The following is a largely AI-generated transcript for E-792. Please excuse any errors.
[00:00:29] Matthew Naylor: It is August 14th, 2020, and there are 792 days until the Vancouver municipal elections. This is the Cambie Report. I’m Matthew Naylor
[00:00:40] Ian Bushfield: I’m Ian Bushfield and joining us today for a special segment, is Micah Goldberg
[00:00:45] Micah Goldberg: Hello. Thanks for having me back on the program.
[00:00:48] Ian Bushfield: No problem. We’re gonna talk a bit about the Vancouver Park Board’s most recent controversy with you, Micah. We have a bunch of stuff to say about the NPA, housing, lots is going on and by-elections potentially.
[00:01:01] Matthew Naylor: You know where things are not going on? The Vancouver city council, were Dan Fumano has characterized the goings on as postpone and delay a torpor induced troubles. If I ever did see one. Vancouver city council also approved rezoning for 258 secured rental units in a tower on the former Denny site.
[00:01:23] The most expensive Denny’s ever.
[00:01:26] Ian Bushfield: But before we even kick it off. There’s something we have to do every show Matthew.
[00:01:30] Matthew Naylor: We need to grub some for some money. So www.patreon.com/cambiereport. if you join our Patreon, you can get access to a bunch of exclusive Patreon content. We sometimes do extended interviews up there. There are stickers there’s merchant. And, there is also, the access to our fabulous Slack channel, with Leg and Boot Media, where listeners of both Cambie Report and PolitiCoast can discuss goings on local provincial, municipal, and global.
[00:02:02] Ian Bushfield: Indeed
[00:02:03] Matthew Naylor: patreon.com/cambiereport. It’s been a little while.
[00:02:07] Ian Bushfield: Micah, the park board. We talked about it a few times last week. Me and Tessa, this time, we’re going to talk about their motion from July 14th, actually a full month ago. They’re allowing camping in the park.
[00:02:20] why are people angry?
[00:02:21] Micah Goldberg: Well, you can, yeah. Tell how contentious the decision was based on the four, three vote. It was very tight. essentially you have, people on the two extremes of this issue and, some people in the middle here who have a tough time figuring out which side they’re coming down on the existing park control, bylaw, restricted people from entering the park, after 10:00 PM and from, creating a.
[00:02:48] A structure or erecting a 10th, say overnight in the park. Okay. And what this amended by law allows people to do is to, say pitch those tents. overnight, as long as are taken down early in the morning, the next day. And there are some limitations about where the tents can go up, but, it ended up being contentious because I think that there’s a segment of people who maybe feel fatigued by the homeless issue because of how prevalent it is.
[00:03:16] It’s a significant issue, not just in Vancouver, but all over the lower mainland and for property owners, let’s say, this issue has been talked about a lot, particularly in recent years as the problem has become more widespread. And I think the sad truth is that there’s just no easy answers here. So you get a polarized discussion, but you also get people who are just frankly, They want the homelessness issue to go away and it’s just not going away.
[00:03:44] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, I think we saw that in the, you know, in this constant debate around it, Strathcona park. Now it was crap park. It was often Heimer park. It’s unclear where the next part will be. Or, you know, the tent city in Strathcona park will be more permanent, but you see this debate somewhat along party lines, but you also see people.
[00:04:08] Like Pete Fry. Who’s a resident of Strathcona expressing some frustration and expressing some of the frustration of those residents who are tired and want more, what their park pack is. They see it
[00:04:22] Micah Goldberg: well, let’s talk, let’s talk a little bit about those extremes, at least on the political spectrum. For some people, you know, the tent cities represent. areas that are, seem to be unsafe, where they feel like they can’t access parks, which are supposed to be a public resource. They create fire risks, sanitation issues.
[00:04:42] they may be hubs of, violence. and frankly, for some people they’re just unsightly. But on the other side, you have individuals who are sympathetic with the campers themselves. these are individuals who have nowhere else to live, who. For the most part are suffering from mental health or addiction issues.
[00:05:01] individuals who are trying to escape abuse, and are seeking safety through these, attendance cities. So you have, it’s true. You have this appropriation of a public space away from the public, but on the other hand, you have homeless individuals who are, you know, trying to perform essential acts in public, who.
[00:05:19] At least with this, we’re going to have to pack up every morning, lose their community and sense of permanence. That’s sort of the debate on the extremes.
[00:05:28] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. I, I think that. It’s worth it to consider what purpose parks have in an urban context. And one of them is amenities, certainly like place to recreate and in play. And another one is basically just open space or wooded space for general use, and doesn’t have to be for recreation and perks. Often served these kind of general use and oftentimes like uses that would not otherwise be prioritized by ruling elites.
[00:06:05] those uses throughout history, the modern notion of perks. Like, as it originated with the city beautiful movement in the eighties, nineties and 19 hundreds emphasized a lot of, green open spaces and like monumental grand juror. And then that has kind of shrunk down into this pocket park model that Vancouver has adopted.
