Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas to All and Best of the Season!


"If there's no audience, there ain't no show" - from the lyrics of the song Raino by Chilliwack

Thank you to everyone who blogs here and continues to support and offer their thoughts on issues concerning the community of North Vancouver.
                                                                                                                      

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gambling Issue on the North Shore rears its head yet again

In consideration for a pitch to its Waterfront, the City of North Vancouver Council has requested a Staff report so they can more deeply study the issue. North Shore News columnist Trevor Carolan writes about this issue and others sensitive to the North Shore.

 Christmas wishes and worries


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Environmental Vandalism on Kilmer Creek?

For the past 10 years concerned District citizen Doug Carter has had a battle on his hands.  Doug likes to hike the Kilmer Creek Trail on Fromme Mountain, but the Trail suffers from severe erosion because someone keeps diverting the Creek in several places from its natural flow making it spill over the trail.  Doug is at a loss trying to figure out why someone keeps diverting the Creek nonetheless he keeps re-diverting it as much as possible and claims to have spent as much as 1500 hours of his own time doing so. Carter has alerted District Parks Staff as to the situation over the troublesome ten year period, but in that time has only managed to have staff visit the site on two occasions and recently Parks workers did re-divert the creek in two or three crucial areas. But it's still an erosion nightmare and the the Creek keeps being mysteriously diverted.   DNV Parks erected two signs in 2005 stating the applicable by-law which warns that disruption of the Creek is unlawful, but Carter says that a couple of visits by staff is inadequate and even with the posting of the by-law signs the Creek diversions continue. Carter wants the diversions to stop because it is destroying established hiking trails and costing DNV taxpayers thousands of dollars in trail remedial work in the way of the construction of board walk and time for District employees to, occasionally, pull these diversions. In an email response recently from Acting Parks Manager Susan Rogers to Mr. Carter, Ms. Rogers wrote, " In the next week, we will be installing an advisory sign at the diversion location, and request the public to contact Parks if they see anyone moving rocks and stones." Carter believes this is a start, but it is not getting to the root of the problem.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

2014 Municipal Elections will be upon us one year from now

One year from today we will be up to our ears in the municipal election 'silly season'. Actually, the election will be all but over at this date next year with election day being the third Saturday of November 2014. With rumours of certain incumbents not seeking re-election, some seeking alternate endeavors, talk of 'A' slates, and other new comers it could be 'sillier' than ever!


                                                                                  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Keating wins President of the BCNDP

Incumbent CNV Councillor Craig Keating is the new president of the BCNDP. He won handily with 485 votes over his competitor Jagrup Brar who received 303.

Keating pledges to "defeat Clark in 2017". He says, that "to change our province, we must renew our party".

A leadership convention to replace Adrian Dix will not occur until September 2014.

Stephen Lewis speech at NDP convention 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Unite North Vancouver

This week's North Shore News has a cover story (with a rather dapper photograph) about George Pringle's new organization Unite North Van.  The group plans to run candidates in both of the North Vancouvers during the upcoming municipal elections.

Do check out their web site for much more information.

As is almost always the case when amalgamations are proposed, the claim is that somehow great savings will be found and taxpayers will be enriched.  The fact this has yet to happen anywhere is never considered.

After thirty years of successive politicians trumpeting their goal of "cutting the fat", "trimming the budget", "finding efficiencies", "eliminating duplication", privatising,  contracting out, and generally trashing the reputations of hard working municipal staff, there isn't much of anything left to be cut.

Unless you're prepared to start eliminating some pretty popular or essential services - say sports fields and fire trucks - there's nothing left to chop.

Unless you believe that the employees of either the District or City are literally working only half time you can't seriously argue that there are more than a handful of people that could be fired without it mucking up the delivery of essential services.

The stuff that District and City employees do now will still need to be done, and you'll need pretty much the same number of people to it.

Still, despite all of that, amalgamation is good idea, and arguably many decades overdue.  The idea of the geographically tiny City existing in the middle of the District is an absurd one.

Whatever historical imperatives created that situation are surely no longer relevant.

My amalgamation experiences were with Toronto and Hamilton Ontario.  These were both forced marriages which tried to merge suburban communities with an urban core, and both have had serious problems.

