Mayor Sam Sullivan has unveiled a plan to battle crime and public disorder in Vancouver by attacking homelessness, the open drug trade and aggressive panhandling.
Sullivan said the new initiative he calls "Project Civil City" will use the 2010Winter Games as a "catalyst"toreduce by half incidents ofpublic disorder in the city's downtown, but maintainsthe plan isnot just about the Olympics.
"And for anyone who makes the mistake of assuming this is all about 2010, let make me make it very clear and in no uncertain terms, this is about Vancouver," he said.
"Project Civil City is about us:It's about our downtown streets and alleys, it's about our neighbourhoods."
Sullivan said he will ask city council to redirect $1 million of the proposed Olympic Legacy Fund toward responding to nuisance and noise complaints. He also wants to spend $300,000 from the city contingency reserve to set up a Project Civil City officeand hire a commissioner to run it.
The mayor is also establishing a Project Civil City leadership council that will include federal and provincial cabinet ministers, includingfederal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, B.C. Solicitor General John Les and Attorney General Wally Oppal.
Sullivan is also taking aim at Vancouver's entertainment district—the three-block stretch of bars along Granville Street infamous for late-night drunkenness and brawling.
Within 60 days of his initiative being passed by council, Sullivan said, bar owners will be put on notice that if the late-night problems persist, their closing times will be rolled back.