Tired

It’s exhausting.

I just don’t know how to talk about this, especially in a family friendly way. Swears are all I got left. Not the kind you yell out, but the kind you just mumble. We are all waiting to get “around the corner”, the “light at the end of the tunnel”, or whatever metaphor you want for being done with the bad news. So we can start working on building things instead of rushing to fill newly dug holes, start getting healthier instead of staunching the flow of bad shit. But the bad shit keeps on coming. It can be crushing. Our tear supply runs low. Damn.

I don’t know if it is confirmation bias or something systemic, but fire seems to be a thing of modern New West, not just the legend of our past. Maybe it’s the cost of having so much 100-year old infrastructure that was preserved due mostly to decades of neglect, but still doesn’t quite have the value in it to fully modernize. Or the remnants of our pioneer spirit that emphasizes tacking on the new instead of maintaining the old. Or maybe it’s just a run of bad luck. Like the last one and the one before, this one hits hard, and will change us.

Like many people in New West, I have my personal stories about these spaces. The Pho place became our go-to for soup-like weather (like Monday was, strangely enough) when they replaced the reliable old-school pasta place that was there for so many years no-one remembers a time before. Watching the slow migration of the décor from Mediterranean to Vietnamese became part of the charm of the place, but the Hue-style spicy soup is what brought me in, and the staff are such nice people. We were rooting for them to survive the lockdowns.

I’m not a renowned denizen of night clubs, but even I had a couple of memorable nights at the serial-name-changed night club, some best-not-related (Happy Birthday, Jeremy!), but I think the night dancing with the Pattullo Bridge costume and losing a vote to a dead Kennedy will be one of the legends of my life.

And then there is the Heritage Grill, and yeah I am giving it the extra emphasis. So many plans were schemed in that back room with the sketchy AV system – more than a few of them implemented. So many New Westies met their cohort for the first time in that space, so much music (most of it good!). For all its quirks and foibles, that corner of Columbia and Church was a place where community was built. The owner, Paul, took a risk on opening a small live music spot 16 years ago when most thought Columbia Street wasn’t ready for this kind of thing. He then went about making New West ready for it, by making the space welcoming to artists, musicians, and any organization wanting to do something different in the community.This is how I will remember the Heritage. The backroom filled to capacity at a funraising (fundraising?) event for a political cause the folks in the room will remember fondly.

The Heritage Grill became a hub for the Pride community, for the environmental community, and a few political careers were launched there. The $10 Burger and Beer fundraiser was the easiest way for a small organization to raise a little seed funding, and start a movement. Paul was so generous in giving space to the community, I’m glad to see the community is finding a way to give back to him. Help if you can.

Addendum: Hey, I’m not a tattoo guy. I’m apparently the last person on earth to not have ink in their skin. But I recognize that a tattoo artist also creates a community around their work, and the loss of this business also impacts our residents, our downtown and the people who put their passion and skill into a business. It just wasn’t top of my mind while writing this up, as it was not a business I had a personal contact with. No slight intended. Also, two other Funding Campaigns have been set up to support the owners of Happy Buddha and Pho Pho You to help them get through this time. Thanks Rosie for pointing these out to me!  

We feel the loss, those of us who received so much from these community businesses over the years, but I can’t imagine the loss being felt by those whose dream was building that business. Now, of all times, after a year of holding on by their fingernails, the tree branch is taken away. Overnight. Right when re-opening was on the horizon. Shit.

It’s too early to suggest what this means for Downtown. The loss of a 100 year old building and vibrant community-supporting businesses is tough. Another gap in the streetscape scares me just as much. The prospect that this site may sit empty for a decade or more, like the last fire site downtown where the owners appear to have no motivation to bring the streetscape back into active use, or the empty lot at the corner of 8th and Columbia where the owners have apparently lost interest in activating their approved plans, or the decrepit and effectively abandoned property at 4th and Columbia… There is a momentum here we clearly need to shift, only I don’t know how we shift it. That is the conversation we need to have if we hope for Columbia Street to be the community-supporting street many of us want to see. Does this fire push is back another step, or is it motivation to push us forward?

I guess we’ll see.

But for now, there are people to thank. The fire department once again spent an exhausting weekend making the city safe, dealing with stresses and dangers the rest of us can’t know. As has become practice for major events, the fire services of our neighbouring communities came out to provide assistance, and we owe those communities our gratitude. The Police were there to support them, managing traffic, keeping the public safe, and no doubt had to deal with both the curious and the devastated, and as always did so with professionalism. City engineering crews had to deal with drainage not designed to deal with this level of water or debris, and set to work assuring utility services are still useable by neighbouring properties. Electrical crews have to find a work-around to the loss of distribution line and transformers, and hope to get the local neighbourhood back up and running before Tuesday when everyone expects their life back to normal. In an event like this, there are so many people who need to do unexpected work on a long weekend – stuff that is definitely not in their workplan, and certainly not something they booked off work Friday afternoon figuring they would be doing. The very least the rest of us can do is see that the work isn’t thankless. Thank you all.

And then it’s over to us. The community, the BIA, the businesses downtown, the owners of property, and us folks in City Hall. Today the Province announced the restart plan version 2, we need to get those vaccines in our arms and show a couple more weeks of diligence and that light at the end of the tunnel will be upon us. Maybe the restart is the good news we have been waiting for. I know we’ve all been working as much as we can – emotional labour especially – over the last year. Now we get to do the other stuff, and see what we can build. So take a deep breath, mutter out a few curses, take time to think about all we have lost, and get to work building something memorable.

Council – May 17, 2021

Our council day on Monday included an afternoon workshop where we talked about changes to our Agendas and how we communicate the work of Council to the public. It is very “inside baseball”, but we are trying to balance how we present agenda info to meet regulatory requirements and make them as easy to read and interpret as possible for people who don’t spend their entire life reading City Council Agendas (sit down, Canspice). It’s worth watching the video if you are interested in seeing what we are looking at, but I won’t go over it too much here.

Speaking of Agendas, our evening meeting started with us moving the following items on Consent:

COVID-19 Pandemic Response – Update and Progress from the Five Task Forces
Once again, this report was just an update on the city’s task forces for Pandemic response. I think when this started, we did not imagine they would still be running today, 14 months later, but here we are. Get your shots, folks.

