Our plan for a Vancouver where everyone belongs
OneCity believes there’s room for everyone in our city to thrive. Our candidates know what it will take to get there, because they’re already doing the work in their communities to make Vancouver a city for all of us. We’ll work together across City Council, School Board, and Park Board to deliver on these commitments and make sure you always have a place here.
A Vancouver where everyone can put a roof over their heads
Rents have skyrocketed while an entire generation has given up on ever owning a home. Housing prices are driving people away from our city, separating us from our families and friends. Vancouverites often have one foot out the door as it gets harder to imagine a future here. Too many people are sleeping on our streets. OneCity will make sure everybody can build a life in the city we love with enough housing for all.
Build the housing we need
We’ll end the longstanding ban on apartments in most neighbourhoods, allowing buildings with up to six floors and corner stores everywhere. OneCity will build more publicly-owned rental housing, co-op housing, and social housing all over the city by granting density bonuses, reducing barriers to construction, and prioritizing those development applications. And we’ll work with higher levels of government to secure greater funding for affordable housing and stronger tools to make sure the public benefits from rising land values.
- Allow six floors for rentals and four floors for condos, with further density bonuses for co-op, non-profit, and public housing across the city. Staff will approve these projects with no hearings required.
- Work with the province to turn the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency into a public development agency with the opportunity to purchase land first before it goes up for sale. It will lease land to First Nations, co-op, non-profit, or social housing providers, or use it to build city-owned rentals and public amenities and services.
- Simplify the process for co-op and non-profit housing developments with clear and unambiguous rules around regulations and fees. Give staff more discretion to approve these projects.
- Encourage the development of housing for families, with minimum percentages and unit sizes for two and three bedroom units.
- Build more temporary modular housing on underused sites across the city.
Strengthen community power
OneCity will develop stronger tools to protect affordable rental housing and its tenants from displacement, and give renters a champion at City Hall. We’ll end discriminatory public hearings for public and non-profit housing projects that often devolve into attacks on poor people. And we’ll work with communities to protect their culturally-distinct neighbourhoods.
- Foster and protect cultural hubs of small businesses serving communities who have faced discriminatory land use policies. Work with local business and community leaders to protect the services the neighbourhood depends on.
- Turn the Renters’ Office into a Tenant Advocacy Office with a mandate to advocate for renters facing renovictions, demovictions, or evictions without proper cause. It would create stronger enforcement mechanisms to ensure bad landlords are held accountable and maintain a public registry of rental units with historic prices.
- Ensure tenants have the right to return to a comparable unit at the rent they were paying before displacement, providing them with a rental top-up in the meantime and temporary modular housing in last resort scenarios. Expand the strong tenant protections in the Broadway Plan across the city.
- Protect existing rental housing by ending incentives to displace renters, prioritizing redevelopments with no displacement, easing development pressure on high-rental neighbourhoods, and exploring financing tools for tenants to purchase a rental property when their landlord wishes to sell.
- Demand the provincial government tie rent to the unit, not the tenant, that any future public assistance goes to renters, not landlords, and for them to recognize tenant unions with new rules to manage their relationships to landlords.
Promote whole communities across the city
With more new neighbours comes better opportunities to connect with each other, access daily needs close to where we live, and create healthier communities. OneCity will also work across local government and with the Host Nations to make parks and schools community hubs that are connected with better sidewalks, bike lanes and public transit.
- Allow for grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and small-scale retail shops in all neighbourhoods.
- Develop programs to build community in apartments and condos and activate public spaces with community events like block parties or festivals.
- Prioritize non-market housing options in areas that minimize exposure to environmental hazards like air pollution, flooding, extreme heat, and seismic risk. Create housing within the Broadway Medical Precinct for low-income people with chronic health problems.
- Build collaboration between City Council, School Board, Park Board, Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and the province to ensure no neighbourhood is ever again redeveloped without necessary access to schools, parks and amenities.
- Concentrate new housing in areas with declining population to keep schools open and make the best use of parks.
- Ensure future planning supports the ongoing work of reconciliation, and complements developments by the Host Nations such as the Sen̓áḵw and Jericho Lands projects.
- Develop certain School Board properties into non-profit housing and retail to provide it with revenue streams, provide affordable homes, and keep the land in public hands.
A Vancouver where everyone can feel safe in their neighbourhood
Everyone deserves to feel safe — and to be safe — in their community. OneCity’s approach to promoting community safety is rooted in compassion, dignity, and justice. People who experience discrimination and disadvantage often experience the greatest lack of safety in Vancouver. Using police to respond to social problems only harms the most vulnerable and takes resources from more effective solutions. Everyone is safer when all community members receive the housing, health care, and social supports they need.
Invest in strong communities
Vancouver spends a million dollars a day on policing, more than a fifth of the city’s annual budget. Police are our default response to health and social problems like mental illness, addiction, poverty, and a lack of social services. OneCity will “de-task” the police by reallocating funds towards community organizations and agencies that are better suited to address these issues.
