Motion to ensure that the under-served neighbourhoods of South Vancouver get the funds - and respect - they deserve
VANCOUVER (Musqeam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories) - Councillor Christine Boyle today announced the introduction of a motion that will get South Vancouver the infrastructure, park and transit funding - and the respect - that it deserves.
“For decades, the neighbourhoods of South Vancouver and Marpole have been under-resourced. That needs to change. It’s time to give our fellow Vancouverites the respect they deserve,” says Christine Boyle, City Councillor, OneCity Vancouver. “South Vancouver is majority-immigrant. It’s majority-ESL. And it’s majority-working class. The residents of South Vancouver keep Vancouver working, and our city is richer because of the many cultures and continents represented in its neighbourhoods. And it’s time they got the attention and support that they are due.”
For too long, the residents of South Vancouver’s neighbourhoods have watched their parks go un-maintained, their streets go under-serviced and their local services get underfunded relative to other neighbourhoods. Recent research led by the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Urban Studies and Health Sciences highlights these inequalities.
“Decision makers and planners have ignored available data and overlooked the South Vancouver neighbourhoods. When taken as a whole, asset mapping in South Vancouver paints a false picture. When the neighbourhoods are treated as unique areas, asset mapping clearly shows the gaps.” says Mimi Rennie, Executive Director of South Vancouver Neighbourhood House.
To begin to correct this inequality, the motion directs city staff to examine the historic under-resourcing of South Vancouver neighbourhoods, with special focus given to grants and investments, parks and public spaces, warming and cooling spaces during extreme weather events, and improvements to public and active transportation infrastructure.
Staff will then provide recommendations to Council on how to correct this under-resourcing, for inclusion in the next Capital and Operating budgets.
When voting to reject separated active transportation infrastructure on Broadway, Councillors from ABC referenced the need to invest in the southern and eastern parts of the city instead.
South Vancouver does experience unequal access to safe pedestrian and active transportation infrastructure, and this is an inequality that this motion will correct.
Actions speak louder than words. Passing this motion - and actioning the staff recommendations that stem from it - will be a first step towards proving ABC is truly committed to equality in access to safe transportation, and wasn’t just looking for an excuse.
“While the underfunding of South Vancouver has been a tragic reality under several Councils, this Council has the opportunity to make things right,” concludes Boyle. “Residents in South Vancouver have been advocating for updated parks and public space, for better public and active transportation, and more. It is time for South Vancouver to get its fair share.”
The neighbourhoods of South Vancouver - defined in the motion as the neighbourhoods of Killarney, Victoria-Fraserview, and Sunset - are populated 80% by those who identify as visible minorities. Over half identify as immigrants, and six in ten (64%) say that they have a language other than English as their first language.
These facts make the need to correct this historic under-funding even more urgent. In one of the most progressive cities in North America, this sort of inequality is unacceptable.
Residents in South Vancouver are equal partners in the City we all call home. It is time for the City’s budget to reflect that reality.
QUOTES FROM RESIDENTS OF SOUTH VANCOUVER:
- “On Commercial Drive and Broadway, there are many traffic lights, but in South Vancouver for example Main Street, Fraser Street, Victoria Drive and especially Knight Street, there is no traffic light and people need to jaywalk. It is very dangerous. I don’t know who to talk to about this safety issue.”
- “Traveling from East to West, there are few options. One would need to go to 49th or Marine Drive to take transit, and between 49th to marine, there’s no bus line in between!”
- “Programs for children are extremely bad - low capacity, always full, long waiting list. I called to ask about a children’s program one month before the summer break, and it was already full. They told me there were already fifty people on the waiting list.”
- “There are no children programs near where I live. The only one I found is on Marine Drive and it’s so expensive.”
- “My wife died when I was in my 70s, I am 91 years old now, alone and South Vancouver Neighbourhood House is the only place I go to socialize”.