Bikes on the SFPR

Bike lanes are in the news a bit again, here in New West, and out in one of our higher-profile western suburbs. It got me thinking about good and bad cycling infrastructure, and I haven’t gone off on a rant on this blog for a while, so make a cup of tea, because I am going to launch off on the Worst Piece of Cycling Infrastructure Ever®, known around these parts as the South Fraser Perimeter Road (“SFPR” or Highway 17). As this will most surely be tl;dr, you can skip down to the important part here.

When some previous Minister of Transportation (Falcon? Lekstrom? meh, it doesn’t matter) was hyping the region’s biggest-at-the-time motordom project, loosely defined as “the Gateway”, they were quick to point out the benefits to cyclists. The SFPR was announced as part of the largest MoT investment in cycling infrastructure of all time. This hyperbole was supported by the entire ~40km length of this glorious new road having cycling lanes affixed.

At the time, a few skeptics suggested that the shoulders of a high-speed truck route through farms and industrial areas may not be the ideal place to ride a bike, and by the time the new highway was opened, the previously-promised cyclist benefits were being seriously downplayed (hence all the dead links in that 4-year-old post above). But a Bike Route it is, to this day. There is a sign every 500m telling you so:

One of these green signs is found every 500 m for 40 km of great cycling infrastructure like this.

A couple of years on, the disaster of this poorly-placed, terribly-designed, and wholly-disingenuous cycling investment is pretty clear to anyone brave enough to venture onto this designated cycling route. No point dancing around the point: for cyclists of all skill levels, the SFPR is so unfriendly and dangerous that those “Bike Route” signs represent a reckless disregard for public safety.

That is a strong statement, so before I committed to it, I headed out to the SFPR with my bike to experience the length of the route in its harrowing glory, just to build up the temper necessary to commit that charge to hypertext. I went into it nervous, spent the ride terrified, and left enraged. Mission accomplished.

Funny I never ran into any other cyclists on this sunny fall day.

For the majority of the SFPR, the “Bike Route” is a 2.5 metre wide paved shoulder adjacent to industrial traffic moving at highway speeds. Nowhere is there a barrier protecting the shoulder from intrusions by trucks, not even rumble strips to warn drivers who may vary from their lane. The traffic is mixed, but the route was ostensibly built for and dominated by large trucks. The speed limit is allegedly 80 km/h, but speeds vary incredibly, from closer to 60 km/h around intersections (trucks accelerate slowly, after all, creating great rage moments for commuters!) to well over 100 km/h in the more open stretches.


In places where there is a soft shoulder or a low jersey barrier, having 80 km/h truck traffic blow by 2 metres from your left shoulder is unsettling. Where you are between those trucks and a 4 metre-high sound barrier wall (marked by the occasional gouge from vehicle swipes) or a 10-m concrete buttress, it is nerve-rattling.


The knowledge that a momentary lack of attention by one of those drivers, or an impromptu swerve or technical problem with your bike means certain death provides a certain… clarity of thought. That thought is not “sure am glad I wore my helmet!”

The rational move (other than to avoid the SFPR altogether, which I will get to later) is to squeeze as far over to the right and put as much space between your body and the trucks. The problem with this strategy is that the SFPR “Bike Routes” are dotted with particularly deep and treacherous rainwater catch basins, and the further you get from the traffic-swept white line, the thicker and more challenging the road shoulder debris becomes:

Rocks and a hard place.

The road debris on this route is not surprising for an industrial truck route, unless you are surprised by the raw number of rusty and broken bolts and other important-looking parts that are ejected from trucks. Debris encountered on my ride included rocks large and small, glass, plastic vehicle parts, kitty-littered oil slicks, random lumber, nails, tire carcasses, tie-downs and bungie cords, and the occasional dead animal. These only serve to heighten the chances of one of those life-limiting impromptu swerves or technical failures. Once you realize the “swept clear” parts of the bike lanes are only done so by vehicles crossing the line at speed that you start to wonder if the route is designed specifically to kill you.

I hope that speeding truck didn’t need those parts…

Or just designed to confuse you…

Seriously, what are they trying to do to us here?

To add another layer of frustration to this alleged “bike route” is its isolation. Choose the SFPR and you are stuck with the SFPR, because it largely fails to connect to an established regional network and actively prevents you from getting on or off the SFPR where these types of connections may be obvious.

There are two locations on either side of the Alex Fraser Bridge, where a perfectly safe, low-traffic road is separated from the SFPR (one by a tall sound barrier wall) in such a way that getting out of danger’s way is impossible. For lack of a connection here, crossing this 5 foot barrier requires a multi-kilometre detour.

That over there on the left is NOT a designated bike route.

This lack of connection to regional cycling infrastructure is most obvious at the three regionally-important bridges under which the SFPR passes. The quality of the cycling paths on those three bridges is (east-to-west) really good, terrible, and not too bad, but they are all nonetheless important links. Again, either no connection has been contemplated for the bike route, or actual multi-layer physical barriers have been installed to prevent an SFPR cyclist from getting to the bridge where connections would be natural.

You can’t get there from here.

To get on the Alex Fraser Bridge from the SFPR requires a 3-km detour through two hairy multi-lane intersections. The Pattullo requires 1.5km and riding right past a pedestrian overpass, which would make for a great connection if it wasn’t barriered from access from the bike lane. The connection to the great bike infrastructure on the Port Mann is so far that is it actually a shorter distance just to ride to the terrible cycling infrastructure on the Pattullo.

Multi-layer protection – keeping cyclists from entering or leaving the SFPR at the Pattullo.

So the SFPR fails at every aspect of effective cycling infrastructure: it lacks the most basic safety and comfort considerations, it lacks connections, it lacks any form of appeal. It is not surprising that during my ride of the entire 40km length of the SFPR, both ways (done over two sunny mid-week days early in the fall), I never saw a single other person on a bicycle on the entire route. However, every 500m there is one of those little green signs. Or something like this:

Share the Road!

So it is time for the cycling community to wake up and recognize we got played. Of course, this is the Ministry of Transportation’s standard playbook, so we could have seen it coming: This “bike route” is a safety pull-off area for trucks.

One of these signs improves safety.

We were sold “cycling benefits” of a Billion-plus-dollar piece of transportation infrastructure, and got something else: bike signs placed on paved shoulder really intended to keep trucks in the other two lanes moving if the occasional vehicle needs to pull over, or of someone just needs to park a trailer for a few hours. Aside from that, it is a gutter for gravel and trash and carcasses and truck parts to prevent them from accumulating where they may impede truck travel. This “Bike Route” is just a part of the truck route, nothing else.

