Council – Aug 28, 2017.

No surer sign that summer is over than spending a Monday in Council Meetings. The evening Regular Meeting was mercifully very short, although the Agenda included a large number of items passed on Consent.

We started with an Opportunity to be Heard, that gets a little complicated…

Wood/Boyne Street Road Closure Bylaw No. 7935 – Animal Services Facility – Rescind Third Reading
There was a clerical error in the diagram that went with the earlier reading of the Bylaw. The intent was (in my opinion) clear, but Staff decided there was some ambiguity in how the road closure diagram could be interpreted, so decided to roll it back and go through the process again to make sure everything is on the up and up. So first we rescinded the Third Reading from July 10 Meeting.

Wood-Boyne Street Road Closure Bylaw No. 7935, 2017
Third Reading of the adapted Bylaw required another Opportunity to be Heard. The required notice was completed, and we received no written responses, nor did anyone from the public exercise their opportunity to speak. Council moved to refer the amended Bylaw for Third Reading.

We than had this Report for Action.

41 and 175 Duncan Street: Official Community Plan and Rezoning – Preliminary Report
This is a preliminary report for a medium-sized development adjacent adjacency to industrial area that will be industrial for perpetuity (creating potential interface issues), however, it appears of offer an interesting mix of family- friendly housing forms that Queensborough is becoming famous for. This is a preliminary report, as the project needs to go through various levels of approval and public consultation, including a Public Hearing, so I’ll hold off on further comments until then.

The following items were then Moved on Consent:

Deaccessioning (removal) of Heritage materials from New Westminster Museum and Archives
Our Museum and Archives has to occasionally cull their inventory of items deemed to have little heritage or collection value. There is a process established for this, including a report to Council to make sure the process is transparent and accountable.

Solid Waste and Recycling Artist in Residence Program
Yes, it sounds funny, but hear this out. The City has a lot of waste management equipment and infrastructure. It is omnipresent, but often disregarded in how it impacts the aesthetics of our public spaces. I love the idea of finding an artistic canvas in the everyday and mundane. This project will provide a small amount of funding from our Arts Services budget (not our waste management budget), and creates an interesting opportunity to improve our public spaces. I’m happy council moved to support this.

Initial Operation of Q to Q Demonstration Ferry Service
The QtoQ Ferry has been (and continues to be) an interesting learning experience. 3,600 fare-paying trips on the first full operational weekend, and well over 2,000 per weekend since is definitely more than anticipated. There were, however, significant challenges also identified, along with a few we knew were going to be a problem from day one. I think it was the right decision to do this shake-down trial and learn about how to address these challenges.

These initial numbers show high interest in extended service, however this demonstration is not continuing beyond September 25th, simply because the contracts and agreements that empower it are not easy to extend. We will have some time over the winter to have the bigger discussion about where to go from here, be it extending and expanding the service in 2018, or a better look at partnerships with senior government agencies to find a permanent solution to connecting our Qs.

Procedure for Offensive Correspondence Received as part of a Legislated Public Process
This seems painfully procedural, but City Council has some legislated responsibility to receive public comment on issues of public interest such as Public Hearings. When we receive correspondence, it is forwarded to Council for us to read and consider as part of the process, then we officially “receive” this correspondence, and it is entered into the public record. However, we had some pretty offensive (racist, bigoted, hateful) correspondence with a recent application that I questioned whether we need to receive and enter in to the public record.

Short version (and I will write a follow-up blog post about this) is that we need to receive the correspondence, but we can avoid putting it into the public record if it is considered offensive. This report outlines the process recommended by the City’s legal counsel.

Official Community Plan Infill Housing Implementation: Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 7936, 2017 and Related Procedures Bylaws – For Consideration of Readings
The OCP update is inching towards completion, and along with it some changes to our Zoning Bylaw are required to make it possible for us to allow Laneway- and Carriage-House in the residential zones where the new Land Use Plan map indicates is appropriate. This also includes formalizing some procedures around how the approvals will be managed.

I am generally happy with what is outlined here, but worry a little about creating a complicated processing issue that slows the development of these housing types after we finally approve them. This will be an area of continued work once the OCP is approved, and a new challenge for our Planning Department. If you look through this report, you can get a sense of the iterative process Staff and Council went through to get to the point where we have a Bylaw that can move to Three readings (a couple of 5-2 and 4-3 votes on major procedural concepts here). There was a round of stakeholder consultation here (the APC voted in favour), and the zoning Amendment Bylaw will go to Public Hearing in September.

610 Sixth Street: Development Variance Permit to Vary Sign Bylaw No. 7867, 2017 to Permit the Installation of Two Signs – Notice of Opportunity to be Heard
It looks like the Royal City Centre has a new anchor tenant, and advertising such requires variance of our Sign Bylaw. This will go to an Opportunity to be Heard on September 18. C’mon out and tell us what you think.

630 Ewen Avenue (Affordable Housing Project): Housing Agreement Bylaw – Bylaw for Three Readings
The City is proposing to enter into an agreement with a not-for-profit (WINGS) to operate a supportive/affordable housing project on City land in Queensborough. It is a relatively small project, but will provide units to families that would otherwise have a difficult time finding housing in the City. This report outlines the Housing Agreement terms, and Council moved to refer the resultant Bylaw for three readings.

43 Hastings Street (Affordable Housing Project): Rezoning Application from Single Detached Dwelling Districts (RS-2) to Comprehensive Dwelling Districts (CD-73) – Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 7923, 2017 for First and Second Readings
This is another supportive/affordable housing project the City is supporting in the Downtown, including providing permanent access to City lands. This project will require a Zoning Amendment, which will go to Public Hearing on September 18. C’mon out and tell us what you think!

988 Quayside Drive (Bosa RiverSky Project): Construction Noise Bylaw No. 6063, 1992 – Request for Exemption
The River Sky project (the one currently under construction next to the River Market) needs to do a single big concrete pour next week. For structural engineering reasons, it has to happen as a single pour, and will take more than the time allotted by our construction noise bylaw allows in a single day. For this reason, Council moved to permit a one-day exemption to the Construction Noise Bylaw to allow an early start to the pour. The constructors are required to provide public notice to the neighbours.

900 Carnarvon St (Tower 4): Construction Noise Bylaw No. 6063, 1992 – Request for Exemption
This exemption of the Construction Noise Bylaw is required to permit the installation of a noise canopy over the SkyTrain Tracks at the only time TransLink will allow it: when the trains are not running. This extension is required because the work has been delayed for various reasons. Short term pain for long-term gain seems to be the theme downtown these days…

OUR CITY 2041: Updated Official Community Plan Adoption Bylaw No. 7925, 2017
This is another procedural thing, with a few edits to the OCP Bylaw that was given two readings back in June. The changes are as simple as a few spelling mistakes corrected to some important clean-ups of the Land Use Map to properly reflect the spirt of the plan and previous plans. These edits don’t change our timeline for Public Hearing or Third Reading, which is still scheduled for September 18.

Queen’s Park Traffic Calming Plan
The first round of consultations around updating the traffic management plan in Queens Park raised what are (seemingly) some pretty minor complaints compared to issues identified in other neighbourhoods like Sapperton, Downtown, and Connaught Heights. The biggest issues seem to be around “rat-running” to the Pattullo Bridge during the evening rush hour, which may see some temporary relief with the removal of tolls from the Port Mann, but there are also a few opportunities to improve pedestrian safety in Queens Park, which will take some more exploration.

Internet Service Provider Agreement with CIK Telecommunications
A seventh (!) provider is signing up to provide service though our dark fibre network. The opportunities aside from the “big three” for internet and related services in New West are definitely increasing, especially for those living and working in Uptown and Downtown. You might want to look here if your internet service is letting you down.

Mann Cup Luncheon and Press Conference Hosting Opportunity
It’s not often you get to host the Mann Cup. The City will be hosting whomever wins the MSL at Queens Park Arena, thanks to the great season and remarkable playoff performance of the Salmonbellies. Follow along here to get your tickets and schedule your September!

We then went through our regular Bylaws routine:

Official Community Plan Adoption Bylaw No. 7925, 2017
As discussed above, second reading of this Bylaw back in June was rescinded, and the edited Bylaw was given Second Reading. There will be a Public Hearing on this September 18; C’mon out and tell us what you think.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Infill Housing) No. 7936, 2017
This zoning amendment to permit the process for approving Laneway and Carriage houses in the City as per the OCP proposal and the lengthy discussions back in July was also given two readings.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (43 Hastings Street) No. 7923, 2017
As discussed above, this Bylaw amending the zoning bylaw to allow for an affordable housing project on City land in Downtown was given two readings.

Development Approval Procedures Amendment Bylaw No. 7939, 2017 & Development Services Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7940, 2017
These bylaws that support the OCP update for infill housing as discussed above and at length in Council back in July, were given three readings.

630 Ewen Avenue (Affordable Housing Project): Housing Agreement Bylaw
As discussed above, this Bylaw empowering the Housing Agreement for this affordable housing project in Queensborough was given three readings.

‘Housekeeping’ Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 7893, 2017
This zoning amendment bylaw to permit animal daycare in businesses that were already permitted to have animal grooming, as given a Public Hearing back on January 30th, was adopted. It’s the Law of the Land, may your pets rest soundly while you work.

Zoning Amendment (1102, 1110, 1116 and 1122 Salter Street) Bylaw No. 7917, 2017
This zoning amendment bylaw to permit a development in Queensborough, which was given a Public Hearing back on May 29th, was adopted. It’s the Law of the Land, adjust your behavior accordingly.

Finally, we had one piece of New Business:

Motion on Notice (Councillor Puchmayr): Setting a target for 100% renewable energy in the City by 2050.
This is an interesting initiative, that I ended up sounding more negative about than I intended. I think it is a good aspirational goal (and supported the motion), but am a little concerned about resourcing the work necessary for us to put together a comprehensive adaptation plan, and how we fit that in with the number of significant strategic priorities we have going right now. Perhaps I’ll write a little more on this as I develop my thoughts a little more.

And that was the end of our summer session meeting. Enjoy Labour Day, and we will see you all in September when the real works resumes!

on Data

This isn’t exactly an Ask Pat, but I was asked a question on Facebook comments thread discussing the new Crosstown Greenway changes along 7th Ave, and I needed more than a Facebook post to answer:

I read two questions here, tied up into one. Paraphrased, the first is “How many cyclist injuries or deaths are there in the City to justify all of this money spent on bike lanes?”, and the second, perhaps more nuanced, is “What data justifies spending money on all these new bike lanes”.

I didn’t answer the first question, because I think it is a terrible question, but never got around to explaining why I feel that way. If we have a spike in deaths or injuries, it may be an indication that we have a problem that needs immediate attention, but we don’t wait for those spike if we can anticipate and prevent incidents. A raw count of deaths or injuries as the sole driver of infrastructure investment is not responsible governance.

The actual data being asked for is hard to come by. Local governments do not (to the best of my knowledge) collect these stats in any kind of comprehensive way for public consumption. ICBC presumably still collects stats, but their reporting out has become pretty inconsistent, and their crash maps for New Westminster have not been updated since 2013 (for Pedestrians and cyclists) or 2015 (for cars) and cannot be filtered by injury/death/property damage: 

Anecdotally (and off the top of my head) I can think of two cyclist and three pedestrian deaths in New Westminster in the last few years (there have surely been more). One of them I am comfortable in calling an “accident”, a second was clearly an act of negligence on the part of a pedestrian. The rest were just as clearly acts of negligence on the part of the drivers of a vehicles, resulting in the death of 3 innocent road users. I have also spent the last year watching a good friend struggle through recovery from a near-fatal cycling crash where he was clearly a victim of a negligent driver. New West is not unique here, as across the region, there is news every day of cyclist endangered by the negligence of drivers.

Of course, I acknowledge the obvious point that cyclists and pedestrians also sometimes act negligently, and cause accidents. However studies have shown that accidents causing injury or death of pedestrians and cyclist are in the vast majority, caused by the actions of drivers, most notably not yielding right-of way while making turns.

That said, we are talking about infrastructure, and part of designing and investing in transportation infrastructure is in making it harder for people (drivers or vulnerable users) to be negligent, and to reduce the potential impacts of any negligence on vulnerable road users. We can do this through design that reduces conflict points, improves visibility, slows cars, or puts barriers between vulnerable users and the vehicles that endanger them. At some level, this should be the primary goal of all transportation engineering. But perhaps I am already digressing too far from the point, so let me answer more succinctly:

We don’t measure the need for a bridge by counting the number of people drowning in a river.

The second question seems to be more relevant to how governance works: What kind of data do we use to make transportation investment decisions?

The City passed a Master Transportation Plan back in early 2014, and it sets out priorities for the City’s transportation investments. It was developed in context of a bunch of other planning documents, including larger regional plans like the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy and the TransLink Transport 2040 regional transportation plan, both of which the City participated in. Internally, we have our own Official Community Plan (currently being updated), a relatively recent Sustainability Plan, and a variety of other strategies to make the City more equitable, safer, livable, and sustainable.

