Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for May 8th, 2009

A guest post from John Cummins MP

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Astonishing – on the same day that I give space to Christy Clark I am also giving space to the Conservative MP who’s riding overlaps the provincial electoral district I am running in. I got this from Bill Tieleman’s blog. I just hope it turns up in the mainstream media too

John Cummins
MP Delta-Richmond East

I am a free enterpriser, a federal Conservative with deep roots in the Reform movement.

I cannot support Gordon Campbell’s Liberals in this provincial election because of their complete indifference to quality of life issues here in South Delta.

· The industrialization of irreplaceable farmland to serve the interests of Port Metro Vancouver.

· The construction of “industrial strength” power lines through Tsawwassen after an election commitment not to do so.

· The promotion of rail and road infrastructure for the Gateway program that gives no consideration to quality of life issues across the Lower Mainland but particularly in Delta, Surrey and Langley.

From a provincial perspective I cannot support Gordon Campbell because he is giving away and putting at risk the public assets of the province for which he is only the present custodian.

· Run of the River Hydro projects which will destroy the remaining wilderness areas in British Columbia and commits us to higher than market prices for the power generated.

· Campbell’s unequivocal support of net cage aquaculture has put at risk precious runs of wild salmon.

· The Recognition and Reconciliation legislation proposed by Mr. Campbell will give about 30 yet-to-be created native groups aboriginal title to over 95 percent of the province. These groups will have veto power over development and will receive the lion’s share of revenue that flows from what’s now Crown land, money that currently goes to the provincial treasury.

· The giveaway of the UBC golf course and other valuable properties to buy peace with native-agitators during the Olympics.

· Campbell’s sale of BC Rail at a discounted price to CN after adamantly denying during an election campaign that he would sell it.

The Gordon Campbell government has not been the prudent manager of the province’s fiscal affairs that his supporters would have us believe.

His ill-considered carbon tax will mean higher fuel costs for all drivers with commuters and residents of the interior and northern parts of the province taking the biggest hit. It is estimated that a long-haul trucker in B.C. will pay $6,000 a year in carbon taxes by 2012. Home heating costs will also increase with the biggest impact on the residents of the north and interior of the Province.

Cost overruns on the Trade and Convention Centre and Campbell’s disregard for the economic upset experienced by the Cambie Street merchants during the RAV line construction paint a picture of a detached Premier who cares little for how he gets there just as long as he gets there.

The Gordon Campbell Liberals would have us believe that only they are capable of governing British Columbia and managing its economy. That no longer works for me. A vote for the B.C. Liberals means they can continue to disregard our legitimate concerns with impunity.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 8, 2009 at 11:48 am

Posted in politics

Watch this before you vote!

with 2 comments

I never thought I would find myself agreeing with Christy Clark

 

Popular broadcaster, columnist and former provincial Liberal cabinet minister, Christy Clark, called on her thousands of listeners across BC to join her in voting yes for BC-STV in the referendum on May 12 to bring civility and fairness to British Columbia politics.

Please forward this on to all your friends. Visit http://www.stv.ca for more information.

Power Up Your Vote with BC-STV

Written by Stephen Rees

May 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

Burrard Bridge Decision

with 5 comments

The City of Vancouver has now decided to close one sidewalk to pedestrians and make it one way for cyclists, and close one traffic lane to general purpose traffic for the use of cyclists in the other direction. I was going to write a lot on this but I think I will simply cut and paste the following, which Anthony Perl sent to the Livable Region List, so obviously he expects it to be published widely

Below is a copy of my letter to councillors Reimer and Meggs.  This was Vision’s chance to demonstrate their ability to make Vancouver the ‘greenest city’ and they failed the test.  But failing one test can enhance anybody’s education if s/he is willing to learn from the experience.  It will be up to the public to teach our municipal leaders what sustainable transportation really means, and how to achieve it.

Dear Andrea and Geoff,

I was deeply disappointed by your decision to remove pedestrian space from the Burrard Bridge during the upcoming bike lane trial. Instead of showing leadership in making Vancouver’s transportation more sustainable, Vision Vancouver has endorsed an inane compromise that penalizes the city’s most effective sustainable transport option – walking.