This is why this shoulder exists, signage be damned.

(I need to super-emphasize this) The SFPR it was never meant to be a Bike Route. 

So what to do? I’d like first to call upon the new Minister of Transportation to take down those “Bike Route” signs.

It isn’t her fault, she didn’t create this mess, but she adopted it by getting elected, so it is on her to do the right thing. The MoTI must stop threatening the lives of cyclists. Removing the signs and anything else that may incite otherwise-unaware bicycle users from mistakenly entering this cycling abattoir. Put an end to the ruse that this is any place for bicycles.

I could ask her for many more things – investment in cycling infrastructure for Surrey and Delta to make up for the funding-securing lies told by her predecessors, a commitment to policy changes to prevent her staff from ever doing this kind of bait-and-switch again – but those are opportunities for the future, and will require budget and policy decisions and such. She is a busy person with a huge mandate and new to the job; there will be time for those niceties later. First we must undo this mistake made intentionally by the previous government.

In the short term, someone in Minister Trevena’s office needs to call up the road maintenance contractor that bought the rights to not clean the shoulders here, and ask them to send a crew out to remove those signs. It shouldn’t take more than a day, it won’t cost any money, and it’s the right thing to do.

Where the SFPR meets another truck freeway, cooler heads prevail.

Truth before Reconciliation

We had a discussion at Council this week on the next steps for Truth and Reconciliation. As I noted in my Council Report, I didn’t support the staff recommendation to launch a Task Force to bring partners together and talk about an implementation strategy. I suggested that we may be headed down the wrong path, and need a bit of a gut check here on how we will engage this process.

First off, I want to make it clear I am not critical of the work staff have done so far, nor do I want this early course-correction to make it look like we are slowing the process or any less committed to it. Quite the opposite, I take to heart requests I have heard from members of our community that we go into this process with intention, and do it right. And that takes some explanation.

Every time we discuss reconciliation, I feel the need to put a big caveat before all of my comments: I am not a person who lived an indigenous experience. I recognize I have a whole bunch to learn about what that experience is, about what reconciliation means to people who have suffered under the residential school system and other forms of cultural repression that fill our history as Canadians.

Yet here we are, and with the best of intentions, I am another settler being asked to provide leadership over a process that is, fundamentally, not about my voice or my community.

Like many of my council colleagues, I attended an event a Douglas College last week where the intersections between local governments and the Truth and Reconciliation process were the topic. Again I left feeling that there is so much I don’t know, that I feel challenged in understanding where we even start. It was actually in discussions with participants after the event that some questions were framed for me in a way that got me to think about our path forward in New Westminster.

First off, we have a staff working group, charged with determining how our City’s internal processes and larger policies may need to change in order to fulfill our community’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. I think that is an important step, and within the structure of a local government, we need to do this. I have faith in our staff’s ability to interface our internal structures and regulatory frameworks with whatever comes out of the reconciliation conversation.

However, the proposed next step, forming a Task Force of internal and external people, first had me asking who would serve on such a task force, and what role does Council have on it. How would we decide on representation? Wait – why am *I* deciding on representation? Ultimately, this led to questioning if a Task Force is really the structure we want to use to answer questions – or even to raise questions.

One thing that has been bothering me since this Council opened the discussion about reconciliation is that every news story, every debate eventually ends up at talking about a statue. It seems that some think we need to deal with the statue, or take a few similar simple (but arguably very symbolic) actions like changing road signs, then the City can say we have done something and move on to worrying about roads and sewers and parks. And of course, the topic of the names of places becomes a rallying point for supporters and opponents of… well I guess what they support or oppose is pretty loosely defined, but “us” and “them” is at the heart of all of those arguments. It’s “their” statue, it’s “our” name, why do “they” not respect our position?

When I was discussing this the other day with a really wise friend, she asked me (and I paraphrase) what is reconciliation before we have truth? We need to first open up respectful discussion, and explore the truth of this community. Not about statues or place names, but about our experiences. To do that, we need to create spaces and opportunities for people to speak their truth. And those conversations may be very difficult.

As I was quoted (and again, I was paraphrasing someone smarter than me), a Task Force that meets once a month in an office and operates by Roberts Rules of Order in relation to a Term of Reference is about as colonial a structure as anyone can imagine. It is actually designed to avoid and get past difficult conversations in the interest of getting business done. The Witness Blanket visiting our community and the resultant conversations that happened at the Anvil and at kitchen tables around that installation, were a beginning to the conversation, but I don’t think the conversation is over. The bigger issue is – I don’t know how to write the continuation of that conversation into a Terms of Reference.

I don’t want to constrain those conversations with the wrong structure. We need know from the indigenous community what space they need to share their truth, and we need to allow settlers here in New Westminster, whether they arrived yesterday or are fourth generation, to equally share their truth. To be offended. To self-reflect. To learn.

We may end up putting together a Task Force at some point to make recommendations to Council, but we are not there yet. To get there, we need to get some people experienced in leading these conversations, preferably someone who has viewed this challenge through a lived indigenous experience, and ask them how best to connect with indigenous communities and the voices we often fail to hear. We need guidance on creating the space for that conversation. It may be here in New West, it may be somewhere else. It may be around a table, it may be around a fire. What is important is that we not ask our partners to fit into our space, or into our structure, The point is, I DON’T KNOW, and I argue few in the City do know.

So I moved that the Staff Working Group on Reconciliation seek an external consulting organization experienced in working on reconciliation dialogues to develop a communication and relationship-building process that all parties are welcomed to share their experience and their vision for reconciliation.

We are starting a journey here, and there is almost guaranteed to be bumpy points along the path, but we believe in the destination, and need to travel together.

Council – Nov. 20, 2017

Our Council meeting on Monday was an emotional roller-coaster. There was some good news and some great discussions about the future of reconciliation, measuring our OCP, and empowering diversity in the City on the Agenda, but we started with a challenging situation where decisions have real human impacts.

Remedial Action Order – 509 Eleventh Street
This may have been the most emotionally challenging situation I have experienced at Council. A home in the Brow neighbourhood is in a serious state of disrepair, and our Bylaws and Buildings staff are of the opinion that it constitutes a risk to occupants and an offence to the neighbourhood. After almost 5 years of working with the owner and incremental enforcement, staff came to Council to ask for permission to legally Order the owner to take action, or to take action as a City in the owner’s stead to protect human health.

