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

Archive for May 23rd, 2008

Cargo bike video

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I am still irritated that Vodpod did not embed that CNN story. But the Ron Richings sent trans-action this link.

He thinks that it needs to be translated. I don’t. I do not speak Dutch, but I think the intention is pretty clear. It brightened my morning anyway

What these guys are riding is a type of cargo bike. They can be really useful if you have a lot of stuff to move but don’t want to use a car. Cargo bikes are not cheap and take up a bit of space so they may not be the sort of thing you want everyday, but the ability to use them now and again for a moderate cost seems inspired.

If this idea appeals to you go to Your Friendly Neighbourhood Cargo Bike Co-op and fill in the survey. I am afraid that, as usual it is Vancouver centric – but we have to start somewhere, and maybe it will spread to bike friendly Richmond before too long

h/t Bonnie Fenton

Written by Stephen Rees

May 23, 2008 at 9:25 am

Posted in bicycles

Tagged with

Mom forced to live in car with dogs –

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This story was brought to my attention by the Alternet. CNN ties this to the credit crunch. And it is about a “solution” – just like food banks are a “solution” to below poverty rate welfare. In fact in our region there are many people who sleep in vans and campers as well as cars, simply because they cannot find housing they can afford. And of course they have to find places where they will not attract attention.

Vodpod embedding seems to be not working at present so in the meantime here is the link

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Mom forced to live in car with dogs -…“, posted with vodpod

Written by Stephen Rees

May 23, 2008 at 9:13 am

Posted in housing

Tagged with

What’s the motive for those power lines in Delta?

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The reason that new high voltage power lines are being put across Tsawwassen we are told is that there is a need to ensure power for Vancouver Island. One resident there has found out that is not the story that emerges from what is going on south of the 49th parallel. This open letter was widely circulated and comes to me from Gudrun Langolf. It is long but it is reproduced here in its entirety.


29 February 2008

British Columbia Transmission Corporation, (BCTC) Suite 1100, 4 Bentall Centre

1055 Dunsmuir

Vancouver, B.C. V7X 1V5

Attention Mr. Michael Costello, President and CEO:

Re: Vancouver Island Transmission Reinforcement Project (VITR)

I am a property owner in Tsawwassen. Please note that I am not a member of TRAHVOL, (Tsawwassen Residents Against Higher Voltage Overhead Lines ) I do not live near the proposed power line upgrade, and I do not have a child spending six hours/day attending South Delta Secondary School, (located beneath the above noted lines). In fact, like most of us in Tsawwassen who are not directly affected, I have sat back and let others fight the fight, assuming that eventually reason would prevail. Well … that didn’t work.

Yesterday I received your latest propaganda sheet entitled, “Tsawwassen Update – No.2” and it reminded me of a 2-line item that I read in the Vancouver Sun some 2-3 years back. It was with regards to a proposed international transmission line that would link Vancouver Island with the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I thought it curious that BCTC was planning an upgrade to the existing line between Tsawwassen and Vancouver Island in order to “ensure the 700,000 residents and businesses on Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands can continue to have a reliable supply of electricity”, (almost sounds noble!) while Sea Breeze of Vancouver, a private company was proposing a similar project between Victoria and Port Angeles. It never quite sat right with me, so today I dug your fact sheet out of the recycling bin and spent the afternoon trying to set my mind at ease.

Guess what I discovered? Sea Breeze Power Corp. is a Vancouver based renewable energy developer who is involved in the development of wind power, and “run-of-river” hydro in British Columbia. Sea Breeze has partnered up with Boundless Energy NW Inc., a transmission and utility engineering company based in York Harbor, Maine to spearhead the Port Angeles-Juan de Fuca High Voltage Direct Current Transmission Project. It is a proposed SSO-megawatt underground transmission line that will cross the international border beneath the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Their web page, ( and articles ) state the following:

“Sea Breeze proposes to build an electricity transmission line between Vancouver Island and Port Angeles, Washington State. This line will facilitate greater efficiency of the existing electric system infrastructure using state-of-the-art transmission technology and improving reliability to Vancouver Island”.

OK, so that pretty much touts the line that BCTC has been feeding us all along – there is an increasing demand for power on Vancouver Island.

