March 2023 Housing and Safety Report

By Kerry Gibson, Housing and Safety Convenor

Affordable housing opportunities across BC have accelerated. However, circumstances such as floods and fire continue to displace lower-income residents in Kamloops, Princeton, and the Downtown East Side.

In Vancouver, city officials are simultaneously increasing approvals while trialing controversial policies affecting specific demographics (such as 50+), and Victoria passed a “missing middle” vote that has satisfied neither the supply proponents nor the residential home owners.

Despite the increase in discussion and approvals, supply correction will not manifest in the time frame required, due to inflation and supply chain concerns. Economists have been eyeing softwood lumber prices and tariffs as an indicator forecasting a slump in builds.

An 8% increase in student housing costs has alarmed many post-secondary students already on tight budgets. The increase will affect food budgets, which have already been affected by inflation. The increases may cost many students out of continuing their education.

During a time when skilled labour is in short supply, and UBC is the primary supply for medically trained personnel, the province may look to significantly subsidizing students in identified industries where BC experiences shortfall, with contingencies to keep those skills local.

Tiny homes may offer a transitional opportunity for populations such as the currently unhoused, displaced populations, and returning veterans. Tiny home communities have sprung up all over the world, and are a cleaner, safer alternative to tent cities and SROs. These mini-residences offer the privacy, resources, security, warmth, pride of place, and dignity necessary for individuals and families to gain their footing. The model has also proven to be more cost-effective than supporting people residing on the street. Although some communities welcome the idea, others (such as Mission) have ousted the proposal which may be short-sighted without a contingency plan.


March 2023 Seniors Report

By Donna Webb, Seniors Convenor

On January 23, 2023 I attended a presentation entitled “Finally, Some Good News About Stress! The Benefits of (Some) Daily Challenge”.

The speaker was Dr. David Almeida, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and a faculty member of the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State University. Dr. Almeida earned his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Victoria. His research examines the effects of biological and self-reported indicators of stress on health. His primary interest has been the role of daily stress on healthy aging but has also examined stress processes in specific populations and contexts, such as the workplace and family interactions, parents of children with developmental disabilities, and family caregivers.

Research documents the harmful effects of daily stressors on well-being, but often ignored in these studies are people reporting no stressors. This talk examined the benefits and costs of a “stressor-free life”, with a focus on the potential benefits of small amounts of daily stress. He used data from the National Studies of Daily Experiences (NSDE) to calculate the prevalence of adults who reported no daily stressors over the course of 8 consecutive days.  Data were comprised of 20,188 daily interviews from 2,804 adults ages 25-85.  Results indicated that 10% of adults reported no stressors over the 8 days. Stressor-free adults were less likely to report positive events in their daily lives.

Previous assumptions about stress were refuted with twenty years of funded research, for example: stress is universal, stress is unhealthy, stress should be avoided, resilience to stress is exogenous to the stress process. Instead, the study found that having a purpose in life reduces reactivity to daily stress and exercise reduces reactivity to daily stress. Almost 10% of the study participants reported no stressors. These individuals reported fewer positive life events, fewer social support exchanges, and the found these participants scored lower in present and future cognitive functioning.

The Healthy Aging Public Lecture Series is sponsored by the Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program and the UBC School of Kinesiology and supported by the Providence Health Care Dialogue on Aging Public Presentation Series.


March 2023 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi, Civic Affairs Convenor

Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver has an agreement to purchase 97 hectares of forested and waterfront land on the southwest tip of Bowen Island for a proposed new park, for approximately $40 million. In January 2023, Metro Vancouver applied to Bowen Island Municipality to amend the Official Community Plan and rezone the parcels from rural residential to a passive park designation, with a variance to allow for supervised overnight tent camping.

The first phase of public engagement for a proposed new regional park at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island will take place from February 10 to March 20, providing a number of opportunities for the region’s residents to give their feedback and help shape the long-term park vision and concept. To participate click here.

