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There was much anticipation before the federal budget was unlocked yesterday. Many of us were particularly interested in how much money would go towards transit investments in our region and whether the 33.3% x 3 percentage split for transportation infrastructure amongst federal, provincial, and municipal governments would be adjusted.
At first I was underwhelmed by the initial commitment of $370M for transit projects in Metro Vancouver. It doesn’t seem like much for the next 3 years. I have been assured by those in the know it’s a great start for the planning and design of projects in The Mayors’ Plan (pedestrian and bicycle improvements, subway and LRT, for instance) with more funding to come after that. That depends on re-election, of course.
The federal government also announced it will cover up to 50% of transit project construction costs. It seems to me, assuming the provincial portion remains at 33% and the max of 50% doesn’t depend on the provincial portion changing*, 100%-50-33=17% for municipalities – a long overdue improvement in the funding structure.
My federal budget scoop on Monday about The Mayors’ Plan, directing our regional requests for federal funds, continues to be good scoop. The Mayors’ Council put out a PDF statement on the federal budget yesterday. The federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Sohi meets our Mayors’ Council tomorrow. My source tells me we will get more details after that meeting. Stay tuned.
*The BC provincial election is May 9, 2017: contact BC political parties now urging them to put sustainable transportation in their platforms.
David Sucher from Seattle tweeted this one from Granola Shotgun by Johnny.
Listen up, Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford; this is the future talking. Your problems may not be as bad as the decaying American ‘burbs, but cheaper rents and a building stock ready for conversion still apply. Artists in strip malls!
I have a peculiar theory about where the next generation of counter culture folks are going to set up shop. You know… artists, musicians, small scale entrepreneurs, gays, refugees, and whatever passes for the political and economic fringe in the future. When I look back at these locations from the past there’s a clear pattern. The two primary ingredients are 1) Cheap real estate and 2) A relatively unregulated environment. …
The above photos are from the Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia. Cheap. Mostly ignored by the authorities. These folks chose to live in bohemian surroundings for $400 a month – that’s $200 each – in order to have the freedom to do their own thing. There was no HOA. There were no NIMBYs. But Kensington is rapidly gentrifying and prices are rising as $300,000 condos and upscale brew pubs emerge. These guys have already moved out of Kensington in search of greener pastures. But it was great while it lasted. …
Here’s where I think the next Mecca of the creative class is most likely to emerge.
This is the kind of rapidly declining suburban landscape that is in evidence all across North America. It isn’t leafy and tranquil like the better suburbs. The schools are crap. But it isn’t vibrant like the best urban locations either. This spot is too far from the city to easily access good jobs, but it’s just close enough to receive the undesirable overflows from the greater metroplex. …
It’s the Mid Century Modern version of restoring an old Victorian. Get enough of these clustered in one neighborhood and you might just start a revival. If not, you still have an affordable place to hang your hat and do your own thing. Pick a subculture. Mormons. Vietnamese. Retired school teachers. Urban permaculture gardeners. Whatever. The trick is to establish a critical mass of like minded individuals that support each others’ productive activities. You don’t want to be the only gay in the village.
By building an urban place, joined by transit:
Prime On The Plaza in Surrey City Centre has only sold 15 of the 210 parking stalls reserved for its 274 micro-suites (micro-suites are just under 300 square feet). Prime has sold 222 of the micro-suites.
Stovell attributed the poor sales of parking stalls in part to the building’s prime location: once the building is completed, residents will be within easy walking distance of SkyTrain, shopping, the campus of Simon Fraser University, and the North Surrey Recreation Centre. Many residents, he believes, will be able to live their lives without owning a car and therefore don’t need a parking stall.
- Vancouver Sun
It’s the basis of the regional plan, it’s what we voted against in the transit referendum, and it’s what the Province is working to negate with its commitment to Motordom
Urbanists from the City of Vancouver love telling others about the accomplishments of their city. Usually after telling everyone about the awesomeness that is the City of Vancouver (which does world-leading things), they proceed to question why every other municipality in the region doesn’t copy exactly what Vancouver does. I’ll tell you why.