[00:06:26] Although we do have our occasional monuments every once in a while, see Bloedel conservatory, for example. but like there is. Like a need that city council won’t prioritize or has a hard time prioritizing. And then that just unmet need needs to flow somewhere. And parks ended up being a pretty logical place for that because everywhere else has, like those highest and best use requirements for property taxes. One of the things that I was thinking about when reading up on this article was remember that.
[00:07:00] parking lot that got turned into a dog park a while back for basically property tax reasons where there was a, a huge property tax cut for what was originally a money making enterprises and then became a voluntary developer amenity. I’m interested in knowing like how many of those properties exist and like how many cycles through the property development cycle, every, Every year.
[00:07:25] And if there is any chance that those kinds of places can be used, on a press, more dependable basis than, taking away amenity from other, other residents.
[00:07:40] Ian Bushfield: right. And we’ve seen this play out across the lower mainland and elsewhere where people who have nowhere else to go, literally seek refuge in these parks. And I think that’s where Micah you’ve seen the jurisprudence play out when people say, Oh, you know, the city moves in with an injunction to kick people out.
[00:08:00] And the people who are there say. We have a charter right to live somewhere. We have nowhere. Why can’t we be here?
[00:08:08] Micah Goldberg: That’s exactly right. in, if you look at why the parks board decided to change or amend their, their bylaw, it’s because of jurisprudence that has evolved mostly since 2008, since the Adams case, which I’m going to talk about in a moment. if you, the, the debate within the parks board itself, I councillor Coupar, for example, is asking why we allow people to openly camp and parks in the first place.
[00:08:35] that for a variety of reasons, we shouldn’t enable this type of housing solution. And if you look at them green party side of the parks board, and particularly a councillor Demers. as the vice chair of the board, his response was that the park board is trying to create this balance that recognizes the importance of people being able to use the parks, but also recognizes this series of jurisprudence that has effectively made the bylaws as they existed previous to July 14th, unconstitutional, this Adam’s case, which came out of Victoria.
[00:09:12] Reached the Supreme court in 2008, and the was upheld with an asterisk, let’s say by the court of appeal the next, the next year, there was a bylaw in Victoria that prevented people from building shelters in public spaces. So there was no prohibition say on sleeping in a public area, but having a tent, having a tarp over your head, having a cardboard box even, were all deemed to be contraventions of this bylaw and the defendants who are homeless individuals argued that these types of bylaws infringe on the rights of homeless people to their life, liberty, and security of the person.
[00:09:47] This was a, a section seven challenge and their overarching argument was that the bylaws attack the dignity and personal autonomy of the city’s homeless population, the city’s response. was a bit more technical because what they said, the real issue was had nothing to do with the prohibition on, structures or tents.
[00:10:10] It was actually the homelessness itself. That was the issue. This is sort of a side step, to get around this section seven challenge. When they say that since the bylaws themselves are causing the homelessness and the dangerous conditions that come with being homeless. section seven, wasn’t engaged.
[00:10:27] Matthew Naylor: it’s interesting to look at how this compares to some of the public housing policies of other cities. I mean, New York has one of the best public housing models in the world that just sort of takes, for example, you know, luxury hotels and because anyone who wants a.
[00:10:48] You know, temporary home in New York is entitled to get a temporary home in New York. if they live there, if they’re a resident, they can go and request. One of these hotels in the city provides them, for them, it speaks to the values of, government and the society that, and also really its needs that the.
[00:11:09] Homeless need a place to go. They, they need somewhere to stay because they will continue to exist and, you know, be matter and take up space. And, that has to happen with dignity. mostly some, some places don’t care, Canada, has. Kind of stepped into the land of creating some positive rates, but mostly it’s a, a negative right to not be obstructed from, using a public space, Republican amenity, Ian, a manner that would bring you closer to security.
[00:11:43] You have the person, am I getting that right?
[00:11:45] Micah Goldberg: I think you’re right. That, the courts at least have been very shy to read and positive obligations on the government. and because the charter and the constitution at large purposefully doesn’t contain any. rights with respect to property that has in its own a specific way. Come at a disadvantage too.
[00:12:10] The homeless population who may not otherwise have any rights to say a safe place to sleep, or a permanent shelter over their heads, things that you might otherwise at least, Challenge for within the charter that that’s kind of a nonstarter, the way that the constitution is, has been built up.
[00:12:30] Matthew Naylor: It’s interesting that property rights in terms of their negative form will often benefit the hyper wealthy or, you know, the ones with the most property, but the positive corollary of negative property rights is something that would benefit, the least advantaged among us.
[00:12:49] Ian Bushfield: The wealthy can afford the best lawyers.
[00:12:51] Matthew Naylor: yeah. Sir for upcoming Matthew Naylor hire here. If you’re looking by the way,
[00:12:57] Micah Goldberg: yeah. And I think that that could be its own entire deep dive can be report in and of itself. Probably more suited for some sort of legal podcast, but the Cadbury report knows no bounds. in any event I’m gonna, just double back here, to the case. So I’ve sort of set up the background of what’s going on in this case, what the arguments were, but in Adam’s the single most important factor was the true circumstances facing the homeless population.
[00:13:26] And I recall, A couple of weeks ago where Horrigan got in some hot water for saying addictions was more or less a choice people made that went to the heart of why it is people are homeless in the first place and how you see or perceive the circumstances surrounding people falling into homelessness or becoming homeless in the first place.
