Council – Sept 26, 2022

In more than 10 years, I don’t think I have gone more than three weeks without blogging, even when I took extended vacations. Sorry folks, it has been busy and this page has dropped in priority over the other engagement and media work I have been doing. Still, I am committed to reporting out every council meeting for the last 8 years, and I’m not stopping now!


The penultimate Council Meeting of the term took us on our annual (excepting COVID disruption) trip to the Queensborough Community Centre, where I was expecting a big turnout, but was surprised to see so few people present.

Nonetheless, we had a full Agenda that started with the following items Moved on Consent:

Appointment of Acting City Clerk
Our City Clerk is seconded to act as our Chief Electoral Officer. This is getting busy, and so for the next three weeks the assistant Clerk is taking over Clerk duties. City Clerk has clearly defined and legislated duties, so we have to officially, through a motion of Council, assign these duties to the Assistant until the Clerk is free again in October.

Budget 2023: User Fees and Rates Review Amendment Bylaws
We reviewed the proposed fee increases for 2023 last meeting, Every department reviews their rates annually, and try to balance three things: Inflationary increases so rate increases are gradual and we don’t get behind on CPI; Reviewing the cost of delivering the service so (ideally – not always) fees cover those costs; and a comparison to fees charged in adjacent communities to make sure the City is not out of touch with what is charged elsewhere. This year staff are recommending most rates and fees go up about 2.4%, to reflect CPI, though some fees are not going up (QtoQ Ferry, Inter Municipal Business Licences, EV charging costs) and some are going up more than 2.4% based on previous policy decisions (e.g. Parking fees are mostly going up to align with the 5-year plan for Parking rates approved by Council after much discussion back in October of 2018).

We reviewed the reports last meeting, allowing staff to prepare the empowering Bylaws. If a Councillor wanted to suggest changes to these Bylaws, last meeting would have been a good time to do that so we could have a fulsome discussion and staff could prepare a response giving Council any extra information they may need (e.g. budget implications) to make a decision. Alternately, they could pull this item from consent and have the discussion now, though staff would be a bit on their heels. Doing it when we are giving the Bylaws three reading later in the meeting can only be interpreted as grandstanding. Ugh. Elections.

City’s Response to the Accessible British Columbia Act
BC has a new Accessibility Act, and will require local governments (and Police and Library Boards) have organizational accessibility plans and accessibility committees, and to develop plans to meet Accessibility Standards for our employees and in service delivery. So we are complying, and staff have given us a bit of a framework of how we will get there.

Infrastructure Canada Active Transportation Fund – Grant Agreement
When Council supported my motion to get staff developing a complete and connected AAA mobility network in the City, they got to work. There is now Federal Government Funds to help pay for this planning work, and we are applying to said grant for one of those grants. Well, we already applied and got approval in principle, but we need to formalize the authorization and delegate the ability to sign a grant agreement. Government.

Manufacture’s Patio Application (Pacific Breeze Winery)
Pacific Breeze is a small winery off Stewardson Way, and they have been operating a small patio during COVID through the temporary measures taken by the City to support these licences. There have been no problems with this operation, so the City is supporting their application with the Province to make this permanent.

Official Community Plan Amendment Section 475 and 476: 501 Fourth Avenue and 408 Fifth Street (Holy Eucharist Cathedral), and 1135 Salter Street – Consultation Report
The Ukrainian Church in Queens Park wants to expand their campus to include some affordable housing and other uses to support their function, which would require an OCP amendment. There is also a property in Queensborough that wants to build residential units that would require an OCP Amendment. We have only seen preliminary plans for both of these, and sent them to the regulatory-required outside agencies and First Nations for consultation before we can consider the OCP amendments further. This report adds 6 more First Nations to the list of those requiring consultation, based on further evaluation by Metro. This report approves the start of that expanded consultation. Both of these projects will also be going through Public Consultation, so more on this to come.

Rezoning Application for Duplex: 376 Keary Street – Preliminary Report
The owner of a single family house in Sapperton wants to build a duplex. This aligns with the OCP, there is no net increase in living units (a laneway house would otherwise be permitted here), no variances, but “duplex” triggers the need for rezoning. This is a preliminary application, so it will go to public consultation, Drop us a line and let us know what you think.

Rezoning, Development Variance Permit, and Development Permit: 114 and 118 Sprice Street – Preliminary Report
The owner of these lots in Queensborough where there are currently two single family homes want to build 10 compact lot single family homes on the largish existing lots. This is a pretty complicated application and an interesting design approach. This is, however, just a preliminary application that will go to public consultation. If you have opinions, let us know.


The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Council Code of Conduct
Our Council has a Code of Conduct, but the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has a new requirement that we “publicly revise” our Code. We have updated ours in review of the development guide provided by the Province and looking at best practices in other communities. This new Code includes a more prescribed method to investigate breaches to the Code, including stricter timelines to investigation and assigning a third party to investigate to put a bit of a fence between Council and the investigation.

This is a good step, but it is not the solution to many of the issues around the region over the last few years when it comes to Council as a respectful workplace. New Westminster has for the most part avoided the worst of this, but I can name a half dozen council colleagues around the region who have been bullied, harassed, and treated in a way that no employer would permit in any other workplace, but do not have the protection of an Employment Standards Act, of an Ombudsperson, or a Union. Updating this Code is a step to better workplace conditions for elected officials, but we still need the Provincial Government to do more.

Introduction of the Local Government Climate Action Program and 2021 Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Update
I might have railed here or there about the end of CARIP, a Provincial funding source to local governments for climate action. The Province heard many local governments (and the organization of which I served as Chair, the Community Energy Association) in the need for a replacement program that all local governments could rely on as base funding for these efforts.

The Best news is that New West will receive just under $300,000 from the CARIP replacement program (Local Government Climate Action Program – LGCAP) in 2022, which is more than twice what we received under CARIP. Similar to CARIP, this program requires some reporting of our efforts to the Province and alignment of our actions with the CleanBC plan – which are things we are already doing in our 7 bold Steps for climate.

This report also outlines our progress toward 2030, 2040, and 2050. Our original targets (compared to the 2010 baseline) were 45% reduction by 2030, 60% by 2040, and net zero by 2050. We also have a Corporate target to be net zero by 2030. As of 2021, we are 29% below baseline, but the curve is definitely bent to the right direction. I’m so proud of the work this council has got done to set bold targets, to empower staff to achieve them, and to get us in a leadership position regionally on this most important of issues. I have heard people suggest New West talks a lot about climate action, but what are they actually doing? Here is the answer; we are getting it done.

Latecomer Agreement for Extended Servicing Costs Related to the Servicing of the Queensborough Special Study Area
This gets a little into the weeds, so hold on. When development happens, it often means we need to build bigger off-side supports for the development. Bigger sewer lines, bigger water lines, bigger pumps for both, roadways, etc. This is usually covered by Development Cost Charges (“DCCs”) – we make the developer pay that cost by charging them per square foot of new density, then when enough developments come along making the increased capacity prudent to build, we use that money to build it.

However, sometimes a large development means capacity needs to be added right away, so we get them to build it right away. But it is also possible that more future development in the area of this first one will mean we want to build that capacity bigger than strictly needed by the first developer, so we don’t have to rebuild it a few years later when the next phase of development happens. One way to manage that is to ask the first developer to build the extra-big capacity, then when the next developer comes along, they can benefit from that expanded capacity. The “latecomer” developer then pays back the first developer for the extra cost of that extra-large capacity that was conveniently built for them.

To do that, we need to agree on what capacity is needed, how it will be built, and how much the Latecomer will pay to tap into that expanded capacity. This requires a legal agreement between the City and first developer. This report is about us developing such an agreement with the company hoping to develop the mixed-us “Eastern Node” neighbourhood in Queensborough. The form of the agreement is laid out by Staff, and Council are asked to approve it. This is a bit unusual for New West because we don’t do much “Greenfield” development, but it is common in other communities.

Permissive Property Tax Exempt Properties for 2023 – Review of Application Result
Some properties don’t pay property tax because they have a statutory exemption set by Provincial Law (Churches, private schools, provincial government agencies, etc.). Others don’t pay property tax, or pay reduced property tax, because the City has determined that there is a community benefit to their being here worthy of reduced taxes. There are some limits to whom we can give this permissive exemption (church accessory buildings, sports clubs, social service providers), and the City has a well written policy to guide new exemptions one we have followed pretty closely in my time on council.

There are several applications for new exemptions this year, three of which were already eligible for Statutory Exemption, and the others that do not meet out policy threshold for new permissive exemption.

Q2 2022 Capital Budget Adjustments
We have started quarterly reporting of our Capital Budget, instead of the previous practice of doing annual updates with occasional ad hoc adjustments as major capital projects proceeded.

As per Local Government regulation, our Capital Budget exists as a 5-year Capital Plan Bylaw, with annual Capital budgets. This means if we want to change the overall budget over 5 years, we need to amend the bylaw, but if we want to move proposed spending from year 1 to year 3, or vice versa, we don’t need to amend the Bylaw, we just need a motion to do so. This gives staff some flexibility to adjust capital planning do deal with minor cost overruns, unexpected savings, or changes in delivery times for different projects – like if we break a truck and need to replace it sooner than expected, or if a construction project gets delayed by supply chain issues.

This quarter, we are adjusting the 2022 Capital Budget by $1.7Million, but are NOT increasing overall spending, but are instead deferring or delaying other projects in the 5 year plan. These changes include:
$0.7M increase in the cost for the Wood Street drainage upgrades;
$0.5M in increased spending on sidewalk repair and replacement;
$0.3M for increased Pier Park fire remediation costs;
$0.2M for expanded scope on some road safety projects.
There is a spreadsheet attached to the report here if you want more details on cost increases and decreases that offset them.

