It's been a while since my last weekly update. Almost four months to be exact. In November I returned to work full time after an extended parental leave. As I'm sure you know, sometimes life takes over and with two full time jobs and a new family the couple hours it took me to write the blog dropped down my list of priorities. I was chatting with a friend about this and they told me "I really enjoyed your blog, you should keep it up. Don't worry about putting so much detail and analysis into it, just post something even if it's just a paragraph or two." So, I'm going to try out this new approach and set thirty minutes a week aside to write something, however short, to share with you.
I've been Acting Mayor for the first week of March, which comes with a few responsibilities. Popping into District Hall to sign documents, attending and speaking at public events such as the 50th Anniversary Celebration for Harry Jerome and Centennial Theatre on March 3rd, and a fundraiser for the North Shore Womens Centre on March 5th. I still feel both excited and nervous to speak in front of a packed house of 700, so I tried to have fun with it. It was inspiring to hear the stories of a number of female leaders at the fundraiser, including Carol Baird Ellen, previous Cheif Judge of BC and federal NDP candidate for North Burnaby - Seymour. Hearing her reminds me how important it is to be conscious that I am one of the most privileged members of society, not because of anything that I have done, but simply because I was born a white male. The systems and institutions that form the pillars of our society were created to ensure my success. Even if I have worked hard to achieve what I have in my life, the majority of our society, including women and minorities, face barriers both visible and invisible that I would never even have to consider. There is an enormous amount of work left to be done to change the systems, the institutions, the perceptions and the beliefs that perpetuate inequity. Consciously incorporating this knowledge into our thoughts, our words, our actions and our interactions is an important first step to breaking down the barriers remaining between us and gender equity.
I was pleased to be a judge for the YPI at Argyle Secondary on March 3rd. Three teams of students presented on behalf of a charity they reserched. Each team presented passionately for their chosen charity, and in the end North Shore Neighbourhood House prevailed over the Harvest Project and North Shore Womens Centre and will received a $5000 grant. Thanks to Sean Soper, ***
The council meeting on March 7th was my first time chairing the meeting as Acting Mayor. I was a little nervous but received great support from our Clerks staff and folks on Twitter. Our Council Workshop included an update on the Delbrook Dialogue process and a good discussion on a Tenant Assistance Policy that will set strong policy in favour of people who rent and are affected by redevelopment. In our regular meeting we defferred a decision on a development permit on the waterfront in Deep Cove, moved the OCP Progress Monitoring plan to public consultation and staff presented the Draft Financial Plan. Then Financial Plan sets the budget for the year, and is open for public comment during the month of March. Financial plan warrants its own blog entry.
I also attended a Public Information Meeting for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement and Subdivision at 360 E Windsor Road. The meeting was quite heated, including yelling and a few accusations back and forth. ****** Want to explore this concept in a future post.
Also had the opportunity to tour the Capilano Pump Station and Energy Recovery Facility with the Community Monitoring and Advisory Committee (CMAC).
Attended the Urbanarium Debate - Legislate Affordable Housing. DIscussing with another audience member - what are the most effective tools to ensure affordable housing?
The next Council meeting is a workshop scheduled for Tuesday, March 29th.