CitySnapshot: Bridges, BP, NPA, Downtown Surrey & Xwayxway

Post by Mike Klassen in


surrey city hall
A rendering of the new Surrey City Hall – courtesy

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, 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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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


CC, the links you put up for Miro and Alex Tsakumis are both the same.

Also, not only have Commissioners Robertson and Mackinnon opposed it, Alex Tsakumis has launched "Friends of Stanley Park". The link for this can be found on the right, and he has a post explaining what it is.

As someone opposed to this nonsense, kudos to Alex for doing something about it.

The Federal Government has nixed the Stanley Park name change.

The story is up on CBC:

Could Dianne Watts and her cronies at Surrey Silly Hall please explain exactly when Surrey taxpayers gave their approval in a referendum to a change of this magnitude (not to mention cost!)?! What about a referendum on changing the name of King George Highway (which entails more costs, particularly to the multiple businesses located on it)?! Oh wait, that's right: there was no referendum on either issue! Heaven forbid that the citizens of Surrey should have been formally consulted on this next time they went to the polls in 2011 because, of course, Dianne does things the BC Liberal way -- i.e. shoving it down people's throats, insisting that she knows best and that anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Imagine if Mayor Moonbeam and the hapless Visionless crew had tried doing something similar? Imagine that they up and decided to spend millions moving City Hall to the Downtown Eastside without a referendum?! City Caucus would have had a field day -- and rightly so. Meanwhile, because she's the latest fad and flavour of the month, Dianne gets away with it. I sense a rather blatant double-standard on your part, City Caucus!

Well, considering that Dianne Watts ran on building a new city centre with a new city hall in the last election and won something like 80% of the popular vote, I'd say that was a pretty good referendum on the issue.

Unless you think Murray Weisenberger would have made a better mayor :-8).

@Glen. Link fixed, intern fired with extreme prejudice. Friends of Stanley Park having a quiet drink tonight, toasting the PM. Gregor and Aaron Jasper, quickly running for cover.

Monday, July 5, 2010
High drama in New West courtroom 101
The local papers have yet to take note and make mention of it, but the Windsor Hotel court case against the city got underway last week; and it could have serious financial implications for New Westminster taxpayers with damages to the Windsor Hotel’s former owner, Nirmal Walia, said to be potentially in the millions of dollars.

In his suit, Walia contends that promises were made to him by the city to the effect that if he agreed to sell the Windsor Hotel property on Columbia Street to a developer he would be allowed to move the hotel’s liquor store license to a new location on 12th Street and that he would receive the necessary rezoning to do so.

Sources tell us that Walia has already been on the stand, and so has former New Westminster City Planner Tim Whitehead who headed up the city’s Development Services Department when the Windsor Hotel / 12th Street liquor store issue was unfolding.

On the stand, Whitehead reportedly made several negative comments about the state of the New Westminster Planning Department and its staff prior to his arrival on the scene.

Whitehead’s comments on the stand are said to be quite a departure from statements he made in his examination for discovery wherein his response to many of the questions put to him was, “I don’t remember, I don’t recall.”

For those interested in attending the court proceedings, Walia’s lawyers are expected to continue their cross-examination of Whitehead all day on Wednesday.

Following Whitehead on stand, those listed as possible witnesses in the case are Mayor Wayne Wright and planners Steven Scheving and Jim Hurst.

To say the least it’s going to be very interesting to watch this case unfold. For one thing, elected officials cannot promise the outcome of any public hearing process before it takes place as has been alleged. So if Nirmal Walia did receive assurances that he would get a rezoning and be able to move his liquor store license to 12th Street it raises some very serious questions indeed.

We’ll continue to keep our eyes and ears open and bring you new information as we receive it.

Posted by admin at 6:28 PM 0 comments
Labels: Windsor Hotel


Hope you will attend tonight's park Board meeting, to gloat, and to report back to us, the great unwashed.

Of course, Raymond Louie couldn't keep his pie-hole shut, after Stockwell Day's fantastic announcement. I like men of action (yes, the image of Stock on that SeaDoo is but a dim memory).