Vancouver’s pedestrian volume has been growing steadily over the past decade – faster than bicycle traffic and it is incredible to me that Vision councillors would risk a proven contribution to making our city the ‘greenest in the world’ in order to appease motorists and the road gang. This kind of political ‘triangulation’ is what has positioned our society on an ecological precipice.  I had thought that Vision would be able to move us away from the brink, but I my confidence in your leadership is now shaken.

Sincerely,

Anthony Perl,

Professor and Director 
Urban Studies Program
Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre
#2111 – 515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC  V6B 5K

Miro was probably right. This is another experiment that will fail – but in this case I suspect it was designed to fail.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 8, 2009 at 8:53 am

Posted in walking

The real impact of the SFPR

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Mark Hume in the Globe and Mail picks up the story released yesterday by Donna Passmore

Province warned Gateway project would hurt wildlife

MARK HUME

May 8, 2009

VANCOUVER — Before it began construction of the controversial Gateway transportation project, the provincial government was warned by its own environmental experts that the development could cause “permanent and irreversible impact to wildlife and ecosystems.”

According to documents obtained under Freedom of Information requests and released yesterday by a group opposed to the project, the government ignored the advice of Ministry of Environment scientists and went ahead with the highway, making only modest changes to construction plans.

“I don’t think they addressed the concerns raised by their own scientists in any meaningful way,” Donna Passmore of the Gateway 40 Citizens Network said.

By dint of sheer persistence, much of correspondence between the provincial and federal agencies reveals that the proponent (the Ministry of Covering BC in Concrete) was well aware that the South Fraser Perimeter Road would be an environmental disaster and that the proposed mitigation was useless. Yet the BC Liberal government pressed on ahead anyway. Even rushing to get pre-load started before contracts were signed in order to claim “victory” before the election.

Environmentalists and activists have been saying that the SFPR  did not meet even the present government’s weakened standards. Scientists raised serious objections. So did the people impacted by the project. The misrepresentations of the facts by Minister Kevin Falcon and Premier Gordon Campbell have continued – with both of them claiming that there were “extensive environmental reviews”. Of course what they did not say was that the results of those reviews were ignored and they hoped that if they were buried, no-one would have the patience to dig them up again. Well Donna has – and her timing with this release could not have been better.

Delta South has looked like a very unsafe seat for some time. The Delta hospital closure was just the first of a series of decisions unpopular with residents. The Tsawassen treaty, the power lines, the port expansion and the SFPR all made people in Delta feel they were being ignored and dumped on. The emergence of a popular local politician – Vicki Huntington – to run as an independent in what has been a easily held Liberal stroghold showed how much contempt the party has for its own supporters. The gamble was that the locals would not vote NDP – but that did not mean they will not vote against the government.

Wally Oppal was handed the poison chalice. He had a safe seat in Vancouver but was persuaded to run in his home riding. Maybe he has just had enough of politics  and is seeking this way as earning an honourable retirement – taking the bullet for his party. 

I would like to think that this event will have wider resonance. Because the trashing of environmental protection has been a hallmark of this government. They started – under Minister Falcon in his previous job – with gutting the regulations. Then they also cut the responsible ministry by 50% – and eliminated the positions that were supposed to protecting us and our environment. And then they started the swathe of projects – the Gateway, the IPPs and all the rest – that are now comprehensively trashing “the best place on earth”. And every time anyone objected they learned that objection was useless. All the time the same Minister claimed a thorough environmental process was followed. He knew that was not true – and now we have the evidence. He was lying. Not spin, not half truth but deliberate deceit. The BC Liberals are saying that they deserve to continue in government because they can be trusted. We know they do not keep promises – BC Rail proved that. We know now for certain they are liars. They have managed to dodge the legal consequences of BC Rail by prolonging the court case for as long as possible. Five years and counting. But they cannot now dodge the judgement of the ballot box. If we re-elect the Liberals we only have ourselves to blame. 

(By the way if you would like six large pdf files of documents I will be happy to forward them to you.)

Written by Stephen Rees

May 8, 2009 at 8:31 am

Posted in Environment, politics

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