City of Delta

The Delta Optimist reports that the City of Delta is looking at how to better protect the Beach Grove neighbourhood from flooding. Most of the seawall in Beach Grove is under a right-of-way, constructed under the Fraser River Flood Protection Program, and is Delta’s responsibility. Several sections were constructed as early as 1969 and 1972. Various repairs have been completed, but the Beach Grove neighbourhood remains prone to multiple flood-related hazards. The city says with recent updates to the provincial guidelines, the existing seawall does not meet the current requirements to provide safe protection against flooding due to the wall height, wave overtopping protection and seismic requirements. According to the city, upon adoption of a design solution, Delta will seek further funding from senior government levels to assist with the detailed design and construction of the flood protection upgrades.

City of New Westminster

A news release from the City of New Westminster announced that the City has received $800,000 from the provincial government’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF), administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), to put towards rehabilitation of the Queensborough dike to better protect the growing residential and commercial community against floods. The dike rehabilitation project is in alignment with the Flood Management Strategy, which was first developed in 2009-2011 to identify and prioritize measures to provide protection to its flood susceptible lands. The Strategy designates Queensborough, which has 350 hectares of designated floodplain, as the highest priority for flood protection improvements in the city.


City of North Vancouver

The City is helping to future-proof existing condos and apartments by offering top-up rebates so multi-unit residential buildings can get a jumpstart on being electric vehicle (EV) Ready.  By 2035, every passenger vehicle sold in Canada will be electric under the federal government’s newly proposed regulations. To help prepare for widespread EV adoption, and to encourage residents to make the switch early, the City will top-up current provincial rebates offered through CleanBC’s Go Electric EV Charging Rebate program. This program supports existing condo and apartment owners in retrofitting buildings to accommodate the high number of EV charging stations that will be required in the future.  For many people, the decision to purchase an EV depends on their access to convenient and reliable at-home charging. With the majority of City residents living in condos or apartments, supporting access to EV charging in these buildings is a key strategy for the City in enabling EV adoption as outlined in the City’s Electric Vehicle Strategy.

City of Surrey

The current mayor of Surrey, elected on a promise to shut down the Surrey Police Service established by the previous mayor and council, and retain the RCMP, must wait for a final decision on the issue by the Public Safety Minister and Attorney General of BC. In late January, the minister issued a statement saying officials have received and reviewed submissions from the city, the Mounties, and the fledgling Surrey Police Service on the question of who will police the city but that more information is needed. “It’s clear that considerable work has gone into developing these plans and reports, and I appreciate their timely submission,” he said in a statement. While the city council awaits a decision, officers from both the RCMP and the SPS remain on the job and the taxpayers of Surrey are paying for two police forces.

City of Vancouver

The Stanley Park Bike Lane is again in the news. A CBC news report confirmed that at a public meeting on February 13, Vancouver Park Board commissioners approved Option C for the future of the controversial “temporary” bike lane, which is the option that removes most of the bike lane. At the very most, 30% of the existing 8.5-km-long, on-road bike lane will be retained. All ABC commissioners voted in favour with the one Green Party commissioner voting against the motion. Additionally, the commissioners approved ABC amendments directing Park Board staff to report back no later than November 2023 on a new bike lane proposal for 2024 that incorporates 2023 summer usage data, stakeholder input, and park user experience. There will be more consultation and stakeholder engagement later in the year.


February 2023 Health Report

By Beryl Matthewson, Health Convenor


I hope everyone is following the challenging directives and staying healthy as many provinces have recorded an increase in cases of the new Covid-19 variant. Many significant concerns in our hospitals have been identified, such as wages and staff shortages. Our attention has mainly been centered on these, but the pandemic has only exacerbated the opioid crisis and drug overdose fatalities in this province. Barriers to mental health care have marginalized many Canadians. Decriminalization of a safe drug supply could effectively reduce public health concerns associated with drug use, and help those in the community get the help needed for recovery. The Canadian population in this smaller world needs to consider health as a primary determinant for social prosperity.

February 2023 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi, Civic Affairs Convenor


Metro Vancouver

Do you know a young person or a teacher who might be interested in taking part in regional issues? Metro Vancouver invites young people and educators from across the region to participate in the newly formed Metro Vancouver Youth and Education Advisory Panel.

The Youth and Education Advisory Panel will help provide a youth perspective on Metro Vancouver’s programs, projects, and policies. The panel will include up to five representatives from a high-school-aged group (ages 13-18), up to five representatives from a post-secondary-aged group (ages 18-25), and up to five representatives working in K-12 education.