- Invest in community-based organizations and non-police experts trained in de-escalation and crisis response.
- Create a Peer Assisted Care Team (PACT) program to dispatch a mental health professional and peer crisis responder to people experiencing a mental health crisis. PACT has been a success in other cities in B.C. and across North America, saving money, and freeing up police and hospital resources.
- Fund mental health first aid training and make courses available for free or low cost to train members of the public to assist someone experiencing a crisis.
- Support Indigenous-led justice and community safety initiatives, such as the Bear Clan Patrol called for in the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre’s Red Women Rising report.
- Support restorative justice initiatives that aim to repair harm and promote meaningful accountability for offenders.
- Encourage community-based responses to racism, hate, and other forms of discrimination.
- Promote neighbourhood street safety organizations, such as safe walks, especially in underserved neighbourhoods and nightlife hubs.
- Expand the Better Together: Neighbourhood Collective Action Pilot Program to more areas of the city.
- Evaluate Community Policing centers to see what aspects of their work can be replicated by or transferred to civilian groups.
Fund services that allow people who are unhoused to store their belongings, and direct city crews to avoid disposing of people’s possessions.
- Demand greater municipal control and democratic oversight over the VPD’s annual budget and training related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Request the Auditor General to report on priority areas where reallocation of investments will have the best outcome for public safety.
Ensure accountable policing
Systemic racism and the colonial roots of policing drive inequitable treatment of and impacts on racialized groups. Indigenous and Black communities are overpoliced and criminalized at disproportionate rates. Patrols targeting drug users, sex workers, and people experiencing homelessness often lead to unsafe conditions for those who are most at risk. OneCity wants to end police practices that harm the most marginalized. We will fight to ensure police treat everyone fairly, without discrimination.
- End street checks.
- Explore programs to support safe schools to replace the terminated Vancouver School Board’s School Liaison Officer Program.
- Recognize and implement Indigenous approaches to justice and justice systems in consultation with the Host Nations and urban Indigenous people.
- Collect race-based and demographic data to address systemic discrimination in policing.
- Ask the Mayor, as Chair of the Police Board, to request police avoid:
- arresting or ticketing people engaged in sex work, drug use, camping or sidewalk vending;
- surveillance and patrols around overdose prevention sites; and
- seizing and disposing of people’s personal belongings.
- Declare Vancouver a Sanctuary City for migrants and refugees, ensuring residents with precarious immigration status have safe access to city services and no one is detained or deported due to an interaction with city officials or police.
Create welcoming public spaces
Vibrant, clean, active neighbourhoods make people feel safe. Densely populated areas have more “eyes on the street.” Neighbours who meet each other look out for one another. They keep an eye on local kids and check in on vulnerable elders. People notice when an unhoused resident is unwell and needs some support. When our communities have thriving places where people want to spend time together, we’re all safer as a result.
- Streamline permitting for festivals, street vendors and performers, small scale community events, and other creative uses of public spaces, especially in underserved neighbourhoods.
- Increase street lighting, seating, and accessibility for people with mobility limitations.
- Invest in libraries, community centres, and neighbourhood houses, which provide essential services and support community connection.
- Ensure every neighbourhood has well-maintained public, accessible washrooms and working water fountains.
- Build more protected bike lanes so everyone can feel safe cycling.
- Build more car-free and slow streets, prioritizing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists over the convenience of vehicles.
- Explore programs to deter graffiti vandalism such as providing other opportunities to create public art and tracking down repeat offenders.
A Vancouver where nobody loses a loved one to poisoned drugs
Contamination of street drugs with fentanyl is killing our neighbours, family members, and friends. More than ten thousand lives have been lost since the provincial government declared this a public health emergency six years ago. This is a devastating consequence of Canada’s drug prohibition. OneCity will deepen Vancouver’s commitment to harm reduction, work to bring a safer supply of drugs to everyone who needs it, and treat substance use as a health and social issue, not a criminal one.
Provide what’s necessary to save lives
While many decisions rest with higher levels of government, there is plenty Vancouver can do to keep people safe. OneCity will listen to and work with people who use drugs who know what must be done to keep them alive. We will work to give them access to drugs that won’t kill them, and supports to feel a part of their community.
- Expand access to harm reduction services like overdose prevention sites, safer supply of medical-grade drugs, naloxone kits that reverse an overdose, and drug testing.
- Expand access to detoxification centres for people who are ready to go into treatment.
- Develop a non-prescription model of safer supply such as compassion clubs or co-ops to provide reliable access to medical-grade opioids and stimulants.
- Expand managed alcohol programs that provide a safer alternative to mouthwash, hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol.
- Include people who use drugs on city advisory committees and in civic engagement.
- Support peer-led organizations that build social connections and a sense of belonging among people who use drugs and within the broader community.
- Provide culturally relevant supports for young people who use drugs specific to their communities and experiences.
- Equip parks with phone charging stations that can save lives during a medical emergency.