One of the big differences between the City of Vancouver and every other municipality in Metro Vancouver is the legal frameworks. The City of Vancouver gets its authority from the Vancouver Charter. Other municipalities in the region have to work under the framework of the Local Government Act and Community Charter.
This impacts all sorts of things from Vancouver’s unique Parks Board, to how developers contribute to the betterment on the community.
While several lengthy posts could be dedicated to explaining why the Vancouver Charter is special, the short of it is that the City of Vancouver can do a lot more than other municipalities in BC.
One of the other big differences between the City of Vancouver and other municipalities is its tax base. The City of Vancouver had an estimated population of 640,469 in 2014. It collected $1.56 billion in revenue. That is a per capita revenue rate of $2,435.
The City of Surrey had a population of 513,322 in 2014, and collected $844 million in revenue. That is a per capita revenue rate of $1,644.
The City of Langley, where I live, had a population of 26,652 and $43.3 million in municipal revenue in 2014. That works out to a per capita revenue rate of $1,625.
When it comes to revenue collection, the City of Vancouver is a leader in the region. The City of Surrey actually spent more money from developers in 2014 than Vancouver; most of Vancouver’s revenue comes from property tax.
The City of Vancouver has a lot more money available to use for municipal infrastructure and services than other municipalities in the region. This in on top of the non-revenue contributions it is able to extract from developers due to the Vancouver Charter, and the demand for development in the city.
Another thing that sets Vancouver apart is its party-style political system. While some municipalities have slates, they pale in comparison and are less divisive than the Vancouver political system.
Vision Vancouver, for example, is able to accomplish their agenda more effectively because of the unique way that Vancouver politics work, but the highly-polarized political system in Vancouver hurts the rest of the region at times.
Separated bike lanes are a perfect example. Because Vision Vancouver wanted bike lanes in Downtown Vancouver, the NPA didn’t want bike lanes. This created a controversy, and a chilling effect on other municipalities in the region that wanted to install separated bike lanes. They did not want to have Vancouver-level of controversy in their municipality.
It wasn’t until places like Calgary, and even my home town of Vernon, started installing separated bike lane with little controversy that other municipalities in the region started installing separated bike lanes in earnest.
Most municipalities in Metro Vancouver are actually looking to Surrey for leadership on how to provide cycling infrastructure. Surrey has been slowly building a greenway network and on-street separated bike lane network with little controversy.
So while the City of Vancouver has been able to do a lot of great things to improve the quality of life for people that live there, many of the things that Vancouver has done can’t simply (nor should they automatically be) replicated throughout the rest of the region.
I friend of mine, who lives in the City of Vancouver, recently visited me in Langley. It was the first time that this friend and their spouse actually travelled to Langley City. Very few people I know who live in the City of Vancouver venture beyond a 5 minutes walk of the SkyTrain in the South of Fraser; I was impressed.
After lunch, we went for a walk around Downtown Langley. The spouse of my friend was really surprised that Langley contained more than single-family houses and big-box store.
Many people have the impression that farmland in the South of Fraser is being paved over for single-family housing. While a small amount of farmland has been converted to urban purposes, this is the exception rather than the rule.
I wrote a report a few years back about the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). I found that the provincial government was causing the most destruction to ALR by building massive highway projects such as the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
People who live in the South of Fraser actually care a great deal about the preservation of farmland. In the Township of Langley, Councillors have been voted out of office for supporting development on farmland.
Much of the development in the South of Fraser is actually the redevelopment of large-lot suburban housing from the mid-twenty century.
While you are certainly going to see single-family housing, strip malls, and big-box power centres in the South of Fraser, you are also just as likely to see the following.
The South of Fraser consists of a collection of town centres. Many of these mixed-use town centre were established as the heart of rural farm communities, or were important railway and interurban stops.
This part of Metro Vancouver has all the right ingredients to support accessible town centres that are interconnected with high-quality, non-automotive modes of transportation.
Some past and current development decisions have eroded these town centres. This is why it is critical that there are people who will advocate for the accessibly development of these town centres.
The South of Fraser is the largest part of Metro Vancouver. Imagine what kind of region we could have if urbanist worked constructively with communities out here.
Good morning! I’m Nathan Pachal.
