Creating the Homes We Need
Press Release: August 30: Building the Housing We Need (press release)
The housing crisis affects all of us and we cannot rest until we have a 3% rental vacancy rate and the price per square foot for housing in this city is a better match with typical wages.
We have spent too many years embroiled in a conversation narrowly focused on building more supply. The real focus must be on providing what the people of Vancouver need. We need to build more purpose-built housing to create thriving neighbourhoods for children, working professionals, seniors, and businesses.
The residents of our city deserve a decent, affordable place to live that supports a healthy work-life balance. We are a city of hardworking people and Vancouver should be a place for all us, not just those who can afford empty luxury penthouses.
My six-point action plan contains concrete steps to tackle the crisis, including:
1.) Using City land and assets for housing and support services. Vancouver is the biggest landowner in the city, yet it remains the most underutilized asset the City has to leverage. We will use this abundant land to deliver community benefit (not private benefit) in housing and support services. This includes city-owned land and sites held in the Property Endowment Fund - excluding parks. Funds from the $2 billion Affordable Housing Fund will be directed immediately to the community housing sector to build affordable purpose-built rentals.
"As Mayor, I will work in true partnership with the non-profit and community sector to deliver affordable housing and use my networks and 30 years of working with federal & provincial governments to leverage their support to help build the housing we need."
2.) Making Vancouver the North American capital of co-ops and co-housing through immediate lease renewals on all existing co-ops, allowing medium-density rezoning, reducing application and permit approval times, and providing land for new co-op development.
"I will call for renewing the leases on all existing co-ops within my first year as Mayor. I will also support medium-dense rezonings for community-led cohousing and co-ops in all neighbourhoods and streamlining applications with defined transparent and development permit approval times. Finally, I will call for the provision of land so that the Co-op sector can mobilize their capital to build new co-ops."
3.) Encouraging purpose-built rentals through faster permitting and specific fee waivers for homeowners creating affordable housing on their lots, and implementing a Community Amenity Contribution fee for owners looking to build market-rate housing on their lots, to be invested in rental assistance and affordable housing.
This will be achieved through a two-pronged approach to give residents the choice to add more affordable and human-scaled housing to Vancouver neighbourhoods, or to create a greater pool of income to support more affordable housing:
- The Affordability Path: Homeowners could use their single-family lots to help address the affordability crisis by adding more livable space through gentle densification that respects the character of their neighbourhoods. In turn, those homeowners who create purpose built rental or other affordable housing are fast-tracked through the City Hall permitting process and are not charged for height or FSR (floor space ratio).
The Market Path: Upzoning is going to be transferring a great deal of value to owners, so it's important for the city to capture some of that value. Owners of single-family lots who wish to add more moderate density to their lots to create market-rate housing will be able to do so if they pay a CAC (Community Amenity Contribution)-- similar to what tower developers now pay. The city will be very transparent in laying out the rules, and rate of CAC. The CACs will then be put to rental assistance or put into an affordable housing fund to create more affordable rental housing.
4.) Creating targeted housing authorities to enable workers to live where they work. This will be a made in Vancouver model similar to the one in Whistler with the creation of the city’s housing authority. Action 4 will call for the creation of Housing Authorities that will support anywhere from First Responders, Teachers, Front-line Retail or Support Staff working in the Downtown Eastside, among others.
I will work in partnership with key employers, unions, faith groups, and community service organizations to identify opportunities for creating viable housing authorities which ensure workers have stable, safe and affordable housing in the city in which they work.
5.) Fast-tracking and cutting down red-tape for affordable housing. We will end the excessive wait and processing times for the housing that we need. That means fast-tracking applications for community-scale homes with community benefits, such as purpose-built rentals. We will create simpler, more predictable zoning rules and a clear and transparent approval process.
We will advocate with the federal government to ensure purpose-built rental developments are not subject to the GST and we will better enforce the rules on AirBNBs, while supporting good ideas as they emerge.
6.) Working with the public to complete community plans across the city. Currently, only 25% of our neighbourhoods have a community plan and as a consequence, those neighbourhoods are accommodating a disproportionate amount of the growth of our city.
"I will support grassroots planning teams working out of offices across the city to have the support to authentically engage and deliver results in a timely manner. We need to engage the people who live, work, play and study here in revisioning the future city we want - finding a balance between inclusive, participatory and accelerated community planning while building the affordable housing we need now."
I’m committed to enacting my housing plan as soon as I take office. I love this city and I don’t want to see it become a resort town. I am ready to devote my time, energy, and brain power to collaboratively address this housing crisis.
Keeping Our City Moving
Keeping our city moving is at the heart of our economy. We need a comprehensive multi-modal transit plan to get people moving faster, safer, and more efficiently.
