Port Moody to the Core,
Change for the Better.
Rob Vagramov grew up in Port Moody, and has lived here for the past 17 years.
On Heritage Mountain, in College Park, in Moody Centre. He was elected to City Council in 2014 on a campaign of development moderation, environmental protection, and independent thinking.
"The word I hear around Port Moody these days is Change, a word full of anxiety when I believe it should be ringing with excitement. From my seat on Council, I’ve had to watch as my one-of-a-kind hometown has been steered onto an unsustainable course.
It's time for a city vision that's better, that's based on Port Moody values of moderate growth and quality of life, and that points this special place in a better direction."
Right out of the gate, Rob made a name for himself as being the quick responder on Council. Whether it was jumping into action on the sinkhole crisis that hit the Seaview neighbourhood in 2014, stepping up to address citizen-led gatherings at City Hall such as the record-breaking rally to Save Bert Flinn Park, to more localized issues - no less important to the folks involved - such as the neighbourhood traffic concerns of College Park, or quality of life improvements to Suter Brook following the disappointing Parcel D debate, Rob has made it a priority to meet with folks and families on their turf, understand their needs first hand, and get ahead of the emerging issues facing Port Moody.
"Local government has admittedly become a bit of an obsession in my life. The main role of a small-city Councillor as I see it, is to be completely accessible and completely open toward local residents, and I want to see more of this across the board in Port Moody. Never shying away from an opportunity to hear residents, especially when they aren't quite satisfied with the way things are being run; In the business world, that's simply called customer service."
Nowadays, Rob splits his week between the private sector and his work on City Council. He works as a technology consultant for a Vancouver-based startup, and provides media work for a local non-profit organization focused on empowering communities through cooperative enterprise. On Council, he's served as chair or vice chair of the Transportation Committee, Environmental Protection Committee, Senior Focus Committee, Youth Focus Committee, and also represented the city at the Tri Cities Homelessness Task Group. Rob was also elected by the councillors and mayors of the Lower Mainland to serve as Vice President of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association, where he previously served as Director and 2nd Vice President.
"It’s meant a lot to me to have seasoned elected officials from across the region put their trust in me multiple years running after hearing me out without any of the usual political static that can arise from being potential competitors in an election context.
I've deepened my understanding of issues shared across the Lower Mainland, managed to forge deep relationships with communities from Hope to Pemberton, and have had exposure to dealings with the Provincial and the Federal governments. What my regional involvement has also done is broaden my understanding of what 'normal' means at City Halls across the lower mainland and Province. This got me looking twice at how we're operating in Port Moody, and made me notice so many ways we can do better."
Our leaders at City Hall have pushed through plans for aggressive growth that exceeds the population targets approved by our community just a few short years ago when we revised Port Moody’s Official Community Plan in light of Skytrain’s arrival. Over-building, over-crowding, clogged roadways, and over-burdened parks and services: this does not have to be Port Moody’s future. We deserve better, and this election, we will demand better.
With folks and families standing up and making it clear that bigger doesn't mean better, and with land values continuing to soar, this election marks a one-of-a-kind opportunity to shift gears towards a long-term vision of the City. A vision that doesn’t consider local quality-of-life as a post-construction afterthought, but regards enhancement of local quality-of-life as the absolute starting point for all conversations about how to grow, and how much to grow.
"No one is saying 'Don't Build', certainly not me. The conversation that I'm interested in having isn't about growing versus not growing. It's about how we will meet our community needs of affordable housing, of parkland acquisition, of service levels - of quality of life - by adjusting the rate at which we grow, and demanding more from the development community.
When driving, you don’t pin the accelerator to the floor board for the entire trip and hope nothing gets in your way; the same is true for setting the pace of development - sticking to the 'speed limit' of our Official Community Plan is how we can see and avoid obstacles coming our way.
That is why I am running to serve as Port Moody’s next Mayor, seeking change for the better rather than change at all costs. I'm not here to convince anyone of anything, or tell folks that I know better than they do. I'm here to represent the ideas I've heard voiced widely across our community, as well as the values instilled in me while growing up in this amazing and unique city.
My goal in this race is to affirm the true, enduring values of Port Moody that have been instilled in me through my lifetime in this community I love – values that include growth in moderation and preserving our exceptional quality of life, a commitment to maintaining city services and a lively arts and entertainment culture that are second to none, and a steadfast determination to prioritize protection of the very special natural location where we are blessed to live. In the city’s fevered rush toward over-development, I want to make sure that these are the values that set the course for Port Moody’s coming decades.
Let’s get Port Moody back on track toward change for the better.”