As your Mayor, I am pleased to present you with a framework for action to address the issue of public disorder in the City of Vancouver. I am bringing forward a proposal to City Council which sets out ambitious targets, describes our most pressing challenges, and introduces a number of potential solutions.
This initiative, entitled Project Civil City, was produced in partnership with Councillor Kim Capri, a trained criminologist with 20 years of experience and formerly Executive Director of the BC Crime Prevention Association, whom I have asked to take a lead role in Council on this major public policy issue.
Project Civil City, along with policy initiatives our Council is undertaking in the areas of economic development and the arts, is vital to the successful implementation of EcoDensity in the City of Vancouver. We want our citizens to choose to live in high-quality, ecodense neighbourhoods. This requires a commitment to minimize public nuisances and improve public order and community safety.
Based on the overwhelming response we received from our web-based survey on public disorder, several roundtable discussions with community leaders, and research from business and community organizations, it is clear that the citizens of Vancouver want decisive action from their Civic, Provincial and Federal Governments to improve order on the streets of our city.
With just over three years until the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we have a unique opportunity to take advantage of this world-class event. The Federal and Provincial Governments are more motivated than ever to invest in developing and supporting long-term, sustainable solutions to Vancouverâ€™s most pressing social issues. As a City Council, we are focused on leveraging the Games to create legacies for the citizens of Vancouver.
Included in this Project Civil City document (PDF) are more than 50 suggestions gathered over the course of six months of community consultations. I believe that within these suggestions lies a roadmap toward the restoration of public order and civility in our community.
The suggestions include a range of ideas â€“ from utilizing our City employees in a different way to ensure they become our â€œeyes and earsâ€ on the street, to exploring new treatment options for chronic offenders who are suffering from drug addiction.
As the leader of the City, I have decided to set aggressive targets to reduce public disorder. In addition to tackling illegal and nuisance behaviours such as open drug use, aggressive panhandling and noise infractions, we must also work as a community to find compassionate solutions to the root causes of poverty. We must look at new approaches to house our most vulnerable citizens and provide them with the support they need.
I am recommending to City Council that we establish the following targets and focus our community efforts on meeting these goals:
These are aggressive targets that will require the rapid implementation of a number of the suggestions outlined in this proposal.
It is for this reason that on December 14th I will be asking Council to support a motion from Councillor Capri to adopt these targets as the goals of our civic government and to approve the development of a comprehensive implementation plan that will be activated within 90 days.
In the interim, based on the feedback I have received from the community, I am also recommending 10 immediate actions to be undertaken by Council:
In my inaugural speech I asked the question â€œWhat kind of city do you want the world to find in 2010?â€
Over the past 12 months, you, the citizens of Vancouver, have spoken to me and to Council about your priorities for the future of our city. You have told us what kind of city you want Vancouver to be today, in 2010, and beyond.
You want to see:
There is no question that we must act swiftly and decisively to solve the public disorder problems that affect our city. I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to use the upcoming 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a catalyst to do just that.
Success in achieving our targets will mean rolling up our sleeves, looking beyond 2010, and implementing long-term and sustainable solutions that help to improve the lives of our most vulnerable.
If we simply host a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will have failed. Instead, we must use these Games to create social and human legacies that will benefit generations to come.
I am grateful to the thousands of Vancouver citizens who participated in roundtable meetings and provided their feedback in our online public disorder survey. It is clear that you care passionately about this issue and you want to make your city an even better place to live.
I know that you share my belief that the time for talk is over. We must focus on action and work as a community to implement solutions.
There is hope for an even better Vancouver â€“ a more civil city. Together we can make it happen.
Samuel C. Sullivan