Stephen Rees's blog

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

An electrifying offer from the provincial government

with 9 comments

I am reluctant to send my readers to the Sun all the time. For one thing, their web site has got really slow and seems to be something to do with its detachment from the portal.

But a lot of what passes for news there really isn’t. It is not new or ground breaking. Among the stories that do not seem to call for any comment are the continuing – and worsening – saga of the Olympic Village (surprise, it needs refinancing) and the purchase of new equipment for Translink using federal funds (already announced – some elements, like the third SeaBus, several times).

UPDATE 5:16pm January 9, 2008

The Georgia Straight now has the full text of a statement by Gregor Robertson

The Olympic Village is a billion-dollar project, and the City’s on the hook for all of it.

Pete McMartin has a new twist on another long running saga in his own neighbourhood. The provincial government has now made a very generous offer to homeowners impacted by  the power lines. Not just a good appraisal but also “property tax transfer, the homeowner’s legal fees, moving costs and any mortgage penalties incurred”.

Now why would they do that now – well it’s simple.  There’s an election coming up and Delta no longer looks like a safe seat for the BC Liberals. So our money is being used to polish the government’s image. Somehow I do not see that as being very convincing to the right wing type of voter they want to appeal to. Neither does Pete. He also has this striking observation.

Good luck with the optics of that. Because if you can make $70 million available to 138 homeowners in an affluent suburb who may or may not be affected by an electromagnetic field, how can you ignore the very real and ruinous effects of, say, the construction of the Canada Line on the dozens of businesses on Cambie, whose owners are now taking the government to court?

What would be “the reasonable thing to do” for them?

For reasons that are not apparent the Sun files this under “Technology” – I am going to put it under Politics. I will follow up with a prediction. Excpect more money to get shovelled off the back of the truck in the coming months

UPDATE Friday January 9 at 6:54

On rthe CBC tv news tonight Guy Gentner MLA for Delta North pointed out that the Province could have put the lines underground for $20m – a lot less than the $70m now at risk. Becuase the homes will be sold, on the open market, with the hope of recouping much of the outlay. In a declining property  market. Yeah, right.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

Posted in politics

9 Responses

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  1. As a resident of Tsawwassen since 1963, I think I have the pulse of things here.

    The hapless Val Roddick is retiring and the Liberals are having a hard time to find someone to replace her.

    In the last election (now) former councilor Vickie Huntington came very close to beating Roddick and now the Libs want Vickie to run for them.

    There is a persistent rumour that the Libs did a poll in Tsawwassen that showed that if Huntington ran as an independent in May she would win, but if she ran as a Liberal, the NDP could have a shot of getting an upset win!

    Well Gordon C., ever the political fixer, will dole out as much cash as it is needed to ‘buy’ a Liberal win in Delta. The problem for Campbell & Co. is that it is just not the power-lines (or Gateway) but 8 years of a do nothing Liberal MLA who has soured many on voting for the Liberals and for many, it will give a good excuse staying home on election day.

    Susan Heyes, who is leading the charge for compensation for merchants along the Canada line, may soon have her ‘precedent’ for government paying compensation for those affected by government projects.

    Malcolm J.

    January 9, 2009 at 10:39 am

  2. There is a much greater benefit for businesses along a subway route than there is for residents near power lines.


    January 9, 2009 at 10:45 am

  3. Shane sorry, your statement is not quite accurate, what is true is that businesses located along an on-street LRT line see an increase of about 10%.(Portland) In Portland, there was great debate with local merchants, trying to get the new streetcar line down their road.

    The area around subway stations may have increased traffic, but not businesses along a subway route. To add further insult onto injury, studies have found that it takes up to ten years for businesses to recover from cut-and-cover subway construction.

    Malcolm J.

    January 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

  4. I have to agree with Malcolm about that one. Unless he/she has a very specific store in mind the average commuter on the way back home after work, for example, will not get off the subway then walk several blocks on either side of the station to see if there are interesting shops. He /she WILL (or at least might very well) do it when travelling in a bus or LRT because one has the opportunity daily to see what stores are on the street, if they have special sales etc. This is why LRT in particular are quite popular in so many places.

    Red frog

    January 9, 2009 at 1:56 pm

  5. The cost won’t be $70 million because the homes will be resold – so much of the initial expenditure will be recovered.

    Ron C.

    January 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm

  6. Cambie St. will seem like it has increased business though, thanks to new development and greater street amenities in the area occurring concurrently with subway construction.

    I am sure claims will be made about the Canada Line’s benefits however.


    January 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm

  7. If the current homeowners get $ from the Liberals doesn’t that mean that their fears about the lines were somewhat valid? then why sell potentially dangerous goods to other homeowners? shouldn’t we use these homes for temporary social housing only, to ensure that the risks of a long exposure are minimized?

    Red frog

    January 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

  8. […] here are a couple of links which add significant new information to a recent post […]

  9. I’ll be using the subway to get over there – and I’ll probably go to Oakridge more often too.


    January 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm

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