This week Vancouver city staff presented to Council a grand re-think
of the city’s Housing and Homelessness strategy. It’s obvious they needed to do this. Our housing strategy has failed. We’re more unaffordable than ever. The vacancy rate is near zero. There are more
empty homes, many owned by non-residents, than ever. Employers can’t retain talent. People, especially young families, are leaving.
Ever since I was elected, I’ve been pushing at the Council table to link our housing strategies to the true measure of affordability: that a household should spend no more than 30% of household income on rent. That’s finally what staff have recommended. And that’s exactly where any successful housing strategy has to start.
The Housing and Homelessness Strategy Reset is refreshing in its candid acknowledgement that Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis is getting worse; that increasing supply isn’t the answer (unlike what is often said by developers or senior governments); that the real solution is in the right supply – i.e., housing that is truly affordable to people who live here.
Building more supply hasn’t created more affordability. The market rate rental units we’ve enticed builders to build by waiving millions of dollars in development levies and Community Amenity Contributions is unaffordable for the majority of renters. It’s frightening to realize that 46,000 renter households in Van spend more than 30% of their incomes on rent. And that most have no long term leases or security of tenure.
The report is grounded in all the right principles. But it did raise some major concerns. Staff consulted with senior governments and convened many expert advisory committees, but they did not meet with Vancouver’s existing resident associations. They suggested a complete “rethinking” of the city’s RS (single family) zones, but didn’t allow the time that would obviously needed to consult on that kind of major change.
I feel strongly that this is the right time to change how the City of Vancouver “consults”. What we need is a truly robust engagement process that generates ideas and builds consensus, maybe even a detailed household survey that gets neighbours discussing their answers over coffee or tea as happened during the CityPlan process of the 1990s, not “Talk Vancouver” on-line input and story-board open houses.
That’s what led me to move several amendments.
Vancouver, BC - On Thursday, March 9, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation unanimously voted to amend the Parks Control
By-law to prohibit cetacean captivity in Vancouver Parks.
The Park Board considered four options and heard from speakers over the course of two consecutive evenings. The options included:
- Call on City Council to include an
assent question (plebiscite) in the
2018 municipal election.
- Accept the Aquarium's February 20th announced plans (bring back belugas
from other institutions to the Vancouver Aquarium but discontinue display of belugas by 2029).
- Amend the Parks Control By-laws (including a ban).
- Maintain the status quo.
After hearing from speakers, Green Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon moved and NPA Commissioner Kirby-Yung seconded the following motion:
"THAT the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation directs staff to bring forward for enactment by the Board an amendment to the Parks Control By-law to prohibit the importation and display of live cetaceans in Vancouver parks and report back not later than May 15, 2017."
In 2010, Commissioner Mackinnon moved a motion calling for a plebiscite on the future of cetaceans in captivity in Vancouver Parks in the 2011 Vancouver municipal election. While that motion did not succeed, his latest motion calling for a ban was supported unanimously. After hearing from speakers, 0ne by one, each of the seven commissioners voted in support of the motion.
"Tonight is the culmination of thousands of caring people's work. I stand shoulder to shoulder in pride with them. It was a very good night," said Mackinnon of the outcome of the vote.
(VANCOUVER, BC - February 22, 2017) In an 8:2 vote today, Vancouver City Council passed a motion submitted by Councillor Adriane Carr to pursue a judicial review of the Province’s decision to give environmental approval to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline Expansion project in BC. The motion was seconded by Councillor Andrea Reimer. The two NPA councillors present voted against the motion.
Speakers to Carr’s motion included Councillor Charlene Aleck of the Tsleil Waututh Nation, who told Council that her First Nation had completed their own independent assessment of the Kinder Morgan project, included studies by 12 scientists, and had offered to share the results with the Premier and Province but did not even receive a response back to their request to meet. Speakers also included representatives of the Georgia Strait Alliance and Wilderness Committee.
“I’m very happy with the decision,” said Councillor Carr who explained that the city’s legal staff will now have to prepare a petition to be heard by the Supreme Court of BC which, if successful, will lead to the Court then conducting the judicial review of the Province’s decision. If the Court determines that the Province erred in issuing the Environmental Assessment Certificate, it could require that more environmental studies be done.
I still need your help in our fight to stop Kinder Morgan!
My motion for Vancouver to pursue a Judicial Review of the Provincial Government's decision to approve Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion project in BC was not heard at Council last week. Due to deteriorating weather and how long Council was taking to get through our agenda, my motion was referred to our Wednesday, February 22nd Council meeting.
Thank you to everyone who came to the press conference at noon last week (see photo below), who wrote to Council, who signed up to speak to my motion, and who waited all day to hear the debate.
The good news is that my motion is FIRST on the agenda, Wednesday Feb. 22nd. That means no long wait! The meeting starts at 9:30 am.
Here’s what I’d like you to do:
Send an email to email@example.com expressing why you want Council to support my motion. Be sure to send it before February 22nd.
Come, if you are can, to hear the debate.
Here’s the link to my motion:
Council will be voting on the motion (which was seconded by Councillor Andrea Reimer), at the Council Meeting scheduled for Wednesday February 22nd. If Council passes my motion and the City wins in court, it will require the Province to do a proper environmental assessment, including meaningful consultation with First Nations and the public (which it didn't do, despite issuing the environmental permit and approval). At minimum, this will slow the Kinder Morgan project way down. At best, it will produce solid information that stops the pipeline expansion.
Link to “Request to Speak” at a Council meeting:
The text of my motion is below.
