Stephen Rees's blog

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

Saturday’s Rally at the Unitarian Church

with 3 comments

While the Livable Blog has pictures of the the rally downtown, there have been very few of the much larger gathering earlier that afternoon. I must admit when I first looked at these images I didn’t post them. This was another occasion when the Coolpix 4800ED showed its limitations. Many of the images I did get are unusable as the autofocus, didn’t.

The crowd

This picture I took from the stage as the room was filling – about half an hour before the event actually started. At its peak both the main floor and the gallery were nearly full so that was about 400 people.

The Entertainment

The folk band Erratica warmed up the hall for us with some lively music and also helped accompany a rousing version of “Ain’t gonna study war no more” I am sure that the Port Action Theatre Troupe were good too, but sitting behind them I did not see their coup de grace, so some of the drama was lost on me.
I would have liked to produce pictures of all the speakers. Betty Krawczyk was an unbilled surprise, and very warmly welcomed and Bertha Williams spoke very movingly. I hope Donna Passmore will forgive me for this highly unflattering shot of her opening remarks.

Donna Passmore

The speaking order got switched around a bit, with Gordon Price going early (I was supposed to follow him) but he talked about the architect of the church. In fact a number of people talked about the Unitarian Church, about which I realized I know next to nothing. For example, Betty said that the first Unitarian Church service she attended was a lecture about urban planning! It was nice to meet Bill Rees, finally, as people sometimes confuse us and we are not related at all. He pointed out that global warming is simply a symptom of a much larger issue -we are consuming more than the earth can provide and discarding more than she can absorb. Jim Houlahan, the leader of the Bus Drivers (CAW111) said nice things about my speech, and then went on to give masterful history of the failure of Greater Vancouver to build a decent transit system. It was a surprise and a pleasure to find out how much we have in common. Mayor of Burnaby Derek Corrigan was thoughtful and measured – and held up a sheaf of reports critical of the Gateway that his Council has produced and the province has failed to respond to. I was happy to be able to credit Stu Ramsey’s work in my remarks, and Derek said that we need to get together to compare notes: we were both at Translink at the same time but has a very different viewpoint of the same events. I was quite impressed with Vicki Huntington – a Delta Councillor who clearly knows the area extremely well and spoke very movingly about its natural heritage which now seems to be on the point of vanishing, if the Gateway is not stopped. Guy Gentner, the MLA for North Delta whose constituency is most impacted by the South Fraser Perimeter Road had the unenviable task of taking over as chair while I was speaking (and singularly failed to get me to shut up – I went over my time shamelessly) and then sum up the proceedings when he had already a prepared speech to read. Elizabeth May was unable to attend but was ably represented by a young man from the Green Party whose name I have of course forgotten. Nothing personal – I am just useless at remembering names.

The feedback I have seen so far has been very positive and I will now be on Co-op radio 102.7FM on Wednesday at 8am.

The crowd outside the Westin Bayshore

The crowd outside the Westin Bayshore

Written by Stephen Rees

October 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Gateway

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. I’m glad I decided to attend the event. It was nice to meet you in person, and you certainly held your own in a lineup of very knowledgeable speakers.

    For the record, provincial Green leadership candidate Ben West was Elizabeth May’s hip replacement.

    Ian King

    October 1, 2007 at 4:41 pm

  2. so did everyone remember to use transit to get to this lovefest?


    October 1, 2007 at 8:43 pm

  3. Sageb – why so snide? I do know that when the cyclists left to go downtown to meet Al Gore, the room looked a lot emptier. It had been hoped that there would be a bus to take people downtown too, but that did not work out. Oak Street is, of course the route of the #17 trolleybus. A lot of people came from South of the Fraser where transit service – especially on Saturday afternoons – of pretty thin, so I would not have balmed anyone who decided to drive. Transit has to be greatly improved outside of the City of Vancouver – as has been the case for at least the last twenty years! – before it can become a realistic alternative for many.

    Stephen Rees

    October 2, 2007 at 10:15 am

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