Governance & Politics
February 21, 2019

Community Meeting Tonight: West Vancouver B-Line

Should be an interesting evening in West Vancouver tonight, as the district holds its long-anticipated community meeting on the matter of the B-line rapid bus service proposed for Marine Drive.

Community Meeting – West Vancouver B-Line Service
West Vancouver Community Centre gymnasium
February 21, 6-9 p.m.

Presentation boards here.

Can’t make the meeting? The deadline to send feedback is one week from today (Feb 28 at 11:59pm) — here’s the link to submit online.

Why might tonight’s meeting be interesting? For all the wrong reasons, of course.

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Vancouver Sun’s Dan Fumano talks about an interesting perception with the work of the current Vancouver City Council.  Dan was referring to  the council report on the “court house block” of  800 block of Robson Street and the potential decision to approve over five million dollars to create a permanent plaza at this location. You can read the report to Council on this here.

This has been a long talked about initiative and even the architect for the Robson Square court house Arthur Erickson had discussed the closure of this portion of street in the 1970’s. It is not a new idea and it is not something that the previous Vision party  dominated city council dreamed up.  But somehow in the last decade there is a sea change in the way that Vancouverites perceive that work initiated by the City is the “vision” of the ruling party, and not the result of careful reasoned work undertaken over the years by  city staff, who also embark upon extensive public processes to review and comment upon potential plans and projects.

The last Vision party dominated Council contributed to the perception of council as project mavericks by having Council members talk about projects instead of having experienced City staff explain elements of the projects they would have painstaking detail and knowledge of.

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As the new Vancouver Council rolls forward with regular meetings, committee meetings, and public hearings (available for public viewing via the city’s streamed broadcast), I’m struck by the performance of various levels of staff at the podium.

Some pretty impressive people in streets, waste, planning, engineering, licensing, social and cultural programs have been presenting and answering questions — sometimes technically complex or strategically nuanced, but often both — the past few months, and giving their elected representatives their first few impressions of the calibre of the people who really run the city.

It’s also the first time for members of the public — a few dozen in attendance at City Hall and apparently not many more online — to recognize and parse out this dynamic. In other words, even as I work, I get to watch them work. A lot of hoop jumping, and careful performances. It’s not to be envied, and it prompts a lot of questions about the staff-council dynamic.

Are they understanding each other? Is there mutual respect? Do they agree with, or even like, one another?

My impression is that these questions are less important to answer than the other question that’s often raised about city staff — why are they costing us so much?

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Skytrain rapid transit continues to be a much-discussed topic in Metro Vancouver.  HERE’s Nathan Pachal, Langley City Councillor and friend of Price Tags, writing in his South Fraser Blog about the Skytrain to Langley being proposed for Surrey.

With the switch from light rail along King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue in Surrey to SkyTrain from King George Station to Langley City, TransLink has set up a new website about the proposed Surrey Langley SkyTrain Project.

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Maybe this won’t become a thermal coal port

Port Metro Vancouver has cancelled the permit for a project that would have resulted in more thermal coal shipments, these from Fraser Surrey Docks.  The only reason currently available is that the permit’s 83 conditions have not been met — specifically one requiring substantial start of construction by November 30, 2018.

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The NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson has won the January 30, 2019 byelection, and our Province’s slim GreeNDP coalition lives on.

Now, let’s talk transit.

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Tomorrow, Vancouver City Council will receive a report from engineering about public engagement on proposed improvements to the Granville Bridge that would add safe, accessible facilities for cycling and walking, and connect up to similar facilities at either end.

What might that look like? Details aside, we already know the likely, big picture outcomes — you can see them on Burrard Bridge, and most recently, on Cambie Bridge.

Speaking of which, our friends at small places have a new before and after video called Cambie Connected: Cycling Smithe, Nelson, Beatty, and the Bridge

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On the latest episode of the This is Vancolour podcast, Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle and Squamish First Nation Councillor Khelsilem chat with host Mo Amir and dive deep into the issues affecting our region.

And it’s no surprise that housing and affordability remain the most important issue of the day. In this episode, both councillors offer solutions on how the City can build more housing while meeting the objective of making Vancouver more affordable.

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