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The Co-operative City Conference

Friday, November 23, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PST)

The Co-operative City Conference

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
The Co-operative CIty Conference - Arts & Culture Ended CA$75.00 CA$5.49
The Co-operative CIty Conference - Food Ended CA$75.00 CA$5.49
The Co-operative CIty Conference - Green Industry Ended CA$75.00 CA$5.49
The Co-operative CIty Conference - Affordable Housing Ended CA$75.00 CA$5.49
The Co-operative City Conference - Community Energy Ended CA$75.00 CA$5.49

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Event Details

*Please purchase a ticket according to which workshop you would like to attend. These workshops will all run concurrently at SFU Woodwards on November 23rd, 2012.*      


The City of Vancouver is engaged in an unprecedented effort to make sustainability the driving force that will define what the city aspires to and how the city operates. This vision has prompted the City to rise to the front rank of cities promoting sustainability and to declare that by the year 2020, Vancouver will be recognized as the world’s Greenest City. It is a bold and inspiring vision and one that rests, in large part, on the means by which the City engages its citizenry in realizing this ambitious goal.

A key element in making this vision a reality is the adoption of social technologies that both embody and advance the social values and relationships that are implicit in the City’s sustainability goals.
Co-operation is chief among these.

The purpose of the Co-operative City conference is to showcase the ways in which co-operatives can make sustainability the basis for strengthening key sectors and essential services and also for improving the quality of life for citizens. The objective of the conference is to generate strategic partnerships between the co-op sector and the City to advance sustainability goals in such areas as:

·   Arts and culture

·   Local food systems

·   Affordable housing

·   Green industry

·   Community energy

In recognition of 2012 as the UN International Year of Co-operatives, the Co-operative City
conference is a bold attempt to place co-operation at the heart of a city’s sustainability efforts.
In addition to showcasing outstanding examples through the presentations and workshops, the conference will feature site visits with projects that exemplify what is possible through the strategic
use of co-operative models.

Speakers include: Penny Ballem, City Manager, City of Vancouver; Catherine Clement, VP of Community Engagement, Vancouver Foundation; Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, UK; and Mike Harcourt, CoV Greenest City Action Team

Conference registration is $75 (students $50)

To register online:


For additional information, please contact Rita Farkas at
or Brad Boyce at


Arts & Culture

Surviving as a cultural worker is hard in a City like Vancouver where living costs are high and public support for the arts so limited. From the creation of shared spaces for art studios, theatre performances and galleries to the sharing of equipment and the marketing & distribution of their artwork, co-ops are a key resource for artists. This session looks at how co-ops can help artists produce and sell their work, create shared benefits such as pension plans and health insurance, and provide affordable bookkeeping and accounting services geared to the unique needs of artists.

Local Food Systems

Co-ops have always played a key role in agriculture - whether selling produce for farmers or providing access to quality food products to consumers. Increasingly however, co-ops are being used to break new ground for the promotion of local food systems and the cultivation of healthy, organic food as an alternative to industrial food products. This session will examine the role of co-ops in developing local food networks, linking consumers to farmers, supporting small producers, and bringing food cultivation to urban settings.

Affordable Housing

Co-ops provide one of the most effective models for affordable housing. They make housing not only more affordable, but also support neighborhood diversity and build healthy communities. With the disappearance of public funding for housing, new
models are being used to fill the gap. From community land trusts and the re-leasing
and redevelopment of existing housing co-ops, to co-operative financing systems
and supported living spaces, co-op models for housing are more relevant than ever.
This session will explore cutting edge models for creating co-op alternatives for affordable housing in challenging times.

Green Enterprise

Vancouver is home to a burgeoning green industry sector. However, the small and medium firms that make up this vital part of Vancouver’s economy remain isolated from each other; the sector as a whole remains fragmented and lacking in institutional supports and a strategy for growth. This session will explore how co-op models can provide the kinds of shared services and enterprise supports that help small firms become more productive, more competitive, and more able to sell their products to national and international markets.

Community Energy

One of the most exciting developments in the production of clean and renewable alternatives for energy is the emergence of small scale, community energy systems.
This is a quickly developing area for Vancouver and this session will examine the use of co-op models for the financing and development of community-owned energy systems such as wind, solar, heat recovery, mini generators and neighborhood energy utilities (NEUs).



