December 12, 2015
RE: City of Vancouver 2016 Budget and Five Year Financial Plan
Dear Mayor and Council,
West End Families in Action (WEFA) would like to provide feedback on the City of Vancouver 2016 Budget and Five Year Financial Plan. We feel that the priorities identified in the West End Community Plan are not being funded in the current budget and are not part of the five year plan. We request that the following be taken into consideration by the Mayor and Council.
As identified in the West End Community Plan (2013), “The West End contains the fourth highest density of children of any community in the city, with an average of 8.8 children per hectare. The city overall has an average of 6.4 children per hectare.” (9) The mission of WEFA is to represent the needs of children and youth and to make the West End a welcoming place for all families.
The West End is in need of Child Care facilities. As per the West End Community Plan there is a recommendation to, “Improve and increase childcare facilities to support families with children living in the West End.” We would like the City of Vancouver to fund organizations such as, Gordon Neighbourhood House, for the express purpose of creating and supporting childcare facilities.
Furthermore, the West End Community Plan identifies that, “There is a need to find opportunities for expanded outdoor recreation facilities, particularly for children and youth, and the older adult population.” (96) We feel that the current budget does not address this need. There is currently ONE recognized City playground within the boundaries of the West End (Nelson Park). The neglected playground at Barclay Heritage Square is in need of immediate upgrades. We would like to recommend playground facilities be built adjacent to the West End Community Center and the Aquatic Center. Also, all mini-parks in the West End have the potential to become centers of recreation with capital investment.
Finally, we would like to call on the City of Vancouver to address the need for below market housing for families in the West End. Using the calculations from First Call there are approximately 520 children in the West End who live in poverty. These children and their families need reliable, affordable housing in the community.
We look forward to receiving feedback regarding these requests.