City of Vancouver's performance by the numbers can now be tracked online

Feb 28 2020, 9:05 pm

Amidst growing public criticism over a lack of transparency and accountability over adequately fulfilling basic municipal responsibilities, the City of Vancouver has launched a new online dashboard platform on its Open Data Portal that allows the public and researchers to seamlessly keep track of the municipal government’s performance over 65 indicators across six categories.

These categories include core service delivery, affordability and housing, climate change, economy and city finances, equity and social issues, and vibrant culture. The data pools together various sources and reports by the city and other agencies and organizations.

Examples of specific metrics include crime and emergency response statistics, such as 50,337 violent and property crime incidents in 2019, which represents a decreasing trend.

The response times for police and fire services were 10 minutes, 34 seconds and six minutes, 20 seconds, respectively. Medical incident response times hovered at six minutes, 15 seconds.

In the month of December 2019, there were 373 overdose calls for fire and rescue services, and as of the latest official count there are 2,223 people experiencing homelessness in the city.

While fire service and medical incident response times have remained relatively constant compared to 2013, police emergency response times have steadily increased from eight minutes, 38 seconds in 2013 to 10 minutes, 34 seconds in 2019, aligning with the 23% increase in the number of calls of police service.

Service centre wait times and the number of 3-1-1 call requests are also published.

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City of Vancouver Dashboard, as of February 2020. (City of Vancouver)

With urban development metrics, as of the end of 2019 the city approved 720,000 sq. ft. of development floor area, and major rezoning applications were processed in an average of 12.7 months. The median processing time for minor commercial renovations was 5.4 weeks.

The city self-reports that 92% of construction and building inspects were performed on time.

There are also specific metrics on housing affordability, such as the number of housing units approved by type, average rents by unit type, rental vacancy rate, and various affordability indicators.

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City of Vancouver Dashboard, as of February 2020. (City of Vancouver)

The dashboard tracks the city’s environmental performance, including citywide greenhouse gas emissions, transportation mode share, the number of trees planted, and water consumption per capita.

In the economy and city finances category, the city indicates it has an Aaa/AAA credit rating and a net debt per capita of $875.

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City of Vancouver Dashboard, as of February 2020. (City of Vancouver)

For culture, in 2019 the city-owned theatres saw a combined total attendance of 781,004 people, with 891 events held at these public venues. For Vancouver Public Library’s statistics, there were 9.9 million library collection items in use and 13.4 million library visits in 2018.

Many of these metrics are paired with a “desired trend” gauge, which notes whether the metric needs monitoring, needs improving, needs to be maintained, is near target, or already meets target.

These metrics are updated either quarterly or annually, and historical data for each metric can be viewed as well. The city states the dashboard will be updated with new metrics over time.

The new municipal dashboard follows TransLink’s launch of its new dynamic accountability and statistics dashboard, and interactive mapping tool in 2018. The public transit authority’s dashboard, focusing on ridership levels and flow trends, is updated annually.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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