The process here is laid out under the Community Charter, and Council must act rather like a judge in a semi-judicial process: a case is made by staff and the landowner is allowed to respond to that case, and we are able to act based on the evidence we hear.

I was convinced by the evidence that the place is not safe for human occupation, and I was satisfied that staff have taken sufficient, even extraordinary, measures to help this landowner bring his house in to compliance. Unsightly is one thing, but this goes well beyond neighbourhood standards of unsightliness, there is a real human health concerns here, we need to protect our residents, the neighbourhood, and our First Responders if they should need to respond to an emergency here – that is our job as a Council, and as a City. We had to act.

This process brought no joy, and there really is no good outcome except the landowner fixing his house and making it safe for the person who lives in it. There is a real risk here of the person living in the house becoming homeless, but there is also a real risk of the person becoming seriously ill or being killed just by living in this space. I hope our social service agencies can provide the supports necessary to help the resident, and after the Remedial Action Order process was completed here, Council moved to request staff act to assure that the resident and homeowner have access to supports available to them.

The following items were Moved on Consent:

Update on the Downtown Transportation Plan
Our Transportation Group is updating the traffic plan for Downtown. This isn’t about re-writing the Master Transportation Plan, but about finding spot improvements and local strategies to help the goals of the MTP be achieved in the Downtown neighbourhood. These is a public consultation process going on here (including a workshop next week), so if you have opinions about traffic in the Downtown, follow this link.

2018 City Grant Programs – Allocation of Funds
Every year, we give out almost $1 Million to community groups through our various grant programs. Most of this money comes from General Revenue, some comes from dedicated funds (i.e. parking fees and electronic billboard income). The applications for 2018 Grants are already in, but Council needs to approve the grant allocations (up to $950,000 this year, an increase of a little more than 3% over last year) before we start the work of telling most applicants that there isn’t enough money in the kitty for every request to be filled.

Engineering Users Fees and Utility Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7968, 2017
Back on November 6th, we reviewed Engineering Fees, and the proposed changes for 2018. This is the Bylaw that brings those changes into force. Council moved to approve this Bylaw for various Readings.

229 Eleventh Street: Proposed Rezoning to CD Zone to Permit Construction of a Duplex and Laneway House – Bylaw for First and Second Readings
Council moved to allow this project, which will bring some infill density to Brow of the Hill, to go to Public Hearing, so I will hold my comments until after that hearing.

430 Boyd Street, 350 and 354 Stanley Street and an Unaddressed Parcel of Land Fronting on Boyd Street: Issue Notice to Consider Issuance of Development Variance Permit and Issue Development Permit
Council moved to allow this project, which will bring some more townhouse development to the Queensborough neighbourhood, to go to Public Hearing, so I will hold my comments until after that hearing.

The following items were Removed From Consent for discussion:

Proposal for a Truth and Reconciliation Task Force
Staff proposed setting up a Task Force to guide the Reconciliation process that Council committed to earlier in the year. I moved instead that we take a slightly different path in bringing in some external guidance at this step. I have a bunch to say about this, and will save that for a subsequent blog post, because it isn’t a short discussion.

The short version borrows from ideas expressed by much wiser people in the community than me: we need to do this with intention, and do it right, and that requires us to be very thoughtful about the structures we use for conversation before we engage in conversation.

More to come.

Official Community Plan Implementation: Work Program for Endorsement
This was the first report of two for the evening that discussed the next steps in Official Community Plan implementation. It discusses how staff will track the changes in housing proposed in the new Land Use Plan to determine if we are achieving the goals of housing diversity we set out in the OCP. Staff will track projects for two years, and will track projects that may start but not be achieved, to determine what the barriers are to bringing more mixed density development on tap.

The appendix also reported on some policy work that staff is going to have to defer, simply for staff capacity reasons. This is frustrating, but a good reality check for Council – we are quick to suggest staff should do more things, are not so quick to recognize that we are a relatively small City will limited resources, and every new task delays other tasks.

My only concern (and I expressed this at Council) was the deferral of the development of a Short Term Rentals (read: AirBnB and VRBO) policies. I asked more than a year ago for this work to begin in the city, and I am not happy with waiting until after 2019 to address this issue. This is a fast-moving area, and with Vancouver recently implementing pretty restrictive rules, we are going to feel the force of this in our community sooner than we think.

As this issue is important an emergent, I asked staff to report back on the resources they need to make it happen, so we can have an open discussion about whether we want to spend that money, or are happy waiting.

Official Community Plan Monitoring and Evaluation Program
The other part of the OCP is the long list of policies and actions (aside from Land Use) that will move us towards the City we envision for 2040 and beyond. This report outlines the way we will assure the OCP isn’t another binder on a shelf, but is an active document that drives council and staff towards the goals the community placed the most value on.

Reporting out every 5 years on progress (at a timescale that makes OCP changes appropriate and manageable) and doing annual “updates” will provide accountability and transparency.

My only recommendation is that we think about structuring this reporting around a dashboard model, similar to the ones recently developed by Metro Vancouver. With a regularly-updated web dashboard, we can incorporate new data as it arrives, and make it public. This is also much easier to digest and share than having a report buried in a council package – as riveting as those may be.

Council moved to receive Correspondence:

Letter from Mayor Coté to the Board of Education, School District No. 40 dated November 10, 2017 regarding the Report from the May Day Task Force
The School District is currently engaging in a public consultation process around the May Day program. I have attended a meeting at the School Board, and heard much discussion about the topic in the community. Out of respect for the process the School District is working on, I am holding off on providing comments right now, other than this official correspondence Mayor and Council are sending to the District.

We then addressed the usual raft of Bylaws:

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (229 Eleventh Street) No. 7915, 2017
This Bylaw would make the zoning changes required to facilitate an infill density project in the Brow of the Hill. Council gave the Bylaw two readings. It will go to Public Hearing on January 29, 2018. C’mon out and let us know what you think.

Engineering User Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7968, 2017
As discussed on November 6th, this bylaw that codifies the changes in engineering fees was given three readings.

Housekeeping Amendment Bylaw (Sign Bylaw) 7961, 2017
As discussed on November 6th, this bylaw that cleans up some language in our new Sign Bylaw was adopted. It is now the Law of the Land. Haven’t you seen the signs?

