Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart hopes to make new friends

Stewart wants to create a Friendship City Program that is cheaper than the existing Sister Cities Program

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Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart wants to create a Friendship City Program that would allow the city to grow relationships beyond the Sister Cities Program.

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In a motion presented to the council Tuesday night, Stewart writes that Vancouver has sister city relationships with Edinburgh, Odessa, Guangzhou, Yokohama and Los Angeles, but that these relationships can be costly.

“Vancouver is often asked to form official relationships with other cities, but has no formal mechanism to do so other than detailed, lengthy, and sometimes expensive sister city agreements,” Stewart wrote.

Stewart referred to the City of Toronto having a Sister Cities Program but also a Friendly Cities Program “that allows Toronto to expand its range of city-to-city relationships without incurring significant administrative costs.”

Under Stewart’s proposal, local nonprofits would nominate a city of similar size with “shared economic and cultural values” to the council for inclusion in the program.

The Council would only accept one city per country for a five-term term, and the only support it will offer to the nonprofit group is to provide a letter from the mayor and annual letters confirming the agreement.

The sponsoring community (non-profit group) is responsible for all activities and associated costs of Friendship City.

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