Strengthen frontline responses
Vancouverites have been responding to overdoses and poisoned drugs for more than two decades. Frontline first responders, often volunteers from the community, have saved countless lives. They have experience reversing drug poisonings. We should learn from their efforts and make sure they have the resources they require.
- Establish more overdose response teams, including people with relationships and experience in the communities affected by the drug poisoning emergency.
- Fund the Vancouver Firefighters’ five-year growth plan as outlined in their Darkhorse report to support first responders who have stretched their resources to respond to the drug poisoning emergency.
- Distribute nasal spray naloxone to all city employees who interact with the community and train staff to use it.
- Make naloxone training and distribution a condition of licensing for single resident occupancy buildings where drug poisonings are more frequent.
- Resource city sanitation services to collect used needles, smoking supplies and other drug paraphernalia.
- Provide sharps boxes wherever they’re needed, and make them mandatory in and outside new public facilities.
Demand action from provincial and federal governments
Vancouver cannot end the drug poisoning emergency on its own. OneCity will use our voices as municipal leaders to advocate to higher levels of government for swift and decisive action. Half measures are clearly not enough to stop thousands of our residents and neighbours dying every year.
- Pressure provincial and federal governments to decriminalize higher quantities of drugs to match what is common for personal use.
- Work with the provincial government for low-barrier, patient-centred treatment and substitution programs for replacement drugs like methadone, hydromorphone, and dexedrine.
- Call on the provincial government to raise income assistance rates and adjust the program to end the “cheque day effect” associated with poisoned drug deaths.
- Call on the provincial government to increase the availability of trauma-informed and culturally safe mental health and substance use services.
- Ask the federal government to expand the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act to protect all those at the scene of a drug poisoning from the threat of arrest for personal possession.
- Advocate for programming informed by harm reduction, sentencing that centres health outcomes, and alternatives to jail time for those charged with drug-related offenses.
A Vancouver where everyone can access parks and recreation
Vancouverites love our parks and community centres. Who doesn’t enjoy relaxing at the beach, biking the seawall, or walking through lush forest? But as our city welcomes more neighbours, we need to make sure we’re creating enough green space for everyone to enjoy. OneCity knows access to nature is fundamental to our well-being and parks are critical infrastructure. We will find creative ways to expand and improve green spaces and reflect their role as our shared backyards. Community centres can bring folks together around programs inspired by the people they serve — youth, elders, and everyone else.
Center Indigenous leadership
Vancouver’s Park Board has a long and painful colonial history of erasing Indigenous peoples from their lands. City parks should recognize, celebrate, and reflect the history, culture, and rights of the Host Nations. OneCity will work with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to support Indigenous governance of their territories and heal the natural places they’ve stewarded since time immemorial.
- Support proposals from the Host Nations for Indigenous-led or co-governance of parks, including with capacity funding for their leadership.
- Implement calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, UNDRIP Task Force, and next steps of the Park Board’s colonial audit.
- Work with the Host Nations, Vancouver’s UNDRIP Task Force, and its Urban Indigenous People Advisory Committee around park planning and priorities.
- Listen to how Host Nations want to see their history, ongoing connection, and title reflected in parks through signage, design, names, and management models.
- Partner with the Host Nations to offer on-the-land learning opportunities that align with school curriculum.
- Promote the sharing and visibility of Coast Salish stories in parks through cultural programs and public art.
- Explore opportunities for Indigenous Guardians to steward and manage parks across Vancouver.
- Create a culturally safe workplace for Indigenous employees by providing mandatory cultural safety training and culturally relevant human resources.
Make recreation accessible to all
Everyone needs places to relax after a long work week, connect with friends and neighbours, enjoy time in nature, play sports, or learn a new skill. OneCity will invest in Vancouver’s growing communities to make sure all residents live within a short walk or roll of local parks and community centres. At the same time, we’ll make sure the programming offered meets the needs and reflects the diversity of the people who use our facilities.
- Invest in neighborhood parks to provide shade, practice sports, and promote play.
- Ensure investment in parks and community centres follows population growth and density.
- Hire more lifeguards to give everyone access to swimming pools and lessons.
- Adopt common sense rules that allow respectful and responsible drinking in parks.
- Provide free access to swimming pools and community centres for those who need it and prioritize equity and access in determining fees.
- Require competitive sports events in parks to provide discounted fees to people who need them.
- Support 2SLGBTQ+ programs like Trans Swim and deliver on recommendations from the Trans and Gender Variant Working Group for safe access to parks and community centres.
- Ensure adaptive equipment such as ice sleds and water wheelchairs are available and in good condition.
- Develop culturally relevant programming for community centres and libraries.
- Expand facilities, programs, and services at Carnegie Community Centre in the Downtown Eastside based on local needs and priorities.
- Leverage golf courses as high-quality green spaces for the entire community.
- Maintain or expand out-of-school programs like day camps and after school programs as high quality, safe, and affordable options for all families.
- Allow informal, mobile social enterprises like food vendors, umbrella rentals, coffee carts, and sports gear sharing in parks to promote entrepreneurship and create low-barrier jobs.