There is good work in here, including leveraging a Provincial Grant to help with outreach and advocacy services for the city’s homeless population, update on the health contact centre, discussion of (finally) addressing the public bathroom need in our commercial areas, continuing to engage with the local business community as operational constraints change with public health orders, and more.

Union of BC Municipalities 2021 Community Excellence Awards Submission
We are submitting applications for a couple of UBCM awards to recognize the great work staff did on our Climate Action and Pandemic Response. Cross some fingers.

Period Promise Initiative Launch
The City committed more than a year ago to pilot a program where menstrual products are made available in public bathrooms in the City, and the implementation of the program got delayed due to COVID and staff being moved on to COVID response work. It is finally up and running, and we got a little financial support from a federal government grant. Good news.

2021 Spring Freshet and Snow Pack Level
Fraser snowpack remains slightly above average this year, but is melting off at a faster pace than expected in a La Nina phase, which reduces freshet-related flood risk. There is still some risk if we have anomalous weather, so we remain watchful, but not nervous.

Queen’s Park Preschool Society License Agreement Renewal
There is a preschool that leases space in a City-owned building in Queens Park whose lease has expired and a new lease needs to be signed. As it is a City asset being leased to a not-for profit, we need to be transparent about the terms, and Council needs to approve it. Done.


Then the following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

322 Seventh Street: Development Variance Permit to Vary Off-Street Parking and Housing Agreement Bylaw for Three Readings
There is an older rental building in the Brow of the Hill that wishes to convert some of its (above ground) parking space to studio apartments. This would expand the number of units in the building from 55 to 60. The FSR increase does not take it past what is permitted in the current zoning, but a 60-unit rental building would normally require 60 parking spaces, but this proposal would take the current 51 spaces down to 42. Currently, the building only utilizes 27 of the current 51 parking spots, though the building is 96% occupied. In exchange, the building owner would enter into a housing agreement with the City to secure all 60 units as rental for the life of the building (or 60 years).

There would be small studio suites, and though this is not an affordable housing project, it would provide some relatively affordable housing in a place where there is currently empty parking spots.

If a housing agreement can be completed, then this will be reviewed through a Development Variance Permit, which Council will consider in a future meeting. If you have opinions, let us know!

FCM Grant Awarded for the “Pumping Up Savings in Heating” Pilot Program
I recused myself from the discussion here, as I volunteer as the Chair of the Board of a not-for-profit that would potentially partner with the City on this program. So I have no pecuniary interest, but to avoid the perception of conflict, I stepped out and didn’t vote on this item. Reading the report, the good news here is that the City was awarded a grant to develop a program to help homeowners convert to electric heat pump heating systems, which is one way to reduce the GHG emissions of our existing housing stock.

City of New Westminster Homelessness Response Strategy
COVID has been hard on the City’s homeless and under-housed, due to reduced capacity for support shelters and increased economic stress putting more people at risk of homelessness. This is certainly not an issue unique to New Westminster, and though there are certainly impacts on the comfortable housed, we cannot use a law-enforcement approach, but need to work with senior governments to address the causes and mitigate the harms of our neighbours being underhoused. This report outlines a strategy and some work the City is doing on that front.

There has been an ongoing effort to assure folks without a roof have access to basic sanitary needs, including a shower. Like most cities, we have a paucity of public washrooms, and this manifests in pretty unpleasant ways. We introduced some temporary measures at the beginning of the pandemic, but this only demonstrated that we need a more sustainable approach.

As always, funding is a challenge. Senior Governments are investing more now than in the last couple of decades, and we have been successful at some recent grant applications. But the there is a time gap between those grant awards and when we can see the results on the street, so catching up is going to take some time. We also recognize that ultimately, the solution is housing – government funded, truly affordable, and supportive housing.

Proposed 2021-2022 Equity Key Performance Indicator Framework
The City is committed to developing a DEIAR Framework, and as part of that work, we are identifying the “KPI” – or the measurable things that we can use to determine if we are meeting our strategic goals. This report outlines those metrics, as recommended by the Task Force, and asks Council for approval.


And we had one Bylaw to Adopt:

Consumption of Liquor in Public Spaces Bylaw No. 8264, 2021
It is now legal in designated areas of 7 parks in the City for adults to consume alcohol between 11:00am and the close of the park at dusk. I went on CKNW today (Wednesday) to talk about it, though I didn’t promote it too much because the host has me blocked on Twitter, and such is life.

Have a good long weekend, everyone.

Lower Mainland LGA 2021

Last week was the annual Lower Mainland LGA conference and AGM. It was all (alas) virtual this year, but it was still a great event. As a VP of the Lower Mainland LGA, I’m completely unbiased, and am going to use my platform to talk about how great it was, and to lament how I miss my friends and even a few of my enemies.

The Lower Mainland Local Government Association grew under the umbrella of the Union of BC Municipalities, and along with 4 other local government associations in BC, we work to bring local government leaders together for networking and education, to discuss topics important to local governments, and to lobby senior governments through a “resolutions” process on issues impacting our work.

Our 2021 conference was on-line, and as such the networking part was suboptimal, but we did have great educational sessions and a resolutions session. The theme for the conference was, perhaps optimistically, “the work ahead”. As we started developing that 6 months ago, we recognized that everything has been about COVID for the last year, and hoping we would be on the wane of the Pandemic, we wanted to concentrate on the most pressing needs for local government in the post-COVID world, and perhaps use the lessons of COVID to frame how we could address those other crises / urgent issues.

There were four main educational sessions, all with expert panels and Q&A. We were honoured to have Bob Joseph speak on UNDRIP and what it means in a local government perspective. We had panel including public health professionals, drug policy experts, and local government folks talking about the opioid crisis and policy levers local governments can apply to reduce the harm. We had a session in bringing back a better, more sustainable form of tourism, and a session on mobilizing local government action on the Climate Emergency. We also had two pre-recorded sessions on envisioning the Post-Pandemic workplace and priorities in Asset Management – both very “inside baseball”, but really important topics to our crowd. And though much of the program was interactive, we also spent a lot of time looking at panels like this:

This year, we had two “book club” discussions, less formal chats with authors about their new books. I had the opportunity to interview and moderate a discussion with Seth Klein on his book “A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency”, and Mayor Jack Crompton of Whistler moderated a discussion with Megan Elper Wood on her book “Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet”.

