Homes for Everyone. Transit for Everyone. Neighbourhoods for Everyone.

A Vancouver for Everyone. 


For 40 years, COPE has advocated for ordinary working people and families, those on fixed income,  renters and home-owners, small and sustainable business, and the neighbourhoods and communities that make up the cultural diversity that is Vancouver. Today, our city is at a crossroads. While Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet – named among the top-five internationally – it is also Canada’s ground-zero for drug addiction, homelessness, and poverty.

COPE has real policies that involve the entire community in dealing with the issues that face our neighbourhoods.

COPE will:
•  implement a policy in the DTES and adjacent neighbourhoods, so that for every upscale condo
built, an equivalent unit of affordable social housing is also constructed;
• create an official Free Bus loop that includes Downtown and the Broadway Corridor between
Main St and Burrard St and call for an immediate increase of bus service in Vancouver;.
•  improve bike safety and access by giving right-of- way priority to bikes on bikeways, erecting better
bike route signage, and separating cars from bikes on neighbourhood bike routes;
•  protect the character and diversity of Vancouver neighbourhoods;
•  work with Families for School Seismic Safety to get increased funding and faster action
on seismic upgrading of our schools;
•  protect and create Vancouver parks for future generations

Help your COPE, Vision and Green candidates create a Vancouver for Everyone.

COPE’s Unique Policy Process

Taking a tip from the Facebook generation, COPE was the first Vancouver civic party to use the internet and Facebook to develop its polices and election platform. Draft policies ranging from transportation and taxes, to democracy at city hall and reinstating the city’s child and youth advocate were posted on the website and members and supporters were able to make comments, offer suggestions and submit further policy proposals.

"For the first time, we will be utilizing the full capability of the internet, Facebook groups and blogs to generate discussion and input on civic policies," said COPE organizer Rachel Marcuse. "In far too many cases in the past, policies and platforms were cobbled together in the proverbial back room by insiders and policy wonks. Now, with contemporary and open-source technology, that process is being democratized so that anyone who has access to a computer can get involved. And if you don’t have your own computer, you can go to a public library and use the public terminals."

COPE members traditionally debate and approve the policies that make up COPE’s election platform at all-day policy conferences. This year’s Policy Conference took place on September 14.

"The difference this year is that people came to the Policy Conference a lot more prepared and informed," said Marcuse. "Policy development is important – policy affects people’s lives in a very practical, day-to-day way – and the more informed our members are, the better the debate and discussion."

Members and the public further develped the policy on September 14th and the results of those workshops and voting at the plenary session will be posted on the site as we unroll  our election campaign.

Thanks to those of you who got involved. For those of you who haven’t gotten involved yet, it’s not too late! Login to our website (left hand sidebar) and leave your comments. Together, we can create a Vancouver for Everyone.

Oct 21, 2008 — Homes for Everyone

The following is COPE’s first major policy release: Homes for Everyone. It is also attached as a pdf.

Homelessness – A Vancouver crises:

The number of homeless in Vancouver has increased by 19 percent since 2005, with the actual number of people living on Vancouver’s street up 37 percent over 2005.

In 2005 the cost of homelessness to Vancouver’s taxpayers was estimated to be  $51,460 per person for services including  hospital, ambulance, police incarceration, emergency shelter and food aid.

It costs about $40,000 a year to provide services to a homeless person. But it only costs  $7,300 to $13,370 to provide supportive, social housing.

“The Metro Vancouver figures (that) came out (show) a 364 percent increase in street-level homelessness in Vancouver since 2002. Not some other century, not some other government."
David Chudnovsky, MLA Van-Kensington

The 2005 City of Vancouver Housing Plan for the DTES notes that “Homelessness will likely increase unless existing low-income housing is preserved or replaced.” The City has also determined that we require a net increase of 800 units of social housing per year to meet the demand for low-cost, supportive housing.

While many of Vancouver’s homeless people live in the Downtown East Side (DTES), the City’s Housing Centre determined that of 2,154 market housing units either built or planned in the DTES between 2005 and 2010, only 557 are social housing.  Meanwhile, since the start of 2008, almost  375 single occupancy rooms have been removed from the housing stock of the DTES.

