Following the Dream Vancouver conference, students from Simon Fraser University's Graduate Public Policy Program developed research papers on several civic issue topics that were the discussed by conference participants. The student research papers are presented below, along with the Dream Vancouver summary report. Think City would like to thank Professor Doug McArthur and the particpating SFU graduate students who devoted many hours to Dream Vancouver.
Dream Vancouver Fall 2007 Conference Report
By Erica McCollum
On October 21, 2007, over 260 citizens from across Vancouver came together to dream, discuss, and listen at the Dream Vancouver conference. The main objective of the conference was to stimulate connections and energy around the common concerns of the citizens of Vancouver, and foster creative ideas and solutions to better the city. The intent was to provide a space for participants to talk about the issues of concern in Vancouver. At the same time the conference was designed to avoid frustration and negativity
by directing attention toward the assets and po ssibilities associated with the city.
Urban Aboriginal Policy in Vancouver
By Morgan Wells
Aboriginals living off reserve in urban settings often experience marginalization in many different aspects of their lives. Social indicators show urban aboriginals in Vancouver have significantly lower quality of life than non-aboriginals. For example, urban aboriginals have poorer health status, an overrepresentation in the criminal justice system, higher housing need and a higher unemployment rate. This policy paper reviews three options that would help alleviate some of these issues, as well as improve relations between aboriginals and non-aboriginals. The policy alternatives presented are government lead clarification and division of jurisdictional responsibilities for urban aboriginals; a renewed focus on reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians; and a Vancouver Aboriginal Accord to open dialogue and identify needs and goals with the urban aboriginal community in Vancouver. The report recommends a Vancouver specific urban aboriginal strategy as well as a Vancouver Aboriginal Accord.
By Marta Inieweska
Green space is a valuable asset in Vancouver and can promote exercise, health leisure, economic benefits and livability in a neighbourhood. Still there are barriers to maintaining green space in Vancouver and keeping to the parks board standard of 2.75 acres of parkland per thousand people. This policy paper focuses on three options that could help address the need for green space in the face of ongoing pressures for development. The policies presented are meaningful public participation and consultation; brown field developments; and no net loss of green space. The report recommends that all three policies should be implemented. The suggested first step is the establishment of a no net loss policy.
By Katharine Friesen
Vancouver residents use over twice as much water per capita than residents in countries with similar standards of living. The excessive water use in Vancouver, combined with climate change, and the limitations on our water supply provide the basis of this policy paper. To address this issue the author focuses on the demand-side management (DSM) approach, which includes a variety of policies and programs that can be implemented to impact the demand for a resource. The paper examines nine DSM policy instruments Vancouver could implement in order to achieve water conservation. These instruments are behavioral changes; physical changes; education; economic incentives; volume-based pricing and universal metering; full cost pricing; regulatory instruments; a focus on end use; and water reuse. The paper recommends the DSM mechanisms be used in combination. Volume-based full cost pricing and universal metering are named as the most effective of the instruments for water conservation.
Port Mann Bridge and Highway One
By Colin Ward
The traffic along the Port Mann Bridge and the Highway One corridor of Metro Vancouver is congested nearly 14 hours per day. In addition commuting times throughout the corridor have increased by 30 per cent over the past ten years. These levels of congestion along with the predicted future population and economic growth suggest the current infrastructure is inadequate to address the transportation needs in this area. The three policy alternatives presented to manage this issue are: a transit-only plan that improves transit services throughout the affected area; the BC government's Port Mann/highway One component of the Gateway program, which incorporates some alternative transportation but mostly focuses on roadway expansion; and a demand management strategy that combines enhanced transportation alternatives with financial incentives. The paper recommends that the government implement the demand management strategy to address congestion.
By Vance Lockton
Youth engagement is important for the health of our democracy and enables the input of new energy and ideas into the various organizations that make up civil society. However, the statistics presented in this paper suggest that youth engagement in communities is alarmingly low. To provide background on the Vancouver context, this policy paper outlines the current state of youth engagement in the city. Three policy options are then reviewed that would help foster youth engagement in Vancouver. The policy alternatives presented are: the re-instatement of the elements of the civic youth strategy; the implementation of service-based curriculum programs in high school civics classes; and the creation of a youth innovation centre where various youth organizations and NGOs can offer programs and work together in a single location. The paper recommends that the City of Vancouver create a youth innovation centre.
By Jennifer Balcom
As Vancouver is failing its stated objective to ensure affordable housing is available for all incomes, this paper reviews some policy options to increase affordable housing stock, particularly in regards to middle-income households. The four policy options presented are: semi-market housing; lobbying senior levels of government for funding; developer incentives; and inclusionary zoning. The paper recommends semi-market housing as the most effective option for providing affordable units for middle-income groups.
Eldercare and the Sandwich Generation
By Heather Lynch
As the Canadian population ages, there is increasing pressure facing the "sandwich" generation, who balance family and eldercare responsibilities. This policy paper reviews three options that would help to ease the stresses associated with providing care to elderly parents. The policy alternatives presented are the legislation of workplace policy to accommodate employees balancing family and eldercare responsibilities; changes to the homeowners grant and tax deferment programs to provide alleviation to those taking on in-home eldercare; and improvements made to existing information on programs, policies, resources and healthcare issues. The author concedes that these policy options have various equity, administrative and cost-effective challenges but asserts there is still a strong need to implement policy that specifically addresses the issue of eldercare. The report recommends the implementation of all three policies. The suggested first step is to increase the provision of comprehensive information on resources and programs.
By Sonu Kailley
An economic development body can help to facilitate the generation of development and economic growth in a city. Although there is currently a body responsible for economic development in Vancouver, the author suggests this agency has not had a significant impact on development. The paper reviews four policy options that could be implemented to create a comprehensive economic development governance body in the region. The policy alternatives presented are: the current system with the Vancouver Economic Development Commission as the primary economic development body; a publicly financed regional economic development organization; a regional economic development organization that involves a public/private partnership; and a regional economic development body similar to the Portland Development Commission. The brief recommends the city of Vancouver undertake the public/private partnership regional economic development model.