$210K in green grants being doled out at Vancouver City hall next week

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

34 comments

veggiegarden
Vancouver will look a lot more pastoral if urban farming initiatives take root

If your favourite colour is green and you happen to live in Vancouver, next week is going to feel a lot like Christmas. That's because city staff are recommending the elected officials support the distribution of $210,000 in new eco grants to a variety of organizations around town. Some of the recipients you will recognize, others not so much.

The first $100K is coming out of Mayor Gregor's newly created Greenest City Neighbourhood Fund. According to the staff report:

The focus of the allocations for 2009 and 2010, totaling $200,000, was to support local urban food systems projects meeting multiple goals identified in the Vancouver 2020 Action Plan such as ecological health, urban greening, a green economy, and building neighbourhood food assets.

If you're wondering what kind of organizations are eligible for this funding, they include the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC); Child and Nature Alliance Society; Environmental Youth Alliance Society (EYA) and the Global Youth Education Network Society.

According to the staff report, the $100K in funding will include the following projects:

  • $15,500 to the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (a major cycling lobbyist organization) to develop "a courier business using cargo bikes."
  • $10,000 to the Global Youth Education Network Society for "workshops to connect communities on shared values, commitments and a vision for a sustainable future."
  • $2,000 for "cycling resources at Vancouver’s Farmers Markets e.g. basic tune- ups, tutorials on bike mechanics, and cycle route planning."
  • $10,000 to the Hastings Community Association for "community wide skill-building program on neighbourhood food security, nutrition workshops, community meals and a teaching garden."
  • $5,000 to the Environmental Youth Alliance for "a pilot project to explore small- scale grain production by converting conventional grass lawns."
  • $8,000 to the City in Focus Foundation to "integrate best-practices on sustainable food system among faith-based service providers."

The other staff report appropriately titled Community Urban Agriculture Fund and Neighbourhood Food Security Grant Allocations is also recommending $110,000 in expenditures. Here is a list of what they're proposing:

  • $4,000 to Other Sights for Artists Projects Association for a "series of walks, workshops, lectures, and creative experiments in urban agriculture."
  • $4,000 to Growing Chefs! Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture for "education on healthy eating, cooking, local and urban agriculture, land and food systems issues."
  • $15,000 to the Environmental Youth Alliance for "training / capacity building on
    health and nutrition aspect of urban agriculture."
  • $10,000 to the Vancouver Urban Farm Network "to facilitate best practices about urban farming."
  • $10,000 to the Downtown Eastside Right to Food Network "to create a robust, sustainable and interconnected DTES food system, from seed to compost. The projects are part of 7 total solutions identified in the project by community members."
  • $10,000 to the Trout Lake Cedar Cottage Food Security Network "to bring healthy and affordable food directly to the neighbourhood through a community produce stand, and increase knowledge of healthy eating habits and distribution of healthy recipes/resources.

It is expected that a majority of council will support each and every grant recommended by staff. The two reports will go before council next Tuesday.

For a previous CityCaucus.com commentary on the subject of urban agriculture, see this August 2010 post by Mike Klassen. We've also written about how the future economic development of Vancouver under Vision will be farming – read here.

- Post by Daniel. Follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. You can "like" us on Facebook at Facebook.com/citycaucus.

34 Comments

Addressed this on a previous blog topic:

Graham Anderson, contributor to The Vancouver Observor (Linda Solomon publisher, sister to Joel Solomon and largest contributor to Vision Vancouver and Mayor Robertson)

Just hit a $15,500 windfall thanks to 'the city'.

From the VACC website - board of directors:

Graham Anderson:

is passionate about Vancouver, civic politics, local transportation solutions, and building happy, healthy communities. He is a founding member of SHIFT Delivery Co-op, an urban delivery business that uses heavy duty cargo trikes to transport goods in downtown Vancouver. Graham is a Director and Secretary with the East End Food Co-op, and a past Director of the Grandview Woodland Area Council. He has recently completed a degree in Dialogue, Sustainable Community Development, and Economics at Simon Fraser University.

When I read about converting our lawns to grain production,through Georges link,I almost split a gut,but then I thought hey Im payin for this crap.I remember when I was a kid a lot of eastern european immigrants would grow potatoes in their front yards,and guess what no grants.

gman

I've actually spoken to someone that has started putting in his wheat crop...before the grants were announced, everyone has committed to x amount of planting..

so my question.. do I get a loaf of that bread, or do I just get to pay for it, while someone else reaps the benefit on my dime...

There is a pattern developing here..

I wonder if they are going to haul in their harvest with the biketrucks that Max spoke of.Wow just like china.If they have any seed left they could put it in the bike lane planters,or should I say trough?

gman
I still want to know why we need to spend all this money on food security.... who is stealing our food that we need to secure it :-)

I don't see why precious tax dollars are being used to fund this kind of enviro religion garble dee gook. The real question is why do I only read about it on a blog and not in the media. Are they asleep or do they support these kinds of expenditures?