I grew up in the Okanagan, but when I was a kid, my family would spend a part of each summer in Surrey and Vancouver. I remember using BC Transit buses from Fraser Heights to Guildford, then onward thru Whalley to catch the SkyTrain into Vancouver. I thought Metro Vancouver transit was the best thing ever.
If you’ve ever seen the 1980s propaganda created for SkyTrain’s launch, this is exactly what I thought of BC Transit in Metro Vancouver back in the 90s.
When I’d get back to my own town of Vernon, I wished that our crappier version of BC Transit could be even a little bit as awesome as the Metro Vancouver system. I remember wanting a train that connected Kelowna and Vernon, but I digress.
I lived in Calgary for a bit, but moved to Surrey in 2003 when I got my first job working for a TV station that was located along the Langley Bypass near the Cloverdale/Langley City border. I quickly moved to Langley Township before settling down in Langley City.
Three things came together which caused me to become a bit of an activist for building an accessible region.
The first was a serendipitous encounter with the book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream at Powell’s Books in Portland.
The second was one of Gordon Price’s famous lectures on motordom.
And the final piece was the provincial government’s announcement that they were going to widen the Highway 1 corridor from Vancouver to Langley which included the massive Port Mann Bridge.
For most urbanist and planner types in this region, the City of Vancouver is their frame of reference. 80% of the conversations about urban issues seem to centre on the City of Vancouver.
As someone who’s lived experience of this region includes the South of Fraser, I find this disappointing. About a quarter of the population actually lives in the City of Vancouver. More people live in the South of Fraser. This is one of the reasons why I started the South Fraser Blog back in 2008. I believe that how we build the South of Fraser has more of an impact on the future success of our region than how we continue to build the City of Vancouver.
Over the coming week, I hope to bring a difference cadence to Price Tags, and show you why I believe the South of Fraser is key to the continued success of the livable region.
PS: I’m running in the City of Langley By-Election for a seat on Council. You should check out my election site.
$700 million federal election campaign promise only part of city’s rapid transit puzzle
The federal Conservative promise of $700 million from taxpayers to build a light rail system in Surrey is the latest vote-getting pledge from the major federal parties to open purse strings to fund TransLink expansion.
But a TransLink executive told the TransLink board of directors on September 25 that business cases with more precise cost estimates are required to unlock both federal and provincial funding for the proposed Surrey light rail transit (LRT) and Broadway subway projects.
Fred Cummings, TransLink vice-president of engineering and infrastructure management, said a third of funding from the B.C. government is “committed” and a third from the federal government is “anticipated.”
The third from Metro Vancouverites is the wild card, after voters rejected hiking the provincial sales tax to 7.5% from 7% in this year’s transit funding plebiscite.
“Because of the size of the investment, the ability to advance the rail projects is really contingent on determining a new regional source of funding,” Cummings said. “We can’t obviously fund them with our current revenue streams.”
So it’s clear, as if it was ever in doubt: The region needs a new source of revenue to finance the major projects in order to match the already-promised sources from senior government.
And we aint got it ’cause we voted no.
And we aint gonna get it anytime soon.
From The Sun:
Any move to toll roads, bridges would trigger another referendum: Fassbender
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted late last week to get a staff report as quickly as possible on how to advance “mobility pricing,” after the public rejection of a transit tax in the July plebiscite. Mobility pricing can include tolling highways and bridges, or charging drivers based on distance or road usage. Mayors have debated its potential merits for years as a way to cut congestion and generate new funds.
It’s a complex and interesting idea, said TransLink Minister Peter Fassbender. But mayors won’t be allowed to implement it unless they get permission from voters in another referendum, because it’s a new funding source that is not already approved by current legislation, he said.
The mayors of Vancouver and Surrey said Monday they have no desire to plunge into another transit referendum. Yet they and their regional counterparts are wrestling with ways to generate billions in local transit funding for projects like Surrey light rail, Vancouver’s Broadway subway line and a replacement for the Pattullo Bridge.
The federal and provincial governments have each promised one-third funding for the $2.1-billion Surrey rapid transit project, putting pressure on the mayors to find a way to finance their share.
Another transit referendum would be “suicidal” for mayors, said Gordon Price, City Program director at Simon Fraser University.
