Events, decisions, and reports at City Council this week
Vancouver City Council met this week to hear and discuss a variety of topics during Council and Policy and Strategic Priorities Standing Committee meetings.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Council began with two proclamations recognizing the 10 Year Anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and Christine Sinclair 185 Day.
Council then received a presentation on the Retail/Commercial District Small Business Study – Update PDF file (1.2 MB).
Council also approved several Reports and Motions:
- Making it Easier for the Public to Speak at Council Meetings PDF file (15 KB) was approved with amendments
- Election Finance: Transparent Funding in Local PDF file (49 KB) Politics was approved with amendments
- Funding Application to UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund PDF file (2.7 MB) was approved on consent
- Authorization to Enter into Contract with Veterans Affairs Canada for Military Monument Renovations in Mountain View Cemetery PDF file (50 KB) was approved on consent
- 2020 Street Cleaning Grants PDF file (122 KB) was approved on consent
- Issues Report – Addressing Housing Priorities for the Ashley Mar Housing Cooperative Site and Other Inclusionary Housing Sites in the Marine Drive Station Area PDF file (653 KB) was approved after Council heard from 3 speakers
- Approval of Form Development – 2021 Cypress Street (Formerly 1906 West 4th Avenue) PDF file (13 KB) was approved
- Approval of Form Development – CD-1 – 431 West King Edward Avenue PDF file (13 KB) was approved
- Approval of Form Development – 1500 West Georgia / 1515 Alberni Street PDF file (13 KB) was approved
- Approval of Form Development - 589 West 59th Avenue – Pearson Dogwood Parcel E PDF file (15 KB) was approved
Council approved several by-laws:
Several motions from Councillors were then discussed:
- Cultural Spaces Rent Bank PDF file (22 KB) was approved with amendments
- Recognizing January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day PDF file (42 KB) was approved with amendments
The following motions were referred to the Policy and Strategic Priorities Standing Committee meeting on February 12:
- Transparency and Accountability at Little Mountain PDF file (52 KB)
- Including Pedestrians in Vancouver’s Snow Protocol and Response PDF file (66 KB)
- City of Vancouver LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee - Renaming Consideration PDF file (15 KB)
- Independent Auditor General Sub-Committee PDF file (25 KB)
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
A Policy and Strategic Priorities Standing Committee meeting was held on Wednesday.
Council received a presentation, CityStudio Annual Update PDF file (3.5 MB) and asked questions of Executive Director, Duane Elverum and other CityStudio staff.
Council approved several Agenda Items:
- Approval of Change Order to Construction Agreement PS20190021 –Construction Services for the Granville Bridge Rehabilitation PDF file (80 KB) was approved on consent
- Aquatic Environments: Mobile Pump-out Service PDF file (88 KB) Delivery was approved with amendments
- Aquatic Environments Action Plan PDF file (966 KB) was approved
- Contract Award for Construction Services for the Curb Ramp Program PDF file (65 KB) was approved
- 1001 West Broadway Unit 200 – 1111539 BC Ltd. Liquor Primary Liquor Licence and Outdoor Patio Application
Liquor Establishment Class 5 PDF file (342 KB) was approved
Council then discussed referred items from the Council meeting on February 11, 2020.
- Transparency and Accountability at Little Mountain PDF file (52 KB) was approved after Council heard from five speakers
- Including Pedestrians in Vancouver’s Snow Protocol and Response PDF file (66 KB) was approved with amendments after Council heard from one speaker
- Independent Auditor General Sub-Committee PDF file (25 KB) was approved with amendments
- City of Vancouver LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee - Renaming Consideration PDF file (15 KB) was referred to the February 25, 2020 Council meeting
The next Council meeting is scheduled for February 25, 2020.
Please see amended motions below. These are provided for your understanding and the published minutes will be the official record of the meeting.
