“Treeline” (2008), acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 24″
The weather last night was beautiful, and it was a sheer pleasure to get out of the house and walk down Victoria to the Maritime Labour Auditorium where I joined forty to fifty others at the Grandview Workshop for the City’s Transportation 2040 Plan.
Given that this was supposed to be primarily a chance for residents to discuss and put forward idea, it was a shame that the first 70 minutes of the two hour session were taken up with presentations by Paul Kruger of the Transportation team and Andrew Pask who is spearheading the Grandview Community Plan, followed by unstructured Q & A. Both of these gentleman are proficient and articulate presenters; but most of us there would have already seen these slides on more than one occasion. Andrew’s presentation did at least have the value of giving us the results of the online survey they’ve been running for the last month or two. It appears that generally speaking residents of Grandview are pretty happy with things as they are (or at least that is how the numbers were spun). That being said, we could have done with a 15 minute overview and then be left to get on with it, in my opinion.
One important piece of news that did come out of the Q&A was that the plan to present the viaducts decision to City Council next week has now been delayed, presumably to allow more public input. A cynic might suggest that the delay is to allow Meggs and his planners to spin the opposition that has already arisen. However, the delay is generally good news and I hope that Strathcona and Grandview can use the time to continue the pressure to ensure that this major decision takes all our opinions into account.
Another interesting fact that emerged is that the Powell Street overpass — a $50 million project — is designed to allow CPR to assemble and move trains that will be 10,000 feet — two miles! — long. Bruce MacDonald wondered aloud how much of the $50 million is being financed by the railway as they seem to be the ultimate beneficiaries. No answer was forthcoming. He also mentioned that the massive rail network on the False Creek Flats has been essentially unused for a long time. The Planners were unhappy with any suggestion that the space could be better employed: “Once we lose those railyards, we’ll never get them back,” they cried as if that were a fate worse than death.
Eventually we were organized into small groups to work through ideas on subjects such as “Transit”, “Street Calming”, “Cycling” etc. I was at one of the Transit tables and I enjoyed the ideas and discussions that half-a-dozen of us kicked around for twenty minutes or so. The meeting concluded with each group being asked to present their one big idea. In most cases this became a list of everything that had been discussed. At our table, went with my One Big Idea: that transit should be a free service, funded by Lottery and Gaming revenues.
It was grand to get out of the house and to spend time with active residents, many of whom I already knew. Having enjoyed the stroll down the hill to Triumph Street, I was very grateful for a ride back up the hill!