Key Council Motions – October 4th 2021

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.


Visit our Watch Council and Hot Pink Paper Campaign pages to learn more about how we're taking action in the city.



Here are the important motions we're taking action on for the week of October 4, 2021.


Making SAFER More Helpful for Low Income Seniors


About the Motion

  • Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER): Seniors aged 60 and up who pay more than 30% of their before tax monthly household income towards rent and do not earn more than the maximum monthly income are eligible for this benefit

  • Managed by BC housing

  • This subsidy has decreased over the years

  • Motion requests that mayor talk to province about raising this subsidy and make it so that more seniors are eligible to apply


WTC’s Position

There is an urgent need to build better social systems to adequately address the needs of diverse seniors, especially low-income and women seniors, and making SAFER more helpful will be an important move by the city to protect seniors. Local seniors advocate Marion Pollack says that alleviating pressure on paying for rent can allow the money to be allocated towards other essential needs like healthcare, food, internet. Seniors especially face food inequity, and secure housing leads to more agency as seniors disproportionately face violence. We hope to see these factors considered to pass this motion and others like it.


Saving Lives with the Community Led Compassion Club Model for Safer Tested Drugs



About the Motion

  • Drug-user led program that buys, tests, and gives drugs already on the market

  • DULF (Drug user liberation front) and VANDU (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users)

  • Large body of research shows that “drug-user programs are more appealing to those experiencing the greatest risk of drug-related harm”

  • Supported by Vancouver Coastal Health

  • Vancouver Coastal Health supports this application, has an established working relationship with DULF, and has agreed to work with DULF and VANDU to implement this model should the exemption be approved

  • Lack of access to safer drugs and safer drug policy is culminating to huge losses of life across British Columbia–all avoidable deaths


WTC’s Position

We have not seen adequate action towards the ongoing poisoned drug supply crisis across higher levels of government. We strongly support and believe in this model, and hope to see its implementation reverberated across other cities around the country. Our communities are reeling from grief at the magnitude of friends, family, and peers lost to this avoidable crisis, one that is disproportionately impacting Indigenous communities. We hope council considers how this motion aligns with the Four Pillars drug strategy of the city, as an essential component to prevention and harm reduction.


Public Safety: Evaluating and Addressing Any Impacts of City of Vancouver Actions on Neighbourhood Safety


About

  • Addressing increase in violent crime in Downtown Vancouver

  • Increased hate crimes, sexual and physical violence, commercial break-ins and home invasions, damage to small businesses

  • Asking for more police updates

  • Creation of a healing centre

  • Host and facilitate a roundtable, inviting Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) to each select a few members to share concerns or perspectives on increased property crime, theft and violent shoplifting;


WTC’s Position

An increase in hate crimes, lack of safety, and sexual assaults mentioned in this motion are all issues that are deeply concerning for Women Transforming Cities that we aim to address in our work as an organization. We firmly believe in addressing the root causes of these incidents, and how they can be addressed at the city-level. While we support the creation of something similar to the Redfish Healing Centre and other evidence-based care models, we have a number of concerns about this motion.


First, we believe that the wording may suggest that those who experience mental illness and are unhoused are people committing violent crimes. And second, we believe front-line non-profit organizations should play a pivotal role in discussions around safety and potential solutions.

“There needs to be a trauma-informed approach taken when it comes to sexual assault survivors, and increasing police presence will achieve nothing but cause more anxiety and harm to those who have been inflicted by this type of violence. We need to provide a community of care, accountability, and reparation for assault survivors, not add on to their trauma by using the cities budget to provide more police surveillance.”

  • Mamuna Sarwar, WTC Volunteer


A community-care model that can create safer cities is the one proposed in the motion above, Saving Lives with the Community Led Compassion Club Model for Safer Tested Drugs.



Regarding the Future of False Creek South


About

  • Motion introduces collaborative community planning to ensure False Creek remains affordable and diverse

  • Motion calls for lease renewals

  • Calls for council to protect existing housing in the area


WTC’s Position

False Creek is a vibrant and very special part of our city, and we support this motion to ensure community members are working together to ensure it is equally available for everyone to inhabit.