A poll released by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in May 2008 shows that that majority of Canadians prefer that municipal services remain in public hands. The 1,004 random participants in the survey were given nine public services and were asked who they would trust more to provide the service: municipal government and its employees or a private corporation. 73.7% of respondents said they believed municipalities should provide and operate public services on a not-for-profit basis over for-profit corporations providing and operating municipal services. Read an article about the poll or for a breakdown of the numbers, click here.
A lengthy article in the Ottawa Citizen which discusses how the downtown cores of Canada’s major cities are becoming attractive places to live. The article discusses how affordability in downtowns everywhere is decreasing as gentrification becomes the norm as well as what is driving the desire for people to live downtown.
On May 14, 2008 the Cowichan Valley Regional District passed bylaw amendments that restrict the use of school lands, in the hopes of discouraging school closures. The bylaws prevent the sale of school lands for private development in order to keep the lands for public use. Read an article from the Vancouver Sun about the role parents played in getting the bylaw amendments passed or click here to read an article about the impact the new bylaws will have on smaller communities.
The Capital Regional District is proposing an anti-idling bylaw that would make it illegal to leave a vehicle engine running for more than three minutes in a one-hour period. Although the bylaw would be almost impossible to enforce, it could function as an education tool: according to Natural Resources Canada, idling wastes 1.8 million litres of fuel and produces 4,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases everday. Read an article in the Times Colonist about the proposed bylaw.
For information about the BC Smart Planning for Communities Initiative, including funding, tools, and resources, check out the Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning website.
The Polis Project on Ecological Governance is an initiative of the University of Victoria which aims to understand the structure and dynamics of urban water use. The project includes several objectives relevant to local government, including developing innovative governance options that promote sustainable water management, developing water law and policy decision-making tools, and examining urban and emerging water issues in Canada.
The Pembina Institute has released a report on cap-and-trade in its British Columbia Global Warming Solutions Series. The report reviews cap-and-trade basics and makes specific recommendations for the design of a cap-and-trade system in BC.
This new tool-kit from Smart Growth BC looks at eight tools and strategies local governments can use to deliver market and non-market affordable housing in their communities. It also features examples of best practices across BC.
Bill 28, Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendments Act will require local governments to set GHG reduction targets in their Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies. Read the backgrounder to the Bill.
A report released in 2008 by the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA) and SFU shows that homelessness among adults with severe addictions and/or mental health illnesses is prevalent in both urban and rural settings and that providing adequate housing and support for these individuals would result in a net cost avoidance of $33 million/year for the province. Read the full report at the CARMHA website.
A poll commissioned by the Federation of
Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has found that there is consensus across Canada that
municipal governments are under-funded. The poll showed that 90% of people believe that the federal government
should provide financial support to assist municipal governments with
infrastructure issues and did not see property taxes or spending cuts as
reasonable sources of revenue for municipalities. Additionally, 68% of those
polled supported the idea of the GST being raised to 6% if the extra funds
raised were transferred to municipalities. Read the full polling results here.