City staff and the Community Economic Development Strategic Action Committee, which is made up of 35 community groups, businesses, and other local stakeholders, have created a strategy that seeks to improve the lives of low income residents.
The strategy aims to strengthen and support areas of activity such as 501 Powell Street, purchased by us in 2015. The site now provides a permanent space for the Downtown Eastside Street Market and will provide future social housing.
Council approved funding of $353,500 for 13 key initiatives and 22 actions that will lay a foundation for longer-term development and continued expansion of the strategy.
In March 2016, our Corporate Management Team completed a half-day Indigenous Awareness workshop at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre.
Since 2015 just over 700 Vancouver Police Department staff and 600 City of Vancouver staff have taken part in Indigenous awareness training, as part of our efforts towards reconciliation.
We partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society of BC to develop training that will help City staff better serve people living with dementia.
The Vancouver Fire Department has also committed to developing the training in an online e-learn format in 2017. As part of this process we have created a video with the Alzheimer’s Society of BC called “Jim’s Story,” which illustrates the experience of a person who lives with dementia.
We have worked in partnership with Living in Community since 2012 to deliver training designed to build individual and organizational capacity to best respond to the health and safety needs of sex workers in Vancouver.
This training has been provided to front-line and managerial staff from:
The commitment to ongoing training helps to counter the stigma that increases the marginalization of sex workers and develop non-discriminatory and effective responses.
The training’s principles of inclusion, equity, and respect have laid the foundation of many of our initiatives, including the West End Sex Workers Memorial, a commemorative lamp post installed to honour the lives of sex workers who were adversely affected by municipal actions in the mid-1980s. We also publically acknowledged responsibility for the displacement of the West End sex workers that led to severe conditions of vulnerability, stigma, and harm.
In December 2016, we partnered with Vancouver Coastal Health and Metro Vancouver to host “Connect,” an action-oriented forum looking at social connections and belonging in the region.
The forum brought together approximately 200 systems-builder (including local government, non-profit organizations, community groups, and funders) to share tangible tools, initiatives, research, and best practices to increase collective impact and enable greater positive change.
The event included an explicit focus on building a network of practitioners, and on initiating next steps and follow-up actions.
Thanks to Vancouver Coastal Health, United Way of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Foundation, and posAbilities for supporting this event.
Our Food Strategy won the 2016 Milan Food Policy Pact Award for "Governance or ensuring an enabling environment for effective action”. The international awards were created to stimulate the exchange of practices and learning between signatory cities worldwide.
The Vancouver Food Strategy was launched in 2013 and is a plan to create a just and sustainable food system for the city. It builds on years of food systems initiatives and grassroots community development, considering all aspects of the food system, from seed to table to compost heap and back again.
One part of the strategy is providing food support for vulnerable elementary school children in the Vancouver School Board, to give all children a good start. Another initiative recognized by the Milan Pact was urban farming.
In March 2016, we changed bylaws and adopted a set of guidelines that assist in the development of safe, neighbourly, and productive urban farms. Increasing opportunity for food production for urban residents has positive social, economic, and environmental impacts and creates opportunities for neighbourhood focused farms.
There are now approximately 18 urban farming businesses and organizations operating on roughly 50-60 sites around the city, all reducing the “distance to fork.”
Through many partner and our initiatives we has had great achievements since the program launched over a year ago.
In September 2016, as part of our Active Transportation Promotion and Enabling Plan, Vancouver hosted the international Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference.
Vancouverites have the right to a healthy environment and equitable access to livable environments in which they can thrive.
In 2016 there were 159 block parties hosted in Vancouver, and the number of applications has steadily increased since 2011.
The first ever West End apartment block party connected residents and neighbours from two apartment buildings.The organizer said
“I received positive feedback during the event and not only from the two apartment buildings but other people who live in the west end that happened to be cycling or walking by. They too joined in for food and listened to music. The only complaint I received was asking why they hadn’t been invited!”
This pilot helped lay the foundation for supporting other apartment buildings to host their own block party and determine what is needed to receive a permit.
Block parties are bringing life to laneways too. Residents of a block along East Broadway livened up the laneway behind their properties with live music, lots of food, and plenty of play spaces for the local children and adults to connect.
The August Vancouver Mural Festival was a landmark celebration of public art, creating over 56 new street murals in Mount Pleasant, Strathcona, and False Creek Flats.
The free inaugural event provided opportunities for many local and emerging artists and also included live music and community projects. Planning is now underway for a 2017 event.
In 2016 our Cultural Services department distributed $12 million in grants to more than 300 arts and cultural groups, including the first 20 Creative Spark grants to emerging artists through the ArtsStarts group.
Renowned Vancouver mural artist Ola Volo said:
“Having a mural festival in Vancouver really highlights the importance of street art, and why it’s important to put artwork on the walls and make the city look like it belongs to us.”
Organizer David Vertesi from the band Hey Ocean said:
“[we’re] trying to transform the way people connect with the city, with the space. I think in Vancouver we've always connected, traditionally, with the nature here, with the mountains, the water, the forests. But we're trying to push a connection with our urban spaces as well."
The Public Art Registry lets you find public artworks in Vancouver neighbourhoods and promotes cultural tourism and local pride by showcasing artists and artworks in Vancouver.
Leaders from the public, private, and civil sectors in Vancouver work in integrated and collaborative ways towards the vision of a healthy Vancouver for all.
The New Start Strategy for Immigrants and Refugees in Vancouver aims to improve the newcomer experience.
From immigrant service agencies such as MOSAIC, SUCCESS, and Immigrant Services Society of BC, to employer groups such as the Overwaitea Food Group and Telus, from Business Improvement Associations to universities and colleges, from the Vancouver School Board to the Vancouver Public Library, VIP’s project partners all brought unique perspectives from diverse community sectors in addressing the needs of immigrants.
28 priority actions are focused in four areas:
Over the coming years VIP members will continue to work together to implement the priority actions outlined in the Strategy.