From the Parks Planning & Design section at the City of Surrey:
2014 PARKit Design Challenge
We are pleased to announce the return of our pop-up park design-build competition, the 2014 PARKit Design Challenge. Individuals and groups are invited to submit their unique ideas for a creative, sustainable, outdoor public space capable of supporting mobile food vendors.
Check out the details and submit your design for the 2014 PARKit Design Challenge!
From my Business in Vancouver column: It’s time for Christy Clark to do what former premier Gordon Campbell did when he needed someone to stickhandle the 2010 Olympic Games bid: recruit a respected apolitical leader
Where is the next Jack Poole now that we need him again?
Metro Vancouver faces an historic turning point with the success or failure of the transit referendum. But so far we lack the leadership to get us to yes.
It’s time for Christy Clark to do what former premier Gordon Campbell did when he needed someone to stickhandle the 2010 Olympic Games bid: recruit a respected apolitical leader who can bring together diverse voices – and do the trade-offs, figure out what we need, what we can afford and come back with a plan.
It’s worked in other places. Here are two.
In Toronto, where political gridlock had resulted in stalemate, Anne Golden led a panel in fall 2013 to find a viable transit investment strategy for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Despite the challenge and tight time frame, 13 individuals representing all major stakeholders from across the political spectrum came to agreement in 12 weeks.
The plan is simple: a few revenue tools to create a reliable revenue stream. That also levers the debt that unlocks the billions of dollars needed to build the highest-priority projects within a decade – “a fair and balanced contribution from all stakeholders, without asking too much of any one group.”
Another city facing a similar challenge was, appropriately, very similar to us: Auckland, New Zealand.
In July 2012, Auckland council brought together the independent Consensus Building Group to forge a broad consensus around the funding sources needed to improve its transport system.
It took nine months to test alternatives and develop a shared understanding about Auckland’s transport funding needs and to consider more than 20 different funding approaches.
In the end, they narrowed it down to two questions they tested with the public:
Do you agree that:
(a) Securing additional funding for transport improvements in Auckland is a priority?
(b) A package of funding sources should be used to raise the additional $400 million per year required to meet the transport funding gap?
We have set out two packages of funding sources from 2021. Which do you prefer:
Option 1: Increased revenue primarily from rates (property taxes) and fuel taxes; or
Option 2: Road pricing supplemented by rates and fuel taxes.
There, perhaps, is the question for us, too. But this was for a public engagement process, not a referendum – showing that it is possible to gauge public opinion without abrogating the legislative responsibilities of our elected representatives.
For therein lies a danger, as Anne Golden warned:
I can tell you that developing a viable sustainable funding strategy for a multibillion-dollar region-wide transit plan cannot be easily translated into a single, simple referendum question. … Democratic theory is founded on representative democracy with elected officials representing a group of people; their role was not just to communicate the public’s wishes, but to use their own judgment, even when their views don’t align with the majority.
She fully understands the need to engage the public:
Champions are needed now who will communicate the importance of investing in region-wide networks and who appreciate the value of regional governance in this new era of city-regions. … In today’s world, this means engaging people continuously using all of the available channels and with support from all sectors, including business. There is no shortcut.
But who will be our champion now? Who will be the next generation’s Jack Poole? •
From Michael Alexander:
I got off the SkyTrain at Rupert Street to pick up a few things at the Great Canadian Superstore. Okay, I know it’s a big-box operation, but they do many things the way I like them — like encouraging customers to bring their own bags and being more environmentally responsible than most when they source many of their house products. In other words, Better, but not Great, despite their name.
So here’s the way they greet their walk-in customers. You can tell by the depth of the desire path that I have not been the only one.
From Tyler Edgington, director of feedstocks at Dow Chemical Canada ULC, in Business in Vancouver:
It is inevitable that significant LNG exports will lift natural gas prices, says an official from an industry whose feedstock price is determined by gas prices.
The National Energy Board has issued licences allowing up to 18 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day of natural gas to be liquefied for export, even though production is only 13-14 bcf a day, said Tyler Edgington, director of feedstocks at Dow Chemical Canada ULC. …
“How do you say that’s not going to have an impact on gas prices?” Edgington told the Canadian Energy Research Institute’s 2014 gas conference on Tuesday. …
While recognizing that Canadian producers need new markets, he argued that “over-exporting natural gas is going to benefit a few companies. Producers will be happy – there’s going to be some liquefaction facilities and there’s going to be some Asian buyers. But every one of us as a gas consumer is going to feel the impact. And there’s going to be some industrials that don’t expand or potentially are going to relocate.”
B.C. is aggressively pursuing the export of any kind of carbon it can dig up, pipe, ship and sell: LNG, bitumen, oil and coal. And in the case of natural gas, the result could be higher costs to the consumer, the loss of some industrial expansion or its relocation.
And, of course, the abandonment of any pretext that we will meet our carbon targets – or even give a damn.
Yes, there are the taxes we place on the resource – which we then use in this region, as announced by the Premier, to build more road-based infrastructure, remove the tolls on the Port Mann Bridge and lock ourselves into Motordom, thereby increasing our carbon footprint.
Or am I missing something?
If this really happens, if it really makes money, if it spurs a lot of related development, expect Gondolamania – the urban streetcar of the 2010s.
It’s a pie-in-the-sky idea: stringing a sky gondola from Seattle’s waterfront to the Convention Center. But Hal Griffith, the Pier 57 owner who erected a waterfront ferris wheel last year, has made it official. He’s moving ahead with the project, aiming to open it immediately after the viaduct comes down in 2016.
Is this really gonna happen? By 2016, the same year the University expansion of the Light Rail would open? (And that project was proposed during the Bush administration.) It’s not impossible. Hal Griffith and Associates managed to build the city a new landmark in only a few months, and Kyle Griffith notes that they’ve already spoken to each city council member about the necessary design review and right-of-way issues.
Are We Losing our Way?