Making it Easier for the Public to Speak at Council Meetings
- It is difficult to predict the timing of when speakers will present to Council at Council and Standing Committee meetings as there are many variables which impact the meeting length;
- Some speakers scheduled to speak during Council and Standing Committee meetings miss their turn on the speakers list due to this uncertainty;
- People who have access to vehicles, internet and phone data, childcare, and other privileges are therefore currently more likely to be able to speak to Council;
- Some speakers who miss their turn may be able to speak to Council at the conclusion of the speakers list for that particular agenda item;
- The Procedure By-law does not specify that speakers who missed their turn during Council and Standing Committee meetings should be given the opportunity to be called to speak at the end of the speakers list.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct staff to initiate a variation to the Procedure By-law as a time-limited pilot initiative to specify that those speakers who are registered on the speakers list for Council or Standing Committee meetings, and have missed their turn to speak, should be given an opportunity to speak at the conclusion of all other speakers on the registered list.
FURTHER THAT the above-mentioned pilot run from the next scheduled Council meeting through the end of June 2020, and that staff report back following the conclusion of the pilot with findings and any proposed amendments to the Procedure By-law that might be beneficial in order to better facilitate members of the public speaking at Council meetings.
Election Finance: Transparent Funding in Local Politics
- Elections, election campaigns, referendums, and political operations should have transparent and compliant contributor funding so elected officials are free from real or perceived potential conflicts of interest, which undermine their duty to represent the people they were elected to serve;
- The federal and provincial levels of government have laws regarding political financing which apply at all times and require that all political contributions be made by individuals, that individuals have yearly contribution limits, and that political parties must make annual public disclosures reporting received contributions and their contributors;
- In 2017 the B.C. legislature amended the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA), banning special interest and corporate political donations at the local government level during an election year, placing limits on contributions and mandating public disclosures. However, the LECFA only applies to electoral organizations and candidates during an election year for the specific purpose of campaigning, or the last 28 days before the election in the case of a third party sponsor;
- The LECFA does not regulate local electoral organizations in non-election years or during an election year for their normal activities that are not part of their election campaigns. Local electoral organizations have separate operating bank accounts for these purposes and can accept unlimited donations from corporations and special interests. The LECFA regulations do not require any public disclosures of electoral organization operating bank accounts, nor do they place maximum donation limits, or prevent corporations and special interests from contributing to municipal political organizations;
- Local Elector Organizations can have a significant impact and influence on local politics, and on who becomes an elected official. This happens both during a campaign and outside of campaign periods. Extending the LECFA contribution restrictions, annual reporting and disclosure requirements, and including the electoral organization operating account would create a level playing field for all electoral organizations, improve transparency and limit contributions to compliant BC residents only;
- Third party sponsors can also have a significant impact and influence on local politics and on who becomes an elected official or on a ballot question. In the 2018 Vancouver local election there were examples of significant unreported third party spending prior to the election, which ended only 28 days before the election, notwithstanding the intent of the LECFA;
- The June 2019 City of Vancouver-convened volunteer-led Independent Election Task Force on Campaign Finance Regulations 1 encouraged the City of Vancouver to strongly urge the provincial government to improve upon the existing campaign finance laws, along with specific recommendations:
- 7.1. To enhance transparency in campaign financing, require all donations to candidates, elector organizations and third parties to be donated to a centralized portal run by Elections BC with real time disclosure of donations.
- 7.2. THAT the Independent Elections Task Force be reconvened to review the following policy proposals, which have not previously been considered by Council, and provide recommendations regarding: Appropriate regulation of third-party groups wishing to engage on policy during municipal elections; The suggestion that contributions to candidates running with elector organizations to be in line with contributions to candidates running as independents.;
- The October 2019 Elections BC Report of the Chief Electoral Officer 2 recommendations on Improving Accessibility, Transparency and Compliance included the following:
- 8.1. An elector organization is an organization that endorses or intends to endorse a candidate in an election.
- 8.2. Require elector organizations to register with Elections BC and file annual disclosure statements including reports of all financial transactions, similar to those filed by provincial political parties. Maintain the membership requirement (50 members) for elector organizations as prescribed by s. 93(2)(a) of the Local Government Act.;
- Political finance regulations are the cornerstone of responsible government. Contribution limits and transparency requirements are necessary safeguards which prevent corruption and undue influence and ensure accountability of elected officials to the public.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
A. THAT Council affirms a commitment to full and transparent reporting of financial contributions to elector organizations and candidates, as well as full and transparent reporting by third party entities that engage in significant campaign activities in support of candidates or endorsed candidates, and that all financial transactions – both during a campaign and outside of campaign periods – be reported, including contributions toward operating accounts and operating expenses, including those of third party entities used for campaign and non campaign political purposes and activities.