- Build a bike lane in Stanley Park to replace the current temporary one.
- Upgrade stairs, paths, and trails in Stanley Park to improve access to the park interior and seawall. Explore the potential for an accessible electric shuttle throughout the park.
- Secure long-range capital and operating plans for Park Board with new revenue sources to ensure commitments are delivered on.
Equip parks to address great challenges
Most of us think of parks only as places for recreation. But in these uncertain times, they’re more and more becoming vital points of response to any number of social crises. During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, parks provided a safe place for neighbours to gather and for people to connect with nature. Green spaces also help buffer against climate disasters and offer a refuge for people experiencing homelessness. OneCity recognizes the critical role that parks have taken on in meeting the troubles of our time. We will use them to ensure every Vancouverite can stay safe.
- Plant 10,000 trees per year starting with the next capital plan through 2040, focusing on neighbourhoods with less canopy and green space to protect these communities from heat waves. Give priority to a wide diversity of drought-tolerant species.
- Prepare parks and community centres to act as emergency response hubs for all kinds of crises, from earthquakes, deep freezes, heat waves, floods, fires, food shortages, and civil unrest.
- Use parks and green spaces to hold onto water during both droughts and floods, and work to limit water use across the entire parks and recreation system.
- Redesign the seawall to use more natural, resilient features rather than rebuild every time a storm destroys it.
- Acknowledge people live in parks and respect their right to shelter, day and night.
- Work with community groups and leaders to identify areas suitable for tents that maintain the use of parks for everyone while people find housing that meets their needs.
- Provide maps clearly showing areas where it’s safe to shelter and where campers can expect bylaw enforcement.
- Use waterproof message boards to communicate with park residents.
A Vancouver where everyone can get the education they deserve
Another crop of parents face a gauntlet each September as they try to get their kids into the right schools with the best programs, often halfway across the city with classmates they don’t know. Meanwhile, this shuffling hollows out nearby schools and hurts families who don’t have the time or money to shop around. OneCity believes neighbourhood schools are the cornerstone of any strong community. OneCity will fight for a fair and equal public school system where every child has access to the same opportunities to grow and flourish into thriving adults. Our school board trustees will always put kids first.
Value neighbourhood schools
All parents want their child to go to a “good school.” But when certain schools are seen as more desirable than others, it hollows out the ones left behind. OneCity will make every school a great place for kids to learn. We’ll rebuild the role schools play in their communities and connect families with their neighbours.
- Expand access to childcare so every family can find early years or before and after school care at their neighbourhood school.
- Prevent the sale of school board land we hold in trust to preserve for future generations.
- Design accessible outdoor learning spaces that are ready for a warming world.
- Reopen all school kitchens to build a universal, nutritious lunch program.
- Hire more school nurses and counselors throughout the district.
- Staff fully operational libraries in every school, every day of the week.
- Support Indigenous language programming in consultation with the Host Nations.
- Provide proper ventilation in all classrooms to protect kids from COVID-19.
- Assess the pandemic’s impacts on the learning needs of students and working conditions for staff.
Support transparent decision-making
Families becoming involved and invested in schools is a critical part of school culture and can help them reflect the diversity of our city. OneCity will provide more public access to school board meetings and better participation in its process. Listening to parents helps us meet the needs of kids.
- Remove barriers to participation in school board meetings.
- Consult with school communities about seismic upgrades.
- Partner with the Host Nations on all planning and decisions, especially with regard to land.
- Review governance structures and policies to ensure democratic, transparent, accessible, accountable, and equitable decisions.
- Encourage public participation that values the experiences of those most affected.
- Consider climate impacts in all relevant decisions.
- Review special needs programs in consultation with workers, students, and their families to identify gaps.
Respect students and staff
Teachers, principals and support staff are at the heart of our schools. They deserve safe and stable working conditions. Students can’t wait for ages for services and assessments they need now. OneCity will build relationships based on trust, openness, and honesty. We will make sure students have access to the learning services they need and reduce staffing shortages.
- Empower Indigenous students in schools and adult education through to graduation.
- Ask the provincial government to provide more funding per student to better meet their diverse needs.
- Ensure Vancouverites with precarious immigration status have safe access to schools by strengthening the school board’s Access Without Fear and Sanctuary School policies.
- Deliver assessments of students faster so they don’t fall behind waiting for support.
- Provide mental health and well-being supports for all students and staff.
- Dismantle systemic racism, address 2SLGBTQ+ needs and prioritize equity concerns.
- Promote more equitable access to choice programs like French Immersion or Montessori by reviewing the scope, location and entry requirements.
A Vancouver where everyone can maintain a safe planet for their children
Whether it’s wildfire smoke filling our skies, torrential downpours destroying our infrastructure, rising grocery prices eating away our budgets, or record temperatures putting our neighbours in danger, Vancouverites are feeling the impacts of a warming world. OneCity Councillor Christine Boyle championed the Climate Emergency Action Plan and will make sure Vancouver has the funding and support it needs to meet its commitment to halve emissions by 2030 while prioritizing equity and justice. OneCity knows the climate emergency requires us to change many aspects of daily life, that is why solutions appear throughout our platform — especially in our housing and transportation policies.
Build better buildings
Vancouver’s homes, workplaces and public spaces create most of the city’s climate pollution. In fact, 54 per cent of climate pollution in Vancouver comes from burning gas in buildings. We need to construct buildings that don’t pollute and renovate the ones that do. OneCity will make sure all new buildings are built to last and every building gets the upgrades it needs to produce no climate pollution by 2050.
- Mandate cooling in all homes and buildings to prepare for future heat waves. Require air conditioning with electric heat pumps by 2030, along with other cooling methods such as installing external shutters, to ensure homes remain below 26 degrees during heat waves.
- Ban the installation of new gas appliances like stoves and fireplaces in existing homes to eliminate pollution, improve air quality, and prevent asthma. And ban gas hook-ups entirely from new homes and buildings.
- Require gas furnaces and boilers be replaced with electric heat pumps when they reach the end of their natural life or by 2035. Ensure replacement costs are not passed on to tenants.
- Provide incentives for building owners to permanently disconnect from natural gas service.
- Require all district energy facilities in Vancouver to fully decarbonize their operations.
- Accelerate permitting and limit paperwork for large buildings to upgrade energy efficiency and electrify space and water heating.
- Work with trade schools to increase industry capacity for energy efficiency upgrades including heat pump installations.
- Eliminate mandatory minimum parking requirements, except for accessible spaces, and create maximum parking standards instead.
- Introduce a new “Vancouver Special” design for standard lot sizes with six floors, zero emissions and no vehicle parking. Offer pre-approved building permits and strata agreements to lower costs and limit timelines.
- Encourage building construction methods that reduce material waste.
- Explore frameworks with BC Hydro to produce and store renewable energy within city limits to meet future needs for power, including rooftop solar and turbines in storm sewers.
Electrify fleet vehicles
Around 40 per cent of climate pollution in Vancouver comes from burning gas in cars and trucks. While our transportation platform focuses on promoting cycling, walking and transit, we also need cleaner vehicles, starting with the ones that spend all day on our streets. Fleet managers can see the greatest savings on fuel, maintenance, and replacement costs from electric vehicles. OneCity will accelerate the electrification of Vancouver’s vehicle fleet and ask companies to develop plans to do the same. We will also encourage the use of electric bicycles and mini-trucks to replace fleet vehicles.
- Require all new vehicles purchased by the City of Vancouver and its agencies to be electric, including police cars, garbage trucks, and fire engines as these models become available.
- Determine where City of Vancouver vehicles could be replaced with smaller alternatives, electric bikes or transit trips.
- Develop plans with city fleet managers to reach full electrification of Vancouver’s fleet by 2030.
- Work with private fleet managers in the city to support their own plans for full electrification.
- Require private fleet managers of gas vehicles to purchase citywide parking permits for their vehicles
- Ban gas leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and weed whackers.
Promote food security
Climate disasters mean we cannot always count on the complex supply chains that fill grocery store shelves. From fertilizers to farming to shipping and spoilage, our industrial food system also produces about a third of global climate pollution. And too many Vancouverites already struggle to find healthy, affordable groceries. OneCity will encourage local food production and curb waste in ways that eliminate pollution and make it easier for everyone to put dinner on the table.
- Strengthen Indigenous food sovereignty including through demonstration Indigenous food forests promoting local foods and medicines through signage, tours, workshops, harvesting, and processing.
- Provide space for year-round farmers markets.
- Work alongside Neighbourhood Houses, the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks, and other community food organizations to strengthen equity and sustainability in our local food security systems, with a priority to ensure seniors and low-income households have local access to healthy foods.
- Include vegetarian and vegan options for all city-owned food and beverage vendors.
- Offer cooking and preserving classes at shared community kitchens.
- Restore compost collection in parks with updated health and safety protocols.
A Vancouver where everyone can enjoy arts and culture
This affordability crisis is driving arts and culture organizations away. Local culture is critical to our city’s identity, health, liveability, economy, and well-being. Vancouver has the highest concentration of working artists of any city in the country. OneCity will work hard to make sure artists and arts and culture spaces can remain here. We will work to eliminate barriers to enjoying these venues and support events of all kinds — from local buskers to music festivals. And we’ll use arts and culture to promote reconciliation, climate resilience, and equality.
Champion artists and cultural organizations
If Vancouverites want things to do and people to see, we need to support the workers that make it happen. That means it must be possible to make a life here as an artist. It also involves strengthening the places and groups that create culture. OneCity will give Vancouver’s arts and culture workers the conditions they need to thrive.
- Work with the Province to exempt arts and culture organizations from property taxes, including when they are tenants.
- Introduce an empty commercial property tax and offer exemptions to landlords who provide free or subsidized space to artists.
- Invest in shared artist studios to provide rehearsal, production, or administrative space.
