Business & Economy
November 30, 2020

Port of Vancouver’s Deltaport Terminal Two Expansion Decision Deferred

It has been frustrating watching the proposed shipping container terminal expansion at Deltaport near Tsawwassen. This is the  Port of Vancouver’s jurisdiction. They are stickhandling the Terminal 2 expansion proposal through the review process. The Port hopes to create more  turf by drivepiling a new industrial island  in waters off Roberts Bank. This is on the traditional  territory of the Tsawwassen First Nations. That black area you see in the photo above is Deltaport’s coal terminal.

It is Vancouver Port’s dirty secret~American ports on the west coast refuse to ship thermal coal for environmental reasons. But not the Port of Vancouver, which has doubled thermal coal exports in nine years to over 11 million tons. This dirty American coal also moves tariff free.

The Port was relentless in their pursuit of the Terminal 2 prize expansion, despite the fact that Roberts Bank is one of the few places on the planet for the migrating western sandpipers going to their spring Arctic breeding grounds. As I have already written these birds feed solely on an algae that is only available on these mudflats.

That algae cannot be moved or replaced, meaning that this important bird migration on the Pacific Flyway would be annihilated with port expansion. Extinct.

 Larry Pynn in The Province pointed out that the written response from Environment and Climate Change Canada to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency clearly outlined the catastrophic impact of a new terminal eradicating this sandpiper feeding area. Their exact words were Among the findings, the panel report also notes there would be “significant adverse and cumulative effects on wetlands and wetland functions at Roberts Bank.”

Environment Canada was not happy, and it was at this time Global Containers (GCT), Deltaport Terminal’s operator did a bait and switch, stating that the proposed Terminal 2 complex at Roberts Banks was “outmoded and no longer viable.”

Sadly, abandoning this terminal expansion and working smarter (this is the only major port on the Pacific Coast that does not work on a 24 hour basis)  was not something proposed by Global Containers Terminal (GCT) .

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Planning for the Post-Pandemic City by Simon Fraser University Public Square

When Planning Vancouver Together started in November 2019, no one could’ve imagined what was just around the corner. While a global pandemic altered our relationship with our city, it also laid bare and amplified the pre-existing inequalities of our society. COVID-19 has tested the resiliency and adaptability of Vancouver’s social, economic and physical fabric. While certain parts of the city have weathered this pandemic, others have struggled.

What have we learned and experienced in the last eight months that might shape the next 30 years? How can the Vancouver Plan – a long-term strategic citywide plan – course-correct and continue to plan for a future city that is resilient to new and existing shocks and stressors, while striving for a city that truly works for all who live, work and play here?

Speakers
Gil Kelley (GM of Planning, City of Vancouver) Gil Kelley, FAICP, is an internationally recognized urban strategist and visionary, having served as Chief Planner for several West Coast cities and as an independent advisor to cities and governments across the globe. He currently serves as the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability for the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. In the past, he has served as the Director of Citywide Planning for the City of San Francisco, the Director of Planning for the City of Portland, Oregon and the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Berkeley, California.

Lisa Cavicchia (Program Director, Canadian Urban Institute) Lisa is a Program Director and urban planner with more than 20 years of experience managing city-building initiatives for the Canadian Urban Institute. She is responsible for developing and implementing partnerships with cities and communities across Canada and in almost 20 countries and more than 100 cities across Europe, South-East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean that connect individuals and organizations in cities to research, plan, fund and deliver initiatives that strengthen local economies, improve sustainable development outcomes, and create jobs for youth, women and men.

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Three years ago I wrote about the turf of the  iconic Hudson’s Bay store in downtown Vancouver at Granville and Georgia Streets being for sale, and in 2018 I wrote that the store’s property had been bought by an undisclosed Asian buyer for 675 million dollars.

The Hudson’s Bay Company  had previously leased their New York City store location to WeWork, a shared workspace business, setting the stage for a suggested change in the ownership (and purpose) for the Vancouver store. This arguably is on one of the most important heritage sites in the city, a block away from the Vancouver Art Gallery, and right beside the Canada Line.

