Category Archives: Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: If meltdown hikes Olympic price taxpayers deserve a greater say

October 12, 2008

It’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

Last week, at a Toronto forum on amateur sport, federal politicians scrapped over the long-simmering issue of including women’s ski jumping at the 2010 Games. This comes on top of Canadian ski jumper Zoya Lynch joining a lawsuit aimed at forcing VANOC to bring the women’s event into the Olympics mix.

But it doesn’t end there.

Many British Columbians were left shaking their heads in the wake of the recent decision to ban the charity Right To Play from the athletes village in 2010.

And now folks in Vancouver are coming to grips with the impact of the global financial crunch on the construction of that same athletes village — raising the grim spectre of taxpayers bailing out the project if funding dries up. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Architecture, British Columbia, Commuting, Culture, Gentrification, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Protest, Real Estate, Sports, Transportation, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Metro Vancouver still missing out on proven benefits of rail travel

September 29, 2008

Whether you agree with her political philosophy or not, you have to give Elizabeth May full marks for making plenty of noise during this fall’s federal election.

The leader of the federal Green Party has made history — and headlines — by elbowing her way into the upcoming televised leaders debates.

More recently, May kicked off an old-fashioned, cross-country whistle stop train tour in Vancouver that attracted lots of positive buzz.

Her eight-province journey was the first of its kind since former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker traversed the country by train in the 1960s.

While May’s campaign adventure has captured the imagination of nostalgic Canadians, and a handful of rail geeks, it also put the spotlight on a previously ignored mode of transport.
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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, British Columbia, Cascadia, Commuting, Environment, Politics, Portland, Seattle, Tourism, Trade, Transportation, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: City must address theft, safety issues before peddling bike rental program

September 15, 2008

Peter Ladner, the Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate in the upcoming Vancouver municipal election, has a transportation vision for the Lower Mainland that goes beyond public transit and private vehicles.

Ladner, a long-time cycling advocate, would like to see more commuters getting around by bike.

Last year, the city councillor and former TransLink board member requested a feasibility study on bringing a bike-rental program to Metro Vancouver.

The consultant’s report is now in, and it concludes that some Vancouver neighbourhoods are indeed ready for self-serve bike renting. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Green Space, Law and Order, Politics, San Francisco, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Resourceful dumpster divers are important part of our city’s fabric

October 29, 2008

Richard Florida, the high-profile University of Toronto professor, recently spoke to a receptive crowd at a Vancouver Board of Trade cities conference.

Florida, author of the best-selling book The Rise of Creative Class, postulates that cities with more diversity and culture also enjoy more economic growth. Not surprisingly, Vancouver rates high in Florida’s research, given its cosmopolitan make-up and the growth of industries like software and film.

But it’s not enough for a place to cater exclusively to hip professionals, according to Florida. Cities like

Vancouver must also tap into the creativity of their trades and service workers — from plumbers to cab drivers to coffee shop baristas.

Gordon Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, took

Florida’s point one step further — saying that Vancouver should also tap into the creativity of a quite different class of workers: binners. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Crime, Entertainment, Environment, Industry, Law and Order, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: It’s time we paid more attention to the troubling side of two-wheeling

Monday, August 18, 2008

Forget about beach yoga, kiteboarding or the Grouse Grind. The hippest outdoor activity in Metro Vancouver this summer is riding a bike.

The weekend warriors and the tourist hordes are, of course, a regular sight along the region’s seawalls and bike paths. But thanks to brutal gas prices and our society’s push to go green, more folks are cycling to work, school or the grocery store as well.

Good for them, I say.
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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Green Space, Health, Law and Order, Politics, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Rats may not be a huge health threat, but they certainly can hurt tourism

Monday, September 01, 2008

A couple weeks ago, I found out that a neighbour in my condominium building was having problems with some urban wildlife, and I’m not talking about squirrels.

It turns out that rats have been hanging out on his otherwise idyllic patio.

Worse, during one of the few hot days this August, when his sliding door was left open, a long-tailed rodent brazenly scampered into his living room.

In the spirit of keeping these supersized mice away from our premises for good, my neighbours and I have banded together and hired the services of a pest-control company.

Apparently, we’re not alone.
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Filed under Environment, Food and Dining, Health, Neighbourhoods, New York, Tourism, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Why don’t we hear more rumblings of desire for new streetcar systems?

Monday, July 07, 2008

With gas prices hovering at an all-time high and the B.C. carbon tax in full swing, more and more Lower Mainland drivers are looking to get rid of their car keys in favour of a transit pass.

But there’s just one catch: For many folks, public transport doesn’t yet go where they need it to.

Others are being scared off by the sight of commuters being packed into SkyTrain cars and trolley buses like canned sardines.

It’s clear that demand for mass transit has never been greater, but capacity is being stretched like never before.

So, given current transit limitations, it’s always good to hear of plans for greater service. One such addition in the works is the downtown Vancouver streetcar. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Cascadia, Commuting, Heritage, Media, Neighbourhoods, Seattle, Toronto, Tourism, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver Province Columns