Platform Working Draft

 
 

You’ve reached the Taq for Council Vancouver 2018 platform working draft.

Below, you’ll find my current position on housing, transportation, and intersectional equity and social safety. I also briefly outline my position on improving the health of the earth and childcare in our city.

My perspective as a writer, researcher, and community volunteer inform my position as city councillor.  As I writer, I know that any public document is alive and influenced by many editors.  As a woman of colour and social justice researcher, I prefer to take a non-binary approach to politics. Rather than ‘left’ or ‘right’, I think that issues concerning our city exist on a spectrum of decision-making.  As a community volunteer I think that each issue can be viewed from an decolonial, intersectional perspective to improve the lives of all Vancouverites.

The language in the working draft is written by myself, Taqdir Kaur Bhandal, and the amazing team of volunteers who are making the Taq for Council campaign happen.

Housing:

  • Facilitate co-operative planning between city, province, and federal government for a holistic approach to housing and density.

  • Actually addressing homelessness rather than ignoring people who are currently without a stable safe space. This could include safe street sleeping beds, grants for homeowners to turn garages into temporary shelters and/or smaller homes. 

  • Combination of mixed-use commercial buildings with purpose built rentals. Encourage environment where community-based development approaches such as social housing, non-profit, non-market rates, renewable resource management, and eco-friendly design can flourish.

  • Walk-to-work approach to planning, sub-nodes to maximize local business and food options, re-zoning to allow for maximization of living space.

  • Compassion and care approach to understanding desire for low density, working with neighbourhood houses and associations to transform perspectives and plan for the future.

  • Leveraging city-owned land to support medium and high density developments with community focus.

  • Increase rental housing close to campuses for post-secondary students living in the City of Vancouver.

  • Advocate for tenant anti-discrimination measures based on gender, sex, ability, ethno-cultural background, income, pet companionship, age, citizenship, etc.

  • Strengthening tenants rights to prevent reno-victions, and uphold Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy.

  • Stronger enforcement against units being used for short term rentals such as Airbnb. 

Transportation:

  • Commit to 21st century approaches to movement, commuting, and transit.

  • Funding oversight for Phase 2 Translink proposal.

  • Approve and begin building Skytrain to UBC.

  • Strategic use of taxpayer dollars towards increasing accessibility and promoting renewable economies, including building more and safer bike lanes.

  • Balance public’s need for alternate transportation options such as ride-sharing with strong protection of cab drivers benefits and income. Support democratized ride sharing such as Uber and Lyft by exploring  open source platforms such as LibreTaxi.

  • Walk-to-work approach to planning and development.

  • Maximize transportation space, in order to move people efficiently in an environmental, sustainable way.

  • Symbiotic relationship between bikes, transit, and cars. 

  • Mandate electric vehicle charging stations and bike cages in all new purpose built rentals and multi-family developments. Moreover, provide tax incentives for retrofitting existing parking spots with charging infrastructure.

Intersectional equity and social safety:

  • Approach equity and social safety through an intersectional lens. An intersectional lens considers how the relations of gender, sex, sexual orientation, ethno-cultural background, class, spirituality, ability, age, and citizenship shape our societies.

  • Continue recognition of settler-colonial histories.  Implement decolonial practice through existing frameworks such as Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action at the municipal level. Begin repatriating land back to Coast Salish Indigenous communities.

  • Increase City of Vancouver mentorship and programming for youth leadership programs. The goal would be to support and build capacity for young people of diverse identities to engage in municipal politics.

  • Greater oversight over the Vancouver Police Board and more education for public safety officials. Action is needed for Vancouver’s Indigenous and people of colour communities based on recent and historical reports on “carding” and representation in prisons.

  • Add additional outcome measures to Vancouver Police Dept. in addition to response time, including: anti-oppression training, relationship building with marginalized communities, presence and exposure of weapons in community spaces, movement away from training partnerships in the USA.

  • Examination and re-distribution of public safety funds for the purposes of greater professional development. 

  • Support non-profit organizations and public education campaigns to decreasing stigma related to addictions and mental health differences.  Expand definition of addiction to include all legal and illegal substances.  Addictions come in the form of chemicals, herbs, and habits - e.g. sugar, exercise, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, shopping, and gambling.

  • Mental health support teams on public buses that service Downtown Eastside residents, including a street medic, therapy dog, and trained de-escalator.

  • Take a multi-pronged approach to the opioid public health crisis. This involves working with local health professionals to address over prescription of opioids, increasing the number of safe injection sites, and use existing funds to support harm reduction focused rehabilitation programming.  The vast majority of my mentors and colleagues in Canadian public health implore governments to decriminalize all drugs. 

  • Use an gender-affirming and diverse approach to implement Vancouver: A City for All Women Strategy 2018-2028, to ensure a decrease in violence against women and gender diverse residents.

  • Greater spatial mixing between high, middle, and lower income jobs and housing opportunities. This will encourage development of “a more open form of urbanism that recognises how the spatial and the social are inextricably linked” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 2016).

  • Work with local creatives to invest more in diverse arts and culture in the city.  Use city owned land to create space for affordable, collaborative workshops spaces for artists.  Introduce Maker's spaces to Vancouver Public Libraries. 

  • Financial and public investment in post-secondary vocational and skill-based education.

  • Making streets, city events, and public spaces accessible for people of all abilities.

  • Policy updates to voting rights for permanent residents of Vancouver.

Health of the Earth:

  • Focus on the Reduce and Re-use approaches to municipal waste. Invest in public education programming to build zero-waste habits for residents of Vancouver, such as ‘pack-in-pack-out’ policies.

  • Draw on knowledge from Indigenous, Eastern, and Western ways of healing and conservation.

  • Consultation and implementation of more accessible alternatives to single-use items (take-out containers, drinking cups, plastic bottles, etc.).  Main stakeholders are local businesses, restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, convenience stores, and concerned members of the public.

  • Work in meaningful partnership with the Parks Board to implement zero-waste approaches in public parks.

  • Pass by-law to ban the ban on visible clotheslines in the entire city.  Province-wide group SPEC finds If 1/2 residents in B.C. line-dried their clothes for 3 months it would result in savings of 60 million kilowatt hours every year. 

  • Supporting a decrease in dependance on burning carbon through incentives for electric vehicles, transit ridership, and walk to work approach to housing.

  • Consider effects of City of Vancouver on the waterfront and shoreline, and start the process of adapting to sea level rise, storm surges, increased rainfall, etc.

Childcare:

  • Draw from expertise in other major Canadian and international cities

  • Increase number of childcare spaces through strategic use of Vancouver Public Libraries and partnership with Vancouver School Board (school buildings) and Vancouver Parks Board (community centres).

  • Leverage existing funds available to Increase affordability. Research shows that two main affordability approaches are child care fee subsidies for families and operating grants for childcare centers.

  • Fair wages for early childhood educators paired with recruitment of nurturing, trained professionals.

  • Recognition of and necessary support for children with diverse abilities.

  • Increase capital development funding for new licensed child care spaces.

  • Expansion of existing licensed spaces, especially non-profit spaces.