The following are policy proposals which will be brought to our membership for development and approval at our Policy Conference on March 29th and 30th. More information on this meeting is available here.

Table of Contents:

City Council

School Board

Park Board

Other

COUNCIL

Title: Phasing out Transit Fares by 2030
Abstract: COPE will work at the municipal and Translink level to, by the year 2030, eliminate transit fares in Vancouver.
Justification: To increase transit ridership, for both social and climate change reasons.
Proposal: That COPE work toward an (at least) 50% reduction in transit fees and cost of bus passes provision, in the next decade (towards the elimination of transit fares by 2030). That it be COPE policy that Coast Mountain Transit/Translink executive salaries are capped in order that administrative costs will be addressed. That COPE work with the provincial government and Metro Vancouver to ensure that fuel taxes will be waived for Translink and that monies raised from the carbon tax will be dedicated to public transit. That COPE work to remove fare boxes for efficiency, time-savings, re-purpose transit police from fare enforcement to passenger support. That COPE work to ensure the Translink Board is democratically elected.
Submitted at the COPE 2013 Issues Meeting

Title: HandyDart
Abstract: COPE will address the critical need for more HandyDART service.
Justification: Over the last 4 years the number of trip turn-downs (HandyDART users who are denied trips) has skyrocketed. The number of trip turn-downs in 2008 was approximately 5,000. In 2013 this number was approximately 45,000. HandyDART users are literally sentenced to house arrest when they cannot get a ride.
Proposal: COPE elected representatives will advocate for making HandyDART a direct subsidiary of TransLink, and for the end of contracting out to for-profit corporations.
COPE elected representatives will advocate for an increase in HandyDART service to meet the increased demand due to an aging population, in order to reduce trip denials which have increased eight fold in four years from about 5,000 in 2009 to 42,000 in 2013.
Submitted by Bob Chitrenky

Title: Fairer Property Taxes
Abstract: Shifting the tax burden off improvements and onto land will reduce property taxes on resident homeowners and reduce rents for tenants.
Justification: This policy will relieve the property tax burden on resident homeowners and place a higher property tax burden on the speculators who are hoarding vacant land and decrepit, abandoned buildings, which forces up housing costs by choking off construction and supply. It will also reduce rents for tenants because the property tax on improvement value is partly passed on to tenants, while the property tax on land value is borne exclusively by the landowner because the supply of land is fixed (this is a law of economics that has been known for 200 years, and is not disputed by any competent economist).
Proposal: COPE will eliminate the City of Vancouver’s property tax on improvement value, and recoup the foregone revenue by an equivalent increase in the rate of tax levied on land value. To this end, COPE will ask the provincial government to amend the city’s charter to permit more flexible property taxation, and in the meantime will provide a full property tax rebate on assessed improvement value.
Submitted by Roy Langston

Title: Retain publicly created land value increases for public purposes and benefit.
Abstract: Ending rezoning of privately owned land will eliminate the principal source of corruption in city planning and civic elections, and enable the city to provide both property tax relief and improved services.
Justification: Rezoning of privately owned land, and the consequent capture of the resulting land value increases by private landowners, has been the biggest cause of corruption in virtually every local government on earth. Vancouver is an obvious case in point. Ending rezoning of private land will eliminate most of the corrupting influence of politically connected speculator and developer money on Vancouver’s urban planning and civic elections, and enable the city to reduce homeowners’ property taxes by retaining the publicly created land value increase caused by denser zoning instead of giving it away to politically connected developers and speculators.
Proposal: COPE will not rezone privately owned land, and will pass a bylaw prohibiting such rezoning. Where sound urban planning principles indicate land should be rezoned, the city will buy suitable land at the market price, rezone it for the more appropriate use, then sell or lease the land back into the market, retaining any resulting capital gain for public purposes and benefit rather than giving it away to politically connected speculators and developers. As an integral part of this reform, COPE will eliminate development cost charges and community amenity contributions, whose costs are currently being passed on to the city’s residents, and only make housing even less affordable.
Submitted by Roy Langston

Title: Transit users should be a higher priority than cyclists.
Abstract: Vision Vancouver’s policy of putting the convenience of cyclists above the interests of public transit users is anti-democratic and indefensible, and must be reversed.
Justification: This is a point where the public interest has clearly been sacrificed on the altar of Vision Vancouver’s bizarre “greenest city” obsession. Despite immense and misguided expenditures to force Vancouverites to cycle to work just because the Vision mayor and councillors do, cycling remains a fringe commuting mode compared to public transit use and will always remain so. Any serious democratic city government must place the interests of the much larger number of public transit users above the convenience of the tiny number of cyclists.
Proposal: COPE will reverse Vision Vancouver’s transportation policy priority that places the convenience of the small minority of cyclists above the interests of the much larger number of public transit users, and will prioritize the interests of transit users second only to pedestrians.
Submitted by Roy Langston

Title: Make housing more affordable by increasing supply
Abstract: Housing is unaffordable because supply has been kept below population growth. There is only one way to make housing more affordable in the face of increasing demand: increase supply even more.
Justification: Vancouver is one of the least affordable cities in the world, and housing affordability remains the city’s Achilles Heel. Tenants pay hundreds of dollars in excess rent per month purely because Vision Vancouver and its predecessor, the NPA, have engineered an artificial housing shortage to serve the financial interests of their donors. Vision has talked a lot about affordable housing and ending homelessness, but in the six years since Vision took office, housing has become even less affordable than ever, more rapidly than at virtually any time in the city’s history, while rampant homelessness remains a disgrace to the city. It’s time to put the interests of the people of Vancouver above the narrow financial interests of the politically connected landlords, developers and speculators who pay Vision Vancouver’s bills.
Proposal: COPE will address Vancouver’s lack of affordable housing the only way it can be addressed: by increasing supply. COPE will therefore approve at least twice as much floor area of new housing construction in its first term of office as Vision Vancouver has approved in two terms. COPE will increase rental housing construction enough to ensure that the residential rental vacancy rate is at least 2% by 2018, and the median real rent paid by tenant households is lower in 2018 than in 2014.
Submitted by Roy Langston

Title: Stop Vision from ruining single family neighborhoods with high-rise towers
Abstract: Single family neighborhoods far from rapid transit stations are the wrong place to put high-rise towers. Increased housing supply should be focused on the small area of the city that is very close to rapid transit stations.
Justification: Vision Vancouver has been ruining single-family residential neighborhoods to shovel money into the pockets of the politically connected developers and speculators who pay Vision’s bills. Vancouver’s single-family neighborhoods are a world-class treasure that should not be squandered in the name of political donations for Vision’s developer/speculator agenda.
Proposal: COPE will halt Vision Vancouver’s program of high-density re-zoning in single-family residential neighborhoods far from rapid transit stations, and will focus rezoning for higher-density housing construction on existing commercial areas, especially the 1% of the city’s land area that is within easy walking distance of rapid transit stations.
Submitted by Roy Langston

Title: Property tax relief for ordinary resident homeowners
Abstract: The city can reduce property taxes on homeowners by just not giving away publicly created land value increases to speculators and developers.
Justification: By increasing residential property taxes, Vision Vancouver has been making ordinary homeowners and city residents carry the can for its massive giveaways of publicly created land value to the developers and speculators who pay Vision’s bills (they have not been giving Vision a million dollars a year in return for nothing). The city should serve its residents, not just the politically connected land developers and speculators who make regular, massive donations to Vision Vancouver in return for influence, zoning favors, and giveaways of publicly created land value.
Proposal: COPE will reduce the property taxes paid by typical resident homeowners in real terms from 2014 to 2018. The foregone revenue will be made up by higher taxes on unused land held by speculators and retention of capital gains caused by denser zoning, not by increasing fees or other taxes, or reducing services.
Submitted by Roy Langston

Title: Sensible Policing
Abstract: No enforcement of laws against simple possession of cannabis.
Justification: Sensible BC proposes an amendment to the Police Act, instructing police not to spend any time, money or resources on cases of simple possession of cannabis.
Proposal: COPE WILL support Sensible BC and COPE WILL advocate and insist that Vancouver City Police not spend any time, money or resources on cases of simple possession of cannabis.
Submitted by Gretchen Dulmage.

Title: People’s Program
Abstract: If elected in majority COPE will introduce a “People’s Program”. It will include much or many of the proposals sent in to our Policy Conference” for adoption.
Justification:To reverse city council focus on business to the citizens of Vancouver using COPE’s Program adopted by membership.
Proposal: 1. Taxation: Reduce Vancouver tax burden on citizens and home-owners, and small business. Business tax increase of at least 2% annually on Business with income exceeding  $X (to be decided by COPE elected council based on business income).
2. Housing: Introduce a plan to build low cost/low rent housing on vacant lots owned by the City. Construction to be done by out-of work trade professionals in related trades. A Vancouver Housing Board will be established to oversee.  3. Park Board:COPE Council will consult with both sides in the existing dispute between Park Board and Park Associations with a view to resolving the concerns of the Associations. Associations shall be included in future Parks Board Planning. 4. Densification:Densification shall only be included when a plan is in place to address the many problems it creates. Present planning does not address the following Vancouver roads are a bottleneck to BC planning and must be dealt with. Increased demand on schools, hospitals parks and other public services must be planned for. 5. Public Transit: COPE Council will develop a plan in consultation with TransLink and Department of Transportation to make Vancouver transit improvements. GetonBoardbc.ca “Creating a world-class transit system throughout Metro Vancouver with new rapid transit lines and many more buses will not be cheap. It will only happen if we make it an issue no politician can ignore.”
Submitted by John Beeching

Title: Direct Democracy
Abstract: Devolving power from City Hall to neighbourhoods and the community
Justification: Whereas it is essential to devolve power from City Hall to local communities in order to provide for more democratic, effective governance on matters related to urban development, infrastructure maintenance/future modifications, sustainability, policing, and for making Vancouver a more self-reliant, transitional city;
Proposal:The devolution has three sub-parts. COPE will:
a. provide functional grassroots democracy that include peoples’ community assemblies that not only have consultative and participatory aspects, but also have local decision making abilities:
i. Moving toward a community policing model that emphasizes peace keeping and harm
b. Necessary reforms to civic elections in which COPE will work toward:
i. ban corporate and union funding;
ii. establish core public funding for elections for qualifying parties (note: there is a need to determine what these are without being either too restrictive or too casual) to be supplemented by individual contributions up to some maximum;
iii. provide a mechanism for full and timely accountability for private donations;
iv. establish effective recall mechanisms for elected city officials;
v. provide for binding public referenda on major capital projects, including major construction projects and unique events such as the Olympics.
c. Provide for effective self-governance for 1st consultations with 1st reduction; Nations).
Submitted by Tim Louis

Title: Environmental stewardship and keystone species
Justification: Whereas open net salmon farming, GMO products and other unethical food and products are causing serious and sometimes irreparable damage to Vancouver’s ecology, COPE must take action to amend the City’s Ethical Purchasing Policy immediately.
Proposal: Based on a ‘7 generations philosophy’, COPE will expand the City of Vancouver’s Ethical Purchasing Policy to include a ban on GMO products, open net salmon farming, and any products and services that do not reflect sustainable resource use.
Submitted by Tim Louis