I’m committed to working with all levels of government and partners to ensure we build the Broadway Subway all the way to UBC. We can’t create a choke hold in our transit system at Arbutus. UBC represents a key economic centre and a major employer in our region. Once we have started the digging process we need to complete the extension to UBC.
I worked for five years leading Moving in a Livable Region, a consortium of all of the major transportation players in Vancouver. I support the Mayors’ Council Transportation 2040 Plan, and committed to advancing further transit development to meet commuter needs.
Everyone has experienced the traffic gridlock and transit line-ups in this city. As Mayor I will act decisively to ease the congestion and get commuters and residents moving and I will put the infrastructure in place to address our future needs.
When elected Mayor I will:
- Work with our transit partners to build the Broadway Subway to UBC in a single phase
- Develop centralized infrastructure for electric vehicles (e.g. community conducting stations).
- Support car-sharing and autonomous vehicle infrastructure, while having a transportation worker retainment program in place to preserve jobs.
- Electrifying all City-owned vehicle fleets.
- Updating the Transportation 2040 plan to accommodate new transportation technologies and increase the cycling target from 12% to 25% cycling by 2040.
- Increase transportation support services like Handy Dart and innovative accessibility options for seniors and individuals with disabilities in accordance with their needs.
- Develop a targeted plan to ease the transportation of goods & services through our city
- Support regulated and safe ride-hailing options
- Support a vibrant, safe pedestrian network through the city with activated public spaces
I understand that the people of Vancouver have different needs in how they move through the city and am committed to reducing wait times for all transportation modes.
Building a Green and Resilient City
Press Release: September 7: A Green and Resilient Vancouver (press release)
Building on Vancouver’s climate leadership while committing to prepare the city for the unavoidable effects of climate change, is key to ensure our city is resilient enough to sustain these effects and so our residents are able to maintain a healthy standard of living.
Vancouver is a global leader in sustainability and we need to ensure that our efforts to transition away from fossil fuels are not stalled.
As the founder of Carbon Talks and Renewable Cities, I have spent the last 10 years working on climate change issues with cities in Canada. I have worked with the City of Vancouver to advance their climate solutions. We have made progress, but we have so much more to do.
I have committed to a number of measures during my term as Mayor, including:
- Accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy and implementing energy efficiency programs like installing more heat pumps.
- Creating incentives for the adoption of electric vehicles by expanding the community charging infrastructure, enabling on-street charging and parking benefits.
- Working with other levels of government to ensure that public funds are not invested in infrastructure which will be stranded by global market shifts, like pipelines and LNG.
- Ensuring that all buildings are designed to address future climate conditions and hazards including heat waves and earthquakes.
- Shifting to passive and green buildings, and creating incentives for green retrofits.
- Developing transit infrastructure and encouraging ridership by extending the new Broadway subway to UBC and improving transit services like B-line buses, SeaBus, and HandyDart.
- Addressing oncoming sea level rise by ensuring that all new buildings are designed and situated to withstand a one-meter sea level rise, increase parks in high-density areas to reduce flood risk, and increase permeability in all new development to reduce surface run-off.
- Continuing city efforts targeting zero waste goals, including a renewable energy gas plant for solid and liquid waste.
- Improving land use planning and reduce our city’s ecological footprint by increasing the number of people living on single-family lots.
I am committed to building a greener, more resilient and healthy city. This can only be achieved if we have a Mayor who is willing to use innovative and bold solutions to secure the future of this city.
Addressing the Opioid Poisoning Crisis
We are in the midst of an opioid poisoning crisis. If this were our food or water, we would not hesitate to act. We need to move beyond misinformation, discrimination, stigma, and fear and align our resources to deliver empathetic and effective responses.
My strategy supports the proven four pillars approach, community support models, comprehensive care access, and collaboration with senior levels of government.
I support a comprehensive four pillars approach to tackle the crisis, including
- Supporting urgent efforts to replace the toxic illegal drug supply with safer options for people
- Increasing the availability of naloxone
- Improving comprehensive access to care
- Supporting front-line prevention and treatment options
I also support the expansion of the Injectable Opioid Substitution Treatment, as recently announced by BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy D’Arcy.
My action plan commits to taking the following measures to address this crisis:
- Reinstate and advance a strong four pillars approach at City Hall with a new lead program director.
- Work to address stigma and change attitudes towards people who use drugs through education, public dialogue and community engagement.
- Commit to supporting urgent actions to address the drug poisoning problem by working with partners to ensure a supply of clean drugs for people who use drugs.
- Work towards decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal use in collaboration with the Federal Government, the VPD, and the RCMP.
- Provide ongoing support for community-based models of overdose response and peers working on the front lines of the overdose crisis.