These are the kind of incubator grants that make Joel Solomon salivate. It all helps in the quest to achieve Vision's 500 year master plan for Vancouver. When is the election again?

Do I get a grant if I want to produce eco-friendly Scarecrows for front yards?

Hey George I hope it dosnt mean his handsomeness is going to get Blackwater to guard our tunips.Its more like trying to secure the green vote by handing out my money for people to do things they have been doing forever.Remember when gardening was a hobby,now they call it green like we are all preparing for the end times and scaring the kids.

rf,only if their green scarecrows,cause if you call it green the sheep will lap it up.The funny thing is they go after the green vote, who have a very small but very loud lobby,voter turnout mmmm not so much.I like to call it the guilt vote.

As always Daniel, these sorts of stories would benefit greatly by comparing spending over time and across administrations. There has long been programs like the above in the CoV, including under yours.

By doing so you would then be in a position to say "spending community garden initiatives is up 12% under VV" or such and the public would in a position to make a more informed judegement.

George,there are a couple of related posts right now at WATTS UP WITH THAT right now,the one about climate refugees coming to Portland is pretty funny,got to keep scaring the sheep.

Is this an April Fools joke or what? You can't be serious. No wonder our taxes keep going up. Someone sent me the link to this story but I also wonder why it's not in the news. I guess too much Canucks 24/7.

gman

I'm not familiar with Watt's up, can you share the link... after you lead me to Agenda 21 yesterday I think you are the go to guy.. I think the Agenda 21 link should be re posted here it is so appropriate.

as for Blackmore guarding the turnips nawww I was just pointing out I'm handsome with lots of hair for Glissy ;-)

Well, after yesterday I'd decided to cut down on commenting for a while, but unfortunately this makes me think of one the things that infuriates me more than just about anything. That is the fake community garden / farms around this city giving massive tax breaks every year to land speculators, and in particular the hideous and not accessible example next to the Astoria pub on East Hastings which feeds over $160,000 a year in benefits to the notorious Sahota slum lord family.

I'm sorry, I know it's a bit of an obsession with me, but I have to drive past it every day on my way to work. The combination of lost public revenue, profit to the undeserving and smugly self righteous green moralizing sum up everything that is wrong and misguided about these programs.

Now this isn't an anti Vision tirade, the whole idiotic charade started under the NPA, I believe, so I'm in accord with Spartikus' point about seeing this as part of a bigger picture. To me this is the unending tendency of city government to throw public money at make work hobby horses without any thought for the time and effort most of us have to put into earning it.

All of the sums mentioned above are trivial, they will bring no lasting benefit to any of the causes, real or imagined, that they are alleged to benefit. They are simply largesse handed out to a few connected recipients by bureaucrats playing the part of the generous benefactor. The whole structure is parasitic.

How I wish for the time that once existed where government did its job plainly and simply, though with regard to the dignity of the state, without this useless froth and frippery.

david hadaway..

again I apologize for yesterday..

Here is what has caught my eye in the past 24 hours in relation to this subject.

1. big announcement about Save on Meats
http://www.vancourier.com/news/Pigs+Save+Meats+resurrected+Vancouver/4907766/story.html

now carefully read what they offer...

2. next read through the documents from yesterday announcing the funding and who got what..

3. Skip to last nights news. Big announcement.. VV is cracking down on bad landlords... Going to do good for the little people but what is hysterical, in the top left corner of the shot you can see the Save On Meat sign.

So here is how I connect a few dots... the funding announced could be connected with the Save On Meats.. even the carts.

They want to make the neighborhood a little more upscale so the adjacent building needs upgrading, so the City sees it as an opportunity to implement the bylaws that should have been paid attention to, a year ago..

Then perhaps rather than just for gentrification purposes.... maybe we could have saved the lives of 3 men on Pandora Street that died in the tragic fire last Christmas..

To me it just shows the priority of the City... and I must say SHAME...

$$ before people's lives.

I would be interested to know if there are tax incentives for the job creation, or the compost biz, or etc. etc..

Or perhaps I'm a cynic...any thoughts?

What crap. What crap. What crap. What crap. Gregor manure, Solomon ****, in a Vision incubated Vision. My money.

some of you might find this interesting. Did not know which thread to attach it to. Sorry if it is slightly off topic but I think it relates none the less

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/indias-voluntary-city.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29

David H,

Community Gardens are a provincial BC Assessment loophole that the city does not have the jurisdiction to close. It's absolutely infuriating as other commercial property owners (tenants) get to pick up the slack.

I won't get started about taxes and zoning... it will make me really cranky for the rest of the day and the weather is almost put me there already.

