As we approach the end of June, here's a mid-year update from Metro Vancouver Alliance.
MVA spent the last year actively engaged campaigning around the issues identified by our members. At the same time, we continued to focus on leadership training, institutional development and recruitment of new member organizations.
Membership and leadership
- Over the past year MVA membership has grown to 56 labour, faith, community, and educational organizations. We recently welcomed our newest members Capilano University Students’ Union and Strathcona Residents’ Association.
- MVA has continued to build a solid, diverse leadership team. Over 100 people have played significant roles in running the organization, holding assemblies, carrying out campaigns and building teams inside their own institutions. And there is always room – and need – for more!
- This year, for the first time ever, the International Areas Foundation Northwest Regional Leadership Training was held in Canada - right here in BC - hosted by the Metro Vancouver Alliance. Thirty-nine community leaders from Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Little Rock Arkansas, participated in training from February 5th - 9th at Capilano University to gain a thorough understanding of the organizing practices and principles developed by Industrial Areas Foundation member organizations over its 74-year history.
- In May MVA launched our Thousand Conversations Campaign, with two successful kick-off meetings. Over the summer MVA is offering training to member institutions to help them develop a listening campaign, to build relationships, test our current issues and explore what we might take forward to a Provincial Election Assembly next spring.
- RouteSpeak - To help raise the grass-roots voice in transit planning, the MVA RouteSpeak Team is working with South Vancouver MVA member organizations and allies to conduct transit oriented neighbourhood walks. The goal is to explore strategies to address the local needs, to make transit more accessible, increase ridership, reduce private automobiles, CO2 emissions, congestion and improve the quality of life in our city. The RouteSpeak Team has done a number of community walks in different areas of South Vancouver, speaking to transit users and local businesses to gather information on what would make transit more effective in the area. Activities will continue over the summer, with visits to farmers’ markets and community dinners.
- Transit – The Transit Campaign Action Team has been holding listening groups and in the coming months MVA will also be gathering our members' views on what a fair fare structure would look like.
- Housing, North Shore - Over 300 enthusiastic members of the Metro Vancouver Alliance and community partners, representing a range of faith, labour, educational and community groups in North Vancouver gathered in February to call on local politicians to address the affordable housing crisis on the North Shore. All three Mayors and Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, MP for Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, heard powerful testimony about the struggle to find affordable housing from delegates representing MVA’s member organizations, and made commitments to specific, achievable, proposals around affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods. The North Shore Housing Campaign Action Team has been working with local politicians and staff in the three municipalities to ensure that these proposals become a reality. On July 4, MVA members and allies will fill the District of West Vancouver council chamber to press the council to commit to building affordable non-market housing on community land trust land.
- Housing, Vancouver - On April 21st a group of MVA and allied churches met with Mukhtar Latif, Chief Housing Officer and Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency CEO, to explore how the City can help organizations effectively develop affordable housing and community facilities on their own land. Apart from the support that might be forthcoming from the city, the churches recognised that they could support each other by sharing the knowledge gained from their own projects and struggles.
- The Social Inclusion Team is working with clusters of local organizations and reforming the event permitting process in Vancouver. The Team is also involved in a very successful initiative in South Vancouver, providing conversational English classes designed to reduce social isolation among seniors for whom English is a second language.
- Another MVA Leadership Institute is scheduled for November 7th and 8th.
All for now and enjoy the summer!
Metro Vancouver Alliance