Being car free supports the local economy

carfree“According to AAA, Americans spend on average $8,485 each year on their cars. Seems like a lot of money, doesn’t it? And most of that money leaves your local economy. What if you were able to get rid of a car and spend-or invest-that money in your community? what if 12,000 people decided to make the same decision? That’s exactly what happened in Washington, D.C. From 2005 to 2009. The District’s population increased by 15,862 people while car registration went down by close to 15,000 vehicles. Living in a walkable city has value beyond personal convenience-it also allows more of your money to stay closer to home while reducing your carbon footprint. With better information, can we make our cities more intelligent? We can. What makes a city intelligent? You do. “

Some news, an invitation and a request for feedback


I hope the dawning of the Year of the Horse finds you well and happy. It’s also an election year, so I wanted to say again how grateful for all support that I received in my bid, three years ago, for a seat on the Vancouver Park Board. While I came up short, that support establish a strong base and I am now considering another run. But before I request your advice, some news and an invitation:


As many of you know from the media coverage I have joined Vision. I believe that in the next election we must continue to make progress on affordable housing, ecological sustainability and fostering a vital urban economy that will contribute to the health and happiness of all Vancouver residents. For a more detailed explanation of the reasoning behind my decision, please see my web site:statement

An invitation

I hope you will join me – and Vision Vancouver – for a fun and inspiring evening, called “Next Up”, Feb 28, at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This will be enjoyable night out and a terrific opportunity to meet other Vision-eers, sip wine and see the VAG collection for the incredibly low price of just $20.

And… if you buy tickets to this great event you will be entitled to take out a membership for FREE in Vision Vancouver.

Yes, please consider joining now, as the election is little more 8 months away.

Purchase your tickets Here
Please advise…

“Should I run again?

And, if you answer Yes, “Would you support me?”

Also, please let me know if there are any issues pertaining to the Park Board that you are concerned about.

Please add a comment to this post.

Does the NPA really believe this stuff or is it just good politics? Either way it goes to the issue of trust.

The NPA has been attempting to frame traffic calming measures and safety upgrades in Kitsilano all summer as a wedge issue against the Mayor and Council. The synopsis of their message is “the Mayor and Council don’t listen and they are creating a private road for uber-rich along West Point Grey”.

In a television interviews on the traffic diversion in Kits with the CBC, has Councillor Affleck gone over the line of clean political rhetoric by unfairly maligning and personally attacking the Mayor? It is ridiculous to think that the Mayor and Council make decisions on some sort of hidden agenda. The work that is being done in Kits has been planned for years by different City Departments. Moreover, it is insulting for an elected official of the City of Vancouver to malign the office of the Mayor and Council with such a ridiculous claim.

Listen to NPA Councillor George Affleck in his own words on the traffic diversion measure on West Point Grey on Jan 20, 2014 on the first Monday after the traffic calming. You can view the video clip here: CBC

NPA Cl: Well today you can see we have several people here who are concerned, as is the NPA about closing Point Grey Road. We feel this a road for all Vancouverites and it is unfortunate that Vision rammed this through and decided to close this and keep this for their personal supporters. I believe.

Reporter: Do you believe that is the motivation for closing this road?

NPA Cl. I don’t think that it is a surprise, not a surprise, that we have several of their biggest funders living along here. And  the Mayor himself is just three houses up here. I think that this is very interesting to say the least.

Reporter: So who is it that suffers from this closure?

NPA Cl: The people who suffer from this are all of Vancouver. This is not only about, this is not about bikes, this is about access. This is about the beauty of this street. This is also a concern of mine, which is the access of emergency vehicles and transit. These are the other issues that we have about closing off a main arterial in the city.

Reporter: And what is (inaudible)?

NPA Cl: Really this is to draw attention to the fact this is closed and is closed permanently and we want to get a sense of what the people of this city want. And as you can see today we have a lot of people out and a lot of honking, a lot people saying “open this back up”.

Reporter: And what will you do if you are voted back into the majority in the next municipal election?

NPA Cl: Well our plan is to absolutely look into reopening of this street. There was another alternative plan that was presented to us as a council that we could have gone for that included a one-way street that is one alternative. There are many others. There is a better way to do this and that is what we will do.

Reporter: Why would anyone one of these other alternatives been taken up, why (inaudible)

NPA Cl: Well for the hundreds of people who showed up a council to say: “don’t close this street”, Vision Vancouver simply rammed this through. The Mayor of this city who lives a block a way said, “No, I want a private street for a few of my friends” and for himself and ah that is why they closed the street.

Reporter: Is there anything you want to add?