B. THAT Council direct staff to submit the following resolution along with the above preamble (articles 3, 8) for consideration at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and/or working with other municipalities to present at Union of BC Municipalities:
THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED THAT the Union of BC Municipalities request that the Province amend the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act to apply contributor and contribution limits to operating accounts of elector organizations and candidates for operational purposes at all times, and to require that they provide annual disclosure reports of contributions received in operating bank accounts, in election years and non election years;
FURTHER THAT Third Party Sponsors be required to provide disclosure reports for the full election year or the date that a referendum is announced, whichever is later.
C. THAT Council direct staff to submit the following resolution for consideration at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and to the Union of BC Municipalities, and/or work with municipalities that have submitted similar language before this submission.
- i) The Canada Revenue Agency cites the Income Tax Act for the deduction from tax otherwise payable of a portion of the total eligible amount of monetary contributions to a registered party, a provincial division of a registered party, a registered association, or a candidate, as those terms are defined in the Canada Elections Act. The maximum annual tax credit an eligible individual may claim is $650.00 Contributions to a Registered Party, a Registered Association or to a Candidate(s) in a federal election.
ii) “Political Contributions Regulations” in B.C.’s Income Tax Act allows for eligible individuals to make contributions to B.C. political parties, registered B.C. constituency associations and/or candidate(s) in a provincial election. Eligible individuals may claim credit on a T1 income tax return calculated as the lesser of 75% of contributions up to $100 or 50% of contributions between $100 and $550 or 33 1/3% of contributions in excess of $550.
- Bill 15, Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017 received Royal Assent on November 30, 2017, resulting in many changes to the financing provisions of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. The rules applied to the 2018 General Local Elections and are retroactive to October 31, 2017. In local election in B.C., an eligible individual may contribute up to $1,200 per year per campaign to an unendorsed candidate or $1,200 in total to each campaign of an elector organization and its endorsed candidates.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT the Union of B.C. Municipalities request the Province support personal income tax credits, for contributions made in compliance with the B.C. Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, as is similar to the rules and requirements in B.C.’s Income Tax Act, for personal income tax credits for provincial political contributions.
FURTHER THAT the Union of B.C. Municipalities request the Minister of Municipal Affairs of B.C. write a letter to B.C.’s Minister of Finance and request the Provincial government make necessary amendments to B.C.’s Income Tax Act to allow eligible individuals to claim credit on a T1 income tax return for political contributions made in accordance to the B.C. Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
D. THAT Council direct staff to submit the following resolution for consideration at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and/or working with other municipalities to present at Union of BC Municipalities:
On February 11, 2020, Vancouver City Council affirmed its commitment to full and transparent reporting of financial contributions to elector organizations and candidates, including full and transparent reporting by third party entities that engage in significant campaign activities in support of candidates or endorsed candidates, and that all financial transactions – both during a campaign and outside of campaign periods – be reported, including contributions toward operating accounts and operating expenses, including those of third party entities used for campaign and non-campaign political purposes and activities.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Union of BC Municipalities request that the Province amend the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act to require full and transparent reporting by provincial political parties of in-kind support and financial contributions they make to municipal election candidates in elections years, as well as to sitting elected officials in non-election years.
E. FURTHER THAT the Mayor write a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing requesting the Province conduct a public review of the 2018 general local elections to determine what future changes are needed to ensure British Columbians get the fair elections they deserve.