Title: Transportation Equity
Abstract: COPE supports a healthy mix of priorities to accommodate residents in their various and necessary roles as transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Justification: While we all hope to reduce greenhouse gasses by developing a more effective public transportation system, we must be careful in the transition to allocate our resources in fair and considerate manner, not prejudicing but balancing the needs and convenience of residents in their various and necessary roles as transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Proposal: COPE will institute a fair and financially responsible maintenance, dedication and allocation of transportation infrastructure and budget allotments to accommodate all residents.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Georgia/Venables Viaducts
Abstract: Georgia/Venables Viaducts are important corridors in traffic flow
Justification: While we all hope to reduce greenhouse gasses by developing a more effective public transportation system, we must be careful in the transition to allocate our resources in a fair and considerate manner, not prejudicing but balancing the needs and convenience of residents in their various and necessary roles as transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists
Proposal: COPE will resist any destruction to the Georgia/Venables Viaduct Structure which provides one of the major transit corridors to and from downtown Vancouver, particularly given the lack of realistic alternatives to accommodate the present flow of residents using the corridor.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Point Grey Road
Abstract: Point Grey Road Closure involved the reallocation of the use of an important civic asset from use and enjoyment by many seemingly to a few.
Justification: While we all hope to reduce greenhouse gasses by developing a more effective public transportation system, we must be careful in the transition to allocate our resources in a fair and considerate manner, not prejudicing but balancing the needs and convenience of residents in their various and necessary roles as transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Proposal: While we all hope to reduce greenhouse gasses by developing a more effective public transportation system, we must be careful in the transition to allocate our resources in a fair and considerate manner, not prejudicing but balancing the needs and convenience of residents in their various and necessary roles as transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Daycare
Abstract: COPE supports the rights of the child to secure and quality daycare.
Justification: Our children are our greatest resource and they have the right to be supported by the community to ensure that their needs are met and that they flourish.
Proposal: COPE will develop, through use of civic resources, consultation and collaboration with provincial and federal governments and consultation and collaboration with residents and other stakeholders, a systematic and ongoing programme with realistic and ambitious goals and targets to increase the quantity and quality of daycare in Vancouver sufficient to ensure children and their parents have access to and use of appropriate and affordable daycare.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Affordable and appropriate housing
Abstract: COPE supports the development of affordable and appropriate housing for residents which carries the weight of one of the basic human rights.
Justification: Security of the person, including access to and use of adequate housing, is a basic human right of all people, including children and those who are less able to provide for themselves in the present economic environment.
Proposal: COPE will develop , through full use of civic powers and resources, consultation and collaboration with provincial and federal governments and consultation and collaboration with residents and other stakeholders, a systematic and ongoing programme with realistic and ambitious goals and targets to ensure the quantity and quality of housing in Vancouver is sufficient for all people to live in appropriate and affordable housing.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Equity Lenses
Abstract: COPE will ensure appropriate facilities, services and programmes are developed to serve persons with unique needs, personal and cultural characteristics.
Justification: The right to human dignity, the wisdom of tolerance and the richness of human diversity in developing and distributing the resources of the region to peacefully sustain humans in healthy ecosystems.
Proposal: COPE will, in full consultation with all people who have unique needs and/or who enjoy unique cultural characteristics, use the lenses of compassion, empathy, honour and respect to develop, promote and maintain appropriate facilities, services and programmes reflecting those needs and sensibilities where they have been overlooked or inadequately addressed and accommodated.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Municipal Rent Control
Abstract: Create municipal regulations and oversight on rent increases.
Justification: 1) The Metro Vancouver is the most unaffordable urban centre in North America according to Demographia;
2) The current Provincial regulations allow rents to increase at a rate greater than inflation every year;
3) A full 10% of renters pay over half their income in rent, and average rents in the City of Vancouver increased 15% between 2008 and 2012 according to Metro Vancouver;
4) Over 50% of Vancouver residents are renters, higher than any other city in the Province;
5) Renter households have incomes that are on average half that of homeowner households, and they are disproportionately represented by women, and other marginalized groups;
6) The “Berkeley Ordinance,” which has been endorsed by COPE in previous platforms, ties annual rent increase adjustments to increases in operating and maintenance expenses and is administered by an elected board; and
7) Although Vancouver is the epicentre of the housing crisis, it also affects the rest of the province.
Proposal: COPE will:
1) Use the City’s housing agreement powers to apply rent control to all new rezoning developments;
2) Draft amendments for the Vancouver Charter to give the city the power to control rent increases on all rental housing in the city under the authority of a new Municipal Rent Control Bylaw;
3) Establish an elected Rent Control Board, with tenant representation and independence from the real estate industry, to administer rent increase adjustments based on increases in operating and maintenance expenses; and
4) Advocate that the provincial government implement a province-wide rent freeze and tie rent-increases to the unit, not to the tenancy.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Stop renovictions
Abstract: The city can stop renovictions right now.
Justification: 1) Many landlords evict their tenants stating that vacancy of the unit is required, but the landlord does not need to show evidence that vacancy is required unless the tenant challenges the eviction notice at a Residential Tenancy Branch pseudo-legal hearing;
2) The BC Supreme Court decision “Berry and Kloet v. British Columbia” stated that the purpose of the RTA is to ensure that if renovations can be completed without ending the tenancy, then that should be done (2007 BCSC 257); and
3) The Berkeley Ordinance and the New York City Housing Authority historically included a ban on “vacancy decontrol” as an indispensable component of rent control.
Proposal: 1) That the City create a process to ensure that landlords carry-out needed renovations that require vacancy without ending the tenancy;
2) On any renovation permits requiring that the unit be vacant, the City will require that the landlord provide:
a) Evidence that vacancy is required,
b) Evidence that the renovations are necessary and not cosmetic,
c) Agreement in writing that the existing tenant be given right-of-first refusal upon completion of renovations,
d) Agreement with the tenant for alternative accommodation for the existing tenant for the duration of the renovations,
e) Payment for all tenant moving and extra temporary accommodation expenses; and
3) The City advocate that the Provincial government amend the RTA to explicitly state that after any renovations, tenants must be granted the right-of-first refusal at previous rent.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Landowner and Landlord Registry
Abstract: COPE will create a registry that centralizes information on all housing units to monitor rents and incentivize new supply of rental housing
Justification:
Whereas
1) Strong rent control requires monitoring the rental price of each unit over time;
2) Although over 50% of Vancouver households rent, and are disproportionately represented by women and other marginalized groups, the city does not have adequate information regarding their living situations;
3) Provincial and Municipal health, safety, and dispute reports are not adequately available to the public;
4) The Berkeley Ordinance, which has been endorsed by COPE in previous platforms, includes a mandatory Landlord Registry that ensures a broad coverage of units; and
5) There is no current mechanism to monitor vacant or underutilized properties.
Proposal: 1) Ensure that landowners and landlords register all housing units in the city, and report all rental units, rents, and rent increases to the registry;
2) Keep an updated, publicly available database of rents in each rental unit and monitor rent-increases;
3) Centralize data on health, safety, maintenance, and tenancy dispute reports;
4) Be funded, at least in part, by landlord registration and licensing fees;
5) Create incentives for more property-owners to register and rent-out suites and rooms legally; and
6) Monitor and apply penalties for vacant or underutilized properties.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Vancouver Housing Authority (Part 1: Guiding principles)
Abstract: COPE will create a Vancouver Housing Authority that will build affordable and social housing to end the housing crisis
Justification: 1) The lack of social housing and affordable housing in Vancouver has reached a crisis point, and it is time for the city to intervene where the market has failed;
2) The City of Vancouver Public Housing Corporation operates only 5 buildings and 397 units, and has not built new housing for decades;
3) Many international cities have addressed their housing crises using a municipal housing authority, as reviewed in COPE’s 2014 discussion paper “Ending the Housing Crisis: International best-practices for creating a Vancouver Housing Authority”;
4) COPE’s 2011 platform called for creation a “Vancouver Housing Authority” that will “monitor the state of housing affordability in the city, building and maintaining housing separate from market development while also ensuring stronger inclusionary zoning law are applied to all new developments”; and
5) The BC Social Housing Alliance calls for prioritizing social housing for those most in need.
Proposal: COPE will create the Vancouver Housing Authority that will take an aggressive lead on setting targets on home creation and coming up with achievable plans to make that happen, following these 13 principles:
1) Build affordable housing: The Housing Authority will have developer powers to construct housing, including low-end and regular market housing to generate revenues, and achieve significant market share to undercut monopoly developer profits;
2) Build social housing: Use Housing Authority revenues to build city-owned social housing to end homelessness and protect the city’s low-income housing stock;
3) Prioritize: Prioritize social housing units for Indigenous People, migrants, women, trans people, seniors, youth, people with mental health and physical disabilities including HIV/AIDs, and vulnerable low-income people who are disproportionately at risk of homelessness and hidden homelessness;
4) Clear and Consistent Definitions: Affordable housing should be defined as 30% of household income and social housing is by definition for low-income households;
5) Support alternative housing models: Create a range of non-market housing, including non-profits, co-operative, and community land trust models;
6) Universality: Public housing provision should be accessible to a large cross-section of the population to increase public buy-in and reduce stigmatization;
7) Quality: Ensure high quality design – including environmental design – and maintenance at levels comparable to, or better than, the private market;
8) Monitoring: The Housing Authority should administer a landowner and landlord registry to keep inventory on all types of housing in the city and take measures to protect the city’s affordable housing stock;
9) Democratic governance: Independent from real estate interests, facilitate resident participation and oversight;
10) Lobbying: Organize locally and nationally to aggressively lobby all levels of government to fund social and affordable housing;
11) Land: Control of city land-banks, including acquiring new land, should be centralized under the Housing Authority;
12) Indigenous sovereignty: Because of its active role in removing land from the capitalist market, the Housing Authority should be at the forefront of building relations of solidarity and urban land sovereignty with Indigenous people, communities and Nations;
13) Funding Mechanisms: Identify a series of secure funding mechanisms, many of which rely on clear re-direction of development contributions and land-lease revenues, into producing city-owned public housing assets, in addition to increased commercial taxes and progressive property taxes.
Submitted by Tristan Markle, COPE Housing Campaign Team; Endorsed by Left Front

Title: Vancouver Housing Authority (Part 2: Financing and social housing targets)
Abstract: Housing Authority revenues will subsidize social housing for those in need
1) In the 2011 election campaign COPE promised a Vancouver Housing Authority that would build 1,000 units per year;
2) Assuming construction of 1,000 market units per year, an average market value of $400,000/unit, and an industry standard profit rate of 25%, the Housing Authority would generate $100M in revenues annually (for comparison, University of British Columbia’s housing agency, UBC Properties Trust, has generated similar revenues for its endowment from housing projects, including $84M from the 709 unit Hawthorn Place, $81M from the 957 unit Hampton place, and over $89M for the 1,200 rental units at Westbrook place);
3) Possible additional revenue sources that the Vancouver Housing Authority may explore include:
a) Developer contributions: From 2010-2012, the city allocated an average of $25.3M of development contributions (CACs and DCLs) toward non-profit and social housing, but much remained unallocated,
b) Property Endowment Fund (PEF): The City’s PEF was valued at $1.045 billion in 2012 and generates (undisclosed) revenue through leases,
c) Housing Authority-owned market rental flats, assuming a target stock of 2,500 units and average revenues of $10,000/unit/year, could over time generate $25M per year,
d) A luxury housing tax of only $1,000 per year for each million in assessed value in excess of $1.5M would generate over $35M per year (this could be accomplished through a Charter amendment and/or property tax increase supplemented with grant/rebates for value of homes under $1.5M);
4) The City of Vancouver 2005 Homeless Action Plan called for 800 units of social housing per year for ten years, and the Olympic Inner-City Inclusivity agreement called for 800 units per year, but these targets were largely abandoned by government;
5) The BC Social Housing Alliance estimates that BC needs 10,000 units of social housing per year (NOTE: the population of Vancouver is 13% of BC) and calls for prioritizing the housing needs of marginalized peoples;
6) The Carnegie Community Action Project calls for replacing 4,000 private SROs in the Downtown Eastside with self-contained social housing at a rate of 400 per year for 10 years without displacing low-income tenants;
7) Constructing 800 social housing units annually, assuming an average construction cost of $200,000/unit, will cost approximately $160M per year;
8) The Housing Authority will be in a strong position to lobby higher levels of government; and
9) The City of Vancouver had $810M in the $31 billion BC Municipal Pension Plan in 2011 (including 18% real estate holdings).
Proposal: COPE will create a Vancouver Housing Authority that will:
1) Construct 1,000 of low-end and regular market units to generate $100M in revenues per year, with the goal of expanding its market share over time;
2) Diversify revenue sources to generate an additional $60M (but up to $100M) annually by exploring tools including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Developer contributions (CACs and DCLs) could provide $25M to $50M in allocations to non-profit and social housing annually,
b) The City’s Property Endowment Fund (PEF) annual returns could be used to purchase properties for Housing Authority projects,
c) Internal subsidies from market units in Housing Authority-owned flats could over time generate $25M annually,
d) A luxury housing tax on the assessed value of homes over $1.5M in the City of Vancouver could generate over $35M annually;
3) Direct revenues toward construction of city-owned social housing, with the target of 800 units (at a cost of approx. $160M) annually for 10 years;
4) Prioritize replacing 4,000 private SROs in the Downtown Eastside with self-contained social housing at a rate of 400 per year for 10 years without displacing low-income tenants;
5) Prioritize social housing units for Indigenous Peoples, migrants, women, trans people, seniors, youth, people with mental health and physical disabilities including HIV/AIDs, and vulnerable low-income people who are disproportionately at risk of homelessness and hidden homelessness;
6) Use its increased lobbying power and revenue to leverage additional matching funds (target $60M to $100M annually) from higher levels of government;
7) Invest surplus in revenue-generating properties (Property Endowment Fund) and Housing Authority-owned market rental; and
8) Seek ongoing capital investment through partnership with the BC Municipal Pension Plan, including using the City’s Pension Plan capital reserves.
Submitted by Tristan Markle, COPE Housing Campaign Team; Endorsed by Left Front