After greetings from the Premier, and a presentation and Q&A from the Minister for Local Government, we had a resolutions session, which for many Lower Mainland LGA members is the highlight of the conference. There were 32 resolutions, and you can read them all here. 30 of those resolutions were endorsed by the membership, some after a bit of debate. The two defeated were a resolution to re-consider the name of British Columbia to a non-colonial name, and a resolution to ask the Province to legislatively provide local governments more flexibility to adjust their local election voting systems (i.e. ranked ballots) to better suit the needs on the ground in each municipality. This last one was pretty divisive, and surprisingly lost on a tie vote(!) which I think (and this is only my opinion) reflects that some saw the resolution as being perhaps too ambiguous in its drafting, opening up local government elections for too much political manipulation. That said, I suspect if we had a proper in-person meeting, this debate (along with the “Renaming BC” one) would have been much more lively and interesting, as there are good ideas in there that are not well summarized in a short resolution.

New Westminster was a sponsor of one Executive Resolution (Help Cities Lead by increasing tools available to local governments in regulating GHG emissions of buildings which I mentioned here) and one membership resolution (Giving regional governments the authority to regulate the sale and use of single-use plastics, which I mentioned here). Both were endorsed by the membership.

And after all that business, I still really miss my Local Government friends from across the region. The virtual conference was interesting and educational, but the chance to sit around a table at breakfast or with beers and talk about what’s new in their community, how they are addressing a familiar issue, their troubles and their successes, is really valuable. There are some dedicated, serious leaders in our region, from Chilliwack to Squamish to Delta, and I learn from them every time we meet. Here’s looking forward to 2022, when we will have hopefully truly put COVID behind us.

Council – May 10, 2021

Folks. Things are busy.

I’ve said that before, and I am well past the time in my life when “I am really busy” is a brag. It is really a failure to plan. I just wish my busyness right now meant leaving my house more. Go get your shots.

I do have a job in real life, and it is eating up a bit of time these days. I also have a couple of completely volunteer Board gigs, and this week is the Lower Mainland Local Government Association annual conference and AGM, which requires a bit of planning, and as a VP, I have some duties to perform and prepare for – including one session where I have to interview someone who is rather intimidatingly smart. And then we have some resolutions to go through, which maybe I’ll get a chance to write a blog post about after, but if you want to know where Lower Mainland local government elected type’ minds are at these days, this package is a pretty good read. And i’m not one for clickbait, but Resolution #28 will Blow. Your. Mind. 

So the only reason I’m here is to tell you we had a very brief Council Meeting on Monday with one item on the agenda:

Consumption of Liquor in Public Spaces Bylaw No. 8264, 2021
This report gave us a first draft of the Bylaw that would meet the Provincial requirements to permit adults to responsibly drink alcohol in a few City parks on a trial basis in 2021. Due to some back-and-forth on Council and feedback from Staff, an area of Queens Park was added to the original proposal.

This coincides with recent Bylaws in the West Vancouver and Delta, existing bylaws in North Van City and PoCo, and pending motions in the District of North Vancouver and Vancouver Parks. This is a regional trend, and each City is approaching it slightly differently, I think New West is pretty “in the middle” in the range of options available to us. Let’s hope our community of park users can raise to the occasion, be respectful of other park users, act responsibly and make it easy for us to continue or expand the program in 2022.

Council, in a split vote agreed to give the Bylaw three readings, and will consider adoption on May 17th, which means the change should take place and signage installed by the May Long Weekend.

And that was the meeting. Hope you are all getting out there and getting your shots! Talk to you again when my head is back above water.

Council – May 3, 2021

They are coming out like super hero movies now, but with more interesting character arcs and less interesting costumes. Another Council meeting in the books, and this one with Public Delegations (that you have to watch if interested, because I don’t report on that kind of thing here. Strictly agenda business.) We started with two Temporary Use Permits:

TUP00012 Amendment for 97 Braid Street
The temporary parking lot by Braid Station has hosted a few drive-through food truck events, and have had no complaints. At some point we need to formalize this if they want to continue to do it, as it is not a permitted use of the lot under the current zoning. They have applied for a Temporary Use Permit, we put out notice about considering it, and received no feedback other than a supportive letter from RA that was attached to the application. So we are issuing the permit.

TUP00025 for 445 Brunette Avenue
The 100 Braid property is being redeveloped with a new Purpose Built Rental building, and the parking for the construction and adjacent school will be constrained, so they want to use an adjacent currently-empty parking lot. Again, a Temporary Use Permit is the best way to temporarily permit this use. We received a single piece of correspondence in support, and Council moved to approve it.


We then had a presentation and report:

Submission to the Provincial Special Committee on the Reform of the Police Act
The Province is looking at reform of the Police Act, and City Council was permitted to put in a submission to the Special Legislative Committee looking at this. We put together a Police Reform Working Group comprising a small number of staff and council members to develop this submission. This is what they came up with.

I was not part of the working group, but I am really proud of the work they did. As a City Council, we are in a somewhat unique situation taking part in a Police Act review. We do not direct the Police or have any real say over how they operate in our City (that is the job of the unelected Police Board) but we are expected every year to approve their budget, and the majority of the electorate have no idea that this separation of powers exist. If they are unhappy with the Police, we hear about it as City Hall. This relationship is suboptimal. For transparency, for public accountability, and for directing reform. So with that in mind, the working group decided to not simply look at our role under the Police Act, but instead to talk about what our vision for the community is as a Council (and by proxy, the vision of those who elected us), and what role policing plays in that vision. It then makes recommendations on how to achieve that vision, expanding the scope greatly out of the Police Act and Mental Health Act, to include the reform we need on how all government services are delivered to the most endangered people in our community.

Please read this report (It is here, starting page 82)  This is the kind of vision we need to be speaking to, and we need to be asking our Provincial Government to be brave enough, bold enough, and progressive enough to see that there is a better approach than the one that previous governments have relied on to get us to this point. And thank you to the Working Group for doing this work. It is really powerful.


The following items were Moved on Consent:

2021 Tax Rates Bylaw No. 8259, 2021
Now that we have a budget approved for the next 5 years, and we have reporting from the Assessment Authority on assessed property values, our Finance Department is able to put together the tax rates math and present those rates as a Bylaw for 2021. For residential properties, that rate is 2.82922 permill (compared to last year’s rate of 2.73983)

Remember, these rates are prior to your (up to $845) Homeowner Grant if you are fortunate enough to be an owner and not a renter. And of course, if you are over 55 years of age and own your home, you should really be deferring your property taxes because there is no other program in the world where you can get a loan at interest rates way below inflation (0.45% annual interest, and it is simple interest on the original principle, not compounding) and not have to pay it back until you die or otherwise free up the accumulated value in the asset where you live. But, hey, don’t come here for financial advice.