•    COPE will implement a policy for all developments in the DTES and adjacent neighbourhoods, so that for every unit of market housing built, an equivalent unit of affordable social housing is also constructed;

•    actively protect, maintain, and improve the existing low-income housing stock, through vigilant enforcement of existing regulations and bylaws;

•    lobby the provincial Government to increase welfare rates and the minimum wage to reflect the rising price of rental accommodation and the cost of living, and remove barriers to accessing income assistance;

•     contact the Provincial Government to create a more effective and accessible residential tenancy dispute resolution process;

•    allocate funding to ensure funding to meet the official target of 800 units of affordable housing a year for the next four years and re-establish a Residential Tenancy Office within the city of Vancouver;

•    require developers to incorporate 20 per cent low-income or affordable  housing in new developments;

•    lobby provincial government to increase subsidies to low income renters;

•    use the City’s  Property Endowment Fund to build affordable housing;

•    lobby the provincial government to use the 200 empty units of housing at Little Mountain for social housing;

•    freeze conversion of rental accommodation to strata title condos.

"The stress of homelessness is breaking the social fabric of the DTES. Women are particularly subject to the stress related to homelessness." Wendy Pedersen, City Wide Housing Coalition

Affordable Housing:

More than three  million Canadians live in core housing need; that is they have less than adequate or suitable housing and spend more than 30 percent of their income on  accommodations; of these, 30 per cent are renters. BC and Vancouver have the highest number in core housing need; about 20 percent of Canada’s total.

Among First Nations peoples, especially those living in Vancouver and Lower Mainland urban centres, almost 75 percent are in need of core housing.

In the 1990s the federal government abandoned its traditional role in funding social housing, along with the provinces. Despite this, the BC NDP government was one of only two provinces in Canada to maintain a social housing program. This program was one of the first cut by Gordon Campbell’s Liberals when they came to power.

COPE  will:

•    call on the Mayor and Council to meet immediately with the Federal Government with the aim of restarting a Co-Op Housing Program similar to that which built developments such as Champlain Heights and False Creek in the 1980s;

•    immediately fulfill the City of Vancouver’s Olympic housing promises;

•    support the recommendations of the Community Housing Table.

•    call for immediate government action on housing, at the civic, provincial, and federal level to: 

1. create attractive low-rise green public and co-operative housing;
2. establish safe high-quality facilities for those with drug and mental health; issues, and transition houses for battered women, throughout the city;
3. re-establish Riverview in consultation with relevant community organizations.

•    opposes the initial and revised “EcoDensity Charter”

•     supports only rezoning in residential areas that:

1.allows for a diversity of quality housing structures in every neighbourhood;
2.improves access to neighbourhood services; much as possible maintains our detached housing areas;
4.respects heritage buildings;
5.increases green areas, affordable rental, public, and co-operative housing, and    above all that;
6.occurs with informed, democratic neighbourhood approval, except in the case of     public or co-operative housing or special needs facilities, all of which need to be distributed evenly throughout the city. By special needs facilities we mean facilities like child care centres, clinics, transition houses, group homes, and dual diagnosis centres.

•    opposes current plans to mass rezone 18 Vancouver neighbourhoods, among them Norquay where Council proposes to turn 2,400 single-family lots into lots for three or more condos each;

•    shall require developers to incorporate 20 per cent permanent low income or affordable housing in new developments that require rezoning.

" Many people who work in Vancouver can no longer afford to live here. City workers can’t afford the housing prices in the city."
Alexandra Youngberg, President CUPE 391


Oct 27, 2008 — Transit for Everyone

The following is COPE’s second major policy release, Transit for Everyone. Our final release, Neighbourhoods for Everyone is upcoming It is also attached as a pdf.

Affordable Transit is an Essential Public Service:

In 2007, one in four Vancouver commuters used public transit  to go to work, school and stores. 

Efficient and affordable public transit is a key factor in reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and regional greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a key driver of safe, vibrant and economically healthy neighbourhoods.

Last January, TransLink increased transit fares; the fourth increase since TransLink was created in 1999, when a basic fare was $1.50. This amounts to a 65 percent increase, exceeding the rate of inflation. Transit fares in Metro Vancouver are now the most expensive of any major Canadian city.

Many transit riders include those on low incomes, students and minimum wage workers for whom high fares constitute a significant hardship.

COPE will:

•     introduce a single fare for the entire system, eliminating zone fares;

•     demand that TransLink create a fare review process that includes an advisory panel of user groups, community organizations, transit operators and other stakeholders in determining fare rates;

•     work with TransLink to implement a student U-pass system for all Metro Vancouver post secondary students similar to that currently in place for  students at UBC and SFU

•     extend $45 annual transit pass, used by low income recipients, to all senior citizens

"Increase in user fees is a fundamental way of shifting the burden of paying for the transit system onto those who can least afford it. It is a real attack on transit dependent communities."                             
Aiyannas Ormond, Bus Riders Union

Transit for All:

While more than 80 percent of transit users rely on buses in Vancouver, the number of buses on the road still falls short of meeting basic demand. Far too many people are left standing on the curb as packed buses pass them by. Meanwhile TransLink is pouring money into big megaprojects like the RAV line.