Housing Agreement (43 Hastings Street) Bylaw No. 7941, 2017
As discussed on November 6th, this bylaw that codifies the no-market supportive housing nature of the project on City land in the downtown is now the Law of the Land. Adjust your behavior as appropriate.

Engineering User Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7964, 2017
Development Services Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7967, 2017
Cultural Services Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 7965, 2017

Electrical Utility Amendment Bylaw No. 7963, 2017
These bylaws that make annual adjustments to various city fees, which were given three readings on November 6th, were adopted. Adjust your budgets accordingly.

Revenue Anticipation Borrowing Amendment Bylaw No. 7962, 2017
As discussed on November 6th, this bylaw that gives staff the flexibility for limited borrowing to cover short-term cash needs is now the Law of the Land.

Finally, we addressed a piece of NEW BUSINESS:

Motion on Notice: Diversity Mandate for City Committees
This initiative, brought forward by Councilor Trentadue and some ass-kicking members of our community, is not timely, it is overdue. At almost every level, our local government is run by people who increasingly don’t live the broader experience of the members of our community. From Residents’ Associations to Council Committees to elected positions, the political voice in our community is dominated by middle class middle aged white guys. Like me.

One way to shift that conversation is to assure we seek diversity on Council Advisory Committees. These committees not only bring ideas and experience to Council, they often provide a “training ground” in how local government works for people interested in running for Council or other levels of government.

So Council moved to support Councillor Trentadue’s motion, and we will be expecting Staff to provide us a Diversity Mandate to assure that Council Advisory Committees reflect the diversity of our community before the next recruitment round.

Ask Pat: Noise

relic57 asks—

Living on the corner of 6th and Victoria, I am one of hundreds of people adversely affected by the relentless construction noise by not one, but two towers underway at the same time. Just as the first one is winding down, the next has started. This is now three straight years of daily noise, often six days a week. The latest, the so-called ‘Beverly’ on the site of the demolished Masonic Hall, is in its excavation phase. It’s bad enough to have to endure the mind-splitting pneumatic drilling through the workweek, but the contractors (nameless for now) have no compunction whatever starting up at 7:00 a.m. Saturdays as well. This is six days a week where the noise can be so intense I am driven from my apartment.

This is not fair to me or the many others living nearby. These developments are not altruistically based, but purely profit driven. If I were to engage in some activity that disrupts a business, I could be liable. But developers can do anything they want, anytime they want, and they can buy their way into disrupting the little guaranteed quiet time people now have with special permits.

I have commented on this on Twitter (and engaged you a couple of times on other matters) and once received a reply from Mayor Cote informing me that the construction noise bylaws were going to be revised this spring. It is now spring. Nothing has apparently changed.

I have lived in New West for four years. The first year was great, the most quiet area I ever lived in. Then the ‘Novare’ started up across the street. Now the demolition of the hall, and work on the ‘Beverly’, literally next door. By the time that is finished, the Bosa twin tower monstrosity on the waterfront will be underway (we can all look forward to the pile-driving echoing up the hill for months or years, can’t we?), and maybe, just for fun, city hall will finally approve the over-height 618 Carnarvon proposal as well, only a block away from me. All together, seven or eight straight years of noise in total, capped by the probable demoviction from my own cheap walk-up once the area is gentrified enough.

So, what’s up with the noise? These bylaws were written when they built one little tower a year around here, if that–not ten. People don’t all go to work elsewhere anymore–they work at home, or they work shifts, or they’re retired. Why put us through this? These towers won’t even ease the accommodation crisis. They’re all aimed at high or relatively high earners–even the rentals.

There is a lot to unpack here, which is part of the reason it has taken me so long to address this Ask Pat that arrived this summer. I will try to concentrate on the sentences ending in question marks, in order:

“we can all look forward to the pile-driving echoing up the hill for months or years, can’t we?”
The Bosa Project on the waterfront will indeed require the driving of piles. However, this issue was discussed with the developer as part of their rezoning process. They have committed to using secant piles instead of sheet piles where possible along the periphery of the excavation. This more expensive technology was used recently for the Metro Vancouver pump station project in Sapperton (the big hole in the ground to the east you can see from the SkyTrain), creating much less disruption to the neighbourhood. They are also going to use vibratory driving of structural piles where viable. This technology is quieter, but does have other concerns around low-frequency vibration and potential impact on adjacent properties, so a Geotechnical Engineer will have to choose when this approach is, or is not, appropriate. Long story short – pile driving will be getting quieter, but won’t be going away.

So, what’s up with the noise?
Construction is noisy. Pile driving is disruptive, but so is pretty much every other aspect of building a modern building – hammering, drilling, pumping concrete and running of heavy equipment. The City has a Construction Noise Bylaw that exists separately from our regular Noise Bylaw, because of the special needs of construction sites, and the (relatively) short-term nature of any single construction site.

A proposal to update in the Construction Noise Bylaw came to Council in July, after Council asked Staff to address public concerns coming from the driving of piles for the two properties on either end of the McInnes Overpass. The update proposal included reducing construction hours on Saturday (you can go here to read the Minutes of the meeting where this was discussed), and discussed the changes in pile driving technology I already mentioned. The final draft of the Bylaw has not yet come to Council. The report indicated that our mid-week construction noise allowance was similar to other cities, but most cities allowed later starts and earlier ends of the Saturday construction schedule. We don’t allow construction on Sundays (except in your own home). So if the Bylaw is updated, I would expect it will bring us more in line with our neighbouring communities.

Why put us through this?
There is a lot of construction going on in the City, which should be no surprise to anyone. The region is growing, and the Downtown Community Plan includes a lot of new suites in order to allow people to live near our highest-service transit hubs. Both the tower recently completed next to you and the Masonic Lodge project went through extensive community review, including Public Hearings three or four years ago. In the intervening years, the regional housing crisis has further eroded the available housing, especially rental housing. Both projects are dedicated rental buildings, bringing (respectively) 282 and 151 rental suites on-line in a market where vacancy is currently 0.3%. It is hard to argue these types of developments are not an urgent need in our community.

Again, I recognize my answer is not going to satisfy you. Aside from stopping or construction of new homes (worsening our regional housing crisis) or regulating construction hours such that their construction is further delayed (potentially extending the number of months that disruptive noise is created while delaying bringing buildings on-line), I’m not sure what solution I can offer. I am open to suggestions.

