COPE members and supporters braved a blizzard and the coldest December 01 in memory to attend A Vancouver for Everyone: COPE Ideas Conference 2007. While it stayed frigid outside, discussion inside the Ukrainian Auditorium soon grew heated as participants debated issues including transportation, housing and safe neighbourhoods.
Vancouver City Cllr David Cadman opened the day with a presentation on Greening our Cities. A free downtown bus loop, public rental bikes à la Paris, energy-producing buildings and bike friendly streets were among the proposals that Cadman introduced.
A panel including CAW vice-president Jim Houlihan, Aiyannas Ormond of the Bus Riders Union, SFU professor Matt Hern and transportation analyst Deming Smith presented a range of ideas and polices for sustainable transportation.
COPE director Rachel Marcuse chaired a panel on safe neighbourhoods that included Langara sociologist Indira Prahst, City Cllr George Chow, Chris Livingstone of the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, and feminist activist Gina Whitfield.
A Right to a Roof, the day’s last session, featured panelists David Eby of Pivot Legal Society, Wendy Pedersen of the City Wide Housing Coalition, Van East MP Libby Davies, and Alexandra Youngberg, President of CUPE 391, discussing affordable housing and homelessness. The panelists raised many questions and prompted a thoughtful input from Vancouver- Kingsway MLA David Chudnovsky.
Many of the presentations made at Conference can be seen on FearlessTV on Shaw Cable 4, broadcast at 8 pm on Wednesday nights through December and January.
A full report of the proceeding is being prepared and will be posted on the COPE website.
Thanks to the volunteers, to ethical bean for their generous supply of organic coffee, and to all who made COPE’s Ideas Conference 2007 a success.