Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision party have made providing affordable housing and eliminating homelessness top priorities, but NPA candidate Kirk LaPointe has attacked him for failing to make progress.
When a tent city sprang up in Oppenheimer Park earlier this year, and the street homeless numbers spiked to a new high of 1,798, it seemed to confirm what the critics were saying about Vision's inability to substantively deal with the homeless problem.
While Mr. Robertson says he still aims to eliminate street homelessness by 2015, he admits it is a chronic problem that "is an ongoing task," suggesting it will always be an issue.
Since 2009, the city has opened new winter shelters that have helped 500 people move into permanent housing and has secured funding for 1,500 new units of low-income affordable housing, with 600 units opening this year. The city has bought two Ramada Hotels and a Quality Inn to provide temporary low-income housing and is converting the former Remand Centre in the Downtown Eastside to provide 90 low-income units.
While Mr. Robertson has not yet achieved his goal of eliminating street homelessness, he has been making a determined effort to do so.
On the affordability front, steadily increasing housing prices have continued to make Vancouver an extremely expensive place to be a home owner. In 2014 Demographia's survey of 130 housing markets named Vancouver as the second least-affordable city in the world, behind Hong Kong.
A big part of the problem is that Vancouver is one of the most desirable places in the world to live, which is steadily pushing up housing prices.
Mr. Robertson says he will ask developers to make one-third of the units in any large projects family-oriented, and he has promised to create 4,000 new rental units during the next four years. But so far he has failed to reach his goal of ensuring the city has enough affordable housing.
Mr. Robertson has promised to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020. He has provided an extensive bike path network, has battled the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, has promised to plant 150,000 new trees over the next six years and has pushed to improve energy efficiency.
But how close is Vancouver to achieving its greenest city goal?
Vancouver is ranked fourth in the recently released Global Green Economy Index, which measures the sustainability accomplishments of 70 cities in 60 countries. Only Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Stockholm rated higher.
GlobalPost, an online U.S. news company that focuses on international news, has named Vancouver one of the six greenest cities in the world, without providing a ranking order.
The Green City Index published by Siemens has ranked Canada number two in North America, behind only San Francisco.
And Green Uptown, an online magazine that focuses on sustainable living, recently listed Vancouver as "the number one greenest city in the world."
The magazine praised Vancouver for a city council that "works with the residents in enacting sweeping changes in handling waste, ecosystem and carbon management."
Last year a panel of judges from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives named Vancouver overall winner of its Best Green Building Policy category.
The biennial award, which recognizes excellence in sustainable city policies, praised Vancouver's commitment to reduce energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 per cent.
Although some rankings may be less than scientific, all agree the city is close to the top, or is already there. Mr. Robertson seems well on his way to delivering on his promise to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020.