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Statement from Mayor Gregor Robertson:

“I remain fully opposed to the reactivation of trains on the Arbutus corridor, after more than 15 years of inactivity on the route. The City of Vancouver has a wide variety of significant public safety concerns about CP’s course of action, and City staff have thoroughly communicated those concerns to Transport Canada.

“The track in question was abandoned, unused, and unmaintained by CP for 15 years. The population density along the track is significant, there is a lack of upgraded crossing infrastructure on a short corridor with nearly fifty level crossings that include every major east-west arterial in Vancouver. The grade on the corridor is some of the steepest of any rail line in all of British Columbia, and the City of Vancouver has not been permitted to accompany officials for their safety inspection of the track.

“We continue to be available to CP should they wish to return to talks with the City on the future of the corridor, but Vancouver will not be bullied, and we will not accept seeing our neighbourhoods and families along the corridor having their safety put at risk. The City will continue to review our options in response to every action taken on the corridor.”

- Mayor Gregor Robertson

Saying it is important for the City of Vancouver to show leadership on reducing inequality, Mayor Gregor Robertson is bringing forward a motion to City Council this week calling on the City to become a living wage employer.

Noting that Vancouver will be joining a number of existing living wage employers, including Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, the City of New Westminster, SAP and the United Way, Robertson said the policy is a practical response to the fact that housing, transportation and living costs have been rising in the region while wages have stagnated.

The result is that more and more families are unable to make ends meet even if they have two jobs, exposing their children to poverty.

“Vancouver has one of the strongest economies of any city in Canada, but too many families are struggling to make ends meet. Full-time work should provide families with a basic level of opportunity and economic security,” said Mayor Robertson. “A living wage has a direct impact on health and well-being, and helps create stronger local communities and economies. This motion will allow the City to lead by example, and encourage other organizations to join the living wage movement.”


Vancouver City Council has approved a set of rules to control the location and operation of marijuana dispensaries. The new regulations were developed by City staff in conjunction with the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Coastal Health.

The new rules include strict guidelines for where dispensaries can operate. Under the City’s new rules, they must be at least 300 meters away from schools, community centres, or another marijuana-related use. Children under the age of 18 will not be allowed entry, and all applicants and staff must go through a criminal record check on an annual basis.

“These new rules will give the City the tools we need to properly manage dispensaries, while enabling those who provide a vital medical service,” said Mayor Robertson. “This is a common sense approach to a complicated issue, which has been made worse by the lack of action from the Federal government.”


With patio season in full swing, locals and tourists alike can now enjoy extended patio hours at 72 restaurants throughout Vancouver this summer with spaces allowed to remain open until 1am as part of the City’s extended patio pilot project.

“Vancouver’s summer is off to an early start, and extended patio hours are making our city home to even more vibrant and lively streetscapes,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “There’s no better place to enjoy Vancouver’s famed local food culture than on a patio, and this program ensures that patios at establishments with strong neighbourhood track records can stay open later on Vancouver’s spectacular summer nights.”


Vancouver’s new Affordable Housing Agency has identified seven sites to build an estimated 800 units of affordable housing, with a priority on new homes for families.

A staff report to City Council today outlined the VAHA’s business plan, including its organizational structure, housing targets, projected rent mix and land for development. Council has dedicated $62 million in the 2015 Capital Plan to invest in affordable housing, with the expectation of leveraging up to $250-300 million from other partners.

“Our Affordable Housing Agency is one of many tools we’re using to get new housing built that meets the needs of Vancouver residents, especially families,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “By using city land to leverage investments from non-profits, the private sector and senior levels of government, we’re pursuing yet another option for enabling the new affordable housing that our city needs.”


Increasing family housing near parks and schools, and setting higher requirements for three bedroom homes in rezonings, are two of the new policies City staff are pursuing as part of efforts to increase housing for families in Vancouver.

“There is a clear need for more family housing in Vancouver, and City Hall is doing everything we can to make sure new housing is built that meets the needs of Vancouver families,” said Mayor Robertson. “Family housing is crucial for both the health of our neighbourhoods, as well as supporting our growing economy, so that we can attract and retain people who want to work in Vancouver.

“We’re going to keep looking at new ideas to meet our affordable housing challenges head-on, and make sure we’re providing opportunities for young people to put down roots in Vancouver.”