- Create a clear and innovative plan for the Downtown Eastside with those who live, work, and play in the area. Activate public spaces in a way that aligns with that plan. With due credit to City Council candidate Sarah Blyth, implement a garbage purchase program for homeless individuals that will enable people who are homeless and city workers to work together to keep our streets clean.
- Work with other levels of government, including indigenous leaders, and health authorities to develop a mental health strategy.
This is not a crisis we can afford to ignore. We have allowed this problem to get worse by decades of inaction towards modernizing our approach to drugs and addressing addiction issues through a comprehensive public health approach. We need a local government that is committed and equipped to tackle this problem head-on.
My campaign platform is formally rolling out as a series of public announcements. Read about each below by following links, and watch this space as planks appear in coming days.
The City of Vancouver needs to treat the homelessness crisis as a crisis and take immediate, do-able steps to address this issue. This is why I propose a combination of repairs and upgrades, new construction, and improved coordination of services so that the most vulnerable residents of this city get help keeping a roof over their heads.
The homelessness crisis requires urgent action, including fixing up current standards, building new spaces, and streamlining assistance.
The official 2018 homeless count found that 2180 individuals were homeless, not including persons staying in unsafe conditions, trading sex for shelter, or avoiding homelessness through couch-surfing. Indigenous persons, especially women, were found to be disproportionately represented in the count as well.
My platform is driven by the principle of housing first, and a profound respect for human rights and dignity.
My homelessness strategy contains concrete steps to tackle this crisis, including:
- Leveraging funds from senior levels of government to provide 2,800 new housing spaces in the first two years, with 1,000 spaces earmarked for women and children at shelter and disability rates.
- Bring Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) spaces up to health and safety standards, and take firm action to recover costs from non-compliant landlords.
- Coordinate integrated care services to assist people in maintaining and improving health, maintaining tenancy, and connecting with community resources. This includes harm reduction practices, health care access, improved food access, and access to legal or financial support.
- Create a climate of support in policing, health care services, and our community spaces for people who live in poverty and are struggling with health care issues.
- Work in partnership with the non-profit housing and cooperative sector to manage outcomes, instead of taking a prescriptive approach.
My plan is committed to also engaging City services to support those living in precarious conditions to avoid homelessness. I am further committed to including occupants and service users during the space design and service creation processes to better suit their needs.
We cannot move at the current pace any longer. We need to give the homeless crisis the attention it deserves. Vancouver needs a local government that is willing to act quickly.
Helping Seniors Thrive
Press Release: August 26: Helping Seniors Thrive (press release)
People are living longer and staying active, yet many seniors live alone, are disconnected from their communities, or feel unsupported. Growing isolation, improper mobility, and poor nutrition are pressing issues we have to act upon.
We need to work with our seniors to engage volunteer centres, community and neighbourhood houses, and other platforms to get seniors involved with social activities, nutrition support, and community living.
Our seniors don’t want to be warehoused. They want to be an active part of their communities. This is why I propose the creation of more mixed-use living arrangements such as cooperatives and co-housing so that seniors can live affordably while retaining a community.
When elected Mayor, I propose measures focused on:
- Reducing isolation through community platforms and intergenerational activities (e.g. matching companion programs, youth mentorship opportunities, and outreach on food and nutrition)
- Tackling affordability through mixed-use living arrangements
- Specific programs focused on addressing senior female poverty
- Enhancing mobility through accessible city infrastructure, enhanced HandyDart services, and better access to public restrooms
- Care mechanisms developed in collaboration with the provincial government to provide quality
- Support for seniors experiencing dementia, Alzheimer's, and other complex conditions.
While we look at the care and support of all seniors, we also need to address senior female poverty and violence against women. More than half of single women over 65 live below the poverty line.
We need to ensure that there is a proper link between hospitals and community services to facilitate moves to an extended care facility. And we need to consider regulating home care and enhance supports so seniors can live safely at home longer.
Improving Conditions for Local Small Businesses
One of the unique features of Vancouver is our vibrant neighbourhood streets like Commercial Drive, West Point Grey Village, Main Street or Denman Street. They are the lifeblood of our communities. I am committed to supporting and strengthening small businesses in the city.
Upon taking office, I will call for the appointment of a Small Business Ombudsperson at the City. City Hall needs a full-time advocate who understands the challenges facing small business owners and is empowered to assist them in finding the solutions they need quickly.
My platform protects local neighbourhood businesses and creates an enabling environment in City Hall that recognizes the leading role of small businesses and niche industries to job growth and economic development. Small businesses are extremely important to keeping this city livable and innovative - they provide easy access to goods and services, employment and investment back into our communities and make our city interesting and fun.
