Doing something about homelessness

Like the weather, everyone talks about Vancouver‘s homelessness crisis – but few are
doing anything. Now COPE Cllr David Cadman wants an equivalent unit of
affordable, low-income housing built for every new, high-end condo that is
constructed in the Downtown East Side.

At the April 29 meeting of Vancouver City Council, Cadman is moving a motion to "implement
a replacement policy for development in the DTES so that for every unit of
market housing that is built, one unit of affordable social housing is also
constructed."

"The number of homeless people on Vancouver streets is up almost 20 percent
since 2005," said Cadman. "And now more people are facing
homelessness as Sam Sullivan’s so-called Ecodensity plan al
lows
developers to overwhelm the DTES with market condos, contrary to the DTES
Housing Plan which calls for only 25 percent of units in the area to be market
housing."

The loss of affordable housing was highlighted this week when Carnegie
Community Action Project (CCAP) activists protested Concord Pacific’s new 154 unit
condo development at Hastings and Carrall, in the heart of the DTES.

The CCAP’s Wendy Pedersen says the area is being overwhelmed as three
market condos are being built for every one unit of affordable housing.
Pedersen says this violates the Downtown Eastside housing plan that is supposed
to preserve the district’s 10,000 residential-hotel and social-housing units,
and ensure the neighbourhood remains predominantly low-income.

Anyone concerned about homelessness and uncontrolled development in the
DTES can speak to this issue at City Council by contacting the City Clerk’s
office, ph 604-873-7276 or email info@vancouver.ca.

Council
refuses to consult public on Granville truck route

On April 15, Vancouver
City Council voted against a motion by COPE Cllr David Cadman to consult the public before upgrading the Granville Bridge to accommodate heavy diesel
trucks and highway buses.

If Granville becomes a major truck route, Cadman says local residents,
pedestrians, cyclists and storefronts will be subjected to excessive noise, traffic
congestion and high levels of toxic diesel particulates.

"We should hear from the public before ramming through a plan to put
transport trucks and highway buses through residential neighbourhoods along
Granville and adjacent to the Granville bridge on-ramps," said Cadman.
"The city’s transportation plan doesn’t call for a truck route on that
bridge. Nor do we have any reports or studies on what the impact of a truck
route will be in terms of health and livability in high-density neighbourhoods
near South Granville and the north side of
False Creek."

At the April 15 meeting, councillors deferred a decision on spending $330,000
for initial engineering studies to April 29 in order to get more information.
The public, however, won’t be able to speak at the April 29 meeting, which will
be in camera and closed to the public.

"This appears to be a way of getting the infamous ‘Granville Highway‘ through the back
door," said Cadman.

In the late 1990’s local residents and small business operators cited traffic
congestion and noise as they opposed a plan to turn a lane of Granville St into a
fast bus route. Now, according to Cadman, they may see heavy trucks and highway
buses speeding from Marine Drive
along Granville and into the downtown core.

In their report to Council, city engineers say strengthening the Granville Bridge‘s
Hemlock, Fir, Howe and Seymour
on-ramps for heavy trucks and buses "will address the existing deficiencies and allow the
City to add another truck and bus crossing across False Creek."

Engineers also want to fast track the work in "a timely manner (that) will
provide greater flexibility in transportation
planning related to the Olympics."

According to the Canadian Cancer Society
and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, "diesel engine exhaust is a probable cancer-causing substance."

Diesel exhaust contains harmful substances, including particulate matter (fine
particles), sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Small particles, less than 2.5 micrometers in
size, are thought to be the most harmful to human health because they can
penetrate lung tissue more deeply.

City Councillors are expected to decide on turning Granville Bridge
into a truck route at their May 13 meeting.

Citizens can contact Mayor Sam Sullivan and City Council by calling 604-873-7621, or
emailing mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

To see the Engineering Dept. report go to: http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20080415/documents/tt2complete.pdf

Parents upset by NPA’s deferral on future of
Garibaldi School

by Noel Herron

NPA school trustees angered Garibaldi parents at a packed school board meeting
on April 21, when they waffled at the last minute and postponed a decision on
the fate of Garibaldi School.

Having presented an innovative 66-page report to a three-person senior
management review committee and promised a decision, the parents were looking
forward to a positive response to their appeal to keep Garibaldi open.

In fact they received a strong but qualified endorsement from members of the
review committee, but NPA trustees argued for "more information" and
backed away from giving the parents a definitive answer.

Apart from the abrupt and unseemly change in board procedures, NPA trustees,
while praising the efforts of Garibaldi parents and acknowledging their work,
revealed their dependence on senior management and an inability to reach a
decision.

COPE trustee Al Blakey asked NPA trustees what additional information they
hoped to receive in "the next two weeks" that they did not already have. This was greeted with the "due
diligence" mantra from the NPA side of the table.

Sadly, the unwillingness of NPA trustees to debate an issue in-depth (and not
just this issue, as has been repeatedly pointed out by COPE trustee Allan Wong) and their willingness to hide behind
senior management when the political heat is turned up, has been a marked
characteristic of this NPA school board.

COPE trustee Allan Wong quoted from
the VSB review committee’s report pointing out that the mostly favourable
response was all that NPA trustees needed to move ahead, but NPA trustees
repeatedly balked.

Both COPE trustees strongly criticized the inability of NPA to reach a final
decision and equally as important the appalling disrespect shown to
representatives of a school community arriving at the board expecting a
decision only to be told at the last minute to wait for another two weeks.

After the meeting disappointed Garibaldi parents
regrouped in the VSB lobby and vociferously vowed to return in force to the
board meeting on the evening of May 5 when NPA trustees promised, once again,
that they would reach a decision.

If ever a classic example of a weak and waffling school board was needed the
current NPA dominated board displayed this in spades with their ongoing
mishandling of the Garibaldi school situation.

Noel Herron is a former COPE school trustee.

Roger Kayo joins COPE fundraising team

The COPE Executive is pleased to welcome Roger Kayo as our new
fundraiser.

Roger joins us after four years with the Vancouver Crisis Centre and UBC law
school. Prior to that Roger spent 10
years in Hong Kong and Taiwan,
working with Reuters’ business development team. Roger also brings experience
gained through positions with Third Sector Software and IATS Ticketmaster.

As COPE Fundraiser, Roger’s immediate focus will be on increasing memberships
and monthly donors. He will also work on solidifying relationships with unions
and small businesses, and increase resources for the upcoming election.

A 20 year resident of Vancouver, Roger and his wife Rachel and their two sons,
eight-year-old Justin and four-year-old Ryan, enjoy the west coast lifestyle
and can be found playing tennis, cycling and enjoying leisurely strolls along Jericho Beach.

2008 Women’s Campaign
School

A Women’s Campaign
School
will be held from
May 30 to June 1, 2008 at SFU Harbour Centre, 515 Hastings St, Vancouver.

New this year:

-On line registration with choice of payment
-Campaign school schedule available on website
-New web address: http://www.womenscampaignschool.org
-Location is now SFU downtown Vancouver

Cyndy Hill is the Coordinator of the 2008 Women’s Campaign School. She can assist you with any
further enquiries you may have at info@womenscampaignschool.org

$561.75 – Early Bird Deadline – April 25, 2008

$585.00 + GST = $614.25 – Regular Registration
Deadline – April 26 to May 16, 2008

(Bursaries are available for those requiring financial assistance.)

We look forwarding to seeing you!

Christine Basque & Jennifer Sweeney

Co-Chairs, 2008 Women’s Campaign School

Canadian Women Voters Congress

In this issue: Homelessness and Trucks on Granville St. Bridge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *