December 2022 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi

Metro Vancouver

Two years ago, the spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam released a large volume of water into the Capilano River while it was undergoing maintenance. The Board of Metro Vancouver recognizes the impact that the accident has had on everyone involved and they are committed to ensuring this never happens again. As part of their commitment to making improvements to the system, a comprehensive review of the Cleveland Dam is being conducted and a number of new safety enhancements are being implemented. An interim public warning system has been installed that includes audible and visible alarms and additional public warning signs. Metro is now undertaking work to develop both a public education program and the long-term enhancements along the river.

Throughout summer 2022 – summer 2023 you can expect to see engineering teams completing on-site studies and hydraulic modeling of the Capilano River, updated project information signs and website content, and a third-party engineer consulting firm conducting onsite surveys to determine patterns of the public and river users along the Capilano River to inform the long-term public safety enhancements.

City of Delta

Metro Vancouver operates a series of permanent air quality monitoring stations throughout the Lower Fraser Valley that collect information on the level of pollutants in our air. View the current air quality data the Delta stations (North Delta and Tsawwassen) and other stations in the region, and view Metro Vancouver’s Caring for the Air Reports.

As a joint venture between Health Canada, Environment Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment, BC Air Quality is now active throughout BC. This resource may be used to find out what air quality is like in other communities, including any current air quality advisories in the province.

City of New Westminster

The City of New Westminster is committed to protecting, enhancing and managing the natural environment to provide a sustainable living environment for local residents. The City has established several programs and initiatives that help to improve the environment. Learn about the many ways that the City is showing its environmental commitment by going to the City’s website at newwestcity.ca where you can click on one of the various topic areas that include: energy emissions and climate change, water protection and conservation, integrated stormwater management plan, smart gardening and invasives, and many other topics.

City of North Vancouver

The City recognizes the value in balancing the recreational and educational aspects of its urban parks. Among the environmental initiatives being explored and integrated by the City are: pursuing creative solutions for storm water management that include designing and implementing community detention ponds that do not affect existing waterways and help to educate the public on its use; using bio-retention areas or rain gardens in private development sites; limiting the installation of new trails or facilities that do not benefit a sensitive habitat; erecting trailside barriers such as fences along heavy use trails to protect sensitive ravines and creeks; restoring riparian areas that have been negatively impacted by erosion or park use; implementing policies that balance the health and safety of residents with the protection of the environment; and managing invasive non-native plant species and integrating naturescaping principles to increase the habitat for wildlife and birds

City of Surrey

Surrey has over 800 parks and one park is uniquely adapting to climate change by making room for the river, the future Nicomekl Riverfront Park. Located on the south side of the Nicomekl River in South Surrey, this 3 kilometre linear park will extend from Elgin Rd to 40th Ave. Eighty acres in size, the future nature park will be 14 times larger than Crescent Beach Park. The park will have two large park spaces, the Hadden Mill and Oxbow zones (phase 1), located on either side of King George Boulevard. The park will combine environmental, cultural, art, heritage, recreation and social spaces. A nature-based design approach will protect flora, fauna, creeks and the park’s natural water system. Based on Surrey’s Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy, the park will turn planning into action to address sea level rise and coastal flooding. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

City of Vancouver

The Women4Climate (W4C) program aims to advance bold, local climate action in alignment with Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and Climate Change Adaption Strategy. This program contributes to the next generation of climate leaders through a mentorship program dedicated to women working in climate to create a healthier, greener, more resilient, and economically prosperous urban future. In 2019, Vancouver became the eighth city to launch a local C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program. Each year, the program matches leaders from international and community businesses and organizations with emerging women leaders. Over the 10-month mentorship period, mentors share their knowledge, experiences, and support the mentees to develop their leadership skills while advancing their climate initiatives.  For more information go to Green Vancouver.

 

November 2022 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi, Civic Affairs Convenor

Civic Elections in Metro Vancouver on October 15The results are in!

Voting for change seemed to bring about the downfall of many incumbent mayors. Thirty-seven mayors across BC lost their bids for re-election. But voter turnout continued to be low. On average across BC there was only a 33% voter turnout.

