City calls for participants in Northeast False Creek Stewardship Group as Viaducts process begins

The Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts: part of Vancouver's future or relics of a project the city rejected?

The Viaducts: the call is out for volunteers on the Northeast False Creek Stewardship Group

The call is out in newspaper ads this week for volunteers to join the Northeast False Creek Stewardship Group, the advisory body set up by council to advise the city as the Viaducts replacement program gathers momentum.

This is an exciting opportunity to assist the city in implementing the replacement of the Viaducts, one of the most significant city-building projects in a generation.

The committee will be selected according to the usual city process and the window to apply opens April 25 and closes May 20. The city is looking for 12 to 15 people with expertise in the following areas:

Expertise will be sought in the following areas:

  • Citywide issues
  • Perspectives of local residents in the False Creek and adjacent areas and neighbourhoods
  • History of the area including historical use by the Chinese and Black communities
  • Affordable housing
  • Development economics or insight into the development industry
  • Urban design, including public space, and large event and festival planning
  • Arts and public art in urban design
  • Ecological design, with expertise in waterfront sites
  • Emergency management, seismic planning, and climate adaptation
  • Water recreation needs
  • Transportation, including active transportation
  • Tourism and entertainment
  • Health and social service needs

The Stewardship Group will work in tandem with staff, stakeholders, City Council, and the Park Board.

Report on impact of self-driving cars could be before Vancouver council by fall

googlecarVancouver engineering staff have recruited a researcher and begun preliminary analysis of the implications of driverless cars for the city’s transportation sector. A report should come to council as early as this fall.

The project is in response to a motion I took to council in February asking for a full assessment of the impact of autonomous and driverless vehicles, which many believe will be in wide use in as little as five years.

In a memo to council April 15, city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny says the new technology could improve safety, efficiency and open up space for walking, cycling and transit.

On the other hand, there are serious potential negative consequences, including increased car use, under certain scenarios, and significant loss of employment. Dobrovolny also has concerns about managing the transition from the current fleet to autonomous vehicles.


Five things I’ve been told about Air BnB: good, bad and ugly

rentEver since coverage began last week about my motion to step up city oversight of Air BnB listings and their impact on rental stock, my inbox has been receiving a complete range of comment, positive and negative, on this important issue.

(Council unanimously approved the motion Wednesday. You can watch the debate here. We hope to have something back from staff early in the fall.)

Here are five samples, in no particular order, names removed for privacy:

1. Councillor Meggs, you should be ashamed

from a concerned Vancouver resident and AirBnB host:

Councillor Meggs: yourself, the mayor and the rest of the council should be absolutely ashamed at how you are handling Vancouver’s housing crisis. You are turning a blind eye to the needs of the everyday working people in this city and are allowing Vancouver to become a playground for the wealthy. Instead of tackling the real aforementioned issues, you are pointing the finger at AirBnB hosts because this is the easy option and it makes you look like you’re doing your job. You’re not fooling me . . .

I know from personal experience that AirBnB rentals create a net-positive community and economic impact in Vancouver, and I welcome any regulations, licenses or taxation so that myself and other residents can continue to thrive instead of just merely survive in this beautiful city we call home.

2. Our condo community is under assault

from a Yaletown resident

Our building, like most downtown condos have seen a radical shift from long term renters to short term vacation rentals.  This erodes the residential nature of our complex.  For example, we become ‘party-central’ during special events like the Rubgy 7’s, or Women’s World Cup Soccer.  Drunken brawls, interfere with resident families’ quiet enjoyment of our homes.  Drunken revellers have full access to the children’s play area, spa, etc. causing serious tensions and parental concern.  Our population of Chinese seniors is particularly negatively impacted by these shenanigans. Read More

Guess what? Metro Vancouver residents want “vehicle for hire” service that sounds a lot like taxis

taxiMetro Vancouver residents favour a “vehicle for hire” system that sounds a lot more like taxis than ride-sharing services like Uber, according to a new industry-sponsored poll conducted by Ipsos and released today.

In fact, the Ipsos survey finds that Metro residents favour full taxi-style regulation of ride-sharing by a two-to-one margin. The margins are even higher in favour of strict safety and consumer protection regulations.

The findings are good news for the taxi industry, which is the midst of a long consultation with Peter Fassbender, minister for Translink, on how ride-sharing might roll out without destroying the advantages of the current system.

Uber supporters have insisted public opinion is firmly on their side. This latest poll casts doubt on that claim.