Queensborough Ecological Restoration Project
The little slough on the south end of Ryall Field South and the trail that leads from Ewen at Stanley Street to the Riverfront will see ecological restoration, including refurbishment of the wetlands portions, new trees and native plantings, improves trails and new signage. More than an enhancement of the Perimeter Trail, this will support the ecological network model of our new Biodiversity and Natural Areas Strategy, and the Urban Forest Management Program.

Rezoning Application for Detached Accessory Building: 228 Seventh Street – Preliminary Report
Westminster House wants to expand their existing accessory building for their operation in the Brow of the Hill. I am an almost immediate neighbor, I recused myself from this discussion or decision, as there may be a perceived pecuniary interest.

Update on the Community Action Network Leadership Training Program and the Ethics of Engagement Project
The CAN Leadership Training program has been operating in New West since 2020 to bring people with lived and living experience with homelessness into planning and decision making around municipal efforts to address homelessness and poverty. We now have 16 CAN Leaders in New Westminster who serve on City Advisory Committees, Task Forces and Working Groups.

If you want to know what makes New Westminster innovative, you may want to read this report. It is a great summary of what an inclusive and compassionate City can do to improve people’s lives, and improve the community while we are at it. It is also groundbreaking in how we are expanding Public Engagement to include participatory decision making, and reaching out to residents traditionally not included in Public Engagement efforts.


We then read some Bylaws, including the following Bylaws for Adoption:

Delegation Amendment Bylaw No. 8365, 2022
This Bylaw responds to some recent changes in department structures in Staff, and makes clear who is what delegated authority as required by provincial law. We adopted it.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw (616 and 640 Sixth Street – Text Amendment) No. 8348, 2022
This is the final Bylaw to support the construction of a mixed use, Purpose Built Rental toawer in uptown – the first significant density approved Uptown in a decade, and the first Purpose Built Rental building in longer than that. Council adopted it!

Heritage Revitalization Agreement (108-118 Royal Avenue and 74-82 First Street) Bylaw No. 8339, 2022; Heritage Designation Bylaw (82 First Street) No. 8340, 2022; and Windsor Road Closure, Dedication Removal and Disposition Bylaw No. 8350, 2022.
These Bylaws approve the development of a new 6-8 storey residential building on Royal Ave and the retention and protection of one heritage house on the lot. Council moved ot adopt the Bylaws.

Official Community Plan Amendment (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) Bylaw No. 8088, 2022; Heritage Revitalization Agreement (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) Bylaw No. 8089, 2022; and Heritage Designation Bylaw (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) No. 8090, 2022.
These Bylaws approve the building of a new Mixed-use tower including public amenity use, rental and market Condos adjacent to the HTC, along with a restoration and preservation plan for the 120+ year old Cathedral itself. Council moved unanimously to adopt.


finally, we had two pieces of New Business

Disposition of Unused 2018 Campaign Funds, Mayor Cote
When we fundraise for campaigns, there are all kinds of rules about how that money is spent. Surplus funds at the end of the campaign can be held in Trust by the City for the candidate to pull out next time they run. If the candidate chooses not to run again, it is unclear where those funds go, except into general revenue in the City. The motion here from the Mayor is to move unspent campaign funds to a charitable cause or scholarship program at the discretion of the departing candidate. I support this, as these funds were either the Candidate’s own money, or that of people who politically supported the Candidate, and the candidate is therefore in the unique position of knowing where their supporters would like to see the money go.

Extreme Heat Event Monitoring Centre Initiative
This late addition to the Agenda was nonetheless notable, in that the City is partnering with Fraser Health and Emergency Management BC on an advanced response to Heat Dome events, a response led by New West Fire and Rescue. The plan is to set up a Heat Response Centre to offer immediate care to less-acute cases at Century House, with LPNs and trained Firefighters providing patient monitoring, relieving the Ambulance Service and Emergency room to address more seriously impacted patients. I like this innovative approach, and the partnerships we are able to leverage across municipal and provincial authorities.


And with that, our Penultimate Meeting is a wrap. Tune in a gain on October 3rd for the final meeting of the term, which will no doubt have some weepy moments for a few members of Council, and a bit of fun to mark the occasion. Now back to the Campaign Trail.

Council – Aug 29, 2022

Summer is not over. Another week until kids go back to school, and the Autumnal Equinox is still weeks away, but the summer hiatus at City Council and staff is over, and we were back in business with a full Council Agenda. This week’s Council meeting began with a special Presentation:

2022 Planning Institute of BC Excellence in Policy Planning Award: Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action
The City’s Planning department won this award last month at the annual PIBC conference. But this presentation was about thanking the people who helped make it happen. When the Council was elected, and told staff we were serious about Climate Action, that we were ready to be challenged to approve a really bold climate action plan for the City, staff responded with this really great piece of work. We knew at the time (a notion reinforced now by the award) that it was region-leading, as bold as anything happening at the Municipal level in Canada.

When I ran for Council, when the current Council ran in the election in 2018, we all talked about Climate Change, and about the need for us to take action to address our corporate and community emissions to meet the challenge of the Paris Agreement. And we got elected making that promise. But even six months after election, the mandate delivered is questioned, which is why it is important that the community continue to call on the Council to do this work. When the Bold Step plan came to Council, several groups came to support Council, imploring us to say “yes” to bold action. So we wanted to take this chance ot share the Award given to Council with a couple of those community groups who came to Council back in 2019 to push us forward –to tell us this work mattered to the community. Who made it easier for us to say “yes” to climate action.


We then moved the following item On Consent:

Amendments to the 2022 Schedule of Council Meetings
We are making some changes to the Council Schedule in light of the upcoming UBCM conference, the election, and the anticipated need for a Finance Workshop in November to get the new Council up to speed. That means this is the semi-penultimate Council meeting of the term.

Appointment of City Officers:
There is a bit of staffing change going on in the City, like every organization on earth right now. Several positions in the City have very specific legislated duties, job positions that come with specific responsibility and delegated duties under the legislation that empowers the Municipality to be a Municipality. These are two positions where Council must approve the appointments so the staff can act under those responsibilities.

Budget 2023: Fees and Rates Review:
The budget process at the City is a long one. In order for staff to project forward to next year’s budget, they need to know the fees and rates that make up about 1/3 of our revenue. So an early step in every budget year is updating the applicable Bylaw to codify and change in fees or rates for everything from swim lessons to parking passes to building inspections.

Every department reviews their rates annually, and try to balance three things: Inflationary increases so rate increases are gradual and we don’t get behind on CPI; Reviewing the cost of delivering the service so (ideally – not always) fees cover those costs; and a comparison to fees charged in adjacent communities to make sure the City is not out of touch with what is charged elsewhere. This year staff are recommending most rates and fees go up about 2.4%, to reflect CPI, though some fees are not going up (QtoQ Ferry, Inter Municipal Business Licences, EV charging costs) and some are going up more than 2.4% based on previous policy decisions (e.g. Parking fees are mostly going up to align with the 5-year plan for Parking rates approved by Council after much discussion back in October of 2018). You can read the reports for all the juicy details!

Construction Noise Bylaw Exemption Request – New Westminster Interceptor – Columbia Sewer Rehabilitation
That sewer work on Columbia Street is not over. They got out of the way to give our downtown retailers a break during the all-important summer festival season, but the tying in of the sewer lines is still a necessary project for the long-term viability of the sewer system. There will be some disruption between now and December.

Delegation Bylaw Update to facilitate Acting Director Roles
More about some of the re-organization happening with retirements and other staff changes at City Hall, This to update who is delegated to do delegated duties when the delegate is off duty. And we codify it by Bylaw, as required by Legislation. This seems kind of bureaucratic, and it is, but legislative function requires clear responsibility and chains of delegation so everyone is accountable.

Electronic Message Centre for Ryall Park / Queensborough Community Centre
The Queensborough Community Centre used to have a “static” sign on Ewen Ave, and a few members of the Q’boro community have been asking for a digital sign that can highlight events and share other City info. Staff looked into whether a partnership with a third party provider was viable, and it turns out the traffic counts there are just not enough to make this attractive to advertisers. We already have money in the Capital Budget to install a digital reader board sign, so we are moving ahead.

Official Community Plan Amendment and Rezoning Applications for Infill Townhouse: 102/104 Eighth Avenue and 728 First Street – Preliminary Report
This is a preliminary report on a townhouse development in Glenbrook North that would see 10 townhouses where there are currently two houses (one a duplex). This one needs an OCP amendment along with a rezoning, so it is going to consultation, and will end up at a Public Hearing, so I’ll hold my comments until then.

Recruitment 2022: Appointment to the Social and Cultural Vibrancy Grant Committee
We have community members serve on volunteer committees to help us evaluate applications for Grants. We put out a public call for applications due to a vacancy, and Staff have recommended a person for the SCV Grant Committee, who we now official appoint.

Temporary Use Permit: 97 Braid Street (Royal Columbian Hospital Parking) Phase 2 – Consideration of Notice of Issuance
That big parking lot for RCH construction workers by the Braid Skytrain Station operates on a Temporary Use Permit, which is expiring. They need a few more years to complete Phase 2 of the RCH Project, so we are issuing another TUP.

Temporary Use Permit for Group Living Facility: 311 Louellen Street – Consideration of Notice of Issuance
The owner of this large house in the Brow of the Hill would like to operate a residential support facility, which would require a Temporary Use Permit for three years. This is within the OCP use, but would need a TUP to address zoning issues. This report is just notice that Council will consider the TUP in a future meeting. If you have feedback, let us know!