Cultural Spaces Rent Bank
- Vancouver has over 400 cultural spaces totalling over 3.4 million square feet, that are home to everything from artist-run centres, to galleries, to rehearsal spaces and shared studios;
- Vancouver’s recent Culture|Shift and Making Space for Arts and Culture reports identify cultural spaces as extremely vulnerable, with one third of all spaces in leases of one year or less, and most of those are month-to-month;
- Rent banks utilize a pool of capital to provide short term loans to applicants that encounter an unforeseen inability to meet financial obligations arising from rent, rent increases or rent-related expenditures;
- Rent banks are designed to prevent evictions and stabilize housing for working people living on low incomes. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent a short-term financial crisis from turning into homelessness;
- A typical rent bank provides loans to renter households who have regular income but an inability to secure a conventional loan and are facing eviction as a result of a short-term financial crisis like illness, job loss, unexpected expenses, relationship breakdown or eviction. The loans are low- or no-cost and have generous repayment terms – usually up to 24 months;
- Rent banks exist throughout Canada, including Toronto, across the Lower Mainland and notably here in Vancouver. The Vancouver Rent Bank is supported in part by the City of Vancouver and leverages multi-sectoral partnerships (including foundations, banks, post-secondary institutions, and not for profit service providers) for capital and operating funding, expertise and other services;
- The Vancouver Rent Bank receives funding from the City and other partner organizations including Vancouver Foundation, VanCity and Street to Home. Applicants can apply for up to two months' worth of rental arrears (past-due rent), damage deposits, and basic utilities. According to internal audit figures The rate of loan repayment to Vancouver Rent Bank is 67%;
- The Province of British Columbia recently invested $10 million toward the creation of a province-wide rent bank as part of TogetherBC the provincial poverty reduction strategy (June 2019);
- Many cultural spaces face the same factors of precariousness as working tenants with low incomes including month-to-month cash flow, inability to secure conventional loan, or unexpected disruptions like illness;
- Few cultural spaces are afforded the protections enshrined in the Residential Tenancy Act, and can be faced with unexpected rent hikes, taxes, insurance, or maintenance fees;
- Vancouver’s Culture|Shift and Making Space for Arts and Culture recommendations commit to no net loss of Cultural Spaces;
- The City of Vancouver provides a limited number of operating and capital cultural grants based on a rigorous and peer-reviewed process, but by design the City cannot furnish grants to all applicants nor on a quick turnaround;
- Rent bank loans improve security for renters. Currently, there is limited or no ability for Non Profit Organizations or individual artists to gain loans of this kind, and a rent bank would fill a demonstrated need.
THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED
A. THAT Council supports the diverse ecosystem of Vancouver’s cultural spaces, and recognizes the breadth of challenges to operating Cultural Spaces in our city including unexpected expenses and cash flow issues.
B. THAT Council direct staff to explore the creation of a Cultural Spaces Rent Bank, modeled after the Vancouver Rent Bank, in order to protect precarious cultural spaces by making short term or bridge-funding loans available to qualified applicants, with the following considerations:
i) How to screen applicants and operationalize loan repayments;
ii) Lending criteria and limits;
iii) Legal Considerations;
iv) Terms and Conditions of loans, repayments and surety as applicable;
v) Seed capital for lending pool, including but not limited to remainder from 2019 Innovation Fund;
vi) Potential partnerships for capital and operations; and
vii) Value for money.
C. THAT Council direct staff to report back as soon as possible with recommendations for a cultural spaces rent bank and in the context of other work related to implementing Making Space for Arts and Culture.
D. THAT Council direct staff to explore a model of utilizing seed funding for a cultural spaces rent bank from third parties such as civic and family foundations, as well as other interested partners.
Recognizing January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day
- In 2005, the U.N. General Assembly designated January 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD). 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of liberation.
- The U.N. resolution that created IHRD rejects denial of the Holocaust and condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity.
- Canada offers refuge and new hope to immigrants, refugees and survivors, some of whom have escaped more recent genocides – and it is a place where people can learn from each other and share cultures.
- IHRD has become a symbol of great importance to the broader and to Vancouver’s Jewish community to commemorate and honour the victims of the Nazi era.
- International Holocaust Remembrance Day is officially observed by the United Nations, countries including Canada, Italy and Germany, as well as many cities such as Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal.
- Antisemitism is on the rise around the world, in Canada, and in Vancouver. Hatred has flourished in the digital age. It is more important than ever that the lessons learned and horrors of the Holocaust remain present in the public consciousness so they are never repeated.
- As we reflect upon that dark period in history and remember the atrocities perpetrated during the Holocaust, Vancouver has the opportunity to join with Vancouver’s Jewish community and Canadians from all walks of life in demonstrating our commitment to stand against antisemitism, hate and genocide.
- Vancouver is home to the third largest Jewish community in Canada, and home to a significant number of Holocaust Survivors and their families.