From what I understand, the community garden at Burrard and Davie is costing taxpayers $250K/year in lost revenue.

"From what I understand, the community garden at Burrard and Davie is costing taxpayers $250K/year in lost revenue."

Lost revenue from what?

taxes... the tax assessment is coded differently for use..

Check out what lefty Allen Garr had to say about the tax impact of veggie gardens

http://www.citycaucus.com/2009/02/350-dollar-tomato-plants

not pretty heh!

Wow Jim... some tomatoes indeed...

I'm strictly speculating here, but I wonder what other community benefits or tax incentives there are beyond gardens..

I notice many little artist coop's are popping up on undeveloped sites...anyone know about these, any tax incentives there?

If we keep giving out incentives... our coffers will run dry..unless someone from somewhere is going to finance this global village for us..

City is not out a dime from the community garden at Burrard and Davie.

Who is out money are all other commercial properties in the city who get to pick up $250K in additional taxes.

The city is never out tax revenue because of zoning changes - they simply put their hands deeper into another pocket.

I don’t find this as particularly egregious as some do for a couple of reason:

-If the concept of property tax is to tax you for services the City provides to you, what services does an empty lot or a garden consume? Given the number is probably very low, you could charge a lower PT and still come out with the same net profit as one would assume the $250,000 revenue should roughly match the cost burden on the city for servicing the property. If it doesn’t, the city is making a profit off taxes.

-If the PT stays high, it is merely in input cost for the developer who includes it in the cost structure of the new dwelling. End result, higher price in the price of the new home which further erodes affordability.

Sorry, should read "the same net effect" not "same net profit".

Paul

I think you are not separating consumption of services and maintenance of infrastructure. If you are not using gas or electricity you will not pay for them, of course. However the infrastructure around and accessing your property such as roads, sidewalks, mains services, must to be sustained nonetheless. The property owner is reasonably expected to pay a fair share of this cost, as well as other civic expenses, as the price of owning in effect a share of the city. The consensus for a long time has been that this price should be determined by the value of that share. I might add that holding a property empty and unused can also be damaging to the city fabric and it is reasonable to expect a price to be paid for doing this.

Your argument regarding cost being added to future use of the land which you assume will be for housing is also not valid for at least two reasons.

First the benefit gained by the non payer has to be off loaded onto other taxpayers, who must in turn hand that on to the public.

Secondly the cost of housing is determined by multiple factors but ultimately by what the market will bear. The effect you fear is therefore more likely to result in a push down on the land value rather than a push up on its developed sale price.

Paul, nobody in this town - especially residents are interest in a consumption based model of taxation. Right now residents pay about 60 cents for every dollar of services they consume and they are still whining about how much they have to pay after their homeowner grants.

When I say consumption tax, I am not talking about water meters - I am talking about paying for services that you may or may not need in the course of your lifetime - such as fire, police, recreation, parks etc. In the same way we pay MSP premiums and taxes based on the very reasonable assumption that at some point we will need the services rather than getting a bill after each hospital visit. Make sense?

A consumption based model of taxation would be sustainable, and far more fair than what we currently live with - not sure our sustainable minded council would have the courage to implement it.

With the prices for real estate in Vancouver no wonder we only get the Creme de la Creme [comment edited] (Gregor, Penny, Aufochs, Joel, Linda, Heather, Louie, Geoff...)in our politicians back deal makers. All the best guys left town or are speaking from behind monikers. People the Nuts are in charge of the Asylum! Wakeeee, wakeeee up!

George,'WATTS UP WITH THAT' is a climate realist site run by Anthony Watts a retired meteoroligist from california,its been voted #1 science blog again this year.He will sometimes post stories from the scare mongering warmists to show the absurdity of their claims.The reference pages at the top are great as are the links to other climate sites on both sides of the debate.Its the first place I go in the morning,I must say I have developed an obsession with sea ice,I like the pretty graphs and stuff,great site

Oh common City Caucus! That's just pathetic. I read this comment earlier today and I know what you "edited" in there. LOL That was a generic word which ... I would even advance that was a praise word considering that the IQ for "that" is five times higher than theirs (see the colored graph)LOL. Don't believe me? Go politically incorrect once in your life and read it in here:
http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Retard
If you continue doing this and if you happen to find yourself in the City Hall come this December, you shouldn't change a thing. You'll fit in perfectly. You could even keep Penny on the job too!

Sorry Ned, but as someone who has a cousin that is mentally challenged, I take great offense to 'that' word.

I also take offense to the link you posted.

Sorry Ned
your link is in very poor taste...

this is small potatoes
look at salaries and perks and expense accounts
if people in government want to show how good and green they are then they should give back from their salaries and pay their own expenses, then add that to a fund
every government from the municipal to the federal needs to do this
more equality in pay will mean more sincere hopefully sustainable community mindedness

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