9:00am Registration, Coffee

9:30am Welcome, Opening Remarks -John Restakis, Executive Director, BCCA

9:45am Connection and Community – The Role of Co-operation

Catherine Clement, VP Community Engagement, Vancouver Foundation

10:15am Coffee Break

10:30am Concurrent Sessions

·   Arts & Culture

Mauro Vescera, Italian Cultural Centre

Elvy Del Bianco, Vancity

Laura Efron, Progress Lab

Diane Brown, CIA, Ruby Slippers Theatre

·   Local Food Systems

Herb Barbolet, SFU

Tara Macdonald, New City Market, Vancouver Farmers Markets

Jessica Wadsworth, Mt. Pleasant Food Co-op

·   Affordable Housing

Stuart Thomas, Terra Housing

Thom Armstrong, Co-op Housing Federation of BC; Darren Kitchen, CHFBC

Mike Lewis, Canadian Center for Economic Renewal

·   Green Enterprise

John Restakis, BC Co-operative Association

Aaron Cruikshank, The Hive

Tracy Casavant, Lighthouse Sustainable Building Centre

·   Community Energy

Mike Harcourt, Harcourt Enterprises, CoV Greenest City Action Team

Judith Lipp, Toronto Renewal Energy Co-op

Dale Littlejohn, Community Energy Association

12:30pmLunch - Peter Couchman, Chief Executive, Plunkett Foundation, UK

1:30pm Site visits to leading examples of co-operation in action:

CORE - Artists live/work spaceStrathcona BIA Green ZoneTerminal City Glass Co-opFalse Creek Neighborhood Energy Utility

Athlete’s Village

4:30pm Closing Plenary – Creekside Community Centre
The Co-operative City – Making it Happen

Penny Ballem, City Manager, City of Vancouver





The purpose of the Co-operative City sessions is threefold:

1.     To raise awareness of how co-operative approaches are being used to promote the sustainability and success of specific sectors.

2.     To identify strategic projects that can be implemented through a collaboration of sector leaders, the co-op community, and the City.

3.     To identify individuals and organizations that are prepared to be members of a steering group that can pursue implementation of selected projects.


Each session will have a facilitator responsible for ensuring that the discussion is focused on the three objectives. The facilitators will also be individuals with expertise on co-operatives and co-op development process and will be available to respond to questions regarding co-operatives. Facilitators will also be meeting with session presenters to review the session objectives, structure, timelines, dialogue session, outcomes, etc.

Session Facilitators:

·   Melanie Conn - Co-op developer (Arts and Culture)

·   Carol Murray- BCCA (Local Food)

·   Stuart Thomas  - Terra Housing (Affordable Housing)

·   Michelle Colussi – Canadian Centre for Community Renewal (Green Industry)

Julie MacArthur – Incipe Co-op (Community Energy)


Each session will be introduced with a framing presentation that will outline the primary issues, challenges, and opportunities for the sector being discussed.  This presentation will last for 10 minutes.

Following the framing presentation there will be two presentations that will highlight the concrete ways in which co-op models are being used to support the sustainability and advance the capacity of the sector being discussed. The presentations will be practical, offering information on how the co-op model is or may be used, what its advantages and challenges are, and lessons that can be drawn.

Each presentation will be no more than 12 minutes. Powerpoint presentations may be used.

Resource People

Each session will also have participants from organizations that have an interest in supporting co-op initiatives that may emerge form the discussions. These include Vancity, the Vancouver Foundation, and the City of Vancouver. At some point in the session, representatives from these groups will share information on programs and resources that are available to support individual projects.

Vancity Resource People:

·  Arts & Culture:  Elizabeth Lougheed Green

·   Local Food Systems:  Moira Teevan

·   Community Energy:  Kate Dunford

·   Affordable Housing:  Kira Gerwing

·   Green Industry:  Maureen Cureton



Our aim is to identify strategic initiatives that offer an opportunity for the co-op community, the City, and sector leaders to implement co-op projects that add real value and capacity to their sector. To this end, each session will seek to identify individuals that are prepared to work together in a steering group to advance one or more projects as part of a Co-operative City action plan.

This steering group will then be tasked with following up after the discussion, with BCCA support, to explore how individual projects may be implemented.



We wish to thank the following sponsors for helping to make this event possible


Have questions about The Co-operative City Conference? Contact the organizer

When & Where

Simon Fraser University, 149 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, V6B 1H4

Friday, November 23, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PST)

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