The following items were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Fall 2022 Outdoor Pools Operating Schedule Update
With the closure of the Canada Games Pool and the Edmonds Pool in Burnaby, we are extending out Outdoor pool season well into October. This is an update on the schedule, and a reminder of a few operational constraints. Staff limitations is part of the equation, but there are also operational constraints at Hume (lack of lighting, an older boiler that probably can’t keep the pool warm as the weather changes) that may limit the usefulness of the pool. And, of course, the use will likely be impacted by weather, and we just can’t predict that.

We have also heard a few concerns about the booking system that changed during COVID, with parts of it still being used to manage capacity more fairly as we emerge out of the worst of the pandemic. To be truthful, I have heard very positive reviews and some negative reviews. Staff is going to take some time in the off-season to engage a bit with the user group and do a review of the system and report back to Council with some potential changes or improvements.

Massey Theatre Renovation Update
The City made a significant commitment to the Arts community when it committed to saving the Massey Theatre from demolition along with the old NWSS. The Land Transfer from the School District was a bit of a challenging negotiation (as it was a complex three-way conversation with us, the province, and the School Board about current and future land needs), but we now have the land secured and a long-term partnership with the Massey Theatre Society for operating the space. They have been doing incredible work already in expanding into the programmed space of the “Little Gym” and old music room spaces. This is a partnership that will serve the local arts community for decades.

But now comes the tough part. The Massey is an old building, and as it was not part of the School District’s long-term planning, it was hard for them to justify spending their limited capital finding on upgrades or updates. Now that the City has taken ownership and has been able to do some more comprehensive evaluation of the building, we need to prioritize capital costs to assure the building remains viable, safe, and functional.

The planning now is to look forward to where the building needs to be in 25 years, and what we can do to bring the building up to Building Code compliance, operational efficiency, and modern accessibility standards. The current budget (~$14 Million) is likely not enough to complete this work, and the business case and building evaluation do not support maintaining the “Big Gym” and cafeteria space on the north side of the building, so it will be demolished as was the original plan (though we took a bit of extra time to do detailed studies to assure demolition was the best option).

That said, we also need to be thoughtful in taking a phased approach to renovation and upgrades. Doing it all at once might be cheaper and quicker, but supporting the ongoing operation of the MTS means any closure of the Theatre needs to be short and predictable to allow ongoing and consistent programming. We also need to be mindful of the external presentation of the space (the accessibility, the greenspaces and parking around, etc.) as this work is ongoing. We have great partners in the MTS, and this partnership will help guide us through the next 5 (or more) years while we keep our commitment to preserving the Theatre. But ultimately, these decisions will be made by the next Council, as there are budget implications of all of these decisions. For today, we are just approving the steps to get us to a final project scope decision in January of 2023.

Master Transportation Plan Amendment and Monitoring Report
Our Master Transportation Plan is seven years old. The principles are still strong, but there are a couple of areas where it needs an update. The first part of the report is an update on the 123 policies and actions from the plan (61% ongoing actions that are the new normal, 11% completed actions, 21% underway but not yet complete, 11% either not started or abandoned) and an update on the 12 measurable “Key Performance Indicators” about how the MTP is going (6 are on track, 5 are behind pace, one is waiting for updated data).

New Mobility is a catch-all phrase for new technology like e-bikes, e-scooters, automated vehicles and electric cars. Our 2015 MTP does not speak to these, and we are adopting some updated policies to address them. Some of this is engineering changes to make micromobility safer, part is advocacy to senior governments to address the gaps in current legislation, along few other policy direction like addressing end-of-trip facilities and storage. And, yeah, we are looking for opportunities to bring an electric bike share program to New West.

Curbside Management is another area where we need an update. Changes in how retail and service industries work (exacerbated during COVID), and more demands for accessible curb space and providing space and comfort for vulnerable road users mean the priorities for the curb have changed, we need a set of priorities established to help make decisions around curbspace allocation.

Finally, we are asking staff to bring back a report on potential MTP updates to introduce Vision Zero principles. This will be a decision for the next Council, and I will be talking a lot about this in the future, as I have a lot to say about the need to take a more comprehensive approach to road safety in the City.

We than had a bunch of Bylaw Readings, with the following Bylaws for Adoption,/u>:

Zoning Amendment Bylaws Repeal Bylaw No. 8353, 2022
This Bylaw repeals the two Bylaws that received previous adoption but, due to an administrative error, were given public call for comment prior to the Third Reading instead of prior to the First Reading as is required with the recent changes to the Local Government Act, as has been discussed at some length. Once Repealed, we can adopt them again.

Zoning Amendment (1321 Cariboo Street) Bylaw No. 8345,2022
This Bylaw changes the zoning language to permit the construction of a 15 unit Purpose Built Rental building in the Brow of the Hill, as was discussed in a Public Hearing on June 30, 2002. It was adopted unanimously.

Development Cost Charges Bylaw No. 8327, 2022
This Bylaw updates our DCC rates to catch up to changes in the cost of necessary infrastructure upgrades related to growth in the City, as discussed back in May. It was adopted unanimously by Council.


Finally, we had two Motions from Council:

Advocacy for Inclusion of Sexualized Violence Prevention as part of the Serving It Right program, Councillor Trentadue
That Council request the mayor write to Minister Farnworth and Parliamentary Secretary Lore advocating for the inclusion of ‘sexualized violence prevention training’ within the Serving It Right curriculum to provide foundational education to people with the front-line opportunity to take action to prevent sexualized violence and respond appropriately and with care when incidents occur.

This is in support of good work happening in Victoria to call for more protection of service industry staff.

Low Carbon Energy Systems Councillor Nakagawa

THAT the City of New Westminster recognize both the significant difference in the lifecycle emissions associated with different gaseous fuels including RNG, blue and green hydrogen and biomass, and the limited supply of truly low-carbon RNG; and
THAT the City of New Westminster direct staff to prioritize electrification over gas when proceeding with work on acceleration of the Energy Step Code, and in particular explore ways to exclude RNG from future Low Carbon Energy Systems; and
THAT the City of New Westminster consider electric heat pumps systems the preferred option for space and water heating in buildings and intend to encourage the use of limited RNG resources for their highest and best use and not for residential or commercial heating; and
THAT the City of New Westminster include the above in our Community Energy and Emission Plan (CEEP) and our Corporate Energy and Emissions Reduction Strategy (CEERS); and
THAT the City of New Westminster write a letter to the BC Minister of Environment encouraging that this definition be adopted provincially, and encouraging the Province to evaluate the highest and best use of RNG considering its limited availability.

The City is already working to incent the move from fossil fuel to low-carbon energy systems for new buildings in the City, through leveraging the Step Code and our updated Community Energy and Emissions Plan. However, there is a “fuzzy” bit in most legislation around “Renewable Natural Gas” as a transition between fossil fuels and full electrification. This is, of course, heavily promoted by the legacy gas industry. This motion moves the city in our internal policies and in our senior government advocacy toward rapid electrification in place of this stopgap that doesn’t actually reduce emissions.

And that was a meeting! Back to the door knocking!

Police Numbers (update!)

The topic of policing is coming up across the region in various forms, most of them related to elections. Last week, two non-incumbent people running for Mayor in the two largest Metro Vancouver municipalities are promising to increase the number of police officers to address a perception of increased crime. I have also heard some discussion recently about New West not increasing its police force to keep up with population growth. So I thought it would be good to write a blog that looks at the data, as a precursor to what is likely to be a deeper discussion in the community about policing.

When I say “the data”, I mean the information provided by police themselves and reported to the Province of BC. The Province has a page dedicated to collecting and reporting out all kinds of police information from across the province that you can find here. The part I am most interested in is report linked at the bottom of the page entitled “Police resources in British Columbia, 2020“. It is the most recent and comprehensive comparison of police forces across the province, and though I’ll add data caveats below, it seems like as definitive a source as one can find.

In comparing Metro Vancouver policing, there is one thing that needs to be addressed up front: of the 17 municipalities with more than 5,000 residents, 12 are served by municipal RCMP forces, and 5 are served by Municipal Police. When you dig into details, the service model is actually much more complicated than this, as there are Regional Task Forces that are shared between multiple jurisdictions and may include Muni and RCMP staff, and every city receives some services from some task forces while most also lend staff to these task forces. There are also other forces such as Transit Police and Federal RCMP detachments operating in the region. The overlaps are complex, and the report itself has a lot of text explaining these complications. Read that report if you want those kind of details.

A commonly heard point is that Municipal police cost more, but provide better service and better local accountability. This is the concept behind Mayor McCallum’s argument for establishing a Municipal force in Surrey. There are a couple of ways to look at policing cost, but these two make sense:

The orange points are Municipal forces, the blue are RCMP. You can see the policing cost per capita does tend support the notion that local cops cost a bit more. You also see there is a wide range of per capita costs regardless of the provider – Vancouver and Langley City residents pay almost twice as much as North Vancouver District residents do for police. You can see New West has the lowest costs of any Municipal force, but is still more costly than most RCMP forces. The cost per officer to run the police force does not vary quite as much, and you can see New West is middling-to-high compared to our cohort, but not completely out of scale with the regional average.

This brings us to the number of officers per capita, or (the easier wat to count it) the number of residents per police officer. I think the most interesting way to look at this number is compared to the Case Load. That stat is the number of criminal offences per officer, which is an imperfect but useful proxy for “how busy is the average cop?”