Ask Pat: Braids

Rudy asks—

Hey, Pat. Is the Braid section of the Brunette Fraser Greenway still planning on being constructed in then near future? I know the city webpage doesn’t seem to have been updated in over a year, and still states that it’s due to be completed by December of 2017. Has the uncertainty over the design of the Brunette Interchange project affecting this? To be honest, while I would appreciate this section being completed soon (as I bike from Sapperton through to United Blvd every weekday), it does sound like a bit of waste if the interchange ends up making all of this irrelevant in just a few years.

Short answer is yes, for the most part, though it should be done by now.

There has been a plan to improve the connection between Braid Station and the Bailey Bridge, Canfor Avenue, and the rest of the Braid industrial area for cyclists and pedestrians for a couple of years. It’s been a pretty well-developed plan for long enough that I went to one of those run-up-to-the-election funding announcements for the money we got from the Federal Government to pay for part of this. The federal election of 2015. Here is my understanding of what has happened since:

After a year of design and consultation, which led to some pretty significant re-design, the plan was to do the work this summer. However, the changed plans were changed again when a significant sewer line under the road was found to be in unexpectedly poor condition, and in need of replacement. In general, we try to avoid putting fresh asphalt and curbs on top of a pipe you are going to have to dig up very soon, so the pipe work needs to come before the road improvements. To add fun to the mix, the portion of pipe needing the extra work is near the existing rail lines, which significantly increases the complications related to doing the pipe work. So the project was delayed, but will be moving forward, and we should see some work done this winter and spring (the City page has been updated!), pending interesting findings during excavation*.

As far as I know, the work should not be influenced by the Brunette Interchange work. The greenway section where works are planned will be a greenway for the foreseeable future, and the related driveway improvements for the adjacent buildings will need to be there to provide access to those buildings regardless of Braid/Brunette upgrades. The eventual interchange project may influence the ends of the greenway, or even intersect it, but the majority of the pedestrian/bike improvements will still be needed. As far as I know, we are good to go.

Rick asks—

Whatever happened to the Coquitlam-New Westminster Brunette Interchange joint task force? The announcement press release states that reports back to council were due by February 27.

These folks?

I have no updates since the news release of March. At that time, the Task Force had established some common interests, and we issued a letter to the Ministry to let them know where we found agreement, and to provide some opinions on the proposed interchange options. Perhaps not surprisingly, the work came to a pause shortly after that as we went into an election. I’m not sure the lengthy period between that election and a new Minister of Transportation being given a mandate expedited the work in any way. As the new Minister has a pretty full plate, I expect a moderate-priority project like this will be addressed after a few more raging fires are stamped down.

If I was to guess (and this is nothing more than a guess), I suspect we will hear something in the spring about next steps on this project, and the Ministry’s goals in light of the suggestions set forth by Coquitlam and New Westminster.

*one of the charms of a 150 year old City is that most times you dig a hole, you are surprised by what you find down there. These surprises apparently delay a large number of City projects, which gets me thinking about how we do contingency budgeting in this City needs a bit of a re-vamp.

Council – Nov 6, 2017

Our first November meeting included an afternoon Workshop where we dug into our utility funds, as part of our annual budget deliberations. Utility rates are going up, folks. As we try to buffer the impacts of higher costs from the suppliers of our water and electricity, and those that receive and manage our waste stream, we run the risk of eroding our reserve funds. There is a lot to balance here, but sustainability is our primary concern.

Once we got to our regular evening meeting, and its pretty lengthy Agenda, the following items were Moved on Consent:

43 Hastings Street: Housing Agreement (43 Hastings Street) Bylaw No. 7941, 2017 to Secure Six Affordable Housing Units – Bylaw for Three Readings
This is the housing agreement that will protect the affordability and rental nature of this affordable housing project in perpetuity. This project is a partnership between the City, Catalyst, and Community Living, and will provide affordable housing to families in need, and adults living with disabilities. It is a small project, and not the whole answer to housing affordability in our community, but it is an example of what the City can do with our limited land and budget when we partner with social service agencies already operating in our community.

Council moved to approve the Bylaw for three readings.

Sign Bylaw Amendment: Housekeeping Amendment Bylaw (Sign Bylaw) 7961, 2017 – Bylaw for Three Readings
These are three minor amendments to our relatively young Sign Bylaw, addressing when a new business can install a sign, a bit of a language clarification on insurance requirements, and a clarification of the definition of “temporary” sign. Nothing here strikes me as earth-shattering.

Council moved to approve the Bylaw for three readings.

232 Lawrence Street: Official Community Plan Amendment and Rezoning Application from Queensborough Neighbourhood Residential Dwelling Districts (RQ-1) to Comprehensive Development Districts (CD –74) – Bylaws for Consideration of First and Second Readings
This Bylaw amends the Official Community Plan and Rezones a piece of City-owned land in Queensborough to permit the building of a daycare facility. Council moved to give the Bylaw two readings, meaning it will go to Public Hearing in November, so I will hold my comments until then.

Users Fees and Rates Review Bylaws for 2018, Bylaws for Three Readings
We received reports on these fee increases last week. This is the rate changes returned on Bylaw format, which Council approved going forward for three readings.

The rate for a business license for a Tea Cup Reader has not been increased. Still a bargain at $46.93 a year.

Revenue Anticipation Borrowing Amendment Bylaw No. 7962, 2017 for 3 readings
The City maintains a $3Million line of credit to prevent us running into a cash shortage as we process various payments. The law says we can’t borrow without Bylaw approval by Council, so we do this annually to keep everything on the up-and-up. Council approved this for three readings.

Mercer Stadium Skatepark Relocation- Preferred Location
The Skate park next to Mercer Stadium has to go, because the new High School is going to be built on top of it. Fortunately, it is pretty much at the end of its useful life, so the timing for building a new skate park is good, and we have reserves in the budget for this work. We just need to find a spot for the new Skate Park.

The City spent a year doing public consultation and options analysis (who can forget the City hiring a guy named Hippie Mike?) and now have a well-developed options strategy. If all goes as planned, we will replace the old skate park with a larger family-friendly facility at Queens Park, near the former Arenex site, and a smaller more “Urban” skate spot downtown under the Parkade.

We are now going to enter into a participatory design process. Frankly, none of Council knows much about skate park design, so we need the skating public to tell us what works. C’mon out and tell us what you think.

220 Carnarvon Street (Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church): Heritage Designation and Zoning Amendment Bylaws – Bylaws for Consideration of First and Second Readings
This little church downtown wants to expand a bit on its footprint to allow for a residential unit and a new Community Room. This requires a zoning amendment, which will come with Heritage Designation for the building. This project will go to Publci Hearing, so I will hold my comments until then.