NPA Cl: No, I hope we can make some impact here. Maybe Vision Vancouver will start listening to the people of this city and if not we will see you at November 15 at the election time.

Notice of rezoning/development permit application, open house for 1155 Thurlow st. Febrary 3.

photo from CoV website

photo from CoV website

City of Vancouver Online survey on the projectHere

This project would not come under the new West End Plan as the application was submitted before the planning process was started. 1155 Thurlow St. is the site of Central Presbyterian Church between Pendrell St. and Davie St. across from St. Paul’s Hospital . The church is home to two congregations that share the chapel, a good size meeting hall and a Montessori pre-school.

More information on the church: Central Presbyterian
Continue reading Notice of rezoning/development permit application, open house for 1155 Thurlow st. Febrary 3. →

Can we trust the NPA?

new parkWR

When the city traffic calmed West Point Grey Road there was a media frenzy fuelled in part by the NPA. On the first Monday after car traffic was diverted off West Point Grey Road, the NPA staged a little demo with around 50 people attending with placards displaying a coordinated message “West Point Grey Road is for everyone”. One of the NPA Councillors was there and he used the message in his media spots. Clearly the idea was to try and paint the traffic calming and safety measures as some huge conspiracy by Council to exclude all Vancouver residents from using West Point Grey Road, and to create increase property values for the exclusive properties on this street.

Here is Park Board Commissioner John Coupar on Breakfast TV Jan. 20, 2013:You can view the full clip here

Reporter: Why is the bike route and the closure a bad idea?

John Coupar: “Well I think Point Grey Road is for all of Vancouver. You know I am a long time resident and grew up in Dunbar and it was my way of getting to downtown and very often on my way back from downtown and on the weekend with my kids I would stop and visit these parks and you know there is a seniors centre at the other end at Jericho Beach. Access is really important to our parks. That is my biggest concern and I really feel that we could of come up with a solution that would have kept both sides happy. Ah, there were easements that were wide enough here that would have allowed both traffic and a bike lane through here and this to me is just over kill. Ah, we have created some very expensive side yards for the very wealthiest in Vancouver and I think these parks and this road are for all Vancouverites.”

Serious stuff, sounds like seniors won’t be to get to their centre and Commissioner Coupar, won’t be able to “access” the parks with his kids anymore. But this not the case, all the parks and senior centre are still accessible just not by West Point Road. Just like Chilco Street is closed to commuter traffic in the West End.

What Commissioner Coupar does not say is that by doing the traffic calming at MacDonald and West Point Grey Road a whole new park could be created by joining Tatlow and Volunteer Parks. Tatlow Park has creek that has been recently day-lighted and has the potential to be a salmon-bearing stream. Now that two parks are being joined the creek could have access to the ocean and salmon could once again spawn there.

photos of Tatlow Park and Volunteer Park

Seems strange that someone who has the mandate for parks complaining in the media about traffic calming that would allow a new park!

For years the Park Board was trying to purchase property along West Point Grey Road to create continuous seawall around the city. That is why there are a number of little pocket parks along this street. The plan was abandoned as property in this area became just too expensive and the Park Board focused their attention to other areas in the city where the creation of parks would have better value. Given the prohibitive costs along West Point Grey Road, it is exciting that Vancouver will soon have a thriving salmon-bearing creek in a larger park area along this stretch of road that will be accessible to all Vancouver residents.


Construct work on Burrard Bridge set to begin in February

Finally the much needed repair work to the Burrard Bridge is slated to start. This from the Engineering department of the City of Vancouver:

RE: Burrard Bridge Improvements

The City of Vancouver will be undertaking structural improvements to the Burrard Bridge starting in February 2014. The work involves replacement of expansion joints on the bridge deck, replacement of bearings under the bridge deck, and concrete repairs to the underside of the bridge. The expansion joint work will be the most impactful due to lane closures on the bridge and is expected to take five months to complete. The bearing replacement and concrete repairs will take seven months to complete but have little impact to the public.

During construction, you can expect the following:

· Lane closures on the bridge deck: Starting in February, one northbound vehicle lane will be closed and the contractor will begin the joint replacement within this lane. Continuing in March, a second vehicle lane will be closed reducing the bridge to three vehicle lanes. The bridge will operate with two lanes northbound and one southbound from March–July. Dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians will be maintained throughout construction.

· Weekend and overnight work: To minimize traffic impacts, some of the work will be scheduled on weekends and overnight. This is expected in April and May.

· Noise typical of construction work: Please note that noise during the overnight work will be minimal.