You can see here that New West is about smack dab in the middle of the region in both of these counts. Our numbers are remarkably close to Surrey, which is a very different city with an RCMP force (these stats were collected before the Surrey Municipal police force was set up). You also note that Municipal forces general have fewer people per police (more police per capita) and lower caseloads than RCMP forces, with New West again leaning towards RCMP levels more than fitting in with the Municipal Force cluster.

Of course, this discussion leads to a discussion about growth, and whether the police forces are keeping up with regional population growth. The data here is a again from the BC Government report, including the 2020 population data. I gathered the 2011 population data from another BC Government dataset you can find here if you want check my numbers.

You can see that by percentage of growth over the decade, very few police forces have added members at the rate that population has grown (the dots on or below the blue diagonal lines being the few that did), and two North Shore municipalities have fewer police now than they did in 2011. You will also note that there isn’t a clear divide between RCMP and Muni forces here. It is clear that the increase in Police in New West (going from 108 to 113) has not kept up with the 22% population increase. It is also interesting that Surrey and New West are so far apart in this graph, when they were overlapping in the last – the relationships between officer count, case count, and growth are obviously complex.

So those are the numbers (table form below for those who wish to nit-pick), and I am sure that this kind of data will lead to principled and well informed discussions in the community. I just want to make the point that is often missed in these discussions: City Councils generally do not determine police officer counts. In RCMP-serviced communities, I have no idea how those decisions are made. For a City with a Municipal force, that is the job of the Police Board working with senior policing staff, backed by provincial service standards and based on the unique needs of the community. If you are interested in leading the discussion on police officer counts in New Westminster, your opportunity is now, as the province is currently receiving applications for Police Board members right here in New Westminster. Apply here, the closing date is September 9th.

Finally, it is important to note some data caveats. These are 2020 numbers, the most recent the province has available. The actual number of sworn officers in your community is likely lower than the numbers here, because these stats are “Authorized Force” and assume that all funded positions in the police force are filled. This is rarely true in the best of times, but in the last few years we have had events that made it less true, such as the regional shifts related to Surrey ramping up its Municipal Force and the COVID-related Great Resignation affecting many sectors of the economy. Also, there was a dip in crime in 2020 related to COVID (this is discussed in the report), and though we might presume this dip was systemic and equal across the region, this data neither confirms nor refutes that.

Raw numbers used in the charts above. Sources listed and linked to in the text above.

BONUS CONTENT!

In the comments, a reader suggested comparing Case Loads between 2011 and 2020 would be interesting. The table I downloaded from the province didn’t have case load data from 2011, but you can find CC Case counts in the “Jurisdiction Crime Trends” table on the same page. From that and the Authorized Strength already reported, you can calculate Case Loads from 2011 an 2020. The results are interesting, if a bit unclear. And again, I want to emphasize the 2020 data is likely anomalous due to COVID, so I also did the math comparing 2011 to 2019, which might be the most recent “representative” year. Sorry, the best you get is a table:

So Case Loads are generally down, but there are some municipalities where they went up, some by quite a bit – West Van and Maple ridge share a strange similarity here. You can also see an almost universal drop in 2020, except in White Rock. My first impression is probably that the majority of cases are likely more complex now than they were a decade ago, but once again, you can read form the numbers what you will! I’m just reporting here.

Bad Data. Again.

The Fraser Institute are up to their old tricks: shabby data gathering resulting in inaccurate results. I’ve demonstrated this before, and even sent them a letter outlining the big mistake they made last time they did this (not coincidentally four years ago, just before the last municipal election), and they have blithely made the same mistake again. So here I am to correct the record. Again.

The Record shingled this story into my social media feeds, and it speaks to this report prepared by the Fraser Institute. The report attempts to compare “spending per capita” and “revenue per capita” across the 17 largest municipalities in Greater Vancouver. I’ve said before, this is not a competition, but on the face of it, this isn’t the worst way to look at whether residents in various municipalities are getting value for their tax dollar. There are a few problems with over-simplification (I’ll talk about those further down), but as a first pass it is an interesting easy-to digest media byte.

The problem is, New Westminster, unlike any of the other 16 municipalities listed, has an electrical utility, and the data used by the FI rolls that Electrical Utility into the overall revenue and spending amount. Residents of every other city pay for electricity, but it is not included in these comparisons. This is not an insignificant difference. New West Electric pulls almost $50 Million in revenue ($622 per capita), and spends more than $40M ($505 per capita) every year.

So, much like I did last time, we can adjust for this significant factor, and shift the FI charts to reflect an apples-to-apples comparison. You see New West, when fairly compared, does not have the second highest spending in the region, but is tied with North Van City for 8th place, firmly in the middle of the pack:

Table from Fraser Institute report, modified to show how New West compares when the $40.6M in annual Electrical Utility spending is removed, allowing a true apples-to-apples comparison with other municipalities that do not have an electrical utility.

And when fairly compared, New West does not have the second highest per capita revenue in the region, but instead tenth, slightly below the regional average:

Table from Fraser Institute report, modified to show how New West compares when the $50 M in annual Electrical Utility revenue is removed, allowing a true apples-to-apples comparison with other municipalities that do not have an electrical utility.

The FI also conflates all revenue sources. This is problematic, because they vary greatly across the region. Municipalities have different fees for services and different ways of managing utilities. Also, as this is a data snapshot for only one year, factors like one-time senior government grants or sale of properties in any given year can really juice the numbers and make apples-to-apples difficult. When fans of FI reports talk about City spending, they are usually worried about taxes, so it is fortunate that the same government database from which the FI draws their numbers breaks down the revenue sources. It is easy to separate out Property Tax revenues from the pile, and compare on a per-capita basis. When you do that, you see New Westminster is one of the (and I totally buried the lede here) lowest-taxed municipalities on a per capita basis in the Lower Mainland:

Comparison of Revenue from Taxation across the lower mainland. Population Estimates same as used in Fraser Institute report cited above, taxation data source is BC Government Schedule 401_2019, column D “Total Own Purpose Taxation and Grants in Lieu”. available here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/facts-framework/statistics/statistics

And in case you are interested, here is that data in tabular form:


Now onto the detail part for those still interested.

I find the lack of adjustment for the electrical utility fascinating, not only because I pointed it out to them last time, but also because they do make and adjustment for the West Vancouver Blue bus system – a single-municipality expense and revenue stream. If you compare the FI data to the government database, you find West Van expenses are actually higher (by $417 per capita for spending and $910 per capita for revenue) than the FI report. They make that adjustment for West Van blue bus, but not for New West Electrical. This seems inconsistent.

Looking at the government database also demonstrates the problem with using snapshot data for one year. Line items in spending like “loss on disposition of assets” sound technocratic, but it is writing off value of assets either destroyed or sold off, and it varies across the region year by year as you might imagine. Add to this annual amortization adjustment, and cities with lots of physical assets (like Vancouver) and those that have invested recently in important infrastructure are disproportionately cast as spendthrifts. On the revenue side, one-time grants for big projects may be counted in this year data, but not reflect overall revenue generation ability. In 2019, Coquitlam sold $60 Million in assets – more than every other municipality combined – but that is not an annual (or sustainable) trend and does not reflect any long-term economic comparison between Coquitlam and any other municipality.

So the comparison is sloppy. And as much as I would like to counter some critics with the table that shows New Westminster spending growth over my time on Council as one of the lowest in the region (and, notably, much lower than the 18% cumulative inflation of the 10 years ), the way the FI presents data is so poorly explained that I don’t even feel good using it to tell a story that makes New West look like the kind of fiscally responsible municipality the FI would allege to support:

Table copied directly from the Fraser Institute report cited above. The only thing I added was the red arrow.

I just want the FI to do be fair, and the local and regional media to do a little bit of preliminary analysis before they credulously print their press release. After years of this kind of sloppy work the FI deserve to be treated with more scrutiny.

Reaching out

Hey Folks.

Not much updating going on here. Council is on the summer break but I am busier than I have ever been, because I am running for Mayor. Every day is filled with meetings, scheduled or impromptu, in person and on-line, with campaign team folks, with other candidates, with community stakeholders. I have been helping with platform discussions and writing and design, planning out comms for September, helping coordinate events and fundraising, helping line up volunteers for the work ahead. We have a great team and a lot of tasks, and the Mayor candidate tends to get pulled into a lot more of them. Yesterday I got through 4 of the 7 things on my morning To Do list, today my list is longer. And this note wasn’t even on it…

It can be exasperating at times, barely keeping up, but most evenings (when there isn’t another event) I drop it all at 5:30 or so, and meet a volunteer for a couple of hours of door-knocking. By 8:00 I am recharged and excited again, because meeting people and talking about the city – what we do well, what we need to do better – is just about my favourite thing in the world. People in this community are so positive and forward-looking. It’s joyful work and those conversations are like a breath of fresh air.

I don’t generally use his Blog for campaign stuff. You can find campaign info at my campaign site, at my Facebook site, and of course I’m always Twittering, I only rarely put campaign stuff on here and that won’t change. But I’m talking Campaign on my blog today because I want you to go here right now: communityfirstnw.ca/donate_patrick

There are a lot of people who read this blog who I don’t have other direct contact with. I meet people on the doorstep who tell me they read this and appreciate the work I have done to try to make the work of Council easier to understand and more transparent. It takes a lot of time and I don’t get paid extra to do it, but it is part of the commitment I made when I got elected to Council 8 years ago.

If you are reading this, and have been reading this, you know who I am and what I stand for. At a time when politics is increasingly cynical and polarized, I still believe we can talk through the challenges in our community in an open and transparent way, we can hear different voices and stand behind decision making. We can also change our mind when given new information or better data. We can make this a better City and a better world by doing these things.

If you think this too, and appreciate the work I have done to bring the community into City Hall, then I ask that you donate to my Campaign for Mayor so I can keep doing this work.