“If they have to go back to a referendum, that’s effectively the end of transit planning for at least a decade,” he said.
Two further points:
There must be a movement in this region to convey to the provincial government: No more referenda just on transit, just in Metro. Or there have to be political consequences.
Second, Fassbender also said this:
Fassbender met with mayors privately last Thursday.
He said he told the mayors they should better co-operate with TransLink’s board of directors. The mayors are welcome to raise property taxes or implement a vehicle levy to raise money, said Fassbender. But the mayors have previously shied away from both sources.
Is the Minister really saying that his government would accept a vehicle levy if the mayors voted to ask for it? Because in the past, provincial governments, both NDP and Liberal, have rejected the vehicle levy even though it’s authorized in the legislation and the regional bodies have asked them for it (the report above is incorrect; the mayors have not shied away from it).
Could we get out of this mess – at least enough to proceed with the major projects – if there was joint support by both levels of government to move forward, without a referendum, to implement a vehicle levy (perhaps sweetened with the removal of tolls from existing or proposed bridges)?
Here’s the head from today’s Sun:
Here’s the actual wording:
“Surrey is well placed to secure B.C.’s first funding commitment under the Liberal plan.”
And in that subtle wording – “well placed” – is more evidence of the damage being done by the referendum.
The Conservatives also want to pledge billions to Surrey for light rail. The Province too – only key people in Victoria would prefer, it is said, a SkyTrain extension down the Fraser Highway. But none of them can actually commit the money until Surrey can come to the table with one-third of local funding.
But guess what? Surrey can’t.
Oh, it’s trying. I hear rumours of casinos, value capture, whatever might be needed to fulfil a unilateral election promise. So far, it appears that the numbers don’t add up.
Normally, the one-third would be a commitment of regional dollars from TransLink. But not now, at least not by cutting a huge hole in its budget which accommodates only the current level of service and, because of the referendum, has no source of money to spend on capital expansion at that scale, without penalizing everyone else in the region.
Of course, if Surrey wanted another big bridge or widened highway, no problem. The Province would possibly cover all the capital. But transit? If the Province covered both its and the municipality’s capital costs, it would be using dollars from taxpayers throughout B.C. And the Premier would have to explain to the citizens of West Kelowna why they should help pay for Metro transit after Metro citizens voted not to.
Let’s see what Peter Fassbender comes up with. No matter who gets elected to Ottawa, there are big bucks looking for a place and a way to land. With, so far, no obvious way to do so.
It’s just a matter of time before those fighting the densification of their communities figure something out: When high-density neighbourhoods are being justified by planners because they are supportive of transit, what’s the justification when there won’t be any assurance of more transit?
From today’s Sun:
Townhouses replace trees in south Surrey neighbourhood
In Sunnyside Heights … a parcel of land has been stripped clean and covered with townhouses baking in the sun. A grove of trees shades an old rancher next door, but a city sign suggests officials will punch a road through those trees to connect with the city grid on the other side.
“It’s extremely worrisome,” said Clinker’s neighbour, Sybil Rowe. “The total character of south Surrey is being erased. This is one of the last beautiful parts of the Lower Mainland left.”
Such cries are coming from all corners of south Surrey, following massive transformations in areas such as Morgan Creek, Elgin and Sunnyside. Many residents lament the loss of the mature trees, while others like Clinker worry the city doesn’t have the infrastructure, schools or transit to handle a flood of people to the area.
City officials, often criticized for the pro-development stance, argue they have little choice. With Surrey welcoming 1,000 new residents every month, planner Jean Lamontagne said the city must create higher density around its town centres, including south Surrey.
This has led to a shift in zoning in some areas from suburban to urban, or bylaw changes to allow more units on two- or five-acre lots that have had just one home on them. Nearby Clayton, for instance, once a farming community bordering Cloverdale, is now wall-to-wall development.
“The reality is that with the price of land and the price of housing, if we want to provide an affordable product, the type of development is much more dense,” Lamontagne said.
Lamontagne acknowledges south Surrey lacks in transit and other infrastructure, but attempts to address those issues by building transit hubs and collecting development cost charges to build utilities and widen roads. The rest is out of the city’s hands, he said, as it counts on the province to upgrade Peace Arch Hospital, transit and build new schools.
