Spring in the City

Greetings! It has been a busy month since my last newsletter, and I’m pleased to provide an update on my activities at City Hall and in the community.

Among the many highlights of the past month was the chance to celebrate Vaisakhi, the traditional Sikh harvest celebration, with the Indo-Canadian community in South Vancouver on April 15th. I am very proud to be the first Mayor of Vancouver to recognize this important event with an official proclamation of Vaisakhi Day in our city.

Further from home, I was in our Nation’s capital recently to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and several Ministers to discuss more than 30 outstanding issues of importance to the City of Vancouver. This was the first Vancouver delegation to visit Ottawa in more than three years and I was the first Mayor to be invited to meet with the new Prime Minister.

As Mayor, it is my intention to make regular visits to Ottawa to ensure Vancouver’s issues have a high profile and can be resolved.

Now that spring is in full bloom, we are entering the season of festivals and outdoor events and I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy our beautiful city. In addition to artistic and cultural endeavours, why not put on your running shoes and get out for a stroll or play your favourite sport to stay fit? On May 10th I led hundreds of City of Vancouver staff on a walk and wheel around the neighbourhood here at City Hall as part of the province-wide Move for Health Challenge; it was a reminder of our goal to increase physical activity in the city by 20 percent by 2010.

Looking ahead to summer, Vancouver is about to play host to thousands of guests from around the world who will attend several high profile conferences: the World Urban Forum, World Planners Congress, International Conference for Police and Peace Officer Executives, World Youth Forum, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Annual Conference, and the World Peace Forum. Politicians, academics, professionals, educators, and other world-leading thinkers will bring exciting new ideas and offer us an opportunity for dialogue. Please join me in welcoming all of the delegates and making them feel at home during their stay.

Just recently, Vancouver hosted 1,500 delegates of the 17th Annual International Harm Reduction Conference, a world-class event which provided an opportunity for the local community, city staff and elected officials to hear about innovative new approaches to drug addiction that we can apply in our own neighbourhoods. I was particularly interested in meeting with international experts to hear their views on Vancouver’s Four Pillars strategy. Their input will be valuable as we continue to tackle the issues of street disorder, open drug use and property crime.

I have been working with city staff to move forward on our strategy for the Four Pillars of Prevention, Treatment, Enforcement and Harm Reduction, all of which are needed in order to address this serious problem. We will soon announce a date for the next meeting of the Four Pillars Coalition, and a plan for engaging our local experts and community stakeholders in a renewed effort to reduce the harm caused to our neighbourhoods and citizens from the illicit drug industry.

As always, I invite you to provide your feedback on these and any other civic issues by sending me an email at sam.sullivan@vancouver.ca or calling my office at 604-873-7621.


Sam Sullivan

Mayor Sam Sullivan


Taking Vancouver’s message to Ottawa


Mayor Sullivan recently returned from a successful visit to Ottawa, where he was the first Canadian mayor to be invited to meet with the Prime Minister in his office. He commented: “I am here to shorten the distance between Vancouver and Ottawa. I intend to make this trip on a regular basis to ensure we have an ongoing dialogue and a strong relationship with the Federal Government.”

Following a meeting in which the Mayor and Prime Minister discussed several issues including arts and culture, social housing, innovations in drug policy, and the 2010 Games, Mayor Sullivan presented the Prime Minister with a custom-made pine beetle wood box containing Olympic and Paralympic flags.

While in Ottawa, the Mayor and Councillor Elizabeth Ball also met with Heritage Minister Beverley Oda, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Minister of Defence Gordon O’Connor, Liberal Leader Bill Graham, and members of the B.C. Conservative Caucus and B.C. Liberal Caucus.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper holds up an Olympic Flag which was presented as a gift from Mayor Sullivan.
  • Mayor Sullivan, Heritage Minister Beverley J. Oda and Councillor Elizabeth Ball.
  • Mayor Sullivan meets with Liberal Leader Bill Graham.

Getting down to business

The Mayor and Council have brought forward a number of new initiatives aimed at keeping Vancouver’s local economy vibrant as well as providing for modest tax relief for neighbourhood merchants. As part of the Mayor’s economic sustainability initiatives, a series of motions were approved by Council which include:

  • A one percent shift in taxation to provide modest property tax relief for Vancouver’s small businesses that currently pay almost six times the rate of residents;
  • City staff will be working with businesses, residents and the Vancouver Economic Development Commission to develop a long-term strategy for achieving an equitable division of the tax load between commercial and residential taxpayers;
  • A new policy that asks city staff to incorporate economic impact statements with all major reports to Council;
  • Staff will report to Council on ways to advance the city’s budget approval process in order to avoid passing a budget in the 2nd quarter of the fiscal year.

Council recently heard from the business community as part of the City Choices survey for the 2006 Budget — the first time since 1997 that businesses were included in public consultation around the city budget.

Council in brief


Council approved a plan for the redesign of downtown Granville Street which will see improvements to the streetscape, and to pedestrian and transit access, following completion of construction on the Canada Line. Council decided to maintain vehicle access along the 900 block of Granville, as it is now, and to increase occasional vehicle access through the Granville Mall by expanding the eligibility of access permits.


Council approved an agreement with Millennium Properties that will see the developer build a portion of the Southeast False Creek site including the Olympic Village. In addition to providing the city with $193 million for the land, Millennium will meet Council’s request to achieve up to 33% modest market (middle income) housing in the development.

News from the Mayor’s Office

Mayor Sullivan to send Vancouver flag to Moose Jaw after Giants’ win
May 10, 2006

City appoints Jeff Mooney to Vancouver 2010 Board of Directors
May 2, 2006

Mayor Sullivan meets with Prime Minister Stephen Harper; presents Olympic and Paralympic flags
April 26, 2006

Mayor Sullivan discusses arts, economic development and Deadman’s Island with federal Ministers in Ottawa
April 25, 2006

Mayor supports economic initiatives aimed at keeping Vancouver competitive
April 19, 2006

Mayor Sullivan proclaims April 15th Vaisakhi Day
April 12, 2006

Mayor Sullivan donates 30-lb. chocolate egg to Variety
April 10, 2006