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NPA School Board Trustees disappointed by tonight’s VSB Budget Vote

Previous Vision-dominated boards were unable to make the tough facility decisions needed to keep teachers in classrooms and support staff working with students

Vancouver, B.C., April 28, 2016 – All four NPA Vancouver School Trustees are expressing disappointment at the result of tonight’s 2016/2017 budget vote; the Vancouver School Board voted 5 to 4 to reject the budget. By failing to pass a balanced budget, the Minister of Education could potentially dismiss the Board and appoint an Official Trustee to conduct the affairs of the district.

Although the next step is unclear, NPA School Trustee Stacy Robertson says he and his fellow NPA Trustees put students first in voting to pass the balanced budget recommendations brought forward by VSB staff. The NPA’s first priority is students and working to ensure that they continue to get the world class education they deserve.

Robertson says he hopes the Minister will consider “ways to work with the elected Board to find reasonable solutions to the district’s systemic budget issues.”

He adds that he and his NPA colleagues heard the heartfelt outpouring from parents, students and other engaged citizens about the 2016/17 budget and that they take the job losses and impacts on programing and students very seriously; but he adds that the Vancouver school district is in this situation because the two previous Vision-dominated school boards were unable to make the tough facility decisions needed to keep teachers in classrooms and support staff working with students.

“Instead of looking at facility needs, the Vision trustees prioritized paying for empty space over paying for teachers and support staff, and now it’s our students who are going to suffer as a result,” said Robertson. “While other school boards around the Lower Mainland have made the tough decisions and acted responsibly in the best interests of students, Vision chose to blame others and refused to take responsible action, leaving the Vancouver School Board in the difficult position it is in now.”

Over the past 10 years, the Vancouver school district has seen a decline of almost 8,000 students and has approximately 30 percent more space per student than any other district in the province. Maintaining that empty facility space costs money; money that is then unavailable to pay the cost of teaching and support staff positions and programs.

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Media please email media@npavancouver.ca

NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova says action toward an Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program is “a step in the right direction.”

Vancouver, B.C., April 21, 2016 – Vancouver City Council took an important step forward last night toward an Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program in direct response to a motion brought forward last June by NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova.

De Genova says it’s “a step in the right direction.”

“The program will provide affordable home ownership opportunities for people who would not otherwise be able to afford to purchase a home in Vancouver, especially young people and young families,” says De Genova. “I’m looking forward to staff returning with a Pilot Program proposal, and I’m hopeful that the affordable home ownership program will eventually be expanded city wide, with a greater number of affordable homes made available for purchase.”

De Genova points to a few hurdles that have yet to be overcome before the Pilot Project becomes a reality, such as amendments to the Vancouver Charter. However, she says if we don’t take action now, Vancouver will continue to become less affordable every day.

“Affordable home ownership was one of the first motions I brought forward when I was elected to Council just over a year ago. Vancouver’s unaffordable housing market affects everything from our city’s economy, to rental stock, to the liveability of our city. Vancouver should be a city that everyone can call home. I wish Vision had taken steps to make home ownership more affordable and attainable sooner, but I’m pleased that we all took a step in the right direction last night.”

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Media please email media@npavancouver.ca

NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova thrilled by City’s official recognition of “Little Italy” on Commercial Drive

Vancouver, B.C., April 6, 2016 – NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova says she is thrilled that the City of Vancouver has agreed to officially recognize eight blocks of Commercial Drive as “Little Italy” in time for this year’s Italian Day on the Drive community event in June.

Official recognition of “Little Italy” is the result of two motions brought forward by De Genova, the most recent of which was passed unanimously by City Council today to expedite the designation process and separate it from the Grandview-Woodlands planning process where it had been embedded last June.

De Genova states: “It’s a wonderful day for the Italian community in Vancouver. For many years this stretch of Commercial Drive has been unofficially recognized as Little Italy, but today it’s official. I’m looking forward to seeing the special ‘Little Italy’ banners and painted crosswalks that the community has planned and will begin to roll out quickly. I really have to commend our City staff for expediting the process and making sure the official designation will happen in time for this special event in June. Vancouver prides itself on its multicultural character, and we are fortunate to have Chinatown, Little Saigon, and the Punjabi market as cultural hubs in our city. Today we can add ‘Little Italy’ to the list.”