If you would like to learn more about the project, please visit the City’s website at or contact Richard Franco at 604-873-7623 or

Richard Franco | Structures Project Coordinator | 604-873-7623 |
City of Vancouver

Living forests and oceans: BC’s supernatural climate allies, Thurs. Jan. 30, 12:30 pm


The next Carbon Talk, “Living Forests and Oceans: BC’s Supernatural Climate Allies”

which is taking place next week on Thursday, January 30 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM.

BC is a supernatural part of the world in many regards. Our forest and marine ecosystems are amongst the most effective natural carbon sinks on the planet and play an important role in addressing global warming by sequestering emissions. However, human activities are threatening these forests and coastlines; logging of old-growth forest and development in coastal zones are leading to the loss of vital seagrass and salt marsh ecosystems. Climate impacts like the Mountain Pine Beetle crisis and ocean acidification are threatening the ecological integrity of our natural carbon sinks. Increasing protection of our forests and coasts is one of the most beneficial actions we can take to mitigate climate change and protect sensitive ecosystems. Please join us at our dialogue to learn about BC’s forests and oceans as natural carbon sinks. Find out more by reading Betsy Agar’s blog post “Myths and insights about trees, old and new” at

Panelists include:

Dr. Colin Campbell – Marine Campaign Coordinator, Sierra Club BC

Colin spends his time working on climate change outreach, steering committee work for the SeaChoice seafood campaign, and pursuing a goal of broadening Marine Protected Area policy to include protection of habitats that support critical biogeochemical processes, specifically the sequestration of ‘Blue Carbon’.

Jens Wieting – Forest and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC

Jens works primarily for the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest and to raise awareness about the threat of global warming and the increasing emissions from BC’s forests and fossil fuel exports. Prior to coming to Canada, Jens worked as forest campaigner in Germany and in a rainforest reserve in Nicaragua.

All of our Carbon Talks are free and open to the public. Please feel free to let your colleagues know about this event.

When: Thursday, January 30 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Where: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St., Room 1600

Registration: Please reserve your seathere

West End Plan goes to public hearing on Thursday January 23 at 6 pm

covLogowrFrom the City:

The West End Community Plan was approved by Vancouver City Council in November 2013. The plan will be the future road map on areas ranging from housing and land use to transportation and public spaces.
As part of the implementation of the plan, amendments have been proposed to the Zoning and Development By-law for social and market rental housing, residential and commercial developments, and to the Downtown Official Development Plan and Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan. The proposed changes include adding definitions for “social housing” and “secured market rental housing”, and rezoning on Davie Street, Lower Robson Street and Robson Village.

City Council will consider the proposed amendments at a Public Hearing on:
Thursday, January 23, 2014, at 6 pm
City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, Third Floor
Council Chamber
For information or to register to speak, please call the Public Hearing Information Line, at 604.829.4238 or email

for info on the proposed by-law changes read them here
City of Vancouver
Planning and Development Services | Rezoning Centre
T 604.873.7038 | F 604.873.7060

Mysteries of a feasting forest, Monday Jan. 13, 8 pm, WECC


From Stanley Park Ecology Society

Like us, trees enjoy a great feast. But in the great Canadian Boreal Forest, nitrogen for proteins is hard to come by.   Nicole Linfoot, a biologist from Alberta’s Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory, has been brought to the Lower Mainland on a very special opportunity to share  a visual presentation about this ecological mystery.

Date:     Monday, January  13  2014
Time:     7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: West End Community Center,  870 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L8
Free to attend; donations appreciated.   

Bring your friends, but please call to register so we’ll have enough seats ready:    604-257-8333

We hope we’ll see you there!


Patricia Thomson
Executive Director
Stanley Park Ecology Society
PO Box 5167
Vancouver, BC   V6B 4B2
P: 604-718-6523 F: 604-257-8378

A little new park at Main St. and 18 Avenue with no name.

new park
Over the holidays I took a little ride with my daughter to check out a new park in Vancouver on Main St. and 18 Avenue. Curiously the park does not have a name yet, which would really help to create a sense of place. The park is a little plaza in front of some commercial and retail space. While being a small area the park is good example of what can be done to activate a space with some landscape architecture and street furniture. The Park Board describes the little park “…as a gateway to the mid-Main district and serve both the Riley Park and Mount Pleasant communities.”
You can read more about the park here on the Park Board website.

The park is also home to a work of public art which is designed by Gisele Amantea, “The Main St. Poodle”. You can read more about the artist and the project here .The Main St. Poodle also has inspired a Twitter account, @MainStPoodle, which is has a very caustic sense of humour and is worth a follow.

Here are some more photos of the park here.