Sunday, February 15, 2015

DNV Councillor moves to review pace of development

Councillor Muri's 'Pace of Development' memo and recommendations will be on the agenda of Monday night's council meeting. She will be seeking support from council on the recommendations in the memo which address the  pace of  congestion, development, and density in the District. During the November 2014 municipal election these issues seemed to be forefront on the minds of the electorate. Councillor Muri is also seeking support from the entire community.

Link to agenda addendum Monday, Feb.16th DNV Council meeting

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Voting for Busses

The good people of the Lower Mainland are about to be asked to approve – or not – a half percent increase in provincial sales tax to fund… well, that’s kind of vague.

Some describe it as a “Congestion Tax,” some as a “Transit Tax,” and others as a “Translink Tax.”

Any way you call it, it would mean a large chunk of money going to things that, in theory, would reduce road congestion and/or improve public transit.

Allegedly. And questions abound.

Question: How come a provincial government that can fund massive bridges for cars at the drop of a hat feels that money for transit has to be cajoled out of the populace by way of a referendum? If the Province supports public transit, why don’t they just increase the same tax on their own?

Question: If the Province doesn’t support public transit – and there’s a strong argument to be made – then will this referendum really change much? If it passes can we be confident that the senior levels of government will actually come up with the matching funds to make things happen?

Question: If enough people vote for this referendum, will the Province finally do something to fix the insane thing that is Translink? Will they finally allow the mayors to actually call the shots on transit?

Question: If the province won’t relinquish control of public transit, can we have any faith that the money collected by a new tax will go towards transit improvements, or should we expect it to wind up being used for yet more auto infrastructure?

Question: do our local MLAs support the “Yes” side, or the “No” side? As far as I know only Thornthwaite has come out and actually said that she’ll vote yes.

Question: What was the thinking behind the Province’s unilateral changes to the question drafted by the Mayors, and what does this tell us about what might happen if there’s a “Yes” vote? If the Province feels free to meddle in the question being asked, about money that will cost them nothing, why should we think they won’t continue to meddle in Translink’s affairs?

Question: What guarantee is there that the funds raised won’t be moved away from new services into refurbishing the thirty year old Skytrain system, or the four year old Compass system, or into some other money hole?

And finally, the elephant in the room: what happens of there’s a “No” vote? It would be immensely valuable if the Province would tell us that.

My reading is that the Province doesn’t give a sweet damn about public transit – they’ve got their helicopters and limos, so why would they care?

If the referendum gets a “Yes” vote Christy Clark will declare it a victory for her and her party.

If the referendum gets a “No” vote she’ll blame Translink and the Mayors.

Ultimately this referendum is not about funding transit, or even new bridges. It’s about the province once again trying deflect criticism of their botched, expensive, and largely failed efforts at managing Lower Mainland transit via their Translink proxy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

North Burnaby-Seymour Green Party Candidate Launches Campaign

Lynn Quarmby is launching her bid for a seat in the riding of North Burnaby-Seymour with a 'meet and greet' at Parkgate Community Centre on Thursday, January 22nd., at 5:30 PM . Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will also be in attendance.

Lynn Quarmby arrested on Burnaby Mountain

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Contest offered by developer for name

BOSA has launched a contest for the "Zellers/old Library' re-development on East 27th. in Lynn Valley. They are offering $2500 to the person whose entry they choose. To learn more visit

Monday, December 29, 2014

Whither the Conservationists/Environmentalists?

In so many environmental arenas, as David Brower ( once said, every win is temporary, every loss permanent.  He was quick to remind us, knowing too well the cost of compromise: a half, of a half, of a half...a friend said.... leaves you with nothing. 
[photo by David Brower 8/6/26]

Compromise only decides how much we are willing to lose never how much we are able to gain.  To accept compromise as legitimate strategy, David Brower argued, that as conservationists we need to be unapologetic about our goals and our beliefs, that once we trade on those, we lose not only our campaigns, but our virtue and our credibility as well. As we know, the many conservation and environmental groups on our North Shore have compromised away too much over the past ten years or more. What damage has been done cannot be undone...

Dennis Coello, author of  “The Complete Mountain Biker,” says, “In this day of man’s increasingly mechanical approach to the outdoors, when thousands experience nature not for what it is through observation but as a playground, there aren’t many places left where one is guaranteed one won’t be run over by a Jeep or snowmobile or mountain bike. Preserving those areas ­ at the cost of a disgruntled few seems worth the price.”

I wish more mountain bike organizations shared Coello’s perspective. Unfortunately most leaders for organizations like the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), along with local biking groups, such as the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA), are among the most dedicated and aggressive mountain bikers. This group lobbies ceaselessly to open more trails on public land to mountain bike access. They will "win" again, a while conservation will lose in 2015, and beyond.

What does it mean, in the long term? Metro Vancouver no longer sees the Fromme watershed area in need of "protection" since the building of the new Capilano/Seymour filtration plant and tunnels. Are the mountain bikers actually "paving the way" for future road and housing development on Fromme?

There is also dialogue in the works between the various levels of government and the Squamish Nation over the future of Cove Forest, Blair Range, and Forest Mountain CMHC lands. You can be assured that these lands will be developed into pricey real estate, if this deal does go through. Even if it does not, we are left with damaged natural capital. What else would these forest lands be good for after the mountain bikers (pedal-powered and electric powered) have thoroughly razed the area in a few more years time, unabated?  

I, for one, will not be continuing this sad, futile fight for proper protection and management of our forests and wetlands in 2015, as the writing is clearly on the wall.  Conservation is left with nothing, while funding "washes downstream" for the mountain bikers.

If the battle for Maplewood Flats were being fought, today, it would most likely end up as a Shopping Mall and with condos all around it. The cost of compromise is clear. What we compromise, we lose. Yet, the aggressive mountain bikers have never compromised away their ideals, and refuse to compromise any of their trails ("No net trail loss") And that is going to cost us plenty, in the future. 
Whither the conservationists/environmentalists, today?