Vancouver’s bike-walk bias is costly and unjustified

Money budgeted for an elevated greenway for walkers and bikers should go to housing the homeless or easing traffic congestion

Vancouver’s bike-walk bias is costly and unjustifiedVancouver is a great city. For people like me who use their feet for most of their transportation, it’s wonderful. But sometimes city decision-makers go overboard. For recreation and exercise, there’s the 28-km seawall, part of which circles Stanley Park. It’s been voted the best place to run in Canada. There’s also the nine-km Arbutus…

Suing oil companies over climate change will only hurt taxpayers

Precious little good will can come from Victoria city council's campaign, but it will certainly cost a great deal of money

Suing oil companies over climate change will only hurt taxpayersThe City of Victoria wants to round up municipalities to sue oil companies for damages from climate change. Not only is such a case virtually impossible to prove, it’s also full of rich ironies. Weather-related damages, termed “perils” in Canadian insurance plans, are more commonly called acts of God. How ironic that environmentalists envision the…

Municipalities must protect against cyber attacks

Canadian towns and cities hold valuable data yet are poorly prepared to detect and fend off attacks

Municipalities must protect against cyber attacksCybercriminals have caught Canadian municipalities flat-footed. Our cities must get with the times or send more taxpayer money and private data out the door. Cybercrime costs Canada $3.12 billion a year. A portion of that involves ransom payments to cybercriminals who digitally hold computers hostage. Ransomware, which involves remotely encrypting hard drives and demanding money…

Cleaning up Vancouver’s “rat’s nest of rot”

Single-family houses in the city are now deposit boxes. How did we get here and how can we restore balance?

Cleaning up Vancouver’s “rat’s nest of rot”It’s time for broad review of the dirty money games played in the casinos and on the high streets of the raincoast’s ‘capital' city. B.C. Attorney General David Eby recently reported that upwards of $2 billion in dirty money laundering has occurred in Vancouver casinos and luxury real estate over the past year. He characterized…

B.C. mayors shaking down energy companies are ignoring reality

We know what a world without fossil fuels looks like – we used to live in it. It was cold, poor, dark, ignorant, starving and backwards

B.C. mayors shaking down energy companies are ignoring realityWest Coast Environmental Law, an advocacy organization based in Vancouver, has persuaded a group of British Columbia mayors and city councillors to write threatening letters to major oil and gas companies. The letters demand the companies pay large arbitrary sums to compensate for a list of supposed harms associated with greenhouse gases from fossil fuel…

Provinces, municipalities key to avoiding housing bubble

Zoning, building codes and construction trade regulations all fall under the jurisdiction of these governments

Provinces, municipalities key to avoiding housing bubbleRecently, the Bank of Canada voiced concerns about the Canadian economy, leading it to slash outlooks on future trends. One of the issues contributing to this pessimistic stance is the condition of housing markets in Canada. Housing construction activity and prices are falling after a long period of price increases that fuelled claims of a…

Navigating the cannabis cultivation question when buying real estate

Ryan DeLuca of the Calgary Real Estate Board talks about what a buyer can ask and what a seller must disclose about pot

Navigating the cannabis cultivation question when buying real estateRyan DeLuca is supervisor of training and compliance, member practice, with the Calgary Real Estate Board. What are the biggest potential impacts to the residential housing market of the legalization of cannabis? DeLuca: For some buyers, cannabis cultivation in a property may affect their ability to secure financing or homeowner’s insurance on that property. Some…

How the Vancouver area can solve its funding woes

Metro Vancouver contains 21 municipalities. If they amalgamated under one government, many benefits would follow

How the Vancouver area can solve its funding woesMunicipalities are the poor step-children among Canada’s levels of government. They are creatures of the province in which they’re located, with no autonomy beyond that extended by that province. Their taxing powers are extremely limited and they rely very heavily on property taxes. The many basic services that cities provide (water and sewer, roads and…

Building strong communities with education, innovation – and craft beer

James and Deborah Fallows hopscotched across America to understand what makes the best of Our Towns thrive

Building strong communities with education, innovation – and craft beerMy son, the thoughtful curator of my must-reads non-fiction list, has done it again. For Christmas, he gave me the American bestseller Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. The book, published in 2018, was written by award-winning The Atlantic Monthly journalists James and Deborah Fallows. The Fallows have made significant public…

The biggest political story of the year in the Great White North

When Ontario Premier Doug Ford slashed the size of Toronto city council, he involved the judiciary and flirted with a controversial federal law

The biggest political story of the year in the Great White NorthWhat was Canada’s biggest political story of 2018? In my opinion, when all four levels of government were briefly involved in one small area of public policy debate. It started when Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government announced on July 27 that it would decrease the number of city council seats in Toronto from…
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