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Robertson creates a Green City team

January 28th, 2009 · 12 Comments

I feel bad that I’m not on an advisory committee to the mayor. Everyone else in town seems to be. First, there was the homelessness action team, a high-powered group that meets Sunday afternoons to figure out how to get 1,500 people out of shelters and off the streets ASAP. Then, there was the developers’ committee to advise the mayor on how to deal with the Olympic-village mess, which includes a pack of big names.

Now, Mayor Gregor is creating a Greenest City Action Team that will be headed by him and David R. Boyd, described as an environmental lawyer, professor, author and former special adviser on sustainability to the federal Privy Council Office. They’ll be appointing nine other members and, of course, former Green Party member Andrea Reimer, now a Vision councillor, and David Cadman, COPE’s travelling environmental councillor, will be part of the group. For those of you too lazy to Google, here’s one link to a little more about Mr. Boyd.

I’m waiting to see what this group will come up with. The mandate is to kickstart some new actions with a “quick start” report and then come up with a longer-term report. This is an issue pretty near and dear to the mayor’s heart — I first started hearing from him back in 2006, shortly after Sam Sullivan was elected — because he was alarmed at the tug of war going on about sustainability issues on the Olympic village site. He said to me frequently back then that Vancouver had lost its position as a leader on sustainability and that it should be acting aggressively to take it back. I’m betting that this is a committee that will come up with some strong new ideas.

In the meantime, how about that media advisory committee? I really think that it’s time to have one of those, meeting weekly and eating those excellent snacks that city hall typically provides.

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  • Denis

    I figure you are writing tongue in cheek. But the way to get in on the snacks is to run in the next election. Now that’s me writing tongue in cheek. You have your place in the system and do it well. The Mayor is getting things done and it sure beats the previous bunch , now mostly gone.

  • not running for mayor

    The solution is so obvious, the city creates the 2010 city gardens like planned, they are all planted with fruits and vegs which are donated to a subsidiary of Happy Planet we’ll call it Green City. The proceeds of the sale can pay for the Billion dollar Olympic village (cost to taxpayers as per Mayor “tongue in cheek”) and provide housing for the homeless. Doesn’t really make the city any greener but we’ll have a brand name called Green City should be enough for most people.

  • Listen Close

    Boyd is a heavyweight when it comes to sustainability. Good news for those who want the city to actually be “green,” not just talk it

  • City Hall Insider

    Very good choices so far, let us hope that Gregor adds a couple of people who can add insite to what is really happening to our City’s environment.

  • T W

    It is all very well to jump start discussion by creating advisory groups.

    The main problem is that they become self-sustaining unless they have a sunset clause. Remember the dreaded word QUANGO.
    (quasi autonomous non-government organization)

  • Wayne

    How much do these excellent snacks cost the beleaguered taxpayer? Sounds like a good time for everyone to start packing a lunch up at City Hall. Just kidding, I’d be elbowing my way up to the snack table too.

  • Andrea Reimer

    I completely agree with TW on the need for sunset clause as well as objectives for advisory bodies.. The Greenest City Action Team has both – end date is June 2009, objectives are in the motion available at http://www.vancouver.ca

  • T W

    Andrea Reimer:

    I am glad to hear that not only does santity prevail but that Council gives a sense that it understands the dynamics of advisory groups.

  • T W

    Oops. For santity read sanity

  • Excellent snacks? I sit on the Food Policy Council and even we rarely get fed during our dinner hour meetings. I gotta start lobbying for some of those snacks Franes Bula talked about…

  • Pingback: Gregor Robertson Creates Greenest City Action Team | Rocks and Water()

  • T W

    What all this signals is a change in the way information is turned into knowledge at City Hall.

    One of the most obvious signals to come from the Olympic Village fiasco is/was that our elected representatives may have been too dependent on information streamed through City Staff. The use of advisory committees, provided they have the appropriate governance, takes the information imbalance out of City staff hands, and, paradoxically, allows both the staff and the elected representatives to do their job properly (which may not have been the case in some past administrations).

    But watch the governance controls closely.