The motion to formally designate a portion of Commercial Drive as “Little Italy” was originally brought forward by De Genova last June following Italian Day on the Drive in 2015.

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Media please email media@npavancouver.ca

NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova delighted to see Killarney Seniors Centre move forward to the construction phase

After more than a decade of discussion and delays, NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova says she and the entire NPA team are delighted to see the long-awaited Killarney Seniors Centre finally moving forward to the construction phase and shovels in the ground. Read more

NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova calls for Moratorium on Medical Marijuana-Related Business Development Permit Applications

“… Council has said no to ride-sharing services such as Uber, claiming that the Provincial government doesn’t have any regulations in place yet, but Council is willing to say yes to marijuana businesses even though the Federal government doesn’t have new regulations in place yet…”
– Melissa De Genova –

Vancouver, B.C., January 31, 2016: NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova is calling for a moratorium on Medical Marijuana-Related Business Development Permit Applications until such time as the Government of Canada enacts legislation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana and implements a new regulatory framework and system for marijuana sales and distribution. A motion brought forward by De Genova is on the Vancouver City Council meeting agenda for this coming Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Read more

NPA School Trustee Stacy Robertson discusses VSB Long Range Facilities Plan with CKNW’s Jon McComb

STACY ROBERTSON - NPA SCHOOL TRUSTEEIn case you missed it yesterday, NPA School Trustee Stacy Robertson was on the Jon McComb Show on CKNW  discussing the Vancouver School Board’s Long Range Facilities Plan.

The safety of students and staff is of the utmost importance to everyone in Vancouver, and the Long Range Facilities plan is intended to be a framework that looks at how to achieve that goal through seismic upgrading of schools,

The Long Range Facilities plan is also intended to ensure that Vancouver schools are located where they are needed to meet future demand.

The report was discussed by trustees and stakeholders at the VSB’s Planning and Facilities Committee last Wednesday, January 20, 2016, and is being presented to the Board for consideration at a public Board meeting this coming Monday, January 25, 2016. The plan will then be submitted to the Ministry of Education by January 31, 2016.

Here’s a link to the podcast from the Jon McComb Show.

 

NPA and Green Party City Councillors will continue to freely represent all residents of Vancouver

Councillors from both parties plan to boycott
Vision’s process to list preferred neighbourhoods

January 20, 2016, Vancouver, B.C. — NPA City Councillors George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball, and Melissa De Genova, along with Green Party City Councillor Adriane Carr, say they will continue to freely represent, and be accessible to, all residents of Vancouver and will boycott Vision’s process to list their preferred neighbourhoods for liaison positions.

The contentious plan, which runs counter to the spirit of Section 138 of Vancouver Charter, and attempts to skirt the Charter’s intent and wording, was pushed through by the Vision majority on Council late this afternoon; without any specific public consultation on the issue.

Section 138 of the Vancouver Charter states that Councillors are to be elected at large to represent all citizens of the city, and any transition to a system of “neighbourhood constituencies” or “wards” requires Council to pass a by-law that must also be approved by the Province’s Lieutenant Governor.

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Media please email media@npavancouver.ca

Motion to recognize Dal Richards’ Life and Legacy carries unanimously at Vancouver City Council

January 19, 2016, Vancouver, B.C. — A motion brought forward by NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova, to recognize the life and legacy of Dal Richards, has carried unanimously at Vancouver City Council. De Genova says she is very pleased that Council came together to recognize Richards.

“I was a fan of Dal Richards and he was also a dear family friend, I have very special memories of Dal as a person, and also as a musician, including his performance at my wedding. He was a special person and his legacy will live on for future generations through his music,” said De Genova. “I’m looking forward to hearing back from staff on the options they will identify, and working with the family and stakeholders to find a street or place where Vancouver will be reminded of Dal’s contributions to our city.” Read more