Mayor Stewart Warns Ken Sim’s Deep Cuts Would Devastate City Services, Reckless Reductions Biggest in Vancouver’s History

Affordable housing, childcare, overdose response programs, emergency services, climate adaptation, libraries and community centres all on Sim’s chopping block

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Mark Hosak
|September 22, 2022
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VANCOUVER, BC; September 22, 2022 – Today, Mayor Kennedy Stewart warned that Ken Sim’s campaign promise for deep cuts to the city budget will devastate key services such as affordable housing, childcare, overdose response programs, emergency services, climate adaptation, community centres, libraries, and cultural and social grant programs. 

“Ken Sim’s promise to cut up to $330 million from the city’s annual budget is reckless and would devastate city services,” said Forward Together mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart. “It is impossible to cut $330 million – nearly 20 per cent – from Vancouver’s civic budget without gutting critical city services like affordable housing, childcare, overdose response programs, public safety infrastructure, community centres, libraries, and cultural and social grant programs.”

Since early August, the ABC mayoral candidate has stated in at least four separate media interviews that he will cut as much as $330 million – nearly 20 per cent – from the city’s budget. 

During an August 15 interview on the CKNW’s Jas Johal Show, Sim said “We’ve already identified $330 million in non-core spend that the City of Vancouver is already investing in…we’re actually going to go through the budget with a fine tooth comb and to look for all those opportunities where we can reallocate existing resources.” 

When pressed by Johal for details, Sim named a number of key public safety investments he would immediately cut – including climate-adaptation diking of the Fraser River, 911 emergency dispatch, and cyber security. Sim made similar statements during interviews with CKNW, Vancouver is Awesome, and the Vancouver Sun.

Stewart explained that the city’s $1.75 billion operating budget has three main categories:

  • $913 million (52 per cent) in fixed expenses, which the city is legally required to pay and cannot be cut such as solid and liquid waste treatment services, water treatment, policing, and debt interest payments;
  • $540 million (31 per cent) in essential services such as firefighting and street repair that would endanger lives if reduced; and, 
  • $294 million (17 per cent) in discretionary programs such as affordable housing, childcare, overdose response programs, public safety infrastructure, community centres, libraries, and cultural and social grant programs.

Sim's desire for deep cuts is reflected in ABC council leader Sarah Kirby-Yung’s consistent votes against key city investments including a deeply affordable housing project at Arbutus and 8th Avenue, the new overdose prevention site on Seymour Street, as well as all four City of Vancouver operating budgets.

“Ken Sim’s council team – under the leadership of ABC Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung – already has a clear record of voting to slash tens of millions of dollars of city services over the past four years and now they want to make the biggest service cuts in Vancouver’s history if elected with a majority,” said Stewart. “With only a few weeks until election day, Ken Sim and Sarah Kirby-Yung need to come clean and tell voters exactly which public services they have already identified to cut.”

About Forward Together:

Forward Together is the electoral organization supporting Mayor Kennedy Stewart and his team of city council candidates – Tesicca Truong, Russil Wvong, Jeanette Ashe, Hilary Brown, Dulcy Anderson, and Alvin Singh – for this fall’s Vancouver municipal election.

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About Mark Hosak

Executive Director of Forward Together with Kennedy Stewart.