A COPE council will:

•    advocate for ongoing sustainable investment in transit infrastructure with a comprehensive financing formula;

•    evaluate all transit investments on the basis of full-cost, multi-stakeholder, economic and environmental impacts;

•    call for an immediate increase in the number of buses on Vancouver streets, including articulated busses;

•    Develop a program to replace aging buses as needed.

"Between 1999 and 2005 there were no new buses added to the system. We went from one bus for every 1200 residents to one bus for every 1900. And its getting worse."
Jim Houlihan, CAW  

Elected TransLink Board:

TransLink was created in 1999 out of recognition that local government in Greater Vancouver needed to be directly involved in managing transportation. TransLink was accountable through its Board of elected officials who  held regularly scheduled meetings open to the public.

In 2006, the Provincial Government created a new TransLink structure with an appointed board of directors who can plan, build, finance and operate  transportation in Metro Vancouver, including setting transit fares and service levels, collecting a portion of local property taxes and gasoline taxes;

At its first meeting, the new TransLink Chair decided that meetings will no longer be open to the public or the media.

COPE will:

•    demand that the Province amend its legislation to create a TransLink Board that is directly elected by the people of the member municipalities of Metro Vancouver with additional permanent seats filled by representatives from transit riders and operators.

"The new system of appointed Translink directors can make decisions  contrary to existing regional plans. The Mayors Council will be just a rubber stamp, while revenue will go to the province and not to local government where it is needed."                                         Jim Houlihan, CAW

No Gateway:

BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell  wants to spend $10 billion tax dollars on a Gateway Plan to twin the Port Mann Bridge, expand the Highway One freeway to eight lanes between Langley and East Vancouver and  construct a North and South Perimeter Roads through Delta, Langley  Richmond and Surrey.

Building more freeways runs counter to the region’s and the City’s transportstion plans, and  is opposed by Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond and the City of Vancouver.

Vancouver’s Transportation Plan gives top priority to pedestrians, transit and cyclists  in planning and financing of street and roads  networks.  Increasing capacity for private auto use – much of it in the form of single occupancy vehicles – ranks lowest on the list of  transportation priorities.

COPE will:

•    oppose the Gateway Plan.

"Cities around the world that have tried the Gateway model have failed. Essentially, it’s an old-school, 1950s-style urban planning model plopped into 21st century Greater Vancouver."
David Suzuki

Moving towards a Car-Free Vancouver Day:

Thousands of people in neighbourhoods across Vancouver celebrated Car Free Festival 2008.  In 2005, the Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community- driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street.

Since then, the Festival has attracted up to 50,000 people per day. Clearly, car-free days are an idea whose time has come. Car-Free Vancouver Day  will usher in the next phase in this bold experiment that has been gradually happening in Vancouver for many years. This phase takes car-free  to the whole city, and represents the next level in moving toward healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets. 

COPE will:

•    actively support and encourage neighbourhoods across Vancouver to hold Car Free Festivals;

•    work with local communities to create city-wide Car Free Zones and Car Free Days.

"Car Free Festival was premised on the principle that less cars equal more community. And more community equals less cars. Now we’ve got about five groups in Main Street, Cambie, Kits, Downtown and Commercial Drive.  We all at once have the basis of a Car Free Vancouver."                Matt Hern, Car-Free Vancouver Organizer

Free Downtown Bus Loop:

Many cities including Portland, Ore., Compiegne, France, Hasselt, Belgium and Clemson, South Carolina have areas or neighbourhoods where buses are free.

Free buses reduce need for private vehicle parking, cut air pollution, noise and congestion, reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, allow faster bus service, promote local businesses, cultural and visitor attractions, and provide operators with a safer work environment by eliminating fare disputes.

COPE will:

•    create a free Cost Mountain Bus Company bus operating within a loop that encompasses the Downtown Peninsula and the Broadway Corridor between Main St and Burrard St.

Burrard Bridge Bike Lanes:

Vancouver needs a safe way for cyclists to cross False Creek and get downtown.

In 1996, one lane on the Burrard Bridge was closed for cyclists. By the end of the week, car trips decreased by 9 percent, while there was a 39-per-cent increase in bike trips. And it cost next to nothing. 

More than decade later, now Peter Ladner and the NPA want to spend $60 million on a wider bridge with bike paths that would leave its car  capacity intact, but destroy the bridge’s heritage value.

