Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A general view of the tent city in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver October 15, 2014.

BEN NELMS/Reuters

Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision party have made providing affordable housing and eliminating homelessness top priorities, but NPA candidate Kirk LaPointe has attacked him for failing to make progress.

When a tent city sprang up in Oppenheimer Park earlier this year, and the street homeless numbers spiked to a new high of 1,798, it seemed to confirm what the critics were saying about Vision's inability to substantively deal with the homeless problem.

While Mr. Robertson says he still aims to eliminate street homelessness by 2015, he admits it is a chronic problem that "is an ongoing task," suggesting it will always be an issue.

Story continues below advertisement

Since 2009, the city has opened new winter shelters that have helped 500 people move into permanent housing and has secured funding for 1,500 new units of low-income affordable housing, with 600 units opening this year. The city has bought two Ramada Hotels and a Quality Inn to provide temporary low-income housing and is converting the former Remand Centre in the Downtown Eastside to provide 90 low-income units.

While Mr. Robertson has not yet achieved his goal of eliminating street homelessness, he has been making a determined effort to do so.

On the affordability front, steadily increasing housing prices have continued to make Vancouver an extremely expensive place to be a home owner. In 2014 Demographia's survey of 130 housing markets named Vancouver as the second least-affordable city in the world, behind Hong Kong.

A big part of the problem is that Vancouver is one of the most desirable places in the world to live, which is steadily pushing up housing prices.

Mr. Robertson says he will ask developers to make one-third of the units in any large projects family-oriented, and he has promised to create 4,000 new rental units during the next four years. But so far he has failed to reach his goal of ensuring the city has enough affordable housing.

Mr. Robertson has promised to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020. He has provided an extensive bike path network, has battled the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, has promised to plant 150,000 new trees over the next six years and has pushed to improve energy efficiency.

But how close is Vancouver to achieving its greenest city goal?

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver is ranked fourth in the recently released Global Green Economy Index, which measures the sustainability accomplishments of 70 cities in 60 countries. Only Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Stockholm rated higher.

GlobalPost, an online U.S. news company that focuses on international news, has named Vancouver one of the six greenest cities in the world, without providing a ranking order.

The Green City Index published by Siemens has ranked Canada number two in North America, behind only San Francisco.

And Green Uptown, an online magazine that focuses on sustainable living, recently listed Vancouver as "the number one greenest city in the world."

The magazine praised Vancouver for a city council that "works with the residents in enacting sweeping changes in handling waste, ecosystem and carbon management."

Last year a panel of judges from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives named Vancouver overall winner of its Best Green Building Policy category.

Story continues below advertisement

The biennial award, which recognizes excellence in sustainable city policies, praised Vancouver's commitment to reduce energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 per cent.

Although some rankings may be less than scientific, all agree the city is close to the top, or is already there. Mr. Robertson seems well on his way to delivering on his promise to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies