07 September 2019

Social Justice

As an elected Green, I believe in the values of the global green movement. The Global Greens Charter identifies six guiding principles:
  • Ecological wisdom
  • Social justice
  • Participatory democracy
  • Nonviolence
  • Sustainability
  • Respect for diversity

Under the heading of Social Justice:

We assert that the key to social justice is the equitable distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally, to meet basic human needs unconditionally, and to ensure that all citizens have full opportunities for personal and social development.

We declare that there is no social justice without environmental justice, and no environmental justice without social justice.

This requires:
  • a just organization of the world and a stable world economy which will close the widening gap between rich and poor, both within and between countries; balance the flow of resources from South to North; and lift the burden of debt on poor countries which prevents their development.
  • the eradication of poverty, as an ethical, social, economic, and ecological imperative
  • the elimination of illiteracy
  • a new vision of citizenship built on equal rights for all individuals regardless of gender, race, age, religion, class, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, disability, wealth or health

For more on Green Values visit the Global Greens Charter.

06 September 2019

Park Board Statement on Oppenheimer Park

The Park Board met last night to discuss the current situation in Oppenheimer Park. Commissioners have received regular updates and have met on three occasions throughout the summer.

I am here to share the most recent decision of the commissioners. The Board did not approve the staff recommendation to proceed with an application for an injunction to remove structures and tents at Oppenheimer Park.

Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. We need to work together to build a community that ensures appropriate housing for all. Our approach must be comprehensive, compassionate, and holistic. We need both a short-term and a long-term action plan that will render unsanctioned encampments such as Oppenheimer unnecessary.

We are requesting that the City establish a multi-jurisdictional task force to adequately address homelessness and inequity within our city.

This is not just a problem for Oppenheimer Park; homelessness is all of our problem. Housing is not within the mandate of the Board of Parks and Recreation, and so we ask the City, the Province, and the Federal Government to acknowledge this as a crisis and to act immediately. This needs an unprecedented commitment of resources, now.

We need to be open to potential solutions that have previously been off-limits. We need to engage meaningfully with people experiencing homelessness in a respectful and dignified dialogue to understand their experiences and their perspectives.

We need to be brave; we need to be creative; we need to be bold; and we need to recognize that all options are on the table.

In the long term we need affordable, safe, permanent housing for all. In the short term we must consider the creation of intentional encampments, the purchase of properties appropriate for transitional housing, and the acceleration of the housing initiatives already in progress, including temporary modular housing.

We do not believe that seeking an injunction through the courts with the goal of clearing people from Oppenheimer Park will bring us any closer to a true solution. Simply removing people from Oppenheimer Park, which may force them onto the streets, back lanes, and into other parks, is not the solution.

30 August 2019

City and Park Board provide update on Oppenheimer Park

August 26 2019 
Approximately 127 people experiencing homelessness living in Oppenheimer Park have accepted housing offers following a Park Board General Manager’s order last week which requested that tents and other structures be removed by August 21. Of the people who have accepted offers of housing, 37% identify as Indigenous, and 33% as women. 
As the majority of the housing units have now been accepted, the City and BC Housing will continue to work in the park to offer spaces at shelters within Vancouver.

The City continues to have concerns for people sleeping in the park, given the history of serious health and safety incidents often associated with encampments. Vancouver Fire Rescue Service will continue removing items presenting hazards to health and safety, in compliance with the Fire Chief’s order which has been in place in the park since February.

The City continues to work with VPD to ensure the safety of all people in the park, as well as residents in the surrounding neighbourhood. VPD officers will maintain a presence at the park to keep the peace, and respond to incidents as needed, but will not remove people living in the park without further legal authorization and notice.

At this time, the Park Board has not issued direction to staff to seek an injunction to enforce the GM order. 

The following processes are in place for tents and other belongings in the park:

  • Any belongings that individuals might wish to retain will be labelled and securely stored for up to 60 days. A card with details on how belongings can be returned is being given to every person with items in storage.
  • City and Park Board staff will dispose of the unwanted belongings of people who have accepted housing or that have clearly been abandoned in the park.  

