Rally to Build a Better BC — TOMORROW!
Saturday, April 10, 2010 at noon
Vancouver Art Gallery
Rally to protest government funding cuts and express your concern
at the direction our province is heading. Join with others who
believe we can build a better BC.
COPE at Vaisakhi!
Come visit our booth tomorrow (Saturday) near the Sunset Community Centre (before or after the rally!) and grab some hot chai!
A plan for the West End
Last night, COPE Councilor Ellen Woodsworth brought a motion to council, asking that staff report back on a process and a timeline for a West End community visioning process. The West End, while the densest neighbourhood in the city, has not had a community visioning process to determine community amenity needs and priorities in over 20 years.
There has been recent tension in the community due to new STIR developments which do not require community consultations as they are spot rezonings. According to Woodsworth, "the West End is a unique community which is finding itself in a fight with neighbours against neighbours due to a lack of a community visioning process. Whether it is a casino at NEFC or spot rezoning in the West End, all neighbourhoods deserve to be consulted before major developments are implemented."
According to Brent Granby, President of the West End Resident’s Association, "the City needs to be responsive to the urgent priorities of its citizens. What makes the West End such desirable neighbourhood to live in is its high-density affordability and amenities which make for great livability. The STIR program, while having merit in creating much needed purpose built rental units, needs to be reviewed to ensure affordability, ecological sustainability and high quality community amenities in consultation with residents.”
The motion also called for staff to hold a community open houses as soon as possible to gather information on CAC priorities in the West End for the two upcoming developments coming to Council (1401 Comox and Beach Towers).
The motion was ammended to provide a timeline on a Visioning process for the West End by the fall, which likely, will not be up in time to deal with the two upcoming developments.
According to Woodsworth, "I am very happy that we were able to bring the community, Council and staff together to debate the important issues of develoment facing the West End. After more than four hours, Council reached an agreement to hold a public process for the WE and will receive a report in the fall on when the community will get a Visioning process." She continues, "However, I was disappointed that my ammendment to have this meeting as soon as possible, and in time for the outcoming developments, was defeated."
COPE Trustees say Province deliberately underfunding public education
COPE school trustees, Allen Blakey, Allan Wong and Jane Bouey, announced on Wednesday that, as it stands, they would not and could not vote for the preliminary school board budget presented by the Board of Education’s senior management. "The provincial government’s deliberate under funding and cutbacks are responsible for this budget that does not meet the needs of the children and youth of Vancouver," said Board vice-chair Jane Bouey. “Districts right across the province, even those with growing enrollment, are facing similar cuts”, she added.
Trustee Allen Blakey commented: "This is crazy. We have money for a stadium roof and to helicopter snow on to Cypress Mountain, but we can’t fund public schools in Vancouver properly."
"In tonight’s proposed budget, we’re forced to cut direct services to children like special education and inner city school programs, when we should be improving our system. An early Mandarin program that has long been supported by our community is nowhere to be seen in this budget. That’s unacceptable," asserted Trustee Allan Wong.
"If we’re going to make cuts, then a much bigger proportion needs to come from senior management positions. The cuts need to be kept as far away as possible from kids," added Trustee Blakey.
Bouey pointed out, "Our budget needs to provide adequate support for all of our students, especially Aboriginal children, ESL students, and those with special needs. The budget we were presented tonight doesn’t do that and we won’t vote for it. Provincial resources need to be increased substantially or the school board can’t do the job it was elected to do."
According to Blakey, “For the Olympics we invested in our athletes and they returned the investment. We should do the same with our kids in school. We need to work together and demand the provincial government provide that same level of support so that all of our children can be successful at school.”
A final budget is slated to be voted upon on April 29, 7 pm.
COPE Councillor Cadman asks for summer closure of Robson Square
COPE Councillor David Cadman brought a motion to council this week asking staff to prepare a report on the possibility of closure of Robson Street,
as during the Olympics, on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months.
Ever since the Olympics, the councillors and Mayor have been getting dozens emails and phone calls from residents concerned that the Province will be closing Robson Square for construction over the summer. According to Councillor Cadman, “the government spent a million dollars refurbishing this facility and now that it’s a place that everyone wants to celebrate, they want to do more refurbishment? Why didn’t they do it all at once?”
According to Andrew Pask, Director of the Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN), who support the motion, “the VPSN supports efforts to create spaces for gathering and celebrations in Vancouver. The Olympics helped to re-establish the fact that Robson Square is one of Vancouver’s great gathering spaces.”
While the City can’t control the built environment, it can explore road closures on weekends as a way of enhancing activities in the public realm on Vancouver streets.
The motion was referred to staff as part of a report on Olympic Legacies. Councillor Cadman hopes that the report will come back soon enough for implementation this summer.
COPE Pub night — this Monday!
It’s our time of the month…for another awesome COPE Pub Night! Come
join us on Monday, April 12 at Original Joe’s.
Just as always, it’s
your chance to join your COPE electeds from Parks Board, School Board,
and City Council, as well as executive members for a night of politics
and drinks at Original Joe’s (Cambie and Broadway) starting at 8:00pm.
each pub night we’ve seen more and more people, their friends,
partners, and roommates…so mark the date and tell your friends! The
more the merrier!
Joe’s is at 500 W Broadway on the second floor (wheelchair accessible).
firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Summer Solstice BBQ — save the date!
COPE’s famous annual event at the Vancouver Rowing Club will be taking place on the solstice, June 21, — save the date! More info TBA.