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The doors of City Hall in Vancouver

Events, decisions, and reports at City Council this week

November 8 2019 –

Vancouver City Council met this week to hear and deliberate a variety of topics during Council, Public Hearing, and City Finance and Services meetings.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 

Council began with a staff presentation (11 MB) on the Rain City Strategy (321 KB) and Integrating Blue-Green Systems Planning (4.4 MB). These were both approved after six speakers and questions to City staff. 

“This week Council approved a Rain City Strategy to reimagine how we manage rainwater in our city. Green rainwater infrastructure has many benefits including diverting from our pipe network to help reduce combined sewer overflows and pollution discharge to our local waters. Today we’re only at a 1% capture and clean rainwater rate with a 90% goal proposed by staff,” said City Councillor Sarah Kirby Young. “It is critical as part of this strategy, that we invest in green as well as grey infrastructure to separate our combined sewer pipes in order to stop combined sewer overflows - 33 billion litres were discharged into our waterways in 2018. This has to be a budget priority if we want to be a green and clean city.”

“I’m extremely grateful to staff for all the work they did on these files, to council for approving their recommendations, and to all the wonderful water organizations who continue to push this work forward. Watershed management has been my main focus on council this year; it’s a passion of mine because it has implications on everything from the climate crisis to the city’s budget to the daily lives of residents. There are 19 watersheds across Vancouver and each of them has enormous potential for solving many of the issues we face as a city,” said Councillor Michael Wiebe. “Improved watershed management could prevent thousands of litres of sewage from being dumped in our waterways, save the city millions of dollars on sending rainwater for treatment, nourish our valued green spaces, improve biodiversity, restore urban ecosystems, mitigate the climate crisis by absorbing floods and heavy rainfall and so much more. We can and should be one of the leading cities in the world with regards to urban ecosystem revival. Nature is one of our best defenses against the rising threats of climate change. Shifting from grey to blue-green infrastructure will improve water quality, absorb carbon and heavy rainfall, assist in stormwater management, buffer floods, protect and expand urban forests, and increase biodiversity and wildlife habitats. It will help us cope with the worst effects of climate change, increase biodiversity, nourish our valued green spaces, expand our active transportation networks all while restoring some of the most effective defenses against the climate crisis. We’ve paved over, buried, treated, polluted and redirected so much of this valuable resource, but still the waters thrive in the nooks and crannies of our concrete jungle - it’s amazing to me!”

Council then continued with Unfinished Business from the October 23, 2019 meeting, Rezoning: 1002 Station Street & 250-310 Prior Street (New St. Paul’s Hospital and Health Campus) (62 KB). This was approved with amendments. 

Council approved several Administrative and Policy Reports: 

Council approved several by-laws: 

Council motions: 

On Tuesday evening a Public Hearing was held. 

Agenda items:

Wednesday, November 6, 2109

On Wednesday a Standing Committee on City Finance and Services meeting was held.  

Council received a presentation from staff (1 MB) on the Approval of Expropriation and Advance Payment for 159 East Hastings Street and 160 East Hastings Street (1.7 MB). After hearing from 26 speakers and asking questions of staff the motion was approved. 

“I’m really pleased that council unanimously voted to proceed with expropriating the Regent and Balmoral Hotels,” said City Councillor Jean Swanson. “The Downtown Eastside low income community is ready and willing to work with the city for a new model of housing at shelter rate for DTES residents who were displaced when the hotels were closed.  I’m hoping we can quickly get on with providing more housing for people in the neighbourhood.”

“This week’s unanimous decision by Council to expropriate the Regent and Balmoral Hotels, after years of these hotels being in a dangerous state of disrepair, and more recently sitting empty, is enormously important. We are in a housing crisis, particularly related to SRO units,” said City Councillor Christine Boyle. “Housing is a human right, and elected leaders at every level should be using all the tools in our jurisdiction to create more non-market and supportive housing for those most struggling in our communities. I’m glad Council took this step, to address the injustice that these buildings represent within the DTES, and to show that we aren’t afraid to act boldly.” 

Council then received a presentation from staff (2.5 MB) on the One-year Review of the Short-term Rental (STR) Program (291 KB). After hearing from 11 speakers the motion was approved. 

Exploring a More Robust Policy Framework Relating to the Sale and Promotion of Vaping Products (31 KB) was approved after Council heard from one speaker.  

Increasing Access for Emergency Services: Examining How the City of Vancouver Can Increase Access to Strata and Rental Multi-Residential Buildings for All Emergency Services (24 KB) was approved after Council heard from two speakers. 

Safe and Inclusive Streets: Support for Community Crisis Management Through Understanding and De-escalation (36 KB) has been referred to the next Council meeting on Tuesday, November 26, 2109. 

Council will convene at the next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, November 26, 2019. 

Amended motions (137 KB)