This just out from the city’s communications people:
The City of Vancouver wishes to advise residents near the lower Fraser River that on Friday, May 24 there will be several planned and authorized helicopter low altitude fly overs. The flights are all part of two filming projects underway around the city. The pilots are not in distress.
The helicopter will fly at an altitude of approximately 300 feet over the Fraser River, Kent Ave SE and Boundary Road. The flight is planned between 6 p.m. and midnight. If poor weather doesn’t permit the flight, it will take place either Saturday 25 or Sunday 26, again between 6 p.m. and midnight.
On Friday, May 24 a second helicopter will fly at an altitude of approximately 500 feet over the downtown core, Kitsilano and North/South False Creek, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and again between 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. If the flights must be cancelled due to weather, they will be permitted to try again from Saturday the 25 to Thursday 30, during the same time blocks.
Final approvals from Transport Canada are pending, and dependent on weather and other conditions.
I post this story with trepidation, having observed already on a few Twitter exchanges that the cycling crowd immediately jumped into trashing these businesses for not being progressive enough while the predictable anti-bike crowd weighed in.
Can I just reiterate one more time. These businesses ALREADY HAVE 4,000 bikes a day going past them, so the argument that they will discover that having a bike lane on their street will produce increased business seems not very relevant.
They are also not arguing that the street needs to be made safer. There’s no quibble with the plan to shut down Union west of Main, which will discourage some traffic from using Union east of Main as a shortcut to downtown. There’s also strong support for improving the signage, signals at the Main/Union intersection, where, as it so happens, pedestrians are much more likely to be killed or injured than cyclists.
Hoping against hope here that there can be a civil discussion about how to make streets safer while respecting businesses that, whether you like it or not, are still dependent on customer getting there by car. As several of them noted, the area that they have sprouted up in is not one that everyone is comfortable walking long distances in. Those of us who know the city well feel perfectly safe, but not everyone does. These businesses are going to contribute to this area, one day, being seen as comfortable to walk around in for many more people, but that’s not the case now.
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My account of condo marketer/power broker Bob Rennie’s speech to the development industry, which began with him saying “I told you so” and continued from there.
(For those recently living under a rock, Rennie was one of Premier Christy Clark’s most vocal backers, convinced to the last minute she would win.)
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Christy Clark used a card from Gordon Campbell’s book to draft candidates — she plucked them from city councils around the province.
As a result, about a dozen new MLAs will be leaving their jobs as mayors and city councillors to sit in Victoria. Here’s my story from this week on what a few of them had to say about their priorities. TransLink ranks high on the list.
I’ll be waiting to see how they exert their influence (if they have much as newbies). As a few reporters/columnists around town have noted, here and here, there are a lot of municipal issues at the table.
I note that former Sam Sullivan staffer Daniel Fontaine keeps twitting (yes, double meaning intended) Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson about having to now plead his case for transit and housing with Sullivan and Suzanne Anton, his former municipal foes.
But I’m wondering if he will. The Vision team established pretty solid connections with Christy Clark’s people in the last two years. And, when it comes to transit, my guess is that it will be the developers, who have turned into the biggest transit fans ever, who will be joining forces with the mayor for a Broadway line.
And let’s not forget who handed Clark the biggest electoral defeat of her life: Anton and Sullivan, who more or less called her a carpetbagger with a nasty bunch of Liberal campaigners behind her when she ran for the mayoral nomination back in 2005.
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I note that the places where the NDP did make a few gains were in particular spots where the NDP candidates managed to combine the usual party line with a green message: West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, where NDP candidate Ana Santos didn’t win, but achieved the biggest gain for any riding in NDP votes. Vancouver-Fairview, where former Suzuki Foundation director George Heyman managed a win over Margaret McDiarmid; David Eby in Point Grey, where tankers and pipelines were a major talking point.
But is that only a winning combination in certain urban ridings and an NDP vote-killer elsewhere? Or a new direction the party should contemplate?
Just a question to toss out among many. Go to town on election post-mortens here: the complete off-sidedness of the pollsters; the campaign message that worked; abysmal voter turnout; all of the above.
I’ve always wondering about those dedicated souls who turn out to vote Liberal in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant or Surrey-Green Timbers, or the equally hardy souls who vote in West Vancouver-Capilano, Vancouver-Quilchena or Kelowna-Mission, where there’s not an ice cube’s chance in hell that their candidate will win.
My story today takes a look at that phenomenon.
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Always instructive to get the view from far away.
After being stung by four years of criticism about its giveaways to developers to create rental, Vision Vancouver politicians (oops, of course, I should say, “staff”) have decided to test a new model for building rental apartments.
The city will give four pieces of land to a consortium of non-profit housing groups and the B.C. Co-op Housing Federation to develop 350 units that the groups promise will offer a substantial number of units at below-market rents — some way below and others a little below.
They’ll be able to do that by saving money on 1. land 2. marketing 3. developer profit. But the plan is also to cross-subsidize within the 350 units by renting out the ones likely to get the highest price (on a piece of property in the River District development that faces the river — a gorgeous site; I’ve seen it) at market rates, leasing out some commercial space at the site on Kingsway for going-market rates, and then using that money as well to lower the rents on other units.
If it works, the Vision council is definitely planning to expand the concept. Thom Armstrong, from the co-op federation, says non-profits would likely consider putting in land too if it the model proves to work.
I just did the preliminary story on this. I’m waiting to hear from critics of various stripes if they see problems with this. I know the NPA will be concerned about the city dedicating so many of its land assets to housing. (To this, Councillor Geoff Meggs has pointed out that this is a return to the model of the 1970s, used in south False Creek.)
The model also looks to me like what the current thinkers in COPE wanted to introduce as a housing solution. But I await commentary on the details.
As many in the media have noticed, there’s been almost no discussion of social issues like health, education, the income gap, or housing in this election campaign.
LNG, yes. Rent supplements or welfare rates, no.
So here’s something that helps flesh out where the two major parties stand on housing and renter/landlord issues.
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You are going to be reading SO much about garbage in the next few years.
Why? Because Metro Vancouver, like many other metro regions, is trying to move to new ways of dealing with it: More recycling, reusing. Fewer landfills. Possibly more incinerators or other strategies for disposing of the last bits that can’t be recycled or re-used.
That means a lot of people who are making money from garbage disposal now or think they see ways to make money in the future are going to be scrapping (pun fully intended) with each other and with municipalities over who gets control of garbage. There’s dollars in that waste and everyone wants them.
One chapter of this battle for control unrolled yesterday out at the Metro Vancouver tower, where private operators came out to express concerns over the region’s proposal for a new “waste-flow management” system.
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