The situation has led to a grassroots movement among residents, such as those in Royal Heights and Crescent Beach Annex, who have convinced the city to preserve their neighbourhoods’ character with special zoning to keep small homes on residential lots. Such zoning requires 80 per cent support of neighbours in an area.
What this seems to be saying is that Surrey will continue to zone for high-density transit hubs, but the only money on the table will be for widening roads – no doubt connecting to the widened freeways being funded by the Province.
How long before a Council, in the face of public protest, refuses to upzone – or more dramatically downzones – a neighbourhood plan because TransLink affirms that there will be no more service (unless it removes some from elsewhere in the region, leading to more protest)?
That would send a shockwave through the development community, which so far seems to think that it is business as usual; somehow money will be found to fund the transit on which their strategies are based.
In the event of a reversal, I wonder what they would then say to the Liberal Party fundraisers.
Ian Bailey in The Globe and Mail:
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says his administration is working on an alternative to build the Broadway subway across the city, regardless of the outcome of a controversial plebiscite on a new tax to pay for transit and other transportation projects. …
“Obviously, we’re hopeful we have a Yes vote and we can proceed as planned with the mayors’ 10-year investment, but if that doesn’t work out, we’ll go to Plan B and look at alternatives.”
However, the mayor declined to offer specifics on the plan for building the $3-billion project from Commercial Drive to Arbutus, currently hinging on plebiscite funding as well as money from the federal and B.C. governments.
Asked for details on Plan B, Mr. Robertson said, “It’s too early to say.” …
Gord Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, said he expects that Mr. Robertson is talking about some kind of levy on development to help raise money, but saluted the Vancouver leader for affirming the necessity of expanding transit in the region.
“I’m surprised. If he’s got a mechanism for capital projects of this scale, the implications are profound,” Mr. Price said in an interview on Wednesday.
Still, he said he was curious about how the city would cover operating costs for such a project.
Mr. Price suggested the entire plebiscite process has been a waste that postponed the need for hard decisions on transit in the region. B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced the plebiscite concept as part of the platform for the B.C. Liberals ahead of campaigning for the 2013 provincial election.
“The Premier forced it on us,” Mr. Price said. “Every part of it was a waste.” …
Correction on my part: the Broadway subway could likely cover its operating costs (depending on how much of the debt servicing is included in annual budgets, which in turn is dependent on the scale of the project and who provides the financing.)
I’m skeptical that Surrey’s light-rail proposal could cover operating costs, but same criteria apply: It will no doubt be a P3, with senior governments providing most of the funding, given the electoral importance of the municipality (expect an announcement by the Feds prior to October). A development cost charge on new development could provide some bucks without tapping existing property tax excessively. So it’s presumably possible to make that deal pencil.
But here’s the thing: rail lines do not a transit system make. The concept of a Frequent Transit Network is primarily dependent on the bus lines that provide coverage and service to the region as a whole, and feed the rail lines that provide cross-region services at higher speeds and frequency. (Jarrett Walker discusses Vancouver’s FTN here.)
Without that integration and continued growth of the bus network, the system as a whole fails to justify the costs of the expensive rail lines. Worse, with no new funding for TransLink, the temptation will be to cannibalize the bus system if the agency has to pay for new services – and post-referendum, there’s a very good chance of that happening.
Keith Baldrey jumps in:
You can argue all you want about a government’s “commitment” to something and whether or not it’s real, but a truism in politics is that improving transportation is a key way to winning votes. The transportation needs of Metro Vancouver, in some parts, are directly tied to the political fortunes of both the federal and provincial governments. Does anyone really believe that a No vote would kill, say, any chance of Surrey getting provincial and federal funding to build light rail rapid transit lines within its borders?
Not on your life. This is basic politics, folks. If there is indeed a successful No vote, the two senior levels of government will find ways around that outcome to curry favor with voters in key ridings.
The mayors claim there is no “plan B” should the Yes side go down in flames. There is one, of course, but no one yet knows what it will look like (perhaps it will mean raising property taxes, or bringing in a vehicle levy, or something else that produces revenue), and it may take a couple of years to sort things out.
(1) No means No.
In the event of a No win, that will be the mantra. How likely is it, do you think, that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation would be satisfied with a reform of TransLink and an accompanying proposal to raise taxes if their concerns were reasonably addressed? Ha! Their bottom line is the bottom line, and the lower the better. No matter what tax increase is proposed or where it comes from, the answer will still be No – and they will have the credibility of being the only high-profile group that won a public vote. In a post-HST environment, can they and their mantra, validated by that public vote, just be ignored if anything that smells like a tax increase comes out of the back rooms?
(2) Raising property taxes.
By whom and for whom? Is the idea that each municipality would raise its own property taxes to fund its own transit? (Can you spell ‘dysfunctional’?) Or that there would be an increase in a regional property tax, rebated to TransLink? How likely is it, do you think, that the municipalities with high-value housing like West Vancouver will vote for an increase to fund more buses in Maple Ridge? See above.
(3) Surrey gets the Big Bucks.
There’s a widespread belief that the Feds and the Province will be shoving funds down Surrey’s throat to build light rail – even if it votes no on the referendum – because that’s where the votes (and the powerful ministers) are. That should go down well in Vancouver if it votes Yes – and gets nothing. I look forward to an explanation from Suzanne Anton, Andrew Wilkinson, Sam Sullivan and other Vancouver Liberals.
More interesting, though, is the question of who exactly operates and maintains the light-rail infrastructure in Surrey. Oh yeah, TransLink. And with what, exactly, since it has only funds to maintain the existing level of service? Which means light rail either gets new operating revenue or there is a reallocation of service from elsewhere in the region. That should be popular in those places where bus routes are cut. I look forward to an explanation from their MLAs.
(4) It’ll all be sorted out in a couple of years.
More likely it’ll take that long just to get over the blame-game.
But one more small detail: Does there have to be another referendum? If so, there isn’t likely to be one for at least three more years. Or longer if there’s any doubt it will pass. (The lesson from the winning referenda in the States is that takes a couple of years to mount the educational campaign to win, assuming you have a consensus from all levels of government and the major players in the community.)
But, indeed, why would we ever put ourselves through this process again? While most will agree that we shouldn’t, how will the Premier justify a one-off referendum before we get back to negotiating and political business-as-usual. Our friends in the CTF and the Right generally will be insistent that there must be another referendum. It’s the best opportunity they have to limit the capacity of local and regional government to tax and spend – which is, after all, their primary agenda.
If, however, the Province uses general tax revenue to fund transit in Metro Vancouver without imposing a specific tax increase on the region, then it will be using money raised in the heartland to pay for goodies for the latte-swilling greenies in the Big Smoke. I look forward to their explanation.
No matter what the scenario, in the event a No vote, the damage from this referendum will just keep on giving.
Tom Durning sends around a housing update each week. Here’s an excerpt from this week:
Interesting take on the rate future growth by (Elizabeth) Murphy. She usually uses Vancouver as her ‘whipping boy.’ (I often wonder if even the Vancouver Sun remembers that there are other major municipalities in Metro Vancouver?).
Anyway, she questions future population growth predictions without offering any solutions as to how we can generate accurate predictions now that the Long Form census has been abolished. Can we slow down growth by restricting development? Sounds simplistic to me, especially from a planner.
On the other hand, in seeming contradiction to Ms.Murphy, an article in Business In Vancouver by a prominent realtor says the Fraser Valley is growing too fast! (Is Surrey really part of the Fraser Valley?)
How do we put controls on development without driving prices up even higher? A great part of the in-migration to places like Langley and Mission is from other parts of Canada. Seems more and more of those folks want ‘shovel free’ winters also. Perhaps someone can pin this on Gregor too!
Just sorting through images on my phone, and came across a couple that seem to be to reflect something about who we are.
Queuing for the bus alongside the New West SkyTrain station:
Surrey City staff at an assembly (that’s City Manager Vince LaLonde on the right):
Got some images that reflect us? Send them along for the morning shot – pricetags (at) shaw (dot) ca.
From Business in Vancouver:
“People don’t have access to adequate public transportation in Surrey,” said Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition coordinator Alice Sundberg. “We know that you can save a lot of money by taking public transit. But if you don’t have access to it, or if it takes you two and a half hours to get to work via public transportation, you’re not going to use it.”