COPE will:

•    split one of the six traffic lanes to make room for a bike lane alongside each sidewalk with adequate safety separation, put in  reversible light signals, and give three lanes to rush-hour traffic. 

"Allocating existing lane space on the Burrard bridge for bikes, with proper signage, signals and giving it a six month trial would cost less than $15 million."
David Cadman, City Councillor

Making Vancouver Bike Friendly:

Cycling is one of the fastest growing ways of getting around Vancouver. In 2006, there were 50,000 bike trips a day. That represents just over 3 percent of  trips made by all modes – cars, transit, and pedestrian.

The goal of the Vancouver Transportation Plan is to grow that share to 10 percent. But to do that there has to be support and funding. In the 2006-08 Capital Plan, the NPA devoted "0 percent" to cycling infrastructure.

COPE will:

•    make  funding bikeways and cycling a priority in the next Capital Plan;

•    promote the creation of  an affordable public bicycle rental system, initially in the Downtown Business District and Broadway Corridor;

•    improve bike safety and access by measures such as giving right-of- way priority to bikes on bikeways, erecting prominent signs indicating bike routes, and  separating cars from bikes on neighbourhood bike routes.

•    support the expansion of cycling education and awareness programs at schools throughout the city. All children should be offered courses in safe cycling;

•    provide for a system of secure storage, lockers retail concessions and other cyclist oriented amenities at SkyTrain stations, bus loops and transit hubs.

Nov 7 — Neighbourhoods for Everyone

Civility in the City:

A civil city is a Vancouver that offers hope for everyone – the mentally ill, the homeless, those addicted to dangerous drugs, women and families on inadequate incomes, ignored minorities and street youth.

The NPA’s Project Civil City was touted as the City’s prime program for reducing  homelessness, eliminating open drug dealing, and  reducing the incidence of aggressive panhandling. The project was allocated $1.3 million budget and a civil city commissioner was hired.

So far Project Civil City has failed to deliver any of its promises.

COPE will:

•     discontinue Project Civil City;

•     terminate the civil city commissioner position.

"The initiatives that we’re seeing coming out of Civil City look like criminalization. We’ve seen an increase in the ticketing of people selling things they find in garbage bins on the street, and people are being ‘moved along’ when they’re not blocking any businesses or sidewalks."
Laura Track, Pivot Legal Society

A civil city is a city that ensures  democracy works for everyone not just wealthy. The NPA-majority  council voted to fund the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s Downtown Ambassadors private security guard program.

The Downtown Ambassadors were previously paid for by the DVBIA’s private-business members. Now taxpayers will pay $872,000 annually for the DVBIA’s private patrols.

COPE will:

•    implement a firm policy to not use any  public  funds  to support private security services.

"City council’s done nothing to address the well-documented staffing issues that we’re struggling with. Yet, with little or no consultation, they come up with almost a million dollars to fund what is essentially a private security company (that) has no public oversight."
Tom Stamatakis, Vancouver Police Union 

A Plan to Address Drug Addiction:

Five years ago, a COPE-led City Council delivered on their commitment to implement Vancouver’s Four Pillar’s Drug Strategy  initiated by former Mayor Philip Owen. The COPE council supported InSite, North America’s first and only supervised injection site opened in September 2003.

Since then InSite has taken more than 1 million injections off Vancouver streets. InSite nurses supervise on average 800 injections per day, and over the last five years have intervened in almost 1000 drug overdose events, each of which could have resulted in a death. No one has ever died at InSite.

More than 25 academic papers in peer-reviewed journals including the Lancet, the New England journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal, and the Canadian Medical Association Journal conclude that InSite prevents drug overdose deaths, reduces the spread of  HIV/AIDS and Hep C, limits public disorder, and moves people into addiction treatment.

Despite InSite’s success, the facility still serves only a small fraction of those suffering from addiction. Injections continue without clinical supervision, along with preventable overdose deaths, and there remains not nearly enough treatment. Police resources continue to be wasted in attempts to contain drug use and public disorder.

COPE will:

•    Work collaboratively to realise the recommendations of the Frame Work for Action: A Four Pillars Approach, by working to strengthen each of the prevention, treatment, enforcement, and harm reduction pillars.

•    Work with all members of the Four Pillars coalition including the Vancouver Police Department to keep drug dealing away from areas frequented by young people including schools and recreational parks.

•    Will focus police enforcement on violent offenders and in stopping organised crime from continuing to prey on our city’s most vulnerable. COPE will advocate for proper allocation of health services to deal with Vancouver’s mentally ill, sick and addicted citizens providing the VPD opportunity to devote all attention at addressing high level drug distribution and the importation of illegal narcotics.