Recruitment 2021: Advisory Committee Appointments
Some of our Council Advisory Committee folks have changed, mostly due to re-assignment by the organizations they are representing. These are volunteers helping the City be more accountable and better informed, and I think them for their service.

Release of Recommendations from Closed meeting regarding Business Licence Late Administration Fee and COVID-19 Relief Request
A few businesses in town may have been late at paying their business license fees due to COVID stresses and such, and we are waiving late fees again in 2021, recognizing that everyone needs a bit more room to make things work this year.

1319 Third Avenue (Steel and Oak): Zoning Bylaw Text Amendment and Manufacturing Facility Structural Change Applications – Bylaw for First and Second Readings
This brewery in the North Arm North area (yes, that is an actual neighbourhood in the City, look it up!) wants to expand their lounge seating, which requires an amendment of the zoning language (to make the city and the Province both happy, because booze). We agreed to give the application First and Second reading, and it will go to a Public Hearing, so I’ll hold my opinion until then. If you have feedback, let us know.

Grant Application: Local Government Development Approvals
We are applying for a UBCM grant to pay for a development approval process upgrade, which would take us digital. Wish us luck!


The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

208 Fifth Avenue: Heritage Revitalization Agreement Application Progress Update – For Information
A property owner in Queens Park wants to subdivide and build a second home on their fairly large lot, and they want to do this through the HRA process. This is a preliminary report, and I am sure we will hear form the community on it, so let us know if you have an opinion.

Consumption of Liquor in Public Spaces Bylaw – Designated Park Zones
Staff have come back with some maps to inform the Bylaw to allow alcohol in some City parks as a trial for 2021. As this is a trial, I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds, but am happy to take Staff advice on what will work best operationally. When I initially proposed some spots, I anticipated that Staff would make some adjustments to this to address operational needs and their experience about how the parks actually work. Also, Council has asked that staff identify and appropriate area of Queens Park be added to the list, which I am happy to support.

If all goes well, we can have a bylaw read and adopted by the May long weekend.

823 – 841 Sixth Street: Affordable Housing Project – Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw and Zoning Amendment Bylaw for First and Second Readings
You may have read that there is an affordable housing project proposed by the Aboriginal Land Trust for an uptown location across 6th Street from the High School. The project would require an OCP amendment and a rezoning, but that is just the land use planning part of it. As this is a project that will go to a Public Hearing, the process requires that I keep an open mind about the merits or drawback of the aspects of the plan that will be tested at that Public Hearing. So not more about that now.

This is a non-profit affordable housing project, and as such the City has some potential to help with the financial aspects of the project. The City is NOT an affordable housing provider, and this project is not being led by the City. Paying for non-market housing is a provincial responsibility, and they have the budget to do so, the City simply cannot afford with our small tax base to pay for the social housing we need. In this case, the non-profit society and BC Housing will be paying for the project with (potentially) some support from the federal government. That said, we do have a role to play, both through our Affordable Housing Reserve Fund and overall through our Affordable Housing Strategy. A bit separate from paying for the capital cost or operational subsidy for the housing, we can remove some financial barriers to viable programs. For example, in the past we have allowed the use of leased City lands for supportive housing with several projects in Queensborough and Downtown, and we are able to waive some of the fees or offsite works requirements that would normally be charged to a for-profit development.

In the case of this proposal, they are requesting we not charge fees for some off-site works (the 6th Street streetscape and electrical connections) and we draw from the Affordable Housing Reserve to pay for some of the offsite servicing costs. This would result in about $631,000 in City contributions to help make the project viable.

Council agreed this was an appropriate level of support, in case the project is approved and funded in its entirety. We also moved to give the application First and Second readings, which means we are headed for a Public Hearing. If you have opinions, please let us know!


Finally, we read some Bylaws but only the following was Adopted:

2021 Tax Rates Bylaw No. 8258, 2021
As mentioned above, the Bylaw that fixes our Property Tax rates for 2021 was adopted. The bill will soon be in the mail.

Council – April 26, 2021

…and it goes on. Got my first shot in the arm, cancelled my (admittedly ambitious) bike ride travel plans for the May Long Weekend, attended another remote meeting and thought about how lucky I am that I have a roof, a job, and an ability to do my work from home, while cursing the fact that this is all getting really stale and I just want to be around people again, while we had another Council Meeting. But it as a mercifully short agenda.

The following items were Moved on Consent

COVID-19 Pandemic Response – Update and Progress from the Five Task Forces
Here is our regular update on our Pandemic task forces. I think a year ago when they were put together, we had hoped they would be disbanded by now, but that’s not where we are. There are details in here about the ongoing work in the community to help vulnerable groups, including the support form senior governments we have managed to secure to fund some of these programs.

Update to Interim COVID-19 Food Truck Policy
Council decided last year to adjust how Food Trucks are regulated in light of the pandemic, and this resort is recommending we (for the most part) maintain those changes through 2021. I have a (I think pretty entertaining) rant about how irritated I am about our entire food truck program right now. My entire time on Council Food Trucks have been talking about food trucks, starting with two years of comprehensive public engagement to determine if and how we should allow this outrageous idea that is common around North America to operate in our City. Through that we created byzantine program that made it too difficult and costly for most operators to deal with, so very few took itup, yet still every time one did, we had push back from the same business community that guided us to the byzantine program we set up.

The first principle of the program we set up was, and I quote: “Encourage a variety of street food businesses to facilitate a vibrant and lively street, provide more local food choices in the community and promote social connectedness through the sharing of food.” And then everything we have done since has been opposite to this principle. Yet here we are, 6 years later, and our plan is to extend the current malaise to 2022, when I am sure we are going to spend much, much more time reviewing Food Truck policy than and Food Truck will spend operating in New Westminster. What a dismal failure.

320 Ewen Avenue: Cedar Island Remanufacturing Ltd.
There are people in Queensborough who live on the residential/industrial interface, and have some concerns about the impacts on livability from those industrial activities. On one hand, the industries were there long before the residential development encroached on their area, and there is a certain caveat emptor aspect to residents willing to deal with some impacts in exchange for reduced housing costs. However, we also expect all property owners to respect existing Bylaws which constitute the community standards we all agree upon (except railways, they get to do whatever the hell they want). In this case, the company is allowed to operate and do their work, but they are expected to adhere to City Bylaws (including noise Bylaws applicable to them). So there is some work to do here to assure they are compliant.