602 and 620 Ewen Avenue and 257 Boyne Street: Development Permit Application to Allow a 16 Unit Townhouse Development – Issuance of Development Permit
This is one of the later steps on a very long approval process for this relatively small townhouse project in Queensborough. Council voted to approve the issuance of the Development Permit after some revisions after design panel, approval by the Q’Boro RA, and a public hearing for the zoning amendment back in May of 2016.

1102, 1110, 1116 and 1122 Salter Street: Development Permit Application to Allow a 78 Unit Residential Development – Issuance of Development Permit
This Development Permit issuance for this large townhouse project in Queensborough comes after the Public Hearing in May 2017, when Council approved the zoning.

Recommendations from the International Relations Task Force
The City is working on a reconciliation process, and these are some steps that are occurring at the same time. I’m a little concerned, based on the previous conversation the City, that the topic of the Begbie statue is going to dominate what needs to be a much larger conversation regarding the past, present, and future or our City. However, it appears to me that everyone involved is entering these discussions with open ears, and a genuine desire to seek consensus and understanding. I am looking forward to the conversation.

The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Proposed Potash Export Facility at Fraser Surrey Docks
A mining company is applying to the Port for permits to build a facility at Fraser Surrey Docks to move potash through their facility (I blogged some early comments about this already). To reiterate, this is early in the review process. At this stage, our best approach is to clearly define to the Port what concerns we may anticipate having, so that they can assure those impacts are addressed in the review process.

Potash is a pretty innocuous substance compared to almost any other bulk commodity – its not acutely toxic, carcinogenic, or flammable. As far as a nuisance, it doesn’t smell bad and in the forms used for shipping it is hard to generate a meaningful amount of dust. I think noise, light pollution, and dust are the impacts likely to concern our residents here, and we need to let the Port know we will be reviewing and commenting upon their studies in these areas.

Status of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project
In contrast to Potash, diluted bitumen is demonstrably nasty stuff for human health and the environment. Kinder Morgan has provided some revised route maps that put a significant portion of the pipeline immediately adjacent to the Brunette River on the New West – Burnaby – Coquitlam border.

In my opinion, building this pipeline along the Brunette River, through areas that were improved as compensatory habitat for other industrial construction, is an assault on our community, and an insult to the work of people like Elmer Rudolph from the Sapperton Fish and Game Club who spent decades returning the Brunette River to ecological health. This is one of the most valuable, and most threatened, ecological zones in the City, and we need to be vocal about our opposition to its being threatened like this.

Additionally, from a regional planning perspective, the triangle between Braid Station, the Brunette Overpass, and the Bailey Bridge is already highly constrained by rail infrastructure, riparian areas needing protection, and historic use. New West, Coquitlam, and MoT are challenged in finding a viable option to improve the transportation options though this area, and this pipeline routing will further constrain that already problematic situation. The NEB-regulated buffer areas around a high pressure pipeline moving half a million barrels of toxic and explosive hydrocarbons per day are, understandably, very constraining on other land use.

For these reason, we have to reiterate the proposed routing is simply not acceptable to New Westminster. I further requested that we cc our Member of Parliament about our concerns, as this pipeline is being built under Federal authority, and we need to let the alleged environmentalist running the country know about this crime.

Royal City Curling Club Funding Request
The RCCC applied for some financial assistance to help with some building capital improvements. I recused myself from this conversation. I don’t strictly have a conflict, I have no fiduciary interest and have not served on the board of the RCCC for 4 years, however I am a member of the club, and there is at least a perception of conflict if I advocate around the Council table for this project.

Proposed 2018 Schedule of Regular Council Meetings
Plan your social calendar accordingly.

Social Development Partnership Opportunities: New Provincial Government – Revised Attachment
There are many ways our local government can partner with senior government agencies to assure social development of the community is supported. We already have robust programs for homelessness, daycare, and social inclusion, and have worked hard to forge partnerships with senior government and not-for-profit agencies, but we simply don’t have the resources to act alone in making our community sustainable in the social pillar. Understanding where the new provincial government programs are heading, and identifying opportunities for us to make new partnerships is part of our larger strategy.

Density Bonus Program: Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Density Bonus) No. 7947, 2017 to Update Density Bonus Rates – Bylaw for First and Second Readings
We discussed this at greater length back in June 12, 2017. This is the program where we the development community may receive location-appropriate density rights above that envisioned in the OCP or Zoning Bylaw, in exchange for amenity money the City can use to build density-supporting infrastructure and community amenities, from daycare to public art. This program has been in place for 7 years, and this Bylaw adjusts the rates to better match the trends in regional development.

Council moved to give this Bylaw two readings, and send it to Public Hearing in November.

1084 and 1130 Tanaka Court and a Portion of the Tanaka Court Road Right of Way: Rezoning from M-2 to CD Zone
This is a vacant lot in the commercial area near Lowes, where rezoning is required to allow a three-story commercial building. This project will go to Public Hearing, so I will hold my comments until then.

118 Royal Avenue: Rezoning and Development Permit Application – Preliminary Report
This project is in the early stages, but will result in a mutli-family townhouse or rowhouse project adjacent to the playing field beside QayQayt school (St. Mary’s Park) where there is currently a single family home. The report outlines some concerns I had about the orientation of the development relative to the playing field, and the established desire to create a greenway connection aside this site, but it is again early in the process and there will be committee and public review of these plans before we make any big decisions.

We then went through a remarkably lengthy Bylaws shuffle:

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 7947, 2017 to Update Density Bonus Rates
As discussed above, this Bylaw to codify new Density Bonus rates was given two readings and will go to Public Hearing on November 27. C’mon out and tell us what you think!

Heritage Designation Bylaw (220 Carnarvon Street (Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church)) No. 7958, 2017
Zoning Amendment Bylaw (220 Carnarvon Street (Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church)) No. 7959, 2017
As discussed above, these Bylaws to permit the expansion and historic protection of the small church in Downtown was given two readings and will go to Public Hearing on November 27. C’mon out and tell us what you think!

232 Lawrence Street: Official Community Plan Amendment;
232 Lawrence Street: Rezoning Application from Queensborough Neighbourhood Residential Dwelling Districts (RQ-1) to Comprehensive Development Districts (CD –74)
As discussed above, these Bylaws to permit the development of a daycare facility on City lands in Queensborough was given two readings and will go to Public Hearing on November 27. C’mon out and tell us what you think!