In Vancouver only 35% of eligible voters cast a ballot.

However, for those who did vote, the two main issues seemed to be housing availability and affordability as well as safety on the street. Other key issues in many Metro Vancouver municipalities were homelessness, mental health issues, drug overdose and crime. In Surrey there was also controversy over policing and the change from the RCMP to a city police force. Ten municipalities in Metro Vancouver have new mayors.

Vancouver – Ken Sim defeated incumbent Mayor Kennedy Stewart. Sim had 85,732 votes, well ahead of Stewart’s 49,593. Sim’s top priorities are to immediately requisition the hiring of 100 more police officers and 100 mental health nurses to improve public safety. He also wants to speed up permitting processes at city hall. However, there will not be much change in the direction of many projects approved by the previous mayor and council which included the Broadway plan, the citywide Vancouver plan and proposed SkyTrain extension to UBC, all of which were supported by three incumbent ABC candidates and by Sim in public statements. It is the first time a single Vancouver party (ABC) won a majority on council, school board and park board since Vision Vancouver did so in 2011. (Source: The Vancouver Sun)

In the other 20 Metro Vancouver communities, the results are:

Village of Anmore – Mayor John McEwen was re-elected

Village of Belcarra – Mayor Jamie Ross was re-elected

Bowen Island – Andrew Leonard is the new mayor

Burnaby – Mayor Mike Hurley was acclaimed as there were no contenders

Coquitlam – Mayor Richard Stewart was re-elected

Delta – Mayor George Harvie was re-elected

Langley (City) – Nathan Pachal defeated incumbent Val van den Broek

Langley (Township) – Eric Woodward is the new mayor

Lions Bay – Ken Berry defeated incumbent Ron McLaughlin by 18 votes

North Vancouver City – Linda Buchanan was re-elected

District of North Vancouver – incumbent Mike Little was narrowly re-elected

New Westminster– Patrick Johnstone is the new mayor

Maple Ridge – Dan Ruimy defeated incumbent Mike Morden

Pitt Meadows – Nicole MacDonald is the new mayor by acclamation

Port Coquitlam – Brad West is mayor again by acclamation

Port Moody – Meghan Lahti was elected as mayor; the current mayor did not seek re-election

Richmond – Incumbent Malcolm Brodie won a historic seventh term in office as the mayor

Surrey – Brenda Locke defeated incumbent Doug McCallum

West Vancouver – Mark Sager defeated incumbent Mary-Ann Booth

White Rock – Former councillor Megan Knight defeated incumbent Darryl Walker

Whatever changes take place in each of the communities in the next four years, all of the elected bodies will have to work together on big issues affecting Metro Vancouver and BC as a whole, whether that’s transit, housing affordability or the impacts of climate change.

What happened in your municipality on voting day?

Were you satisfied with the results?

Will the elected candidates fulfill their campaign promises?

What will you be watching for over the next four years?

How can we get more people out to vote?

 

October 2022 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi, Civic Affairs Convenor

It’s Election Time! VOTE on October 15!

Important Dates to know:

Oct – Advance Voting Opportunities – dates vary. Check with your city electoral office. Oct 14 – Deadline for receiving mail-in ballot packages 4:00 pm

Oct 15 – General Voting Day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Oct 19 – Declaration of official election results 4:00 pm

What’s happening in your riding? Do you know who is running for mayor? For council? For school board?

Two long-time city councillors, Harold Steves in Richmond and Lois Jackson in Delta, will not be running again. Harold Steves has served on Richmond City Council continuously since 1977, and served a previous term as alderman from 1968-1973 before serving as an NDP MLA from 1973-1975. He is one of the founders of the Agricultural Land Reserve. Lois Jackson served as Mayor of Delta from 1999 to 2018. She was elected to Delta Council in 1973 and became the first woman elected to the position of Delta Councillor. Under her leadership as Mayor, Lois served as Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors from 2006 to 2011.