The Plywood plant was previously found to be exceeding noise levels permitted under the noise Bylaw, and are working to address those concerns though an acoustic consultant, and our Bylaws officers are on the case. Other concerns raised have been passed on to the appropriate regulatory agencies – Metro Vancouver for dust, Fraser Health for vector pests)

Metro Vancouver New Westminster Annacis Main No. 5 (North) Alignment
More big-time infrastructure work is coming New Westminster’s way, this time upsizing the water supply to areas South of the Fraser. This means a new line through the West End/Moody Park/Brow of the Hill, and after evaluating various routes, it looks like 13th Street is the best route. It is a quiet street with not much traffic, and has a really wide (30m!) right-of-way. This will no doubt be disruptive work for the residents, but Metro Van will keep access open and do their best to manage traffic impacts.

As the road is going to be dug up, the City is going to shift some of its sewer separation planning to this location, effectively doing this section of storm sewer installation and separation work before it was initially planned, so the road only needs be dug up once. There is also potential here for us to actually reduce the curb-to-curb width of 13th street, which is frankly too wide for such a low-traffic local-serving road. This gives us a chance to make it better for pedestrians and cyclists (it is a relatively low-grade hill through the West End), a chance to reduce the amount of the city covered with asphalt, and a chance to add more green space.

This is relatively preliminary (the actual construction will not likely start until 2022 or 2023) so there is engineering work to do, but we are on it!

2021 Spring Freshet Council Report – April 1st Snowpack
The Fraser River Basin snow pack is a little above normal, and the freshet flood risk is consequently a little higher than average, but nothing to panic about yet. The weather of the next few weeks will likely determine if we need to ramp up and kind of flood preparation. Nothing to panic about yet, but don’t pack the galoshes away just yet.

Queen’s Park Farm – Pilot Project to Transition towards Local Sustainable Food Production
Staff have been looking at transitioning the Queens Park Petting Farm to something a little more… uh… modern, which is always a scary term to use in the same sentence as Queens Park. The idea of a “petting farm” is a bit of a throw-back, and modern animal welfare practices and health standards have increasingly limited how such a facility can operate. That said, the idea of connecting people to the food systems that support us is part of the City’s larger food security vision, so there is a role here for some modified programming that is centered around food systems and education more than a petting zoo can provide. We have a bit of time to go through this, as the petting farm will not be opened in 2021 (due to COVID restrictions), but there are some great ideas in this report, which align well with some ideas I saw in Dartmouth, NS during an FCM trip a few years ago. Fun stuff coming!


The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Appointment of Acting Director of Engineering
Our Director of Engineering is retiring after a distinguished career working for several Municipalities – 17 years with New West. We are looking for a replacement, but in the meantime, there are some regulated roles the Director Engineer plays in various Bylaws, so someone has to be delegated that authority in the meantime. We have a three senior Managers who are going to split those duties in an acting role until a new Director is hired.

330 East Columbia Street (Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment): Request for Construction Noise Exemption
The Hospital Project is asking to start work earlier on Saturdays that strictly permitted in our construction Noise Bylaw. In reading the report, I’m willing to accept this as reasonable in the scope of the project, and its potential impact on accelerating the program completion for what is a regionally-important project.

Recognizing that we are still likely to hear neighbourhood concerns, we are going to give them a year and ask them to re-apply before year two, so they can demonstrate they were proactive in addressing community complaints, and acknowledge what kind of feedback they are receiving in receiving and how they addressed that feedback. So we are giving them some slack, and are asking for some assurance of accountability in return.

New Westminster Outdoor Swimming Pools – Summer 2021
This is a follow-up on our previous discussion (resulting from a community petition) about Hume Pool not being open in 2021, with a lot more detail from staff. The short version: it will be expensive from both and operational and capital budget sense, we do not anticipated it will be very useable for most of the year due to ongoing Third Wave restrictions, and we may be challenged to even find staffing for the pool if we did open. The operating subsidy for Hume would be twice that per swim of the Moody Park pool, and there would actually be limited use with some significant staffing constraints. At this point opening Hume in 2021 will harm our ability to do some of the capital maintenance work that will support it re-opening in 2022. The recommendation is to no open for 2021, and I support it.

Education and Enforcement Working Group COVID Compliance Hotline – One Year Review
During the early days of the Pandemic, information was hard to come by. Everyone was making things up as we went along, and rules were changing, and were not necessarily being communicated effectively. One of the truisms of government is that angry people don’t call Ottawa, they call City Hall. So we responded by setting up a response line where people could ask questions, submit complaints or concerns, or at least get pointed to the best resources. This report shows the impact of that phone line after a year of operation. Lots of data bout the types of calls we got here, but in short, calls were fast and furious at the start then tapered off, with a bit of a surge as we entered the Second Wave back in November, and are now just over one call a day.


And that was the full Council experience. See you again next week!

Public Hearing – Apr 19, 2021

Oh, boy I’m late getting this report out. There is a lot going on right now in the rest of my life, and I lost my notes in an age-related software-user interface problem, so here I am on an exciting Friday Night writing a shorter-than usual Council Report. We had a Public Hearing way back on Monday, and there was only one item on the agenda:

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (416 East Columbia Street – Cannabis Retail Location) No. 8256, 2021

A couple of years ago, the retail sale of cannabis for recreational purposes was legalized in Canada. Like many other Cities, New West set up a process to filter through the many applications for new businesses that applied. It was uncharted territory for all of us, and the Province ultimately created the legislative framework the City needed to follow, but how we followed that framework was pretty much up to the local government. Which is why the roll-out of these stores is so spotty across the region.

In New West, we decided the best way to manage the potential Gold Rush type onslaught of applications (for the industry, for our residents, and for the work load of staff in City Hall) was to set up a pre-qualifying criteria and pre-approve one location in each major commercial district (which we modified by allowing a Government Store, which is on a different stream). Of those 5 initial “short listed” applicants, two are opened (Downtown and Q’Boro), one is all approved but have not yet got their doors opened (the West End), one had to withdraw and the “second place” applicant was permitted to take their spot (Uptown), and we now addressing Sapperton.

