Gary Bizzo Answers

Affordable Housing

1. What could Vancity do to create more affordable housing for both low- and middle-income Vancouverites?

Through the Vancity Community Foundation established in 1989,  Vancity already provides grants to charitable organizations which includes low cost housing, homeless issues and community asset building. The Foundation provides an avenue outside the normal banking community that can provide social enterprise solutions and community program development that will foster growth of low and middle income housing solutions.   Advice, advocacy and mentoring are also non- financial benefits Vancity can provide to this issue.

2. How can Vancity use financial products or services to support the creation of more rental housing units in Vancouver?

No financial institution can exist in a vacuum and Vancity cannot either. Vancity must continue its responsibilty to stakeholders to make the organization not only to survive but to grow in an uncertain economy.   Vancity's lending solutions are the most innovative in BC and its focus on development versus aid will help this issue. Supporting collaborative programs with its economic skills and staff providing guidance ot those initiating low and middle cost housing is invaluable.   In my business, Capacity Building is very powerful and must be done with all the stakeholders in place with better economic devleopment strategies.


1. What can Vancity do to provide incentives to its members to use alternatives to private vehicles in the same way it has facilitated alternative transportation programs for its 2,400 staff?

2. How can Vancity use financial products or services to support the widespread adoption of alternatives to private vehicle use in Vancouver?

Vancity is leading the way with alternative employee transportation strategies already. During the Olympics, staff were encouraged to work at home or branches close to their home for the duration of the games. The Jack Bell Rideshare continues to be a well received and effective way to reduce cars. Vancity even attempts to build branches close to skyrain and bus hubs.  Like other large corporations in Vancouver, Vancity provides incentives for employees to use Translink.  I think Vancity has made great strides in presenting an example to others on how to implement successful strategies and to demonstrate excellent community leadership. One of Vancity's legacies can be to promote its alternative transportation policies to other corporations.

Citizen Engagement and Involvement

1. What could Vancity do to include more citizen engagement in its decision-making processes?

Public Engagement brings citizens, community non-profit organizations, businesses, and government together to solve problems that affect people’s lives.   Unlike public consultation which is a process which typically asks the public for input them makes their own decisions, public engagement is truly community based decision making.  Vancity can take the initiative in a number of areas and come to the table with a board commitment to make decisions based on this community involvement.

2. How can local branches engage citizens more directly in Vancouver's 23 neighbourhoods?
Sometimes community issues and problems can be dealt with easily and easier if there is a corporate leader to advocate or focus resources to find a solution. Vancity being a community leader should have its finger on the pulse of what is happening in the area it serves. Most business leaders and Vancity encourage staff to engage in the community in which they work or live.


1. What else would you like to tell Think City supporters about your candidacy?

I am smart enough to know that one of the reasons I am running for the Board of Directors is that I want to be a part of a winning team of professionals.  My vision is to be proactive, to listen to member issues and to help and encourage the Board to develop programs for our members that differentiates us from the big banking community.   The banks don't listen, they talk but don't follow through! I want Vancity to maintain its accountability, its integrity and be the people's financial institution.