These plans all point to making active transportation modes (pedestrians, cycling, and transit) easier to access, safer, and more comfortable, as an important strategy towards the larger regional and local community development goals. This was reflected in our Master Transportation Plan with an established hierarchy for our transportation system:

In an ideal world, our transportation spending would reflect that hierarchy, but we are not there yet. This year, we will spend something like $4 Million* on asphalt, mostly to make roads smoother for drivers. At the same time, we will spend about $500,000* on sidewalk improvements and maintenance (which represents a pretty significant proportional increase over previous years), and the Crosstown Greenway improvements that started this entire conversation will cost us less than $125,000*. By any measure, the hierarchy in the MTP is aspirational, as travelling by car is still the preferred mode for a little more than 60% of residents.

(* all budget estimates, very close to reality, but not exact numbers) 

So the City has a well established and regionally-supported goal to encourage active modes, mostly by making them safer and more comfortable for all users. The only question left is what evidence do we have to suggest making active modes safer and more comfortable encourages their use, or provides the livability, sustainability, and inclusion goals the City is after?

I could start with Montreal, or Copenhagen, or Medellin, or even Vancouver. I can refer you to books by Jeanette Sadik-Khan or Charles Montgomery. We are not inventing a new wheel here (we are too small and too fiscally conservative a City to do that), but we are taking the best of what other jurisdictions have already demonstrated to work, and are warned by failures in other jurisdictions.

If you want to dig in to the academic underpinnings here, I can link you to resources about how protected bike lanes save lives and reduce injuries, and studies showing that communities where people are encouraged and supported in choosing active modes are happier, healthier, and more inclusive ones. Perhaps most importantly, I can show you the data that building proper infrastructure increases the number of cyclists, which actually correlates with cyclist safety much more than does helmet use (for example):

The Crosstown Greenway improvements are very small part of our transportation budget (less than 3% of this year’s budget for road improvements), and has numerous potential benefits to the community at large. As the City’s first foray into modern separated bikeway design, it may have a few kinks to work out, and it may take a bit of time for drivers to get their head around the new layout, but it is based on well-established design principles, and is a big step towards creating a safe, effective, and all-ages cycling network in the City.

That said, they were done as a bit of a trial, and I encourage everyone to let the City know what you like and don’t about the design – and provide suggestions about how the City could improve upon the design.

POST SCRIPT: I swear I did not read the New West Record that came out today before writing this post… 


As I noted a little earlier, this summer has been pretty active in New West. This last weekend the trend continued with the annual Pride Street Party. There were community groups booths, three stages with entertainment, an active kid’s area, beer gardens, food trucks, and local restaurants and beer gardens were filled to overflowing. While other parts of the City and the world were having confrontations about inclusiveness and diversity, thousands of people filled Columbia Street to celebrate victories won for inclusion and understanding, and had fun on a sunny afternoon.

It was a great day in New West, and one that would not have been possible without an army of volunteers.

New West Pride Society is a volunteer-run society that organizes and executes the entire event. The City helps with a grant through our festival grant program, and many sponsors step up to pay for everything from volunteer t-shirts to stage rental and advertising. However all of the actual work, the organization, the year of planning, the hundreds of tasks on event day, everything is done by volunteers.

It isn’t just Pride. The New West Farmers Market, the New West Cultural Crawl, The New West Grand Prix, the Hyack International Parade,  Pecha Kucha NW, the New West Film Fest, the events that make the City come alive, are run largely on the backs of volunteer labour. Lots of Volunteer labour.

No surprising point to this, just a short post to give an extra “Thanks” to the volunteers that make this City so full of great activity – from the Presidents of Societies that work all year long, to the folks who show up on game day to sell tickets or pick up litter. I hope that everyone who enjoyed an event this year will think about volunteering for next year’s version of whatever event they enjoyed (and it doesn’t have to be just one). It doesn’t take much time (many hands make light work), you might get a T-shirt (see banner), and it makes the event even more enjoyable for you. You can say “I helped make this happen”, you will help create more opportunities to enjoy the summer with your friends, and you will more likely than not make new friends.