Title: Stop condominium development in the DTES
Abstract: COPE will implement a moratorium on condo development to slow the loss of low-income housing in the DTES.
Justification: a) In 2012, CCAP reported that at least 426 SRO rooms went from being affordable to people on welfare to being very unaffordable, renting for $425 a month or more in the last year; b) SRO vacancies are minimal and today no rooms are renting for the welfare shelter rate of $375;
c) In 2013 the average hotel rent was $452 per month and this year the average rent is $469 per month. These figures are based on the lowest rent found in each hotel;
d) New social housing construction is failing to keep pace with hotel room losses. While over 200 SRO rooms were lost to higher rents in 2013, a mere 8 units of new self contained social housing at welfare rate have opened in the same year;
e) Over half of DTES residents have very low incomes, many below $13,000 a year and will have no where to go if they lose their housing;
f) Without protection for the low-income housing stock, the low-income DTES community will be displaced – perpetuating cycles of poverty and marginalization;
g) Over 20 condominium projects have been approved in the DTES since 2009, squeezing the DTES low-income housing stock from the West, South, North, and now the East;
h) Stopping condo development will keep property values low and preserved for social housing until SRO hotels have been replaced with safe, secure, self-contained and resident-controlled low-income affordable social housing and no one needs to sleep on the streets or in shelters.
Proposal: COPE will implement an immediate moratorium on condo development in the DTES.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Designate land for social housing in the DTES
Abstract: This motion is ensure that enough land is purchased and designated for social housing to preserve the DTES as a vital low-income community.
Justification: a) Homelessness has remained steady and high since 2008;
In 2013 over 700 people were found to be homeless in the DTES alone,
b) A full third of all homeless people are urban Aboriginal;
c) SRO rooms, the last stop before homelessness in the Downtown Eastside, are currently being converted and up-scaled to rent levels that residents on welfare and old age pension cannot afford;
d) The community has identified the need to replace over 5,000 SROs with self contained social housing units;
e) Over 6,000 people have signed a petition to call on the city to buy 50 sites for social housing over 10 years;
f) Vision Vancouver supported the city staff’s proposal to designate only 3 sites for social housing in the next 30 years;
g) The city has a large Property Endowment Fund, other financial resources with which to buy property, and also the ability to expropriate property under the Vancouver Charter.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE designate enough land for 5,000 units of social housing in the DTES over the next ten years.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: SRO renovictions & upscaling
Abstract: This motion is intended to stop the eviction of low-income tenants by ending the renoviction, upscaling and conversion of Single Residency Occupancy (SRO) hotels in the DTES.
Justification: a) In 2012, CCAP reported that at least 426 SRO rooms went from being affordable to people on welfare to being very unaffordable for people on welfare, renting for $425 a month or more;
b) More hotels are excluding people on welfare and fixed incomes, seeking instead tenants who are students and workers;
c) Vacancies are minimal and almost no rooms are renting for the welfare shelter rate of $375;
d) New social housing construction is still failing to keep pace with hotel room losses. While over 200 SRO rooms were lost to higher rents in 2013, a mere 8 units of new self contained social housing at welfare rate were opened;
d) Over 20 condominium projects have been approved in the DTES since 2009, squeezing the DTES low-income housing stock from the West, South, North, and now the East;
e) While hotel rooms are not proper places to live, they are the housing of last resort for low-income people.
f) According to CCAP, all SRO rooms should be replaced. In the interim it is crucial that they remain open and available at $375 a month until replacement housing is available and until the homeless people in the DTES have homes. If the hotel rooms don’t stay open and available to low-income residents, homelessness will increase.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE amend the SRA bylaw to define SRO hotel “conversion” to mean raising rents above welfare and pension level shelter rates. Be it further resolved that COPE should prohibit or increase the fee of SRO conversions based on the recommendations of CCAP.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Building a Sanctuary City
Abstract: COPE will ensure that Vancouver – Coast Salish Territories becomes a Sanctuary City, where all people, regardless of status, are free to access essential services without fear of detention and deportation.
Justification: Recent changes to federal immigration policy create barriers for migrants in accessing official refugee, resident, or citizen statuses
There is an increasing number of “precarious status” – non-status or temporary status – individuals in Vancouver
Such residents experience worse living and labour conditions while being routinely denied access to crucial social services
Such residents are left without access to health, education, housing, and employment and other protections that permanent residents take for granted
Such residents are fearful that, if they do attempt to access such services, they will be asked for ID, identified as non-status, turned over to authorities, and ultimately deported, but not before being held in a detention centre
The anti-migrant language – like calling migrants “queue-jumpers” or “potential terrorists” – which has helped justify the federal policy changes has not been challenged by cities where these residents live
The children of migrants are only provincially entitled to school free of charge if the child is a citizen, a permanent resident, a refugee claimant, a refugee, or otherwise
Non-status residents do not qualify for social housing from BC Housing
Non-status residents do not have access to the BC Childcare subsidy
Proposal: The city ensure access to pre-existing basic services for all Vancouver residents, regardless of status
The city ensure no residents fear accessing services by establishing a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy for service providers
i) City workers will not inquire into immigration status
ii) If city workers do discover a resident’s status, they are prohibited from sharing the information with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Canada Border Services Agency
ii) Staff at city funded and administered agencies will receive training on working with non-status people; registration forms must not require immigration status
The city support organizations that provide services which respond to the unique needs of people with precarious status in Vancouver (including community groups, neighbourhood houses, language services, transitional housing, women’s shelters,
That COPE more actively challenge the depiction of migrants and those with precarious status as potential threats to the city
That COPE will support the regularization all non-status people; the end of residents, who are often picked up while attempting to access essential services, from being deported; and the end of detaining migrants in holding cells – as Lucia Jimenez tragically was
Municipal funds, resources and workers will not be used to enforce federal immigration laws
That schools become sanctuary zones so that the children of non-status residents are not refused education
Submitted by Daniel Tseghay

Title: City-wide definition of social housing
Abstract: Establish a strong and inclusive city-wide definition of social housing
Justification: a) Vision Vancouver’s new DTES definition of social housing stipulates that social housing is rental housing in which only 30% of the units rent at shelter welfare rate. This definition of social housing does not specify any rent caps for the remaining 70% of units. This means that a building with 30% welfare rate units and 70% luxury rental units still qualifies as 100% social housing;
b) Vision Vancouver’s new city-wide definition of social housing stipulates that social housing is rental housing where only 30% of tenants have an income below BC Housings Higher Income Housing Limits (HIL’s). The HIL definition of social housing is $875/month for a bachelor, which is far above what most low-income tenants can afford. This city-wide definition of social housing does not specify any rent caps for the remaining 70% of units. This means that a building with 30% HIL rate units and 70% luxury rental units still qualifies as 100% social housing;
c) The current definition of social housing excludes people on welfare and fixed income, who need at-cost non-market housing the most.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE amend the definition of social housing for the purpose of the Downtown Official Development Plan to mean the following: “non-market housing owned and run by a government or non-profit body and accessible to those living on the lowest incomes including basic social assistance shelter rate or 30% of basic old age pension.”

Based on the recommendations from CCAP 2014 annual report
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Control business gentrification in the DTES
Abstract: The purpose of the motion is to constrain the process of business gentrification in the Downtown Eastside
Justification: a) High end retail stores, restaurants and bars are a major cause of gentrification and are directly tied to overall increases in property values and rent;
b) Most new retail stores, restaurants and bars opening in the DTES does not serve the low-income community and are widely identified by DTES residents as “zones of exclusion”;
c) The city controls the business licensing process and can add conditions to new licenses;
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE create a process directed by democratically elected representatives of low-income DTES residents to approve or deny new business (restaurant, liquor, store) applications in the DTES.

Based on recommendations from CCAP
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Squatter’s Rights
Abstract: Squatters rights are based in the more general right to reasonable access to adequate shelter and may additionally be an aspect of the right to free expression.
Justification: a) The BC Civil Liberties Association recognizes the right of the homeless to take semi-permanent shelter in public parkland, subject to reasonable limitations;
b) Squatters rights are based in the more general right to reasonable access to adequate shelter and may additionally be an aspect of the right to free expression;
c) The defining contradiction of Vancouver is its lack of affordable housing combined with an surplus of empty building and lots, including land-banks held for speculative purpose by Vancouver’s developer monopoly;
d) Squatting laws are inherently discriminatory, punishing individuals for problems that are systematic and structural.
Proposal: Therefore be it resolved that COPE make the enforcement of provincial and federal anti-squatting laws the lowest policing priority and that all municipal discriminatory squatting bylaws, including the existing Political Structures By-law, be abandoned. Be it also resolved that COPE will establish health and safety supports to squatters in abandoned government-owned buildings and properties.

This motion is written in collaboration with the Social Housing Alliance
Submitted by Maria Wallstam, Left Front Housing Policy Working Group

Title: Better Care for Invisible Minorities on the Bus
Abstract: Bus riders should be provided with identification to show that they need to use seating for the disabled.
Justification: Unfair treatment.
Proposal: Through an application, a sticker for the compass card.

Submitted by Kathryn Mandell, Left Front Transit Policy Working Group

Title: Parking Fines
Abstract: This resolution requires that the city not contact out collection of parking fines to a private agency and that city allow allow for flexible payment plans for people who have limited income.
Justification: Whereas the City of Vancouver gets about $25 million annually from parking ticket revenue and; Whereas the city loses revenue from unpaid fines, because people are not able to pay for them and further that inability to pay the fine causes the fines to go higher if they are not paid in a certain about of time or pay a higher penalty and ; Whereas if violators are not able to pay the fine, they would be less likely be able to pay the penalty and; whereas the city staff will not negotiate a payment plan and if the fine is not paid within 45 days, the city will refer the collection of the fine to private agency and; whereas the city loses revenue from un-collected fines.
Proposal: Be it resolved that the City of Vancouver not refer collection of parking fines to a private agency and be it further resolved that city negotiate payment plans for parking tickets violations based on ability to pay.
Submitted by the Equity Committee and the Left front.

Title: Ombuds Office
Abstract: The City of Toronto has and Ombudsperson who addresses complaints about city services.
Justification: Whereas the City has no process for filing complaints and appeals in relation to city services,
Proposal: Be it resolved that City of Vancouver establish an independent Ombuds Office similar to the one in the City of Toronto.
Submitted Anonymously

Title: Free Transit in the downtown Core
Abstract: Many Cities have free transit in the downtown core. In fact the City Vancouver did also operate a free bus in the downtown core.
Justification: Whereas better access to transit in the downtown core would encourage less people to drive downtown and taking more parking space.
Proposal: Be it resolved that the City use the revenue from parking fees and parking violation to go towards a free transit system in the downtown core.
Submitted by the Equity Committee and the Left Front.

Title: Designated smoking Areas
Abstract: To establish designated smoking areas trough out the city.
Justification: Whereas the ban on smoking as caused people to smoke on city sidewalks, forcing people to walk through the second hand smoke,
Proposal: Be it resolved that City of Vancouver establish outside designated smoking areas with shelters so that smokers can stay covered from rain.
Submitted by the Equity Committee and the Left Front.

Title: Arts Summit
Abstract: Organize annual Arts Summit.
Justification: There is a need to engage the Artists and Arts organizations in order to get their regular input about the needs of artists and art organizations.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE support an annual Artist Summit.
Submitted anonymously.

Title: Support Social Movements
Abstract: Municipal support for social movements.
Justification: The City no longer provides grants for advocacy work and social justice organizations.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE will provide yearly city grants to social movements, social justice groups, tenants unions and advocacy groups.

This motion is written in collaboration with Social Housing Alliance.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam.

Title: Enforce Housing Standards Maintenance Bylaws 5462
Abstract: To ensure that housing is properly maintained, and to preempt landlord neglect and disinvestment, municipalities should proactively investigate maintenance issues and enforce fines.
Justification: a) Municipal housing Standards Maintenance Bylaws (5462) are not sufficiently enforced in the City of Vancouver;
b) Many landlords intentionally disinvest in their buildings as a strategy to evict the tenants and flip the property;
c) The lack of enforcement of the standards of maintenance bylaws poses health, safety and security risks for the tenants;
d) Low-income tenants are disproportionately affected by the lack of Standards of Maintenance bylaws enforcement;
e) To ensure that housing is properly maintained, and to preempt landlord neglect and disinvestment, municipalities should proactively investigate maintenance issues, enforce fines and seize property if necessary.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE enforce and strengthen municipal housing maintenance standards. This includes enforcing existing minimum fines for neglect and disinvestment. It also includes proactive investigations of maintenance, up to and including seizing rental properties that fall behind on bylaw fine payments.

This motion is written in collaboration with Social Housing Alliance.
Submitted by Maria Wallstam.

Title: Heroin Maintenance Programs
Abstract: The City should exercise its power to ensure that residents can access diacetylmorphine (heroin) maintenance programs.
Justification: a) The NAOMI Trial results (NAOMI was North America’s first-ever clinical trial of prescribed heroin that took place from 2005 to 2008), published in the prestigious medical publication the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that participants treated with diacetylmorphine reported improved physical and mental health, were 62 per cent more likely to remain in addiction treatment and 40 per cent less likely to take illegal drugs and commit crimes to support their habit than were those treated with methadone;
b) After a year, 88 per cent of those treated with diacetylmorphine through the NAOMI study remained in treatment, compared with 54 per cent in the methadone group.
c) Data from NAOMI and other long-term studies with medically prescribed heroin show that many of the patients of these studies also transition from injection to oral treatments, detox programs and abstinence.
d) Studies in Canada and Europe have demonstrated that treatment with diacetylmorphine is more effective than oral methadone for some of the most vulnerable heroin users.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE should support heroin maintenance programs and explore as well as support other forms of substitute maintenance programs.

Submitted by Maria Wallstam.

Title: Police Budget
Abstract: This purpose of this motion is to transfer finances away from policing and into housing, social services and other essential community initiatives
Justification: a) Core social services and supports continue to be cut in order to prioritize the growing municipal police budget;
b) The annual budget of the Vancouver Police Department has increased from $180m in 2008 to $235m in 2014;
c) The annual housing budget for the City of Vancouver in 2013 was $16m, leading to an unprecedented housing crisis and worsening homelessness;
d) Homelessness, marginalization and social exclusion is a direct contributor to deteriorating personal health and mental health;
e) This mental health crisis has wrongly been used as core justification for increased police funding, including full-time officers on mental health ACT teams.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE support a platform of returning to pre-Vision levels of police financing, and possibly lower depending on the results of a municipal “Budget Priorities” participatory community consultation process. Be it further resolved that COPE support community infrastructures and organizations that help individuals address systemic violence in their communities without sole recourse to police and State authorities.
Submitted by Carven Li, Wilfred Culham and Nathan Crompton, in collaboration with the Left Front Policing Working Group.

Title: Racial profiling and targeted policing in the larger context of colonialism and interlocking systems of oppression
Abstract: his motion is to reduce the impact of colonialism through anti-colonial, anti-oppressive education and training for the VPD and through a transparent ‘contact receipt’ policy.
Justification: a) Canada is a colonial country whose Eurocentric, racist, and imperial values encourage destruction of indigenous economic, governance and justice systems;
b) Vancouver is on the unceded ancestral homelands of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations and has an ongoing history of indigenous eviction and displacement;
c) Statistics show that Aboriginal people and people of visible minority are disproportionately circulated through the criminal justice system;
d) The entrenched colonial practice of colonial racial profiling by the police continues today on the basis of visible and racialized identities
e) The Vancouver Police Department’s policy of “proactive” rather than service-based policing has escalated the number of random checks (“CPIC stops”), stop and frisk, and arrests based on suspicion in the City of Vancouver, contributing to an atmosphere of armed surveillance that works against evidence-based strategies of social support, rather than models of policing and incarceration;
f) The VPD follows a discriminatory ticketing and by-law enforcement strategy, such that in 2013, 95% of all vending tickets and 76% of all jaywalking tickets across the city were handed out in the Downtown Eastside.
Proposal: Police Training.
Be it resolved that the VPD engage in regular and frequent mandatory training sessions on current and historic colonial violence in Vancouver, particularly addressing systemic misogyny and racism. COPE supports inclusion in VPD training sessions of marginalized groups, including but not limited to Sikh, Muslim, Black, Indigenous, First Nations, Metis, Inuit, transgender people, Queer People of Colour and other racialized communities.

Community Education.
Be it resolved that COPE support, produce, release and actively promote a Colonialism, State Violence and Repression and Less Racist Police Practices Guide, to be developed in partnership with Working Groups that are only open to the diversity of advisory members who identify as racialized and/or have ancestral experience historically and contemporarily as racialized (Indigenous, Métis, Inuit, First Nations, People of Colour, and People of Mixed Race ancestry), modeled on the current City of Vancouver First Peoples: A Guide For Newcomers.

