Metro Conversations

I’m just not blogging enough! The many challenges on my calendar are ganging up and creating some issues with my time. I have a plan to manage this, a rather extreme one by some measures, that will be unleashed when I get back from my scheduled Christmas vacation, so until then, I encourage regular readers to go to better local ideas sources, like Tenth to the Fraser. Seriously, I’m biased, but New Westminster’s 2016 Citizen of the Year is really kicking some butt over there.

One of the things I’m working on that is filling my time is a plan to bring “urbanist” conversations out of downtown Vancouver and into the urban areas where a lot of cool transformation is happening, as the hipsters, entrepreneurs, and young families are being priced out of the urban core. It is all the fault of the group in that banner photo above.

Nathan Pachal is a software guy and well-known transportation blogger from Langley City. Kiersten Duncan is a recreation leader, an Urban Development / Environmental Science student, and community activist in Maple Ridge. Mathew Bond is a transportation engineer and leader in the mountain biking community in North Vancouver District. What we all have in common is we are all first-term City Councillors in our respective communities, and we all want to increase the communication in our communities about urban living, city planning, and sustainable development issues.

Working together, we are cooking up some plans. The first manifestation will be a series of “Metro Conversations” in each of our respective communities, a bit of a riff off of (rip-off of?) the SFU City Conversations program. The first will be Next Week at the Network Hub, where we will be talking about “Short Term Rentals”.

With the advent of digital booking platforms, the sleepy Bed & Breakfast industry has exploded into a controversial city-shaping force. The likes of AirBnB and VRBO may be a boon to tourism that makes home ownership more affordable, or may be disruptive to traditional neighbourhoods and exacerbate a housing affordability crisis. How do short term rentals fit into our communities, and what (if anything?) can local governments do about them. Should they do anything?


We have a Panel with a well-known New West business person you may not know was an AirBnb operator, the already-famous Tej Kainth from Tourism New Westminster, and Iain Majoribanks, who brings an academic viewpoint, having studied the impact of AirBnB on housing affordability. They are going to help frame the conversation (yes, lots of time and space for audience participation) and provide a window into their experiences with STRs.

It is free, but space is limited, so you should go to the Eventbrite Page and get a ticket to make sure you get a seat. We’ll let you in at the door, but only until the space is full! If so, you will have to sit outside and feel shame until the post-conversation social (place so far undetermined).

2 comments on “Metro Conversations

Leave a Reply