Bike Share On The Drive

November 16, 2017

It looks as though Vancouver’s bike share program will be expanding to include Commercial and Victoria Drives next year.

According to a report in the Courier, Vancouver City Council will be putting in $1 million of a $3 million cost to expand the system east of Main Street. The system will now cover the area from Victoria to Arbutus north of 16th Avenue.

I am supportive of the program in general. However, given the millions we as taxpayers are putting into this — and the fact that residents are still being charged $10 a day for the use of a bike — I hope the company’s profits will be an open book.


This Is Class War

November 7, 2017

It is not often that the rough edges of the class war show themselves on our consciousness; they are generally far better hidden than this. But the disgraceful rhetoric concerning homeless shelters — in Marpole, and GW, and elsewhere — is one such rough edge.

“Oh yes, we support these Warming Centres and longer-term homelessness solutions; of course we do,” declare the faux liberals, but then add: “But ONLY if we get extra security for our homes and our schools.”

Why do they think they need that? Why do they consider that a group of homeless people they don’t know requires additional security? Why do they think these homeless people are more criminal and potentially violent than any other group in the neighbourhood?

Where are the police statistics to show that these ideas are based on facts rather than just bloody-mindedness?  Are they basing their ideas on Trumpian “alternate truths,”  perhaps?  The Big Lie wins, is that the plan?

The only basis for this scaremongering is class war.  Somehow, really poor people shouldn’t have all the rights and assumptions of innocence that we should give to, say, a middle manager or storekeeper; and certainly none of the rights and privileges of the really rich should percolate downward. Moreover, the really poor — unlike any other economic class — need to be subject of intense surveillance and narrowing of opportunities even though the vast percentage of crime is committed by people resident in housing, against family members, neighbours, and the community: not by the homeless.

This alternate narrative is followed relentlessly by the media: local crime buys eyeballs, and eyeballs buys advertising dollars and thus produces profits. Commerce is simple. Human interest is profit-driven.

This is class war.  It almost invariably leads to authoritarian, and sometimes totalitarian, regimes.  It is time the real liberals spoke up against the Big Lie narratives, and in support of the Warming Centres and other homeless remediation strategies, however imperfect they may be.


Grandview Warming Centre

November 6, 2017

Note that the Britannia Community Centre space at 1739 Venables Street — what used to be Astorino’s — will be open as a Warming Centre tonight from 9:00pm to 8:30am.

Why Broadway Was Closed

October 4, 2017

Three weeks or so ago I posted about upcoming disruption at Broadway and Commercial due to construction at the Sky Train station.  Translink have now issued a short time lapse movie about what went on:

Major Road Disruption at Commercial & Broadway

September 15, 2017

Upgrades to the Commercial Skytrain station will start to impact drivers and bus users starting today, according to a report in the Province.

The installation of a new overhead walkway across Broadway will involve a massive crane sitting in the road, blocking a sidewalk and some traffic lanes. The #9 and #99 buses will have temporary stops other than in their usual places from today until October 1st.

“The weekend of Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 is when drivers will really feel the pain. Broadway will be closed completely so that a crane can be erected in the middle of the road. The two cranes will move the largest piece of the walkway, which weighs 13,600 kilograms, into place over the road.  “It’s a pretty significant disruption, obviously, to Broadway as we do that, but it’s necessary to make that lift take place,” said Matt Edwards, manager of engineering project delivery. Drivers are encouraged to avoid the area while detours are in effect.”


The Thingery in Mosaic Park

August 31, 2017

The GWAC meeting last July was all about local services, including a tool library. It is perhaps no surprise therefore to find that our own Mosaic Park has been chosen as one of three sites in Vancouver to have a Thingery container.

A Thingery is a lending library for — things, including tools, golf clubs, tents, tarps, and a whole bunch of other stuff that people need from time to time.  It will operate rather like a car-share system, with members gaining access to the otherwise locked container. As Metro reports:

“Dalhousie University architecture student and former Vancouver resident Kara Burman designed the refurbished crates to allow dues-paying members to use electronic fobs to open the swinging door, and to help coordinate “grassroots programming” on a notice board. Last week, Diplock held a series of community meetings in each Thingery neighbourhood; each will operate as its own nonprofit cooperative with a local leadership board. We wanted to get each community involved in planning their local site,” he explained, “and to help steer the direction of The Thingery.” He’s now recruiting neighbourhood volunteers to help “steward” each container, “to have a say about the focus of each.” Local residents can apply to join their Thingery’s board by Sept. 15.”

The last few times I have visited Mosaic Park it seemed to be suffering from lack of care and clean up by Parks Board. I hope this new venture encourages them to do a better job of servicing this community resource.


The Roses Again!

July 19, 2017

Every year since 2012, I have noted the appearance of pink roses at or near the top of a fairly tall tree at Adanac and Commercial. I was worried this year because I had not seen them and the vines seemed a bit more tattered than usual as they wound their way up the trunk. But today they were there in full force!

[select image for a larger view]

This year, indeed, there are more than usual — at least nine blossoms that I can count; and more widely spread across the tree.

Simple pleasures.