Original notification here

19 August 2019

City committed to ensuring safe and stable accommodation for people experiencing homelessness in Oppenheimer Park

August 19 2019 

This morning, the General Manager of the Park Board provided notice  to people who have erected tents and other structures in Oppenheimer Park that they must remove all structures by 6pm on Wednesday, August 21.

At the request of the City, BC Housing  has identified more than 100 units of safe and stable accommodation for people experiencing homelessness who have been sleeping overnight in the park and who have engaged with the City’s Homeless Outreach team (Carnegie Outreach) seeking housing assistance. All of the housing options are in publicly owned and non-profit run buildings, including SRO rooms, many of which have been recently renovated. A number of shelter spaces are also available as an option for individuals to come inside while suitable housing is identified.

The General Manager’s order was issued in response to ongoing concerns about the serious health and life safety risks present in the park, and in light of housing options being secured for those living there.

Fire Chief’s order

The City, Park Board, and Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) have been working in the park for many months to support individuals experiencing homelessness. A Fire Chief’s order has been in place since February which sets out a number of conditions to reduce the fire hazard for people living in the park, but compliance with that order has been limited. There have been 17 fires in the park since February. VPD has also expressed concern regarding the number of violent incidents occurring in the park.

Carnegie Outreach on site daily

Carnegie Outreach continues to be on site daily, working to support individuals to access housing and shelter, income, and other support services. To help people with the transition, BC Housing has a team in the park to support people packing and transporting their belongings, once an offer is accepted. Park Board staff are offering longer-term storage options for any possessions that individuals are not able to move to their new space right away.

The safety of the people sleeping in Oppenheimer Park continues to be our top priority and we are strongly encouraging everyone to work with Carnegie Outreach to move into safe and stable accommodation.

Meeting the needs of those experiencing homelessness

The City is continually working to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness, including creating more affordable housing. This requires continued and increasing commitment from and collaboration with senior levels of government and creative approaches to addressing the underlying causes of homelessness, including the housing affordability crisis, lack of sufficient incomes, and service gaps that result in people having no place to turn but the homelessness services sector.

see original webpost: https://bit.ly/2MsbvRm

18 August 2019

Vancouver’s outdoor pools are making a bigger splash than ever

09 August 2019

City updates procurement policy to promote protection of animals

City suppliers and sub-contractors to operate within recognized animal welfare best practices




August 8 2019 – 


Following updates to our procurement policies that went into effect August 1, we will be working with suppliers who meet best practice levels for animal welfare.

This commitment is the result of a City Council motion that was approved in May to support higher animal welfare standards through updated procurement and supplier code of conduct policies.

"Incorporating animal welfare into our policies aligns with Vancouver being a world class leader in procurement practices as well as demonstrating the City's commitment to healthy cities/communities and healthy ecosystems," said Patrice Impey, General Manager of Finance, Risk and Supply Chain Management. "These updates also align with the Greenest City Action Plan, Environmental Framework for Municipal Operations, and Social Planning food strategies."

Five freedoms

Following a review of similar policies in other jurisdictions, and direct consultation on scope and wording with the BC SPCA, Vancouver is one of the first cities in Canada to update its Ethical Procurement Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure its suppliers and their sub-contractors operate within recognized animal welfare best practices, such as the five freedoms, which are:
  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
  2. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  3. Freedom from distress
  4. Freedom from discomfort
  5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being
"We would like to acknowledge the City of Vancouver for taking this extremely progressive step to recognize the importance of animal welfare in their procurement of services or goods," said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA. "We hope that other municipalities will take note of Vancouver's leadership in this area and incorporate their own procurement policies that consider animal welfare.

What the updated policies apply to

The updated policies apply to all of our procurements and can be referenced when animal products or services are purchased to ensure the humane treatment and welfare of animals under human control, including their basic necessities, are maintained through the production and supply chain.

These changes are per Council direction from the Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities resolutions dated May 15, 2019.