•    Advocate for all measures that reduce drug related harm both for individual drug users and the community.

•    Support Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site and demand Prime Minister Stephen Harper allow InSite’s ongoing life-saving work.

•    Call for a second supervised injection site in order to better reduce public disorder by taking more injections off the streets while preventing more drug overdose deaths, further limiting the spread of disease, and expanding access to addiction treatment.

•    Provide funding to community groups working to deliver honest drug education, public outreach, and neighbourhood involvement.

•    Work with the VPD to prioritise enforcement strategies ensuring that sick people receive required attention from our public health care system, while those preying on the weak and vulnerable meet the full force of the law.

•    Work with provincial health authority to examine implementation of other treatment options including expanded opiate replacement therapy and drug maintenance programs supported by sound scientific research.

•    Work with the provincial government to ensure a diversity of housing options are available to citizens during different stages of their addiction recovery.

Engaging Youth:

Engaged youth become engaged adults. The 18-24-year-old vote has declined in recent years, hitting a low of 25 per cent in the 2000 federal election. 

In order to engage youth in civic affairs, the City created the Child and Youth Advocate (CYA) in 1995 to identify issues, make recommendations, and  work with the community to ensure that children’s and youth voices were heard in the City’s decision-making process.

Despite widespread community support, the CYA was disbanded by the NPA in 1999, only to be reinstated by COPE in 2003, and disbanded again  by the NPA in 2006.

COPE will:

•     reinstate and adequately fund the office of the City of Vancouver Child and Youth Advocate.

"One of the reasons you need this, especially in Vancouver, is for those youth living on the street. They benefit the most. I’ve attended events by [Child and Youth Advocate] Sheila Davidson’s group where I would meet young people you’d never see at any other civic gathering."
Adrian Dix, MLA Van-Kingsway

Vancouver has a vibrant, if under-funded, youth sector, with many organizations working towards engagement.  In order to facilitate the effectiveness of the CYA’s work with this sector, the City should create a Youth Innovation Centre to act as a hub for youth, and as a model for ongoing civic engagement.

COPE will:

•    create a Youth Innovation Centre under the direction of the office of the Child and Youth Advocate with a steering committee comprised of the Civic Youth Strategy Engagement Team and community youth-based service providers.

"We need to hear youth voices. They must feel empowered to speak out."
Indira Prahst, Langara College

•    partner with local organizations that have expertise in working with youth.

"There are amazing organization, both run by youth for youth and with youth friendly mandates, that need to be supported by all levels of government."
Rachel Marcuse, Youth worker

Protecting our Neighbourhoods:

In 2005 Vancouver stood up to the biggest retailer in the world, and said No to Wal-Mart!

Wal-Mart would have attracted thousands of trucks and cars into South Vancouver neighbourhoods where they would pollute the air, congest streets and destroy local small businesses.

In the Council debate, only Mayor Larry Campbell and the NPA’s Peter Ladner and Sam Sullivan backed Wal-Mart. In the 2005 civic election, Wal-Mart’s public relations firm managed Sullivan’s campaign in which he and Ladner promised to put a Wal-Mart in South Vancouver.

•    COPE remains opposed to rezoning and building relaxations that allows for big box stores.

"Big boxes create traffic congestion, cause air pollution, harm small businesses and undermine efforts to create neighbourhood centres where people can shop and work."
Former COPE Cllr Anne Roberts

Shifting Taxes:

Giving a break to their big business pals, Sam Sullivan, Peter Ladner and their NPA colleagues on Council voted to shift  property taxes from businesses onto homeowners and renters making it  harder  for ordinary working families, seniors and students to afford to live in Vancouver.

Over the next five years, $23.8 million in taxes will shift, at a one per cent annual rate, until homeowners pay 52 percent to businesses’ share of 48 percent. And despite promising to keep property taxes hikes within the rate of inflation, since assuming power in 2005, the NPA have hiked taxes a full 15 percent for homeowners and renters.

Vancouver has only one  business tax class that includes all businesses, without differentiating between mega corporations, bank-towers and big-box retail giants who will pocket  millions in tax savings, and small mom-and-pop stores forced to compete with the corporate giants.

An Ipsos Reid survey done for the City found that 46 percent of  homeowners  will have a hard time paying higher taxes with the hardest hit being women, those living in South East Vancouver, and those in households earning less than $40,000 a year. .

COPE  will:

•    strenuously lobby the Provincial Government to create a separate small business tax class that can protect small businesses, while ensuring corporations pay their fair share;

•    opposes any further tax shift from business to residential property owners.

