As we return to session next month, I'm looking forward to continuing to advance the work our government is doing to make life better for everyone.
In the past two months I have had many opportunities to meet with people and groups in the community to learn about their work. Thank you to all who took the time to connect!
Did you know that the Year of the Pig symbolizes honesty, goodwill and good humour? These are some of the values that my team and I have been bringing out to the community as we celebrate the new year together!
We will be continuing our community outreach at the Nisga'a Tsa'miks Hobiyee this year! Hobiyee is a Nisga'a tradition: when the moon of Hobiyee appears, it signifies a good season for oolichan harvesting. Here in Vancouver, the annual Hobiyee celebration at the PNE always includes a magnificent display of Indigenous pride. It's also an opportunity for people from all nations to witness the songs and dances of multiple First Nations and urban Indigenous communities. My constituency team and I will have a table among the vendors early Friday evening. Poster is below. Come say hi!
Finally, thank you for taking the time to read about some of the work my staff and I have been doing throughout the past two months, along with some updates on how our government continues to work for you. Included in this month's newsletter is information about some of my community connections, government announcements, and upcoming local events!
I stood alongside Mayor Kennedy Stewart at the Roddan Lodge site to jointly announce the 213 new social housing units, coming right into VMP near Oppenheimer Park. Building homes means building communities, and, I proudly join in the leadership of our B.C. government which invests in partnerships that look out for our neighbours and grow our community. The Province's $4.8 million investment in this social housing is part of our 30-point housing plan and its commitment to investing 6.6 billion dollars over 10 years in homes and housing supports. Here is more on the Roddan Lodge and Evelyne Saller Centre.
I celebrated New Year Tết with the Free Vietnamese Association of B.C.! It's a great celebration of inclusion, cultural pride and joy! I am overjoyed to welcome Year of the Pig, standing with the gods of Prosperity, Longevity and Happiness!
It was encouraging to connect with the adult allies working to improve social, education, employment, and life skills for youth. Ha'awa to the leaders of Pacific Community Resources Society and the Broadway Youht Resource Centre!
I had a great time checking out the new UBCIC HQ at 312 Main! Thank you to all the staff for giving me a behind-the-scenes tour. I look forward to seeing the wonderful work you will do for Indigenous peoples in the community!
It was inspiring to see one of our province's 53 new prototype childcare centres firsthand. Thanks to the staff at Woodwards YMCA for showing me around. I was very impressed by the nutrition and learning programs. Ha'awa for providing essential services for the community and providing relief for parents and caretakers!
I was glad to visit Villa Cathay, one of the Chinese seniors homes in our riding. Watching the care workers look after these seniors and lead them in activities really showed me how necessary specialized care and language skills are to providing a dignified and comfortable experience for seniors.
This month, we mailed our annual Householder calendar to over 21,000 homes and businesses in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant!
If you didn't receive one, come by our office to pick one up!
Event Highlight - Hobiyee!
Post-secondary Students to get 24/7 Mental Health Support
Work is underway to develop a new virtual mental health counselling, information and referral service for post-secondary students of all ages in British Columbia.
Fair Pharmacare Investments Benefit Lower Income Families
The government has invested $105 million towards reducing or eliminating deductibles and co-payments for lower income households. This is the first time changes have been made since the program was created 15 years ago.
Previously, households with an income between $15,000-$30,000 would have to pay $300-$600 before Fair Pharmacare provided coverage assistance, but deductibles for households earning up to $30,000 have now been eliminated.
New graduation program will better prepare students for the future
Beginning in September 2019, British Columbian students entering their final years of secondary school will benefit from a modernized graduation program and innovative new curriculum. Students will learn to look at the world in different ways, including Indigenous perspectives.
Students will benefit from a range of new course options in areas such as environmental science, web development, digital media, engineering and robotics. Two new career education courses are being introduced, giving students an opportunity to explore career pathways.
Hobiyee at PNE
Fri-Sat, February 1st & 2nd
PNE Forum - 2901 E Hastings Street, Vancouver
The Nisga’a of Ts’amiks (Vancouver), hosts this celebration each year and invites dance groups from other Nations to celebrate with them, the strength, beauty and diversity of indigenous cultures. The 1400 Nisga’a of Ts’amiks invite the general public to Hobiyee to share the rich Nisga’a culture. This is a free and family friendly event. More information here.
Chinatown Spring Festival Parade
Sun, February 10th 11am
Celebrating Lunar New Year, the parade features the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada with dozens of colourful and energetic lions from various local fraternal and martial arts organizations. Many local organisations will be marching, including Melanie and her team! Find out more information, including the route, here.
Women's Memorial March
Thurs, February 14th 12pm
General gathering area is Main and Hastings
The march is an opportunity to grieve the loss of our beloved sisters in the DTES and commit to justice. Stops commemorate where women were last seen or found. Find out where to gather and the march route here.
One-to-One Tax Filing Services for People Receiving Disability Benefits Sat, March 9 9am-5pm
401 Main St. (VPL - Carnegie Library)
Phone: (604) 665-3010
Vancouver Public Library's income tax consultations and on-site service for people with disabilities receiving disability benefits, and their families. Through this one-to-one service, receive consultation on your outstanding taxes, discuss options for dealing with tax debt, and learn strategies for communicating with Canada Revenue Agency. As well, for people with all abilities, you can find out if you are eligible for other free tax clinics and can locate clinics here.
Save a Smile
BC Dental Association
400-1765 West 8th Ave, 604-736-7202
This program provides families in need with financial assistance for urgent dental care and oral hygiene counselling. A referral is required from a public health nurse or dentist.
Free Youth Swim!
Britannia Community Services Centre
1661 Napier Street, 604-718-5800
All youth ages 11-18 are invited to Britannia pool for free youth swims from 8-10pm on the first Friday of every month. You can swim in a swimsuit or clean, recently washed clothes. No shoes allowed!
Hon. Melanie Mark, MLA Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
1070-1641 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y4