Why You? Because new campaign finance rules mean I cannot receive any business or union donations. Nothing from CUPE, nothing from BIA members, nothing from the development companies. Every donation must come from an individual, and no individual can donate more than $1250. I am not even allowed to donate more than $1250 to my own campaign. This means I am not allowed to pay for my own lawn signs, or for a campaign office. I can pay for newspaper ads or pamphlets, but not both. I need those who support me to donate to my campaign, and our team needs to pool funds to get those things done. We need you.

As always, if you have a question or concern, drop me a note. I might not have time for an ASK PAT response right now, but I try to reply to every email I get. Please consider helping me out if you are able, then get back to enjoying the summer. And now I’m off to the New West Farmers Market to judge a Pie Contest. But that’s another blog…

Counting homes

It is 2022, which means 2021 Census data is trickling out. If you are interested in this kind of data, you should probably be over at censusmapper or Mountain Doodles where Jens does cool things with maps and data visualization to make census numbers fun. But before you go, I want to talk a bit more about what the census can tell us about the regional housing situation.

I have written a few blog posts in the past that compare census data to the regional growth trends projects in the Regional Growth Strategy – the master document of regional planning for Metro Vancouver, and the one that all municipal Official Community Plans must align with. In those posts I compared the decade of population growth that the regional government planning folks predicted back in 2011 to the actual population growth shown in the census. Turns out (surprise!) growth is not evenly distributed around the region, and though the overall growth of the region is close to the projection (when you account for census undercount, which is an interesting phenomenon), but there are great regional variations between those communities that met or exceeded their regional growth projections and those that fell far short.

However, the population count is not something cities directly control (despite some fanciful promises candidates may offer). The region grows for many overlapping demographic, economic and socio-political reasons, and cities can either accommodate that growth (by supplying homes, employment spaces, utilities, infrastructure) or choose not to (and face housing price inflation, labour shortages, and failing services). The Regional Growth Strategy also includes projected dwelling counts for every community, and Cities though their policies and practices, have much closer control of this. It also happens that dwelling count is a major factor in housing affordability – the idea that increasing supply puts downward pressure on price is not controversial outside of some Landscape Architecture schools.

The 2021 dwelling count data was recently released by Statistics Canada, and we can now compare the decade-old RGS projected numbers for 2021 to the census numbers for 2021. I’ll start with a table, because I am not the data visualization genius Jens is:

I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see only 5 of 21 municipalities built more housing units than the RGS projected, though some may be surprised to see Vancouver exceed its targets by almost 20,000 units. As is probably expected, North Van City exceeded growth projections by the highest amount proportional to its population, and Delta, New West and White Rock round out the Municipalities that built more housing units that projected (and Richmond was within statistical error of it target). However, during a decade of overlapping housing crises, while everyone agrees the affordability of housing is the primary local government issue, every other Municipality in the Metro Vancouver fell short of the very commitment they made to the region to get new housing built.

Yes, I dropped Anmore and Lions Bay and other small munis that have negligible effect on regional housing supply.

Of course, not all munis are equal in size, nor are all munis equal in their ability to accommodate growth. A significant part of the Regional Growth Strategy is to emphasize new growth near transit and established transportation networks, to increase residential density near work / study / shopping areas to reduce transportation burdens, and to prevent the erosion of the ALR and and the Urban Containment Boundary.  This is why the RGS set different targets for different municipalities, and came up with 2021 targets that every muni could agree to when they signed off on the document.

So I compared the projected increase in dwelling units from 2011 to 2021 to the amount that each municipality exceeded or fell short of the 2021 target based on 2021 census data, and you can see how the growth was not only shared unequally, but how different municipalities had different commitments to the agreed-upon plan. It is here that the two recalcitrant North Shore districts and the Tri-Cities really stand out.

Note this is not total dwelling units, just the increase between 2011 and 2021. It also shows that the apparently-rapid growth of new towers in Burnaby and Coquitlam are not enough to keep up with the demand that was projected in the region a decade ago. And that Sea Bus apparently is the great catalyst to urban growth?

The RGS is being updated right now, the decade-old document projecting to 2040 is being replaced with one projecting to 2050. All of the Municipalities are expected to sign off on it, though there are some rumblings Surrey is going to push back because they felt the other cities were not sufficiently diffident in granting them a major re-draw of the Urban Containment Boundary so they can replace forest with warehouses. One of the concerns raised by New Westminster through that process was that municipal projections/targets are being replaced with sub-regional ones that clump municipalities together, further reducing the accountability local governments have in addressing our serious housing crisis. And with strong anti-growth voices rising regionally during this local government election period, I am less confident that the order of government most able to bring in new supply is going to get the work done.

Hey Mr. Eby; we should talk.

Council – July 11, 2022

The Summeriest of all our Summer Council meetings was a longer meeting with a lot of important and foundational work on the agenda. We also had several delegations and a weird procedural thing where we had to fix a administrative error made earlier in the year, but it started with a pretty significant Report to Council:

New Westminster Homelessness Action Strategy
The City has been working on an updated strategy to both reduce homelessness and address the impacts of homelessness, and has done this work in partnership with the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition, the Community Action Network, and UBC to bring both lived experience and academic experience to the issue. The 46 recommendations in the strategy are based on a thorough review of policies developed in other Canadian and American jurisdictions facing similar issues, based on what worked previously in New West and where new gaps have appeared, and engaged stakeholders across the community in its development. This is work that began just before COVID hit. The previous strategy was demonstrably effective for the time it was established, but new housing cost pressures and vacancy pressures were causing an upswing in unsheltered residents in New West and around the region. When COVID hit, it impacted many vital support systems and made them less effective, at the same time housing and employment uncertainty caused a spike in unhoused people across the region. This was the context that went into developing this strategy.

The first step after this new 5-year strategy is adopted is to put together a working group to action those 46 recommendations. There will be follow-up reports as some of these actions are going to require funding and staffing (decisions that need to be addressed by Council as they come along) and the plan includes structuring work around annual action plans for both budgeting and accountability.

The report is a good read, and the CAN presentation at Council was inspiring, reflecting the work a Municipality can do that is both meaningful and effective, even when we don’t have the funding to build the thousands of new homes we need in the community (see report below). Our role is to facilitate their being built when the senior government funding does arrive, support the social supports in the community that keep people in their current housing and provide basic care to those who are unhoused, and never stop advocating to senior governments to bring their massive resources to bear on this most pressing of problems.


We then moved the following items On Consent:

Draft Community Energy and Emissions Plan
Talking about most pressing of problems, when the City Declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, staff brought us and aggressive action plan based on 7 Bold Steps to get the City to 2030 and 2050 targets that meet the commitments made by Canada at COP21. Like most municipalities, New West divides up its Climate Action work in to two parts. Corporate Emissions are those created by the City doing city stuff – running fire trucks and swimming pools. The City has a “Corporate Energy and Emissions Reduction Strategy” (“CEERS”) to address these. Community Emissions are those made by the residents and the businesses in the city doing their stuff – heating their homes and driving their cars. This CEEP addresses this latter category.

Where the CEERS is direct action by the City, the CEEP is more about the behavior we incent through our policies, our bylaws, and our infrastructure investment. At the most basic level, we want to make it easier and cheaper for people to make decisions that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. As this is very public-facing work, there is more public engagement required to develop a viable plan – one that works for the community. There has already been a phase of public and subject matter expert outreach, and in this report, staff outline the framework of the CEEP that arose from those meetings, to be taken out for another round of public engagement. I hope to be talking more about this in the months ahead, but for now it is over to you, New West. See you at BeHeardNewWest.

Manufacturer’s Patio Application (Steel and Oak) for 1319 Third Avenue
Steel & Oak wants to expand their patio, and this requires that the City clearly and expressly tell the province that this expansion of their liquor license is good with us. So we are making that clear definitive statement that the City supports the liquor license change.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30, 2022
September 30th is now known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, by federal mandate. It is a statutory holiday for federal employees, and the Province is still working on making it a permanent stat holiday (I honestly don’t understand the jurisdictional things here, but I’ll let it pass). In the meantime, the Province suggests it be a Stat holiday in 2022, so the City will designate it a Stat holiday for our operations this year, in anticipation that it will be a Provincial Stat holiday starting in 2023. This shouldn’t be so complicated.

Recruitment 2022: Grant Committee Appointments
The City has grants we award to groups in the community who do work to build the sustainability, social equity, and culture of the community. There are always more applicants than grant funds available, and we have a committee of volunteer community members who we task with evaluating the applications and making a recommendation to Council on where the funds should go. This report is where we appoint those committee members.

Submission to the Department of Canadian Heritage Museum Assistance Program under the Recovery Fund For Heritage Organizations
There is funding Museums and Archives from the federal Government. We are applying for it.


The following items were then Removed from Consent for discussion:

2022 Heat Response Planning Update
The City’s Emergency Operations folks have developed an updated Extreme Heat Response Plan. This dovetails with the Provincial alert process that triggers a “Level 1” Heat Warning for those more typical heat waves, and “Level 2” Extreme Heat Warning for events like last year’s Heat Dome. The plan details what types of supports the City can activate, including outdoor cooling areas, misting stations, indoor cooling shelters, distribution of water, managing increased staff needs to cover the emergency actions, and some communications strategies to better get the word out to vulnerable people and those who care for vulnerable people. The communication part is an ongoing effort, and something Emergency Management staff are going to continue to develop over the summer working with community stakeholder groups.

Not the full answer yet, more to do in how we communicate, and more work to do in exploring what regulatory powers we can apply to assure building management is responsible for the safety of their buildings and their residents.