Not so likeable, because they yap too much, and without foresight, wit or wisdom are guys like Raymond, Mayor Moonbeam, and Tourism Van's Rick Antonson.

Yeah, Rick, a name change would have won you some more of those coveted $8 an hour jobs in the "service industry". Maybe an historical "slave labour" tableau could be added to the new native interpretive village in SP.

How tiresome.

@lisa s. If you email us with a bit more info on this New West story we might be able to have our Royal City correspondents look into it. Cheers

Raymond Louie was just on CKNW saying he was very disappointed that the PM shut down a debate on the new name for Stanley Park. No wonder this guy never became the Mayor. Hey, come to think of it, isn't the current Mayor also pushing for the renaming of our beloved Stanley Park? They are all fools. Thanks god the Feds stepped in and shut this puppy down.

The Thought of The Day

” Gregor of All Trades, Master of None!”

It’s official. Jack is pissed off.

This Mayor of Vancouver is ‘taking care of business’…Joel style. Locally, but with a global approach.

Robertson and his Visionaries are ‘concerned’ with so many things, that ultimately they are not capable of taking care of our ‘civic business’.

With no vocation, no trade, and no apparent skill, all that’s left for him is…Saving the World. One tree, fish and orphan pelican at a time.

The trick is to choose carefully. The deadline, that is. Say, by year 2098! And they are all set.

I say it’s about time, after more than a year and a half of ramblings, that this mayor and council start acting in the interest of those who put them there. They don’t need to worry further than their job descriptions. Period.

The following, is required listening for any decent politician, not that it is going to make a dent in their Armour of Shame :

As for his support for the name change of the Stanley Park, well, our Gregor's mind might be wondering in Ouagadougou.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.


Thank you for the wonderful Monty Python retrospective on our city council.

For your further viewing pleasure, here is a vintage episode of 'Gregor of the Jungle' (just after he re-named Vancouver, Mooie Mooie, btw).

You can tell it's a fantasy episode because in it, Gregor actually DEFIES a developer...

Gregor, Gregor, Gregor of the out for that tree!

Hi Angry Taxpayer,
Thanks for the video clip..priceless.

To Lisa - It is interesting that that shortly after the Windsor Hotel fiasco in New Westminster both the city's lawyer and planner were replaced. Will the current planner be called to take the stand as well and what is her connection in all this?

I hope they call both past and present planners and lawyers to New West court room 101. The truth needs to be told and it is well documented in the emails.

City Caucus - you have posted outdated renderings for City Hall.

The plans are much more modest.

After clearing their heads, ironically the first thing these so called "Friends of Stanley Park" need to do is change their name. The first Friends of Stanley Park, according to their facebook page seem excited about the proposed name change.

I suspect that "Friends of Xwayxway Park" is not taken or "Vancouver First" for that matter.

Next time, they should try researching before they rant.

Dianne Watts is so progressive. We need her to come and be our mayor in Vancouver.


As one of those 'Friends of Stanley Park' persons, do tell which 'Facebook' site you were visiting.

I would love to see the link.

And a BIG 'Thank You' to Alex T. for jumping on this right away.

From the e-mail responses I got back from various Parks Board Commissioners, City Council Members and MLA's, not all were on 'board' with this proposed change regardless of what the Mayor, Jasper and Krueger suggested.

Dear Richard,

Like usual, if Vision supports it, so do you. If it walks like a sheep, talks like a sheep and shits like a chicken, it must be a vision supporter.

Also funny, is that because there's a facebook group by the same name, that must mean its the defacto source for everyone who loves Stanley Park.

Grow up already and get a life beyond facebook and any other social networks you frequent in the name of spreading Vision propaganda.


Read Pete McMartin's column in the Sun on Saturday. He pretty well said all that needs to be said on this issue.

And here we go.....

Squamish won't stop fight for Stanley Park name change

Date: Tuesday Jul. 6, 2010 8:03 AM PT

First Nations leaders have vowed to continue the fight to change the name of Vancouver's Stanley Park, even after the federal government nixed the idea.

