Emerging Milestones 2012

Transportation 2040 Plan Adopted

Description: Vancouver City Council adopts the Transportation 2040 Plan.

Significance: Transportation 2040 is a strategic, long-term vision aimed at shifting the mode share of the vast majority of trips made within the city from private vehicles to foot, bike and public transit, reducing congestion, substantially reducing the city’s dependence on fossil fuels and aligning with city planning practices and the regional growth strategy. Its goals are grouped into three categories: economy, people and environment.

Background: Broad public consultation in 2011 focused on ideas generation and followed by a second public review in 2012 led to the detailed plan for the 2040 vision. Transportation 2040 lists several new projects, study areas and initiatives to meet the increasing needs of an expanding city and region, including greenways and bikeways, rehabilitation and maintenance of the False Creek bridges, road improvements, parking, public bike share, seawall improvements, goods movement, transit, emergency vehicles and more.

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Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Adopted

Description: Vancouver City Council adopts a climate change adaptation strategy in 2012.

Significance: Vancouver becomes the first Canadian city to adopt a climate change adaptation strategy, which includes coastal flood risk assessment and flood-proofing policy and prohibition of handling and shipping of coal on industrial lands.

Background: The strategy’s nine primary actions are: complete a coastal flood risk assessment, amend flood-proofing policies, develop and implement a city-wide integrated storm-water management plan, continuation of sewer separation, develop a back-up power policy, continue to implement water conservation actions, support and expand extreme heat planning, include climate change adaptation measures in the next Vancouver Building Bylaw update; and develop and implement a comprehensive urban forest management plan.

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Neighbourhood Energy Strategy Adopted

Description: Vancouver City Council adopts the Neighbourhood Energy Strategy in 2011. The goals of the Neighbourhood Energy Strategy are to reduce carbon emissions, decrease dependence on fossil fuels and keep energy affordable in long term.

Significance: The Neighbourhood Energy Strategy provides a plan for neighbourhood energy development in the city, including key guidelines for the development of neighbourhood energy supplies. The goal is environmentally friendly, cost-competitive heat and hot water in high-density neighbourhoods.

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Salmon Return to Still Creek

Description: Salmon returned to Still Creek in 2012 for the first time in 80 years as a result of the City’s stream daylighting program.

Significance: A 10-year program with Metro Vancouver and other municipalities on daylighting, habitat restoration, rehabilitation and enhancement work on Still Creek, saw Chum salmon return for the first time in decades. The 17-km Still Creek, which runs through Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, and terminates in the Fraser River, is one of only two remaining visible streams in the city.

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Social isolation identified as a significant issue in Vancouver

Description: In 2011 the Vancouver Foundation  polled 275 charitable foundations and 100 community leaders in 2011 to find out what their most pressing issue was. Much to their surprise, the top issue wasn’t poverty or homelessness—it was isolation and disconnection.  As a result, in 2012 the Foundation surveyed 3,841 people across metro Vancouver to measure people’s connections and engagement.

Significance: The Vancouver Foundation survey explored people’s connections to their friends, their neighbours and to the community-at-large. The resulting report looked at their engagement in neighbourhood and community life, and what prevents them from being more connected and engaged.

They survey highlighted a perceived sense of isolation and disconnection. It indicated that  we live increasingly in silos, separated by ethnicity, culture, language, income, age and even geography. The survey also indicated that Vancouverites saw as a deepening civic malaise that has resulted in more people retreating from community activities.

The results of the survey raised a hard question that is  related to the future of planning and development in Vancouver: “How can we begin to tackle complex issues like poverty and homelessness if people are disconnected, isolated and indifferent? How can we make people care about community issues if their concern stops at their front yard?”

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