Mayor endorses Councillor Lee’s recommendations to strengthen role of advisory bodies

Mayor Sam Sullivan is planning to support a series of recommendations proposed by Councillor B.C. Lee that will serve to increase the role of advisory bodies, better align their mandate with Council priorities and provide them with additional financial resources to conduct their activities.
“I am proud of what our advisory bodies have done and continue to do in helping to shape City policy,” said Mayor Sullivan. “That’s why I have taken the time to carefully review the recommendations outlined in the May Brown Report and will support Councillor Lee’s recommendations to strengthen the role of our advisory committees.”

“The May Brown report has served as an excellent reference point to help modernize our committee structure and help to ensure it better aligns with the goals and priorities of this Council,” said Councillor B.C. Lee. “I believe my recommendations will help to further clarify the roles, relationships and responsibilities of all of our committees.”

A motion relating to the restructuring of the City’s Advisory Committees will be introduced on Tuesday, October 31st and the following recommendations will be brought forward by Councillor Lee for debate:

  • Establish a new $10,000 Advisory Committee Outreach Fund that will be accessible by all of the City’s advisory committees.
  • Develop a new Advisory Body Recognition Program for all advisory committee volunteers that will become effective in 2007.
  • Allow for better citizen input by ensuring City Councillors no longer serve as voting members on advisory bodies to Council.
  • A request that the work plan of each advisory body align with one or more key priority areas established by Council.

“This is a great step forward in helping to ensure that our volunteers will be properly recognized and that Council is able to put their advice to better use,” said Councillor Lee. “I believe the May Brown Report will go a long way in helping to increase the level of accountability at City Hall.”

The report was developed by five distinguished members of the community, including former Vancouver Councillor and Park Board Commissioner May Brown; Darlene Marzari, Former Vancouver Councillor and Minister of Municipal Affairs, Province of B.C.; Allan Tupper, PhD, Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President (Government Relations), UBC; Vince Verlaan, MA, Principal, Wellspring Facilitation and Planning, Inc., and Milton Wong, Chairman, HSBC Investments (Canada) Limited.
Earlier this year, as part of the May Brown report, Council resolved to undertake a careful analysis of each advisory body according to the proposed assessment criteria and make any desired changes to the City’s advisory body system by Fall of 2006.

Councillor Lee’s motion recommends that the following committees retain their existing mandates and remain unchanged: Advisory Committee on Diversity Issues; Bicycle Advisory Committee; Public Art Committee; Vancouver City Planning Commission; Vancouver Civic Theatres Board; Vancouver Heritage Commission; Creative City Task Force; and the Food Policy Council.

It will be recommended that the former Seniors Advisory Committee and the Disability Advisory committee be amalgamated to form a new Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Councillor Lee’s motion also calls for the following advisory committees to report to staff rather than directly to Council: Chinatown Historic Area Planning Committee; Fire and Rescue Services Citizens’ Advisory Committee; First Shaughnessy Advisory Design Panel; Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee; Building Board of Appeal; Urban Design Panel and the Vancouver Prevention Task Force.

Lee will also recommend that Council establish a new class of bodies that perform statutory functions, and that Council maintain the Building Board of Appeal, the Development Permit Board and Panel, the Board of Variance, the Family Court and Youth Justice Committee and the Vancouver Athletic Commission as part of that group.