In Toronto this is what created the political landscape that gave them Mayor Rob Ford.  In Hamilton it led to an outwardly focused series of Councils at a time when the urban core and the manufacturing centre of the city were both in deep decline.

In both cases the centre of the new city tended to be viewed as somewhere that residents commuted to and from.  Or in Hamilton's case - avoided entirely.

The District and the City can't be compared to Hamilton/Flamborough or Toronto/905.  I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of North Vancouver people neither know nor care where their respective municipalities end.

In practice it just doesn't matter to most people. Lynn Valley residents drive into the City to shop, and City people drive over to Rona and Canadian Tire for hardware.  And both travel to West Vancouver for all of the things that you can't buy here.

To a large degree there's no significant cultural or demographic difference between the two.  Very, very few people will want to live only in the City or the District - they're interchangeable.

It's because the two municipalities are so similar that amalgamation makes sense.

The District and the City already share a lot of resources - fire fighting; the RCMP; recreational facilities ; the School Board.  District and City staff already talk, share ideas, and coordinate between them. Making the remaining services consistent and available to all North Vancouver residents just makes sense.

What a united North Vancouver would offer though is a stronger voice when lobbying for the things that only a Provincial or Federal government can provide.

One large city has more clout than two small ones when dealing the likes of Translink or various government ministries.  When you consider the many ways that the Province in particular calls the shots for municipalities that could be a valuable thing.




Sunday, October 27, 2013

North Shore density the most important issue of the year

Chief Editor of the North Shore News Martin Millerchip talks on  "Ask the News' on the North Shore News website. Scroll down to the second video.

Watch the video

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Lynn Valley Town Centre Implementation Plans

Link to video clip of DNV Council's regular meeting on Monday, October 7th. below.  You can watch the public engagement session at the beginning of the clip and agenda 9 at 57 minutes into the meeting when DNV planners are explaining their concepts and after that the council session.
 
 
 
 
It looks like we are at general height of 5 to 8 stories and 12 stories at strategic locations and not 16 as previously intended. 

 
Concerns with traffic, public transit issues, a sustained 'village' feel with the increased density, and a neighbourhood that stays in tune with it's natural surroundings as well as 'renewal' seemed to remain  the priorities with Lynn Valley residents.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Coast Guard ships awarded to Seaspan by the Feds

3.3 Billion dollars and 10 more ships to be built in North Vancouver.

Premier Clark says this will mean 'great jobs for B.C."

Walter Gerlach, with the International Association of Machinists Lodge 692, said Monday’s announcement was a great one. However, he said the key will be bringing the vessels in on time and on budget. “The machine’s going to have to hit on every cylinder every time and hope we don’t run into any problems,” he said in an interview

The federal government announced Monday that the Vancouver Shipyard is set to build up to 10 additional large non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard. (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)Thousands of jobs

Friday, October 04, 2013

DNV Council - Finally Moving Lynn Valley ahead?

Next Monday's Council meeting represents an important opportunity for DNV Council to start the Lynn Valley revitalisation rolling.

(Follow-up - the item below as approved.  PDF Notice here.)

Although they won't be actually approving any new projects - in large part because no applications have been made - they will be voting on options including having District staff:

 "Develop a Planning Framework to guide decision-making (generally based on a 5- storey height limit with maximum 8 storeys at strategic locations; additional height 
considered on a case-by-case basis). "

(Scroll down to page 71 of the linked PDF to see the background)

My letter supporting this proposal is here.

In the meantime, Mark Sager has sent me some design ideas from the Bosa presentation a couple of weeks ago.  To my eye they feel like Edgemont Village meets Park Royal, and maintain a nice West Coast feel.  From the map in image number four you can see that they're working within the Official Community Plan.





(Thanks to a sharp eyed reader who noted that the Council meeting is Monday, not Tuesday.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Who "Owns" the Woods, Indeed?

In a way, this posting is an Open Letter to DNV Mayor and Council, and DNV Parks/Permits:

It seems every day someone is running around the forest somewhere on the North Shore (mainly inside the Fromme and Seymour areas) wielding what some folk would consider to be weapons. (mountain bikers jokingly call those axes, Pulaskis, McClaskis, chainsaws, machetes, etc. they wield in the woods: "weapons of mass destruction" on the forest environment. On this point, I agree!).