The panel will receive and review information, and advise on topics related to the development of Metro Vancouver’s projects and programs. They will be invited to pose questions, engage in discussion, and provide comments for consideration on regional issues like managing wastewater, reducing waste in the region, water conservation, taking action on climate change, plans and projects related to regional parks, delivery of K-12 programming and other regional issues. The panel will share comments and present recommendations to Metro Vancouver staff. Youth and people working in K-12 education interested in participating are asked to submit their applications by February 3, 2023 online at (search “Youth and Education Advisory Panel”). Participation is voluntary.​

City of Delta

The Mayor has initiated a plan, supported by Council, to improve access to Regular Council Meetings for North Delta residents. The City now alternates meetings evenly between North Delta and South Delta, providing equal opportunity for all residents to stay informed on the business of Council. Regular Council Meetings are also available by live stream, using any device that has access to the internet, and on television through Delta Cable. The archived video is available the day after a meeting online.

City of New Westminster

The City has an interactive, online space where community members can learn about a variety of City projects and share their feedback and ideas. Join the conversation on your own schedule and from whatever location is convenient for you. Sign up to receive updates and never miss an opportunity to share your input and be heard. Go to Be Heard New West to get started!

For information on upcoming Public Hearings and other formal opportunities to provide comments to City Council, visit the Public Notices page. To learn about projects that are not in an engagement phase or are now completed, visit Projects on the Go.

Want to be notified about engagement opportunities? The best way is to register on Be Heard New West! Registered users receive emails when new feedback opportunities are launched.

You can also subscribe to CityPage Online, the City’s electronic newsletter, and receive updates on a wide variety of City news every Thursday.

City of North Vancouver

Volunteering is a great way for residents to get involved, provide input on important issues, and make a positive contribution to our community.

The City welcomes applications from citizens interested in volunteering their time, sharing their expertise, and helping their community. You are encouraged to submit an application, including the name of the committee you wish to join. All committee applicants must be City residents.

The City Clerk’s Office will confirm receipt of your application and may also request a copy of your resumé. Applications are accepted throughout the year, and are retained on file for one year.

Visit the City of North Vancouver’s Committees page for details on all committees. If you have questions about Committee, Commission, or Board vacancies, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 604-990-4231 or

City of Surrey

City Council meetings are held Monday evenings in accordance with the 2022 Council meeting schedule. Council meetings are simultaneously live streamed on the City of Surrey website and videos of recent meetings are also archived for viewing.

If you would like to get involved with your local government, there are over 25 different committees, commissions or boards that residents could possibly join. From food policy to diversity, there are a range of topics these groups cover. Year-round applications are welcomed.

City of Vancouver

The City and Park Board have a diverse range of volunteer opportunities to fit your goals, skills, and schedule. Volunteering is a rewarding way to:

  • Share your skills to improve your community
  • Meet new people who share your interests
  • Gain experience or learn new skills you can use in a job or other areas of your life

Go to for a list of volunteer opportunities with the City and Park Board.

February 2023 Child and Families Report

By Sheila Pepper, Child and Family Convenor


New information this month is a pilot project by BC Family Connections at four centres in BC for support and services. Family connections centres will provide a one-stop location for support, therapy and information. Centres will provide the same core services to everyone. Families will be able to access a centre from their local community. Smaller communities will have access using mobile services or virtual technology. Centre teams will create a comfortable, welcoming, inclusive and safe space by using a trauma-informed, culturally safe and respectful approach. Centres will be run by service providers contracted by the ministry.

Please consult challenges faced by BC families:

This report lists the many challenges families face: income security, employment, physical and mental health, addictions, housing, food, education, child care and protection, neighbourhood and community safety, violence, and legal issues.

Here is a link to the BC Child, Family and Community Services Act:

Another link to Children’s Rights and Participation in Family Law in BC:

Family caregiving at both ends of life is increasing for BC families. Additional services for parent, adolescent and family therapy are more in demand. The long Covid shutdowns have been complicating service availability.

