City on the Move

Greetings from City Hall! As summer moves into full swing, your City Council has been hard at work on a number of initiatives. Over the past month, residents and businesses have also surely noticed that the level of activity in our city has reached a fever pitch, with thousands of visitors in Vancouver for events such as the World Urban Forum, World Peace Forum and World Planners Congress.

I was honoured to provide welcome remarks to the Opening Ceremony of the World Urban Forum on June 19 and to urge delegates to work together in their goal of improving the health of our planet and quality of life for all human beings. It was 30 years ago that Vancouver held the world’s first Urban Forum, Habitat, which was a watershed moment for our city. I credit that event for giving rise to new ideas about how Vancouver could become the livable city we enjoy today. I encouraged 2006 World Urban Forum delegates to take note of Vancouver’s commitment to sustainability, inclusivity and accessibility. We are a city with an active, vibrant and healthy downtown where people both work and live. Every year the number of cars that enter our city is decreasing and today in downtown Vancouver, almost 70% of all trips are made by pedestrians.

I believe we can be proud of our many achievements, but Vancouver has much more work to do. If everyone in the world lived like we do in Vancouver it would take four planets to sustain us. Clearly, we must do better.

Vancouver EcoDensity InitiativeFollowing meetings with community leaders and neighbourhood groups, I recently launched an initiative to engage all citizens in an effort to reduce our city’s ecological footprint. The EcoDensity Initiative promotes high quality density as a way of addressing the climate change crisis, and to improve the livability and affordability of Vancouver neighbourhoods. The Initiative, which Councillor Suzanne Anton will bring to Council on July 18, will produce a Charter of principles and a Toolkit for neighbourhoods to help people understand the environmental implications of the choices that they make. I encourage you to visit to read the proposal, send your comments to,
and stay tuned for opportunities to get involved over the coming year.

Another highlight of the past month was the raising of the Paralympic Flag at City Hall on June 7th, which marked the first time that a host city has displayed both the Olympic and Paralympic flags side by side. Vancouver joins Whistler in this significant achievement. The event was made even more special with the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Her Royal Highness Princess Sophie, the Countess of Wessex. His Royal Highness was very gracious in joining me for this historic occasion and in calling on the local and international community to recognize the skill and contribution of Paralympic athletes.

And finally, I want to give special thanks to Adri Hamael, organizer of the 2006 Wish Cup Soccer Tournament ( which took place June 24-25 at David Lam Park. Adri has worked tirelessly over the past few years to grow his annual charity soccer tournament into a popular summertime event that raises funds for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Creative Peace Network Society, an organization that brings Palestinian and Israeli youth together in Vancouver. By involving the community in physical fitness and friendly competition, Adri is setting a wonderful example for our Olympic and Paralympic host city, while working to improve the quality of life for kids at home and abroad. As you can see from the photo below, the tournament kicked off on a gorgeous sunny day in Yaletown.

I hope you, your family and friends enjoy many more sunny days over the coming weeks as Vancouver basks in the glow of the summer season. As Council goes on a break in late July, I will send my next email update in September, but in the meantime I welcome your feedback and comments on civic issues. You can reach me at 604-873-7621 or

Have a wonderful summer!

Sam Sullivan

Mayor Sam Sullivan

The Mayor and his partner, Lynn Zanatta, with organizers of the WISH Cup charity soccer tournament at David Lam Park on June 24

The Mayor and his partner, Lynn Zanatta, with organizers of the WISH Cup charity soccer tournament at David Lam Park on June 24. (Photo courtesy of Sami Vaskola)

Community Court needed in Vancouver

In an effort to reduce public disorder and tackle the city’s street crime, Mayor Sullivan and Councillor Kim Capri called on the Ministry of the Attorney General to establish a Community Court pilot project in Vancouver, and directed City staff to help facilitate the project. The project would include a courtroom and referrals to ancillary health and social services for habitual offenders charged with street crimes such as drug possession, minor theft and causing a disturbance. The community court model includes alternative sentencing, co-ordinated case management and rehabilitation of offenders through on-site referrals to services such as counselling and detox. It is estimated that there are approximately 1,500 habitual offenders in downtown Vancouver who are brought to court for committing street crime offences each year. View the Mayor’s motion to Council here: documents/motionb1.pdf

Celebrating Vancouver’s 125th Birthday

Councillor Elizabeth Ball recently initiated a planning process for a year-long arts and culture celebration in 2011 to mark the city’s 125th anniversary. City staff will report back on funding and partnership opportunities for Vancouver to create a showcase for our city’s history, arts and diverse cultures. With the world coming for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a ‘Vancouver 125’ celebration the following year would encourage visitors to return, and give the local artistic community an opportunity to showcase the incredible talent in our city. This will also be part of a larger strategy to leverage the 2010 Games for continued cultural and sporting events in the years following. Click here to read Councillor Ball’s motion on Vancouver 125: documents/motionb1.pdf

May Brown Report recommends improvements to civic governance

Council has received a report from the Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships Review, chaired by former Councillor May Brown. The report is a result of the work of a bi-partisan five-person review committee which was unanimously endorsed by Council to report back on opportunities to promote good government and responsible public administration at the City of Vancouver. The report makes recommendations in several areas, including:

  • Establishing principles that promote good government;
  • Clarifying the roles, relationships and responsibilities of Council, staff, and citizens;
  • Developing and proposing a code of conduct; and
  • Developing assessment criteria and a process to review advisory bodies.

