Thursday, January 27, 2011

Translink - North Shore Area Transit Plan

On Tuesday (Jan 25th) Translink held a meeting at the Pinnacle seeking input on what North Shore residents wanted over the next 20 years.

I saw a lot of familiar faces there plus some new ones and a lot of opinions were expressed. The District Official Community Plan Roundtable was well represented as well as several from the City, West Vancouver and Lions Bay. I was really disappointed not to see reps from the Squamish or Tsleil-wa-Tuth though the Translink people told me they had been invited.

It was a good session with a lot of 'cut and thrust' though I completely disagree with Translink's methodology since it pretty much ensured the North Shore will be last in line with Translink for some time to come. While there was some talk of financial implications this was not encouraged by the organizers which causes me to wonder whether this consultation is for real or simply pro forma.

This is important since under the current Translink 10 year plan, Translink takes $225-240million out of the North Shore municipalities but only gives back about $45 million - and about 2/3 of that was to be for a new depot and a third Seabus which was to be in full service by the summer of 2009. Given this levy was to be for capital improvements it is difficult to not feel betrayed when we are now told that when the new Seabus is fully operational one of the first two will be taken out of service. The levy was never intended to be simply for replacement of aging infrastructure but improvements in service and 'two Seabuses before, two Seabuses after' is not my idea of an improvement!

It was a good session but I did not get the answers I went there for.

Christy Clark speaking at Parkgate February 1st

Christy will be in North Vancouver to meet members of the community and answer any questions you might have on her vision for the Province of British Columbia.

In 1996, she was elected to the British Columbia legislature where she distinguished herself as a passionate champion for families. This commitment continued when the Liberals formed government in 2001 and she was appointed Minister of Education and Deputy Premier.

Christy took a break from politics in 2005 to spend more time with her family. She quickly established herself as a columnist with the Vancouver Province newspaper and commentator on CTV Newsnet. In 2007, she began the “Christy Clark Show” on CKNW radio.

Date/Time: 7pm Tuesday February 1st

Location: Mary Hunter Hall, Parkgate Community Centre, 3625 Banff Court, North Vancouver

Monday, January 24, 2011

West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan Endorses George Abbott

Ralph Sultan was on CKNW's Bill Good show this morning talking about the HST.  At the end of the interview, Good asked Sultan who he was supporting in the BC Liberal leadership race.  When asked why he was endorsing George Abbott's leadership bid he pointed to five criteria, but said it was the fact that Abbott has "met a payroll and run his own business...and in building character and common sense there is no better training."

“Ralph has been an outstanding representative for his constituents in West Vancouver-Capilano since 2001,” says George Abbott. “He has several decades of professional experience at the most senior levels of business in the resource and financial sectors. I’m honoured that he has chosen to provide me with his support.” 

The CKNW conversation can be heard through the radio's stations audio archive, when the question was asked at 9:27am:

Sultan joins 16 other BC Liberal Ministers and MLAs who have put their support behind George Abbott’s candidacy for Premier.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Should the DNV be on the hook for highway upgrade?

Recent Trans Canada highway improvements extend from Chilliwack to Whistler. Have the municipalities along the way been asked to share the costs? Don't they all benefit from the improvements? As the Editorial in the North Shore News says, "We expected the province to take the lead in rectifying the negative results that have only compounded with time, not abdicate responsibility."

Is the City of North Vancouver being asked to share the cost of the highway upgrades at the second narrows exchange? The proposed on and off-ramps off of Brooksbank Ave. would benefit that municipality as well.

Is this proposal in line with the District's Vision" be among the most
sustainable communities in the world by 2020...?"

As Clr. Nixon says, "This buys us maybe 10 years of relative ease of access but, beyond 10 years it will be back to what it was before unless we take really hard steps on mass transit to encourage people to get out of their single occupancy vehicles."

Is internet voting coming to a municipality near you?

Two City of Vancouver Councillors are pushing for the idea.

Markham, Ontario has used internet voting with their advanced polls since 2003. It has not been implemented on voting day because of concerns that the website might not handle a last minute voting surge. 2003 advanced polls were higher than previous years but, the same can not be said for 2006 and 2010 however, voter turnout is claimed to have been higher for those with accessibility issues and for those over the age of 50 (most likely because of time constraints associated with busy schedules). Unfortunately the youth vote turnout was apparently unchanged meaning it was still low.

Security was not considered anymore of an issue than banking online.

Personally unless I had an unusually busy schedule or was going to be away on voting day, I would still make my way to my local polling station, usually a recreation centre or school gym. There's something satisfying about approaching the 'alphabetical table', sometimes waiting in line, entering that cardboard booth enclave, and X'ing the ballot with that stubby lil' pencil.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Announcement: Under New management

Barry F. who started this blog about six years ago has handed over the reins to me. Barry was finding he just didn't have the time in his busy schedule to give this blog the attention it required.

I am most definitely following a tough act.

I trust we will see Barry's continued involvement with the discussions here at

Thank you Barry for your creative energy, leadership, and uniqueness with the blog since its inception.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Once and for all, Amalgamation

The 2011 Property BC Assessment notices are in and property values are up as much as 20 percent on the North Shore.

City of North Vancouver Mayor Darell Mussatto says, the increase is both good news and bad news for local residents - depending on whether they already own property or not.

For those who don't, "It's now eight percent more difficult to get into the housing market," said Mussatto in Friday's North Shore News.

For those who do there really isn't any good news either. The Assessment is key in determining local property taxes each year so most homeowners will see an increase for 2011.

A recent report showed the North Shore local governments are some of the highest spenders of the tax money we entrust to them as compared to other B.C. municipalities.

Is it high time to re-visit the issue of Amalgamation of the City and the District? Is it one way to potentially reduce or curb the upward spiral of municipal taxes we seem to be facing in our future?

BC First

It’s been many years since I threw my lot in with a political party. Regular readers will know that it’s been several elections since I did anything but wring my hands in despair over the paucity of candidates or platforms that I could believe in.

So it may come as a surprise to some that I’m publicly endorsing BC First, a new provincial party that has risen from the ranks of the dissatisfied voters who are forcing a referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax.

Even at this early stage, before their first general meeting, BC First has been drafting policies that more or less fit what I think is right; suggesting directions that are sensible, balanced, practical, and – dare I say it – progressive.

Read their policies on Environment, Health, Energy, or Taxation, and see if they don't look pretty darned sensible.

It’s early days for the Party, and policies are still being developed, with an inaugural board of directors to be elected at the first Party meeting later this spring.

I've volunteered as Constituency Organizer for the North Vancouver-Seymour riding, and have the wonderful task of signing up the first 25 members in the riding. You can contact me directly, or log onto the BC First website and pay your $10 membership on-line.

No matter how you join, I hope you’ll be as excited by this new Party as I am.

*note: I've no idea what happened to the NVPolitics blog last week, so I'm re-posting.

Christy Clark Clarifies Position on HST

BC Liberal leadership candidate was in North Vancouver yesterday and was asked to clarify her position on the HST referendum: