Vancouver NPA City Councilor George Affleck says he’ll neither run for Council nor seek the Mayor’s job in 2018. Thanks to CBC News.
“I wanted to let people know that after much discussion with my family, friends and others, I have made the decision not to seek the nomination of mayoral candidate for the NPA (Non-Partisan Association); nor will I be seeking a third term as a Councillor,” read Affleck’s Facebook post Wednesday morning.
As expected, Charlie Smith in the Straight has a few thoughts on Mr. Affleck’s political career.
If the NPA loses its fourth straight mayoral election in 2018, perhaps Affleck will finally get a chance to be the party’s standard-bearer in 2022.
But I’m betting that instead, he’ll run as a B.C. Liberal candidate or federal Liberal candidate before then. And given his track record, he’ll probably get elected.
In the meantime, the NPA will continue wandering in the political wilderness until it finally figures out that it’s going to have to dump that B.C. Liberal meanspiritness if it ever wants to regain control over Vancouver city council.
While the BCGEU focuses on taming speculation-fuelled price increases, the Feds today released THIS $40B, 10-year plan to get back into housing. The plan is called the National Housing Strategy, (Canada’s first-ever national housing strategy).
Just like Canada, the plan is big, broad, complex and contains elements for the very different needs of very different communities. But there are a few new and powerful principles, like this one:
Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable home.
From the Minister’s preface to the plan:
To be successful, the NHS requires the collaboration and commitment of more partners than ever before, in a coherent, integrated and whole-of-government approach. The provinces and territories will, of course, be primary partners in the Strategy, but we will also work more closely with municipalities, the private and non-profit sectors, and others who share our goal of creating a new generation of housing in Canada.
We have set clear goals for the NHS, including removing 530,000 Canadian families from housing need and reducing chronic homelessness by half over the next decade. We will track and report on our success, and adapt our approach as needed as the Strategy unfolds. Our primary focus will be on meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, such as women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.
This 12-page report from the BC Gov’t and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) recognizes that our affordability crisis has many causes, and proposes several measures to deal with them. [Note: the plan is available HERE, but you’ll require a free Scribd account to download it].
You can sign a petition advocating for the BCGEU recommendations HERE.
Writing on behalf of its 72,000 members, the BCGEU says this:
Our housing system and real estate market has become overpowered by a speculative purchasing environment and our current methods for regulation, planning and taxation have failed to manage the effects. The crisis is the result of three main factors:
- The influence of external investment capital in the province
- Increased mortgage lending and profit-driven financial institutions which are fueling the speculative frenzy
- Poor real estate regulations and land-use policies that create opportunities for private profit at the expense of the public interest.
While public attention has focused on the effects foreign investment has had in the region, the reality is that foreign investment is just the catalyst of the crisis while financial institutions have been the fuel. Banks and other financial institutions have fueled the crisis by approving larger mortgages than they would otherwise allow, spurring domestic buyers to chase property prices that would usually be regarded as high-end anomalies.
. . . we think that a meaningful plan for addressing B.C.’s housing and affordability crisis requires the following:
1. Reform property taxes to target speculators and raise funds for affordable housing and infrastructure. This reform would require the following:
- Implementing a provincial land value capture tax to curb speculation and capture a portion of the value created in real estate by infrastructure projects paid for by the public
- Reforming the property transfer tax to target high-end investors, capture windfall gains on investment properties, and remove loopholes that allow landowners to transfer property without paying tax by transferring shares in a corporation
- Reform the Foreign Buyers Tax to add a surcharge on those owners who do not reside and earn income in B.C
2. Amending legislation to protect renters and better regulate real estate transactions. Our plan calls for:
- Protecting renters and rental stock by closing loopholes in the Residential Tenancy Act and regulating and taxing short term rentals,
- Strengthening regulations on the real estate industry
- Revising the Local Government Act, Community Charter and Vancouver City Charter to give local and provincial governments the appropriate balance of power needed to implement the recommendations
3. Investing in new affordable public housing and infrastructure
- Establishing a clear and accountable 10-year buildout strategy for new affordable public housing and a plan to support, maintain and regenerate existing affordable housing stock
- Integrating and aligning the affordable housing strategy with planned transit infrastructure and the emerging poverty reduction and universal child care plans.
Reporting to the Digital Senior Producer, you copy edit, vet, package, write and publish for presentation online, on social media platforms, or for radio and/or television programs. You demonstrate and maintain exceptional skill in writing, you build multimedia-rich story packages and manage lineup and priority of stories. Work can involve the coordination of the activities of others and close co-operation with the program unit is essential.
Lots of people have lots of ideas about Vancouver’s identity: what are we, what we do. Here are two examples that popped up in my world today, that point to changing pieces of our identity that don’t always register in various quarters.
First: Kenneth Chan in the Daily Hive, on the latest tech company to expand significantly in Vancouver. Some goofy bunch with a goofy name: “Facebook”. Yet another 1,000 jobs. Yet another premium downtown location (Waterfront Centre, 200 Burrard St.).
Vancouver’s tech industry is rapidly expanding; significant job growth in the tech industry is pushing the demand for office space in the city. According to a recent CBRE report, over 50% of the prospective tenants looking for office space are in the tech industry.
Demand is so high that downtown Vancouver now has the second lowest office vacancy for a city centre area in North America.
Second: a lot smaller in overall impact, but a good example of how a big savvy mainstream organization (YVR International Airport) decides to publicize a worthy charitable effort. Buy a pair of these fun socks and YVR’s partner (Covenant House) will donate a pair of warm thermal socks to someone who needs them.
Among YVR’s sock designs is “the Vancouverite“, and here is the photo used to illustrate it.
Yes, it’s a bicycle. Once (and occasionally still) the pariah of all right-thinking people in Vancouver, but now a commonplace symbol of the city. It’s part of who we are now.
P.S. I bought a pair.
In an area of light industrial and old buildings, near 5th and Columbia, things can look dowdy. Except for several businesses that have taken advantage of Vancouver’s talented mural artists. Note the bench, which apparently attracts unwanted smokers.
The sign implores: “Please don’t smoke here. Thank you. Artists with allergies.”
As usual, click to enlarge.
Most would agree that lots has changed since 1957: attitudes, fashions, diversity, communications and transportation. What has changed very little since then is the BC Provincial legislation that defines and controls the behaviour of people travelling on our streets and roads.
Starting with its title, “Motor Vehicle Act” (MVA), it is pretty clear that the MVA focuses on one group of travelers, often to the detriment of vulnerable road users — people on foot and on bikes.
THIS 51-page position paper has loads of recommendations for amending the MVA. It was written by The Road Safety Law Reform Group:
. . . a British Columbian consortium of representatives from the legal community, cycling organizations and research institutions. We support the BC government’s “Vision Zero” plan to make BC’s roads the safest in North America and eliminate road-related injuries and deaths by 2020.
We seek to make roads safer for vulnerable road users—including pedestrians, cyclists and children—by advocating for evidence-based reforms that will modernize the province’s rules of the road in accordance with the BC government’s vision. We have identified 26 recommendations for changes to British Columbia’s traffic legislation. . . .
Equality before the law is a guiding principle for law reform. This requires taking into account the capabilities and vulnerabilities of all road users, not only motorists. That legislation crafted in the 1950s fails to equally address vulnerable road users today is not surprising. It is, however, a good reason to look at meaningful reforms to the Act.
The aims of reform include the following, many of which are interdependent:
● clarifying the rights and duties of road users to improve understanding and compliance and reduce conflict between all road user groups,
● acknowledging the fundamental differences between road user groups’ capabilities and vulnerabilities, and recognizing the increased risks faced by more vulnerable classes of road users,
● aligning the law with best practices for safer road use by vulnerable road users,
● reducing the likelihood of a collision involving a vulnerable road user,
● prioritizing enforcement of laws that target activities most likely to result in collisions, injuries and fatalities, and
● reducing the likely severity of injuries resulting from collisions involving vulnerable road users.
To quote HUB’s news blurb on the subject:
The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, and the Ministries of Justice and Transportation & Infrastructure are reviewing and researching the recommendations, and reaching out to other stakeholders.
“The name itself is biased,” said David Hay, Bike Lawyer and Group Chair. “It’s inherently favourable to people who aren’t vulnerable road users.” The committee recommends renaming it the “Road Safety Act” to be more inclusive and show the rules are about promoting safety for everyone.
The last update to the Act was in 1996 and the last major revision in 1957, but much has changed since then, including cycling growing significantly and becoming a much more viable mode of transportation, along with its benefits of affordability, health, space efficiency, and better air quality.
Reflections on a busy waterway. A warm departure from the usual green glass and concrete.
It took decades to move the conversation on smoking, but now it is pretty much a social faux pas to light up. Once, it was the epitome of in-crowd behaviour and carried a certain sophistication.
Will we ever get there with cars? We are, it seems to me, right in the middle of the process now. And despite progress, the outcome remains uncertain.
An article in the Oxford Academic Journal of Public Health, published in 2011, introduces the topic this way.
Caution: no words are minced in these paragraphs.
Results: Private cars cause significant health harm. The impacts include physical inactivity, obesity, death and injury from crashes, cardio-respiratory disease from air pollution, noise, community severance and climate change. The car lobby resists measures that would restrict car use, using tactics similar to the tobacco industry. Decisions about location and design of neighbourhoods have created environments that reinforce and reflect car dependence. Car ownership and use has greatly increased in recent decades and there is little public support for measures that would reduce this.
Conclusions: Car dependence is a potent example of an issue that ecological public health should address. The public health community should advocate strongly for effective policies that reduce car use and increase active travel.
Two manager-level openings HERE.
Director of Fleet Operations
You will contribute to the fulfillment of Modo’s Purpose and its operational success by owning the Fleet strategy, ensuring it is well aligned with Modo’s strategic priorities. Reporting to the CEO, you will provide vision and leadership to all Fleet operations and Modo’s growing field teams located both on the Mainland and Vancouver Island. Click here for the full job description.
Contact Centre Manager
You will contribute to the fulfillment of Modo’s Purpose and its operational success by leading a team that provides contact centre support as well as in-person service to Modo’s membership. Reporting to the CEO, you will develop service objectives for day-to-day operations, and provide coaching and performance evaluations for agents. As the Member Loyalty Team Manager, you will handle escalated service issues and represent Modo as customer service support for special projects, when required. Click here for the full job description.
It’s Time, Metro Vancouver. Traffic congestion is here, and under the status quo, it’s not going to improve any time soon. It’s time for a new approach.
The It’s Time project is a public engagement and research initiative led by the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission to explore decongestion charging as part of a plan for the future of transportation in the Metro Vancouver region. The project is designed to research and gather information about decongestion charging including learning about how charging has worked in other cities, and hearing from residents and businesses about what decongestion charging means from a local perspective.
If you would like to get in touch with the It’s Time project team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vancouver Park Board, via twitter, tells us that they have approved the concept design for a new Jericho Beach Park Pier. The pier has been in that location in one form or another since 1942. The current version is 40 years old, dating back to 1977.
Next steps — detailed design, costing and funding. If this all works out, look for work to start in 2020, completing in 2022.
Brian Gould sends along a terrific video of the spankin’ new-old Burrard Bridge from the point of view of people on a bike.
Note that each shot has a matched “before” inset from October 2015. Some of those “befores” make me anxious just watching them.
Why, oh why would Amazon want to put another 1,000 jobs into a big new building, right on the Dunsmuir bike lane, in the middle of downtown Vancouver?
Here’s an answer, directly from Alexandre Gagnon, Amazon VP for Canada/Mexico.
To quote Mr. Gagnon (from the video, below): “Amazon was drawn to Vancouver because of the remarkable technical talent and the vibrant and diverse community here.”
Many thanks for this article and video to Derrick Penner and PostMedia outlet the Vancouver Sun.
More broadly, it seems that Metro Vancouver is already an attractive and serious tech sector location. But perhaps an even rosier future will start with an upcoming Canadian Federal Gov’t announcement on the 5 winners who will split $950M support for tech “superclusters” in Canada. The BC/Vancouver area is one of 9 shortlisted bids. Among backers of this idea is Microsoft, whose President spoke at a recent Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference. He called Vancouver “. . . a great home for technology and technology companies”.
Currently, the BC tech economy numbers look like this: revenue of $26B per year, 150,000 people employed, with faster than average growth. Major expertise areas are Internet of Things, game production, movie animation & special effects and large-scale data analysis. Apparently, this positions Vancouver and BC well to provide emerging services and products (such as data acquisition, visualization and analytics) to traditional industries — potentially huge markets.
Bringing it back to people, these industries are mostly (if not completely) people-driven. It’s not like, say, an airline, which has to buy and maintain huge expensive machines, processes and facilities at the core of the business, in addition to lots of people. If the tech people and synergies are here, tech business will grow and tech businesses will move in.
To me, people are the real message from the Amazon HQ-Lite announcement and the 1,000 new tech jobs it brings. And it’s likely the core of the massive, daunting Amazon HQ2 RFP. If HQ2 lands in Vancouver, it will be a fundamental step-change to an already-shifting view of who we are and what we do. For better or for worse? Time will tell, and the crystal ball remains opaque.
HQ2 is way out there in the future, but today the Feds, Provs, City and Amazon announced that the tech giant will open a second Vancouver tech-employee office with 1000 employees. This is an addition to the existing 1000-person tech office located in Telus Gardens.
Amazon has large warehouses in the Metro area, in Delta and New Westminster, employing around 500 people.
The new location is 150,000 sq. ft. on Dunsmuir at Homer (402 Dunsmuir) and is scheduled to open in 2020. This is in addition to 76,000 sq. ft. in shared space with WeWork, which may be temporary until 2020.
Thanks to SFU‘s Andy Yan, the Duke of Data, and occasional PT contributor.
As usual, click to enlarge.