The Green Party of Vancouver is focused on a robust and resilient local economy by supporting small business, strengthening tourism and our creative economy, and diversifying green sector jobs. We want to keep local dollars in our city and neighbourhood shopping districts strong.
Vancouver has a complex economy including self-employed people, neighbourhood shopping districts, hi-tech and film industries, manufacturing and trade, tourism, corporate headquarters, education and the cultural sector. Our overall economic health depends on the health of each sector.
Vancouver’s overall unemployment rate of 5.7 percent may be better than the Canadian average, but it masks unreported unemployment, underemployment, youth employment, and the closure of many long-time independent family-owned businesses, such as Little Nest on Commercial Drive.
Keeping our local economy strong takes effort beyond the baseline of keeping city infrastructure, transportation and services well maintained. It takes focussed planning; reducing red tape for small businesses; protecting our industrial land base and expanding green manufacturing; and protecting the natural environment and quality of life that attract tourists to visit and businesses to locate here.
To make our city-wide economy more robust, Vancouver Green City Councillor Adriane Carr has championed changes to commercial land tax assessments to ensure they are fairer for small businesses; amended policy to ensure priority spending for public art is on local artists; added the need for adequate fibre-optic cables to our city’s digital strategy; and fought for a robust film industry and for local independent theatres like the Ridge and Hollywood.
Knowing how important our natural environment is to our thriving tourism industry and as a “second paycheque” that attracts companies and talent, the Green Party is fighting Kinder Morgan’s plans to expand its pipeline and shipments of bitumen along our shoreline.
Your Vancouver Green Council Team will work for:
Local, independent small business and BIAs
• Investigate how many long-term independent businesses have closed and develop a strategy to keep existing ones going, such as changing the taxation mill rate for independent small businesses with strong community ties that have been doing business for years.
• Reduce red tape and time in the permitting process. Provide interim “field review” permits for renovation work in order to expedite the permitting process and get businesses back open quickly. This would avoid the costly delays caused by waiting for individual department inspectors while upgrading work is underway. Lower the thresholds and complexity of permits for simple upgrade work.
• Regularly consult with BIAs (Business Improvement Associations) to solve permitting issues and improve programs such as the food cart program and recycling. Lobby the provincial government to streamline the BIA renewal process to be less onerous, yet still responsive to the local business members and larger community.
• Promote “shop local” campaigns.
• Support self-employment by permitting non-industrial, non-commercial home-based self-employment in single-family zones.
• Consider a graduated business license tax (tying the tax rate to revenues) as a means to alleviate the tax burden on smaller independent businesses.
• Prioritize local procurement policies for City departments.^TOP
A city-wide creative economy
• Work collaboratively with arts groups, neighbourhoods and citizens to create a Culture 2050 Plan — a long-term vision of where Vancouver will be by 2050 as a city of culture. Protect and enhance the arts and creative culture; ensure accessible affordable studio and gallery space; prioritize local procurement for public art.
• Support the location of creative production city wide, including culture precincts in local area plans. Ensure the provision of fibre-optic cables to a variety of districts.
• Work with BIAs and neighbourhoods to identify locations for more live/work studios for artists.
• Continue to lobby for senior government support for the BC film industry.^TOP
Diversifying green sector jobs
• Create new jobs in energy conservation: Use the city’s recently created Local Entrepreneur Venture Capital Fund and Incubator Fund to attract investment and create new jobs in the sustainability and energy conservation sector, for example manufacturing modular homes, solar technologies and energy-efficient Passive House components such as windows.
• Expand the wholesale food hub in the area of False Creek Flats to include public markets, such as a fish market.
• Change zoning to allow commercial organic urban farming in residential districts.^TOP
• Work with neighbouring municipalities to extend visitor stays.
• Request that the Provincial Government allow Vancouver to introduce a tax, similar to the hotel tax, on AirBnB as San Francisco and Portland have done, with revenues going to the city's Affordable Housing Fund.
• Work closely with Tourism Vancouver to implement the Vancouver Tourism Master Plan, including plans to expand culinary, creative, cycling, health, nature and LGBTQ tourism.
• Support First Nations tourism and establishment of an Aboriginal Culture Centre.
• Advocate for improved Amtrak connectivity north to Vancouver.^TOP
Enhance Granville Island
• Work with the federal government to enhance the Granville Island Trust and ensure there is sufficient and timely investment in the repair of buildings and upgrading of roads on the island. Advocate for affordable rents for tenants and small businesses. Genuinely engage the public in how best to utilize the Emily Carr University of Art and Design buildings after the university moves.^TOP
Expanding youth employment and low-entry jobs
• Create new summer student jobs and training programs in a variety of city departments, including the outdoor maintenance of parks and green spaces.
• Increase support for year-round social enterprise jobs in partnership with VanCity and other institutions for those with employment barriers, such as Mission Possible’s Clean Streets project and the Recycling Hub co-venture of United We Can and Recycling Alternatives.