The Minister of Child and Family Development is the Honourable Mitzi Dean and the Deputy Minister is Allison Bond. They have set up a new Indigenous child support program including aspects of reconciliation.

December 2022 Seniors Report

By Donna Webb, Seniors Convenor

Long-Term Care and Assisted Living Directory Update

The Office of the Seniors Advocate has released an updated long-term care home directory which now also includes information on all publicly funded assisted living facilities in British Columbia. This online searchable directory is an excellent resource for people looking for current information on care homes.

Learn More

Connecting with Seniors in Rural Communities

The Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie continued engaging with seniors in rural communities throughout the province in October. Notably, she spoke at the Valemount Seniors Fair, a town hall in Squamish, and met with seniors on both Denman and Hornby Islands.

Learn More

Seniors Advocate Participates in Long-Term Care Survey

The Seniors Advocate recently joined the efforts of volunteer surveyors in downtown Vancouver by interviewing seniors living in long term care about their quality of life. Read more about a volunteer’s experience working with the Seniors Advocate, as well as her reflections on patient-centered care in residential care homes. OSA will be seeking volunteers until spring 2023. Find out more about volunteering on the project website.

Learn More

For more information, visit the Seniors Advocate web site at

December 2022 Housing and Safety Report

By Kerry Gibson, Housing and Safety Convenor

As Premier Eby, former Housing Minister, has been sworn into office, housing advocates appeal to his understanding of the housing crisis for a renewed push for mitigation and reform. Eby is urged to review what is occurring in New Zealand regarding changes to minimum zoning standards, noting that New Zealand enacted national reforms that established minimum zoning standards and legalized multifamily housing. They recommend that six-plexes be the minimum standard to be economically viable and sustainable.

Although the housing crisis is highlighted most frequently in an urban Vancouver context, and reflected in the unhoused population in the DTES, the crisis has affected communities across BC. In particular, communities with colleges and universities have been struggling to house students as well as dealing with community push-back on the creation of more student housing, citing NIMBY politics opposed to neighbourhood disruptions they fear young people will bring with such developments.

The Bank of Canada has reported that with increasing interest rates, housing prices will continue to fall through 2023, but not enough to create affordability. Canadian Real Estate Magazine reports that housing supply affordability is driven by a number of factors. With huge immigration numbers fuelling high demand for real estate, it is likely that prices will remain unaffordable for a large number of Canadians. The Bank of Canada is set to continue sustaining rising interest rates through 2023, which keeps mortgage rates higher even as prices start to come down. This will be exacerbated by increasing immigration targets throughout 2023 and 2024. Curbing immigration is not the answer, however. As labour shortages continue to mount, immigration is necessary to drive an economic return. Wages are not being increased in accordance with the increases in cost of living metrics, therefore not keeping up with the increase in inflation.

BC Housing, Kamloops, and Social Services are looking to establish an extreme weather response shelter for vulnerable people. As climate change continues to deliver atypical conditions, these shelters may require more prevalence and permanency than previously established. However, staffing concerns may delay operational readiness. All municipalities will need to continuously review their readiness plans in order to prevent loss of life in extreme conditions.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim is following through on his campaign promise of 100 new police officers and 100 new mental health nurses by tabling a motion to allocate $6 million to the initiative. However, there is concern both within council and from community advocates that there are better and more cost-effective ways of accomplishing the end goal of supporting the public well-being. Hiring would be done by VPD and VCH. The discussion and vote is set for November 23rd.

December 2022 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi, Civic Affairs Convenor

Metro Vancouver

Two years ago, the spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam released a large volume of water into the Capilano River while it was undergoing maintenance. The Board of Metro Vancouver recognizes the impact that the accident has had on everyone involved and they are committed to ensuring this never happens again. As part of their commitment to making improvements to the system, a comprehensive review of the Cleveland Dam is being conducted and a number of new safety enhancements are being implemented. An interim public warning system has been installed that includes audible and visible alarms and additional public warning signs. Metro is now undertaking work to develop both a public education program and the long-term enhancements along the river.

Throughout summer 2022 – summer 2023 you can expect to see engineering teams completing on-site studies and hydraulic modeling of the Capilano River, updated project information signs and website content, and a third-party engineer consulting firm conducting onsite surveys to determine patterns of the public and river users along the Capilano River to inform the long-term public safety enhancements.

