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Community vote results from Vancouver’s participatory budgeting pilot released

Three West End projects recommended for $100,000 total in funding

We have all learned a great deal, not only about the participatory budgeting process, but also about our neighbourhood, city governance, and community engagement.

WE Choo$e Impact Team

February 8 2020 –

Vancouver’s West End community has recommended three projects to receive a total of $100,000 in City funding as part of Vancouver’s first participatory budgeting pilot. 

More than 8,500 individuals who live, work, or volunteer in the West End voted between January 25 and February 4 on their preferred projects from a shortlist of 14. 

The three recommended projects are:

  1. West End Calisthenics Park - $50,000
  2. Sidewalk Improvements - $30,000 
  3. Christine Fretwell and Kathryn Gibbons Memorial Gift to West End Students - $20,000 in grants (require separate City Council approval)

The funded projects will be implemented over the next 18 months. 

The two co-chairs of the WE Choo$e Impact Team, Kendal Fish and Anthony Kupferschmidt said: “The team is tremendously proud of this pilot and of what has been achieved through community effort and passion. This was an incredible opportunity to directly impact how public funds should be spent in our community. We have all learned a great deal, not only about the participatory budgeting process, but also about our neighbourhood, city governance, and community engagement. We are really looking forward to seeing the projects come to life.”

How the projects are being funded 

The projects are being funded by new parking permit revenue generated by the City’s West End Parking strategy, implemented in 2017. The City made the commitment to re-invest a portion of the additional permit revenue in the community through a participatory budgeting pilot, which puts the decision about how to spend the funds to benefit the local neighbourhood into the hands of the community. 

“The opportunity to test participatory budgeting came about as a result of the City addressing a problem with parking in the West End,” said Lon LaClaire, general manager, engineering services at the City. “It’s very gratifying to see that the parking strategy is working – we’re better managing the availability of street parking – and the community is benefiting from the additional revenue created by the strategy.”

“This was our first test of participatory budgeting in Vancouver,” said Patrice Impey, chief financial officer. “We’re very pleased both with how the process worked and the outcome, and we will be assessing potential future opportunities to use participatory budgeting in the city.” 

How the projects were selected

Under the leadership of the community-led We Choo$e Impact team, a total of 14 potential projects were shortlisted using predetermined criteria from more than 1,700 idea submissions. The projects ranged in complexity and cost from $10,000 to $50,000 and included public health programs, community beautification projects, funding for music and sports equipment at local schools, and public art.

The community vote on the shortlisted projects took place between January 25 and February 4, online and at more than 15 pop-up voting stations throughout the neighbourhood. Voting was open to anyone aged 12 and up with a clear connection to the West End (live, work, or volunteer). 

Find more information on the top-ranked community projects, voting process, and participatory budgeting in general