Affordable Housing Project Update
The City’s Housing Needs Report indicates we need to build 230 units of affordable or supportive housing every year for the next decade to meet the anticipated need. That means at least two buildings of the scale of the Aboriginal Trust building approved on Eighth Street need to be brought on line every year. This is not a target we are currently on pace to meet, and we are ahead of almost every municipality in the Lower Mainland. The situation is dire.

Every government has a role in helping us get there, and with the fewest financial resources of the three orders of Government, out role is not to finance the building of it, but to facilitate it getting built when a proposal comes to the City, and incent more proposals to come to the City. This means streamlining approval processes (which we are doing), providing land if we have appropriate land available (we have done), and provide targeted support for capital costs through our Homlessness Reserve Fund (currently over-subscribed). The City has $8.9 Million in its 2022-2026 Capital Plan to support these projects, but how these are realized is dependent on a lot of factors. The City is also looking at hiring a Project Manager whose job will be to coordinate between these overlapping factors.

This report is mostly an update on the progress of Affordable Housing support programs the City is running. The 24/7 Emergency Response Shelter at 502 Front will provide 50 beds and is currently going through building improvements involving a BC Housing Code Consultant and Lower Mainland Purpose Society. This will “bridge the gap” until permanent shelter can be built at 68 Sixth Street. BC Housing has determined that a permanent wood-frame building works better than TMH at that location, which adds to the timeline. The City has approved the project, but they are waiting for BC Housing funding approval for those 52 beds. The proposed 58-unit family-friendly project on City lands on Fenton Street was not successful at its first funding request from BC Housing, but an application is going to CMHC. The proposal for housing on the combined City and Metro Vancouver lands at 1400 Quayside is stalled because the high cost of development on those lands pushes it down the priority list for funders.

So the update is positive, but not nearly the numbers we need. On paper here we have fewer than 200 permanent affordable housing units in the pipeline, along with a few dozen more that are being built right now but are not covered in this report (such as the PALS building on Carnarvon), which is less than half of what we need in the next couple of years.

Business License Bylaw Modernization
The City’s Business License Bylaw includes 160 different types of businesses, trades, and professions. I don’t know what the right number is, but 160 seems like a lot. I suspect this is a result of an old bylaw (1986!) that keeps getting updated in piecemeal ways over the years as the regulatory environment evolves, but less time has been taken to comprehensively review and simplify the regulations.

So we are going to modernize this by removing obsolete requirements and streamlining the language and structure of the Bylaw. This will help staff serve the community better, make things easier for businesses and staff, and we can make sure we are applying our energy in effective regulating the higher-risk businesses while not overregulating the low risk ones.

This work will take some stakeholder consultation with the business community and community at large, which will start up this summer.

Council Maternity and Parental Leave Draft Policy
Serving in City Council is a weird job. Though some are reluctant to call it a “job”, preferring to think of it as public service or a volunteer gig, the reality is that working on Council takes away from a person’s ability to do other jobs. It would be the epitome of privilege to only allow the independently wealthy dedicate the hours every week it takes to do this work.

The Council/Career balance is hard, but there are other challenges that serve as unequal barriers to participation. Trying to balance family responsibility at the same time as all of the above means that a cohort of younger candidates, disproportionally women, are disincentivized from serving on Council. This is reflected in the regional imbalance in gender and age of people who serve on Councils.

Many Cities, from Coquitlam to Whistler, are recognizing this barrier, and are bringing in a parental leave policy that aligns with what municipalities offer their non-elected staff, but structured to support the unique employment conditions of Councillors and Mayors. New Westminster is introducing a similar program to reduce barriers to participation for young adults who are thinking of starting or growing their families.

Proposed Energy Step Code Acceleration for Single Detached Dwellings
The City is subject to enforcing the BC Building Code. In recent years, the province has been rolling out an energy efficiency standard as part of the Building Code called the “Step Code”. Recognizing that it will take time for the building industry to shift from what they build now to the highest efficiency buildings we want in the near future, the “Step Code” is designed with multiple “steps” that local governments can choose to require as the industry catches up to these shifts – where Step 1 is a traditional building and Step 5 is so efficient as to approach Passive House standard. New West now requires new single family homes to meet Step 3.

The Step Code is agnostic towards energy sources, so if a City wants to incentivize moving away from GHG-producing energy sources and the use of low-carbon electricity, we need something on top of the Step Code. Following the lead of a few different jurisdictions in BC, we can increase our default requirement to Step 5, but allow a builder to only hit Step 3 if they agree to not use natural gas appliances in the new build. That way builders and homeowners have some choice, can manage their costs appropriately, and we are creating an incentive to get people off GHG.

This report outlines the process we will take to make this change, a bylaw will come when staff work out the details.


We then Adopted the following Bylaws:

Development Approval Procedures Amendment Bylaw No.8342, 2022
Delegation Amendment Bylaw No. 8344, 2022
These bylaws that streamlines some building approvals processes by allowing the delegation of minor variances to staff were adopted by Council.


Then we had some Motions from Council:

Re-Branding the City of New Westminster Mayor Cote
After some Whereases:

Be it resolved that the City of New Westminster begin the process to update the City’s logo and phase-out the use of “Royal City” moniker in our branding.

Be it further resolved that the City develop a plan to engage with the community in the development of a new brand identity that is inclusive and allows for collective pride in our city.

Launching what is sure to be an interesting conversation in the community, this motion starts a process where the City will update its branding, something the City has not done in something like 15 years (when the current gold crown was adopted). Surely not the only point of discussion, but probably a timely one, is the role of the crown itself in our marketing and branding materials.

There will be more to say here, as this will surely be a months-long consultation process, and a conversation we should not shy away from. I’m sure there will be much more to say here, but I’ll hold that for future blog posts.

Mandatory Health Warning on Alcohol Products Councillor Puchmayr
After some Whereases:

Therefore be it resolved that the City of New Westminster write to the Federal and Provincial Governments and ask them to introduces policies requiring warning labels on all alcohol containers and that the governments expand the education of our citizens, young and old, on the dangers attributed to the harmful use of alcohol.

There is a national movement to promote this idea of mandatory labelling for alcohol, and New West is joining the call for senior governments to take action on this issue.


Finally, we had a raft of On Table resolutions related to a recent administrative error made by staff and caught by a vigilant council watcher:

Public Hearing Process – Correcting an Administrative Error
There were five recent Zoning Amendment Bylaws that got procedurally caught up in recent changes to the Local Government Act, and due to those changes the City provided public notice for comment at the wrong step in the process. Three of those Bylaws were adopted by Council, two had not yet been adopted, but had passed three readings.

It is important to note that the notifications were appropriate in how they went out, and there is no material difference in people’s opportunity to be heard on the issue excepting that the opportunity was granted at third reading, when it should have been granted at first reading according to the new system. The number of reports, decision points, and notifications was appropriate, as was the time available to opine, it is just supposed to happen at a different period in the process.

So, in the interest of us meeting the letter of the law, not just the spirit, we are going to go through a process where these Bylaws are rescinded, and readings and notice are done in a way consistent with the new regulations. It’s a bit of a hassle, but the right thing to do. We started the process this meeting, and there will be some subsequent readings of Bylaws in the couple of meetings ahead.


That was an evening’s work, along with some public delegations that I usually don’t address in these reports. This was our last meeting until the end of August, and there are many events going on in the City this summer – have fun and stay safe. I’ll probably be generating less content here over that summer break as the Campaign is starting to ramp up, and I hate mixing the streams. You can pop over to pjnewwest.ca to see how that develops now that Council is on break. Cheers!

Ask Pat: 4Qs on EVs

JP asks—

I’ve got questions about electric vehicle infrastructure. I read this morning that 3/5 BC residents intend for their next vehicle to be an EV. This along with the current target from the federal government to phase out new non-electric vehicle sales by 2035, has me worried that our city isn’t prepared for what I anticipate will be an imminent influx of demand for electric vehicle infrastructure. I also want to note that if I were to own an electric vehicle, driving to a charging space, leaving it there for a couple hours, then going and moving it once it’s charged, just doesn’t meet my expectations of reasonable infrastructure. So I have a few questions.
1. Are all new residential builds being required to have electric charging available for their parking spaces? If not yet, what steps are being taken to move in this direction?
2. If a rental building or condo tower does not have sufficient energy coming to their property to support adding EV charging to their parking spaces, what incentives are available to upgrade this infrastructure? Are there things the city can do to help move things in this direction?
3. What is the city’s strategy for electrifying their fleet of vehicles?
4. What percentage of new parking spaces being built by the city (ie at the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic centre) are being equipped with EV charging?

That’s a lot of questions, and I held off on answering them for a bit because I knew the City’s eMobility Strategy was coming to Council, and I didn’t want to jinx any parts of it before adoption by getting ahead of it here. But this question now gives me a good chance to talk about that strategy, which I only mentioned in my Council report last week when we adopted it. That strategy answers some of your questions, but not all of them, so let’s go through these by number:

1: Yes. In 2019, New Westminster made it a requirement that all new residential buildings be ‘EV Ready’. This means every parking stall includes an energized outlet that can accommodate a Level 2 EV charger. There is no requirement to install the charger, as we fully expect the technology at the end of the wire will continue to evolve, both in the types of chargers and the energy management systems attached to them, but having a hot wire in place for every parking spot removes a big barrier to home charging for multi-unit residential buildings.