The pre-approved applicant in Sapperton apparently ran into some issues with getting their Provincial approvals. It may have been as simple as missing a deadline to file some paperwork, but the province has indicated a new application needed to be restarted, which means the City application process is suspended. So the City is giving the opportunity to the “second place” applicant, as they have apparently completed their Provincial Approvals.

We had a number of people correspond to us about this, the majority opposed. We also had several people come to the Public Hearing and speak in favour or opposed. Council moved, ultimately to approve the application (giving the Bylaw Third Reading in a split vote), but I do want to talk about some of the concerns I heard expressed through the Public Hearing.

Some people are not comfortable with cannabis being in their community, and have a fearful about a myriad of harms that normalizing cannabis will cause. I hear that. I am not convinced the worst fears are well founded, but there is a good reason why people carry these fears: the Government of Canada spent almost a century telling people that “Marijuana” was a deadly blight on our communities that would kill their children, or at least ruin their families. Canada fought a war against Cannabis for decades, and threw a lot of people in jail for buying, selling, or using it. It as a menace to be eradicated for the good of society. Then, one Wednesday in late 2018, they said: Just kidding! It’s fine now.

I do not blame the Government of Canada for making cannabis legal, for ending the prohibitionist approach to management or it. I blame them for not being honest in the decades before (indeed spending Billions of dollars being dishonest) and for not taking a more proactive educational approach during the years of transition to help people understand what has changed. Spreading fear for decades then saying “maybe not” is bad governance, sows distrust, and makes people uncertain. Oh, and while they are at it, they could maybe pardon those Canadians carrying criminal records because of that prohibition, but meh.

I also heard mixed messages from the Sapperton business community, where on one hand the message was that this was an acceptable business for Sapperton, but perhaps a location a block further north was better, but then I heard that open consumption of the products in the neighbourhood was the main concern, and I cannot quite figure why moving the location a block north would change that.

Finally, there were a few concerns that pointed back to the original criteria the City put together (and Council approved) a few years ago when we put the first Cannabis regulations together. For example, this site met the criteria from child-oriented locations and parks, and the location in no way precludes Council reviewing subsequent applications for Government-run cannabis stores, and Council has already decided to permit both public and private stores to operate in the City.

So the decision before us was whether to permit a location that met the criteria set out a little more than 2 years ago by Council, or to find a special reason to not permit this location. As I already mentioned, Council voted to support it.

Ask Pat: Biz in the City

Brian asks—

How much of New Westminster tax revenue is generated from business vs. residential? How does it compare to other municipalities? Is this a key driving metric to ensuring sustainable tax revenue for the city? What does the city of New Westminster due to attract new business to bolster higher tax revenue from new business? Is there anything else residents should know about how the city works with it’s businesses?

I’ve written a little bit in the past about the proportion of property tax that is collected from business/industrial properties compared to residential. I tried to compare here in this blog post a few years ago, and since then the numbers have changed a little bit, but the overall theme hasn’t.

The simple answer to your first question is 38% of Property taxes are from Commercial/Industrial land and 62% from Residential land. At least this was the split in 2020, according to the statistics collected by the province and reported out annually in a table they call Schedule 707 that you can look at here.

Property taxes are based on assessed values, and more than 99% of our taxes are collected from lands under the four main property classes. Residential properties pay the lowest rate, and the other three classes pay a higher multiple of that rate. In 2020 the multipliers were 3.43x for most Business properties, 4.19x for Light Industrial, and 8.76x for Heavy Industrial. That said, most of our land is residential, so to pull numbers out of Schedule 707, here are where New West property taxes came from in 2020:

In that last blog post where I talked about this, I compared New West to other municipalities in the Lower Mainland and found our business/residential breakdown was slightly less “business friendly” than the average across the region, in that we drew 32% of taxes from the 13% of assessed land value that was zoned commercial (not including industrial), which is slightly more than the average. I showed this by plotting all Cities and showing that New West fits a little below the black “best fit” line that represents the average:

If you want more details about how we compare, Schedule 707 shows this data for every City in BC, but there are some fundamental differences between the property tax structure in the Lower Mainland when compared to the rest of the province (e.g. the great TransLink-Hospital tradeoff, resort municipalities that have different structures, and “company towns” like Kitimat that have no residential property tax at all) so approach direct comparisons with caution!


The simplest answer to your second question is probably “partly”, but as always it is more complicated than this. The way the City sets tax rates is to determine what it will cost to offer the services and infrastructure that we want to deliver in the following year (and within the next 5-year plan). Then we have some debate about what things we can do without for now vs. what things we set as priority, and that discussion occurs within the framework of the overall property tax impact. Mostly, those conversations sound like “If we decide to do X in 2021, it will mean an additional 0.04% tax increase”. If we did everything we wanted to do in fiscal 2021 that our budget discussion considered at the beginning, the tax increase would have been almost 11%; if we had kept the tax increase to 0%, we would have had to cut programs and lay off staff. So we look at programs, and negotiate between us (and with staff) about what we can do, and what the tax impact is. In 2021, that haggling got us to 4.9%. And yes, those discussion are all done in open Council meetings and open workshops. In New West, we simply don’t do budgeting behind closed doors.

However, that 4.9% does not mean everyone’s taxes go up 4.9%. As I outlined in this post, it means the City collects 4.9% more property tax money than the previous year, and because your taxes are based on your assessment, the amount of increase you see depends on how your assessment changes relative to the city-wide average. This also applies to business, as some years residential assessments go up more than business assessments, and other years the opposite. The proportion of the 4.9% increase businesses feel depends a bit on that. Except that one of the things the City’s finance department does when it gets the new assessment data, after it has set the overall increase, is to try to adjust the multiplier (see that table above) so that the business/residential proportionate tax contribution stays around 38/62.

Every year, Council could adjust that 38/62 proportion by simply asking Finance to make that adjustment differently, effectively asking Finance to adjust the multiplier so businesses take a bit more of the load, or a bit less. Of course, we would then be deciding whether we irritate business property owners or residential property owners, because reducing business taxes through this process means increasing residential taxes. As a result, that proportion has not changed much over the last 15 years:

Again, this table is Schedule 707 data, and it shows that in 2005, Residential properties represented 87% of total land value, and paid 59% of total taxes. In 2020, those numbers were 86% and 62%, and it has only wavered a percent or so back and forth over those decades (and several different Councils).