Housing Agreement (43 Hastings Street) Bylaw No. 7941, 2017
As discussed above, this Bylaw to support an affordable housing development on City lands was given three readings.

Housekeeping Amendment Bylaw (Sign Bylaw) 7961, 2017
As discussed above, this Bylaw to make minor changes to our Sign Bylaw was given three readings.

Engineering User Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7964, 2017;
Development Services Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 7967, 2017;
Cultural Services Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 7965, 2017;
Electrical Utility Amendment Bylaw No. 7963, 2017
These Bylaws to codify the proposed rate changes discussed ove the last couple of meetings were given three readings.

Revenue Anticipation Borrowing Amendment Bylaw No. 7962, 2017
This Bylaw that permits our finance department to secure a line of credit to protect our cash position was given three readings.

Zoning Amendment (420 Boyne Street Animal Shelter) Bylaw No. 7944, 2017
This Bylaw to permit the development of a new Animal Care facility on City land in Queensborough, which was given a Public Hearing on October 30, was adopted by Council. It is now the Law of the Land.

Street & Traffic Bylaw Amendment Bylaw No. 7957, 2017
This Bylaw to make housekeeping and language changes the Bylaw that makes our streets and parking lots work was adopted. It is now the Law of the Land, please adjust your behavior appropriately.


Notice of Motion: Diversity Mandate for City Committees
I’m pretty excited to see Councillor Trentadue bring forward a Notice of Motion regarding diversity on our Council Advisory Committees. We will discuss next week!

CLI 2017

Concomitant to being on City Council, I am involved with more than a few other projects. Two of these are membership in the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council, and Board Member of the Community Energy Association. These two organizations collaborated last week to put on the first Climate Leadership Institute conference in Richmond. If you are a New Westminster resident, you paid for me to attend, so here is my report on what you got for your 1/3 of a penny each.

(I feel I need to mention here that it was a pretty intensive program, and I have dozens of pages of notes, so I need to do quite a bit of distilling. Everything below if my filtered impression of the program, and may not reflect another person’s experience, and every quote is a paraphrase from memory or scribbled notes!)

This was an interesting 2.5-day event that brought together local government elected officials from across BC, municipal staff working in energy and emissions policy, and subject matter experts across the broad spectrum of energy efficiency and climate change policy. The format was a repeated pattern of a keynote presentation, a panel discussion, then an intensive break-out conversation where the participants could share their local successes and challenges related to the topics covered by the panels. This schedule drove collaborative thinking, shared learning, and more than a little inspiration.

The first session was on communications – how do we lead productive conversations on this politically difficult topic? Aside from some pretty useful self-reflection on how we are communicating personally and on the social media (Do we spout facts, or talk about our beliefs? Are we open to being wrong? Are you silent for fear of being judged?) we heard from some organizations who are learning how to effectively lead conversations: the Pembina Institute, the BC Sustainable Energy Association, Clean Energy Canada. We also discussed current communication challenges related to climate policy: How do you talk to a denier – or do you even bother? Does “Decongestion Charging” mean anything to anyone? With so much bad info on Social Media, how to react?

My takeaways from this were not profound, except in that I recognize I have shifted a bit on this blog and in public from speaking my passions to speaking facts and pragmatics. I think there is a space for the latter – I strive to be factual – but it is the first part that matters, and makes people want to listen to or read my ideas. I gotta get that passion back…

The second session was opened by former Premier and Mayor of Vancouver Mike Harcourt. He gave a pretty interesting “inside basebell” historic run-down of the politics of Greater Vancouver’s regional transportation and infrastructure planning, from Expo86 to today. He spoke of the politician’s paradox – the need to have a long term vision and also deliver in the short term to get re-elected so that vision can be realized. In the end, we all fail, but can move the baton forward, and good work can get done (or undone) by those with the ability to project a vision.

This led to a panel discussion on policy creation an implementation within complex (and often political) organizations. It was less about specific ideas (although some ideas I’ll talk about later arose here), and more about how to champion ideas through an organization as complex as a City. Do we make climate action part of a strategic plan? What happens when your strategic plan gets old (as happens quickly in this fast-moving tech-driven policy area)? What point to making new plans if you haven’t the budget or political capital to see it implemented? We also talked quite a bit about how we measure and report out the results of climate policy, in order to assure our staff are accountable to our council, and our Council is accountable to the public that elect them.

The third panel brought together energy managers from North Vancouver, East Kootenay, Richmond, Campbell River and our own New Westminster to talk about initiatives unique to each community that was making a difference in the their community in reducing energy use or emissions. We were presented a variety of policy tools, technology approaches, and strategies – including the successes and the challenges. I did note that New Westminster’s Urban Solar Garden got quite a bit of interest from other regions and communities.

We had a couple of powerful presentations on the future of global energy systems and on bringing the changes home to our communities in meaningful ways. I really need to write a separate blog post about this, because it takes us to interesting places. In short, the world’s energy economy is changing much faster than we ever thought possible. Canada’s National Energy Board, the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry and approves pipelines recently shifted their prediction of the year when Canada will hit peak oil. Last year, they said after 2040; this year they say 2019. Think about the meaning of that on every aspect of our economy. It’s happening, the only question is whether we will be ready. I’m looking at you, Jason Kenny.

On the last day, there were break-out sessions that explored in depth some of the topics not yet covered by the conference (in my case, we talked about food security, and the role that food systems play in our community energy and emissions goals). We also had presentations from the Provincial Government, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and the Real Estate Foundation of BC, all of who outlined grant opportunities local governments can use to develop studies, to implement new programs, or even for capital costs that will result in reduced energy use and emissions.

Finally, a theme I took away from the entire conference was one of timescales. On one hand, we need to think long-game in energy reduction and community emissions. We cannot replace our vehicle fleet in a year, or our building systems in a decade. On the other hand, things are moving fast. Electrical vehicle technology is growing at an exponential rate, as is building insulation and energy system technology. The prices for what was until recently “bleeding edge” technology are dropping fast, as China invests heavily in solar systems and vehicle tech is pushing storage systems forward. Where putting off infrastructure improvement was once fiscally prudent, the pay-back time for more efficient systems is shifting that equation.

As much as we need to think long-term, there has never a better time than now to take real action.

Council – Oct 30, 2017

Our Council Monday was a long one that ended fairly early, with Task Force meetings in the morning and a mid-day workshop that included some pretty comprehensive debates for people alleged to be accused of group think (alas).

