Here's the first of my weekly updates. Too much? Too little? Useful or not? Please provide me with your feedback so I can adjust and make this as useful and relevant as possible.
Like the majority of Canadians, I voted on Monday. All three of the North Shore seats available were "ones to watch" according to the media, and I spent most of Monday evening tuned into the results. Being non-partisan, I feel like I missed out on some of the excitement of being involved in a campaign that culminated in either elation or disappointment on Monday night. North Vancouver citizens turned out in record numbers to vote, and I congratulate our new MPs Jonathan Wilkinson and Terry Beech on their victories. I'd also like to thank outgoing MP Andrew Saxton for his years of service on behalf of North Vancouver citizens, as well as all the other candidates for having the courage to put their names forward.
I'm honoured to have been invited to present at the Cascadian Chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism annual meeting in November and spent most of the week working on my presentation. The theme of the summit is "The Business of Northwest New Urbanism and Bridging Sustainability and Aboriginal Values" and the theme of my presentation is the Politics of Sustainable Urbanism.
The Metro Vancouver Council of Councils meeting was held Saturday morning at Surrey City Hall. This meeting occurs approximately twice a year and is an opportunity for all Mayors and Councillors in Metro Vancouver to meet, get an update on the activities of Metro Vancouver and ask questions. It's astounding how much drinking water (1 billion litres) and liquid waste (1.2 billion litres) our region consumes and produces every day! We place an enormous value on the quality of our water and that comes at a cost. The planned capital budget for keeping drinking water and liquid waste facilities up to date for our current citizens and ready for the new citizens expected to arrive in the future is $7.2 billion.
The agenda of the meeting, along with the minutes and presentations can be found here.
Over the weekend, I focused on reviewing the monitoring plan for our Official Community Plan. I cannot place enough emphasis on how important this report is for the future of our community. We need a plan that connects the vision and values of our community as expressed in the OCP and translates those values into measurable and quantifiable metrics that can be used as a decision making tool by Council and staff. I've used the knowledge gained during my continuing education to review the plan, compare it to other leading plans from around the world, and prepare my comments for Monday's meeting.
Friday marked the farewell party for well-known Lynn Valley citizen Dan Ellis. Dan is the epitome of an engaged citizen, having served on the Board of the Lynn Valley Community Association for almost 25 years, participated in various District citizen committees and been a strong advocate for a compact, walkable town centre for Lynn Valley. Dan is moving to Colorado but promised me he'd be back to visit.
I received, read and responded to a number of emails this week. The sale and development of a portion of land at Braemar Elementary generated a number of emails to Council. The sale of this land is part of the North Vancouver School District's plan to raise funds for a full replacement of Argyle Secondary. First reading of this bylaw is scheduled to come before Council on November 9th, so expect to hear more about this over the coming weeks.
Concerns have been raised about the installation of barricades on the Spirit Trail at Pemberton and Welch. I visited the site with members of the community and have asked staff for a response to the concerns raised. A citizen was also concerned about the one-way signage for cyclists on the Ironworkers Bridge. The bridge is the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and I connected him with the right folks over there to respond to his concerns.
Barricades and Parked Cars on the Spirit Trail. Image Courtesy of Tony Valente, Chair of HUB North Shore Committee
Education and Research:
This was week four of the SFU City Program's Next-Generation Transportation and Cities (NGTC) course on planning for corridors and neighbourhoods. We heard from Kobus Mentz, director at UrbanismPlus, an Australian firm focused on sustainable urbanism and transport. We discussed transport specific urban design, explored the urban consequences of conventional responses to transport growth and studied the benefits of a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to transport planning.
A few of the other articles I read this week include:
A City is Not a Tree: Analysis from Christopher Alexander on why road patterns in suburbs cause more traffic issues. From 1965.
Austin's No Growth Mentality Has Led to Poor Transportation Planning: A 2014 opinion piece from Austin, Texas that draws some parallels to North Vancouver.
Abundant Access: An article and 30 minute presentation by Jarrett Walker, a world renowned transit planner and authour of the book Human Transit. Jarrett illustrates his perspective on what the true purpose of transit is; freedom.
The True Costs of Driving: An article by the Atlantic describing how, despite popular belief, taxes and fees on car owners don't come close to covering the costs of building and maintaining the roads they use. This article references financials from the USA.
The Real Reason Jaywalking is a Crime: A comedy skit, based on facts and history, on how streets were transformed from public spaces to spaces dedicated to the movement of automobiles.