Category Archives: Nimbies

Metro column: SkyTrain right choice for Metro Vancouver

For a party that’s fighting for the hearts and minds of urban voters in British Columbia, one would think the provincial NDP would be trading off of its strong legacy of endorsing — and expanding — SkyTrain across the Lower Mainland.

After all, it was former NDP premier Glen Clark who brought Vancouver the Millennium Line, which has enjoyed steady increases in ridership since its completion in 2002.

Another former New Democrat premier, Mike Harcourt, is one of the most vocal advocates of building light-metro for our growing region. In his 2007 book, City Making in Paradise, Harcourt cites SkyTrain as one of the legacies from Expo 86 that saved Vancouver’s livability. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Environment, Nimbies, Politics, Transportation, Urban Planning

Trailer parks for the homeless?

Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.

Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.

The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning

Coastal Link’s nautical nightmare voyage

In better times, the story of Coastal Link Ferries was not unlike the old television program The Beachcombers. The passenger ferry service featured colourful characters, a plucky boat and a picturesque B.C. coastline backdrop.

But times have changed.

Nowadays, Coastal Link’s story reads like a Joseph Conrad novel — a turmoil-fuelled nautical nightmare.

The company’s winter of discontent actually started during the fall on a blustery November day when the Coastal Runner vessel hit rough waters. Continue reading

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Filed under Marine transport, Nimbies, Parks, Transportation

Metro column: Very different spirits arising over the same trail

16 March 2009

It’s nice to see the growing focus on pedestrian and cycling greenways and trails in Metro Vancouver these days. Local governments are finally responding to demand for transportation choices that are easier on our wallets, and better for our health and environment.

A good example is the North Shore Spirit Trail, a 35-kilometre pathway connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.

For walking and biking enthusiasts from across the Lower Mainland, the trail promises to be a recreational jewel. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycling, Environment, Green Space, Health, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: City skyline nearly as bleak as markets

January 5, 2009

The chaos on Wall Street that rocked investors and companies globally during the latter half of 2008 continues to pummel the economy in the New Year.

In Metro Vancouver, another signature of the economic boom years — so-called starchitecture — is about to take a major hit. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Environment, Heritage, Industry, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Real Estate, Vancouver

Vancouver Province column: Let’s show the world that West Coast buildings do not have to be boring

Sunday, February 10, 2008
The frenzy of construction taking place across Metro Vancouver might lead some to believe this region is getting the urban equivalent of a personal makeover.

But as the highrise condos sprout up from the ground, locals are left grumbling about the vanilla results — including a downtown skyline that is less breathtaking than it is banal.

In a recent interview, renowned local architect Arthur Erickson simply referred to it as “blah.” At a Feb. 1 forum hosted by Simon Fraser University’s City Program, leading city designers and planners debated the need for “iconic” architecture in Vancouver — the kind of impressive structures that make a statement about the cities in which they stand. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Architecture, Nimbies, Urban Planning, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

The density debate goes sideways

It looks like the EcoDensity bashers in Vancouver are winning the war. They’ve changed the nature of the density debate, so that instead of talking about how to build more compact neighbourhoods with enhanced public transport in the name of sustainability, we are instead debating whether or not real estate developers are driving all of this.

The Globe and Mail’s Trevor Boddy rightly argues that the density dialogue needs to be reinvigorated. But how? The issue has become a political volleyball over the last year, to the detriment of those who are actually trying to address the issues of environment through urban planning.In my opinion, some folks who know better have thrown the issue off course in order to score easy political points against Vancouver’s ruling political class. And that’s a shame. Here’s what Boddy has to say.

Until the sour turn over the past few months, Vancouverites have been fans of increasing residential density for the best of all possible reasons: our city works better because of it; it has added value to our houses and apartments; and most of all, it makes for a green and healthy place to live.What a strange world if Vancouver derails its experiment with density in the very areas of the city that need it most, just as the rest of the planet has turned us into a verb, speaking of “Vancouverizing” their sprawl into compact urbanity.It is time to make the positive case for how density has made this a better city, and if carefully managed, will continue to do so. In the face of the culture of complaint that has arisen, there needs to be a clear declaration of how our city has improved through doing more with less.

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Filed under Architecture, Commuting, Environment, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Politics