What a shift a Covid pandemic year makes, where trends that would have taken longer to come to fruition have had a chance for accelerated growth, with less angst expressed by the public.  It was expected that  Hudson’s Bay  was to sign a 20-year lease with the new owner, and have WeWork, the shared office space operator,  leasing  the top floors of the Vancouver and other Hudson’s Bay stores.  That was pre-Covid.

Department store retail  and the demand for downtown shared work facilities has shrivelled during the pandemic. Sadly even though Hudson’s Bay Company has been in Vancouver since 1887, first operating out of a storefront on Pender Street, their way of leaving has not been so glamourous.

As reported by Rachelle  Younglai and Susan Krashinsky in the Globe and Mail HBC have not paying their bills, and they are being a bit obstreperous about it.

The Hudson’s Bay store in Coquitlam  Centre was shuttered on the weekend, because the company did not pay their rent.

Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)  who also own Saks Fifth Avenue and  Saks Off Fifth department store chains, is “facing legal actions for unpaid rent in at least 20 locations in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, as well as in Florida, according to court documents.”

It appears that rent has not been covered by HBC for many Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada,  with Morguard REIT  alone out $2.79-million in unpaid rent for five locations in shopping centres in Ottawa, Toronto, Brampton, Ont., and Abbotsford, B.C. And there’s more outstanding debt on leased space too.

HBC had privatized pre pandemic, and there had been accusations of the chain not running “first-class” operations, especially at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto which is the flagship store and a top producing mall.

In the “best defence is a good offence” strategy, HBC has responded legally by saying the same thing about the landlords that own the various properties that the stores are positioned on.

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I have written about the City of London England being one of the first cities to embrace the concept of slower streets during the pandemic through the adoption of “red routes”. These major roads lead to the inner city and in partnership with Transport for London (TFL) the City of London developed a unified strategy to opening streets across boroughs for walking and cycling through wider sidewalks, thinner driving lanes, and road closures.

They also initiated traffic light signal changes to allow pedestrians and cyclists longer greens when crossing, knowing that walking and cycling would prevail as a way to get around during the pandemic.

Greg Ritchie writes for Bloomberg.com that many of those initiatives embraced for physical distancing will continue in the future even when the pandemic is over. In the words of Simon Fraser University’s Duke of Data Andy Yan, the pandemic has accelerated many changes that would be happening over a much longer time period.

London’s central core the “square mile” has narrow streets that make the two metre separation for physical distancing challenging.

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The Duke of Data Andy Yan seems to be everywhere these days, bringing practical information,municipal data, and a prudent approach on how best to navigate through the Covid crisis. He brings a clear, cogent, well researched and thought out voice to the pandemic conversation, and has really raised the profile of Simon Fraser University’s City Program as an active, engaged place with a researcher who always has time for students and discussion.

Mr. Yan  in concert with the Canadian Urban Institute has worked on a data base to assist with the recovery of retail and commercial districts in Canada. That database access is absolutely free.

With a long and still expanding list of main street partners Mr. Yan is part of a nationally-coordinated research and advocacy campaign ensuring best solutions for Covid-19 recovery. The strategy includes main street business leaders as well as leaders from academia, developers, industry and professional organizations and advocacy groups.

With an aim to enrich the “value of our main streets~their connection to the health of the economy, social life, and vitality of our neighbourhoods and cities” the work strategizes actions that “can guarantee their survival”.

As Nic Rockell in BC Business writes the Main Street Primer helps to navigate a “sea of data” to enable commercial areas to bounce back from the pandemic with resiliency.  This national project was undertaken with the Canadian Urban Institute through their “Bring Back Main Street” initiative.

By carefully examining seven commercial areas in British Columbia and Ontario, the data compares business closures, foot traffic before and after the pandemic, and other factors that changed how the street was being used.

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It has been Duke of Data Andy Yan who has been reminding us forever that there is a radical disconnect between household income and the price of housing. People working in Metro Vancouver can’t afford to buy housing here.

In 2017 Mr. Yan summed it up this way:

It’s surprising to me that we have only  the 15th highest incomes in Metro Vancouver, even coming behind Toronto. What we learned today is in Vancouver you are living in paradise, but your wages are in purgatory.” 

The median household income Mr. Yan was referring to is $72,662. At that time he saw the major issue was how to reconnect local incomes to local housing, noting that needed policy enactment would be  different in each city.

Photographer and former editor of Price Tags  Ken Ohrn sends along this article by Natalie Obiko Pearson who writes that Amazon. com is expecting to triple its workforce in Vancouver. Why? Because software engineers here are “cheap, smart and plentiful”, like an overabundant agricultural crop.

A conversation with an Amazon vice president revealed that  a “weak loonie, lower wages and a steady flow of graduates make Canada an attractive place to expand for tech companies whose largest expense is labour”. 

 The salaries in Vancouver are substantially less than for similar jobs south of the border, as are office rents.

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The Canadian Urban Institute presents a free webinar on 
COVID Signpost 200 Days: How Should Our Cities Prepare for Winter?
Joining our guest host Catherine Craig-St-Louis of CUI and Rues Principales for our second series of COVID Signpost, 200 Days.

Presenters: Olivier Legault, Project Managerat Rues principales and Co-founder, Winterlab

Isla Tanaka, Wintercity Planner at the City of Edmonton;

Sheena Jardine-Olade, CoFounder of Night Lab;

 Rami Bebawi, CoFounder and Partner at KANVA.

Date: Thursday September 30, 2020

Time: 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time

You can register by clicking this link.

Images: DreamTime,CdnUrbanInstitute

 

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This is the way we like to think of Chinatown~a place to buy fresh groceries with wide sidewalks for stopping and looking in windows, and a place to go to bakeries or to restaurants for some of the best food in the city. But look a little closer.  Here on Pender Street the sidewalk is littered with cigarettes, newspapers and discarded clothing.

Even the Chinatown historic photo mural is defaced. Walk a little further and the area seems like a movie set of street maintenance abandonment.

 

 

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You would think that road safety would be top of mind for commercial vehicles on the road in British Columbia. In Canada a commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle having a gross weight or registered gross weight of not more than 4,500 kilograms. In British Columbia a commercial vehicle is defined as taxis, ambulances, school buses and vehicles with more than two axles such as dump trucks and commercial transport trucks.

Last year at this time the Delta Police Department partnered with the Province’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch to conduct a three day enforcement campaign inspecting commercial vehicles. The results were shocking~as Ian Jacques with the Delta Optimist wrote , of “378  vehicles  targeted for full inspections, 160 were pulled off the road.”

Think of that~42 percent of the vehicles inspected were so unsafe they could not be legally driven. At that same inspection there was a stolen trailer with stolen plates, and several drivers that had not complied with previous orders to fix their vehicles.

Last week the Delta Police teamed up with Burnaby RCMP to inspect commercial trucks out at Deltaport for only one morning. In that one morning of 125 vehicles, 21 were flagged. Off the 21 trucks, seven were not road worthy and could not be driven for commercial purposes, and  14 were ticketed for violations. These are the vehicles that service the port, drive Metro Vancouver highways and enter the municipalities.

And earlier this year Burnaby RCMP  pulled over a 11,700 kilogram dump truck for a “routine” commercial vehicle inspection. It turned out the driver did not even have a license, but only a “L” license, which is given after a multiple choice exam as a learner’s permit.

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The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) presents a two day free online conference hosted by the Rural Policy Learning Commons.

“Join us for two full days of FREE content and interactive discussions – you don’t want to miss this jam-packed program of rural researchers and thought leaders as they share rural-specific lessons and insights about the challenges and opportunities posed by the pandemic.

CRRF is delighted to offer this high-value virtual event for free. If you are planning to attend and able to do so, please consider becoming a member of CRRF or making a donation to help us continue supporting rural research and researchers across Canada.

Both days of the conference run from 8:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time and are being hosted on Zoom by the Rural Policy Learning Commons. The Virtual Conference is being offered ‘a la carte’ style, so you can choose the sessions that are most interesting to you and work with your schedule by registering for each session separately.

Date: October 1 and October 2

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Click here to find out further information and to register for the sessions you would like to attend.

Image: OxfordAmerican

 

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