VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Tuesday, October 21, 2020, Vancouver City Council voted 6-4 against a motion put forward by Councillor De Genova directing staff to approach, prioritize and work with The Kettle Society, and their partners, to revisit a recent proposal for a development at Venables Street and Commercial Drive.
While generally supportive of the work that Kettle Society does in Vancouver, Green City Councillors Carr, Fry, and Wiebe voted against the motion based on the fact that passing it would circumvent the city’s Request for Proposal (RFP)/bidding process which lays out the proper procedure for awarding such contracts.
Councillor Fry expressed respect for the Kettle Society while explaining his concerns about De Genova’s motion.
“I appreciate the Kettle Society and the important work they do,” said Fry, “but I’m very uncomfortable voting for this motion as it seems to advantage one organization over others.
“If passed this motion would bypass the proper steps involved in a standard request for proposals. Our role as Councillors is to look out for the best interests of the people of Vancouver, that means following the procedures developed to ensure the best outcomes and value for our city.”
Councillor Wiebe indicated his desire to see this project, and others like it, move more quickly through the system, but cited the poor process as the motivating factor for his decision.
“We can’t supplement one bad process with another,” said Wiebe. “If Council wants these types of projects to be fast-tracked, the appropriate remedy would be to address the bureaucratic procedures slowing them down. We may need to streamline the process overall, but disregarding it for a single project is just bad form.”
“Kettle has been a great partner in the past. I sincerely hope they apply through the proper process, and that we get as much shelter-rate housing as possible on this site.”
Councillor Carr fully appreciates the importance of the city’s procurement policy because she was in office before there was one in place.
“I voted no because it's in the public interest,” said Carr. “It’s critical that the city conducts transparent, open processes when dealing with our publicly owned lands. In this case a process that is fair would give all non-profit housing providers the opportunity to bid. Without this fair process, decisions to award contracts could be suspect to being corrupt.”
The RFP process is guided by Vancouver’s procurement policy, the goals of which include: having an open, transparent, competitive process that provides the best value for the Vancouver Group and its citizens; compliance with the City’s policies and by-laws, the Vancouver Charter, Police Act, Public Library Act, collective agreements, inter-provincial, national, and international trade agreements that are binding on the City and all other provincial and federal laws and regulations that apply to the procurement of goods, services and construction; and maximizing Best Value and minimizing Total Cost of Ownership.