City Council discusses missing women and food strategy
Vancouver city council’s regular meeting of January 29, 2013 came to order at 9:36am.
Councillor Heather Deal gave the welcome and talked about the “doldrums” that tend to hit people this time of year. She reminded everyone that the days are getting longer and talked about the many festivals and events around the city that can help brighten Vancouverites’ spirits.
Before continuing with the agenda, Mayor Gregor Robertson mentioned the historic first meeting between Vancouver city council and the Tseil-Waututh First Nation that had occurred a week before. He spoke positively about the common interests shared by council and the Tseil-Waututh. He also showed the beautiful wolf painting the Tseil-Waututh gave to Vancouver city council.
Council agreed to meet “In Camera” later that day. At the “In Camera” meeting of January 15, 2013, council appointed Benjamin Ling to the First Shaughnessy Advisory Design Panel, and appointed Ryan Bragg, Walter Francl and Joseph Hruda to the Urban Design Panel.
There were three items adopted on consent. The first was a communication, “Revision to 2013 Council Meetings Schedule,” which requested that council cancel two public hearings scheduled in February, as four new public hearing dates have now been scheduled for that month.
The second was an administrative report, “Vancouver Sport Hosting Grant: 2012 Fall Intake Allocations.” The report recommends that council approve $63,500 in Sport Hosting Grants. These grants would draw on the remaining funding from the 2012 Sport Hosting Grants Budget and would leave $55,852 in the $200,000 2013 Sport Hosting Grants Budget, as $75,000 has already been allocated to the FIFA Women’s World Cup and $60,000 to the Davis Cup. (For specifics on which organizations will receive grants, see page 3 of the report.)
The policy report “Farmers’ Market Report Back and Recommendations” was the final item adopted on consent. It recommends that permit durations and fees be aligned for all farmers’ market, whether they are on zoned lands, the streets or Park Board land. It also recommends a $10 annual business license fee for all farmers’ markets, which currently only applies to markets on zoned lands, requests $45,000 for infrastructure to make water and electricity easily available to farmers’ markets on Park Board lands (i.e. city property) and asks council to approve a plan to help streamline the farmers’ market application process.
The administrative report “2013 Street Cleaning Grants” and the policy report “Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law Regarding Farmers’ Markets” were held for debate.
Mary Clare Zak, Director of Social Policy, gave a presentation on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Report. Deputy Chief Constable Doug Lepard also helped answer questions.
The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was established in 2010 and the final report, titled Forsaken, was released on December 17, 2012. There were three recommendations in the report specific to Vancouver:
- “All entities with responsibilities under the proposed Living in Community Action Plan (2007) commit to priority actions
- Create and fund two community based liaison positions with experience in sex trade using a transparent process
- CoV and VPD take proactive measures to reduce numbers of court warrants issued for minor offences”
The city is currently working on following the recommendations and council will receive a report back from staff in June 2013.
Following the presentation, Mayor Robertson reminded everyone that the Annual Women’s Memorial March will be taking place on February 14 and asked for a moment of silence for the Vancouver women who were missing or dead.
Zak also gave the next presentation, which was on the Vancouver Food Strategy. The strategy ties into several of city council’s major priorities, including the Healthy City Strategy, the Greenest City Action Plan and the Vancouver Economic Action Strategy. It has five main goals:
- Support food friendly neighbourhoods
- Empower residents to take action in their own neighbourhoods
- Increase access to healthy affordable, culturally diverse food
- Make food a centerpiece of Vancouver’s green economy
- Advocate for a just and sustainable food system with partners and all levels of government
To meet these goals, the strategy outlines several actions, which are broken down according to the four parts of the food system: food production, food processing and distribution, food access, and food waste management.
To adopt the food strategy, council needed to vote on a policy report, but first they needed to hear from speakers at the City Finance and Services meeting on Wednesday.
Continuing the agenda, council moved onto items for debate. The administrative report “2013 Street Cleaning Grants” was held for debate by Councillor George Affleck. The report is a recommendation from staff that 2013 Street Cleaning Grants be awarded to Save Our Living Environment—United We Can, Family Services of Greater Vancouver—Street Youth Job Action and Kettle Friendship Society—SEED Employment Program. The grants total $175,000.
Affleck was concerned about a 20% decrease in the street cleaning budget since 2008 and wanted to know what services were being cut with that 20%. Staff explained that the budget cuts had been made possible by implementing more efficient measures. Affleck also wanted to clarify between the work done by the groups receiving grant and the work being done by city staff. These groups sweep and shovel trash from laneways, while staff empty garbage bins and collect larger items abandoned in laneways.
Councillors Elizabeth Ball and Raymond Louie also asked questions regarding the report, but it passed unanimously.
The policy report “Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law Regarding Farmers' Markets” was held by Councillor Adriane Carr. The report recommends that amendments be made to the Zoning and Development By-law regarding farmers’ markets and that the by-law be referred to a public hearing. The amendments would require farmers’ markets to have a minimum of 11 stalls and would expand the percentage of stalls that can sell local ready-to-eat foods and local artisan crafts, which would be helpful to organizers in the winter months. It also amends the definition of a farmers’ market to better distinguish between prepared foods and ready-to-eat foods.
Carr asked about the increased percentage of stalls able to sell ready-to-eat foods and artisan crafts. She understood why this was a benefit to winter markets, but didn’t see why it was necessary for summer markets.
Councillor Andrea Reimer interrupted to point out that the report was only a recommendation to go to public hearing and she felt Carr was going beyond the discussion a recommendation merited.
Carr felt there wasn’t enough information in the report for it to go to public hearing and that there needed to be more information about the consultation staff had done regarding the percentage change. The city manager, Penny Ballem, said staff could provide a yellow memo with this information.
Reimer thought it would be also useful to have more information about the governance of farmers’ markets at the public hearing and asked that the information also be included in the yellow memo.
The report was unanimously referred to a public hearing.
Eleven by-laws were unanimously passed and then council moved on to the motions on notice.
The first was “Request for Leave of Absence – Councillor Reimer” and it carried unanimously.
The next motion on the agenda was Councilor Deal’s, but as she was not in the room at that moment, council moved on to Councillor Reimer’s motion, “Responsible Investing by the City of Vancouver.” The motion asks staff to report back on the city’s cash investments and pension plan, so that council can consider how they align with the city’s "mission, values and ethical purchasing policy."
The motion had received requests to speak, so Reimer briefly introduced her motion before council unanimously voted to refer it to the City Finance and Services meeting on Wednesday.
Having returned to the room, Councillor Deal was able to introduce her motion, “Identify and Protect Arts and Culture Spaces in Vancouver.” The motion asks staff to find a way of identifying artistic and cultural resources in the city and asks that they provide council with recommendations on how to protect these resources.
The motion had received requests to speak, so council unanimously referred it to the City Finance and Services meeting on Wednesday.
Moving on to new business, the mayor gave notice on his motion “Support for Vancouver’s Film and TV Industry,” which will come before council during the next regular meeting on February 12, 2013.
Councillor Carr asked if staff could find data on the economic impact of the film and TV industry in Vancouver and report back to council.
Affleck asked about a report back on a motion of his, “Process to Determine Southwest False Creek Lease Expiry Issues,” that passed in February of 2012. Penny Balem told him that a report back was imminent.
Tim Stevenson asked about a report back on leaf blowers, which he had requested in 2012. The deputy city manager, Sadhu Johnston, told him that a memo was imminent.
The meeting adjourned at 12:06pm.