2: Yeah, this is a challenge. Something like 60% of New West residents live in existing multi-family buildings where charging infrastructure is limited or non-existent. To meet our 2035 goals for EV use, the vast majority of these will need to be EV ready. The eMobility strategy includes the exploration of financial incentives to “top up” those already available from the Provincial Government and Federal Government to facilitate retrofitting charging infrastructure into existing buildings. There may be some Community Charter issues with direct subsidies from a City to do this, but we also have a role in facilitation and setting up more streamlined permitting and inspection processes. This is a work in progress, with relatively high priority.

3: As fast as possible/practical is the strategy. It is laid out in some detail in our Corporate Energy & Emissions Reduction Strategy (“CEERS”). Vehicle emission represent about 40% of current GHG emissions from City operations, (“Corporate Emissions”) and the CEERS has us reducing these by 30% by 2030. The City has various fleets, and there are two things setting the pace of our transition: the availability of zero emission alternatives on the market, and the ability to support the EV fleet with charging infrastructure. We want to optimize the latter so we are ready for the former, if that makes sense.

Light vehicles are relatively easy and we are generally replacing vehicles as they age out of the fleet with electric alternatives. Larger vehicles are, for the most part, just not available. Electric regular-duty pickups are achingly slow getting to the market, and larger vehicles like dump trucks and trucks that can push a snow plow still seem very far away. In the meantime, we have strategically replaced a few parks and engineering service vehicles with smaller specialty electric ones, and are already ahead of the curve on “fuel switching” such as displacing diesel with propane where appropriate, which can reduce emissions by something like 30%. The transition in police vehicles in also a challenge in North America for reasons that are unclear to me, so the shift in the short term is to flex-fuel and hybrid options. Electric firetrucks are a very exotic item right now. So we are shifting when we can, but we are honestly waiting for the technology to catch up in a lot of sectors.

The CEERS also includes some significant trip reduction policies for staff, and as technology allows, we are shifting a bunch of non-vehicle equipment from hydrocarbon-burning to electric.

4: I don’t think that has been decided yet. Indeed, the future market for charging in public facilities like this is a topic of some debate. With the hopefully-rapid deployment of residential charging, the introduction of similar workplace charging requirements, and the ongoing improvement in battery technology and reduction in range anxiety, there remains a question of what role widely-distributed public charging will have in the decades ahead. There will likely always be a place for some public level-2 type charging, and perhaps a greater need for Level 3 rapid-charge facilities for a user group that puts a tonne of mileage on vehicles, but 100% charging at every public parking space is probably not a useful way to invest limited infrastructure money, and will do nothing to fuel the transition to EVs. So a building like təməsew̓txʷ will have some EV charging stations, but I do not know the type or how they will be allocated.


That all said, the transition away from internal combustion cars will not only include swapping them out for EVs. If we are going to meet the Climate Action goals of the city, of the province, and the country, we need to re-think urban mobility. The future of transportation is not just electric, it is shared (more electric Public Transit!) and it is distributed (more Micromobility!). So the eMobility Strategy also talks about how we are going to make the use of emergent transportation technology work better in New West. This means assuring we have the right kind of road and curbside infrastructure to make micromobility safe, and it means advocating to senior governments to change our archaic Motor Vehicle Act and other legislation to make active transportation safe and comfortable for all.

There are a lot of opportunities for a local government to make long-term investments here, and we need our upcoming Community Energy and Emissions Plan to dovetail with this eMobility Strategy. This is also why the City has set up a Climate Action Reserve Fund to help us efficiently manage the various funding sources available to us (such as the new provincial Climate Action Program and assure we are investing in the infrastructure that gets us the best bang for our emissions-reduction buck.

This is an area where there is a lot happening right now, and during the Decade of Climate Action, municipalities are at the forefront, and are redefining their core functions. Not only because local governments (with less than 10% of the tax revenue of senior governments) are responsible though our infrastructure and local policies for more than 50% of all emissions, but because we know the infrastructure we invest in now will save us money and emissions in the decades ahead.

Council – June 30, 2022.

We had a Thursday Council Meeting. One of the half dozen times in my time on Council where we had more work to do than staff figured we could comfortable fit on a Monday night. In this case, we had two Public Hearing topics to cover:

Official Community Plan Amendment (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) Bylaw No. 8088, 2022,
Heritage Revitalization Agreement (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) Bylaw No. 8089, 2022, and
Heritage Designation (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) Bylaw No. 8090, 2022
This project is to build a 30 storey tower with 271 market condo homes and 14 secured rental homes on the space where the current Holy Trinity Cathedral parish hall stands. The building will include a replacement (and improvement) of the parish hall and accessory rooms as part of the base of the residential tower. The project will include a massive restoration and seismic upgrade of the historic cathedral, and a re-imagining of the space around the cathedral, with an expanded public plaza, a fully accessible (with public elevator to address the grade) public promenade connecting Carnarvon and Church streets.

This project has been on the books for several years, and has been though a few different iterations over that time, and there have been a half dozen public meetings to take comments on the plans. At one point, there was non-market housing component, but neither CMHC or BCHousing were able to fund this project, as the first did not have a category that fit, and the second was simply oversubscribed in the current funding year.

The project is aligned with the Downtown Community Plan, and was supported by the Community Heritage Commission, the New Westminster Design Panel, and the Advisory Planning Commission. We had six pieces of written correspondence, mostly in favour, but a couple opposed over density concerns and lack of affordable/subsidized units. We also had correspondence from a series of public service agencies in New Westminster, who spoke to the value of the services and space provided by HTC to the community. We also had about a dozen presentations to the Public Hearing, almost all in favour, though a couple of people expressed caution about some aspects of the project while not opposing it outright.

To be honest, I’ve been on the fence about this project since I first saw and earlier iteration a few years ago. My record shows me about as pro-housing as a Councilor can be, but this seemed like a lit of density in a tight spot in a neighbourhood that is feeling a lot of pressure from recent growth. I reached out to some neighbours I knew, and though they didn’t specifically oppose the project, there is a feeling of construction fatigue in that area, and that block of Carnarvon especially has some quirky public realm issues.

That said, housing of this scale – 128 family friendly units, 285 new homes, in a car-light design virtually on top of a Sky Train Station with frequent service in three directions is aligned with the City’s Transit Oriented Development strategy, and with the region’s larger strategies around more sustainable development. I also believe the ground expression of this site – the public plaza and more accessible connection through the site – will be a huge improvement for the neighbourhood, and when TransLink gets around to making Columbia Station accessible, this project will add to that accessibility.

I’m not a religious person, but I was nonetheless compelled by so many delegates coming to the Public Hearing to talk about the Heritage of Service to the community that HTC and the importance of the parish hall to the community. There is no doubt the existing building is at end of life, and the loss of it would be a real harm to many service providers, and it is hard to fit this type of community benefit into the Pro Forma evaluation of amenity value we do with new significant projects.

In the end, I voted along with the rest of Council to approve the project.

Zoning Amendment (1321 Cariboo Street) Bylaw No. 8345, 2022
This project would see a 5 storey building with 15 units of secured market rental housing in the lower slopes of the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood. The current site has been vacant for a significant amount of time. The project is consistent with the Official Community Plan, had general support during public consultation, and was approved by the New Westminster Design Panel.

We had two pieces of written correspondence for neighbours – both in favour of the project, and we had three delegates, two related to the project, and one expressing that they would prefer affordable subsidized housing on the site. Council voted unanimously to support the project.


And in the Regular Meeting following the Public Hearing, we moved the above projects along and read a few Bylaws, including the following Bylaws for Adoption:

Housing Agreement (1321 Cariboo Street) Bylaw No. 8346, 2022
This is a bylaw that secures market rental tenure for all 15 homes in the above-discussed development project in the Brow of the Hill . This agreement was adopted by Council.

Housing Agreement (514 Carnarvon Street – Holy Trinity Cathedral) Bylaw No. 8338, 2022
This is a bylaw that secures market rental tenure for 15 homes in the above-discussed development project in the Downtown. This agreement was adopted by Council.

Housing Agreement (823-841 Sixth Street) Bylaw No. 8316, 2022
This is a bylaw that secures non-market (subsidized) rental tenure for 96 homes in this project already approved in the Uptown.

Road Closure and Dedication Removal (Queensborough Eastern Neighbourhood Node) Bylaw No. 8347, 2022 and Zoning Amendment (Blackley Street) Bylaw No. 8351, 2022
As discussed at our previous Public Hearing, these Bylaws that officially close and rezone two road allotments in the Eastern Node area of Queensborough were adopted by Council.

Elections Procedures Amendment Bylaw No. 8355, 2022
This Bylaw that officially codifies the Special Voting Opportunities and mail-in-ballot voting for the October elected was adopted by Council.

Climate Action Reserve Fund Bylaw No. 8321, 2022
This Bylaw that sets up a reserve fund for Climate Action (mitigation and adaptation) in the City was adopted by Council.


And that was the end of Public Hearings for this Council Term! Happy Summer everyone!

Council – June 27, 2022.

Its summer time in New West Council, and things get a little more casual in the chambers, but we had a long Agenda and a decent crowd show up to enjoy the air conditioned spaces and to hear the presentation of the Annual Report. I will put off blogging about the report for a later post, because there is a lot of good stuff in there, and we had three Public Hearing items to get to:

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8341, 2022 for 735 Eighth Avenue (Massey Theatre)
The Massey Theatre Society wants to change their license to get more flexibility and less hassle at the times they want to serve alcohol as part of their events schedule. This is not going to change how they operate much, or any aspect of the building, but it will make it easier for them to operate For the Province to give them that license, it must be permitted in the zoning language, which means if the City supports it, we need to add this language to the zoning, which requires a Public hearing. Here we are.

We received 23 written submissions on this request, all on favour. We had no-one come to address the Public Hearing. The MTS has been operating with event licences for years with no problems, so no surprise. Council voted to adopt the bylaw.