- Make a portion of funding to major institutions like the art gallery or space centre dependent on their ability to demonstrate meaningful partnerships with artists or organizations working to advance Indigenous justice and confront the climate emergency.
- Invest in peer-to-peer mentorship, prioritizing intercultural collaboration and co-creation, and building capacity among emerging grassroots cultural presenters.
- Fund the City’s Cultural Services department to use arts and culture to confront the climate emergency and advance Indigenous justice.
- Encourage the work of local artists by diverting a portion of Community Amenity Contributions to studios or exhibition spaces. This avoids developers deciding what art belongs in a community and distributes resources among local artists.
- Subsidize human resources, accessibility studies, and hiring services for arts and culture organizations to improve equity, staff retention and long-term financial stability.
- Fund every resident artist to fulfill the necessary time requirements for their position.
Arts and culture everywhere for everyone
What is arts and culture for if nobody can afford it? Or if only huge companies are able to deliver it? Historically, Vancouver has put up high barriers to public culture events. OneCity will make it easier to hold events and actively encourage arts and culture in indoor and outdoor spaces managed by the city.
- Appoint a city liaison to help arts and culture organizations and local residents navigate permitting and applications when it comes to hosting events.
- Reform noise bylaws to ensure local events like the ones we saw outdoors during the pandemic are not unnecessarily restricted or prohibited.
- Make special event licenses more accessible, affordable, and equitable.
- Use cultural heritage designations to preserve cultural spaces and create new spaces in every neighbourhood.
- Activate busker-friendly spaces all over the city and adjust the rules so culture in public space is a priority — not a problem.
- Appoint a music officer to connect musicians with supports, help navigate city processes, and encourage more musical events in public spaces.
- Partner with local businesses to find ways to feature local arts and culture in their spaces.
- Allow more flexible programming under cabaret licenses.
- Exempt new 2SLGBTQ+ venues from the moratorium on liquor primary licenses on Granville Street to address a lack of cultural spaces for this community.
- Offer indefinite extensions to liquor primary licenses when 2SLGBTQ+ bars and clubs close, provided they are sold to another 2SLGBTQ+ space.
- Provide flexible performance and celebration spaces in parks, plazas, and parklets with durable surfaces for gathering and dancing.
A Vancouver where everyone can find good jobs in thriving businesses
Vancouver suffers from a crushing combination of low wages and high cost of living. That’s not good for workers who live here or the businesses who struggle to recruit and retain them. Meanwhile, many companies can’t even find the space they need to produce goods, provide services, and create jobs. OneCity’s economic development strategy will get Vancouver working — working for everyone and working on the challenges we face.
Give businesses room to grow
Most of Vancouver’s problems boil down to space. Not only do we need more homes for workers to live, we also need more space for employers to thrive. Retail space, offices, and industrial lands are hard to come by for anybody who wants to start or grow a business in this city. OneCity will encourage more mixed-use development and provide Vancouverites room to work.
- Allow for grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and small-scale retail shops in all neighbourhoods.
- Lower office building setback requirements to maximize floor plans and therefore jobs, while keeping space for wide sidewalks, bike lanes, bike parking, new patios, and street trees.
- Grant density bonuses for buildings that incorporate city-owned floor space for non-profit organizations and cultural treasures that otherwise couldn’t afford new commercial rents.
- Explore the creation of a commercial tenant board to provide oversight and protect small businesses.
- Develop policies to encourage smaller commercial floor plans to favour local businesses over giant chain retailers.
- Protect culturally significant businesses and business districts such as the Punjabi Market, Joyce-Collingwood, and Chinatown using heritage designations. Relieve pressure on these areas by expanding commercial space across the city.
- Allow light industrial like dry labs or artisans to mix with commercial, office, and retail zoning to free up space for traditional manufacturing, warehouses, and industrial shops.
- Offer combined live-work industrial and residential zoning to uses like art spaces that do not produce noise or air pollution.
- Strengthen efforts to protect existing industrial and commercial land and allow greater density on these lands to reduce sprawl and create well-paying jobs.
- Respect the Metro Vancouver Industrial Land Reserve within Vancouver, work to protect industrial lands across the region and lobby for a provincial industrial land reserve.
- Bring more hotel rooms to Vancouver by allowing them in more neighbourhoods and require some large developments to include hotels to promote tourism. This will also create more unionized jobs for hotel workers.
Create an economy with purpose
In every challenge lies an opportunity and Vancouver has many of both. There’s a whole lot of work to do to respond to the climate emergency, end the housing shortage, and tackle income inequality. That means new jobs and new enterprises. OneCity will task the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) to develop a strategy for a clean and fair economy, that helps all residents and businesses share in our prosperity.
- Use vacant or unproductive land from the property endowment fund for things like arts and culture, social enterprises, or co-op businesses.
- Mandate the VEC to build community wealth through worker-owned enterprises, worker solidarity centres, community development corporations, investment co-ops, and community land trusts.
- Instruct the VEC to include a strong circular economy component within its strategy.