Question 3 could have a very long answer. The City has an Economic Development group, and staff who do that work. You can see their website here. Obviously, the last year or so, a lot of effort has been put into assuring the City is providing supports to keep impacted businesses operating during the pandemic, which includes keeping business informed about the Public Health Office orders and complaints or concerns in the City related to the business sector. However, “bolstering new tax revenue” is not really the lens through which this work is done. At least in my time on Council, the focus has been on seeing business as a functional part of the community, and an amenity that supports the functioning of a dynamic urban area. In synch with the City’s other major strategies (like those on housing and transportation) a strong business sector reduces the need for residents to travel long distances for their needs or their work.

So, in that sense, asking what the City is doing to support business is like asking what is the City doing to support housing, or recreation, or engineering. There is too much going on across that department to summarize in a blog post. However, the ED group has a Strategic Plan, and have an on-line dashboard tracking their Indicators to help them and the community understand if they are meeting their objectives. If there is more to know, it is probably in there.

Council – April 12, 2021

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the Council meetings are getting more frequent. We have a busy month ahead, starting with a pretty meaty agenda this week, that started with a presentation:

Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project – Multi-Use Pathways
This was a report from the project team delivering the Pattullo Bridge on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation. The major touch-point here is the active transportation integration of the project. Both the project team and Council have received correspondence from the local HUB chapter and the Walkers Caucus, and I understand their points of contention.

There is a much longer back-story here and probably deserving of a stand-alone blog post (or an entire chapter in my memoir “Bike Lanes vs Motordom; repaving the road to Post-NeoLiberalism”), but in short, the project has made some great improvements to the pedestrian and cycling connections to Royal Ave and Agnes, but the Central Valley Greenway part of the project needs more work.

Later in the meeting (after Public Delegations from HUB and the Walkers Caucus), we has some discussion about this, and Council voted to support my motion:

That staff continue to engage with TiCorp and the Active Transportation advocacy community to improve the usability of the Central Valley Greenway connections through the Pattullo Bridge replacement project area, and

That Council correspond with MLA Whiteside and the Minister of State for Infrastructure to express support for the concerns raised by HUB and the Walkers Caucus in hopes that more creative solutions can be found here.

More to come here.


The following items were Moved on Consent:

515 St. George Street: Heritage Revitalization Agreement – Preliminary Report
The owner of a house in Queens Park wants to build a laneway house, and as the current zoning (RS-6, where most of Queens Park is RS-1 or RS-4) for this lot does not allow, they wish to use an HRA and permanent designation of the existing 1912 house as the tool to adjust their zoning. They need to remove one large tree and need a parking relaxation. This is a preliminary application, requiring some internal and community consultation, I’ll hold my comments until then.

97 Braid Street: Temporary Use Permit (TUP00012) Amendment for Food Truck Events
The parking lot by Braid Station has been approved for an off-site parking facility to support the RCH expansion project. There have been a number of “pop-up” drive-through food truck events held on this lot when it is not being used for the RCH workers (e.g. long weekends). Surprisingly, the previous events occurring here were in violation of the Zoning Bylaw. However, there were no real problems identified, so this will go to a request for public input and Council will consider the TUP in early May. Have an opinion? Let us know!

445 Brunette Avenue: Temporary Use Permit (TUP00024) for Off-Site Parking During Construction of 100 Braid Street
Similarly, the construction of the Purpose Built Rental building at 100 Braid will require a place where workers and staff for Urban Academy can park offsite. They would like a TUP for an… uh… currently vacant parking lot that used to be a car dealership band is zoned light industrial and therefore requires a TUP. Council will consider this one in May as well, if you have opinions, let us know.

New Westminster Arena Strategy
The City has two ice arenas, and have as part of our long-term infrastructure planning, had an external consultant do an evaluation of the community need. We are a growing City – when do we need to increase ice availability? Turns out, not as soon as we might have expected. The report is pretty detailed, and you can read it at length (attached to the agenda), but the short version is that per capita demand for ice is going down at about the same rate, or slightly faster than, population growth. The market for ice is regional (makes sense) and the need is essentially fulfilled, so there is no pressing need for us to add new sheets of ice in our current 5-year capital plan.

102/104 Eighth Avenue and 728 First Street: Official Community Plan Amendment and Rezoning for Infill Townhouses – Preliminary Report
This is a proposal to build 10 townhomes in Glenbrook North on two fairly large single family lots. It is an interesting proposal in that this was an area identified for this type of infill in an earlier draft of the OCP, but not ultimately included at this density in the final Land Use Designation, largely due to community push back from the Glenbrook North community. The City has been planning a review of the implementation of this type of infill density, but as with a few other planning projects involving our “missing middle”, they have been deprioritized to emphasize work on affordable housing and COVID response.

So the question whether we should go through this process now or wait until we do that policy review is tied up with this report. As one of a couple of members of Council who thought the more-infill model for the Land Use Plan map was a better idea in the first place (because it better matched what I heard through two years of conversations with the community during the Our City process), I am happy to have this project move forward and be developed further. It will be going to Public Consultation, etc.


The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Council Resolution in Support of the City of New Westminster’s Application under the COVID-19 Restart Funding for Local Governments, Strengthening Communities’ Services Program
The pandemic has resulted in disproportionate impacts on the unhoused and under-housed residents of New Westminster, with the number of people without secure housing going up. The good news is that there is increased senior government funding to help local governments and non-profits to bring resources to this challenge. City Staff have been reaching out to faith-based organizations and social service non-profits to identify resource needs, and are coordinating applications for about $400K in funding for 10 separate programs. The money is not for the City, but for those organizations with the identified need, the City’s role here is to coordinate and support the grant process, and help get the organizations some funding.

Riverside Adventure Park Playground Upgrade
After much consultation with committees and the community a preferred concept has been found for the replacement playground equipment at Riverside Adventure Park. The budget is $250K, and should be done this year!

808 Royal Avenue (Douglas College): Academic Building and Student Housing – Preliminary Report
Douglas College wants to build a new building, including for the first time, student housing! The plan is to build on land the College owns on the other side of Eighth Street (where the old firehall used to be). As proposed, it would be a smallish high-rise (18 storeys), made of a combination of concrete and Encapsulated Mass Timber, and include up to 244 student residential units.