There is suppose to be some permit system for all these folks trail building these days, on both NSMBA/DNV official trail days, and the many unofficial trail days. A few years back, Council had directed Parks Staff to supply me with a list of permits. They never complied. I asked again, and --- Nada! Zilch! Zip!

So nothing more was really thought of it, until this recent public posting on the NSMBA Facebook page popped up, which brings us back to the $60,000 Question (actually, the figure is closer to $1 million...) 

"Who has a permit to do work on the trails...and what are the terms (location, times, constraints, works allowed, etc. and by whom and how?) of those permits?" 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151647956595036&set=a.369819280035.152943.269531710035&type=1&theater

Here is an excerpt: (you can read the above link for more, plus comments, for more clarity) In case this post suddenly "disappears", I have made a copy...
------------------------------------------


With the heavy rain it was a classic Shore day, dark and gloomy. I was standing in the middle of the trail, wrestling with a couple of options for a difficult section, when I hear a shout from a distance.

Guy: "Hey there!"

I look up, and there's a middle aged guy standing about 60 feet up the trail from me.

Me (still focused on my trail dilemma): "Hey."

Guy (after a long pause): "What are you doing with that axe in your hand?"

Me (still looking off into the forest): "It's not an axe. It's a pulaski."

Guy (after a long pause): "Why are you up here?"

I look up at the guy, a little annoyed that he's interrupting me in the middle of my train of thought.

Me: "I'm up here clearing drains and looking at ways to fix the trail."

Now that I've lost my focus, I decide to walk down the trail a couple feet and clear a nearby drain that is overflowing.

Guy (still standing 60 feet away): "Do you have a permit for that?"

Me (swinging the pulaski and clearing the drain): "Yes. I'm actually the president of the NSMBA."
 
Guy: "OK, cause I'm really worried about how all these trails are getting trashed."  (con't)

-----------------------------------------------------------
So am I.

I'm really worried about how these trails are getting trashed, also, from both the mountain bike riding/racing, and the mtber trail building "repair and maintenance" ruse. But who has got a permit? among all these trail building mountain bikers  wielding "weapons of mass destruction", like they are digging in their own private sand box, day in, day out? People like "Dave" have the right to ask that question, and receive answers from the municipal public land managers. So would I. Could Mayor and Council once again direct the right parties to answer these questions? 

More than a few people would like to know...For public safety, most of all. How much of this work is still considered to be "unsanctioned" work, I wonder? I would like some real answers from DNV, for once.  Thank you.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lynn Valley should know soon what development they are facing

It isn't breaking news, but last Monday's regular council meeting revealed from a series of public meetings earlier this year that the community of Lynn Valley is very fractured as to how development should proceed. At least two DNV councillors are ready to make decisions regarding Lynn Valley development because they feel the process has had the time needed. Council called for a reconvening on the issue of Lynn Valley development in the next two or three weeks. It will be very interesting to see what decisions council comes to.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

World class towers or world class hole in the ground?

It has become obvious that construction has been halted at the Seylynn Village site. There is speculation that while digging the foundation the water table was a lot higher than expected putting serious doubt on structural base integrity for the foundation of any building, especially high rise buildings like the 32 storey high-rise that is planned as part of the Seylynn Village. At this point there is a lot of uncertainty as to the future of this development site.

                                         .

In her letter to the North Shore News editor, Leslie Myers asked many questions about the development of this site. Question number #2 asks about earth quake stability on alluvial land. She may have been on to something.  Leslie Myers letter.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Say NO to Kinder Morgan Event

Event Details

Ready to talk about our future? Join ForestEthics Advocacy and the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative for a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the viable alternatives to our dependence on tar sands oil and how we’ll create local jobs that we can all be proud of.
Who’s speaking?
  • Rueben George - Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative
  • Marc Lee - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Patrick Condon - Design Centre for Sustainability at UBC
  • Ben West - ForestEthics Advocacy

Clearly Canada can and must do better for our environment. But that kind of change will only happen if we insist on it. That’s why your voice is so important. Speak up. Join us.