- Require the VEC to address workforce planning to solve regional labour supply challenges and plan for a just transition to a sustainable economy.
- Work with Destination Vancouver to help the tourism sector eliminate pollution.
- Work with the Host Nations, Indigenous tourism organizations and Destination Vancouver to decolonize local tourism by reintroducing place names, identifying significant cultural sites, and promoting other Indigenous priorities.
- Encourage clean goods delivery models such as micro logistics hubs and electric delivery fleets.
- Enhance procurement standards to prioritize local buying in ways that promote equity and reduce the “green premium.”
Make it easier to start a business
It is painfully hard to open a business in the City of Vancouver. High costs and lengthy wait times for permits favour large corporations with more access to capital and institutional experience. Small businesses struggle to jump through the necessary hoops. OneCity will simplify and demystify the process, giving us all more treasured local restaurants and shops to enjoy.
- Create a simple application process for permits with pre-approved conditions for common businesses like breweries or yoga studios so all people need to do is agree to meet those requirements.
- Encourage the province to pass the Split Assessment Act, which would allow municipalities to offer targeted tax relief to small businesses.
- Relax zoning restrictions so any business that complies with existing community plans doesn’t require further consultation.
- Support staff in a review of permitting processes to find efficiencies, reduce barriers, and prioritize climate and equity goals.
Get supply chains working again
The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest and many of the goods Canadians use arrive through our city. But logistical challenges in recent years have made it difficult for Vancouver businesses to stock their shelves and storerooms. Pollution from long-haul trucking is a key driver of global warming and truckers are often contractors with low wages and benefits. OneCity will help get products moving more efficiently through our city to eliminate traffic, reduce pollution and create high-quality jobs.
- Mandate the VEC to work with freight and goods movement companies to better coordinate logistics.
- Encourage short-sea shipping to get trucks off roads, move goods more efficiently with far less pollution, and create union jobs with better pay and benefits.
- Promote more rail shipping and streamline railway crossings to take polluting, inefficient truck traffic off Vancouver’s streets and create union jobs with better pay and benefits.
- Protect port, railway and warehouse lands along the Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River with the long-term goal of more efficient logistics with less polluting trucks.
- Encourage using cycling for goods movement and logistics wherever possible.
A Vancouver where everyone can get around without a vehicle
Anybody who has ever sat in rush hour traffic knows Vancouver has challenges getting people moving. But anyone who has passed that traffic in a bike lane or on a bus knows there are better ways to get everyone where they need to go. OneCity knows the best way our city can tackle the climate emergency is by making it easier for folks to take a trip that doesn’t pollute. We’ll limit our dependence on personal vehicles and free up space on our streets for those that need it. OneCity will make getting around without a car quick, easy, cheap, safe, clean, and even enjoyable.
Give transit riders a better experience
Waiting half an hour for a crowded bus in the hot sun or pouring rain because it’s stuck in traffic is a miserable way to start your day. OneCity will give transit the priority it needs to make riding the bus convenient and comfortable. We’ll work with TransLink so people spend less time waiting for the bus and enjoy it more when they have to. And we’ll make sure everyone can afford to access jobs, appointments and services via transit.
- Ensure the Vancouver Transportation Plan, in development with TransLink, prioritizes buses and outlines where the city needs more bus lanes, bus shelters and service.
- Build real bus rapid transit, giving more riders in more places the ability to just show up and expect a bus to arrive within a few minutes. Prioritize routes in underserved neighbourhoods like South Vancouver and Railtown.
- Make transit faster and more reliable with brightly painted bus lanes, traffic lights that sense when to let buses through, queue jumps that allow buses to get ahead of vehicles at intersections, and bus stops that extend the curb so buses don’t need to wait to merge back into traffic after each stop.
- Ask TransLink for more shelters, washrooms, benches, real-time status updates, and signage to help riders figure out which bus will take them where they need to go.
- Urge TransLink to improve evening and late night transit service.
- Insist all bus stops have seating for seniors and families, meet the needs of people with disabilities and protect riders from extreme weather.
- Encourage more emergency planning so transit service continues when there are network disruptions.
- Expand the free transit program to include youth up to 18 years old and youth transitioning out of government care until they’re 25.
- Provide monthly passes at a sliding scale in line with the All On Board campaign and offer them for free to people on pensions, disability or income assistance.
Make it easier to walk, roll, or cycle
Over decades, we rebuilt Vancouver for cars, driving people further away and fueling the climate emergency. Now it’s time for us to rethink our streets to make it practical for everyone to leave the car at home. OneCity will connect our communities with the sidewalks and bike lanes they lack, especially in places like South Vancouver which have often been left out.
- Speed up investments in building wide, continuous sidewalks all over the city.
- Connect parks, schools, childcare, shops, restaurants, hospitals, transit hubs, and community centres with bike lanes and secure bike parking.
- Slow vehicles down, particularly on side streets, and give more room for walking, cycling, gathering, and green space.
- Open a network of car-light to car-free streets that prioritize walking, rolling and cycling.
- Create safe walk and roll routes to schools, parks and community centres across the city so families can drive less and feel safe sending their kids off on their own.
- Expand the School Active Travel Program, which OneCity introduced to promote walking and cycling to school with education and infrastructure.
- Plow sidewalks when it snows rather than leaving it up to local residents and businesses.
- Help people walking, cycling, or rolling find their way around the city with better signage.
- Require bike parking in new buildings to be accessible from the ground floor.
- Develop parking requirements for all kinds of bikes and scooters, like providing spots for people with disabilities and outlets for charging electric equipment.
- Encourage bike mobility hubs near transit stations with secure bike storage, washrooms and change rooms, and repair services.
- Require construction sites to have secure tool storage and bike parking to limit reliance on vehicles.
- Install bike racks in all neighbourhood parks.
- Plant shade trees along bike lanes to keep cyclists cool.
- Provide amenities for skateboarders along bike routes and walking paths as recommended by Vancouver’s CitySkate report.
Protect pedestrians and cyclists
Nobody should fear for their life when crossing the street or riding a bicycle. Vancouverites must not accept people regularly dying on our streets. OneCity will make everyone feel comfortable moving around Vancouver on foot, using a wheelchair, or with a bike. We’ll also build better sidewalks and more protected bike lanes to encourage people to leave the car at home.
- Lower speed limits on all Vancouver streets to improve safety and cut pollution, especially on side streets and where there are often collisions.
- Divert traffic on more residential streets to slow vehicles down and discourage shortcuts.
- Extend sidewalks at intersections and raise crosswalks to keep pedestrians safe.
- Light sidewalks and bike lanes for people, not just the cars next to them.
- Ask the province for more speed cameras and other automatic traffic enforcement including bus lane intrusion and red light cameras.
- Allow pedestrians at busy intersections to start walking before the light turns green for cars, preventing drivers from cutting in front of them.
- Limit vehicles on streets with high deaths like Hastings through the Downtown Eastside, the deadliest stretch of road for pedestrians in the province.
- Implement TransLink’s Youth Travel Strategy when it’s ready.
- Ask the province to require more robust and regular driver training on how to safely share the road with other users.
- Ask the federal government to regulate vehicle size, weight, speed, and design to give people who are hit by a car a better chance of survival.
A Vancouver where everyone can participate in local government
Thriving democracies are built on trust and collaboration. Yet civic engagement often serves to isolate people and perpetuate harm. Our electoral system does not reflect the diversity of voices in our city nor does it make it easy for them to be heard. OneCity will continue to lower barriers for people who don’t often participate in decision-making processes. Most working people cannot take the time to engage in marathon public hearings where their rights to housing are too often up for debate. We’ll work to make democracy at City Hall, School Board, and Park Board efficient, transparent and equitable.
Update the way Vancouver votes
This election there will be 138 people on the ballot, the most by far of any city in Canada. Our incomprehensible voting system is one of the reasons voter turnout was below 40 per cent in the last election. It also results in the election of officials that are expected to represent hundreds of thousands of people and are therefore less accessible. OneCity will engage Vancouverites about what residents want from their voting system and ask for suggested changes.
- Call upon the provincial government to enact “Local Choice” legislation similar to Ontario’s, giving municipalities the power to make changes to their electoral system with a range of options.
- Strike a citizen’s assembly to recommend either a proportional, ward, or hybrid system to improve diversity and representation at the local level.
- Strive to implement these recommendations in the next civic election in 2026, so residents can see the new model in practice and then hold a referendum on whether to keep it following the 2030 election.
Include more voices in decisions
Too many Vancouverites are left out of the city’s decision-making because they either can’t determine how to engage or don’t have the time. When the people affected by decisions aren’t able to share their experience, it hurts our democracy. In the case of the Host Nations, they are not simply stakeholders participating in city processes but governments with decision-making authority in their territories. OneCity will make sure all voices are not just heard but listened to.
- Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples unconditionally and reflect the Host Nations’ right to self-determination and sovereignty in all consultation processes.
- Remove language barriers to public participation with more funding for multilingual translation of resources and sign language interpretation across local government.
- Request the provincial government lower the municipal voting age to 16.
- Equip advisory committees and staff liaisons with the resources they need such as child-minding and honoraria in order to include more working class people.
- Review the Vancouver School Board’s governance and policies to ensure democratic, transparent, accessible, accountable, and equitable decision-making.
- Facilitate inclusive, collaborative, and accessible engagement processes at the Park Board to end combative, binary public consultation.
End the dysfunction at City Hall
Vancouver is the only city in the Lower Mainland where public hearings go on for weeks and hundreds of people sign up to speak about every development decision. Meanwhile, the city faces multiple urgent crises that demand bold action now. OneCity will respect the time of staff, elected officials, and the public to find more effective ways to engage.
- Delegate specific development approvals to city staff based on meaningful public engagement around broad housing policy goals that includes both long-time residents and renters.
- Reform city practices so more engagement occurs in committees before going to council meetings for faster consideration.