Our Blueprint for British Columbia’s Urban Future outlines four key priorities to address the urgent issues cities face today, while we plan for restored prosperity and growth as we emerge from the pandemic as a more resilient, and equitable society.
Immediately expand the availability of the full range of substance use and mental health treatment and recovery options in our communities for both youth and adults, including appropriate facilities for those with complex needs. We need treatment on demand so people get it when they need it. We need action in months, not years.
Make the recent public health order regarding expanding the number of health professionals authorized to prescribe safer pharmaceutical alternatives to the toxic drug supply permanent and urge all relevant regulatory colleges to scale up access to safer pharmaceutical alternatives for people at risk across B.C.
While reviewing changes to the Police Act, consider alternative approaches for responding to mental health and substance use calls in the community on a 24/7 basis.
Accelerate investments to affordable, supportive and social housing on a priority basis, and simplify the funding application process.
Continue to ensure there is a regulatory and taxation climate that prioritizes housing for people who live and work in our cities, rather than housing as an investment.
Ensure there is a rental housing system that balances the security of tenure for renters with the needs of landlords.
Complete the financial recovery of the projected long-term losses facing TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries once the recently announced Safe Restart operating funding expires in late- 2021, so that service levels are maintained, allowing ridership to quickly bounce back through the pandemic and the economic recovery period.
Redesign the transit funding model that has relied too heavily on regressive transit fares and local property taxes to one that is more resilient and equitable.
Prepare for a quick return to the transit expansion our cities will need to maintain competitiveness by ensuring that current planning processes are not paused due to the pandemic. Investments in planning studies and developing business cases now will ensure future service expansion and capital investments are ready to go in the rebuilding stage.
Make the investments required over the coming decade to support BC Transit and TransLink’s ambitious low-carbon fleet plans.
A New Fiscal Relationship
Convene an implementation committee comprised of local and provincial government officials to revisit and implement relevant recommendations in the Union of B.C. Municipalities report, Strong Fiscal Futures: A Blueprint for Strengthening BC Local Government’s Finance System.
Pursue municipal finance reform to provide municipalities with a broader range of sustainable, predictable and reliable funding tools in order to address increasing financial pressures related to a growing asset base, aging infrastructure, climate change, housing challenges and the opioid crisis as per the recommendation from the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.