This weekend marks the halfway point since the 2008 civic election, and City Hall is focussed on building on the successes of the 2010 Winter Games, says Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“Our city hosted an incredible Olympics and Paralympics, and the result is a growing sense of pride and ambition in Vancouver,” said Mayor Robertson. “We’ve emerged as a player on the world stage following the huge success of the Games, and our citizens deserve full credit for being gracious and energetic hosts.
“Successfully hosting the biggest event in Canadian history gives us newfound confidence and determination to tackle some of our biggest goals, like ending street homelessness and making Vancouver the greenest city in the world. We’ve accomplished a lot in the last 18 months – in addition to all of the work for the 2010 Winter Games – and now we need to channel the skills and energy from the Games into making Vancouver a stronger, more compassionate city.”
Since being elected in November 2008, Mayor Robertson and Council have:
- Decreased the number of people sleeping on the streets of Vancouver by almost 400, thanks to the opening of new emergency shelters in partnership with the Province;
- Delivered over $60 million in new investment for the region out of the Olympics through the Metro Vancouver Commerce program, as well as landing new offices for Pixar, Canon, and Plug and Play Tech Centre in Vancouver;
- Implemented a curbside compost pick-up program, installed the first separated bike lanes in Vancouver, and approved the greenest building code in North America; and
- Increased funding for public safety and protected arts and culture grants from cuts, while keeping property tax increases among the lowest in the region, despite facing a $60 million budget shortfall.
“Ending street homelessness by 2015, making Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020, landing new investment and strengthening our local economy – this is what I campaigned on, and it’s what Council has focussed on for the last 18 months,” said the Mayor. “We’ve got a clear track record of success and we intend to keep building on it.”
Mayor Robertson’s business background and pragmatic approach has delivered real benefits for the people of Vancouver. The Mayor helped secure $170 million in new funding for social housing in Vancouver from the Province, and $70 million in stimulus money from the federal government.
Mayor Robertson’s and Council’s decision to install a protected bike lane on the Burrard Bridge saved taxpayers $30 million in extra construction costs; as well, the decision to refinance the old Olympic Village financing deal saved taxpayers $90 million in interest payments.
In 2010, Vancouver was named the greenest city in Canada by Corporate Knights magazine, an improvement over last year’s 7th place finish. The Conference Board of Canada predicts that Vancouver will have the strongest growing economy of any city in Canada in 2010.
“There’s a lot of work ahead for this productive Council. I want to make sure we keep getting new affordable housing built, so that we can move more people off the street and into safe homes. We need to aggressively green our city and take action to enliven our streets and public spaces. And we need to keep the momentum going from the Olympics to land more jobs and investment in Vancouver.
“In the past 18 months, we’ve brought a competent and ambitious approach to City Hall, and it is paying off. City Hall is back on track.”
Photo credit: City of Vancouver