City of Delta

Metro Vancouver operates a series of permanent air quality monitoring stations throughout the Lower Fraser Valley that collect information on the level of pollutants in our air. View the current air quality data the Delta stations (North Delta and Tsawwassen) and other stations in the region, and view Metro Vancouver’s Caring for the Air Reports.

As a joint venture between Health Canada, Environment Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment, BC Air Quality is now active throughout BC. This resource may be used to find out what air quality is like in other communities, including any current air quality advisories in the province.

City of New Westminster

The City of New Westminster is committed to protecting, enhancing and managing the natural environment to provide a sustainable living environment for local residents. The City has established several programs and initiatives that help to improve the environment. Learn about the many ways that the City is showing its environmental commitment by going to the City’s website at where you can click on one of the various topic areas that include: energy emissions and climate change, water protection and conservation, integrated stormwater management plan, smart gardening and invasives, and many other topics.

City of North Vancouver

The City recognizes the value in balancing the recreational and educational aspects of its urban parks. Among the environmental initiatives being explored and integrated by the City are: pursuing creative solutions for storm water management that include designing and implementing community detention ponds that do not affect existing waterways and help to educate the public on its use; using bio-retention areas or rain gardens in private development sites; limiting the installation of new trails or facilities that do not benefit a sensitive habitat; erecting trailside barriers such as fences along heavy use trails to protect sensitive ravines and creeks; restoring riparian areas that have been negatively impacted by erosion or park use; implementing policies that balance the health and safety of residents with the protection of the environment; and managing invasive non-native plant species and integrating naturescaping principles to increase the habitat for wildlife and birds

City of Surrey

Surrey has over 800 parks and one park is uniquely adapting to climate change by making room for the river, the future Nicomekl Riverfront Park. Located on the south side of the Nicomekl River in South Surrey, this 3 kilometre linear park will extend from Elgin Rd to 40th Ave. Eighty acres in size, the future nature park will be 14 times larger than Crescent Beach Park. The park will have two large park spaces, the Hadden Mill and Oxbow zones (phase 1), located on either side of King George Boulevard. The park will combine environmental, cultural, art, heritage, recreation and social spaces. A nature-based design approach will protect flora, fauna, creeks and the park’s natural water system. Based on Surrey’s Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy, the park will turn planning into action to address sea level rise and coastal flooding. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

City of Vancouver

The Women4Climate (W4C) program aims to advance bold, local climate action in alignment with Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and Climate Change Adaption Strategy. This program contributes to the next generation of climate leaders through a mentorship program dedicated to women working in climate to create a healthier, greener, more resilient, and economically prosperous urban future. In 2019, Vancouver became the eighth city to launch a local C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program. Each year, the program matches leaders from international and community businesses and organizations with emerging women leaders. Over the 10-month mentorship period, mentors share their knowledge, experiences, and support the mentees to develop their leadership skills while advancing their climate initiatives.  For more information go to Green Vancouver.


November 2022 Child and Family Report

By Sheila Pepper, Child and Family Convenor


Children and their families have continued to struggle with inflation and higher prices for almost all consumer goods they rely on every week: from housing, food, clothing, health and transportation basics, to education and community social connections. Over the summer and early fall, many of the BC advocacy organizations have been pushing the municipal and provincial authorities to follow up on their promises and expectations of improvements in these most important issues:

  • Bill 273, repeal of Section 43: Criminal Code defence of physical discipline of children. This has been a long time coming, as so many in previous generations considered this practice acceptable.
  • BC universal child care needs action, with special attention to new immigrant and refugee families. Language and social isolation contribute to these families’ difficulties in accessing all the help they need to return to work in their fields of expertise or some other field more easily accessed in Canada.
  • Several BC First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society initiatives include: Living Wage for Families, Fostering Change, and Making Ends Meet. For more information see their web site here.
  • The Child and Youth Support Network is advocating for extended support for all children and youth to age 21, from the present 18, when they age out of provincial support. There are programs for independent youth/ older teens who have to leave foster families. These supports include housing, education, work experience, and food. More information on all these supports will be coming shortly.