CityHallWatch has obtained a copy of this letter from Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver on a topic in Council Tuesday that could have vast implications on the freedom of speech in Vancouver. NSV has encouraged member groups in all neighbourhoods to study the issue and write or speak to Council. Download letter NSV_PoliticalExpressionLetter, 18-Apr-2011 Final(PDF at 4:30) , final revised NSV_PoliticalExpressionLetterFinalrevised, 18-apr-2011. Continue reading
Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) spokesperson Ned Jacobs had the following to say on April 18, 2011, on the proposed changes to Vancouver’s bylaw structures and objects on sidewalks. The proposed changes could have serious impacts on assembly and free speech in public spaces. The venue this day was an information rally by http://www.WestEndNeighbours.ca regarding demolition of a church before the rezoning application had even been addressed in a Public Hearing. The gathering would have been illegal if the bylaw amendments are approved.
The Vancouver Public Spaces Network has posted a letter to the Mayor of Vancouver, saying “the bulk of the City’s proposed amendments to the Street and Traffic bylaw are highly problematic.” Topic is in Council on Tuesday, April 19. Read the full posting here: http://vancouverpublicspace.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/citys-latest-attempt-to-regulate-political-expression-highly-problematic/
[CityHallWatch appreciates the efforts of a Vancouver citizen to provide this analysis of a very important policy before Council on April 19]
Bylaw on Political Expression in Vancouver:
What Nearly Happened, What Happened Next, the Current Situation,
and What You Can Do
1. What Nearly Happened
On Thursday 7 April, Council heard a staff report (“Structures for Public Expression on City Streets”) containing proposed amendments to Section 71 of the City’s Street and Traffic By-Law Continue reading
[CityHallWatch note: A new version of this important bylaw is imminent, for Council discussion on April 19 (see “Structures for Public Expression on City Street”). We welcome other public comments for posting anonymously or by name. This is a critical issue for our society, with vast implications. It deserves public debate, but the staff recommendations would have been approved last week had it not been for quick attention to the matter by media and the public.] Read on [revised version]…
The tiny shelter that was erected on the boulevard outside the Chinese consulate harmed no-one. The City of Vancouver has no business trying to limit damage to the prestige of foreign governments—especially despotic regimes. Continue reading
A staff report called “Structures for Public Expression on City Streets” is recommending amendments to part of Vancouver’s Street and Traffic By-Law No. 2849. The staff report was heard at a 7 April Council meeting, as reported on CityHallWatch.ca.
On 10 April, Mayor Robertson was reported as having had a change of heart about the proposed by-law amendments.
According to an article on the Globe and Mail website, staff will release a revised set of amendments as early as 13 April, and Council plans to vote on the revised amendments at a 19 April Council meeting. CityHallwatch.ca will post a link to the revised set of by-law amendments as soon as it learns about them.
At the 7 April Council meeting, Micheal Vonn of the B. C. Civil Liberties Association questioned the need for Council to pass a redrafted by-law by 19 April.
The redrafted by-law will be discussed at at 9:30am Tuesday 19 April in Council Chambers, when speakers can offer their comments. The speaker’s list is still open. For information or to register to speak, please call Meeting Coordinator Bonnie Kennett at 604.873.7269 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. See http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110407/penv20110407ag.htm.
[Revised version as of 19:01 on 11-Apr-2011] The Province on Sunday broke this story: “Vancouver protest bylaw sent back to drawing board,” the mayor raised his concerns with the newspaper. A Metro News article published later (www.metronews.ca/vancouver/local/article/829005–robertson-not-happy-with-proposed-protest-bylaw ) covers the story too, with Mayor Gregor Robertson saying he has had a change of heart about the staff report “Structures for Public Expression on City Streets” (http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110407/documents/penv1StructuresforPublicExpressiononCityStreets.pdf).
The Metro article quotes the Mayor as saying “What’s proposed doesn’t work. It’s too restrictive with excessive fees and traffic management requirements… It’s too broad and isn’t acceptable as drafted.”
The article also reports that the Mayor is “calling for “significant” changes to the proposal.”
The report will be discussed at a meeting in Council Chambers at 9:30am Tuesday 19 April, when speakers can offer their comments. The speaker’s list is still open. For information or to register to speak, please call Bonnie Kennett, Meeting Coordinator, at 604.873.7269 or e-mail email@example.com. See http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110407/penv20110407ag.htm.
[Note: This report CityHallWatch received from a citizen reporter.]
On April 7, Vancouver City Council discussed a staff report called “Structures for Public Expression on City Streets” that is recommending modifications to part of Vancouver’s Street and Traffic By-Law No. 2849. The staff report can be found at http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110407/documents/penv1StructuresforPublicExpressiononCityStreets.pdf. The meeting agenda can be found at http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110407/penv20110407ag.htm.
The report raises many concerns. Some of those concerns can be found on the Vancouver Public Space Network website on a blog entry called “City moves to regulate “any structure, object, substance or thing” used for political expression”
At the meeting, Clr Woodsworth said the report was first put online at 1:30pm on Tuesday. Councillors were occupied with meetings until 11:30pm that night. City Engineer Peter Judd, who introduced the staff report, apologized several times to Council for the lateness of the report, which the City has had more than five months to work on.
Eighteen speakers have so far signed up to speak about the report, and five were heard yesterday including Clive Ansley (legal representative of Falun Gong), Micheal Vonn (policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association), and Scott Bernstein (Pivot Legal Society).
City of Vancouver’s videocast of the discussion at yesterday’s meeting (3 hours, 22 minutes) can be found at http://cityofvan-as1.insinc.com/ibc/mp/md/open/c/317/1200/201104071345wv150en,005.
Media coverage of yesterday’s meeting includes reporting by The Georgia Straight (http://straight.com/article-385883/vancouver/proposed-vancouver-public-expression-bylaw-criticized-unduly-onerous) and Vancouver Sun (www.vancouversun.com/news/Vancouver+city+staff+consulted+Chinese+government+over+bylaw/4579329/story.html).
There is to be a follow-up meeting in Council Chambers at 9:30am Tuesday 19 April, to hear from speakers. The speaker’s list is still open. For information or to register to speak, please call Bonnie Kennett, Meeting Coordinator, at 604.873.7269 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org