City Council discusses missing women and food strategy

Councillor Heather Deal, introducing her motion "Identify and Protect Arts and Culture Spaces in Vancouver."

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:

  1. “All entities with responsibilities under the proposed Living in Community Action Plan (2007) commit to priority actions
  2. Create and fund two community based liaison positions with experience in sex trade using a transparent process
  3. 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:

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