Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for May 15th, 2007

Grow food on the Garden City Lands

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This proposal appears in the paper version of the Richmond Review but not at the time of writing on their web site. The Richmond Food Security task Force has proposed that an urban farm with community gardens, a farmers’ market, organic farms, a food bank and perhaps a restaurant could go on the contested site between Garden City, No 4 Road, Alderbridge and Westminster Hwy. There will be a public Town Hall on Wednesday May 23 between 7 and 9 pm at Kwantlen’s Conference Room.

There is more about the proposal at the Richmond Food Bank’s web site or you can email the Food Security Task Force coordinator.

This seems to me to be a very good idea indeed. It helps address a number of issues that will only grow in importance as the cost of oil rises, and with it the cost of moving food to us. Moreover, Richmond is being developed very rapidly for dense residential property with very little open space or recreation area. This proposal could help that and also ensure that food banks and community gardens are actually accessible for those without cars.

Update June 7

The Richmond Review is now reporting on an open letter it has recieved from Chief Ernie Campbell, who is threatening legal action if his band’s demands are not met.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 15, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Posted in poverty, Urban Planning

Al Gore at TED

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I had not seen this before but it is not new. It was made last February. But as I had been trying to say almost the same thing this week on the radio, I take my hat off to the former VP, who shows himself to be a much better entertainer than I thought possible.

The video runs about 15 minutes and towards the end he gets serious. It’s worth watching the whole thing

Written by Stephen Rees

May 15, 2007 at 7:57 am

$5.85 an imperial gallon is a king’s ransom

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Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2007

As a suburbanite, I would never be so naive as to exhort my fellow suburbanites lining up at the Port Mann at 5:30 a.m. in the morning to Do The Right Thing And Take Public Transit. I’ll leave that to naive urbanites, who have no idea what a laugh riot public transit is out there in the hinterlands, and who think that getting in from Abbotsford or Langley is as easy as getting on the local billion-dollar SkyTrain. Commuters will not and, in most cases, cannot give up their cars.

But they can give up their gas-guzzlers.

This will not happen overnight. But once drivers have depreciated the very large investment they have made in their SUVs, Meredith believes, new-car buyers will begin to turn in earnest toward hybrids and gas-sippers. (The Japanese and European car makers are well poised to profit from this: the dullards in Detroit, not so much.)

So the gradual greening of the Sun’s columnists continues. McMartin loves his role as the ordinary guy from Tsawassen, but it is not usual for him to try and get out in front of the mainstream. So if his reading of the current mood among “ordinary people” is right, there appears to be a glimmer of hope. Note that he is not suggesting that he expects that the powers that be will actually do anything about transit South of the Fraser, and he does expect his neighbours to keep on trucking. They will just be driving more economical cars.

The source of his information came earlier in the piece

As SFU’s business administration Prof. Lindsay Meredith said to me Monday:

“Maybe what’s happening to us is what the Kyoto accord tried to do and failed. High gas prices are forcing us to wrestle with the problem.”

And, by the way, his claim that

“…Delta … has the highest gasoline prices in the Lower Mainland”

is currently not true. It is the same price in Richmond this morning and according to was 130.9 in Vancouver on Monday as well.

He also wrote

British Columbians’ gouging at the pumps now rivals that of the British themselves,

which is a wild exaggeration. It is currently 94.8p /litre or CAN$2.07. Now, when we hit $2 a litre will our behaviour change? It hasn’t stopped the British from clogging up their motorways, but they do tend to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars.

Update: May 24

Industry experts in the UK said motorists – already paying an average 97p a litre on forecourts – could expect to be paying £1 or more within six weeks.

source:  The Guardian

That’s CAN$2.15

Written by Stephen Rees

May 15, 2007 at 4:50 am