The Viaducts – Why recycle 40 years early?

The viaducts – Why recycle now?

History – There once was a highway proposed through downtown Vancouver just like every other major city. This highway would have reshaped the city and region. As a first step the mayor built the two viaducts. In the election that followed he was voted it out and the highway was stopped.  Sometimes decision cause reactions. The political reaction from this decision is still shaping Vancouver’s development and its politics to this day.

Mayor Robertson want the viaducts taken down now and it will cost $80+ million.

The viaducts are estimated to last until 2055 – 40 more years. Mayor Robertson wants to tear down this infrastructure now and replace it. His plan is simple – allow the development community to build more to pay for this road replacement 40 years early, misdirecting a massive amount of capital spending. I am certain the Mayor and his NDP council know that this is a bad use of our development capital but politically popular because capital planning is not sexy.

Since 2010, the city has invested considerable time and money studying this issue and delaying any kind of development in the area. In this case they are willing to have development pay for transportation infrastructure but claim we can’t fund transit/road from development. Yes we can! Developer pays is the primary rule in BC but Mayor Robertson prefers this money be used for social housing & would rather new taxes paid for transportation infrastructure.

The viaducts bring about 15% of the traffic to downtown Vancouver used primarily by people in East Vancouver and Burnaby.

The province is a major land owner in this area. The plan presented by the city is interesting but not a good deal for the Province. Waiting 40 years would be better for the province and taxpayers of BC.

My suggestions

  1. Leave the viaducts up and invest the development funds in
Street Cars in Downtown Vancouver
Street Cars in Downtown Vancouver
  • Connecting VCC SkyTrain to Main Street SkyTrain station. – This would help reduce the congestion at the Commercial/Broadway SkyTrain station, reduce long-term demand on the viaducts and improve SkyTrain operations.
  • Build a community centre and high school to support urban families

2.    Convert the viaducts to bike, streetcar & pedestrian uses as demand changes.

3.    Take down the viaducts in 2055 and let the votes in 2045 decide.

Other benefits to my approach

Allows us to get on with the development process now. The Mayor’s plan will delay this all another 3 years or more.

We have a lot of capital needs in this world but tearing down good infrastructure seems like a waste of money, time and valuable staff resources. Besides, we need to get the current users of the viaducts out of their cars first and my options will get that job done.

I also like the idea of letting the future local area community residents decide what to do with the Viaducts.

The City is looking for input prior to making this major decision. Help them make a responsible choice and make your voice heard.

Happy Pride 2015 – Politics included.

The BC Liberal Party has been kicked out of the pride parade after being accepted in January due to a policy change in May.

So what is really going? Some background to start.

I understand the Executive Director of the VPS is a former 2009 NDP candidate who may have had a score to settle with the BC Liberal Party.

The West End BC Liberals signed an agreement to participate in December, were formally approved in January and slotted into the parade & festival grounds having met all the requirements of entry to the event.

In May, the VPS had a sudden policy change regarding the parade. It required that everyone involved with the parade must support the TEN PLEDGE. The West End riding signed it and agreed to send the resolution to the next BCLP convention to get member’s endorsement.

Many readers may not know that BCLP policy is passed by its membership and is only a suggestion to government. A suggestion government often acts on. In this case, the BC government has been really clear. Everyone is currently protected and there is no need to change the legislation in BC.

The BC Liberal Party constitution is also clear – everyone is equal and there is no exception to that core belief.

Anyways, it looks like that was not good enough for the VPS remember they changed the rules after approving the West End BC Liberals but for what reason?

Next up the NDP Private Members Bill – hmm I wonder where that idea came from. This made it very political. As requirements continued to change and the BCLP was kicked out of the Parade.

It appears this drive to kick out the BCLP was driven by VPS staff not the VPS board?

What is really interesting is the following. This pledge is so important that they kicked the BCLP out of the parade but not out of the festival grounds?! I have heard the VPS also made exemptions for all media, crown corps & sponsors. It looks strange and I am certain the VPS will face a lot of tough questions after the way this issue was handled.

From my view it looks like the VPS is taking money over principles or were just settling a score against the BC Liberals. None of which looks great. My hope is that these new activists will channel their energy into a non-profit to help offset the large medical costs many in the trans community must face. Or they could focus on tolerance in seniors homes as I would hate to see all these gains lost as people age.

A second Pride Flag? Why?
A second Pride Flag? Why?

What I found confusing this week is that there is two flags flying this week in Vancouver. I thought this was a celebration about Pride & that flag was about all of us. I guess not anymore?

Pride weekend & parade are great events and an asset to our diverse city.

I am pleased to say that the West End BC Liberals will indeed be at the festival grounds all day. Thanks to all the volunteers, Jane Thornthwaite, MLA and Lorne Mayencourt, former MLA(Burrard) who will be running a busy tent! Happy Pride everyone!