I am writing with a progress report for some important issues we are working on at City Hall. Please find updates on a number of items that support the goals we have established for our government:
In my last report, I highlighted our intention to support the Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) 2008 budget request for 96 new police officers over the next two years. Since then, our government has confirmed our plans to support a number of other items to reduce crime and improve community safety:
These measures are in addition to the 140 new full time employees and millions of dollars for new equipment and training we have approved for VPD over the past two years. Our new Chief Constable, Jim Chu, has done a terrific job in his first year on the job and we are very proud to support the hard working men and women of the VPD.
As Mayor, I have been very proud to support and implement the Four Pillars drug strategy first developed by former Vancouver Mayor Phillip Owen. This week, we reconvened the Four Pillars Coalition for a special meeting on ways to prevent drug abuse.
Prevention is a critical pillar in our plan - and too often it does not get enough attention. We are changing that by focusing this entire meeting on prevention. Among other things, we received a presentation from Vancouver School Board (VSB) Chair Clarence Hansen on prevention programming offered in our schools and some of the new partnerships we are considering. Earlier this month, I invited the federal government to use some of their national prevention funding to support a VSB partnership.
At the previous Coalition meeting, we updated a number of innovative initiatives in our city. Since then, we have made significant progress to secure federal funding for:
Delivering compassionate solutions to our social challenges is one of the key goals we have established for our government. Project Civil City represents a comprehensive plan that will help us address homelessness in Vancouver. But our plan recognizes that government cannot tackle this issue alone. We need to marshal the will and spirit of individual residents, non-profit organizations and all levels of government.
We also recognize that our faith communities make an enormous contribution to our effort to help those who need it the most.
That is why our government will be introducing a motion recognizing the service faith communities provide to marginalized people by no longer requiring them to go through all the red-tape associated with securing a special land use permit.
We are very proud to support faith communities of all persuasions that provide a range of programs and activities which support social sustainability, including assistance with basic needs, such as meals and temporary shelter to marginalized members of the community.
Last week marked the two year countdown to the closing of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. I am very confident that two years from now our city will be basking in the glow of one of the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games ever.
Our government is committed to making sure our city is prepared to host the world and maximize this once in a lifetime opportunity for Vancouver. Making sure we are ready means working in partnership with all levels of government and our neighbouring municipalities - particularly our Olympic co-hosts.
Mayor Sullivan and City Councillors at the signing of the Vancouver-Whistler Partnership Agreement
That is one of the reasons members of Vancouver City Council traveled to Whistler last week. In addition to touring venues and sharing ideas, we signed a special partnership agreement (pdf) to help coordinate our efforts related to tourism, transportation and economic development opportunities.
In the coming weeks, we will be announcing more progress on our preparations and I will continue to keep you posted on our achievements.
In addition to planning to host the Games, our government is also thinking beyond 2010. We are already considering a number of large post-2010 projects including:
Last week, we confirmed more post-2010 plans with an announcement that Vancouver has been selected to host the 2013 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual General Meeting and Municipal Expo. With approximately 3000 attendees, this event will generate over $4 million of economic activity in our city - not to mention tremendous media exposure.
Thank you again for your ongoing interest and support on these initiatives.
As always, I look forward to your ideas and feedback.