Warm Wishes for the Holiday Season

Please accept best wishes from Lynn and I for a safe and enjoyable holiday season. As we come to the end of 2007, we have been reflecting on the past 12 months and are looking forward to the coming year.

Mayor Sam Sullivan and Lynn Zanatta

We started 2007 reeling from devastating windstorms that savaged Stanley Park — and ended it planting new trees and celebrating the renewal of this national treasure.

The progress made in Stanley Park over the past year represents the best of Vancouver. It demonstrates again that our gold-medal citizens are the reason we are consistently ranked as one of the world’s best cities in which to work and live.

Earlier this month, we marked the second anniversary of our election to lead City Council, School & Park Board. We have governed as a unified team and worked hard to improve relations with senior levels of government.

We are making real progress on the issues Vancouver residents care about most and have established a strong foundation for more achievement in the year ahead. In addition to the multi-million restoration of Stanley Park, we have delivered:

  • historic housing partnerships with the provincial government – resulting in thousands of social & supportive housing units in development
  • a comprehensive management plan for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games — particularly related to Athletes Village & venue construction
  • a city-wide business tax freeze
  • more buses, hybrid taxis, bike lanes & pedestrian corridors
  • $60 million upgrade of civic arts and culture facilities — including Queen Elizabeth Theatre & Pacific Coliseum
  • over 140 new full time positions for the Vancouver Police Department, more Translink security & return of Beach Patrol
  • plan to replace over 500 City of Vancouver phone numbers with one — 311

Visit www.samsullivan.ca/five-goals for a complete list of accomplishments supporting our five goals.

We are also thinking of those who do not have family and friends to support them this holiday season. We think of people alone, homeless, addicted to drugs and suffering from poor mental health.

Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to the goals of Project Civil City and use the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a catalyst for social change.

To this end, in the first months of 2008, we will:

  • deliver new treatment and prevention funding to help address chronic drug addiction in our community — particularly women in the survival sex trade
  • move forward with the development of more than 2500 units of social and supportive housing in Vancouver
  • get rid of unsightly back-alley dumpsters & expand the Downtown Ambassador Program to other neighbourhoods and increase public safety
  • support new measures to make sure lanes and sidewalks in Downtown Eastside are cleaned on a more regular basis
  • secure employment opportunities for inner city residents as part of Athletes Village construction in Southeast False Creek
  • ensure new Olympic Legacy Fund provides opportunities for street & public realm improvements in inner city neighbourhoods
  • follow through on plans to establish Community Court, 24-hour access to Vancouver shelters and expand homeless outreach program
  • lobby the federal government to reinvest in social housing
  • renew calls for the provincial government to address unfair downloading of services onto municipal taxpayers
  • support the relaxation of height restrictions for new construction on signature sites in Gastown, Chinatown and Downtown Eastside

I want to thank our City Councillors, School Trustees and Park Board Commissioners for their hard work over the past two years. We look forward to more accomplishments in the year ahead.

The bottom line is that we are very excited about what the future holds for our city. In a short time, the lights at BC Place will go dim. The Olympic Torch will be lit. And Vancouver will shine for the world to see. It will be a time for us to show that the best city in the world can deliver compassionate solutions to social challenges.

It will be a time for excellence. And it will be a time to inspire the world together.

A very Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to you all,

Sam Sullivan

Sam Sullivan