCity. This is about making sure more voices, your voices, are heard when decisions are made at City Hall.