A rendering of the new Surrey City Hall – courtesy CivicSurrey.com
You gotta love long weekend camping. It's a huge effort to pack out, and you're rewarded with lung-fuls of eye-burning smoke, restless sleeps, and long trips to a smelly washroom. But it's a tradition that we relish, and with my family I took a much-needed break outside the range of cell phone service and into BC's back country. It's nice to be back at the wheel here at CityCaucus.com, as well as joining the civic affairs panel on CKNW's Bill Good Show on Tuesday morning at 9am.
Here's a few things that have happened over the past week around town, which we may discuss during the hour.
- Gregor Robertson capitalizes on oil. BP is a hotter topic than a hundred gas flares in Burnaby. So why did the Mayor do an end run around Metro Vancouver's ports committee and hold a special meeting of city council to talk about oil shipping? Is it self-serving politics meant to enhance Gregor's green laurels on the national stage? Is it a nod to his pals at the NRDC and the Tides Foundation? Or is it just about our dependence on oil, and someone forgot to let Metro Vancouver know about it?
- NPA nixes name change – now what? The NPA are still – wait for it – the NPA. Now they're getting a lot of advice from the likes of Alex Tsakumis & Miro Cernetig. Where does the Grand Old Association go now with a lot of time left before the next election? Does it become a "nice" alternative as Miro suggests, or does it take the gloves off as Alex says? I think it's a combination of both.
- What's in a name? Xwayxway (pronounced kwhykway) is the proposed name change for Stanley Park. So far it's only received approving remarks from Mayor Gregor Robertson and Ellen Woodsworth. As for the general public – not so much. Commissioners Ian Robertson and Stuart Mackinnon of the Vancouver Park Board have written about why they oppose the move.
- Surrey's grand vision doesn't mean old buildings. CTV's BC newsdesk reported on the expropriation of the property of Rod Dales for the City of Surrey's grand vision of a new downtown in the community-formerly-known-as-Whalley. We're starting to see some grand architecture planned for the new Downtown Surrey. It comes on the heels of a nomination for Dianne Watts in a "best mayor" contest.
- Can I sell you a bridge (report)? Vancouver city council asked to approve $2 million for a consultant's report on the future of the nearly 80-year old Burrard Bridge. It also is very pleased with the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial and proposes a new permanent structure to replace the concrete barriers.
- Robertson creates advisory committee for West End only. Mayor’s West End Community Advisory Committee has also been dubbed the "re-elect Tim Stevenson committee" as the longtime city councillor is apparently in a heap o' trouble among his base of support in the West End. We have to ask, why not other neighbourhoods too? I'm sure the folks in Killarney would love their own committee to deal with the barrier that's cut off their neighbourhood at 45th & Elliott. How about a Marine Gateway committee to talk about the proposed residential tower that will potentially have long term impacts on Vancouver's economy.
- Speaking of Marine Gateway... A rather large public response to a grassroots campaign ensued after a public meeting on the proposed residential/commercial development at Marine Drive & Cambie. Is this project a good fit for the city as it increases density on the Canada Line, or does its proximity to the commercial/industrial zoned property in south Vancouver make it a poor choice?
And, if only to keep on our radar...
Cops probe ‘significant’ issue at City Hall. 24 Hours' Bob Mackin reports on a writ of summons filed June 29 in B.C. Supreme Court for the city by lawyer Gabrielle Scorer claims defendants “John Doe and/or Jane Doe and persons as yet unknown to the plaintiff” committed “interference with economic and contractual relations between the plaintiff and certain of its employees.”
It looks like someone subscribed to naughty magazines in the name of someone on City of Vancouver staff, and had them delivered to City Hall. It recollects a similar sneaky move by someone who subscribed to the racy Urban Male magazine and had it delivered in the name of a former Mayor's office staffer who worked under Sam Sullivan. Of course, current staffers (read: Quinlan) told the Courier's Mike Howell, who happily reported it.
Ah, the fun never ends in city politics, even when you're stuck in the woods for a few days. Be sure to call into Bill's show if you've got something to say on these or any other important city topics.
- post by Mike