"The NPA have already raised taxes 15 percent. Shifting even more taxes onto residential taxpayers will only hurt women, lower income earners, renters, students and so many who are struggling to find affordable housing in Vancouver."
COPE Cllr David Cadman

An Equal Playing Field for Civic Campaigns:

Unlike provincial and federal elections, there are no limits to the amount of money a candidate or party can spend to get elected to Vancouver city council, park or school board.  In the  2005 municipal election, the NPA, Vision Vancouver and COPE  spent more than $4 million to elect candidates for mayor, city council, park and school boards.  That worked out to an average of $250,000 to elect a city councillor.

Parties spent about $30 per vote cast –  that is six times more than provincial parties pent per vote in the  last provincial election, and three times more per vote than even Bush and Gore  spent in the last presidential election.  No other  city in Canada operates under such a free-wheeling and unregulated campaign spending system.

COPE  will:

•    ask the Provincial Government to amend the Vancouver Charter to limit civic campaign spending according to recommendations made by  Thomas Berger in his 2004 Vancouver Electoral Reform Commission Report;

"It is entirely possible for offshore money to buy a municipal election in British Columbia. And it would be easy for the recipient of that money to hide it from public view. I think that’s pretty stunning. In most other provinces in Canada, the rules that apply to federal and provincial politics also apply to local politics."
Patrick Smith, Simon Fraser University

Restoring Democracy to City Hall:

One of  the NPA’s first moves after being elected in 2005, was to purge the City’s 23 volunteer citizen advisory committees. Peter Ladner and Sam Sullivan  then cut those committees –  the Peace and Justice Committee, Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, and Advisory Committee on Seniors Issues – that didn’t comply with their NPA agenda.

And when the Board of Variance insisted on protecting the rights of local communities facing pressure from big developers, Sullivan and Ladner fired the entire Board and replaced them with NPA and business flacks.

COPE  will:

•    support a ward system;

•    develop a selection and review process that eliminates political interference and favouritism in the establishment and selection of citizen advisory committees;

•    reinstate the Peace and Justice Committee, Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, and Advisory Committee on Seniors Issues;

•    create a citizen advisory committee on Aboriginal issues;

•    create a citizen advisory committee on LGBTQ issues;

•    support the reinstatement of third-party appeals to the Board of Variance for the citizens of Vancouver. This would involve amending the Vancouver Charter so that it spells out clearly when they are and are not permitted and under what circumstances;

•    reinstate jurisdiction of the Board of Variance over Development Permit Board decisions.

“Apparently NPA councillors believe they are all knowing experts on all topics, and do not need  the advise of citizens who are engaged on a particular topic, and who are willing to volunteer their time to help make this city safer and more equitable. ”
COPE Cllr David Cadman

•    approve the formation of an citizen advisory committee on Immigrant and Refugee issues  to provide guidance on the further development of the Strategy and Actions as recommended by the Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration; and request staff to provide an annual report on the needs of the immigrant and refugee communities in all areas including housing and social services.

"The needs of the Immigrant and Refugee Communities must be taken into consideration in all  aspects of  social planning including the need for temporary and permanent housing as well as support services required for their integration into Canadian Society based on the report by the Zool Suleman Immigration Task Force."
Imtiaz Popat, Red Cross Multi Agency Partners for the First Contact Program

Equity and Justice for All:

In 2005, the COPE majority City Council  adopted the Gender Equality Strategy for the City of Vancouver  as outlined in the Women’s Task Force report.  Vancouver’s groundbreaking work was recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as a model that other municipalities could follow in developing policies and strategies that create equity, fairness and justice for women.

However, since the NPA gained a majority on council in 2005, they have refused to implement the recommendations of the Women’s Task Force.

 COPE will implement the recommendations of the Women’s Task Force on Gender Equality, and:

•    restore the Ethical Purchasing Policy;

•    approve the formation of a Women’s Advisory Committee to provide guidance to and input into the further development of the Strategy and Actions and request staff to provide an annual report on the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy Actions;

•    will advocate for the investigation of policy involving deaths or serious injuries done by a body that works independently from the police and that employs investigators who are not in the employment of the police;

•    co-ordinate City departments and Boards, other levels of government and agencies to accomplish a variety of aims related to outstanding priority needs of women and girls including: programs for Aboriginal girls, the development of gender mainstreaming tools for planning and development processes, as well as the celebration of the contribution of women and girls.

“The city needs to recognize that it has a responsibility to ensure that all its citizens are treated with  respect and enjoy a quality of life which affords them dignity, independence, and freedom from violence and discrimination."
Former COPE Cllr Ellen Woodsworth

A living city needs Arts, Culture and Entertainment:

Arts and culture are essential for healthy communities, urban innovation, and economic development.

For every dollar contributed by the City, arts organizations earn or raise an addition $12.75, which is reinvested in the Vancouver and regional economy through salaries, services and the continuation of the creative cycle. The creative sector represent 8 per cent of the total employment in Metro Vancouver’s  core area – the highest percentage of artists in the total labour force of any Canadian city (City of Vancouver, 2007).

However, the average annual income for an artist in Canada is only $23,500, less than 75 per cent of average Canadian earnings.

In 2005, per capita spending on the arts in Vancouver was only $26. In other Canadian cities, such as Montreal, per capita spending on the arts is $33.

COPE will:

•    direct staff to report on ways that the City can increase the per capita spending on the arts to the Montreal level of $33;

•    Implement a comprehensive review of by-laws regarding dancing in entertainment venues  to include non alcoholic venues, to identify those venues where the current ban does not make sense and if it does not include dancing;

•    continue the public consultations around drinking closing times and create an action plan to provide more options for evening entertainment for both adults and minors;

•    explore the issue of affordable studio/performance space for emerging and established artists in Vancouver.

"Art is central to helping people find new ways to see the world and develop models that integrate and celebrate imaginative thinking, leading to mobilization and effective action."
Judith Marcuse, Choreographer and producer   

Implement the Cool Vancouver Climate Change Plan:

In 2004, the COPE City Council developed the groundbreaking Cool Vancouver Climate Change Plan. Since then Peter Ladner and the NPA have shelved the Plan and allowed Vancouver to miss it’s target of reducing community wide greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent by 2012.

COPE will:

•    COPE will implement a city-wide reduction of 33 per cent of current GHG emissions by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050;

•    move the Sustainability Department responsible for implementing the Climate Change Plan out of Engineering – where it has been buried by the NPA – and restore it as department within the City manger’s office;

•    create a Community Climate Change Action Fund to promote neighbourhood based climate change initiatives as recommended by the Cool Vancouver Task Force;

•    re-instate the Mayor’s Environmental Awards which were last given in 2004.

"The NPA has completely ignored the Cool Vancouver Community Action Plan.”
David Cadman, City Councillor

More Trees for a Greener City

There are about 130,000 trees on City property. They create shade – concrete that is shaded is up to 25 degrees cooler – and absorb carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas in car exhaust.

Trees provide bird and wildlife habitat, put moisture in the air, and are beautiful.

We need more trees, but Vancouver’s tree policy hasn’t been reviewed in almost two decades. A COPE council will:

•    plant 20,000 more trees immediately within the next council term;

•    develop a program with business and industry for planting trees in industrial areas;

•    require new commercial and residential developments to include planting tress, and creating  "green roofs" as a fundamental component;

•    work with the Provincial Government’s Trees for Tomorrow program to develop and fund more tree planting programs;

•    Replace all cut trees with new plantings to equal greenhouse gas sequestration impact in the same neighbourhood;

•    Study additional use of backyard laneways as plantable green zones

"With the challenges of climate change, and our better appreciation of bringing wildlife into the city, we need to look at increasing the percentage of Vancouver that’s planted with trees. The benefits of more trees is that is will provide cleaner air and reduce temperatures."
Spencer Herbert, Park Commissioner.

Link Neighbourhoods to False Creek Energy Utility:

In 2006, Vancouver City Council approved the new False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility as a community energy system that will deliver heat and hot water to all the buildings within the new South East False Creek community. The energy utility converts sewer heat as its main energy source with high efficiency gas boilers for back up on the coldest days. Many buldings in SEFC will also have roof top solar power generators that will return heat to the energy utility system.

COPE will:

•    plan for new developments in Mt Pleasant and the False Creek Flats to be linked to the  Neighbourhood Energy Utility;

•    expand the NEU to other areas across the city.

Moving Towards Zero Waste:

British Columbians throw away more than 3 million tonnes of garbage every year.  And Vancouverites are the most wasteful, dumping 731 kilograms per person,  compared to the provincial average of 609 kilograms, or Victoria’s 452 kilograms per person. Most of that garbage ends up in landfills like Vancouver’s dump at Burns Bog. But much of it can be recycled, re-used or not produced in the first place.

Right now, Vancouverites recycle about 50 per cent of our waste, compared to 70 per cent in San Francisco, and even more in many European cities. And only 25 per cent of apartment and condo dwellers are actively recycling, compared with about 50 per cent of people in single-family homes.