Our evening Agenda started with a Public Hearing:

Zoning Amendment (420 Boyne Street Animal Shelter) Bylaw No.7944, 2017
The proposed replacement Animal Shelter requires that the lands upon it is proposed be rezoned to allow that use. This requires a Public Hearing. We received no correspondence on this, and no-one showed up to speak to the matter. Council moved to refer this to the regular council meeting immediately to follow. At the beginning of that meeting, Council moved to give the bylaw Third Reading.

Our regular meeting then offered an Opportunity to be Heard:

Commercial Vehicle Amendment Bylaw (Increase Taxi Permits) No. 7943, 2017
Once again, one of the taxi companies in New Westminster recognized their felt was inadequate to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, and applied to the Passenger Transportation Board for the right to add move vehicles to their fleet.

And once again, the PTB permitted them a number of licenses inadequate to meet customer demand. What is even more disturbing to me is that Royal City Taxi were refused the number of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis they applied for. I cannot dream of a rational reason why the province would deny a taxi company the ability to provide more accessible service. It is irrational and offensive. The system is broken.

Here we are again. With one hand the Province is suggesting misnomered “ride sharing” services should be brought in to provide customer service while their own archaic regulations and bureaucracy prevent the established companies from providing the service the community demands. It is enraging.

Anyway, one step in the process is that council needs to approve the allotted increases through a Bylaw. One person came to speak during this Opportunity (neither for nor against, but asking a question), and council moved to approve the application through adoption of the Bylaw.

The following items on the Agenda were Moved on Consent:

Recruitment 2018: YAC Appointments
Absolutely the most fun and most inspiring Council Advisory Committee, the youth of this City have great ideas and have no problem speaking up for what they believe in. This is the second tranche of appointees for 2017-2018.

City Sponsorship for Miscellaneous Residents’ Association Expenses
The 10 Residents’ Associations and one Community Board in town play a really important role in the City – we specifically ask them to provide a forum for discussion of development projects, and as a conduit for communications between City /hall and neighbourhoods: not the only conduit, but an important one in that they are self-organizing and arms-length.

As such, it is important that they are seen as impartial and accountable to their community, but they can also be more effective if given a bit of help for minor expenses like photocopying and room rental. This is not a lot of money, and we need to find a balance between not wasting time and money on a bureaucratic process, and still providing accountability for public money.

I think this request is modest ($200 per organization per year maximum), and a good investment in community involvement.

User Fees and Rates Review
Every year, staff review users fees for the various services that the City does on a cost-recovery basis or as partial cost recovery, like permit approvals for new developments. There generally increase on rate with the consumer Price index (“inflation”, which is about 1.5% this year), though some increase more to reflect either new costs or industry trends when the City is competing with the public sector (like electrical hook-ups).

Council moved to approve these rate changes in principle, and staff will now go and draft the appropriate bylaw changes.

306 Gilley Street: Heritage Revitalization Agreement – Preliminary Report for Information
This is a preliminary report for an infill density project in the Brow of the hill Neighbourhood that includes permanent protection of a heritage house. This will go through several layers of review, including a Public Hearing, so I’ll hold my comments.

The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Recommended Riverfront Connection Concept and Next Steps
This is another important link in the Riverfront vision, separate from, but connected to the Q2Q connection (see below). Creating a low-level connection between Sapperton Downtown has long be thought to be impossible, mostly because the railways will not allow any public use within a buffer zone of their rail lines, and in places the rail line is right on the shore. Staff identified an option that was used in Portland along the Willamette River where similar freeway development created a barrier to sustainable transportation connections, and a floating walkway has provided a stable connection for more than decade.

This could become an iconic project not just for the City, but for the region’s relationship with the Fraser River. We are moving to Partner with TransLink to do some more detailed engineering and design work. Early days yet, as this connection will not be done for at least 5 years with the current Pattullo project timeline, but a promising idea.

Q to Q Demonstration Ferry Service Outcomes and Next Steps
This is staff reporting out on the Q2Q Q to Q Ferry demonstration project that occurred over the summer. By pretty much any measure, the demonstration showed there is a desire to have a connection here among a large number of residents and business owners, and they paying a little for it didn’t seem to hurt that desire. There is a lot of data in the report, our task now is to figure what this means moving forward.

To my (not unbiased) thinking, we have demonstrated that there is a need for a pedestrian link between the Quay and Queensborough, and I am still of the opinion that a bridge is better link than a ferry. That said, I am not ready to promise things without a plan to pay for them, and the bridge is proving to be more expensive than our community can pay for with other capital expenditures more pending. Again, the fixed link idea needs to continue to be developed, but a ferry is likely much more feasible in the shorter term.

So we are looking at another phase of ferry trials to figure out how to solve a few of the problems highlighted by the demonstration project. We don’t own adequate docking infrastructure at either end, we need to secure some water rights and agreement with the Port, and we learned the challenges involved in making a ferry accessible with 10 foot tide ranges. I’m not convinced we will ever be able to provide “100% full accessibility” in a service like this – every barrier we remove for one user group creates another barrier for others – but we can make it more accessible, akin to the work being done in False Creek to make their smaller ferries accessible.

More to come here, but I expect we will have another trial service next spring.

Street and Traffic Bylaw 7664, 2015 – Housekeeping Amendments
Council moved to support these three “housekeeping” changes to our Bylaw in order to better support car sharing services in the City, in order to codify our parking fee exemption for those with Veterans plates, and to provide stronger enforcement of sidewalk clearing in the event of snow. Unfortunately, this will not be in place in time for tomorrow’s snow!

We then moved on to Bylaws:

Street & Traffic Bylaw Amendment Bylaw No. 7957, 2017
As discussed above, housekeeping changes to our Street & Traffic Bylaw were given three readings.

Parks and Recreation Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 7955, 2017
As discussed at our October 16 meeting, this Bylaw to support changes in the City’s Parks and Recreation fees was adopted. It is now the Law of the Land.

We then followed up our usually-meeting-ending Bylaws summary with the Issuance of a Development Permit:

Issuance of Development Permit DPQ00179 for 630 Ewen Avenue
This is the final development permitting step for the Affordable Housing project on City lands that had a Public Hearing back in June. On to building permits!

Finally, as a late piece of New Business, we received a report on our activities at the 2017 UBCM. I have already reported out on this here, here, here and here. It was a good event, and I hold lots of hope for us working collaboratively with the provincial government!