The Squamish Nation has been pushing for the park's traditional name XwayXway to be part of the official title.

But on Monday, Heritage Minister James Moore wrote on his website that the name would not be altered.

"Our government does not support efforts to change the name of Stanley Park. A name change will not happen," Moore said.

Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell told CTV News that he was disappointed with that announcement.

"I'm disheartened that the federal government wouldn't speak to the Squamish Nation before making public statements," he said.

Campbell added that he would continue to push for XwayXway to become part of the park's official name in some way.

"It's always been XwayXway. It's been that way for millennia," he said.

"The Squamish Nation is very much open to any which way the name could be incorporated."

Here it is:

They say, "Xwayxway pronounced "Kwhykway"... a magical name for a beautiful place! I honour this name."

Yeah, Vision supporters like Tourism Vancouver and Minister Krueger supported the name changes as well. Get you facts straight instead of playing petty partisan politics.

Mayor Watts progressive? Have you seen South Surrey? Clayton area of Cloverdale? The plans for Port Kells? I don't think progressive means what you think it means.

@ Glen Hall

Yawn at the propaganda comments. The stereotyping and mass generalizations regarding political parties are childish.

Windsor Hotel lawsuit lands New West in court

By Michael McQuillan - New Westminster News Leader
Published: July 06, 2010 3:00 PM
Updated: July 06, 2010 3:23 PM

Tim Whitehead, the former city planner now at the centre of a civil lawsuit, has forgotten many of his dealings with a local businessman now suing him and the city.

Whitehead took the stand Friday (July 2), and again Monday and Tuesday this week in New Westminster Provincial Court and was peppered with questions about his involvement with a proposed liquor store on 12th Street and the Downtown Interurban condominium project.

"I can't recall," answered Whitehead to numerous questions about meetings with local businessman Nirmal Walia and developer Peter Newall.

The city's former director of development services and the city are being sued by Walia and his company PSD Enterprises for negligence and damages resulting from a real estate deal gone bad. Walia claims that in 2006 Whitehead and New Westminster agreed that if he sold the Windsor Hotel to Newall and his company Ballenas Project Management, the city would allow him to relocate his private liquor store to a location on 12th Street.

Walia sold the Columbia Street hotel for $2 million to Ballenas but never received the OK from council to relocate his liquor store.

The rezoning for his 12th Street location received third reading approval after a public hearing in August 2006 but was later rescinded after Walia spoke about his application at a council meeting, a move which legally required city council to rescind its third reading vote because the public process was seen to have been contaminated.

At a second public hearing and third reading in October 2006, council voted against the rezoning.

Walia claims he subsequently lost his pub and liquor store licences as a result of the city's actions.

In response to questioning from Walia's lawyer Bill Veenstra Monday, Whitehead said that he couldn't recall the contents of emails, dates of meetings or if the meetings with the affected parties ever occurred.

He was particularly confused when asked about details surrounding the rescinding of council's third reading that approved Walia's liquor store on 12th and the scheduling of a second public hearing on the relocation.

Whitehead did admit he felt some responsibility for not stopping Walia from speaking about the rezoning at a council meeting—resulting in the third reading being rescinded.

He also discredited planning employee Stephen Scheving, who worked on the Interurban project and with Walia. He told the court Scheving's planning reports and emails were full of "tangents."

Whitehead, now a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth's School of Environmental Design and Management in England, resigned from his position without notice in March 2007.

The trial continues this week. Scheving and mayor Wayne Wright are a few of the other witnesses expected to testify.

Walia says he wants the city to pay him damages and cover court costs, which he claims could reach $2 million

Richard and boohoo (aka Jonny Ross),

"....petty partisan politics..."


You guys kill me.....if there was EVER ANYONE who sucks the teat of their mother sheep, it's you fools.

I find it equally hilarious that you would refer to a BC Liberal Cabinet minister so out of his depth, that he makes Patti Bachus seem like she's the Rhodes Scholar among the group of trustees over at the VSB.

As for Tourism Vancouver, Rick is just dead-wrong on this one and if he pushes this issue he'll be out of a job as soon as Gordon Campbell is out of his.