COPE will:

•    set a goal for Vancouver to move from the current 50 percent recycling rate to achieving a 70 per cent rate by 2012, with the establishment of organic green recycling bins in every neighbourhood

"A huge percentage of the waste stream is packaging and that sort of thing,"
Brock MacDonald, Recycling Council of BC

No Garbage Incinerators in Vancouver:

Metro Vancouver wants to  build six garbage incinerators in the region that would burn up to 1.4 million tonnes of garbage annually. 

Burning garbage releases toxic materials including hydrogen chloride, nitric oxide, lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and chromium, which are released into the atmosphere in the form of tiny particles or gases that penetrate deep into human lungs where they pose a serious health hazard.

The air pollutants released by waste incinerators would drift east into the Fraser Valley, further impacting a sensitive airshed that already suffers from severe air pollution.

And as Metro Vancouver would be contractually obligated to deliver up to 1.5 million tonnes of waste to the private operators of the incinerators, it would limit efforts to further reduce, re-use and recycle Vancouver’s garbage.

COPE will:

•    oppose the construction of solid waste incinerators in the City of Vancouver;

•    move a motion at the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee to undertake  a comprehensive and independent economic, health and environmental study of the impacts of waste incinerators on both the Metro and Fraser Valley regions;

•    move a motion at the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee to initiate a full, comprehensive and open public consultation process on building new waste incinerators in the region.

Burning garbage will simply create more air pollution. The air that people breathe should be fiercely protected.
Patricia Ross, Abbotsford Deputy- Mayor, Chair of Fraser Valley Regional District Air Quality Committee.

Implement a Stepped System for Household Garbage removal:

Today in Vancouver, the more garbage you dump, the less you pay. Vancouver’s current incremental bulk fee system results in households that recycle and try to reduce their waste subsidizing those who dump the most.

Now for a 75 litre household garbage container, the collection fee is $70.  For 240 litres the fee is $115, and for a 360 litres, the fee rises to only $147.

A stepped system is where collection fees increase incrementally with the amount of garbage produced. The more you dump, the more you pay.

Environmental benefits of  are less  solid waste trucked to the  Burns Bog landfill, less greenhouse gas emissions from garbage trucks and waste haulers, and  a boost for  recycling and  reuse.

COPE will:

•    introduce a stepped system fee structure for household garbage removal that rewards those who produce smaller amounts of waste;

•    introduce metro-wide enforcement mechanisms to ensure that waste reductions are not dumped on public or private land and resources are available to remediate any illegal waste sites;

•    create a pilot program to introduce block-corner recycling bins

Clean Up False Creek Now:

Combined storm and sanitary sewer outfalls (CSOs) still pump raw sewage into False Creek with every hard rain.  High levels of coliform bacteria in the sewage tainted waters are hazardous to kayakers, dragon boaters and all who use False Creek.

CSOs may have been good enough in 1907, when the system was built, but thousands of people now live around the Creek. And the Olympic Village is going up on the southeast shore, as well as  a centre for kayaking and other non-motorized craft in the East Basin – the most polluted part of the Creek.

The City’s sewage replacement program calls for upgrading approximately one percent of Vancouver’s century-old sewage system every year, with a completion target set for  2050.

COPE will:

•    fast track CSO replacement starting with those in False Creek.

" We need to make it a priority to clean up False creek by replacing the antiquated combined sewer outfalls that pump raw sewage and other pollutants into the Creek. Allowing raw sewage to flow into False Creek is no longer acceptable."                                   
David Cadman, City Councillor

Saving Water:

Each Vancouverite uses on average 357 litres of water per day. This is above the Canadian average of 343 litres, and more than twice as much as residents of Germany, the Netherlands, or Britain.  Only Americans use more water.   Meanwhile bulk water rates in Vancouver are projected to  double by 2010. 

Vancouver charges residents a flat rate for water:  $349.00 for a Single Family Dwelling; $124.00 for one extra unit; and $236.00 for a Strata Duplex (per unit).  Flat rate pricing offers no incentive to reduce use.

In order to conserve water, and improve the efficiency of regional water use, COPE will:

•    require that only low-flush toilets be installed in new developments – residential and commercial. A low flush toilet uses 6 litres or less per flush, compared to 18 litres for traditional toilets.  Toilets account for  40 per cent  of all household water use;

•    offer rebates to homeowners on the purchase of low-flush toilets to replace traditional toilets; 

•    encourage all residents to conserve  water through an education program delivered to all households and enhanced water conservation pages on the City website.

Please, help us create a Vancouver for Everyone!




City Council Policy