Season’s Greetings

As 2006 draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families the very best for the holiday season.

This has been an eventful year for Vancouver, and I believe we have so much to be proud of as a City. As we celebrate another year of Vancouver being named one of the world’s most livable cities, our Council has also recognized the challenges that exist in our communities and I’m very pleased that we have moved forward on a number of important policy initiatives over the past 12 months to address these issues.

Just last week, in the final Council meeting of 2006, Council approved Project Civil City, a new initiative to address public disorder and reduce homelessness, which we developed in consultation with more than 75 community leaders and with input from almost 2,500 people who participated in our recent online survey. At the heart of Project Civil City are four goals that I am committed to achieving:

  • Eliminate homelessness, with a greater than 50% reduction by 2010.
  • Eliminate the open drug market on Vancouver’s streets, with a greater than 50% reduction by 2010.
  • Eliminate the incidence of aggressive panhandling with greater than 50% reduction by 2010.
  • And… Increase the level of satisfaction with the City’s approach to public nuisance and annoyance complaints by 50% by 2010.

City staff are now in process of reviewing more than 50 proposals we heard from community organizations, police and health professionals who brought forward ideas for improving order and civility on our streets. As well, the search is now underway for a new Project Civil City Commissioner who will lead the implementation team and bring forward recommendations to Council early in 2007.

Also last week, Council approved the application for a new daycare in Yaletown, a neighbourhood that has become home to so many new young families. The daycare proponent had been trying for years to open up her small business, but guidelines imposed by the City of Vancouver had prevented her from doing so.

By providing for flexibility on one small part of the City’s daycare guidelines, Council will likely have opened the doors to the creation of hundreds of new childcare spaces throughout the city. I was very encouraged that daycare operators and so many young parents came to speak to Council in support of our decision.

In addition, our City Government has moved forward on a number of other important initiatives over the past year that will shape the future of Vancouver. These include a new 311 system to provide 24/7 civic services in multiple languages; new and innovative policies to encourage development of social housing and to address homelessness in our city; and the introduction of the first ever set of guiding principles for economic development, which sets the stage for creating a more vibrant economy for businesses in Vancouver; and the innovative EcoDensity initiative which will help to protect our local ecology while making our city more economically competitive.

Beyond the decisions of Council, it is also important to reflect on the tremendous contribution of our City staff who put these policies into action. As I look back on the past year, I am truly impressed with the calibre of our team of more than 8,000 City employees. The citizens of Vancouver are very fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated group of professionals working on their behalf.

This holiday season, I encourage you to get out and enjoy all that our beautiful city has to offer, in the company of your family and friends. Please also consider giving to those less fortunate, by donating to your favourite charity or spending time volunteering for one of our many excellent community organizations.

I look forward to working with all of you in 2007 to make Vancouver an even better place to live, work, invest and play.

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments. Please contact me by email at or by calling my office at 604-873-7621.

Happy Holidays,

Sam Sullivan

Mayor Sam Sullivan

Mayor Sullivan meets with Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to discuss as part of his Budget 2007 consultations

Recent news from City Hall

Vancouver pilots new Municipal Ticket Information system

The City of Vancouver is piloting a new Municipal Ticket Information system (MTI), and Mayor Sam Sullivan is applauding the project as an important mechanism for helping to achieve the objectives of the proposed Project Civil City initiative.

The new MTI system will enable City of Vancouver Bylaw Officers and Vancouver Police Officers to issue and serve tickets on the spot to the accused.

Read more »

Vancouver streets home to Canada’s homeless, Mayor tells Ottawa

Mayor Sam Sullivan today concluded two-and-a-half days of meetings with Federal Ministers, MPs and Senators in Ottawa, where he continued to put Vancouver’s most pressing needs on the federal agenda in advance of the 2007 budget.

Homelessness, drug addiction and public disorder were among the key issues raised by Mayor Sullivan, who has met with elected representatives from all federal political parties in Vancouver and Ottawa over the past week. He was accompanied to Ottawa by Councillor Suzanne Anton and Vancouver Police Inspector Scott Thompson.

Read more »

Council approves 311 system to improve service to citizens

New decision on operational costs will mean savings for taxpayers

Mayor Sam Sullivan today congratulated Council for moving forward on the implementation of a 311 system and consolidated citizen service centre for Vancouver.

311 will provide a single phone number for non-emergency municipal services and information, and will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in multiple languages. The system is also expected to result in more streamlined operations and potential cost savings for the City.

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Put housing on the ballot in 2008

Sullivan proposes new regional solutions to GVRD Mayors

Mayor Sam Sullivan is calling on Mayors in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) to put the issue of municipal funding for social housing on the ballot in the next civic election in 2008.

“If we are going to find long-term solutions to the housing crisis facing our region, it is clear we need to support a sustainable plan that will provide new funding for us to partner with the Province,” said Mayor Sullivan. “By putting a housing question on the ballot, we will give every citizen and business owner in the GVRD a chance to voice their support for our most vulnerable living throughout the region.

Read more »

Council moves forward on actions to combat homelessness

Mayor hosts roundtable meeting with service providers

Mayor Sam Sullivan has commended yesterday’s decision of City Council to proceed with immediate actions to encourage new social housing development, increase the number of emergency shelter beds for the homeless in Vancouver, and invest in the creation of 44 new social housing units in the former Pennsylvania Hotel in the Downtown Eastside.

The Mayor shared information about the new actions with a group of 20 community organizations and service providers who took part in a roundtable meeting on homelessness in the Mayor’s Office this morning. The group discussed ways in which the City, Regional, Provincial and Federal governments can work collaboratively with community groups and agencies in the inner city to provide emergency shelter and services.

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Mayor Sullivan and Councillors pose with residents and volunteers taking part in the Mayor’s survey on public disorder, at Chinatown Plaza

In the News

Sullivan praises Victoria’s plan for social housing

Mayor Sam Sullivan has welcomed news that Victoria will build a dozen new social-housing projects in Vancouver.

B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman said last week the province is willing to fund a mixture of supportive housing for those grappling with mental illness, drug addiction and affordable rental housing.

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Achieving a civil society hinges on humane treatment for its lost souls

Vancouver Sun Editorial
Public disorder is not new in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, nor are attempts to eliminate it. Successive mayors, from Philip Owen to Larry Campbell, and now Sam Sullivan, have all called attention to the problem, and have offered various solutions.

This is something we need to keep in mind in assessing the value of Sullivan’s latest initiative, Project Civil City. According to the project’s official document, Sullivan wants to achieve a 50-per-cent reduction in homelessness, the open drug market, aggressive panhandling and public nuisance and annoyance complaints by 2010.

Read more »