December 11, 2018

“Classic NPA”, with Ken Sim

“We came within an eyelash of running the table.”

And he’s not wrong. Ken Sim, founder and CEO of homecare provider Nurse Next Door and bagel chain Rosemary Rocksalt, is just two months removed from having come within 957 votes of being the mayor of Vancouver. With five NPA Vancouver councillors, Sim would have led a majority, and thus the face of municipal (and perhaps regional) politics might look very different than it does today.

Having returned to regular family and business life, he goes deep with Gord in this revealing conversation. They discuss the day he got the call from NPA leadership, the big names he spoke to as he mulled his decision (and who finally convinced him to run), his experiences on the campaign trail, his thoughts about the downtown eastside, and what he believes are the major policy priorities for the city.

And more importantly — what does the future hold for Ken Sim?

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A fixture in Port Coquitlam politics for the past 16 years — two terms as councillor, three as mayor — Greg Moore has also been a figurehead and ardent champion for the entire region.

As chair of the Metro Vancouver board for seven years, and chair of the Mayors Ten Year Vision Committee in the midst of his decade-long tenure on the TransLink Mayors Council, Moore rolled up his sleeves and left indelible marks of leadership and organizational effectiveness on both organizations, while helping steer his community through a time of change.

In this episode, Gordon Price and the newly-retired-from-politics (***so he says***) ex-mayor talk about the new culture of incivility in civic affairs, the concentric circles of influence that ebb out of Vancouver to the suburbs, what makes for a mayoral mandate, and why planners could perhaps be considered ideal political leaders.

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In the opening op-ed, Gord blends some historical context into the current debate over renovictions and the state of Vancouver’s mid-rise rental stock, in a profile of West End icon The Berkeley.

Then, a deep-dive interview with former diplomat — and independent council candidate in Vancouver’s recent election — Rob McDowell.  A professional adjudicator and mediator, Rob talks about his entry into the political world over three decades ago, his decision to run for council for a third time, first as an independent, and the challenges to come for the city’s divided leadership.

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Gordon Price and Tom Davidoff chat with newly elected Vancouver Councillor Lisa Dominato on how her successful run in the recent election was informed by her experiences as a school trustee, working in public policy with the provincial government, and through conversations with voters during the campaign.

Plus, her take on the issue of the day — fulfilling the housing needs of the ‘missing middle’. What does she think about prior Council decision on duplexes? How can neighbourhood voices help guide land use decisions? What role will Council play with — and what will inform — the forthcoming city-wide planning process?

A great discussion — with more from Councillor Dominato and other leaders in the region in future episodes.

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An opening op-ed from Gord, celebrating 60 years of the Planning Institute of BC, and highlighting some of what came to influence Vancouverism in the period 1986-2010.

The main segment features a housing discussion between Josh Gordon, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at SFU, and Tom Davidoff, Associate Professor of the Strategy and Business Economics Division at UBC Sauder School of Business, hosted by Price Tags Managing Editor Colin Stein.

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You will enjoy the latest live version of the funny and lively Cambie Report, featuring Price Tags’ Editors Gordon Price and Sandy James.

What does Gordon Price think is the major issue in this upcoming civic election?  And what kind of issue is it?  Is it a small but noisy hot button issue, is it something tired and old (bike lanes), is it something fundamental to how we think of ourselves?

Price & James start at around 0:43:00.

