Mayor Ken Sim and ABC propose welcome community investments - but cut other priorities to pay for them
VANCOUVER (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories) - New investments contained in the 2023 Operating budget are welcome, as is new revenue - but Ken Sim and the ABC Council majority have forced those investments to compete with other critical work for funding, said Christine Boyle, Councillor, OneCity Vancouver.
The budget - amended by the seven ABC Councillors and Mayor Ken Sim - raises city revenues substantially. This move, while welcome, comes as a surprise. Last term NPA/ABC Councillors pushed back against critical investments into public services, calling smaller tax increases under the previous Council “outrageous”.
“Strong public services require public investment, and I support raising the revenues that a healthy and vibrant city needs,” says Christine Boyle, Councillor, OneCity Vancouver. “For four years OneCity pushed hard to make sure we were investing in public services and public infrastructure. I’m glad to see ABC change their tune and support those investments.”
The budget contains welcome new funding for public washrooms, public infrastructure, accessibility, anti-racism and cultural redress, and language translation - all of which were contained in OneCity’s 2022 election platform. These important investments were made by the last Council, and we are glad that ABC councillors have seen their value.
But in 2023, it’s more expensive than ever to operate our libraries, our childcare centres, our arts and culture spaces, and the other services that make this city more livable. ABC’s amended budget does not come close to matching increased costs.
When it comes to Arts, Culture and Community Services, ABC’s amendments force critical priorities like addressing anti-Black racism to compete with other City priorities - slowing down other community work, and likely reducing arts and culture grants. The fight against racism is critical. ABC should not force it to compete against other priorities for funds.
“The budget is where we show what our priorities are. And on several fronts, ABC’s priorities come up short,” concludes Boyle. “Whether it’s childcare grants, library funding or climate action, if you don’t increase funding to match rising costs, you’re cutting services. There is so much more work ahead to make this city cleaner, safer, and more welcoming for everyone who calls Vancouver home.”
For more information:
OneCity Vancouver communications committee