The District of North Vancouver has its first declared mayoral challenger and a new municipal political party backing her.
Ash Amlani announced her intentions along with the formation of the Building Bridges Electors Society on Saturday at Delbrook Community Centre.
“Today, people are waiting much longer in traffic than they were before the 2014 election and it’s become even harder for people to buy or rent a place in North Vancouver,” she said. “It’s time for a new style of leadership at (district) hall.”
Amlani, who has lived in the District of North Vancouver for 16 years, said her team will be focused on getting the large swath of North Vancouver that doesn’t engage with local government to the table “and then start to take action that is based on what the community is saying but is also based on what best practices are,” she said. “Bringing forward those ideas, those thoughts and those opinions is fundamentally what needs to shift.”
Numerous times Amlani emphasized the need to ensure that public consultations bring in people “of all ages and backgrounds.”
The district’s official community plan had input from about six per cent of the municipality’s population “which was considered extensive,” Amlani noted.
“We cannot address the complex issues that are housing and transportation if we only have support from five per cent or 20 per cent of our community,” she said.
When it comes to policy specifics, Building Bridges will release its full platform closer to the election as the nascent party does its own outreach now.
“The key (housing) pieces are addressing availability, affordability and density. There are a lot of viewpoints on how that can be accomplished,” she said. “To us, it’s really important that we address the transportation needs of all users on the roads, whether they’re pedestrians, whether they’re bikers, whether they’re people that take public transit or they’re people that drive; I think there’s lots of that can happen on each of those fronts.”
Building Bridges intends to run a full slate for council. Exactly who will be running, though, hasn’t been decided yet and the party is still welcoming potential candidates.
A perusal of their charter members online will find pretty much all are under 40.
“I’m looking forward to working with the residents in the District of North Vancouver, especially young people because I think it’s time we stepped up and asked for what we need from our government,” she said. “At the end of the day, young people are driving generational change in governments all around the world. We see it happen in Canada and elsewhere.”
But, Amlani said, Building Bridges also has within its ranks a broad array of political outlooks.
“I would say we’re progressive but we want to have the broadest possible coalition of people,” she said noting the current members’ political leanings span from socialist to fiscal conservative.
Though a newcomer to municipal politics, Amlani has worked as an epidemiologist for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, she managed the province’s harm reduction program including the take-home naloxone program and, most recently she’s been working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on their marine protected areas program. By way of education, Amlani has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington.
Building Bridges can be found online at buildingbridgesnv.ca.