Vancouver City Council meets every second week. The clerk’s office shares upcoming agenda items and motions before these meetings, which can be accessed on this website.
When agenda items are released the week before council, a Watch Council member will go through and highlight and recommend any notable motions to be discussed with other Watch Council members. If there are any motions that significantly impact women, Watch Council members will be immediately notified and meet virtually that same evening to decide how to respond.
Here are the important motions we're taking action on for the week of January 24, 2022.
About the Motion
Response to increasingly unaffordable housing and the current climate emergency:
Households with incomes of $80,000 and under are most affected by the intersection of these crises
Both of these issues require reevaluation of city infrastructure, increasing the number of walkable neighborhoods, and filling the gap of ‘missing middle’ housing choices
Legacy housing choices, like duplexes and single-detached homes, are too expensive
Asking staff to develop policies and/or guidelines targeting up to 2000 lots zoned for legacy housing choices to be developed for up to six units, which would allow for more density
Considerations should be given to cost levies that can go to advancing neighborhood infrastructure (roads, parks, child care, etc…), or development contributions that advance the Climate Emergency Action Plan and other public benefits
Although this motion may benefit by bringing more lower cost housing, more density, and the land lift, it neglects to address the desperate need for real, affordable, and secure housing for women, especially in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The majority of downtown developments were already inaccessible to most Vancouver citizens and COVID-19 has greatly escalated housing and rental costs, insecure rentals, loss of jobs, and domestic and racialized violence - affecting lower-paid workers in unprecedented ways. As we know, racialized people, disabled people, 2SLGTBQIA+ people, and women are more likely to work lower-wage jobs, thus being the most affected by these crises.
WTC implores the Council to focus their efforts on proposals that directly benefit those marginalized by systemic and current circumstances - similar to those proposed in the Women's Equity Strategy 2018-2028 that promised a range of affordable housing choices available for all women, including “single parents, seniors, newcomers and those facing vulnerable conditions”. WTC would also like to see The Legacy Project, promised during Women Deliver, begin in development.
We believe that the examples of the BCGEU’s proposed building of 292 units, with at least 50% locked in as below market affordable, and Regina’s creation of six rental homes for single mothers with indefinite rental limits showcase the reality of affordable housing solutions and we hope to see similar actions taken by the Council.
WTC Matriarch Ellen Woodsworth spoke to Council about this motion on January 26th.
About the Motion
People aged 65 and older living on their own are at increased risk of homelessness
About 16.6% are spending 50% or more of their income on housing costs making them more vulnerable to evictions
Majority are single women
COVID-19 has been especially difficult for older adults, exacerbating the barriers they already face in terms of civic participation
With consideration to the WHO’s Decade of Healthy Ageing’s metrics on quality of life for older people, the motion requests that staff explore and report on efforts to make the City of Vancouver an age-friendly city and extend on existing work, like the Age Friendly Action Plan
A full time planning position focusing on older adults will be appointed
Resources will be relocated within the social policy team without taking away from other active equity items
An intersectional approach will be taken to ensure that the needs of racialized, gender diverse, and low income older persons, and older people with disabilities, are prioritized
As the City continues to work towards becoming an Age Friendly City, considering these actions through a gendered intersectional framework, establishing a comprehensive plan of action, and creating a full time position focusing on older adults will further ensure that the people who will most benefit from this motion are at the focus of every stage. The proposed work also aligns with other work the City is doing, like the Heathy Cities Strategy, and opens up an opportunity for collaborative planning and partnerships.
“We need to remember that one size doesn’t fit all when we are planning and executing strategies for improvement.” -Joy Masuhara, WTC Co-chair
WTC suggests that income and social isolation/inclusion be considered as key social determinants - especially relevant now due to COVID-19 - and that TransLink be considered as a community partner, as transportation is a major concern for many older people. We believe, with the promised sustained community engagement and the widespread education of staff and elected officials, that the motion will greatly benefit older people and the elderly, and eventually bring benefits to all.
WTC co-chair Joy Masuhara intends to speak to the Council about WTC’s support of this motion, further informed by her career as a family physician with a focus on care of the elderly.
In addition to Vancouver City Council motions, we have taken action in support of a recent motion by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation:
Per Vancouver Charter, all parklands are under The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation jurisdiction.
In a move towards reconciliation, the Park Board has established the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
These actions are in response to Call to Action #47 within the Truth Telling and Reconciliation Report of Canada
The motion requests that the Park Board define and develop an implementation plan for co-management of parklands with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
WTC supported this motion as it represents an important step forward in reconciliation and decolonization in Vancouver. Given that this Motion addresses TRC Call to Action #47, passing the Motion will advance Vancouver’s progress towards implementing the Calls to Action, and may provide a positive case study to other municipalities of what Call to Action #47 looks like in practice. Additionally, returning land to the stewardship of Nations with thousands of years of traditional knowledge will have positive impacts for Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit people and all settler residents of Vancouver.
WTC co-chairs Dr. Joy Masuhara & Trudi Goels and Matriarch Ellen Woodsworth, Matriarch wrote a letter about WTC’s position. The motion successfully passed.