August 1, 2012
The City of Vancouver today announced the official launch of a new program to recruit citizens who are willing to donate their time and serve as volunteers at major civic events and in emergency situations such as a natural disaster.
Members of the public who are looking for ways to serve the community can now show their care for the city and region by joining the Vancouver Volunteer Corps.
Building on the tremendous success in hosting the 2010 Winter Games, City staff have been exploring opportunities to tap the resource and skills of citizens for them to contribute through an on-going volunteer program.
“Our globally recognized “Blue Jacket” team of volunteers during the Games were the true heroes who helped make the City’s largest public event ever a phenomenal success,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “By establishing the Vancouver Volunteer Corps, we are hoping to rekindle the spirit of community participation that was vividly demonstrated by our Olympic volunteers and to channel this energy for the benefit of our city.”
City council approved a motion following the 2010 Winter Games for staff to develop a program that builds on the success and energy of volunteers during the Games. The idea of an on-going volunteer corps was also one of the recommendations in the independent review of the 2011 Stanley Cup riot co-authored by former CEO of VANOC John Furlong and former Nova Scotia deputy attorney general, Douglas Keefe. They recommended, among other things, a plan to invite and encourage citizens across the region to participate in a volunteer program to assist in staging special events in the city.
Currently, hundreds of citizens from all over the Lower Mainland are volunteering in various City emergency preparedness programs, including NEPP (Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program), VECTOR (), ESS () and the upcoming VERT (Vancouver Emergency Response Team).
In a less formal way, tens of thousands of community members also sign up every year in May to clean up the streets and alleyways in their neighbourhoods in the annual Keep Vancouver Spectacular program.
The Vancouver Volunteers Corps will be managed jointly by the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service and the City’s Office of Emergency Management, and will provide formal training to members to assist in major public events such as the Celebration of Light festival as well as in emergency response in the event of an earthquake.