Even though the tax is regressive, meaning low-income people will be more affected than higher-income taxpayers, Sundberg said her organization is urging a yes vote because good transit can be an important benefit to people who are living in poverty.
Full article here.
A measure of the success of the Great Dupe will be the percent of low-income people who vote No in the referendum.
Exhibition: January 17 to March 15, 2015
Opening Reception for 3 Exhibitions | January 17, 7:30–9:30
Curator’s Tour of Views from the Southbank | January 17, 6:30 to 7:30
Kicking off the 40th anniversary with three exhibitions focused on South of Fraser art.
Views from the Southbank I: Histories, Memories, Myths featuring the work of over 25 local artists engaging with the cultural legacies, individual memories, and collective myths from South of the Fraser River. Artists represented:
From Ravi Gill – part of his “Little India” series:
Yesterday, PT asked whether you thought Vision or another party will capture a majority of seats on Council. Today, PT asks whether you think it’s a good idea for a single party to have a majority of councillors (minimum five) on City Council.
I express my opinion in this Surrey Now article by Amy Reid: A new mayor is coming – but don’t forget about councilors.
Naturally, all eyes are on the mayoral candidates in the race for the city’s top job. But Gordon Price, a six-term Vancouver councillor and director of SFU’s city Program, said it’s easy to forget how important those sitting in the other seats are.
A mayor on his or her own doesn’t have as much power as some might assume, he explained. “Really, a significant amount of the power of a mayor is dependent upon their personality and ability to create a sufficient power block or consensus. otherwise they don’t really have much power. Power of the pulpit, power of setting the agenda – but you’ve got to get those votes.”
Price noted, generally, people tend to look to the mayor for their symbolic function as the leader, in addition to setting the agenda. “And those are two pretty significant things but in either case, there’s no guarantee you’re going to be able to get what you want done unless you’ve got that majority vote either on the issue that you’ve brought forward or because it’s your party or slate or coalition.
“So while electing a mayor one deems suitable is important, electing those to sit as councillors is equally important, he said. “My advice would be to choose a party, a platform, a mayor – and all of the above – that is consistent with the direction you want to see your municipality go,” Price urged.” …
After their sweep in 2011, we asked Price what it means when a sole party is around the council table. One concern is the bubble effect, he said, where you “don’t get the forcefulness of counter points of view. It’s not that you won’t be aware of other points of view but when you’re sitting around a council table and you have an advocate for a different perspective, who doesn’t have to take into account that that they’re a member of a caucus, there’s a different dynamic.”
Price speaks from experience, as he has been a member of a council where his party was nearly unanimous. “I sat on six Vancouver councils. We always had a majority…. I like the combination of the ability to govern and I like the continuity and I like the consistency. But then, of course, I would,” he said with a chuckle. “Politicians sure like to have the power on their side.” …
“While people say… they want to make sure one party doesn’t get too arrogant, they become increasingly unhappy with a fractured council that can’t seem to get its act together and is always squabbling,” Price said. “That pendulum will swing real fast.”
CBC Radio One and SFU Urban Studies team up to present a Surrey Mayoral Debate with candidates Linda Hepner, Doug McCallum, and Barinder Rasode at SFU’s Surrey campus.
Tuesday, November 4
SFU Surrey – Westminster Savings Theatre
Stephen Quinn, host of CBC Radio One’s “On The Coast” will bring his quick-witted approach and sharp intellect to an evening of exciting political discussion.
The debate broadcasts on CBC Radio One 88.1FM/690AM from 7 -8:30 pm, live from SFU’s Westminster Savings Theatre. And if you can’t make it down, you can also watch the action live on cbc.ca/bc.
Space is limited, register early here.
Tuesday, October 21
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.
Drawing from several recent Surrey Art Gallery exhibitions including Beyond Vague Terrain: The City and the Serial Image (2012) & Scenes of Selves, Occasions for Ruses (2012) and Figuring Ground (2013) this presentation will examine select artworks that engage with the Canadian ‘edge city’ condition and situate a number of key artistic strategies—and the relative invisibility of ‘edge city’ cultural production—within both the Vancouver and international art contexts.