Heritage Revitalization Agreement Bylaw No. 8339, 2022, Heritage Designation Bylaw No. 8340, 2022, and Road Closure Bylaw No.8350, 2022 for 108-118 Royal Avenue and 74-82 First Street
This project has taken a couple of years to evolve from a smaller iteration to where it is now. This will see 189 new strata apartments on Royal Ave in the Downtown, the preservation of a heritage house, and a pretty significant upgrade in the surrounding active transportation network. This includes a long-sought moderate-grade connection from Agnes to Royal via Cunningham and adjacent improvements that addresses some “gaps in the map” for active transportation in the downtown and safe routes to QayQayt.

Every project bring different benefits, this is decent density that will fill a need in the market, homes for 189 families, really important transportation connections, preservation of a couple of historic homes, and though there is maybe more parking than we might need in 2022, they will be 100% pre-wired for EV charging..

We had two written submissions and 6 speakers. Most speakers were in favor, but there was a discussion about the loss of trees on the site. It is very green right now with a variety of trees and almost completely surrounded by hedges, but the arborist report indicated most trees on site were in poor health due to a variety of issues (ivy infestation, historic pruning issues, root concerns, etc.). As per the City’s Urban Forest Management Strategy and Tree Protection Bylaw, the trees will be replaced on a 2-for-1 basis, with 56 new trees on site and another 64 planted around the neighbourhood to add to the citywide tree canopy.

In the end, Council voted to give the project and the Bylaws Third Reading.

Zoning Amendment (Blackley Street) Bylaw No. 8351, 2022 and Road Closure and Dedication Removal (Queensborough Eastern Neighbourhood Node) Bylaw No. 8347, 2022
This is a part of the larger Eastern Node project in Queensborough, which will (eventually, because it is taking some time) provide mixed use housing and some retail commercial to the border of the Port Royal neighbourhood. The Public Hearing today is only in regards to closing, selling off, and rezoning two undeveloped road portions to permit the re-planning of the neighbourhood to facilitate the Eastern Node concept. We had no written submissions or speakers to this issue at Public Hearing, and voted to approve.


Council then moved the following items On Consent:

2021 Statement of Financial Information
Every year we do the SOFI – this is the simplified but formal part of our financial reporting, along with the reporting out on salaries, benefits, and the Audit Report. Short news: The City collected about $244 Million in revenue and spent about $211 Million, meaning we put about $33 Million into reserves (which is there now to apply to our significant Capital Plan). The City has about $103 Million in investments with the Municipal Finance Authority, about $61 Million in long-term debt, and almost $700 Million in tangible capital assets.

My remuneration as a Councillor (which rises a bit every year with CPI) was just under $54,000, and I had $700 in expenses, which were registrations for on-line conferences like Lower Mainland LGA and UBCM.

Amendments to the Elections Procedures Bylaw No. 7985, 2018
The Bylaw required to set out voting procedures in the October election needs to be adopted by July 5. Staff have made some changes to the Bylaw to allow mail-in voting, and to set the dates for the advance voting opportunities. We approved in principle a few meetings ago, but they were run through external counsel, and a few minor edits in language to improve clarity were recommended. So here we are approving as amended. Get ready to get your vote on!

Approval of Climate Action Reserve Fund Bylaw No. 8321, 2022
The City has a bold plan for Climate Action, with aggressive but attainable targets for 2030. These are more important (in my mind) than the 2050 targets, because the shorter-term ones reflect action we need to do now, and cannot rely on some future hopeful technology. If we want to make 2030 targets, it’s gotta be in our budget and operation plans today. It is the Decade of Climate Action according to my friends at the CEA, which means there is some capital investment we need to make today, recognizing in the longer term it will save us money overall ,and that there is significant funding from senior government and other sources to do this work today.

I often make the point to people who will listen that Climate Action is not as much an environmental concern anymore, it is an economic concern. Getting to 2050 with a climate that supports human prosperity will require re-structuring major parts of our economy, and local governments are where the real action needs to occur. The winners in this transition will be those who go into it with their eyes open, their ducks in a row, and (enter third “getting your shit together” metaphor here).

One way we do this in the City is set up dedicated Reserve Funds, like we have for other priority areas. Council can dedicate a portion of annual surpluses to this fund, or can determine other funding sources, such as selling low carbon fuel credits, money received through the CleanBC Local Government Climate Action Program and other senior government supports. This is a mechanism that gives Council oversight (and transparency to the public) to assure money being invested in Climate Action is going towards Climate Action, because it requires Council resolution to draw from this Reserve Fund.

Development Approval Procedures Amendment Bylaw No. 8342, 2022 and Delegation Amendment Bylaw No. 8344, 2022
One of the ways the City is accelerating the development approval process is by delegating some minor development variances to senior staff. If the variances meet established criteria, set out in the Schedules to the Bylaw, then Staff can approve without writing a council report, waiting for a slot in our Council schedule, and asking us to grant the variance. This is not only more efficient and saves everyone time, it is more transparent to applicants and provides more predictability for them, which saves everyone money.

Komagata Maru Dock water lot lease agreement renewal – Amending Agreement No. NEW326-10551F-002
The Dock where the QtoQ lands on the Queensborough side is on a water lot leased from the Port, with a 5-year renewal term. And it’s been 5 years. So we are renewing.


We then addressed the following items, which were Removed from Consent for discussion:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (DEIAR) Framework
This has been a big piece of internal work in the City that has perhaps not been as visible outside of City Hall, but has been ongoing for more than a year. A DEIAR Framework is both a strategy and a workplan to assure we have a workplace and a workforce that reflects the diversity and values of the community. The report is worthwhile read to understand how and why the way we serve our community needs to be viewed through a lens of equity and justice – from the way we recruit new staff to the way we support employees of the City to the way we engage the public and deliver programs. There is a bit implementation piece to come here, but at this point we are just receiving the report for information. More to come!

eMobility Strategy: Adoption
Another big piece of work over the last year has been doing the strategic groundwork on how the City will adapt to the e-mobility transformation happening. The technology and public expectations are changing fast in this space, and how we adapt to this change will impact our ability to meet our Climate Action goals, as transportation represents about half of our community GHGs.

There are 10 goals and 36 actions in this plan, some we can start right away, some will dip into that Climate Action Reserve Fund we approved today, some are longer-term. There are infrastructure changes proposed, policy changes, and areas for advocacy to senior governments. I could probably write another blog post about this topic (actually there is an Ask Pat in the queue that applies!), so I’ll write more on this under that heading.

Proposed Redistribution of Federal Electoral Districts 2022
The Feds want to change federal electoral districts, and it means New Westminster is once again getting diced as the Feds try to balance population growth in urban areas with vast spaces where the population is just not increasing. This time is a little weirder yet, because after losing part of Coquitlam last redistricting, New West looks to be gaining part of Surrey while Queensborough is separated off. The last time the feds did this 10 years ago, I wrote this blog (My god, I’ve been doing this for that long?!) about how My New Westminster includes Queensborough. I still feel that way.

But there is another issue here in how a solid local-serving MP like Peter Julian does his work, and how this proposal hurts that. A big part of the work at a constituency office is connecting residents with supports they need, be they federal, provincial, or local. An MP’s constituency staff needs to know what services are available in the community they serve, and many of those services are municipal-based. Asking an MP to serve three major Municipal areas with varying supports, like Burnaby, New West, and Surrey, strains their networks, making those supports less accessible to people. I note the proposed MP for the new Richmond East riding would also be asked to represent parts of New West, Richmond, and Delta. It is untenable. An MP does not have the budget to provide a constituency office in every community, or the staff to expand their work across three major urban municipal jurisdictions. MPs are also expected to understand issues impacting local municipalities, and attend events in all of them – spreading an MP across three major urban municipalities just makes them less accessible.

So the City being asked for feedback on this proposal, and we are sending it: We want Q’Boro in the New West riding, and we don’t think our MP should be asked to also serve Surrey.

Temporary Working Space Agreement (GVSD590) for 590 Blackberry Drive to seek Council’s authorization to enter into a Temporary Working Space Agreement with Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District and Onni Development (Victoria Hill) Corp. (the “Onni”).
There is a big stinking valve in the ground under the top part of the Glenbrook Ravine. Stinking because it directs where combined sewer flow goes. And stinkin because it needs to be replaced. It is located in a part of the ravine that still technically belongs to Onni as part of the Victoria Hill development but is slated to be turned over to the City as Park. So Metro Vancouver needs to enter into a Working Space Agreement – kind of like a short-term lease – to work on the space that doesn’t belong to them. They hope to do the work during “dry season” next summer.

We don’t know the impacts on the trial at this time, but I suggested this needs to come back to Council with more detail on that. The language in the agreement makes reference to reducing inconvenience, but closing that trail for an extended period during the summer will be much more than that. The Glenbrook Ravine is a vitally important park space in the City, and access needs to be secured for residents of the Victoria Hill, Ginger Drive and Sapperton community. So I am asking that we get clarity on maintaining trail access during these works prior to singing the agreement. Perhaps a little stung by another recent Metro Vancouver sewer project, I am sensitive to getting commitments and understanding in writing here. So we will hear back (hopefully) next meeting.


And we read a bunch of Bylaws, with the following Bylaw for Adoption:

Parks and Recreation Fees Amendment Bylaw No. 8343, 2022
This bylaw to adjust our fees to address annual inflation and keep our costs in line with regional comparators was Adopted by Council.

This rapped out first meeting of the week. Yes, you read that right, we are back at it on Thursday for a special crossover episode of New Westminster Public Hearing!