Barrie Lynch Answers

Affordable Housing

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

Cuts to federal funding for housing programs in the 1980’s have contributed to the issues of housing and homelessness. The most effective response is a federal government long-tern national housing and homelessness plan however Vancity has a part to play by partnering with nonprofits, co-operatives and contractors to provide flexible and innovative funding and provision of financial assistance to those who cannot otherwise afford adequate housing. This co-operative could also investigate integrating Vancity-supported new non-market housing developments with commercial entities to ensure financial viability of the development.

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

Municipalities are recognizing the value of secondary suites, laneway housing and granny flats to extend the continuum of housing options available to individuals. Vancity can expand of its suite of financial product, services and expertise to encourage homeowners and or investors to invest in the rental market. While several contactors are willing to construct or renovate to provide rental housing there is a vacuum of non-profits that are able and willing to administer the project once it is completed.

Vancity can provide its business expertise to install nonprofit housing management teams. Housing co-operatives and non-profits are important components of an overall plan for Vancity assistance to communities to develop capacity to create more rental housing. Vancity could provide oopportunities for members to donate, through VISA points to the Vancity Foundation for the purpose of donating to organizations or projects related to development of rental housing units in Vancouver.

Transportation

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?

In some of the newer developments city councils are encouraging developers to provide a car share program. Vancity could expand on this concept by providing assistance to existing or renovated development for car sharing. Some residents lack the option of adequate transit to access Skytrain and Vancity could provide expertise and/or grants to encouraging community groups to provide this service.

Of course Vancity is a model that can be promoted for its members to encourage other employers to provide its employees with alternative transportation programs. Vancity could also work with Translink to develop a member’s specific program that could provide for annual passes with payment for such passes being deducted directly from member bank accounts.

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

Reduced interest rates for fuel efficient vehicles and credit vouchers for transit passes for using specific member services could encourage members to go green. Provision of increased availability of bike lock ups and motorcycle parking at branches encourages use of these forms of transportation. Recommending and providing increased options within phone service and on-line transactions reduces the transits trips required to access financial services. Convenient locations of ATM’s and reciprocal usage with other credit unions reduce length of transportation trips. Vancity can explore new ways to address electronically as technology advances and can look at further promotion of electronic access through province-wide or local branch campaigns.

Citizen Engagement and Involvement

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

Citizen engagement continues to be a challenge as many individuals prioritize their busy lives. Despite the lack of participation of its members Vancity needs to provide information because communication to members is a fundamental responsibility of the organization to its membership. Members have an expectation that those entrusted at the board level will provide appropriate direction to those who are entrusted with the day to day operations.

Member engagement can be encouraged through providing information or surveys with the monthly with statements, information sessions on member services and/or financial issues of importance, rotating ‘meet your directors’ sessions at branches and at the annual meeting. Even members who do not complete the communication loop expect one way communication to them to be initiated on a regular basis. It is because members rely on the board to take the appropriate actions that it is so important to have skilled members elected to the board.

2. How can local branches engage citizens more directly in Vancouver's 23 neighbourhoods?
Vancity has a responsibility to be a good corporate citizen. This includes engagement with members in the branches but also for participation in community days and events. Sponsoring community activities and being involved in civic government committees, community organizations, and local business associations are great ways of engaging members and citizens.
Local branches currently highlight local charities that members can donate to or volunteer with and these are benefiting the organizations that receive additional time and donations from members. This promotes an engagement between local charitable organizations, members and the local branch.
Community events provide informal opportunities to hear feedback on Vancity initiates while gaining information on community issues. More formal responses could be requested through forums on neighbourhood problems and potential ways for Vancity to be part of the solution.

Other

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

My vision for Vancity includes making it a progressive and innovative partner in creating wealth for its members and their communities. I would bring a new and fresh perspective to the Vancity Board of Directors.
I have local, regional, provincial, national and international boards experience that includes non-profits, political boards, and corporate boards. These boards of governance include the Canadian Society of Association Executives BC, National Association of Parliamentarians, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Library Trustees Association, Metro Vancouver and ECOMM 911.
As an individual I use a collaborative leadership style and subscribe to a high standard of business ethics. As a three term city councillor I have become very familiar with reviewing and setting strategic and financial plans. Prior to entering the political arena I presided over judicial interim reviews and search warrant applications in the capacity of justice of the peace.
My formal education includes a bachelor and master’s degree in the disciplines of business, economics and leadership. I have two professional designations. I am a certified association executive (CAE) and a professional registered parliamentarian (PRP). I am also a graduate in labour studies from the Labour College of Canada.
I have been recognized for my volunteer contributions with an outstanding library trustee award, ten year certificate of service from the Ministry of the Attorney General and in 2002 I was awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal which is given for a significant contribution to Canada, the community and fellow Canadians.
My goals as a director are to focus on:
  • retention of member savings and investments,
  • ensure members needs are met and services provided,
  • provide sustainable community and environmental leadership,
  • foster excellence in Vancity staff.
My education and experience provides me with a solid foundation for strong leadership at the board level.