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From SFU Public Square:

  Creating a Diverse & Resilient Economy in Metro Vancouver This panel conversation event will focus on the future of employment in Metro Vancouver, and planning for the employment lands that support the regional economy. What are the trends and issues related to employment in various sectors in Metro Vancouver, and how does land use planning, regulation, and market demand affect the future of work regionally? How will we thrive in this changing regional economy? The speakers
  • Opening remarks: Heather McNell, Director of Regional Planning, Metro Vancouver & Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability, City of Vancouver
  • Moderator: Gordon Price, Former Director of SFU City Program and Former Vancouver City Councillor


  • Peter HallProfessor & Director of SFU Urban Studies Program
  • Shachi KurlExecutive Director, Angus Reid Institute
  • Andrew PetrozziPrincipal & Vice-Principal, Research, Avison Young
  • Bryan BuggeyDirector, Strategic Initiatives & Sector Development, Vancouver Economic Commission


March 5 8 – 10:30 am SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 1420-1430, 515 West Hastings Free registration:  Read more »

Christopher Cheung has written a delightfully fun piece in the Tyee about his foray into the instagram world of people photographing~well, themselves. His office window is smack adjacent to a popular instagram location on the top of a Gastown parkade. These people all came to the top open deck of the parkade to photograph not the area, the view, but themselves. And that is where Christopher’s story begins.
“All visitors have a mobile phone or DSLR in hand. They aren’t there to photograph buildings; they are there to photograph themselves in front of buildings, dressed in a diversity of styles: preppy, street and vintage throwbacks. Most of it is for Instagram. The app has 800 million monthly users (and counting) sharing images from their lives, sharing creative content and connecting over hobbies. Celebrities, small businesses and global companies use it too. Aside from simple portrait photographers, there are other surprises. I’ve seen skateboarders record tricks on video. I’ve seen TV crews shoot fight scenes. I’ve seen teens set off a bomb of blue smoke for dramatic effect. And, strangest of all, I once saw four guys — all in black, puffy jackets — place a puppy in front of a Ferrari for photos.”
Since most of us would doubt that four duffle coated men would put a small white dog in front of a Ferrari and photograph it on the roofdeck of this rather derelict rooftop parking lot, Christopher provides the photo. Surprisingly even though his office window overlooks the parkade he is largely ignored by the instagrammers. It seems, just like in real life, when someone is in pursuit of a great photo of themselves outside distractions are superfluous. Even taking photos of the instagrammers taking photos was mostly ignored.
“I don’t know why I didn’t think to document these visitors earlier — especially the ones who set off the blue smoke bomb. But from then on, I was determined to capture all who came up to the rooftop to visit.”
And of course Christopher placed his photos of people taking photos on instagram at @lotspotting. He also has a fullsome discussion on the use of instagram in rediscovering these lost corners of the city, and revisits the magic of Vancouver photographer Fred Herzog in the candidness and reality lacking in the instagram staged photos.
“Urban windows are a curious thing. They are part of the voyeurism that is life in a city. Looking through them from the street or looking through one at the street stirs both isolation and intimacy. American artist Edward Hopper captures one such window in Nighthawks, which has become an iconic image of urban loneliness. The painting shows four figures in a downtown diner late at night. They are appear to be strangers, but are sharing a moment together. The perspective is from the outside looking in. Instagram isn’t so different from urban windows.”
Photos~Christopher Cheung

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Next Generation Transportation Thinkers Is your organization evolving its knowledge and talent in the face of uncertainty and change?

Graduates of SFU’s Next-Generation Transportation Certificate program are standing up to the transportation challenges of today and looking to create liveable and sustainable cities for the future.

Join us for a healthy dialogue about the shifting politics, demographics, and technology that influences the way industry and community approach transportation planning. This is an opportunity to learn about the fresh-thinking and educating that is taking place through SFU’s on-line Next-Generation Transportation certificate program in an informal ‘kitchen conversation’ setting with industry leaders, educators, and colleagues.

To close out the morning dialogue, Ted Mildon and Chuck We of Oxford Properties will take us on a tour of the impressive bicycle facilities at Oxford Place located at 1055 West Hastings Street.

Guest Speakers:

June 21

7:30 – 9:30 am (Oxford Place Bike Facility Tour: 9:00 to 9:30 am)

Bunt & Associates – Suite 1550-1050 West Pender Street

Members: $10 / Non-members: $15

Download a fillable registration form here. Fees increase $5 after June 20.


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