Wednesday, September 11th, 7 - 9 PM

Tsleil Waututh Community Centre 
3010 Sleil Waututh Road
North Vancouver, BC V7H 2V5

Friday, August 09, 2013

Monday, August 05, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Metro Vancouver takes Langley Township to court over growth plan



Metro Vancouver is taking the Township of Langley to court to make the municipality comply with the regional growth strategy, saying the local council's defiance of the plan threatens to set a dangerous precedent...
...Metro argues the municipality must abide by the new regional growth strategy...
...It requires the land use change go to a vote of the regional board because it calls for more intensive development of homes outside the regional plan's urban containment boundary, contrary to Metro's goal of concentrating growth in town centres and limiting sprawl in more rural and agricultural areas... (smells like Agenda 21/ICLEI)

The problem is, unlike Langley, the North Shore does not have any rural or agricultural areas.... so why do we have to abide by Metro's "density edicts"? It destroys the ambience of what makes Lynn Valley and the North Shore what it is. What excuses will Metro Vancouver use against us, to sue, if DNV and Lynn Valley folk do not comply with the regional growth strategy...?



Monday, July 15, 2013

Former Visitors Information Kiosk looking for new home

(I am assured that there are no plans to build a new high-rise Visitor Centre.)

The District is offering the blue A-frame building located at Capilano Road and Marine Drive, for relocation to a local non-profit organization. It is approximately 420 sq ft, and will be given in an as-is condition. The successful proponent will be required to sign an agreement with the District that will include certain terms and conditions regarding insurance, deposit, indemnification, existing utilities, acceptance of the current condition of the A-Frame, and other regulatory provisions. They will be responsible for all costs associated with the removal and transportation of the structure to its new location. Applications must be received in writing by July 31 (noon) and include the proposed use of the building and how this will provide community benefit to District residents. For more information please contact Ryan Malcolm, Real Estate and Properties at 604-990-2264 or malcolmr@dnv.org.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today on Twitter

Today on Twitter I learned that BC still has the highest levels of poverty in Canada, and especially child poverty - more than 20%.

That tweet was followed quickly by one from our local MLA, Jane Thornewaite.  Part of that family, child, and senior loving BC Government.  Her response?

"Hey! Party on dudes!"


I reserve the right to be disgusted, and to make reference to another famous female politician with big hair.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

City Planning from the ground up instead of 'build it and they will come'?

An interesting  book entitled "The Metropolitan Revolution" which was highlighted on PBS news hour yesterday. It points out that many American cities are planning their own development excluding the state and federal gov'ts.  But they are first spending the money to put supporting infrastructure in place before adding population.  i.e. roads, hospitals, police, schools, sewers, etc.  They are getting input from universities, business owners, philanthropists, etc. before adding to the population, thereby making their proposed project (a science centre, a manufacturing centre, etc.) a success for all involved.   We seem to be doing it backwards in the District. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lynn Valley Revival

Lynn Valley Revival is intended to counter the mis-information and fear-mongering that has characterized the anti-development groups. What I have tried to do is offer facts, links to source materials, and ideas that acknowledge the reality of the commercial development process, while still encouraging everyone to explore the ideas and speak their piece.

I absolutely want informed, positive contributions to add to what's on the site. I'd love for some meetings to be arranged for people who like the idea of re-inventing and revitalizing Lynn Valley.

And if someone wants to register a domain name, or print pamphlets, that's good too!

Next up for me, when time permits, are some of those automated e-mail forms so that we can also blitz the elected officials.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

District lays out plans for Lynn Valley Development

Options A, B, C, or D for Lynn Valley Densification Plan.
Vote for an Option: http://lynnvalley.metroquest.com/

Lynn Valley residents' to have their own meeting against the DNV options.


RESIDENTS’ ACTION MEETING
— to stop the District’s densification plan —

TUESDAY JUNE 18, 8 PMLYNN VALLEY REC CENTRE
(Frederick & Mountain)

www.stophirises.com

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Municipal Taxes are in!

District taxes for 2013 arrived  a few days ago and are up an average of 2.5%. Bank of Canada says the inflation rate is 0.04%.
Message from the Mayor