Thank you so much for your continued support on this,
Green Party of Vancouver
This week Vancouver City Council will be voting on a motion I submitted (seconded by Councillor Andrea Reimer) calling on the City of Vancouver to pursue a Judicial review of the Provincial Government's decision to approve Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion in BC.
If Council passes my motion and the City wins in court, it will require the Province to do a proper environmental assessment, including meaningful consultation with First Nations and the public (which it didn't do, despite issuing the environmental permit and approval). At minimum, this will slow the Kinder Morgan project way down. At best, it will produce solid information that stops the pipeline expansion.
My motion is on the City Council agenda for Tuesday, February 7. People signed up to speak to the motion will be heard on Wednesday February 8.
There will be a press conference, featuring prominent environmental activists, First Nation leaders as well as myself and Councillor Reimer, at City Hall at noon on Wednesday, February 8. Please come!
If you want to speak in support of my motion (five minutes maximum), here is how you register to speak:
Link to “Request to Speak” at a Council meeting.
Deadline: You must sign up to speak prior to 9:30 am on Tuesday, February 7.
Speakers will be heard on Wednesday, February 8.
The text of my motion is below.
Thank you so much,
Green Party of Vancouver
2016 has been a big year for your Vancouver Greens. We’ve had a strong presence in the community, campaigned to engage our community to help stop the Kinder Morgan expansion and stood up for residents and a livable city in Council, School Board and Park Board. More than a voice of opposition, our elected Vancouver Greens have been the top vote getter at Council, the swing-vote at Vancouver School Board and now Chair of the Vancouver Park Board.
The hardest working team in Vancouver politics could use your support. Unlike the other elected parties in Vancouver, we don’t accept donations from developers and work hard to ensure your donations are used to help make Vancouver a better place to live for everyone.
As 2016 draws to a close, please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help us with research to support our decision making, getting our message out through the media and outreach in the community, to have an even greater impact in 2017. A one time or monthly donation of any amount is greatly appreciated.
Campaigning to Stop Kinder Morgan
Over the past year, we’ve been actively campaigning to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker expansion project. Starting in June at the Car Free Day festivals on Denman, Main Street and Commercial Drive, we’ve distributed close to 100,000 post cards and flyers asking people to convey their concerns and opposition to this project and ask the Prime Minister and Cabinet to reject Kinder Morgan’s application. Despite so many peoples’ opposition, Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet conditionally approved the pipeline expansion. But it is not too late to stop the project! Just like Clayoquot Sound, we will continue to stand in solidarity with neighbouring communities and First Nations to oppose and stop this project. Thank you for all your help so far in distributing so many post cards and flyers throughout our city. We are counting on your continued help as the campaign heats up!
Many Fabulous Events throughout the Year
We participated in many wonderful events this year, including our 4th Annual Green Gala and the Chinese New Year Parade in February, Car Free Day at all three locations (Denman, Main Street and Commercial Drive) in June, the Khatsahlano Street Party, our 1st Annual Summer’s Eve Barbeque and the 38th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival in July and our 5th Annual Green Gala in November. At these festivals and other community events, we connected with hundreds of thousands of Vancouverites and handed out almost 100,000 post cards and flyers to stop Kinder Morgan.
On November 18, we had the pleasure of hosting over 100 people for our 5th Annual Green Gala with Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, our Green Party of Vancouver Elected Caucus and Emcee Pete Fry. We had great food, fabulous speeches and a unique assortment of live and silent auction items, ranging from vacation getaways to original indigenous art, to wine tastings with Adriane Carr, to graphic novels on complicated world issues, to music lessons and personal training sessions. Creekside Community Centre was once again a fantastic venue. Please be sure to join us next fall for our 6th Annual Green Gala (date TBA).
We’re so thankful for all your ongoing support! Our team of 4 elected civic Greens has been working hard to stand up for a better city, better schools and better parks.
Adriane continues to champion issues raised by residents, advocating for truly affordable housing, stopping renovictions and the demolition of homes, pushing for faster action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and protecting the public interest, especially in relation to developer deals. She has met with provincial cabinet ministers, city staff and community advocacy groups to find ways to protect affordable rental housing, to force adherence to the standards of maintenance bylaws for SROs (single resident occupancy buildings), and to ensure there is decent housing for our city’s most vulnerable residents.
Janet held the swing vote on the Vancouver School Board (VSB) since she was elected in 2014. A key vote was whether to approve the proposed 2016/17 balanced budget that would implement $22 million cuts in our schools. Janet moved a successful motion to save the Anti-Homophobia mentor position, but, along with a majority to trustees, did not approve the budget despite knowing that the balanced budget would have to be implemented by staff under the School Act. The cuts were just too deep and had too great an impact on our students. Then, in October, the provincial Minister of Education dismissed all nine democratically elected VSB trustees and appointed a single Official Trustee with all the powers of an elected board. Janet has continued to attend VSB meetings held by the Official Trustee and the City community advisory committees to which she had been appointed as Trustee Liaison.
Stuart and Michael have been actively participating in discussions with Community Centre Associations leading up to the proposed Joint Operating Agreement, advocating for more accessible and inclusive parks and recreation facilities and working to prevent commercialization of our public park spaces. With no party holding a majority at Park Board, Commissioners will now need to work collaboratively to bring changes forward. The ability Stuart and Mike have shown in working productively with Commissioners from other parties in the best interest of our parks will be very important in the coming term. 2017 will be a critical year at Park Board with cetaceans, community centres, the Park Board master plan, dog strategy, concession strategy and aquatic strategy coming back to the Board this year.
See below for more detailed highlights on the actions of Adriane Carr, Janet Fraser, Stuart Mackinnon and Michael Wiebe at Council, School Board and Park Board in Fall 2016.