Policy.
Be it resolved that VDP adopt a mandatory “contact receipts” policy mandating that officers issue a written receipt each time a person is stopped, questioned, moved on or searched. Contact receipts should be delivered both to the person stopped and to a municipal officer, and should note the person’s demographic information and, if and only if the person consents, housing status. The purpose of this measure is to publicly monitor the beat policing process. The policy should be backed up by a strong independent complaints process (see motion below).

Other recommendations.
Be it resolved that COPE implement the as-yet unfulfilled recommendations of both the Frank Paul Inquiry and the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
Submitted by Carven Li, Wilfred Culham and Nathan Crompton, in collaboration with the Left Front Policing Working Group.

Title: De-escalation training and VPD interactions with perceived mentally ill citizens
Abstract: This motion is to end the growing trend of police violence against perceived mentally ill residents, often resulting in death.
Justification: a) There has been an alarming number of fatal police shootings of mentally ill people;
b) Police are too quick to respond with violence;
c) Situations are often unnecessarily escalated when police rush resolve a conflict, rather than handle the situation calmly and with clear procedures.
Proposal: Be it resolved that officers receive training in de-escalation, and non-violent conflict resolution. This training must include 1) anti-oppression and anti-sanism education, 2) that the VPD make body cameras part of the police uniform, 3) that a system of independent civilian monitoring of police be created
Submitted by Carven Li, Wilfred Culham and Nathan Crompton, in collaboration with the Left Front Policing Working Group.

Title: Independent police oversight
Abstract: This motion is to support the creation of an independent authority capable of monitoring the police complaints process.
Justification: Whereas the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner is not a fully independent body because it is staffed by retired municipal police and RCMP.

Whereas the OPCC collaborates with the VPD Professional Standards Branch in response to a complaint or lawsuit.
Proposal: Be it resolved that the VPD complaints process be monitored by a completely independent body, with no reporting obligations to the VPD. COPE should also explore ways to support third-party independent, community-led police oversight organizations like CopWatch.
Submitted by Carven Li, Wilfred Culham, Jennifer Allen and Nathan Crompton, in collaboration with the Left Front Policing Working Group

Title: Prohibition, harm reduction, and the failed war on drugs
Abstract: The purpose of this motion is to move Vancouver further towards evidence-based models of harm reduction and regulated drug use.
Justification: a) Individuals facing drug addiction and intersecting marginalization continue to be circulated through the prison and criminal justice system of Vancouver;

b) Despite a decades-long low crime rate (decreased by 21% between 2000 and 2012 in the City of Vancouver) the number of people incarcerated in the province of B.C has remained the same, due to a growth in the number of people held in provincial remand centers due to minor drug charges and petty administration of justice charges. Almost half (48%) of all males remanded to custody in the province come from courts in the Metro Vancouver region (B.C Corrections 2009);

c) The cost of arresting and imprisoning people does not make financial sense, and the “hard on crime” approach doesn’t improve people’s lives or their chances of recovery and health. Among other negative impacts on marginalized people, remand centres are transmission sites for HCV and HIV. Studies estimate that 21% of HIV infections among IDU in Vancouver may have been acquired within prisons;

d) The Province of British Columbia just spent $185-million building prisons;

e) Research tells us that the drug war has failed. Despite sustained increases to drug law enforcement in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, illicit drug prices have remained stable;

f) VANDU’s safe injection site was recently closed, further undermining Vancouver’s decades-long fight for harm reduction services; and

g) The City of Vancouver needs an evidence-based approach to drug addition.
Proposal: In the absence of genuine federal and provincial strategy to end cycles of addiction, poverty and marginalization, the City of Vancouver should step in to support underfunded and threatened harm reduction, treatment, and drug user services. The City of Vancouver should take a lead in the Canada-wide fight against Harper’s, mandatory minimums, war on drugs and prohibition agenda. COPE will direct the VPD to de-prioritize the enforcement of harmful federal drug laws and will support the continued existence of Insite. COPE will also lobby the federal government and join social movements calling for a public system of regulated drug use.
Submitted by William Damon, Dave Murray (VANDU, SNAP) and Nathan Crompton. Submitted by the Left Front Drug Policy Working Group

Title: Create a Cultural Land Reserve
Abstract: COPE will work with existing organizations and groups to set up Cultural Land Reserves to protect multi-use, arts and culture spaces.
Justification: 1) Vancouver has the highest per capita concentration of artists in Canada
2) The DTES has the highest per capita concentration of artists in Vancouver
3) The existing Arts and Culture strategies underway at City Hall do not reflect the living and working conditions of artists in Vancouver
4) Following the results of Safe Amp’s Community Consultation survey as well as the City of Vancouver’s 2008 Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan Final Report (CFPP), the majority of Vancouverites feel a need to create and maintain more performance venues.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE
1) support a platform of addressing the needs of artists in Vancouver and especially the DTES by creating a Cultural Land Reserve Policy to protect the dwindling, ever struggling facilities that currently exist, with a particular focus on areas being gentrified.

2) In 1973 the Province of BC, with cooperation from local governments, set up Agricultural Land Reserves to protect a dwindling supply of arable land. Following the success of that model, COPE will push for the City of Vancouver to designate certain buildings as Cultural Land Reserves that cannot be rezoned to accommodate condos.

Submitted by Bradley Peppinck, in collaboration with the Left Front Arts & Culture Working Group

Title: For-Profit Health Clinics
Abstract: Lobby the province to stop private for-profit health care
Justification: WHEREAS
1) Everyone must have the right to high quality, responsive and appropriate health care which is publicly funded, publicly accountable and publicly controlled, regardless of an individual’s income, ability, age, cultural heritage, sex, sexual orientation or geographical location;
2) For-profit clinics represent an increasing and serious threat to British Columbians’ health and the financial stability of the health care system;
3) The number of private, for-profit surgical and MRI/CT facilities in BC has more than doubled in the past five years, with a growing number of for-profit facilities operating in breach of the Canada Health Act’s criteria requiring universality and accessibility by charging patients privately for medically necessary and MSP insured hospital or physician services;
4) There is clear evidence that such clinics cost more than public facilities, increase wait times by draining scarce health human resources from the public system, and compromise patient safety
Proposal: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that COPE lobby the the Province of British Columbia to:
1) Establish a moratorium on any further expansion of private, for-profit surgical and MRI/CT clinics;
2) Require an end to public funding of for-profit clinics, including the contracting-out of day surgeries and the provision of Health Authority contracts to for-profit clinics;
3) Require full accountability and transparency on the part of for-profit clinics by ensuring that they submit to all oversight and regulatory mechanisms currently applied to public facilities operating under the BC Hospital Act; and
4) Expand public capacity by requiring the development of publicly funded and administered outpatient facilities;
5) AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UBCM continue to research and monitor the threat to universal public health care posed by the operations of private, for-profit surgical and MRI/CT facilities in its member communities.
Submitted by Rachel Tutte

Title: Increasing the Minimum Wage
Abstract: COPE will work to increase the minimum wage in the City of Vancouver in BC
Justification: 1) Low wage workers continue to be overrepresented by migrant and undocumented workers, women, and people of colour.
2) There is currently a movement among low-wage workers across North America to increase minimum wages to a standard that is acceptable in terms of providing a basic level of income adequate for survival, including the campaigns for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, and other cities.
3) In Seattle, the socialist candidate Kshama Sawant was elected to Seattle City Council in 2013 on a campaign to raise the local minimum wage to $15/hour because “the rent won’t wait.” Creating a municipal power to set a local minimum wage in Vancouver will allow civic candidates to mobilize around this crucial issue in our city as well.
4) The BC Federation of Labour places a minimum wage of $13/hr just at the poverty line province-wide, however COPE believes that no one should live right at the poverty line. The current minimum wage in BC is $10.25, and the cost of living in Vancouver is significantly higher than it is elsewhere in the province.
5) Raise the Rates BC calls for a $15/hour minimum wage across the province.
Proposal: COPE will:
1) Propose an amendment to the Vancouver Charter to confer powers upon the City allowing it to set a municipal minimum wage for the City of Vancouver at $15/hr indexed to inflation, with the aim of closing the gap between a minimum and a living wage (that is currently closer to $19/hr).
2) Advocate for increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr province-wide which would place a minimum wage worker just above the poverty line – in solidarity with other municipalities and in line with recommendations from Raise the Rates.
Submitted by Erica Holt, Left Front Wages Working Group

Title: Income Assistance and Disability Benefits
Abstract: COPE will demand an increase to income assistance and disability benefits
Justification: 1) The current standard income assistance rate of $610, of which $375 is designated for shelter, is unacceptable when according to the City of Vancouver the average rent for a one bedroom apartment is currently in the range of $1100-1400. This is not a sustainable income and is far below what is required for the most basic necessities. Furthermore, as additional declared income is deducted from the assistance rate, this places those in poverty in a precarious position. Housing, food, and self-care is not possible without additional income.
2) Those receiving income assistance are additionally overrepresented by migrant and undocumented workers, women, people of colour, and those who struggle issues relating to mental health and addiction.
3) 61% of active cases of ‘Income Assistance’ were in the “Persons with Disabilities” designation (as of May 2012)
Proposal: COPE will advocate:
1) for the provincial government to immediately increase the income assistance rate to increase at least 50% of the current rate, indexed to inflation, in line with recommendations from the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition.
2) to increase the “Persons with Disabilities” rate to a minimum of $1500/mo. to better reflect the actual cost of living and in line with recommendations from the Disability Without Poverty Network.
Submitted by Erica Holt, Left Front Wages Working Group

Title: Violence Against Women
Abstract: Ensure a better police response for women who experience violence
Justification: Despite important formal equality gains, intense advocacy efforts, and more women reporting male violence to their local detachments, many troubling problems with police response persist, problems that remain unchanged since the 1970s. Despite abysmal conviction rates and internationally accepted criticism of the Canadian police system’s response to sexist and transphobic violence, greater support is needed for the small percentage of women who choose to call the police for help when escaping a violent man or reporting rape and sexual assault. Furthermore, in a city wherein hundreds of aboriginal women in particular have gone missing and murdered, we must work to ensure that all women, including trans women, are taken seriously, receive the support and attention that they deserve, and a police response that recognizes violence against women as an urgent crisis.
Proposal: 1) That police resources be reallocated to ensure full and proper investigation of complaints of male violence against women
2) Establish an ombudsman-style body to oversee complaints against police that would answer to Legislature (as the City of Victoria has implemented), with a proper budget in order to ensure it is effective
3) 911 records, police decisions whether to recommend charges, and Crown decisions to prosecute or not should be recorded and made publicly available
4) Implement a civilian-run police complaints system that is empowered to order police to co-operate and to enforce its decisions against police
5) That police explicitly rely upon and incorporate learning from local grassroots organizations recognized as front-line experts in violence against women, including transgender women
Submitted by Erica Holt, in collaboration with the Left Front Policing Working Group

Title: Guaranteed Livable Income
Abstract: COPE will create a proposal and pursue legislation at the provincial level, and where possible at the municipal level, in an effort to implement an appropriate and viable model of Guaranteed Livable Income.
Justification: Whereas a Guaranteed Livable Income paid to every citizen:
would allow for economic decisions to be made more broadly on the basis of merits (e.g. high quality jobs, protection of the environment, contribution of wealth to the broader economy, appropriate infrastructure) rather than on a fear of poverty or “jobism” (any job is a ‘good’ job even if it pays an unfair wage, is hazardous to health or the environment)
respects the autonomy of workers regardless of industry or occupation
recognizes that the realities of racism, trans-misogyny, transphobia, sexism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, religious discrimination and nationalism in dictating the forces of the labour market. Allows for greater safety and security of person in allowing workers, especially women and migrant workers, to leave violent relationships and employment situations which threaten their safety and autonomy as persons
significantly narrows the income disparity gap between those living at a base level of income above the poverty line and those at middle and higher incomes, demonstrated as necessary for improving the overall quality of life for everyone and creating an equitable society
ensures that those who are either denied employment or offered employment at a lower wage on the basis of sex, gender, race, immigration status, religion, political affiliation, sexual preference, age or disability are ensured a basic standard of living above the poverty line
recognizes the contribution of unpaid labour, domestic labour, and the labour of undocumented workers, as such especially the unpaid labour of women and people of colour, to the economy as a whole
encourages fuller participation in society by providing everyone with the most basic necessities, thereby allowing more time or energy to devote to education, political participation and/or active participation in one’s community
neither work nor social programs currently ensure that all people have enough income to meet their most basic needs
eliminates or drastically reduces the costs associated with poverty which include health care, judicial costs, loss of productivity and social exclusion
reduces the stigma, bureaucracy, duplication and costs associated with current ‘welfare’ programs
is premised on concern and compassion for those living in poverty as opposed to hatred and rhetoric of “choice”

Whereas such models of Guaranteed Livable Income or Basic Income are currently utilized or have been utilized successfully in places such as Alaska (the Alaska Permanent Fund), France, Mexico and Brazil, as well as on a smaller scale within Canada (Manitoba).
Whereas such models are recognized as a viable alternative means to reducing economic disparity and eradicating poverty by organizations in over 25 countries worldwide and advocated by organizations such as the Green Party of Canada.
Proposal: COPE will work on a proposal, with the intent to pursue legislation at the provincial level and where possible at the municipal level, in an effort to implement a viable model of Guaranteed Livable Income which:
– must be available to all citizens, permanent residents and refugees
– must be set high enough to foster social participation and ensure that everyone has adequate access to food, clothing and housing.
– is structured to recognize family composition and ‘special needs’ such as medical expenses
– envelops existing income assistance programs, but not other social programs or services, since some enabling social infrastructure is necessary for overall well-being
– utilizes a progressive tax system maintained for all additional income over and above a certain threshold, premised on a universal demogrant (UD) model: a regular payment made to every citizen, non-taxable, with all other income taxable and at a rate higher than current income tax rates
Submitted by Erica Holt, Left Front Wages Working Group

Title: Declare Affordable Housing “State of Emergency”
Abstract: On its first day in office, COPE will declare a state of emergency regarding the affordable housing crisis in the City of Vancouver
Justification:Whereas
1) Metro Vancouver is the most unaffordable urban centre in N. America;
2) Many community members are being forced out of the city, and many more cannot imagine being able to afford to build a life here in the future;
3) A full 10% of residents pay over half their income in rent, and average rents in the City of Vancouver increased 15% between 2008 and 2012 according to Metro Vancouver;
4) The market has failed to address the affordable housing crisis, and under Vision Vancouver the crisis has only worsened.
Proposal: Therefore be it resolved that on its first day in office COPE will
1) Declare a state of emergency regarding the affordable housing crisis in the City of Vancouver;
2) Designate as the City’s most urgent priority tackling the affordable housing crisis by maximizing the use of existing City powers and resources and by identifying and proactively pursuing new powers, resources, and alliances.