In Port Coquitlam, Brad West has been acclaimed and has won a second term as Port Coquitlam mayor after no one signed up to run in opposition by the September 9 deadline. Two trustee spots on School District 43’s board of education will be held again by Michael Thomas and Christine Pollock, being acclaimed and earning a third and second term.

Delta residents will vote to elect one mayor, six city councillors, and seven school trustees. Candidates for mayor are: George V. Harvie, Joginder Randhawa, and Peter Van Der Velden.

New Westminster voters will elect one mayor, six councillors and seven school trustees. There are three candidates for mayor: Ken Armstrong, Patrick Johnstone and Chuck Puchmayr.

In the city of North Vancouver, voters will elect one Mayor, six Councillors, and three School Trustees. Linda Buchanan and Guy Heywood are the mayoral candidates.

In Surrey, there are 84 candidates running for office but there can only be one mayor, eight councillors and seven school trustees.

In Vancouver, with a long list of candidates, including 15 running for mayor, there is one mayor, ten councillors, seven park board commissioners and nine school trustees to be elected. There are now five main challengers in the race for Mayor: Fred Harding, Colleen Hardwick, Mark Marissen, Ken Sim, and Kennedy Stewart.

Remember that at our October 3 Vancouver Council of Women Meeting we will have an election panel made up of some of the women candidates running for Mayor, City Council, School Board and Parks Board. Since my last report, we now have 16 confirmed speakers at our event:

Mayor Colleen Hardwick (TEAM)
City Council Sarah Kirby Yung (ABC Vancouver)
Cleta Brown (TEAM)
Adriane Carr (Green)
Iona Bonamis, (One City)
Asha Hayer (Progress Vancouver)
Marie Noelle Rosa (Progress Vancouver) Elaine Allen (NPA)
Arezo Zarrabian (NPA)
Leslie Bolt (Vision)
School Board Susie Mah (COPE)
Krista Sigurdson (One City)
Park Board Laura Christensen (ABC Vancouver)
Maira Hassan (COPE)
Tricia Riley (Green)
Hilary Thomson (Vision)

Plan to attend our Vancouver Council of Women on October 3. Lunch is at 11:30 am and the Election Panel begins at 12:15 pm.

We have limited seating capacity. Please let Bev Wong know how many guests you will be bringing.

Are you registered to vote? Check with your city’s electoral office on line or by phone.

September 2022 Civic Affairs Report

By Elizabeth Gautschi, Civic Affairs Convenor

 

It’s Election Time! Across BC, municipal elections will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2022. Within Metro Vancouver, 12 mayors of 17 of the region’s largest municipal governments have confirmed their incumbency.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart and all of the present members of Vancouver City Council are standing for re-election. There are many contenders and more parties than previously. Some of the current City Council members have left their parties and joined new ones, or even started new ones. Vancouver voters will decide on:

  • 1 Mayor and 10 City Councillors 9 School Trustees
  • 7 Park Board Commissioners
  • 3 Capital Plan questions

At our October 3 Vancouver Council of Women Meeting we will have an election panel made up of some women candidates running for Mayor, City Council, School Board and Parks Board. At this time, confirmed speakers at our event are the following candidates:

Mayor Colleen Hardwick (TEAM)
City Council Sarah Kirby Yung (ABC Vancouver)
Cleta Brown (TEAM)
Adriane Carr (Green)
Iona Bonamis, (One City)
School Board Susie Mah (COPE)
Krista Sigurdson (One City)
Park Board Laura Christensen (ABC Vancouver)
Maira Hassan (COPE)
Tricia Riley (Green)

We are also expecting candidates from Forward Together Vancouver, NPA, and Vision.

Plan to attend and bring lots of questions!

Some of the current issues in Vancouver for the upcoming election include: homelessness, mental health and addiction, and The Broadway Plan, which is a 30-year plan to integrate new housing, jobs and amenities around the new Broadway subway. According to a survey by Research Co., just over half of Vancouver’s likely municipal election voters want to see the elected body of commissioners that govern the Vancouver Park Board abolished, with the responsibility of governing the city’s parks and recreation system then transferred to Vancouver City Council.