- By proclaiming January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it will be an opportunity to create greater public understanding and awareness of this horrific period in history where over 6,000,000 innocent Jewish men, women and children were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime and its collaborators from 1933 to 1945.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council declare January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, adding it to its official observances calendar;
FURTHER THAT the City of Vancouver acknowledge this day annually with a proclamation.
i. Aquatic Environments: Mobile Pump-out Service Delivery
A. THAT a mobile sewage pump-out service be delivered in False Creek for the 2020 to 2024 boating seasons, inclusive as described in the Report dated January 14, 2020, entitled “Aquatic Environments: Mobile Pump-out Service Delivery”.
B. THAT staff provide annual updates to Council on service performance as part of the City’s False Creek Water Quality Improvement Initiative, as well as additional options for full cost recovery beyond those articulated in the Report dated January 14, 2020, entitled “Aquatic Environments: Mobile Pump-out Service Delivery”, including but not limited to senior government funding.
Including Pedestrians in Vancouver’s Snow Protocol and Response
- Keeping our city’s streets, sidewalks, and green spaces safe and clean for everyone to enjoy is a City of Vancouver priority, including the clearing of snow from streets and public sidewalks.
- Ensuring that people of all ages and abilities can access homes, businesses, and facilities in safety and comfort, especially those who are walking, cycling, or taking transit, is a chief goal of the City’s Complete Streets Strategy and fundamental to the City’s core responsibility of building and maintaining the city’s roads, sidewalks, and public spaces, managing how city streets are used, and creating land use and urban design policies.
- When sidewalks are not cleared during snow and ice events it can negatively and severely impact some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable persons, including seniors and persons with disabilities, and can leave them isolated and/or unsafe.
- Sidewalks that are not cleared of snow and ice often have the greatest negative impact on those who can least afford to stay home, such as hourly and contract workers who either need to walk and/or safely reach transit, which is fundamentally inconsistent with the City’s Equity goals
- The Climate Emergency Response report approved by Council on April 29, 2019, contains six big moves to reduce Vancouver’s carbon pollution, wherein the first two “big moves” are “Walkable complete communities” (i.e. by 2030, 90% of people live within an easy walk and roll of their daily needs) and “Safe and convenient active transportation and transit” (i.e. by 2030, two thirds of trips in Vancouver will be by active transportation and transit).
- Transportation decisions in the City of Vancouver generally reflect a “hierarchy of modes” for moving people which prioritize walking as the highest transportation priority, then cycling, then transit, followed by taxi / commercial / shared vehicles, and lastly private automobiles.
- The responsibility for clearing roads and travelways in the City of Vancouver falls to the Engineering Department and Streets Division. When cold weather hits, the City works to ensure that major routes are safe by salting and brining before any snow or freezing rain starts, and plowing once snow falls.
- The City of Vancouver has over 100 pieces of snow equipment, including salters, plows, and specialized equipment to clear bike lanes, as well as 200 trained staff and the ability to manufacture brine at its National Yard to deal with winter conditions including snow and ice.
- Although the City of Vancouver has snow and ice removal equipment designed for clearing roads, as well as specialized snow and ice removal equipment for clearing bike routes, the City lacks sufficient or appropriate equipment specifically designed to clear sidewalks and high priority pedestrian areas of the city even though walking is the highest priority mode in the City’s transportation hierarchy and central to the City’s Climate Emergency Response.
- The City’s current priority locations for snow and ice removal in Vancouver’s snow response protocol are:
- Major roads
- Bus routes
- Emergency access routes (including five major hospitals and two health care facilities)
- School routes
- 15 most-used bike routes
- Bus stops
- Arterial corner ramps
- It has been widely observed that although the City clears snow and ice from the city’s 15 most-used bike routes on a priority basis, the city’s parallel pedestrian walking paths are not cleared with the same or greater degree of priority.