…on Montreal

I wrote earlier about my spring trip back east, first to the FCM conference, then as a tourist for a few days in Ottawa. I don’t want this to turn into a Travel Blog (ugh, who needs another one of those?), but I do want to talk about the last leg of our trip, because Montreal blew my mind.

I have not visited Montreal in a couple of decades, and aside from the rampant bilingualism and historic buildings, the City had little in common with Ottawa. Montreal is so vibrant, it was so being lived in, that we almost didn’t want to leave.

We got around on the quick and efficient metro system. For $18, we got a three-day unlimited pass, and found the system easy to navigate, only occasionally crowded, clean (if a little well-worn in places), and friendly. Aside: It is notable, coming from a TransLink serviced area, that only 7 of the 40+ metro stations have elevators, and there is limited accessibility throughout the system. Perhaps a legacy of the age of the system, but it puts TransLink’s occasional accessibility issues into perspective when 90% of Metro is completely off limits to those who cannot navigate escalators and stairs.

Our other transportation source was Bixi, Montreal’s incredibly comprehensive bike share program. Bixi runs like the New York CitiBike, in that the tech and booking system is in a station kiosk, and bike must be returned to a station. This was never an issue on our two days of criss-crossing the City, as stations were ubiquitous. There were three stations within 1 block of our little hotel in the Village, and another two between us and the nearest Metro Station three blocks away. We paid $5 a day for unlimited 30-minute rides, occasionally checking a bike in and checking another out if our journey was longer that the maximum. The system operated flawlessly, and appeared to be very well used.

We thought Ottawa was a bike-friendly city, but Montreal takes it to an entirely different level. This is what it feels like when cycling is made equal to other modes in a City. Every journey we took, there was either a separated, protected bikeway, or a traffic calmed street bikeway, with the former more the rule than the exception. Light signals were designed with cyclists in mind, the network is connected and integrated with other modes. Overall, it just worked.

The result is obvious – we had, at times, Copenhagen-level bicycle traffic. There were a few of lycra-wearing Freds, but they were easily outnumbered by people in street clothes riding bikes of almost every shape and style, using the functional network to get around without much fuss. I would peg helmet usage in adults at about 30%, but with upright bikes and really well designed infrastructure, I don’t think I ever saw a conflict between a bike and another user. Quite the opposite, the few times we got a little turned-around with infrastructure, drivers seemed to treat us with an unfamiliar courtesy.

There are still people who think Vancouver is being too aggressive with bike lanes and normalizing cycling as a mode. There are people who think helmet laws are the best way to keep cyclists safe. My answer to them will now be Montreal. As a cycling advocate in the Lower Mainland for more than a decade, and someone now elected to make our City work better, I actually feel a little ashamed about how far ahead of us wintery, hilly, crowded, traffic-crazy Montreal is. Be assured: we are laggards; embarrassingly so.

The other part that made Montreal easy to love was the incredible animation of public spaces: Parklets, road “closures”, street art, festivals, patios, the whole damn scene. We walked a few blocks on a Wednesday night and stumbled upon a swing dance event in a public park, beer being sold, people hanging out and dancing, with what appeared to be very little fuss.

We soon discovered this was the rule, not the exception. For three days we travelled around on bikes finding streets closed and a stages set up, streets where traffic was being constrained by patio life, people playing or listening to music, stuff happening mid-week in May.

The streets of the Village, of the Plateau, of Mont Royal, of everywhere, were busy with retail and entertainment. Parklets, decks, restaurants, and a healthy-looking diversity of small street-level retail.

Travelling around on Bixi took us through the many residential neighbourhoods immediately adjacent to the main strips like St. Laurent, and I started to make the (obvious to my YIMBY friends) connection between the residential neighbourhoods and the street activity. and it comes down to this:

This type of 4- or 5-unit building, rental or condo, is ubiquitous in Montreal. There are many (and seemingly a growing number of) higher-rise condos in the centre of town, many areas on the fringes (a freeway-drive away from town) where relatively cheap single-family detached exist, but it is the medium-density, low-rise multi-unit apartment building that defines the livable neighbourhoods of Montreal.

I am sure there are other factors – cultural history, long winters, cosmopolitan population, laissez-faire laws, large student population – but I cannot help but connect this missing middle family-friendly density to the other features that make Montreal neighbourhoods so livable. The dependable dépanneur, the bike lanes, the lively streetfronts, the energy of the street: they all depend on a population density that supplies customers and neighbours, but doesn’t overwhelm space. This is the built form that so much of Greater Vancouver (including New Westminster) is scared of, even as our neighbourhoods struggle with being too expensive to live in, and too barren to support a vibrant community.

