Governance & Politics
September 19, 2018

The Foul Smell of East Delta Soil Recycling~Where was the Public Process?

There’s a storm of a different kind brewing in East Delta where the palpable stench of the  Enviro-Smart Recycling Facility at 4295 72nd Street somehow was allowed to be constructed on arable farm land which should have been protected under the Agricultural Land Reserve. That land has been loaded with mountainous tons of material (including green waste from the City of Richmond) and the scent it emits is off-putting.

If you ever are driving on Highway 17, you will know where this facility is by  exit 13 with a smell like offal and of course the preponderance of eagles that have found the location a good place to pluck their prey.  For local residents, it is not only an eyesore, but the scent is overwhelming.

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The Star and Toronto’s May Warren has reported on the cleaving of class in Toronto, where the downtown has service sector jobs, but the people in those jobs do not have affordable housing close to their workplace.

Warren observes“This dynamic of lower-paid suburban workers servicing downtown’s bankers, lawyers and “creative class Sunshine List professionals” is turning the city into a kind of “Downton Abbey,” according to one researcher who’s studied the phenomenon. It’s a divide that could lead to labour shortages in the core — as service workers forced to commute farther and farther lose the incentive to take those positions.”

While some service workers still live in the downtown around Kensington Market and Queen Street East, the numbers are in the 10 to 20% range, with suburbs in Scarborough and Etobicoke housing 30 to 35% of service workers.

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From May 2 until October 13  1986  there was an international exposition in Vancouver with the theme “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion~World in Touch”.

World fairs used to be a big thing, enabling people to look at different pavilions and cultures without travelling. Canada has hosted two, with Expo 67 being held in Montreal during Canada’s centennial year. Expo 86 coincided with Vancouver’s centennial year, and it was the last world’s fair held in North America in the 20th century.

The story of how the north shore of False Creek between the Granville and Cambie  Street Bridges was transformed from an industrial working harbour into a fair representing 54 countries and a number of corporations has already been told. So too has the awful reality that  people in Single Room Hotels (SRO’s) were displaced for Expo visitors. Rooming house hotels  were subject to an Innkeeper’s Regulation and not the standard Tenancy Act, meaning that long-term tenants could be evicted on just a week’s notice.

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Sandy James Image

Price Tags Vancouver has been discussing how and when Vancouver will be addressing scooters. And we mean all things about scooters~where they are left, where they will be allowed to  operate, and what the restrictions will be on companies bringing them to Vancouver. .

In a city that does not have a surplus of taxis and with taxis unwilling to do short trips, and with no ride share options on the immediate horizon, other alternatives are needed. There is definitely a latent demand  for short trips, and scooters are one way to go. The Seattle Department of Transportation”s definition of “shareable mobility devices”  include “tricycles, handcycles, tandem cycles, electric scooters, and others” with a view to providing transportation options to disabled residents. Seattle is also looking at hefty licencing fees of  up to $250,000 if four vendors apply. The Reuters clip below shows that vendors make their money back in two to three weeks with scooter shares.

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Image Sandy James

If you think the car is king in Metro Vancouver and in Canada generally, you need to have a visit to Australia where both the law and the pedestrian crossing times solidly put the pedestrian as a second class citizen to vehicular traffic.

The Guardian disclosed that “Pedestrians across Australia are pressing the button at traffic lights for no reason, most days of the week..In Sydney, pedestrian crossings in the CBD have been automated since 1994, leaving millions of commuters to futilely press placebo buttons for nearly 25 years…”

And if you are standing at an intersection in downtown Sydney, you feel like you are standing there for an inordinate amount of time waiting for a light to change.

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Everything old is new again as the former city manager of the City of Delta vies for the Mayoral seat being vacated by Lois Jackson. And as part of the switcheroo, Mayor Lois Jackson who is stepping down from office after decades has breezily announced she is running for Council. The platform coming out looks suspiciously like the former Liberal provincial government’s, supporting big business, all things port related, and of course promoting the overbuilt ten lane Massey Bridge which has prudently been put in abeyance by the current NDP provincial government.

At the Metro and Provincial level there were earlier hopes that George Harvie might be a bit more conciliatory and actually work with the rest of the Metro Vancouver region in evaluating the best options for the renewal of the Massey Tunnel crossing of the Fraser River. But no, Harvie is behind the wheel  in a 20th century vision of the single occupant vehicle. He wants the Liberals’ previously proposed  overbuilt ten lane multi billion dollar bridge replacing the Massey Tunnel  despite the fact the rest of the Metro Mayors’ Council nixed that.

How much longer will Delta residents have to endure an unsafe and unhealthy daily commute? Every single day I hear this issue on the doorsteps – families are frustrated by the province’s lack of action on a new crossing, and from being late for dance class or sports practice, to missing important appointments, it’s affecting their quality of life.”

This is exactly the rhetoric Mayor Jackson and double dipping Liberal MLA/Delta Councillor Ian Paton espoused. Mayor Jackson also went on a $40,000 taxpayer funded  junket to Ottawa with staff to plead for the bridge no other metro mayor wanted.

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It is election season and in the City of Richmond the spin has  started. Under the banner “Richmond First” Richmond councillors Dang, McNulty and McPhail who voted for allowing  mega mansions of nearly 11,000 square feet  on the most fertile and important farmland in Canada are campaigning to get back on Richmond Council.

And they have added a weird twist. They are not saying that they have given in to developer pressure and have approved the creation of the tax loopholed  offshore owned gated estates on Class 1 supposedly Provincially protected agricultural lands. Nor are they saying anything about the innovative “get rich quick” scheme of buying land at agricultural land prices and morphing it into exclusive multi-million dollar estates with the associated land lift.  They also have conveniently forgotten  that the Province has mandated that the maximum size of houses on farmland is  5,832 square feet, specifically to stop speculation.

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Georgie nominated and Ovation awarded Smallworks is looking for an additional designer at http://www.smallworks.ca    The successful applicant will work in a customer focused, dynamic work environment, which manages small-scale but complex residential design-build projects in Vancouver.

The expectation for a successful candidate is to have the ability to carry the normal work load of a designer while providing on going  participation in  improving building system, design, and  complement the knowledge resource for the design team. The designer works alongside two colleagues, each with their own set of clients. On average, the company takes on two new clients and two – three build projects per month.

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The Tyee’s Christopher Cheung is known for reporting the story beyond the story. While the main press talks about soup kitchens and sandwiches and coffee for people in the Downtown Eastside, Christopher explores where  folks on a limited income eat. And with the prices for restaurant food in Vancouver, how do they do it? Neighbourhoods are not just about housing and working, they are complex systems that include the interdependence of sociability, livability, and supportive commercial places. That comes through in the downtown eastside, in examining where  residents can eat close to where they live, as housing arrangements are often not conducive to at home cooking.

In his cogent article about dining in the east side,  Christopher Cheung observes:  “Accessible restaurants have many important roles to play here beyond serving affordable food.In the Downtown Eastside, most of the affordable housing is single-room occupancy units in old hotels. The units are typically 100 square feet with a shared washroom in the hall. Eating for one, let alone hosting a friend, is a challenge for many. Some residents of these old buildings use hot plates to cook because they don’t have full kitchens. Some property managers, however, don’t allow hot plates at all. So having good places to eat out is all the more important.”

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Carlito Pablo in the Georgia Straight and others are talking about the optics of a report quickly going to Vancouver Council this Tuesday which gives land that the City just purchased from the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) railway back to that company.

The  former CPR land in question is east of Fir Street south of 5th Avenue to West 1st Avenue, land that is already zoned for housing, industrial and commercial uses and is not part of the “transportation” corridor currently being used as part of the Arbutus Greenway.

And this is just not any land~these parcels located on the old railbed that went to the Molson Brewery are in the highly sought after False Creek precinct.

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