Mayor Sullivan called for the review as a way to ensure the City is providing effective and meaningful opportunities for citizens to advise Council, and to clarify the roles of Councillors, staff and the public in the governance process. Council will vote on the report on July 18. If you have feedback on the report, please send your comments to

Don’t just eat your vegetables … grow them!

Councillor Peter Ladner recently issued a challenge to individuals, families, community groups and neighbourhood organizations to establish more food-producing gardens in Vancouver. City staff are working with the Vancouver Food Policy Council to encourage the creation of 2010 new food-producing garden plots in the City by January 1, 2010, as an Olympic legacy. As part of Vancouver’s commitment to being a sustainable city, community gardens and other forms of urban agriculture are an excellent way to promote environmental stewardship, encourage physical activity and social interaction in neighbourhoods. Garden plots can be developed in a variety of spaces including community gardens, rooftops, back lanes, back yards and balconies. Councillor Ladner’s motion for 2,010 Garden Plots by 2010 was passed unanimously by Council. For more information about the Vancouver Food Policy Council, visit initiatives/foodpolicy.

Whitecaps Stadium public input

Council is now hearing from members of the public about the proposal from the Whitecaps to build an outdoor stadium in Gastown. For more information on the proposal, go to whitecaps/. Public meetings are scheduled for June 27, June 29 and July 4 at 7:30pm in Council Chambers. The speakers list is closed, however you can still provide your feedback to Council by sending an email to


Vancouver City Caucus meeting

Mayor hosts Vancouver City Caucus meeting

On Friday, June 9, Mayor Sullivan was joined by Councillors Suzanne Anton, Elizabeth Ball, David Cadman, Kim Capri, George Chow, Heather Deal and B.C. Lee for a Vancouver Caucus meeting of elected officials from all three levels of government. It was the first time in several years that the Caucus was brought together, and offered an opportunity for the City to outline a number of key priorities to senior levels of government. Nineteen elected representatives attended, including Premier Gordon Campbell, Minister David Emerson, and several MPs and MLAs. In addition to more than an hour of roundtable dialogue in which every participant had an opportunity to speak and ask questions, City staff presented information on four priority areas for Vancouver: planning for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games; strategic transportation planning and public transit; housing and homelessness, and sustainability initiatives.

Mayor Sullivan joins FCM colleagues concerned about U.S. border plans

Mayor Sullivan is urging the U.S. government to reconsider plans to require all Canadian and U.S. citizens to have a passport to enter the United States. The Mayor spoke in favour of a motion at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Montreal on June 3. He expressed concern about how the new rules will affect Vancouver, particularly as the city prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010: “Three months ago in Torino, I invited the world to come to Vancouver in 2010. It’s absolutely important for us to work together to find a solution. If we permit this initiative to drive a wedge between our two countries, we will have given terrorists a victory,” he said. FCM delegates adopted a resolution calling for the passports deadline to be extended until alternative secure, inexpensive documents are available. The resolution also calls for an exemption for children to accommodate families and sports teams crossing the border.

Council applauds federal government apology for Chinese Head Tax

During the June 27 Council meeting, Councillors George Chow, Raymond Louie and B.C. Lee all spoke about the recent decision of the federal government to offer an apology regarding the Chinese Head Tax. They expressed that the apology was a long overdue recognition of the suffering inflicted on the Chinese Canadian community, and was particularly meaningful to Vancouver’s Chinese Canadian community. Mayor Sullivan has announced that he will declare June 22, 2007, “Chinese Head Tax Redress Day” in the City of Vancouver.


In addition to affecting policy changes in Vancouver, Mayor Sullivan seems to be influencing the decisions of New York City Council, as well. During a two-day stop in New York in February, en route to Torino for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, the Mayor experienced just how difficult it is to find wheelchair accessible taxis in the ‘Big Apple’. The situation hit a low point when he had to be removed from his wheelchair and manhandled into a cab. The driver then crammed his chair into the back of the taxi, causing it to be damaged.

Mayor Sullivan recounted the incident in his online travel journal that day and a few New Yorkers took notice. On May 23, Mayor Sullivan received an email from Marvin Wasserman, President of New York’s Taxis for All Campaign. The following is an excerpt of that letter:

Dear Mayor Sullivan,

I am a founder of the Taxis for All Campaign to bring wheelchair accessible taxis to New York City, and I want you to know that I listened to your audio diary of your visit last February. Two weeks ago, there was a hearing of the Transportation Committee of our City Council on a proposed bill to require that a substantial number of new taxi medallions to be sold within the next few weeks be wheelchair accessible. In my testimony, I quoted your very moving experience upon arriving at the airport in New York City last February and not being able to obtain an accessible taxi. I want you to know that as disability activists involved in the political process, you are a terrific inspiration to us. We hope that, when you return to New York City you will have no difficulty in obtaining accessible taxis.

All the best, Marvin Wasserman

The decision of New York City Council will result in the number of accessible taxis in the city increasing from just 27 today to 231 over the next year. View the New York City press release about this issue at 052506_statedmeeting.pdf