- It is commonly accepted that the Lower Mainland / Metro Vancouver region can expect to experience snow and ice conditions during any given year (with some years being mercifully and relatively free of snow and ice). Historically for example:
- Snow and ice conditions from December 2016 to January 2017 represented the third time in eight years the City of Vancouver experienced extreme cold weather and was seemingly caught unprepared for such a weather event;
- At the January 15, 2013 Regular Council Meeting, in response to the December 2012 snow and ice conditions in Vancouver, a motion introduced by Councillor Affleck entitled “Snow Removal Plan” carried unanimously; and
- At the December 3, 2009 Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets, in response to a motion introduced by Councillor Woodsworth, Council received a staff report relating to the extreme winter conditions experienced from December 13, 2008 to January 8, 2009. The 2009 report notes many of the same concerns the city continues to experience during snow and ice events today, including concern for persons who are vulnerable to becoming homebound and negatively impacted in terms of routine access to food, medicine and other necessities.
- Snow and ice conditions across Metro Vancouver can vary widely, as do the urban/suburban characteristics of each constituent municipality, leading to corresponding differences in each municipality’s snow and ice response plans, actions and priorities. For example, communities on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet such as North and West Vancouver and Coquitlam are more mountainous than Vancouver, while the City of Richmond (which averages just one metre above sea level) only found it necessary to include single-family residences in its by-law covering sidewalk snow and ice removal quite recently in 2017 (Bylaw 5870).
- On a national scale, where snow and ice are a bigger part of civic life during winter than in Metro Vancouver, and in terms of clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and high priority pedestrian areas, the City of Toronto, for example, has 600 snow plows, 300 sidewalk plows, 200 salt trucks, and 1,500 personnel ready to tackle winter conditions 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. The City of Toronto spends about $90 million annually to deliver its winter operations program, which includes a Sidewalk Plowing Program that clears about 6,400 km of Toronto’s 7,900 km of sidewalk including high pedestrian volume sidewalks on arterial roads, transit routes, near school zones, and around accessibility locations (Note: the service does not include the clearing of snow from driveways or private sidewalks leading to a residence).
- The Engineering Department addresses snow events in two stages; Snow Readiness and Snow Response. The 2019/2020 budget for snow readiness is $1.6 million and supports advance preparation for the winter season to ensure our city is well equipped to deal with extreme snow events. Snow response occurs only during a snow event and the amount spent depends on the magnitude of the event and response required. The City of Vancouver’s budget includes an annual Council Contingency for such events of $2 million; snow response is charged against this contingency. In the 2019 budget, Council reduced the contingency from $4 million to $2 million. Recognizing the more frequent occurrence of snow and storm events, for the 2020 budget staff recommended $2 million for the snow response contingency reserve. However Council reduced the amount to $1 million.
- The maintenance and cleanliness of roads and sidewalks, including extreme weather response and dealing with snow and ice, are among the core, most basic jurisdictional responsibilities of local governments such as the City of Vancouver. It is therefore incumbent upon the City and Council to remain open at all times to new and better ways to adapt to conditions and to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the city’s residents, visitors, and businesses.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
A. THAT Council direct staff to identify High Priority Pedestrian Areas and Sidewalks in the city and report back before Council’s summer break, with information and recommendations for incorporating these areas and sidewalks into the City’s Snow Protocol and Response Strategy, in accordance with the topmost priority accorded to walking in the City’s hierarchy of transportation modes, the City’s Complete Streets Strategy, Equity goals, and Climate Emergency Response actions and objectives;
FURTHER THAT staff engage with the Seniors Advisory Committee as well as the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee as well as any others deemed beneficial, for their feedback and input.
B. THAT Council direct staff to include information in the report back outlining the City’s responsibilities and obligations with respect to identified High Priority Pedestrian Areas and Sidewalks, along with the respective responsibilities and obligations of adjacent private property owners and/or their representative agencies (such as BIAs and other jurisdictions such as TransLink).
C. THAT Council direct staff to consult with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation with respect to equipment and strategies employed by the Park Board for clearing snow and ice from walkways and pathways under their jurisdiction and to include this information in the report back to Council, including information relating to operational efficiencies that could potentially be achieved by partnering with the Park Board to clear snow and ice from appropriate High Priority Pedestrian Areas and Sidewalks.
D. THAT Council direct staff to investigate, and include in the report back information relating to opportunities to enhance the City’s snow and ice removal equipment fleet through the acquisition of snow removal equipment specifically designed or retrofitted for clearing sidewalks and high priority pedestrian areas of the city in an efficient and cost-effective manner, including equipment that could serve the dual function of clearing pedestrian pathways and bike lanes. Further that consideration be given to acquiring this equipment under the City’s current 2020 budget or upcoming 2021 budget in order for the equipment to be available in time for any snow events during the 2020/2021 winter season.
