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Archive for ◊ Citizen Engagement and Transparency ◊

Residents along Vancouver’s Arbutus Corridor are receiving letters from Mayor Gregor Robertson this week regarding CPR’s stated intention to reactivate cargo trains through their neighbourhoods. The Mayor re-states his firm opposition to cargo trains on the route, provides background on the history of conversations between the CPR and the City of Vancouver, and indicates that the City is prepared to pay fair market value for land.

“As Mayor, I strongly believe that the Arbutus Corridor should remain as it is today – an enjoyable route for people to walk, run and bike along, as well as a home to the many community gardens that contribute to our neighbourhood,” writes Mayor Robertson. “We do not believe there is any business case for CPR to reactivate trains along the Corridor.”

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The City of Vancouver filed a motion yesterday with the National Energy Board (NEB) to ensure that the economic impacts of climate change are included in the review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This move reflects the material risk climate change poses to economic stability as even global insurance companies have begun to factor climate change into their economic risk assessments.

Included in the City’s motion is an affidavit from the City’s Chief Risk Officer. The affidavit provides evidence on how the insurance industry evaluates the exposure of businesses to climate change risks and how these costs are increasingly factored in to insurance rates.

“It makes no sense for the NEB to ignore the economic impacts of climate change, while insurance companies around the world are adjusting their business models because of it,” said Mayor Robertson. “Climate change has significant economic costs that cannot be swept aside when evaluating a pipeline project of this magnitude.

“An analysis of the impacts of Kinder Morgan’s proposal for a seven-fold increase in oil tankers in our waters must take into account the full economic impacts of climate change.”

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The City’s searchable database of rental buildings has improved the condition of rental housing available in Vancouver, helping renters make more informed decisions about their housing. In the two years since work on the database began, there has been a 75 per cent drop in rental building violations, from 7,210 violations in 2012 to 1,575 in 2014.

Since it was launched in 2013, the accessible Rental Standards Database has empowered renters and motivated property owners and landlords to provide safer and better housing by keeping properties in good order.

“The City of Vancouver is making big strides in improving safety and ensuring the quality of Vancouver’s rental housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “These results are incredibly positive and show a dramatic 75 per cent drop in property violations in licensed rental buildings. It’s our intention that those numbers will continue to drop so that safe and compliant housing is available for all residents.”

In 2013, there were seven rental buildings with over 100 violations. In 2014, there are zero.

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Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Council voted today to move forward with a comprehensive array of recommendations from the final report of the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force, building on 11 months of community input and feedback.

Council referred the recommendations to staff for review and a report back on implementation, with proposed steps outlining ways that Vancouver City Hall can improve voter turnout, enhance consultation, and better engage with newcomers and new immigrants across the city. The report also included a variety of suggestions on how local residents and community groups can help make Vancouver a more engaged and interconnected city.

“The recommendations of the Engaged City Task Force offer a strong vision and plan for how we can enhance civic involvement in Vancouver and build stronger engagement in communities throughout our city,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “I want to thank the Task Force again for their thorough work to include such a strong depth of ideas about how to achieve that goal. Making progress on important challenges like housing affordability and becoming the world’s greenest city requires active participation from a broad cross section of our community, and I look forward to continuing our work to improve how City Hall engages with Vancouver residents.”

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The Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force released its final report today, outlining ways that Vancouver City Hall can improve voter turnout, enhance consultation, and better engage with newcomers and new immigrants across the city. It also includes suggestions for what Vancouver residents can do to make Vancouver a more engaged city.

“The final report from the Engaged City Task Force provides a roadmap for enhancing civic involvement in Vancouver, covering everything from voter turnout to reaching out to new immigrants,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Being a truly engaged city is a worthy goal, and I want to thank the Task Force for their efforts to research and recommend ways that Vancouver can achieve that goal.

“As Mayor, I’ve heard the concerns people have raised over how City Hall engages with residents. There’s no question we can do better. That’s why we’re pursuing new initiatives, like a Citizens’ Assembly in Grandview Woodland, to empower neighbourhoods in the planning process. It’s just one example of how we can build a stronger, more engaged city.”

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Better protection for renters, new community facilities, more parks and revitalized shopping areas: the Mayor and City Council voted today to approve a new Community Plan for Vancouver’s West End.

The new West End Community Plan, developed over a consultation period of more than 20 months that included 107 engagement events, outlines how growth in the West End will be managed over the next 30 years. Key elements of the plan include:

  • Protection of existing rental housing, in a neighbourhood where over 80% of households rent;
  • Investing roughly $600 million in new and upgraded community amenities over the next 30 years, including more parks, affordable housing, child care, and a new community centre and library;
  • A focus on revitalizing commercial areas on Robson, Denman and in Davie Village by including more patios and public spaces, wider sidewalks, and strengthening Davie Village as a hub for the LGBTQ community

“The West End is one of Vancouver’s most unique and celebrated neighbourhoods,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This plan first and foremost protects what makes the West End great, and lays out a vision for building on its strengths. Affordable housing, vibrant shopping areas, walkable neighbourhoods that work for people young and old – the new West End plan focuses on the priorities we heard from local residents, and will guide change in a responsible way in the coming years.”

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