When elected Mayor, I will implement a number of solutions including:
- Working collaboratively to strengthen and expand Business Improvement Associations (BIAs)
- Rescinding city policies that are outdated, redundant or unfriendly to innovation
- Simplifying permitting and fee transparency to improve efficiency and grappling with the escalating property tax burden that hobbles many small businesses.
Businesses across this city are struggling to find and retain employees because workers cannot afford the high cost of living in Vancouver.
I commit to taking action on escalating rents, property taxes and staff recruitment. As Mayor, I will explore how to follow Whistler’s lead to create affordable purpose-built rentals for front-line retail and service workers.
My platform brings years of experience working closely with community-oriented groups, including founding five social enterprises, working and growing up in a small family business, and serving on the boards of various Vancouver organizations. These include Vancity, Vancity Capital Corporation, MEC, and the Downtown Vancouver BIA, to support my passion for helping the city’s business community thrive, innovate, and expand.
My platform brings measures to include the city’s social enterprises as small businesses, reserve and increases industrial land by expanding vertically and explore the creation of innovation corridors that support local entrepreneurship.
I understand the importance of strengthening small businesses for our economy and our communities and commit to appointing a Small Business Ombudsperson, improve affordability for workers, and streamline permitting processes to create healthy business environments.
Building Trust in City Hall
Press Release: August 22: Building Trust in City Hall (press release)
Many Vancouverites do not understand our city’s budget. They want to know how and where their hard earned tax dollars are being spent. My plan promotes openness and accountability in local government.
Within 100 days as Mayor, I will deliver a financial report to the public on where tax revenue has been spent.
Keeping in line with promoting transparency, I commit to delivering a financial report on the Property Endowment Fund, creating a lobbyist registry for City Hall, implementing a ban on former city staff and officials from lobbying activity for a period of one-year, and a new electoral system consisting of ward-based and at-large councilors.
A bold plan to promote transparency and efficiency
My commitment to releasing the city’s financial reports is reflected in my 25 years of experience leading finance, audit, and government committees in the private and non-profit sectors.
When elected Mayor, I am committed to:
- Simplifying resident fees and permitting process to give permit seekers and home builders a fair understanding of the costs of their projects.
- Call for the introduction of citizen participation in city budgeting to give the public a direct say in spending.
- Reinstatement of orientation and training of new councilors to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities to the public and the duties required of them.
- Introducing a lobbyist registry for the City
- Institute a one-year ban on lobbying activity by departing city staff and officials.
One of the issues that many people have raised with me on the doorsteps is that they do not feel like they have a connection to City Hall. My action plan addresses that.
A hybrid ward system to promote democratic reform
My platform proposes a new Hybrid Ward system where five City Council members are elected to represent specific wards in the city, and five are elected to represent the city at-large. This system will ensure that Council pays attention to local communities while deciding on larger city-wide issues.
As Mayor, I commit to tabling a draft on “Principles for Effective City Building” including equality, resilience, evidence, truth, diversity, participation, and accountability, for discussion and adoption by the new City Council.
My platform takes solid steps to propose a shift in the makeup of City Hall with democratic reform to strengthen local representation and public connection to councilors.
Arts & Culture
Supporting Arts & Culture
Press Release: Shauna Sylvester Announces Arts & Culture Platform
Our artists and cultural communities form the spirit and identity of this city. Without a vibrant art and culture scene, Vancouver is soulless.
My seven-point plan to support the arts and culture community in Vancouver includes concrete steps to improve affordability, advance reconciliation, and ensure that our artists, musicians, cultural educators are key actors in building our city.
- City Hall will create a housing authority specifically for our city’s artists. We will work with the Community Housing sector to create affordable, purpose-built spaces for artists to live, work and show.
- Partner with indigenous organizations to advance reconciliation through the arts.
- Work with the Vancouver Arts Gallery to create their new home, with a vibrant commercial and residential component dedicated to the arts at the Larwill Park site.
- Work with community artists to run spaces, musician and artists collaboratives to ensure that they have a voice and vibrant presence in our city.
- Review city policy to enable studio and rehearsal spaces within light industry zonings
- Support efforts to expand arts programming with communities that face multi-barriers to accessing mainstream programs (e.g. in our inner city, with refugee communities, youth-at-risk)
- Revisit festival policy and grantmaking, in consultation with the community, to ensure that it supports vibrant, accessible and diverse programming.
- Work with arts and cultural groups, including ethnocultural and youth-serving organizations to advocate for expanded federal, provincial and foundation funding for arts and culture.
We have a vibrant, innovative and growing creative economy in this city, but artists need to be able to thrive affordably and feel supported by City Hall. We need to support our established cultural institutions, our indigenous communities and our emerging artists and recognize their contribution to our economic and social well-being.