Burnaby Green Party release entire platform:
Building a Better Burnaby
PROTECT - INVEST - ENGAGE
HOUSING FOR EVERYONE
Affordable housing is the single most important issue in Metro Vancouver, especially in Burnaby.
The Burnaby Green Party believes that safe, secure, affordable housing is a right. We must ensure that all residents in the housing continuum, from children to seniors, from renters to owners on fixed incomes, to the homeless, have a roof over their head 365 days a year. This requires a rethink on how we meet this need and bold actions now.
- Freeze property tax increases for at least 2 years
- Enact a moratorium on “demovictions”, the rezoning of rental apartments and eviction of tenants
- Introduce a text amendment to Burnaby’s zoning bylaw removing supplementary, or s-zoning, from RM4 and RM5 zoned areas of the City.*
- Work with partners on a Housing Strategy to eliminate homelessness and displacement
- Support additional protections for purpose built rentals through standards of maintenance bylaws
- Begin neighbourhood consultations on development of affordable housing near frequent transit
- Invest at least $20 million annually into affordable rentals and co-op housing
- Review policies regarding the disposition of City-owned lands to private ownership
- Contribute suitable City lands at nominal lease rates for non-market housing
- Consider the advantages of other medium density built forms like tiny, laneway and modular homes
- Create an Independent Housing Ombudsperson Office
*S-zoning precipitated the demovictions we have seen since 2011
LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKING WITH YOU TO CREATE AN INCLUSIVE, DYNAMIC AND INTERACTIVE COMMUNITY
Over the past three decades, the BCA has governed Burnaby. During this same time, there has been a growing “democratic deficit”. We have voter participation below 30 percent in civic elections, a monopoly city council and school board, systemic over-taxation, an unaddressed housing crisis and decision-making occurring behind closed doors, without adequate public consultation or oversight.
- Enhance dialogue between City Council and Burnaby citizens
- Appoint senior and youth representatives to work with City Council and School Board
- Create an Independent Housing Ombudsperson Office
- Actively identify and reach out to under-represented groups
- Enhance openness and transparency in local government
- Require rigorous evidence to support decisions
- Make committees and commissions more representative of community
- Reduce the influence of the Mayor in committee selection process
- Support proportional representation and other electoral reforms that will enhance participatory democracy
HEALTHY LOCAL ECONOMY
Small businesses face skyrocketing lease rates as a result of speculation and a runaway housing market. Additionally, the lack of affordable homes in the region makes it difficult to recruit and retain employees. Increases in permit fees and regulatory restrictions also add to a small business’s costs and impact the viability of an enterprise. Small and medium sized businesses are important because they foster a sense of community and belonging. This is important in an increasingly globalized economy.
- Freeze property tax increases for two years
- Support a living wage for all
- Address the plight of precarious workers in city government
- Support sustainable and small businesses within Burnaby that provide goods and services and offer employment to the local labour force
- Encourage sustainable business practices and shopping local
- Encourage small and medium -sized businesses which provide goods and services to the community, may employ Burnaby residents and add character to our City
- Partner with businesses, large and small, on projects that will contribute to and strengthen our community
As we move forward, we must re-evaluate how we deliver services to our seniors. This demographic is growing rapidly, becoming increasingly diverse and requiring varying levels of support for longer periods.
These realities require immediate action.
- Improve coordination of and accessibility to existing programs and services
- Provide multilingual coordination hub & telephone hotline to direct seniors to resources
- Improve affordability for low income seniors
- Explore and develop new models of co-housing and home sharing geared toward seniors
- Inspiring low rent mini villages with communal areas to better integrate seniors
- Improve our future high-rises with seniors areas, possibly combined with childcare
- Improve and encourage additional seniors’ transportation services
IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
By virtue of its location, Burnaby is blessed with 11 Skytrain stations yet traffic congestion and “rat running” has become a fact of life. By addressing our affordable housing crisis and supporting small business better, we can keep working households close to where they work and play and out of their cars. However, in order to make this happen, we need good infrastructure to support alternative modes of transportation. For short trips, we need complete, high standard cycling and pedestrian routes. We need accessible and affordable car sharing and public transit, and we need more charging stations for electric vehicles.
- Prioritize completion of a citywide accessible sidewalk network
- Mandate AAA cycling facilities for future upgrades and new developments, making every street or sidewalk safe and accessible for all
- Expand car sharing citywide
- Support electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new-builds and EV charging stations throughout the City
- Improve the scope, affordability, comfort and convenience of public transportation for all
- Develop affordable, comfortable and convenient ways to meet the special transportation needs of seniors
- Improve north-south connectivity within Burnaby
PROTECT LAND, AIR AND WATER
Greens think long term. We subscribe to the indigenous concept that decisions made today should benefit our children seven generations in the future. Our current economy and current trajectory is at odds with the goal of having a better planet 150 years from now, but we are optimistic. We need to take bold steps today, and Burnaby can be a leader if it wants to be.