Frustrated, as there is very little information regarding the exportation of power on any of the B.C. web pages, I probed further – the Americans proved to be more forthcoming. The web page for Bonneville Power Administration out of Portland, Oregon, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Energy, contained a map, which illustrates the proposed project as well as the existing transmission lines and substations both in Washington, and B.C. It illustrates one existing line linking Vancouver and Seattle via a mainland route, as well as the proposed underwater link between Victoria and Port Angeles. Very telling.

Furthermore, their web page contained a transcript of a public hearing in Port Angeles, Washington held on April 10, 2007, hosted by Bonneville, and attended by Mr. Mike Wise of Sea Breeze Pacific Juan de Fuca Cable, (the consortium proposing the international underwater project). According to the transcript, Mr. Wise states that

“I think what we’re planning to do here is called horizontal directional drilling … we plan to be in bedrock … I think our design depth is roughly 60 feet … “

This statement was in response to a query about the proposed line going through a sawmill site. Wait a minute … a Canadian company concerned enough about a sawmill in Washington State that they plan to engage in expensive horizontal directional drilling! Wow,­ talk about impressive. Too bad BCTC won’t be that considerate of our residential neighbourhood here in Tsawwassen. Oh well.

When pressed at the public hearing about who would benefit from this project, (a topic which the U.S. Department of Energy and Bonneville Power skillfully dodged for the entire hearing) Sea Breeze went on record as stating that,

“Our market would be companies that are generating electricity in British Columbia. And it would be companies in the Pacific Northwest that would want access to that generation”.

What? Is Sea Breeze talking about exporting power from Vancouver Island to Washington State and beyond? Hold on a second – what happened to the looming power shortages on Vancouver Island? What happened to the “improving reliability to Vancouver Island” spin? Sounds to me like they are playing on both sides of the fence.

If you haven’t yet made the connection, let Mr. Wise make it for you. A Ms. Lawson asked,

“I came in here thinking that this was about BPA selling energy to Canada. It’s not. It is the opposite … your primary focus there is on getting entities that are generating power on the island and having that come this direction through this cable?”

His response:

“It could be on the island or it could be the mainland … There’s a new transmission line that’s under construction to link the mainland near Vancouver Island”.

Ah yes, and now we’ve come full circle.

I applaud you, the ordinary citizens of Port Angeles for your persistence in exposing what we here in Tsawwassen have been trying to uncover for the last several years, (see the TRAHVOL web page at for further information on this unresolved issue which Mr. Wise “glossed over” at your hearing). The Grand Scheme: export power from the mainland of British Columbia, through Vancouver Island and then south into the U.S. A second link – it makes perfect sense.

What I find most offensive is that BCTC has appealed to the Tsawwassen residents’ sense of obligation to provide power to the citizens of Vancouver Island, (the whole topic makes one squirm; the overhead power lines are unsightly, and many believe they are unsafe, but the infrastructure is already in place – what choice do we have?). It appears however, that in reality this is not the motivating factor; it’s about linking another line into the lucrative U.S. market. Again, I quote Mr. Wise,

” … there’s about probably over one billion dollars worth of generation projects that are under construction right now in British Columbia … with all this generation the companies that are building this whether it is BC Hydro … want to be able to move this power to market and to do that really the existing transmission system doesn’t work all that well … “.

That changes everything for me. As much as I endorse the responsible exportation of power, I do not feel a sense of obligation to export it to the U.S. on the backs of my neighbours, and my neighbourhood.

It’s all about developing what appears to be an unlimited renewal energy source, and it’s all about making colossal amounts of money. Good for you for your innovation, but be truthful about your plans, and be caring of the communities in which you serve. It’s time to step up to the plate, to be honest, and to do the right thing.

Thank you for your time, and consideration.

Susan Watton


Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier, B.C.

Honourable Richard Neufeld, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, BC

Honourable Val Roddick, MLA, South Delta

Honourable Carole James, Leader of the Opposition

Mayor Jackson & Council, Corporation of Delta

Mayor Braun & Council,

City of Port Angeles

Daphne Bramham, Columnist,

The Vancouver Sun Pete McMartin, Columnist,

The Vancouver Sun John Brewer, Editor & Publisher,

Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, WA Ted Murphy,

Editor, Delta Optimist

Phillip Raphael, Editor, South Delta Leader

TRAHVOL, Tsawwassen

Written by Stephen Rees

May 23, 2008 at 9:00 am