Submitted by Tristan Markle

Title: Luxury housing tax
Abstract: Implement a luxury housing tax to raise revenues for social housing
Justification: In 2013 there were 68,355 single family homes in the City of Vancouver, including:
– 24,600 (36%) assessed at $1-2M
– 8,900 (13%) assessed at $2-3M
– 2,700 (4%) assessed $3-4M
– 700 (1%) assessed $4-5M
– 700 (1%) assessed >$5M
If the City applied a luxury tax of only $1,000 per year for each million in assessed value in excess of $1.5M, the City could generate over $35M in revenues per year. For comparison, if the luxury tax were applied only to the value of the home over $2M (instead of $1.5M) revenues would be only around $15M per year.
Proposal: COPE will implement a “luxury housing tax” of only $1,000 per year for each million in assessed value in excess of $1.5M through amendment of the Vancouver Charter, and in the interim through a property tax increase supplemented with full rebates via grants for value of homes below $1.5M.
All revenues will be directed toward the provision of city-owned social housing.
Submitted by Tristan Markle

Title: Transportation alternatives on Broadway and beyond
Abstract: Better solutions are required to foster a transportation network that supports the lives of residents across the entire Metro Vancouver region.
Justification: Available transit funding is limited in Vancouver and region-wide;
The proposed Broadway SkyTrain subway line will cost $3b, at an unaffordable cost of $250,000,000/km;

Existing service is already inadequate: Translink has cut 50,000 hours of service across the network and anticipates more reductions in bus frequency, and drivers have lamented the every-day reality of passing up hundreds of waiting commuters;

We must improve our transportation system in order to support carbon emissions reduction goals to confront climate change;
The Lower Mainland looks forward to congestion and increased social isolation if we continue to fill our roads with private vehicles;
The population of Vancouver is going grey. We must implement transportation plans that will serve the needs of Baby Boomers and enable residents region-wide to age in place;

In order to save money and best support businesses, elegant high capacity transit can be built on-street rather than in expensive and disruptive tunnels or elevated guideways;

Transit impacts urban planning, and technologies should be chosen to facilitate transit-oriented development that meets the needs of existing residents and neighbourhoods;
Modern light rail streetcar technology has been used in cities such as Portland, Salt Lake City, Tucson, Milwaukie, Paris, Grenoble, Nantes, Barcelona, and all across the world to facilitate the movement of similar ridership to that in Vancouver;

Vancouver has a long history with the streetcar. Initial commercial and residential development here followed the laying of streetcar tracks, and it is to this history that we owe the grid pattern of our streets. This is a pattern we desire to support.
Proposal: Supports transit decisions that benefit the greatest possible number of residents by choosing affordable light rail and/or buses, instead of high per-capita cost subway technologies;

Supports a transit strategy that extends essential transit infrastructure beyond Broadway alone, while moving quickly to implement significant service improvements along the Broadway Corridor;

Advocates for regional transportation decisions using proven precedents and smart planning, with careful consideration of the success of other cities in line with Vancouver’s goal of the best price and a strong transit system to support existing demand and future growth.
Submitted by Kathryn Mandell and the Left Front Transit Working Group

Title: Support for those with disabilities on public transit
Justification: Whereas:

People with invisible disabilities lack accommodation on public transit.

Unrecognized, many experience exclusion from disability seating areas and hurtful commentary from unaware commuters and bus drivers.

Seniors on low-income assistance and those receiving disability assistance receive the same Compass passes, necessitating that a separate recognition program for those with disabilities be created and administered.

With the introduction of the Compass pass, the aforementioned recipients of the pass are frequently being asked to disembark from the back of the bus, forcing them to move from the disability seating area all the way to the rear door and putting them at risk of injury.
Proposal: COPE will guide the implementation of a specific identifier — in the form of a card or sticker — for those with disabilities to display on public transit. The application process for the disability card must be easy, accessible and inclusionary.

An official policy on disabled and senior passengers’ use of the Compass pass to disembark via the front door of the transit vehicle must be issued to all bus operators.
Submitted by Kathryn Mandell and the Left Front Transit Working Group

Title: Treatment-on-demand policy
Abstract: This policy is to ensure on-demand access to drug treatment and rehabilitation programs in the City of Vancouver.
Justification: a) Due to waitlists, underfunding and bureaucratic obstacles, addictions treatment is currently not available on-demand;
b) This is especially true for people on fixed income who cannot access private addictions treatment;
c) When treatment is not available on demand people seeking treatment are easily discouraged from engaging in a recovery process.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE increase availability of publicly-funded substance abuse treatment and that COPE seek to not only expand treatment, but to create a continuum of services to address the needs of Vancouver’s diverse communities, to provide service enhancements, and to prioritize service needs. When a person seeks addictions treatment, they must be able to receive suitable treatment on the same day.
Submitted by Mike Gribble, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Title: Transportation System
Abstract: Moving toward a lighter footprint in our transportation system requires full disclosure, meaningful public consultation including all stakeholders of the options and interests to be served.
Justification: While we all hope to reduce greenhouse gasses by developing a more effective public transportation system, we must be careful in the transition in how we allocate our resources and be fair and considerate in not prejudicing but balancing the needs and convenience of residents in their various and necessary roles as transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Proposal: COPE will ensure that consideration of any plans to make any major changes in use of roadways and other transportation resources will be carried out only after full disclosure and meaningful public consultation, involving full disclosure of all interests, active engagement of the public and inclusion of all stakeholders in a full consideration of the options and interests to be served.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Food Security
Abstract: Adequate nutrition is a basic human right and local food security is most effective i enhancing public health and sustainable, local economies.
Justification: Freedom from hunger is a basic human right and local food security builds public health and economic capacity.
Proposal: COPE supports the concepts embodied in the Vancouver Food Charter and the rights of every person to food security and will work with residents and other stakeholders to increase food security in the city and the province. Through use of civic resources, consultation and collaboration with provincial and federal governments and consultation and collaboration with residents and other stakeholders, COPE will develop a systematic and ongoing programme with realistic and ambitious goals and targets to increase local food production and food security for all residents, particularly children and other people less able to provide for themselves.
Submitted by Gayle Gavin

Title: Protest provincial and federal austerity measures
Abstract: Stand with communities in struggle against the provincial and federal government through non-cooperation and municipal strike action.
Justification: Whereas
a) The Federal Government of Canada cut their regular social housing programs in 1993. Ten years later, in 2002, the BC Liberals ended the regular provincially funded social housing program in BC. Another decade later the austerity measures have become so entrenched that finally, in the winter of 2014, the BC minister of housing Rich Coleman has declared, “we don’t build social housing.”
b) A mad scramble to adapt to this new reality has taken place in every municipality. City governments have orchestrated partnership deals with private businesses, non-profits, charities, and the occasional senior government grant to try to make up for these massive cuts to tax-based funding. In every case these measures have failed to build the housing needed and the housing and homelessness crisis has worsened.
c) A progressive housing action program for cities in BC needs to take account of these two truths: 1) the social housing required by over 100,000 people facing homelessness in BC need will only come through tax-based housing programs organized by all levels of government, and; 2) there is a lot that cities can do on their own to stop the loss of low-income affordable rental housing in the meantime, and to join and advance the struggle for social housing programs from senior governments.
d) Cities alone cannot entirely fill the bigger shoes of senior governments, but they can see themselves as united with residents to demand the end to austerity measures. Cities can also unite with homeless and marginalized communities to prevent senior governments from neglecting, criminalizing or displacing these communities.
Proposal: Be it resolved that COPE will take action to protest and refuse the provincial and federal budget cuts to social housing and fight for better regulations and protections for all tenants. This strong stand by the City of Vancouver will include diverse forms of non-cooperation with austerity governments, including leverage through municipal powers such as ability city-wide permitting and zoning.

This motion written in collaboration with the Social Housing Alliance
Submitted by Maria Wallstam

Title: Municipalities against private health care
Abstract: Municipal governments can play a pivotal role in stopping private for-profit health care
Justification: • Municipal governments play an important role in protecting public health services in their communities. The growth of for-profit medical clinics is a form of privatization that will draw resources from the public health care system and also force patients to pay out-of-pocket for treatment. This will have a direct effect on the quality of life in your community.
Proposal: • Municipal officials can speak out against health privatization and demand adequate funding of our public health care system in every community. Municipal officials can use their zoning powers and public outreach processes to foster the development of not-for-profit health care instead of private for-profit facilities.

• Municipal governments can stand in solidarity with their counterparts across the province and request that the Union of BC Municipalities call on the provincial government to take specific measures to stop the growth of private for-profit medical facilities.
Submitted by Nathan Crompton

Title: Regulating short-stay vacation rentals
Abstract: COPE will investigate the need for taking action to discourage and regulate the practice of renting self-contained housing units out as short-stay vacation accommodation.
Justification: Vancouver is experiencing a severe and ongoing affordable housing crisis. When owners of secondary suites and investment condos choose to rent out those self-contained housing units to visitors instead of Vancouver tenants, it diminishes the city’s already inadequate supply of rental housing. Further regulation of this practice or stricter enforcement of applicable bylaws may be necessary to preserve the supply of rental housing because residential property owners have a variety of incentives to switch their properties from long-term rentals to short-stay vacation rentals. These include the potential for residential property owners to earn considerably more revenue through short-stay rentals and the fact that short-stay rentals are outside the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancy Act. It is necessary to balance tenants’ need for housing with the rights of residential property owners. Other cities, including New York, San Francisco and Berlin have taken steps to limit the negative impact that short-stay rentals have on their supply of rental housing. Vancouver should investigate what those and other cities have done and see what solutions might work locally.
Proposal: COPE will direct city staff to investigate the feasibility of measuring the impact that short-term vacation rentals are having on the city’s supply of rental housing. COPE will also gather information from cities that have taken steps to regulate short-stay rentals and consider what regulatory and enforcement measures may be feasible and necessary to protect the supply of rental housing.
Submitted anonymously

Title: Investment, or Income-Producing, Property Charged at a Business Tax Rate
Abstract: COPE will seek to ensure that investment / income-producing non-owner occupied residential properties are charged at a business, rather than a homeowner, tax rate.
Justification: The net effect of charging absentee, investment-oriented, or foreign-national property owners at a business, rather than a homeowner, tax rate would be to lessen the effects of real estate speculation — which artificially drives up prices — and to lessen the effects of gentrification, as upper-income residents move into neighbourhoods undergoing development for investment purposes, displacing lower income residents who often must resettle in distant neighbourhoods.
Proposal: That condominiums, single family and multiple dwelling homes owned for incoming-producing or investment purposes, or property bought or developed to earn income through renting, leasing or price appreciation purposes have the property assessed at a business tax rate rather than a homeowner tax rate, in recognition of the fact that the property is being used for investment / income-producing purposes rather than as an owner-occupied residence, and in acknowledgement of the fact that the property owner is conducting a business.
Submitted by Ray Tomlin

Title: Vancouver Affordable Housing Levy / Community Amenity Contributions / Co-op HousingAbstract: at a COPE Council would place before voters the creation of a housing tax levy, so as to generate funds to create affordable housing in the City of Vancouver.
Justification: Since 1981, Seattle – through the creation of a voter-approved housing levy – has created over 10,000 affordable apartments for seniors, low-and moderate-wage workers, and formerly homeless individuals and families, as well as annually provided rental assistance to more than 4,000 households. In 2002, the voters of Seattle passed a 7-year, $86 million property tax levy to provide affordable housing opportunities for low-income residents. When the 2002 Housing Levy wrapped in 2009, it had met or exceeded all of its goals. A 2009 ballot initiative approved a further $145 million dollar housing levy over a period of 7 years that would create 1850 affordable homes, and annual rental assistance to 3,025 households.

The median cost to homeowners = $65/year or $5.50/month.
Proposal: • That affordable rental housing built through the Vancouver housing level would prioritize people with disabilities, the elderly, homeless, low-wage working people and families with children;

• That at least 60% of programme funding for housing serve people working at minimum wage, seniors on fixed incomes, and people coming out of homelessness (up to $17,700 for a one-person household, or 30% of median income);

• That no more than 10% of programme funding for housing serve households with incomes up to $51,200 for a two-person household;

• That building operating support would be provided to Levy-funded housing for 20 years.

Community Amenity Contributions: That affordable housing would be constructed on City-owned land (part of Vancouver’s $3 billion Property Endowment Fund), and that in addition to income derived from the affordable housing levy, that the City would seek to ensure that 50% of Community Amenity Contributions from developers would be applied to the construction of affordable housing, so as to ensure a ready supply of new, affordable housing for persons with a mix of incomes, in order that Vancouver would not become a city solely for the wealthy.

Co-op model: That affordable housing construction would adopt a Co-op housing model, thereby ensuring the self-determination of residents and the livability of their homes (i.e. legally, residents ‘own’ their own homes under the Co-op model). That the Housing Office would work with the Co-operative Housing Federation and British Columbia’s Agency for Co-operatives so as to ensure the ongoing viability of the constructed, Co-op model affordable housing.