- Honour the work of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS) Steering Committee members by moving forward on “future goals” of the ESS
- Retain the Burnaby Lake Conservation Area as part of the Metro Vancouver’s Regional Park system
- Continue to work toward zero waste in City facilities and households
- Encourage energy conservation
- Encourage energy efficient buildings and installation of energy generating solar technologies
- Limit new fossil fuel infrastructure in Burnaby
- Oppose Trans Mountain’s pipeline and tank farm expansion and any other expansion of fossil fuel transportation and storage that might be proposed by the Federal Government for Burnaby
- Support sustainable transportation
In addition to shelter costs, another aspect of affordability is the cost and access to food. Gentrification has displaced residents and become a barrier to obtaining affordable groceries, particularly among households that do not own a car. Households have to travel further to get less expensive, nourishing food. Our only farmers’ market at City Hall is not easily accessed by households without a car. In high density areas of the City, the council has resisted the establishment of community gardens on city lands. In Big Bend, we see the loss of prime farmland to residential and commercial development.
- Support independent farmers
- Support the inclusion of sustainable food practices in the new curriculum
- Support and facilitate development of community and school vegetable gardens
- Encourage the restoration of bee populations through evidence based enhancement practices and ban bee killing pesticides
PROMOTING A HEALTHY, VIBRANT COMMUNITY
Building a healthy community requires a strong local government to not only maintain and replace its infrastructures; it also must be an effective advocate that ensures other levels of government keep their promises to our community. The current council’s confrontational and uncooperative attitude with the previous provincial government resulted in missed opportunities to provide a Skytrain station at Cameron Street, an Olympic ice rink, and even a permanent shelter for our homeless adults and youth. Greens understand the importance of putting partisanship aside to achieve the results that are good for the community. Greens also know that no single party has all the solutions.
- Support the mental, physical and spiritual health of Burnaby residents.
- Hold the Provincial Government to its promise to renovate Burnaby Hospital and spend $2.1 billion to replace it.
- Ensure completion of the promised $8.8 million emergency mental-health and substance-use zone at BGH.
- Collaborate with the Province to help fulfill its promise to Burnaby of “urgent primary care centres”.
- Update, expand or create new pools, community centers, seniors’ centers and libraries.
- Proceed with a feasibility study for a 50m pool as a priority amenity.
- Work with local partners to provide needed services and supports for isolated and low-income seniors.
- Engage and support English language learners, immigrants and refugees.
- Support music, dance, theatre, arts and culture within Burnaby.
- Encourage and celebrate volunteerism.
- Recognize the work of first responders and other city staff.
SUPPORTING LIFELONG LEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS TO SENIORS
The Burnaby Green Party supports lifelong learning, from preschool and throughout adulthood. Healthy early childhood development requires keeping kids active mentally and physically. Often, those families with more means are able to provide a rich intellectual and physical experience to their children, which leads to future independence and prosperity. Many households struggling to feed and house their families rely on the public services to provide educational, cultural and recreational experiences at a reasonable cost. As housing and food eat up larger proportions of the family budget, it becomes necessary to expand and enhance the services already in place.
- Where possible, provide city-owned space for before and after school spaces at or near schools
- Work toward all schools becoming community schools, so available space can be used before and after school hours
- Support and expand early childhood education like Strongstart
- Negotiate density bonuses for the provision of childcare space in new developments based on the childcare needs of the neighbourhood
- Work to ensure that all children have opportunities to participate in extra-curricular educational, cultural and recreational experiences
- Support ESL language training
- Keep school students safe (freedom from bullying, traffic safety, drug safety)
- Support age appropriate sex education and SOGI in schools
- Enhance awareness of and respect for BC’s indigenous peoples in our schools
- Encourage environmental education
- Promote good relations between the City of Burnaby and the educational institutions which operate within Burnaby, including Simon Fraser University and BCIT
- Reduce financial barriers to participation for families at all parks and recreation facilities
PLAN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
Metro Vancouver’s climate is changing. Sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more severe and increasingly unpredictable. Cities must adapt to a changing environment and economy.
- Be a leader among cities fighting climate change
- Plan for the local effects and challenges of climate change
- Work cooperatively with local business, educational institutions and governments to meet the challenges of the new economy
- Encourage transition to renewable energy
PAYING FOR OUR PROMISES
The Burnaby Green Party will do our best to ensure the provincial and federal levels of government follow through on their previous promises that affect the people of Burnaby. We will review the priorities of the current Council and where we disagree with those priorities, we will seek input from stakeholders and citizens before revising the existing priorities. Going forward, we will budget for surpluses; they will not be the result of over-taxation or the cutting of much needed services.