I am writing to update you on progress we are making on important issues at City Hall that support the five goals we have established for our government.
This month, we are all celebrating Chinese New Year. I was honoured to participate with Councillor B.C. Lee and my other Council colleagues in many special events across the region to recognize this special time in Vancouver. To help mark the occasion, our government approved an important revitalization plan for Chinatown at City Council this week.
The plan supports community efforts to rehabilitate heritage buildings in Chinatown and provides $500,000 to assist five family associations and Benevolent Societies in the planning associated with rehabilitating their buildings as part of Chinatown revitalization.
2010 Two-Year Countdown
This week, we marked the two-year countdown to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler. There is a growing awareness around the world that no city has been as prepared as Vancouver to host an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. And as good as the Olympics and Paralympic Games will be for Vancouver – we will be good for the Games. Our city is uniting for that common cause.
To mark the two-year countdown, we released a progress report on the construction and development of the following venues in association with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games:
- Hillcrest Curling Venue
- Southeast False Creek – Olympic Village
- Downtown Vancouver Live Sites
- Pacific Coliseum
- Killarney & Trout Lake Community Ice Rinks
- BC Place Stadium
More Social Housing
In addition to venue construction, the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games will deliver significant social legacies for the City of Vancouver. In addition to the Canada Rapid Transit Line and new downtown Convention Centre, 2010 is helping us secure historic investments in social housing.
The City of Vancouver is doing more than our share in the region. In recent years, we have invested more than $170 million for social housing – despite the fact our challenge is national in scope. In December, we approved 12 city-owned sites for rapid development. And this week at City Council our government voted for another new treatment facility. I am very proud of our government’s commitment to this issue.
I am also proud of the partnership we have established with the provincial government. This week, I was honoured to join Premier Campbell and BC Housing Minister Rich Coleman as they announced plans to purchase and covert six more Vancouver hotels into social and supportive housing. These 300+ units will be in addition to the 2700 now in progress around Vancouver.
2009 Juno Awards Come to Vancouver
This past week was a good one for Vancouver’s rich music scene. Last weekend, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra won a Grammy Award. We kicked off the Cultural Olympiad with a special concert at the Orpheum Theatre. And on Tuesday, we received confirmation that the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has awarded the 2009 Juno Awards to Vancouver.
In December, I traveled to Toronto to meet directly with CARAS to promote Vancouver’s bid. The 2009 show will bring millions of dollars into the local economy and further promote Vancouver as a premier international destination for arts and culture. I want to thank Councillor Elizabeth Ball and the local 2009 Juno organizing committee for their hard work to secure the show for Vancouver. The Juno Awards celebrate excellence in Canadian music, and the 2009 show will be a great party.
Public Consultation – Municipal Budget & EcoDensity
Over the past two years, our government has benefited directly from the input and ideas of residents, businesses and community organizations. Your ideas helped shape our Project Civil City goals to reduce homelessness and public disorder. And public input is helping to develop our plans for the new UBC Rapid Transit Line. We are listening!
Currently, our government is supporting two significant public consultation initiatives. On behalf of my Council colleagues, I would like to invite you to help shape the future of your community by giving us your ideas about our EcoDensity program and the upcoming municipal budget:
SAT, FEBRUARY 16 AT 1:30PM – CHINESE CULTURAL CENTRE
SAT, FEB 16 AT 9:00AM – VANDUSEN GARDEN
WED, FEB 20 AT 7:00PM – CITY HALL
SAT, FEB 23 AT 9:00AM – KILLARNEY HIGH SCHOOL
Thank you again for your ongoing interest and support on these initiatives. As always, I look forward to your ideas and feedback.