With the implementation of an affordable housing levy, and given that affordable housing would be constructed on City-owned land (leased over a 99-year period), and given the assurance that 50% of community amenity contributions from developers would be applied to the construction of affordable housing across the City, a COPE Council could ensure that more than double the affordable housing units created in Seattle annually would be created in Vancouver.
Submitted by Ray Tomlin

Title: Multi-family Property Tax Exemption Programme
Abstract: That a COPE Council would initiate a Multi-family Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) Programme that would provide a tax exemption on the residential improvements on multi-family projects in exchange for setting aside 20% of the units for moderate-wage workers. That such projects be located in a residential targeted area and applications submitted prior to the issuance of a project’s first building permit.
Justification: The purpose of the Multi-family Property Tax Exemption Programme:

• To encourage the development of multi-family housing opportunities within the city of Vancouver;
• To stimulate the construction of new multi-family buildings, and the rehabilitation of vacant or underutilized buildings;
• To increase the supply of housing opportunities for moderate-wage workers;
• To contribute to neighbourhood development and community revitalization;
• To preserve and protect buildings of historic and cultural significance;
•To encourage the development of mixed-income housing.
Proposal: Multi-family Property Tax Exemption Benefits

The property tax exemption would remain in place for a maximum of 12 years, provided the property remains in compliance with the rules of the programme.

The tax exemption is transferable to a new property owner as long as the new owner continues to meet the compliance requirements.

Affordability Requirements

For rental projects; the tax exemption is available for all units.

A minimum of 20% of the units must be rented to households with incomes:

• At or below 65% of median for studio units
• At or below 75% of median for 1-bedroom units
• At or below 85% of median for 2-bedroom and larger units
Submitted by Ray Tomlin

SCHOOLS

Title: Reduce Class Size
Abstract: COPE will make sure that class sizes maximize the learning of students
Justification: Children learn better in smaller classes and students with special needs learn better when they receive individual attention from their teachers.
Proposal: A COPE School Board will advocate for sufficient funding to allow smaller class sizes at both the elementary and secondary level. A COPE School Board will advocate that the provincial government restore sufficient local bargaining to allow school board to negotiate directly with the teachers’ unions to establish appropriate, flexible, and meaningful class size and composition limits for Vancouver students.
Submitted by the COPE Schools Committee

Title: Environmental Sustainability in Schools
Abstract: COPE will ensure that the School Board is addressing climate change.
Justification: Climate change is real and must be addressed. Our students need to be educated about climate change, and an example needs to be set in our schools.
Proposal: A COPE School Board will:
• Support youth participation and initiatives in the development of green programs.
• Develop a targeted Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Program.
• Support recycling and school composting.
• Support the establishment of school gardens where possible.
• Establish a VSB Bike Advisory Committee.
• Develop a district approach to protect and improve neighbourhood schools. (This includes daycare/after school care space, gyms and activity rooms that meet the needs of the school community).
• Lobby for funding to build/upgrade schools that are green and meet silver/gold LEEDS standards (eg. heating and solar).
• Lobby for school playground funding to remove and replace unsafe playground equipment. (i.e. secure and boost the Annual Facility Grant).
Implement a “Students Environmental Bill of Rights”
• Work closely with Toxic Free Canada to remove toxic paints and cleaning products from schools and to ensure a fragrance and allergy free environment.
• Encourage and facilitate the use of alternative methods of transportation by staff, parents and students.
Submitted by the COPE Schools Committee

Title: Collaboration Through Consultation
Abstract: A COPE School Board will listen with ears wide open.
Justification: In its’ truest form, Grass Roots Democracy is not top down government. In other words, it should be, “of the people, by the people, for the people”; where the people speak and the government listens. Over the past six years this appears to have been happening less and less, as our local city government seems to be merely paying lip service to the process of consultation. City council, school board and parks board all seem to have forgotten who it is they are answerable to. The time has now come to reverse this trend, through an open, honest and transparent process of consultation with our stakeholders. Through a genuine process of consultation,we will empower them, re-engage them and earn their trust.
Proposal: A COPE School Board will adhere to an open, honest and transparent process of consultation.This will be achieved by actively listening to and gaining an understanding, of what is important to our stakeholders.
Submitted by Ralph Fraatz

Title: Accessible Junior Kindergarten
Abstract: A COPE school board will advocate for a voluntary, fully funded, universally accessible and flexible Junior Kindergarten for four year olds.
Justification: Today’s economic reality makes it necessary that the parent or parents of many young children must work full time just to make ends meet.Those families that can afford to and are able to find a space, are enrolling their children in daycare. The problem is, “The shortage of daycare is real. Only 19 percent of kids have access to (licensed) space in the city.”(Vancouver Courier, May 21, 2013). Therefore, since there are four year olds already spending 30 or more hours per week in daycare, enrolling them in Junior Kindergarten would appear to be appropriate for this age group. A fully funded program would take some of the financial pressure off parents and would free up much needed daycare space for younger children.A Junior Kindergarten program will provide an enriching and nurturing environment, using imaginative methods to give four year olds a grounding in basic literacy and numeracy, while also preparing them socially, to interact appropriately with their peers. This is a win/win/win scenario, because parents benefit, society benefits, but most importantly, the children will benefit.
Proposal: A COPE school board will actively advocate for a voluntary, fully funded,universally accessible and flexible Junior Kindergarten program for four year old children. To this end, a COPE school board will consult with its’ stakeholders, in order to determine what such a program should look like and a COPE school board will offer to pilot such a program.
Submitted by Ralph Fraatz

Title: Traffic Safety First
Abstract:COPE will work to ensure that there is a traffic control, crossing guard and safety program mandatory for all elementary schools.
Justification: Speaking with parents and community police and experiencing safety issues on these streets first hand, there is a clear need to have more traffic safety around elementary schools. In particular, Grandview and Queen Victoria elementary schools have playgrounds alongside a busy thoroughfare (Grandview Hwy and Victoria Drive respectively). Schools in these neighbourhoods lack crossing guards. Despite the PAC lobbying the municipal government no action has been taken to make streets safer.
Proposal: COPE is open to working with DPAC or individual PAC’s, Community Policing Centers, the Insurance Corporation of BC, community centers, neighbourhood houses and schools that have a successful crossing guard program in place (such as Renfrew and Laura Secord Elementary Schools) to establish a standard and distribute a crossing guard safety manual to elementary schools, and other youth driven organizations citywide.
Submitted by Harley Rose

Title: Keeping youth and adult education spaces separate
Abstract: COPE will keep Main Street Education in it’s current location. Ensure that adult education spaces stay off site or separate from youth/minor education spaces.
Justification:The student body, the student trustee, parents and teachers at Gladstone Secondary have voiced their concern about adult education taking place in the same building as regular high school classes. COPE recognizes the success of Hastings Adult Education Center’s merge with Britannia Secondary being the off site location from the high school. COPE also recognizes the unique social culture and needs of adult (new immigrants, single parents, graduates upgrading through night school) students and their equal right to an appropriate study space.
Proposal: A COPE dominated school board would fight to keep Main Street Education in its current location on Terminal Avenue where it is close to a skytrain station and transit hub. COPE would relocate the Adult Education campus off site if it has moved onto the Gladstone property prior to the 2014 election. COPE would not attempt to partner it with any other high schools and is open to looking for a more cost efficient venue.
Submitted by Harley Rose

PARKS

Title: More Public Washrooms
Abstract: A COPE Park Board will build more public washrooms in Vancouver’s public space.
Justification: In its’ truest form, Grass Roots Democracy is not top down government. In other words, it should be, “of the people, by the people, for the people”; where the people speak and the government listens. Over the past six years this appears to have been happening less and less, as our local city government seems to be merely paying lip service to the process of consultation. City council, school board and parks board all seem to have forgotten who it is they are answerable to. The time has now come to reverse this trend, through an open, honest and transparent process of consultation with our stakeholders. Through a genuine process of consultation,we will empower them, re-engage them and earn their trust.
Proposal: COPE will call for more public washrooms that work, a necessity for families, seniors and tourists exploring our city.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee

Title: Strategy for Vancouver Outdoor Swimming Pools
Abstract: COPE will honour the outcome of extensive Public Consultation which showed an extremely high level of support for the replacement of Mount Pleasant Outdoor Pool and establish a plan for the return of other outdoor pools in Vancouver.
Justification: Outdoor swimming pools are essential to the quality of life in Vancouver according to a city wide public survey undertaken in 2000. Outdoor swimming pools provide safe and universally accessible opportunities for recreation, fitness, skill-building, and social connectedness in the hot summer months when people are most likely to engage in water based activities.
Four Vancouver outdoor pools were demolished between 1997 and 2009. None of these have been replaced, resulting in reduced access to summer leisure and fitness. This reduction combined with the population growth over the same period of time intensifies the scarcity of these amenities when the summer heat inspires people to seek out bodies of water. The inner city of Vancouver has no outdoor swimming pools; the three remaining outdoor pools are all situated on the waterfront. In comparison, Toronto has 58 outdoor swimming pools throughout the city.
The Mount Pleasant Community engaged in a public consultation process over a period of 5 years that resulted in a Park Board resolution and policy to replace Mount Pleasant Outdoor Pool “when funds become available” through Capital Plan allocation by our elected Park Board. COPE campaigned in 2008 on a platform to rebuild Mount Pleasant Outdoor Pool. The Mount Pleasant Community Centre Association has allocated $100,000.00 for the development of an outdoor pool in Mount Pleasant as justified by public consultation and support from other community organizations including the Vancouver Society for Promotion of Outdoor Pools.
Proposal: COPE will initiate a long-term strategy to redevelop outdoor swimming pools. COPE will prioritize the replacement of Mount Pleasant Pool and allocate Capital Plan funds toward the project as per the outcome of public consultation. COPE will commit to further public consultation around the development of other outdoor pools in the city.
Submitted by Margery Duda

