Vancouver Mayor McEnerny-Ogle details ‘upside potential’ in his State of the City address

The past few years have been marked by economic strains, social unrest and obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a hopeful note, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle highlighted the city’s recovery and plans for future resilience during the annual State of the City Address.

The speech premiered on Clark/Vancouver Television and the city’s various social media accounts. The mayor appeared in front of a fireplace as she relayed the city’s 2021 initiatives to those who tuned in; she has addressed issues ranging from community safety to affordable housing to city development.

In McEnerny-Ogle’s speech, she shared notes of optimism as Vancouver emerged from the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. She thanked government employees, volunteers and the public for their perseverance amid the struggles presented throughout the year.

“Yet through it all, we have come together as a community to meet these demands in large part,” she said. “Our successful collaboration has given us even more reason to focus on the inspiration, hope and positive potential that 2022 holds for us.”

At the start of the speech, McEnerny-Ogle focused on Vancouver’s partnership with Clark County Public Health to administer more than 40,000 vaccinations in 2021. She highlighted the city’s progress in providing stability during an uncertain time and said claimed that 2022 was an opportunity to develop his recovery.

Community Safety

To increase police accountability, the Vancouver Police Department has launched the development of its police camera program, which is expected to be cemented this year. Public outcry over four Vancouver police shootings in a matter of weeks in 2019 has prompted a call for transparency.

Adopting the camera program was among the Police Executive Research Forum’s 84 recommendations to improve the department’s culture and policies regarding the use of force. Of the recommendations, 74 have been implemented.

“The camera program — which will improve transparency, facilitate investigations and hold police and criminals accountable — is also part of our city’s broader response to the resounding calls for police reform,” McEnerny-Ogle said. .

In the area of ​​fire safety, the mayor said passing Proposal 2 will improve the fire department’s emergency services by funding more fire stations, equipment, facility construction and seismic modernization. The measure created a property tax tool to generate about $15 million per year.

Affordable housing, homelessness

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Fund, launched in 2017, has distributed nearly $30 million to boost housing for low-income people. In 2021, the fund helped create 308 new affordable housing units and helped 72 shelter beds, but McEnerny-Ogle said more needs to be done to make Vancouver more livable.

The city’s first Safe Stay community opened in December, paving the way for more outdoor venues to be set up. Each community is run by a local non-profit organization 24/7 and provides 20 modular shelters for people trying to solve their homelessness problem. City staff plans to have three Safe Stay Communities in Vancouver.

Climate plans

As science suggests that the effects of climate change will continue to worsen in years to come, cities have made plans to reduce the amount of damage the trend will inflict.

“We have ambitious goals that aspire to put us ahead of other major metropolitan cities in the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality,” McEnerny-Ogle said.

According to Vancouver’s climate action plan, the city still intends to pursue its ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 – a goal that exceeds those set by cities that are strongholds for environmental efforts. , like Seattle. The plan outlines goals to incorporate environmentally responsible efforts into the development of future structural projects, such as the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program.

In his speech, the mayor also drew attention to what awaits us in terms of city development and economic growth.

The State of the City address can be viewed on CVTV.org or on Vancouver social media. Details of how local and state taxes have been used in the community can be found in the 2021 Annual Report.

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