E. THAT Council ask staff to report back on how social enterprise can be introduced into the City’s acute snow removal protocol.
Independent Auditor General Sub-Committee
- On October 23, 2019, at the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services, Council unanimously voted in favour of a motion calling for the establishment of an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver.
- Paragraph B of Council’s October 23, 2019 resolution (“Prior Resolution B”) calls for the formation of a sub-committee of Council to direct the establishment and implementation of an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver, including “directing the search for and appointment of an Auditor General, in consultation with, and based upon recommendations from such bodies as the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF) as well as other relevant authorities that Council may deem appropriate (e.g., consultation with BC’s Auditor General for Local Government, offices of Auditors General across Canada, etc.), and with support as required from the office of the City Manager or designate.”
- In order to implement Prior Resolution B, Council has three main options as follows:
a) implementation of a formal empowered sub-committee of Council (requiring a 2/3's vote of Council pursuant to Section 161 of the Vancouver Charter); or
b) a formal (but not empowered) committee (but only requiring a simple majority vote) pursuant to Section 159 of the Vancouver Charter); or
c) an informal working group not intended to constitute a committee (as was done for the Budget Committee).
- On December 17, 2019, Council approved the City’s 2020 Budget, including Paragraph P which directed that “$500,000 be reserved and allocated from the Operating Budget or existent $750,000 remainder from the 2019 “Innovation Fund”, toward the establishment of an Auditor General’s Office in 2020.”
- The City of Vancouver is a member of the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening public sector performance audit, oversight, and accountability in Canada and abroad through research, education, and knowledge sharing.
- The Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, as Canada’s premier audit research and education foundation, has worked since 1980, with the support of its members and stakeholders, to assist all parties to the accountability relationship (i.e., oversight bodies, management, and the auditors who serve the accountability relationship) to improve the performance and accountability of public bodies, with resources, tools, and training to carry out their respective responsibilities, and by providing a national focal point for knowledge sharing and networking that fosters Canada-wide collaboration and discussion on issues of mutual interest.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
A. THAT Council authorize the creation of an informal working group, in advance of a sub-committee being formed, not intended to constitute a committee called the Municipal Auditor General Informal Working Group.
B. THAT the Terms of Reference for the Municipal Auditor General Informal Working Group be as follows:
i) To freely consult with and seek recommendations, information, and advice from such bodies as the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF), as well as other relevant authorities (e.g., consultation with BC’s Auditor General for Local Government, offices of Auditors General across Canada, etc.), including a pre-approved budget of up to $50,000 to formally engage the CAAF as a consulting body to prepare draft Terms of Reference for, and operational recommendations specific to, the establishment of an Independent Auditor General Office in the City of Vancouver, with engagement of CAAF to be facilitated with support from the office of the City Manager or designate as per Prior Resolution B.
ii) To compile all recommendations, information, and advice received through the information-gathering process noted above and present its report to Council, along with recommendations for next steps in the larger process to establish an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver, including any additional and/or expanded Terms of Reference that may be required as informed by the information-gathering process.
iii) That it complete its information gathering work and report back to Council before the end of Quarter 2 of 2020 or earlier if feasible.
iv) That, aside from reporting back to Council and making recommendations, the Municipal Auditor General Informal Working Group not be delegated any executive or administrative powers to enter into any contracts or incur any expenditures, except for the formal engagement of the CAAF (as per (v) below) as a consulting body to prepare draft Terms of Reference for, and operational recommendations specific to, an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver, without Council’s prior approval and consent (e.g., any additional expenditures that may be prudent and relevant to the information gathering process).
v) That, the proposed agreement with CAAF be subject to compliance with the City’s Procurement Policy, except as follows: Council now expressly authorizes the agreement with CAAF for an amount not to exceed $50,000 (including all applicable taxes) provided the terms of the agreement are Approved by City Solicitor and executed by City Manager.
C. THAT the Municipal Auditor General Informal Working Group be comprised of Councillors Bligh, Carr, Dominato, Fry, Hardwick, and Kirby-Yung.