Seriously, we started to linger while walking past real estate offices to see what was on offer…

Trying stuff

I’m not writing much these days, mostly because I have been outside a lot. However, it is good to remind ourselves that summer days are getting shorter, and there is a lot going on New West right now. From Music on the River (which included finding new ways to program our public spaces) to our burgeoning Parklet and Public Art programs, the 7th Ave Greenway improvements and the New West Grand Prix – we have been receiving a lot of kudos for innovative new stuff in the City. We have also received some criticism for aspects of each of these, but my anecdotal evidence is that this has been the funnest summer in the New West in some time.

I can’t take credit for this, because it is almost all the result of creativity on part of our staff and efforts of many volunteers and other community members. However I am comfortable saying the volume of stuff going on is because Mayor and Council have opened to door to new things in a way that hasn’t happened often in the past. The feeling I get at Council is a willingness to try new things out before we dismiss them as unfeasible or risky or likely to create negative feedback.

My Urbanist geek friends will recognize a bit of Janette Sadik-Kahn in that. The former New York City Transportation Commissioner oversaw significant transformation of public spaces in New York under Mayor Bloomberg (including challenging congestion in Times Square – one of the busiest urban intersections in the US – by closing it to traffic and turning it into public space). In a talk she gave in Vancouver last year she emphasized one thing that struck several of us in the audience. Paraphrased a year later, she said spend more of your consultation money trying things instead of talking about trying things. In the long run, your City will save money and have more good things.

Me, acting total Fan-Boy with JS-K. That’s her book, you should read it.

I’ve already mentioned a few places where the City has taken this approach. The Uptown Parklet is cheap: a few painted jersey barriers, some fake grass, some plastic chairs, it isn’t an opulent public space. After a few initial adjustments to how it is operated, it is a popular public space that we put in for about the same cost as it would have taken for a full public consultation with open houses and on-line surveys, etc. to determine if we could convert three parking spots into a public space. We learned a lot from it, arguably more than we would have learned from the open houses and surveys, and we apply that learning elsewhere, and not just in other Parklets around the City, but in how we open up public spaces in general.

If we try things, they might work!

Another recent example is the new separated bike lanes on 7th Ave. You might not have noticed that we really did nothing here except put down paint. We did some local consultation with neighbours, and went through a discussion with the ACTBiPed and AAAC, as the design iterated a bit. What we didn’t do was install new pavement, put down extruded curbs, or install expensive planters and landscaping, or even do a lot of signage changes. Instead, we adopted modern engineering designs and installed them with paint to see how they work. This is not to say they are haphazardly installed – they meet the required engineering standards, based on similar designs in other places, and are demonstrably safer for most users than the old wide-road-with-sharrows design. I have already had some feedback on the lanes (both good and bad), and that is the purpose here. Those lanes, as the City’s first trial at turning car space into separate bike lanes, will give us more feedback on how the community will interact with the space than months with lines on drawings going to open houses will.

When the Q2Q bridge was put on the back burner for lack of funds, Mayor and Council decided to support a larger exploration of alternatives, including a ferry. I said at the time (and continue to feel) that a ferry is not a great alternative to a fixed link, for a bunch of reasons. However, if we make perfect the enemy of the good we will never get anywhere, so I was happy to support a pilot project to run a ferry. At least it could demonstrate if the connection would be appreciated by the residents and businesses of New West. In the spirit of Sadik-Kahn, it was a good idea to fast-track a trial, just to see what happens, and to learn what we don’t know about such a project.

The Front Street Mews was a longer-term plan, but the adjacent temporary public space with the porch swing and benches resulted from the application from Bosa to build a presentation centre on the north half of the Copps site. Council gave staff some free reign to make the space more comfortable and programmable, and the Downtown BIA put together the Fridays on Front programming to fit. One of the examples of the success of this project is running into staff from other Cities who are coming out see what New West was able to pull off. 

There are a few weeks of summer left! Fridays on Front is on until August 25, New West Pride Week launches next week including the Street Party on August 19th, and our biggest annual Arts event, the New West Cultural Crawl is happening this weekend! While you are at it, try out the Q2Q Ferry and provide your feedback to the City here. Enjoy the summer, it’ll be curling season soon enough.