This is a preliminary application, and there is work to do in design, details, and consultation, but the early notes are interesting. It will definitely be more of an “institutional” looking building than a typical tower-on-podium residential or mixed use look we are used to in the Vancouverism world. However, the impact of having dedicated student housing on the local rental vacancy situation is a positive. It will be interesting to see how this develops.


Finally, we had one piece of New Business:

MOTION: Designation of Alcohol -Permitted Spaces

WHEREAS recent changes to the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Act permit local governments to designate any public place where the local government has jurisdiction as a place where alcohol may be consumed; and

WHEREAS the Cities of North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam piloted successful trials in
2020 designating parts or all of designated City parks as places where alcohol can be consumed, and both have in 2021 moved to expand these areas and make the designations permanent due to positive public response; and

WHEREAS the six park areas listed below serve their respective neighbourhoods, have adequate space for varying users, feature safe and open spaces popular for picnics and family gathering, and have public restrooms available, therefore providing ideal conditions for initial designation as alcohol-permitted spaces;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct staff to immediately draft the necessary Bylaws compliant with Section 73(2) of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act to designate areas in the following 6 parks where the responsible consumption of alcohol by adults will be permitted from 11:00 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Staff review the program after the 2021 picnic season and report back to Council in early 2022 on challenges, concerns, public feedback, and/or opportunities to adapt the program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the 6 designated areas for 2021 be:
•Port Royal Park: Crescent field and picnic shelter north of the restrooms;
•Grimston Park: Open field and picnic area north of the Wading Pool;
•Moody Park: picnic area and grass field south of the Multi-use Path;
•Hume Park: Upper Hume Park south of the dog run and forested area;
•Sapperton Park: Open field portion of the park fronting on E. Columbia Street;
•Pier Park: the grass picnic field and adjacent grass knoll.

The first thing I want people to note here is that this is a motion to ask staff for draft the necessary Bylaws to satisfy the Provincial requirements to allow public alcohol consumption. So don’t pop your (outdoor) corks just yet, as the Bylaws will no doubt need to come back to Council in a couple of weeks for us to either pass them or not. The is just a first step, but the majority of Council voted to take this first step, so I hope it will all work out in the next couple of weeks.

Other than that, I will probably write a follow up blog post to address some of the questions that have already been raised (e.g. “why not Queens Park?”), unless you prefer to watch the Council meeting video and see the questions addressed there.

Bold Steps 2021

Another great news story coming out of our Council meeting last week (and to contrast from my generally sour recent social media persona, because there is a lot to be frustrated by out there right now) was an update on the City’s Bold Steps Work Plan for 2021.

Like some other jurisdictions, the City of New Westminster declared a Climate Emergency. Like a sub-set of those jurisdictions, we are taking concrete actions in addressing that Climate Emergency, in practice and in policy. Far from being an empty declaration, it was immediately followed by Council asking staff to come up with an actionable plan and viable targets – 2050 targets to meet the IPCC goal that our Country agreed to, and more important 2030 targets that require immediate action to achieve.

I feel strongly those shorter term targets are important because they require us to act now, to put the necessary changes in to our work plans and budgets in 2021 if we hope to get there. It will be hard to hold me and my Council cohort accountable for a 2050 climate target missed (As a Mayor entering his 7th term, I’ll be untouchable!), but we will know if we are on track for 2030 in the next couple of years, and will know if our actions today will get us there.

We have talked quite a bit already about the 7 Bold Steps the City as put forward, but there is a nuance in how they exist within two overlapping magisteria (h/t Stephen J Gould) known as the Corporate Energy and Emissions Reduction Strategy (CEERS – what the City does with its own operations) and a Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP – what the residents and businesses in town do). If we have 90% control over the former, we only have 10% control over the latter, and it is the much bigger nut to crack. That said, working with senior governments, we can create the right conditions for the entire community to adapt to a low-GHG economy.

The report we were provided outlines the many actions our Climate Action team and other City Departments will be undertaking in 2021. I’ll take the opportunity here to share some brief highlights from each of the 7 Bold Steps:

Carbon Free Corporation. Obviously, there are two big parts of this: our fleet and our buildings. We are replacing the CGP (our highest-emission building) and are shooting for a Zero Carbon standard for the replacement, while prioritization of retrofits and upgrades for the rest of the building stock is an ongoing project. The Green Fleet roadmap will allow us to shift to GHG-free vehicles as they become available, and assure we have the infrastructure to support them across our organization.

Car Light Community. The biggest part of this work will be shifting more spending to support Active Transportation (pedestrian safety improvements, transit support, and greenways), but it also means updating our development planning to assure we are building communities where active transportation is a viable option for more people.

Carbon Free Homes and Buildings. Two ways we can support lower-emission buildings in the City are through updating or accelerating our Step Code implementation to require that new buildings meet higher standards, and continuing to support the great work of Energy Save New West. (Did you know ESNW one of the longest running and most comprehensive community energy efficiency and GHG-reduction programs in Canada?) to help residents and businesses upgrade their own buildings and save money on energy. We are also supporting the Help Cities Lead campaign, asking the Provincial Government to give local government more tools to encourage and support a more efficient building stock.

Pollution Free Vehicles. Our biggest role here will be to support as best we can adoption of electric vehicles (e-cars, e-bikes, e-whatever comes next) by making sure we have adequate public charging, and support the installation of chargers in all new buildings.

Carbon-Free Energy. The inevitable shift from GHG-intensive energy sources to low-carbon electric power puts the city in a unique situation, with our own electrical utility. We need to update our electrical infrastructure to facilitate that, starting with our Advanced Metering Infrastructure project.

Robust Urban Forest. You may have noticed boulevard trees popping up across the Brow of the hill neighbourhood especially, we are going to keep moving ahead on that commitment, along with trying to find more opportunities to protect trees through development.

Quality Public Realm. This is one aspect of the Climate Action plan that includes adaptation to the climate change already inevitable even if we globally meet our 2050 goals. We will be doing climate risk mapping to inform that adaptation, along with other programs that may not seem like climate action (like improving road safety around schools) but is actually climate action (because it makes it more likely people won’t drive to school).

There is other work that spans all 7 Bold Steps, and indeed many of the things above overlap between steps. It is important that we have included these actions in our 5-year financial plan, which means our budget matches our priorities. But even more important, every department in the City has a role, and knows its role. The next 10 years are going to be transformational and require a culture change in how the City operates. Having everyone on board and padding the same direction is the only way we will succeed.