Trip-Ed and Translink – be part of the plan!
Translink is doing public consultations on their 10-year plan. Community events are taking place through June and there’s an online forum. Find more at http://www.translink.ca/Home/Get%20Involved/featured%20Be%20Part%20of%20the%20Plan.aspx
COPE is also happy to endorse Trip-Ed – affordable educational trips on public transit. Trip Ed advocates for a yearly $10 Trip Ed Transit Pass for schools, child care centres, organized youth sports teams, and summer camps. A Trip Ed Transit Pass would allow a group (class) of children with their adult supervisors to use transit for educational trips. Their petition is available at http://www.triped.info/?page_id=5. There is also a template letter that you can send to mayors, councilors and MLA’s.
Council Updates – from Councillor Woodsworth
STIR stands for “Short Term Incentives for Rentals” and is an initiative which passed last week at council. It provides incentives for developers to create new rental housing. While there is a very great need for affordable rental housing in Vancouver, I opposed this program for a number of reasons.
STIR (available HERE) was announced two days before the Council meeting so the public did not have adequate time to analyze the plan. I sent it out to community organizations to get their feedback and to encourage them to speak out at Council. In addition to the lack of public consultation, several other concerns were raised: that it would not be effective in terms increase the supply of affordable rentals; that it could jeopardize the existing low income rental housing in areas such as the DTES which are not covered by the Rate of Change policies; that one of the two routes developers could take called the “negotiated” stream could undermine neighbourhood based planning in terms of heritage, height and density; that it did not include a clear definition of “affordability”; etc. The mayor has asked city staff to discuss this program with the province to see if it could be used at the Little Mountain Housing Complex which could be an interesting possibility. However, we need to have City staff give us an overall analysis of the impact of all of the housing initiatives such as STIR, laneway housing, basement suites and secondary suites in townhouses in actually creating affordable housing for low-income people. I encourage members of the public to send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPE has been concerned for many years that Vancouver needs electoral reforms including campaign financing and, last week, several motions that I initiated were passed at council.
Over the past few municipal elections, campaign spending has soared. The larger parties are spending over a million dollars to be competitive, while COPE ran a creative campaign at just under 350 thousand dollars, relying on a combination of grassroots contact with voters and more contemporary new media techniques. Campaigns are becoming more expensive and it is becoming more difficult to be competitive without big money from developers.
During COPE’s 2002-2005 administration, we hired Thomas Berger who proposed various changes to campaign financing and suggested calling on the Provincial government to change the Vancouver Charter to implement these changes. Premier Campbell said during this past Provincial election that he was waiting to hear for such a request from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
As a result, I worked with both Vision and the NPA to develop three motions to send to UBCM. The first motion calls for limits on campaign contributions and expenses; the second calls for prospective candidates to disclose all spending before nomination, during the campaign and between elections regardless of whether they win the nomination or the election; and the third is a requirement for disclosure on ‘other voting’ campaigns such as the wards campaign. (As you may remember Sam Sullivan never declared how much money he spent to fight wards nor where it came from). All of these motions passed unanimously and are up on the City of Vancouver website HERE.
New website feature
COPE has a new website feature to update supporters on issues coming up at council, park board and school board. Check the right hand sidebar at www.cope.bc.ca and check back often!
Summer BBQ on July 8 — a little different this time!
This year, COPE has decided to change up our signature annual event, due to concerns around the availability and
enjoy a “100-mile diet” dinner and have a dialogue around food security/sovereignty.
As usual, we will enjoy the beautiful view at the Vancouver
Rowing Club. We’ll also have some great music from Geoff Berner (http://www.myspace.com/geoffberner) and Rhythm Nation (http://www.rhythmnation.ca).
WHERE: Vancouver Rowing Club (450 Stanley Park Drive)
WHEN: Wednesday, July 8, 6:30-10:30pm
WHY: Great food, great music and great conversation.
Tickets are $60 and can be purchased by credit card or cheque by calling
Rachel at 604-312-9057.