In an effort to tackle Vancouver's crime and social issues, Mayor Sam Sullivan and Councillor Kim Capri today unveiled Project Civil City which is aimed at eliminating homelessness, aggressive panhandling and the open drug market, with a minimum 50 per cent reduction by 2010.
The comprehensive proposal was developed, in part, through: a series of roundtable discussions with more than 75 local community and business stakeholders; consultations with local service providers, the police, the local health authority as well as representatives from senior levels of government; and feedback from 2,469 Vancouverites through an online survey posted on the Mayor's website.
The proposal, including an open letter from the Mayor to the citizens of Vancouver, can be downloaded at http://www.samsullivan.ca/pdf/project-civil-city.pdf.
Mayor Sullivan said that while he wants to use the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a catalyst, Project Civil City is a long-term initiative that goes beyond the Games.
"This initiative aims to develop long-term and sustainable solutions to homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness," said Mayor Sullivan. "In addition, we must direct our attention to cracking down on crime, including tackling property crime and aggressive panhandling."
In addition to more than 50 suggestions put forward by citizens and organizations during the Mayor's community consultations, the Project Civil City proposal recommends 10 immediate action items for Council, including:
"I am particularly grateful to our Provincial and Federal representatives who have joined me on the Project Civil City Leadership Council," said Mayor Sullivan. "We all share the goal of restoring order to our community and ensuring that, in 2010, Vancouver will be able to proudly represent British Columbia and Canada to the world."
On December 14, Councillor Capri will put forward a motion to City Council to adopt the four Project Civil City targets, and to ask City staff to develop a comprehensive action plan within 90 days. Councillor Capri said she hopes the action plan will result in the implementation of Project Civil City's initiatives by the Spring of 2007.
"There's plenty of work to be done, but by setting targets and dates, we can get past all the talk and start taking action to ensure we maintain our reputation as a great place to live, work and visit," said Councillor Capri. "Vancouver citizens have told us in no uncertain terms that they want these important issues dealt with sooner rather than later, and the time for action is now."