Don't believe me.....just watch and learn.

Looks like Mr. Whitehead is starting to point fingers, watch out Wayne you take the stand on Thursday and the truth will come out.


That is all.


Never watched this cartoon before. The video clip is funny and right on the money! Just lovely!

"Gregor of the Jungle - 'See? Gregor has secret weapon!'
Monkey pal - 'What's that Gregor?'
Gregor of the Jungle - 'Dumb Luck!'"

'Nuff said.

Also, thanks for your comments.
Monty Python were my favourite comedians, soooo much ahead of their times!

Dianne is ruling the roost cause she worked the politics to a tee and centralized her government. Cut a deal with the unions (fire and civic) * (Sammy and your advisors take note) and basically eliminated her opposition. We still have our neighbourhood issues, crime, low police presence, gangsters, mega mega houses, corruption at City Hall, massive urban sprawl without any consideration to transportaton issues and neighbourhoods bearing the brunt of the social ills, similar to our big brother in the big City. Not to mention some her councillors wanting to plant a giant smokestack in downtown Whalley next to the new City Hall.
She will get elected again because she has a great rack and that is what is most important to us Surreyites.

Thank you, Glissy and George.

Yes, who knew that a cartoon of 40 years ago would so clearly foreshadow the civic political reality of Vancouver today? It's astonshing, really. Prescient, and oh, so filled with irony, on too many levels to list here.

Well, OK here's a few:

Seymour Noodnick: Joel Solomon & Friends

Commissioner: Commissioner Aaron Jasper

Hippies who voted for Gregor of the Jungle: Hollyhock accolytes

Hippos, trucked in : boohoo and Richard

Well, must run off and check the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" archives to see what we can expect from our crew at City Hall in upcoming months.

Jonny Ross?

And where have I said 'right wing blah blah' or 'left wing blah blah' when making a point.

Labelling does nothing to add to the convo, it just simplifies and makes it easy for you to dump anyone who doesn't think like you into the 'other' side.

'RealityCheck': Your add-on comment about Murray Weisenberger makes no sense whatsoever to my overall points. Hate to break it to ya, 'RealityCheck', but an election victory does not constitute a referendum in and of itself. Moving City Hall was not front and centre in the Watts election campaign and even if it had been a referendum would still be warranted. If Mayor Moonbeam and the Visionless team had run on a similar policy they would still have no right to claim a mandate on a change of that magnitude without a specific referendum on it. Referendums are certainly not needed or desired on each and every policy change/proposal, but when it comes to something of the magnitude of spending millions on moving City Hall (not to mention to a new one as ugly and unimaginative as the one in those renderings) then it's a no-brainer that a referendum is called-for. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if moving City Hall from the centre of Surrey to the north-western corner ends up contributing to already-growing regional tensions in Surrey--including calls for the city to split into a City of North Surrey and a City of South Surrey-White Rock.


I don't live in Surrey, however, I did at one time live in the towers by the Gateway Skytrain station.

There had been plans for that area for at least a decade, plus.

They had renderings of a community situation, and aside from town homes, and apartments/condosit included retail as well as a live theatre etc. It in plans/hopes of revitalizing that area.

As for moving the City Hall along with the renaming of King George Hwy, I've read various articles on it over the past 1 - 2 years.

I don't believe this is a 'new' concept......

Be happy, your Mayor is one of two in Canada that is up for an International Mayor of the Year award.

We have chickens.

@Richard, We did our research & Vancouver First was available to the NPA.

Sorry Dee, but you're dead wrong on this on two fronts.

The relocation of Surrey City Hall was originally announced over two years ago and was front page news of both the Leader and the Now (which are pretty much the only news sources in the region). Anyone paying even paltry attention to what was going on in their community would have known about this during the last election. The fact that she ran on it, and ran pretty much unopposed, means she has a mandate to follow through.

Second, this does not signal the beginning of a "split" in Surrey. If anything, it creates the centre of a new regional government when the inevitable amalgamation of Fraser Valley municipalities begins later this decade.

Check out!

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