British Columbia

Vancouver's 10 most wanted: Councillors putting forward big motions at 1st full meeting

Vancouver's new city government isn't wasting any time getting going.

Citywide plan, reversing duplex decision, opioid task force among policies being tabled

Vancouver's new council meets in full for the first time Tuesday. (Cliff Shim/CBC)

Vancouver's new city government isn't wasting any time getting going. 

Mayor Kennedy Stewart and council have brought forward 10 different motions for council meetings this week — the first full week since the new mayor and council were sworn into office — on a range of issues that each of them talked about during the election campaign. 

"I hope it sends the message that people are ready to get to work right out of the gate," said councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung, who drafted a motion to have staff review last month's election and how turnout can be improved in future votes. 

"It's an opportune time, while the election process is fresh, to bring something forward so staff can take a look and come back with some analysis on how the 2018 election went." 

Here is the full list of motions:

  • Expediting a citywide plan 
  • Establishing a renter's office for the city
  • Reviewing last month's election
  • 100 per cent social housing for 58 West Hastings
  • Creating a budget committee
  • Speeding up permits and reducing development fees
  • An emergency task force on the opioid crisis
  • Reversing the recent rezoning to allow duplexes across the city
  • Making public line-item expenses in the operating budget
  • Regulating and registering all tenant buyouts

Council began at 9:30 a.m. PT Tuesday, but everything but the budget committee motion will be debated at the Wednesday's policy and strategic priorities meeting.

A slide presented to Vancouver city councillors on June 19, demonstrating the type of housing that soon could become legal throughout Vancouver's single-family neighbourhoods. Coun. Colleen Hardwick is aiming to overturn the previous council's move to rezone most of the city to allow duplexes. (City of Vancouver)

Duplex debate

The motion with the biggest ramifications is the one that calls on staff to move forward on how a citywide plan could be created — the city's first in nearly 100 years. Most councillors voiced support for such a move during the campaign. 

Where there might be more disagreement is in Colleen Hardwick's motion to have a future meeting where council could reconsider the decision to allow duplexes in virtually all of Vancouver, made by the previous council in one of its final meetings. 

"It was an inappropriate motion in timing and context, especially going into a new city council," said Hardwick. 

"We are going to go [with] a citywide plan motion, and in that context, we have to go in and from a starting position, listen to the citizens of Vancouver to what type of city they want to live in. In that context, looking forward, it is inappropriate to be handcuffed by this last-minute motion." 

However, Stewart and Coun. Pete Fry were among those during the campaign who said they didn't want to revisit the decision.

Fry, who is bringing forward his own motion on a renter's office for the city, is looking at silver linings.  

"On that particular motion, and other motions where we may have slight disagreement, I see an opportunity to get closer to consensus than we might have seen in the previous government, because there is no majority — so we have to work together to come up with solutions that work. And that's a beautiful thing," he said. 

He also predicted that many of the motions would be amended.

"We're realizing a lot of stuff is on the works with staff, so there's a bit of duplication in some of our motions, and I think you'll see that reflected the day of." 

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