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What. A. Year.

2022 was a rollercoaster of emotion. Some laughing, some yelling, a lot of meetings, emails, and knocking doors. Local artists organised amazing street parties and outdoor music, local activists organised important rallies for justice and human rights, advocates fought to keep trans kids safe and supported. We had droughts and storms, prices of everything went up, my kids got older, COVID continues. And there is more of it all - more joy and more struggle - ahead.

Before I dive head-first into 2023, I'm tallying up what I focused on in the past 12 months. It’s part of my commitment to being accountable to you.

So, here's some of what I accomplished in 2022:

1. Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP)

In a traditional Coast Salish witnessing ceremony at the MOA, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations presented Vancouver’s UNDRIP strategy, which Council approved unanimously a week later. It’s been a huge honour to co-chair this work alongside Squamish Chairperson Khelsilem.

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2. Making it easier to build non-market, coop and social housing

This Fall Council unanimously supported my motion to make it faster and easier to build non-market housing (after an amendment by ABC that will slow it down a bit). OneCity has been tirelessly focused on building more housing that allows working people and folks struggling to pay rent to continue to call Vancouver. Getting this motion passed was an important first step, and we will keep working hard on this in 2023 and beyond!

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3. Seeing the orange Slow Streets barriers transition to permanent infrastructure

Early in the pandemic, temporary Slow Streets barriers went up around the city, to slow traffic and improve safety for pedestrians and active transportation throughout the city. I’ve spent the past two years working to make this temporary infrastructure permanent. Last year I was successful in getting this funded in the budget, and we’re starting to see the permanent barriers put in place.

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4. Running a strong OneCity election campaign, with incredible candidates, and a platform full of thoughtful, tangible solutions 

The election results weren't what we had hoped. But I could not be more proud of the team of amazing candidates who ran with OneCity, and the thoughtful platform we ran on. In an election where many parties were running on slogans and misinformation, OneCity was putting forward serious, tangible solutions to the challenges facing Vancouverites, and a team of leaders ready to actually lead.

Read More Watch OneCity's Campaign Music Video

5. Safe, secure social housing in neighbourhoods across Vancouver

In a city as wealthy as Vancouver, it’s unacceptable that we still have neighbours who have nowhere to live except in tents and parks. We need social and supportive housing in every neighbourhood of Vancouver - and in every part of the province. So it was a big deal this year to have Council approve a project at 7th and Arbutus, another at Knight and King Ed, and more.

Read my tweets about 7th and Arbutus

6. Approving the Vancouver Plan

I have written a lot about the Vancouver Plan. So I'll keep it brief here to say that after years of public engagement, I am glad to see this plan move forward, with important amendments to strengthen tenant protections and to add more housing choices in neighbourhoods with declining populations. The real work will be in seeing it actually get implemented, equitably, across the city. That's where my focus is next :)

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7. Getting new buildings in Vancouver off gas

In Vancouver, ~55% of our carbon emissions come from burning methane gas (so called “natural gas”) for space and water heat in buildings. Health researchers have also been raising alarms about the air quality risks, including higher rates of child asthma, from burning gas in our homes. Getting gas out of our buildings is an urgent health, safety and climate issue.An emergency level climate plan needs to reflect the urgency of the crisis, with near-term deadlines. So as of January 2022, new buildings in Vancouver are required to have zero-emission heating and hot water systems. These new building standards also include requirements around cooling and air filtration, to improve health and safety for all. And I continue to advocate for strong climate solutions everywhere, from CBC's The National to Chatelaine.

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8. Holding the world's biggest fossil companies responsible for their role in local climate impacts

Vancouverites are paying millions of dollars each year for the costs of climate impacts, from damage to city infrastructure like the sea wall and Kits Pool, to storms and extreme heat damage. Back in 2018, OneCity joined other advocates fighting to ensure that Big Oil pays their fair share of these costs. And in 2022 Council passed Cllr Carr's motion to join a class-action law-suit, modelled after similar lawsuits against Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, to hold Big Oil accountable.

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9. Advocating for Side Guards on trucks, to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists

Following the heartbreaking death of local student and cyclist Agustin Beltran, road safety advocates renewed their calls to require Side Guards on trucks, to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Councillor Bligh and I worked alongside community leaders, and Agustin's family, to pass a motion to require side guards on City trucks, and to advocate for broader changes.

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10. Approving Vancouver's first Accessibility Strategy

Improving accessibility has been a priority for me since my first day in office. In the first budget I was part of approving, I pushed for funding to increase the speed at which we are building curb cuts. And in subsequent budgets I've fought to ensure that this accessibility strategy be fully funded. More than 1 in 5 Vancouverites live with a disability. And a city that is designed with disabled residents in mind is also a city that is safer for seniors, for kids, for all of us.

Read a plain-language summary of the Accessibility Strategy

11. Separated bike and active transportation lanes in the Broadway Plan

When we create safe space for people to walk and roll, more people choose those options. Especially as e-bikes make cycling more accessible for seniors and families. And with more people using e-scooters to commute or to make deliveries, safe active transportation lanes keep scooters off of sidewalks, improving safety for pedestrians too. Plus the research is clear that bike lanes are good for local businesses. So adding bike lanes on Broadway when the new subway opens is a big win for everyone. And it was a super fun campaign to lead, alongside many local advocates. I can't wait to ride these new lanes with you all.

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12. Going fine-free at the Vancouver Public Library

Library late fines are especially punitive for low income residents, and have kept thousands of people from accessing library services in Vancouver. Library systems across the globe have been moving to fine-free, and I am so happy to see Vancouver do the same.
Like all good things, this came about through the passion and effort of many people, including the advocacy of library workers, and the dedication of the volunteer VPL board.

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13. Protecting small culturally significant businesses

Local Filipino community leaders have been raising alarm bells about the importance of a stretch of small restaurants and food shops near Joyce Station. I’ve been grateful to work alongside them, and with leaders in the Punjabi Market and Chinatown, to push for policy changes to protect and expand these and other important food + culture spots across Vancouver.

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14. Politics for the People Podcast with MLA Bowinn Ma

One of the things I find most exciting about this work is building community capacity to make change. So I loved working on this 6-episode podcast mini-series with powerhouse MLA Bowinn Ma and a small but mighty team of volunteers, about working inside and outside of government to make change.

Listen to Politics for the People Podcast

Plus I've been advocating for alternatives to police responses for mental health and poverty related calls, like the Better Together pilot program, and CMHA's PACT teams. I continue showing up to stand with workers, and fight for good wages and fair treatment for all. I've loved lifting up the voices of other amazing progressive leaders. And there are new progressive elected folks across BC that I'm excited to get to know and support in their work.

If you're still reading, you can find past annual review posts below:

It's exhausting really. You don't have to read it all.

But here's my final plug: Amid the big work we have ahead, rest is resistance too. Take care of yourself. Take a nap. And then sign up to get more involved with OneCity Vancouver in 2023. Let's do this work together. I'll bring my megaphone, my clipboard, and my dancing shoes.

Happy New Year! So much love.


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