COPE pushes for free wireless internet

Vancouver Park Board and City Council have adopted COPE’s proposal to expand free wireless internet access in Vancouver. The Park Board directed staff to consult with community centre associations to make increased WI-FI access a reality. Meanwhile, City staff will report back this spring on the feasibility of  Wi-Fi in all civic buildings.

According to COPE Park Commissioner Loretta Woodcock, “Providing free internet access in community centres will greatly benefit low-income residents who may not be able to afford internet at home, but could find it immensely useful.”

Woodcock hopes free internet will attract more young people to community centres, where they will find other services they may not know about.

“Many North American metropolitan areas now have extensive public wireless high-speed internet coverage and we’re falling behind,” said COPE Councillor David Cadman. “Currently, we don’t even have wireless access at City Hall.”

“Democracy thrives on increased information and conversations,” said Richard Smith, SFU communications professor who supports the expansion.

Woodcock and Cadman hope that increased Wi Fi access may also lead to increased participation in City and Park Board decision-making, a key tenet of COPE’s policy.

More protection for tenants and renters

Vancouver City Council recently passed a motion asking the provincial government to amend the Residential Tenancy Act making it harder for landlords to unfairly raise rents after renovations. The motion also called on the province to look at measures that could open up vacant condo units for rental, and to establish an office of the Residential Tenancy Branch in Vancouver.

According to COPE Councilor Ellen Woodsworth, who supported the motion, “these measures – if enacted by the provincial government – will make it easier to prevent unfair evictions, particularly for low-income people, seniors, people with disabilities and the others hardest hit by the high cost of living in Vancouver.”

Council is also using the Standards of Maintenance By-Law to go after slum landlords.  Right now some landlords let properties degrade to the point where tenants are forced to leave. City staff will report back to Council by the end of the month on enforcing the by-law and charging repair costs back to landlords.

COPE Education Committee

Are you a COPE member interested in education issues?

The COPE Ed Committee has existed for many years to 1) provide a forum within COPE for the discussion of education issues, policies and strategies; 2) support COPE trustees by providing them with expertise and research capacity and 3) organizing and mobilizing for community involvement in Board issues.

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 10 at 7:30. For more information, please contact Bill Bargeman at bill.bargeman@cope.bc.ca.

Public input sought on cycling on Burrard Bridge and 2009 Operating Budget

The public is invited to give input on a proposed trial to reallocate lanes
on Burrard Bridge to improve cycling and walking:

Saturday, January 31
2-5 pm
Roundhouse Community Centre,  Great Hall
Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street

Information will be available on preliminary designs, including changes to
the intersections at both ends of the bridge.

Staff will be reporting back to Council in March, 2009 with a plan for
setting up a trial for later this spring.

The City of Vancouver is also consulting residents on the 2009 operating budget. COPE encourages you to have your say! To sign up for the consultation, go to: http://vancouver.ca/fs/budgetServices/operatingBudget/index.htm.

Gung Hey Fat Choy from COPE!

Please join us at the Chinese New Year Parade – the year of the Ox – on Sunday, February 1, starting right near Tinseltown. For more information, email Rachel@cope.bc.ca.

Gung hey fat choy!

 

January 30, 2009: COPE on Wi Fi, tenant rights, COPE Ed, Public Consultation and Gung Hey Fat Choy!

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