Title: Parks & Green Space Inadequate to serve Vancouver’s Population
Abstract: The current city government has a densification policy which potentially increases Vancouver’s population immensely. Some neighourhoods already have inadequate park space & proposed new developments exacerbate this.
Justification: Parks and green space promote well-being by providing recreational opportunities, providing the environmental benefits of plants and water, and adding to the pleasant ambience of our city. If the population in a given area is underserved by park space, this can result in conflict between users of a park. It also results in people travelling outside of their neighbourhood to access green space. Some people will use cars to travel to parks outside their neighbourhood and contribute to pollution and global warming. Lower income people will have difficulty affording frequent trips on public transit in order to access a park, and face gentrification of their parks if nearby developments do not include adequate green space. Some neighbourhoods such as Grandview-Woodlands, Mt Pleasant, and Marpole are already underserved and a targeted for vastly increased populations, with dubious increases in park space. Some neighbourhoods have been promised new parks but the reality has been disappointing. Examples of this are North-east False Creek and Oakridge, the latter having been promised a new park and getting a large plaza on the 4th storey of a shopping centre instead. Other neighbourhoods with inadequate park space have new strips of green along or on streets, which is attractive and friendly to pedestrians and cyclists and possibly community gardeners, but cannot be used for other recreational activities such as playgrounds or shooting hoops or a spray park or wading pool.
Proposal: COPE will require any new housing developments to include adequate new park space as a requisite for building. COPE should also ensure that an inventory be taken of existing and planned new park space. The current City Council and Park Board replaced the old measure of Park Space which was 1.1 hectares per 1000 population with a “Park space within a 5 minute walk” as the criteria. In reality, both should apply. The Park space within a 5 minute walk could be grossly inadequate for a dense population. COPE will ensure that the public should have meaningful input into the nature of any new parks which does NOT mean lip service and a “here it is, isn’t it wonderful” top-down imposition of park space that does not serve either the current or future residents well.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Replacement of Outdoor Pools and Wading Pools
Abstract: Replace some or all of Vancouver’s lost outdoor pools and wading pools.
Justification: Vancouver has lost four outdoor pools in the past 20 years: Hastings, Marpole-Oakridge, Sunset, and Mt Pleasant. Many of the old wading pools have been closed or are only open on a short-term basis. This leaves Vancouver with only 3 outdoor pools (Surrey has at least 7), all of them on the northern waterfront, leaving central and southern residents with no outdoor pool in an accessible distance. Small outdoor pools such as Maple Grove & the outdoor “feature” at Hillcrest are only suitable to young children. Some wading pools have been replaced by spray parks but this doesn’t afford the opportunity to learn to swim. Children and youth who could easily walk or bike to an outdoor pool nearby their homes in the summer and meet their friends there, are now limited to an occasional family outing to an overcrowded pool such as Second Beach. Some neighbourhoods such as Strathcona/Downtown Eastside and SE Vancouver were already underserved even before the pools were closed.
Proposal: COPE will work with underserved neighbourhoods to build or rebuild outdoor pools in their community. In 2010, the Park Board recognized that a replacement pool in Mt Pleasant was the first choice of a park amenity in Mt Pleasant Park, & is only waiting for funding. There is a public consultation on the renovation of Sunset Park beginning in the spring of 2014. A new pool (outdoor or indoor not specified) was identified as a desirable amenity by residents of Marpole in their recent planning consultation. There are opportunities for partnering with senior governments to provide funding. COPE will consult with neighbourhoods with underused or closed wading pools to determine whether they would like a new wading pool or a spray park. All new wading pools and spray parks will recirculate the water. All new outdoor pools will be built to take advantage of energy savings and non-carbon energy such as solar, geothermal, and heat exchange. There are some environmental grants that might be available for this.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Oppose and Reduce Commercialization of Parks
Abstract: Services such as cafes and restaurants in parks should not be awarded to large, non-local chains such as the Keg & Boathouse. Parks should not be appendages to shopping centres. The never-ending expansion of the Aquarium should be curtailed. Hastings Park should not suffer from the PNE calling the shots in their park.
Justification: Chains such as the Cactus Club and Boathouse pay minimum wage and the profits go to a conglomerate whose head office is located elsewhere. The new “park” in Oakridge will be on the 4th storey of a shopping centre, forcing people to access it through the commercial area. The current Council awarded the governance of Hastings Park to the PNE whose prime purpose is to run a money-making operation. The Vancouver Aquarium continues to expand its exhibits into Stanley Park, which allows it to draw in more people who have to pay admission, and make more money while taking away public park space.
Proposal: COPE will provide as many public services as possible in its parks and community and recreation centres using public employees. Where this is not feasible, the services should be supplied locally and not by conglomerates. COPE will work with the residents of the Hastings community to increase access to Hastings Park, and in the long run will seek to have meaningful neighbourhood presence on the governing body of Hastings Park. COPE will curtail the expansion of Aquarium exhibits into Stanley Park. It should be noted that the Aquarium’s lease, while extended to 2027, does have to be revisited in 2015.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Enhancement of Arts & Culture Opportunities in Parks & Community Centres
Abstract: In the past quarter century, successive Park Boards have taken some strides towards making Arts & Culture part of our Parks & Recreation System. However, there are still some groups involved with Arts & Culture who either feel they are being “left out” or are unaware of opportunities, and members of the public who feel that public consultation on some projects is inadequate.
Justification: The Park Board developed and Arts & Culture policy in the early 1990’s, which resulted in programs such as Artist in Residence & aNeighbourhood grant program. These have been extended and modified by subsequent Park Boards. The current Park Board, for example, has encouraged Artist in Residence programs in vacant field houses and public performance space in parks. Many of Vancouver’s community centres offer arts programs and are inclusive of multi-cultural arts & culture in their neighbourhoods (e.g. Sunset’s South Asian programs, Trout Lake’s 1st Nations programs). However, some artists and cultural groups in the city are not aware of the opportunities or feel that the criteria are exclusionary to them. There has also been some unhappiness with public consultation around some projects, e.g. the “Poodle in a Park” in Mt Pleasant which was done by a Montreal artist with little public consultation in a neighbourhood that as for many years had a significant component of artists. The proposed Irish-Canadian monument in Thornton Park was met with a pushback from the women’s group who spearheaded the Women’s Monument in the same park, who felt they were not adequately consulted. People like to feel engaged by arts & culture in their communities (witness the response to the pianos in public places) but are sometimes put off by “top down” decision-making.
Proposal: COPE will work with its partner community associations and the public they both serve to expand and enhance arts and culture programs. There should be a concerted effort to inform arts & culture groups throughout the city of opportunities, and all arts projects should undergo a meaningful process of public consultation where people are listened to and have input into the types and nature of projects. There should be a special initiative to identify and reach out to groups within the city who feel that their cultural and artistic desires are being ignored. Local artists and cultural groups should be encouraged to participate in the design of new parks (a good consultant should be able to foster this so Parks Commissioners & Staff should look at their track record).
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Reducing Human Impact on Parks
Abstract: Expand Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in the Parks & Recreation system.
Justification: Various Parks Boards over the past 15 years have endeavoured to increase the adoption of the “3 R’s”. However, there have been hurdles in the way that have not yet been solved. Efforts to reduce the use of water in plastic bottles have resulted in people substituting sugary soft drinks. Provision of water fountains to deter people from buying water has been slow. Former COPE Parks Commissioner advocated for turning dog excrement into composted manure but park board employees who would have done much of the work were opposed. The Park Board mulches plant waste and many community gardens in parks do composting. There has been some demand from people in apartment buildings to install composting facilities in parks that could be used by residents, but other residents of the area have opposed park space being used for this purpose (unfortunately some of Vancouver’s denser multi-family rental apartments are located in park-deficient areas, which doesn’t help). However, the current Park Board should be lauded for introducing vehicles and equipment that is more energy-efficient and/or less reliant on fossil fuels.
Proposal: COPE will work with its employees, including members of CUPE 1004 who maintain our parks, to identify and implement means of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste. There should also be a concerted effort to engage the public on what forms of the 3R’s are wanted and will work in their neighbourhood. COPE Parks Commissioners will aim to have parks and recreational facilities within walking and cycling distance and will work with a COPE Council to advocate for better access to parks & community centres by public transit.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Removal of Invasive Species
Abstract: The Stanley Park Ecology Society and friends of Everett Crowley Park have worked with the Park Board to remove invasive species in those two parks. It is time to expand the program to other parks in the system.
Justification: The Park Board, Stanley Park Ecology Society, and committed residents in the Everett Crowley Park area should be commended for their efforts in combating invasive plant species. However, Vancouver has over 220 parks and some of these smaller parks suffer from the same problem, on a reduced scale. We human beings are responsible for bringing in foreign species to our yards which often spread to our parks, and which sometimes overwhelm our native plants. We need to clean this up.
Proposal: COPE will work with its Park Board employees to identify parks with invasive species problems and come up with a plan to clean them up. COPE will also involve the public by encouraging stewardship of their parks, including education on minimizing invasive species in their own yards, especially for certain plants which have been identified as “spreaders”. Although volunteers are always welcome, they should not supplant the jobs of Park Board employees, who are ultimately the ones who maintain our parks and can identify where the problems are.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Improving Public Consultation
Abstract: It sometimes seems as if the current Park Board lurches from one crisis to another which could have been averted with meaningful and expanded public consultation.
Justification: Off-the-cuff remarks in an interview by Mayor Robertson about taking part of Langara Golf Course for condos led to a public outcry and a retroactive effort by the Park Board to come up with a remedy to ensure the land remained available for public recreation. Proposals for renaming parks after recently-deceased former public officials led to charges of partisanship and a review of the park naming policy that seems to have gone nowhere. A women’s group that worked to install the monument to the 14 victims of the Montreal massacre in Thornton Park protested that they were not adequately consulted in the placement of a monument to Irish Canadians nearby. A proposal for a bike path through Hadden Park resulted in a public outcry and a court case. Residents of North-east False Creek wondering where their promised park is. Residents of Oakridge confused because their promised park is on the 4th storey of a retail mall. The impacts of budget cutbacks from 2009 to 2012 resulting in users of the parks & recreation system feeling that their complaints of inadequate services were dismissed. And of course the biggie, the botched effort to renegotiate the Joint Operating Agreement between the Park Board and its partner community associations which brought forth allegations of intimidation, fears of the Park Board and City taking over the operation of the community centres completely to the dismay of community volunteers, and another rash of court cases, one of which resulted in an injunction stopping the Park Board from taking over the 7 community centres which withdrew from negotiations in protest. A move to on-line consultation which has not proved adequate.
Proposal: COPE will work with the public to develop a more comprehensive public consultation plan. While on-line consultation is valuable and can conserve paper, it cannot supplant public interaction. COPE will take advantage of its partners in the community associations and other stakeholders who use their parks and recreation systems to identify, inform, and engage people in Vancouver in public consultation, with special efforts to reach out to people who have barriers such as low income, a first language other than English, and cultural inhibitions. COPE Parks Commissioners will work with staff to foster a culture of respect, whether at public meetings or on public webpages.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: COPE Supports a Referendum on the Aquarium keeping Cetaceans in Captivity Before the 2015 Review
Abstract: A substantive number of Vancouverites oppose keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. The Vancouver Aquarium maintains that the majority of Vancouverites support their exhibits. The only way to know for sure is to hold a Referendum on whether or not Vancouverites want the cetacean exhibits phased out. There have been several previous attempts to put this question on a ballot which have not gone forward. The mandated review of the Aquarium’s lease in 2015 which is preceded by the 2014 civic elections presents an opportunity to put this question to the public.
Justification: COPE Parks Commissioners Tim Louis and Donna Morgan were instrumental in pressuring the Park Board to adopt a bylaw in 1996 to prevent the Aquarium from bringing in whales or dolphins from the wild that were born after 1996. COPE has historically advocated for a referendum on keeping whales and dolphins in captivity but were unable to put one forward at the end of their majority term in 2005 because of the fissure which ultimately resulted in some former COPE politicians leaving to form Vision. The COPE majority Park Board did pass a motion on Oct 31 2005 to hold a referendum in 2008, but it was overturned by the NPA-dominated Park Board in May 2006. A few months later, the language in the bylaw was modified to make it easier for the Aquarium to bring in “injured” whales and dolphins (byproducts of the whale hunting industry) and keep those which could not be released into the wild (which is to say, from the Aquarium’s perspective, pretty much all of them). The term of the lease was extended to 2027 from 2015, but a review was mandated in 2015. Green Party commissioner Stuart Mackinnon moved & COPE commissioner Loretta Woodcock seconded a motion in 2010 to put forward a referendum in 2011 but the Vision and NPA commissioners refused to support it. The mandated review in 2015 together with an upcoming election in November 2014 provides another opportunity to put this question to the voters.
Proposal: COPE will advocate for a question on the ballot in 2014 which will ask the voters if they support phasing out the whale and dolphin exhibits. Failing this, COPE commissioners elected in November 2014 will move a motion to conduct a referendum in 2015 in conjunction with the lease review. If the cost of conducting a referendum in 2015 is an issue, it could be held at the same time as the Transportation referendum. If the Aquarium is correct and the voters prefer that the exhibits continue, the current conditions will remain until 2027. If those who consider keeping whales and dolphins in captivity to be cruel and exploitive are correct and people vote to phase out the cetacean exhibits, the Aquarium will be advised to phase these out by the end of its lease in 2027.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: A respectful relationship between the Park Board and its Community Association Partners
Abstract: The current Park Board has botched what were intended to be negotiations with its Community Association partners on a new Joint Operating Agreement for the community centres. What should have been negotiated with mutual respect resulted in 7 community associations not negotiating at all & the negotiations with the remaining associations still a long way from completion. The right of the Community Centre Associations to continue their partnership in operating the community centres is being tested in court. None of this should have been necessary.
Justification: The partnership between the Park Board and volunteer Community Associations in the operation of Vancouver’s community centres goes back to the 1940’s, when residents of several neighbourhoods banded together to persuade the Park Board to build community centres and helped raise funds to build them. Community Associations today continue to both encourage members of their community to get involved with their community centres and to fundraise towards both programs and infrastructure. The unfortunate top-down attempt to replace the current Joint Operating Agreements with a centralized model was perceived by many of the community associations to threathen their existence by inhibiting their ability attract volunteers and raise funds. The One Card was imposed unilaterally by the Park Board. Seven community associations refused to negotiate or accept the One Card for their own programs and court action has taken place on both sides. One decision maintained the right of the seven community associations to participate in the operation of the community centres until the question of whether the Park Board can unilaterally take the operation of the centre away is decided. The remaining community associations are negotiating but progress has been slow. This could have been avoided by a more respectful and inclusive approach which recognized the different demographics and abilities of the community associations and acknowledged both the role of Park Board employees in operating the community centres and the complementary, not adversarial, contribution of volunteers.
Proposal: COPE commissioners will ensure that future negotiations on a new Joint Operating Agreement will be conducted with respect for the long-standing partnership between the Park Board and the Community Associations. COPE rejects the attempt to pit Park Board employees versus volunteers. The Community Associations are composed of volunteers who have no interest in displacing Park Board employees, and many have expressed their appreciation of the commitment and expertise that paid employees put into running the community centres. COPE appreciates the popularity of the One Card which makes it easier for the public to access programs in community centres across the city, and incorporates features of the former Leisure Access Card which make it possible for low income people to access community centre programs. However, COPE realizes that not all communities are the same, and a one-size-fits-all JOA does not meet the needs of communities of varying income levels and cultural make-up. The community associations do not all have the same ability to mobilize volunteers or raise funds and the Joint Operating Agreement should provide additional support for community centre operations where needed, without taking away from the funding of community centres which perhaps need less support, but would be hurt if a short-changing of funding becomes chronic.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Support for unionized employees and encouraging community volunteers
Abstract: Unionized Park Board employees should be recognized and supported by the Park Board; the role of volunteers should be clarified, valued, and encouraged.
Justification: Vancouver’s Parks & Recreation system is served well by its unionized employees (primarily CUPE 15 and CUPE 1004). The current Park Board and City have engaged in budget cuts from 2009 to 2012 which resulted in the loss of union positions. The Park Board has awarded leases to companies which pay minimum wage (e.g. Cactus Club and The Boathouse) and there is currently no requirement that infrastructure contracts should pay a living wage. The Park Board and City in their ill-advised top-down efforts to renegotiate the Joint Operating Agreement with its partner community associations has attempted to put a wedge between its unionized employees and volunteers.
Proposal: A COPE Park Board will work with its unionized employees to achieve budget efficiencies without laying off workers. COPE Park Commissioners will work with their COPE Council colleagues to establish a living wage policy for restaurant concessions, infrastructure contracts, and encourage in-house employment where feasible. COPE will work with its unionized employees and community volunteers to define the roles of each, and ensure the security of its employees, while fostering the contribution of volunteers to the Parks & Recreation system, and identifying and facilitating opportunities for Vancouver’s residents to get involved with their community associations and parks.
Submitted by the COPE Parks Committee.

Title: Community Food Exchange Markets
Abstract: Buy, sell, trade, barter; “I’ve grown kale, you’ve grown tomatoes – let’s swap!”
Justification: • Farmers markets, as currently operating, present economic barriers for low-income people to access fresh, local, healthy food and may not represent Vancouver’s culturally diverse food needs;
• COPE encourages local community and household food production for the betterment of Vancouver food security and food sovereignty;
• COPE values non-monetary forms of mutually beneficial exchange.
Proposal: COPE will work at the municipal level to establish Community Food Exchange Markets to complement and supplement existing Farmers Markets. The intention is to provide a space for individual and collective small (ie. household or community garden) scale food producers to gather together to exchange fresh, harvested produce on a buy, sell, trade, or barter system. The Community Food Exchange Markets also provide a space for other types of community engagement and exchange, such as education and knowledge exchanges, seed sharing, and connecting able gardeners/growers of food to privately owned land available for gardening use. Community Food Exchange Markets will be subject to food safety by-laws as crafted by COPE to address food safety concerns while enabling community food exchange. The Community Food Exchange Markets can serve as a starting point and model for a broader People’s Market for the barter and exchange of other goods and services.
Submitted by Heather Gies & Oz Sapmaz, Left Front Food Policy Working Group

Title: Urban food forests*
Abstract: COPE will work at the municipal level to identify and allocate spaces to establish food forests to grow free/organic public food and to increase ecological awareness and community engagement in parks and other public spaces.
Justification: • There are multiple barriers to accessing healthy, locally produced, affordable food;
• Community garden space–though expanding–remains limited, with lengthy wait lists in most garden locations for individual allotment;
• 5% of Vancouverites reported household food insecurity in the 2005 census, and much higher percentages of residents in some neighbourhoods (eg. 22% of residents in Grandview Woodlands, ⅔ of residents DTES) experience food insecurity [1], with increased risk faced by women, indigenous people, and people of colour;
• There is under-utilized space throughout the city that could be leveraged for food production and education;
• Edible urban forest gardens provide a space for communities to gather together, grow their own food, and rehabilitate local ecosystems;
• Seattle Beacon Hill Food Forest is exemplary of implementation of the urban food forest model at the municipal level.
Proposal: COPE will work with communities through public consultation processes to identify appropriate land and resources to initiate urban food forests. Food forest construction (involving design proposals, site prep, planting, and maintenance) will be a community process open to all interested participants, fostering community engagement and local environmental and food stewardship. All food produced in urban food forests will be entirely public and to be harvested/consumed by city residents on a basis of mutual trust. Information about the plant varieties in the food forest will be publicly available to build awareness and encourage safe and responsible harvesting/consumption of unfamiliar plants.
SPACES: City-owned land, public parks, community gardens, community centres, city landscape, private property where applicable
EDUCATION: Soil building, fruit tree care, seed saving, beekeeping, composting
TO GROW: Bioregional native plants, fruit trees and vegetables from other parts of the world (representing cultural diversity of Vancouver’s communities), medicinal herbs, nut groves that provide food and shade.

(*) What is a Food Forest?
A food forest is a dense food producing garden that mimics the ecology of a natural forest system, but substitutes food producing plants (including fruit and nut trees, berry shrubs, and other edible plants) in place of the various elements of a natural forest. Food forests also use agroecological and companion planting techniques to combine plants in mutually beneficial ways to increase yields, attract/deter insects for pollination/natural pest management, naturally fix nitrogen into the soil, and provide mulch to preserve soil fertility. By mimicking a natural forest’s ecology, food forests provide high yields relative to the space used and, once established, require less maintenance than a conventional garden/farm.

[1] City of Vancouver. (2013, January). What feeds us: Vancouver Food Strategy. Retrieved from: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/vancouver-food-strategy-final.PDF
Submitted by Heather Gies & Oz Sapmaz, Left Front Food Policy Working Group

Title: Parks Committees
Abstract: To establish Parks Committee is each neighbourhood to provide input to the Park Board on access to parks and services.
Justification: Whereas many of the City of Vancouver Parks park areas and not people friendly and not accessible for the people in the community.
Proposal: Be it resolved that the Vancouver Park Board establish neighbourhood park committees with members of community giving input in the design as well access services under the jurisdiction of Parks and Recreation.
Submitted by the Equity Committee and the Left Front.

Title:Diverse Programs and services
Abstract:Provide program and services to diverse communities.
Justification: Whereas the 519 Church Street Community Center is a great example of how the City of Toronto provides space and programimng for the LGBTQ communities in Toronto,
Proposal: Be it resolved that Vancouver Park board look to the 519 Community Centre in Toronto as a great example of how services can be delivered to different communities using the 519 model as an example possibility of serving the diverse communities in Vancouver and work in partnership with the different cultural communities in Vancouver to look providing services in collaboration with other community agencies in different spaces including City own spaces.
Submitted by the Equity Committee and the Left Front.

Title:Hogans Alley Community Centre
Abstract:Establish a community centre near the old Hogan’s Alley.
Justification: Whereas the historic Hogans Alley community was destroyed to make room for a highway project five decades ago.
Proposal: Be it resolved that a community centre be built there as memorial to the lost community that this centre not only a place of cultural activity but also a place for support programs and services for new immigrant communities.
Submitted by the Equity Committee and the Left Front.

Title: Park Shuttle
Abstract: To restore and expand the Stanley Park Shuttle.
Justification: Whereas the Vancouver Park Board has discontinued free bus shuttle service through out Stanley Park in the Summer from revenue taken from the paid parking service from the Stanley Park parking.
Proposal: Be it resolved that free shuttle service be continued expanded to throughout the year and that further that the free shuttle bus service be further extended to run a long English Bay, Kitsilano Beach, Spanish Banks all the way to UBC to be funded by the parking fees from the park areas.
Submitted anonymously.

OTHER

Title: Policy on a better electoral system for Vancouver municipal elections
Abstract: The current Single Member Plurality system (sometimes called “at large”) presents the voter with long lists of people whose names mean nothing to most people, and therefore favours electoral organizations such as Vision and the NPA who have the capacity to raise a lot of money. We end up with City Councils composed of people who were backed by well-heeled donors. There are other electoral systems such as Wards and Proportional Representation that could be used which provide candidates who aren’t backed by the wealthy with the opportunity to be elected. They are both more representative and democratic.
Justification: We only have to look at the undue influence of real estate developers on Vancouver’s housing and commercial development to know that this has to change. COPE has traditionally supported a ward system which divides the city into the equivalent of constituencies (which we are familiar with from provincial elections). In 2004, we had a referendum with 14 proposed wards which failed (46% Yes). Wards are an improvement over the at-large system and fit nicely with the current dissatisfaction of many residents with the Vision Council’s plans for their neighbourhoods. Getting a higher number of smaller wards approved would be difficult because opponents would start screaming about the cost of a large Council. The downsides are that, unless there are a large number of wards, these elections can also be difficult for people with minimal resources to win. We have 11 provincial constituencies in Vancouver and these are almost always won by the two major parties. Wards can promote the election of ethnic minorities if they are concentrated in a particular area, but are not as good for other minorities or disadvantaged groups (e.g. people with disabilities) who are more spread out.

A proportional representation system such as STV, would provide disadvantaged groups with more opportunity to win than wards. This is because STV, for example, is a ranked system that will elect candidates based on a quota and which allows people who don’t place on top on the first count to move up based on second and subsequent choices of voters. The quota is based on the number of candidates running and the number of positions to be filled, and the first candidates to meet the quota are elected and surplus votes distributed until the required number are elected. STV is likely the most suitable PR system for a City the size of Vancouver; a system like MMP that could combine large-scale wards with proportional distribution would probably end up not being proportional because there are too few seats to distribute. However, it can be considered as part of the discussion. It should be noted that a PR system doesn’t necessarily mean that candidates must belong to a particular “party” such as COPE or Vision or the Greens; STV’s quota system would allow the election of independents who the voters can choose when they rank the candidates as part of a mix of other candidates who have party backing.
Proposal: COPE can approach this issue in two different ways. We can decide pre-election whether we are in favour of Wards or a Proportional Representation system, and campaign on that, or we can propose replacing the SMP at-large system with one or the other and let the voters decide in a referendum. It is likely we would have to call a referendum in any case, not because provincial legislation requires it (it doesn’t), but because it would be seen as subverting the 2004 results, at least in the case of Wards. Let the discussion begin!
Submitted by Anita Romaniuk.

Title: Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver Basic Principles
Proposal: The City of Vancouver should:

1. Make City Hall Open and Accountable – Restore and improve transparency at all levels of governance through a decentralized staff structure, meaningful public involvement in council and committee meetings, independent Freedom of Information processes, open access to land use planning detailed data, financial and budget information; and reintroduction of line by line budgets. Restore unencumbered access to senior city staff by news media.

2. Advance Campaign Finance Reform – Reform campaign financing and related influence at Vancouver City Hall. Regulators of land use policy should not be funded by the industry that they regulate. Restrict campaign donations with spending limits and to individual persons and avoid contributions that could be potential and/or perceived conflicts of interest.

3. Value Vancouver as Community—not Commodity- Ensure that Vancouver remains a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable city of neighbourhoods that values and encourages the broad diversity and character of Vancouver’s local communities, culture and people. Planning, development and policy must place Vancouver and its residents above profit while ensuring that Vancouver develops in harmony with its natural setting, retains outstanding liveability, and is affordable to residents with the full range of occupations and incomes necessary for a vital, diverse and inclusive city.

4. Respect Existing Local Area Plans and Community Visions – Ensure that the shape and scale of development remains largely consistent with established planning and in harmony with neighbourhood context. Rein in the current preoccupation with spot rezoning that is distorting neighbourhood character, inflating land values and undermining affordability.

5. Support Neighbourhood-based Planning – Ensure that planning and development are rooted in neighbourhood-based processes with enhanced public trust and established community support. Ensure that recent and future community planning for all Vancouver’s neighbourhoods is consistent with CityPlan terms of reference and restore outreach funding and meaningful influence to Vision Implementation Committees across the city.

6. Empower Community Initiative – Respect and support local initiative, community service and self- reliance. From Community Centre Associations to CityPlan Implementation Committees, citizens should be encouraged and empowered to take stock in their local neighbourhoods, realize their aspirations and promote the distinct character of local communities as part of a broader shared Vancouver.

7. Promote a Diverse and Sustainable Economy – Foster and promote a vibrant and sustainable economy by supporting established industries through appropriate policies and encouraging new enterprise with a focus on high-tech and green economies. Protect remaining industrial lands and collaborate with industry leaders, experts and senior levels of government to develop a strategy for growing a thriving and sustainable manufacturing sector with a diversity of employment opportunities.

8. Advance Social Justice and End Homelessness – Strive to end homelessness and poverty and ensure that municipal policy and services are effective in protecting and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in our society (homeless, low-income seniors, youth, mentally ill, addicted, etc). Advocate and partner with the housing industry, public agencies and senior levels of government to foster appropriate legislation, programs and funding to address poverty, mental illness, addiction and the chronic shortage of social and assisted housing. Use authority for land use (and other appropriate tools) to help protect existing commercial and not-for-profit services identified by low-income residents as crucial for meeting their needs.

9. Make Real Progress on Housing Affordability – Recognize and address the full range of factors that are contributing to the current shortage of affordable market housing in Vancouver and that densification is not a panacea. The analysis and solution to Vancouver’s housing crisis cannot be left to the property development industry and market forces. Research promising approaches and successful policies in other cities, consult with experts and the Vancouver public, and implement an integrated housing strategy that goes well beyond supply and demand.

10. Protect and Expand Rental Housing – Ensure that planning and development do not have adverse impacts on the availability of low income and rental housing. Protect and incentivise the upgrading and improvement of existing rental stock. Where redevelopment is appropriate, improve upon current rate of change regulations and implement a city-wide inclusionary policy for new development, requiring a significant and fixed percentage of units be purpose-built rentals (below- market/rent-controlled if rezoning is involved) for the life of the building, or cash in lieu to be invested in below-market rental housing.

11. Support the Arts, Film, Culture and Tourism – Support and advocate for the arts, film and culture. Continue to invest in Vancouver’s civic theatres and provide sponsorship to cultural events across the city. Ensure that planning and development recognizes and protects community assets beyond public institutions. The City should work with local neighbourhoods to identify non-profit and privately operated movie theatres, live performance venues, art galleries and other de facto cultural, educational and recreational amenities that are highly valued by the community. A wide range of potential measures should be explored, including property tax relief and, where appropriate, zoning relaxations to ensure that these community-valued enterprises remain viable.

12. Protect Heritage Buildings and Viewscapes – Respect and protect heritage buildings and viewscapes as central to Vancouver’s identity and the diversity of neighbourhood character and place. Recognize the fuller environmental cost of new construction and incentivise the retention and upgrading of existing buildings, which due to embodied energy and materials are inherently “green.” Support neighbourhood-based planning that seeks to employ rezoning and new housing forms as incentives to retain existing heritage and character homes rather than to demolish them.

13. Improve Public Transit – Ensure that Vancouver is well served by an efficient, affordable, and environmentally sustainable public transit system that attracts growing ridership. Planning and delivery of mass rapid transit should be regional in scope and encourage complete regional centres to reduce long-range commuting. The priority for Vancouver should be an extension of the Millennium Line to Central Broadway (not UBC), together with and a major expansion of the existing electric trolley network, including conversion of the 99 B-Line and other high-frequency bus services from diesel to electric. Longer-term upgrading to streetcars should be considered where road capacity and demand are sufficient to justify investment.

14. Reject “Hong Kong” Transit-Oriented Development Model- “Frequent Transit Development Areas” should not be regionally designated to avoid appropriate public consultation or to enable forms of development that are out of scale or otherwise in conflict with local neighbourhood context and/or established planning. TransLink’s mandate to generate revenue through strategic real estate investments (the so-called “Hong Kong model”) constitutes a systemic conflict of interest and would contribute to speculative inflation of land values. Proceeds of rezoning currently support civic amenities and social housing. Diverting this revenue stream from the City of Vancouver to TransLink would therefore impact the City’s capital budget and create pressure for property tax increases. Transit-related rezoning should not be considered in advance of infrastructure delivery. The City should oppose further near-term transit fare increases and advocate for sustained federal and provincial funding of transit through progressive carbon-related fees and taxes.

15. Support Active Transportation – Continue to encourage walking and cycling as viable and healthy modes of local transportation with improved infrastructure that must also be in balance with the need to maintain an efficient and well-distributed road and transit network. More sustainable electric and hybrid vehicles, car share programs, and car pooling should also be supported through policy and infrastructure.

16. Improve Environmental Sustainability – Improve practical performance on environmental sustainability. Expand the current recycling program to include plastic bags and further incentivise or mandate deconstruction to maximize reuse, recycling and recovery of the building materials. Protect and enhance the parks, green space and mountain views that make Vancouver a special place.
Submitted anonymously.