[00:13:46] in Victoria at the time, Adams was decided in 2008. There were 800 people that weren’t just facing unstable housing, but were actually homeless, including 60 children. There were about a hundred and a hundred or so shelter beds in Victoria, which could be expanded to 300, some odd beds in extreme conditions.
[00:14:07] And, there was uncontradicted expert evidence to suggest that exposure to the elements without adequate protection created significant health risks. This was a lethal concoction to the city of Victoria. His argument, these three factors taken a combination. There was this, the gap that existed between, the amount of homeless people that there were in Victoria and the amount of available beds, which meant as a judicial finding, that the interview who were trying to pitch these tents and trying to.
[00:14:42] Put a tarp over their head had no choice, but to sleep outside in the cities, parks, or streets and the effect of the bylaws, which prevented them from even putting a cardboard box over their heads, or, or the most rudimentary form of shelter, meant that these people were completely exposed to the elements and they were among the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals in the city.
[00:15:07] This was justice Ros’s, move towards finding that the bylaws were, unconstitutional because of the significant and potentially severe health risks that were created just as Ross pointed out that a full third of homeless women in Victoria said that the reason that they were homeless was because they had been abused where they lived.
[00:15:29] Ultimately the court dismissed the city’s technical arguments found that the risks associated with being homeless, weren’t really at issue. So the sidestep strategy didn’t work. The real issue was prohibiting people from, having a shelter over their head.
[00:15:46] Matthew Naylor: A type of bylaw was actually truly preventing people who knew to sleep in parks from actually sleeping in parks. It just forced them into the less safe situations where people couldn’t stay in camps for, they feel a sense of community where there is Jane Jacobs, you know, eyes on the street that help enforce community order or, Where they have to go out into, you know, more secluded areas in, into the woods, into parks, into, more remote parks, that are more difficult to police.
[00:16:19] And you know, some of my friends who have suffered from homelessness before have been robbed in precisely these types of situations, it is terrible, and this would be safer.
[00:16:29] Ian Bushfield: I mean, there’s the pushback that many will cite. Isn’t that Oppenheimer park. Wasn’t the safest place. There was violence. There, there were issues in that specific camp. at the same time, we listened to people who were there and, you know, they’ll acknowledge that it wasn’t perfect, but it was still the least bad option or for many, it was a community that they needed and that they could rely on. Like, I think going back to one of the things that was said early, like there’s not an easy situation or not anyone’s ideal, but when it comes to a choice between pitching it. Tend to know city park and what, I guess, just like walking off into the sea, like there aren’t better options here. So this is how we get here.
[00:17:15] Micah Goldberg: Walking off into the sea wasn’t judicially discussed, but the court of appeal, a pined on the Supreme court decision and kind of clarified it. So the court of appeal, one thing I should state right off the start is that more or less the Supreme court decision that I just described was upheld with one exception.
[00:17:34] Ian, you were describing, this. Call it an impossible choice here. There there’s no choice that will please everybody. But the court of appeal said this, that in one circumstance, there would be an easy choice. If, for example, the city of Victoria had that’s enough. That’s okay. to shelter, every single homeless person, then the bylaws actually could be enforceable.
[00:18:02] So the bylaws were only unconstitutional to the extent that this gap existed. This is important for a couple of reasons, but it also shows the direction of the court, which says if there is actually a bed you can sleep at in a shelter available to you, then this notion that pitching attempt is somehow important or vital falls away because all of the, foundational principles that support.
[00:18:30] The finding that, the bylaws were, unconstitutional in the Adams case would, would fall away.
[00:18:37] Matthew Naylor: So like what, what would that look like? Like Yves, some officers was patrolling a park after closing time and they came across someone in the 10th. Would they be asking like, do you have a safe place to go tonight? The park is closed. and then if the answer was no, they would just have to either direct them to one of the shelters spaces that the knew about, or just leave the B.
[00:19:02] Micah Goldberg: I’ll try to answer it two ways. So let’s take your, hypothetical situation where a ranger approaches a homeless interview or an individual in a tent, and they ask, do you have any, alternative options for housing available? To answer your question. If that individual answered.
[00:19:19] Yes, the Bible officer would be within their rights to say you can’t camp here. You have to go to this alternative means for housing that you have. That’s because of how homeless individual has been defined in the new bylaws. A homeless individual is only somebody who does not have reliable, secure access to housing.
[00:19:38] that was the first decision. that’s Adam’s decision. The second decision picks up, even on something you were talking about earlier, which was the, the true state of conditions in what most people call it, a tent city, in the Schatz decision, which, was that a decision 2015?
[00:19:56] dealing with Abbotsford bylaws, where they prohibited tents for being, erected and requiring, individuals who wanted to camp overnight in the parks to apply for a permit, to have a credit card and insurance and, they would be charged $10 a night effectively. It was making it impossible for homeless people to camp and parks.
[00:20:14] that decision focuses more on the cold realities of the tent cities. How dangerous they can be with the fire hazards and, and gain violence and discarded drug paraphernalia, sanitary issues, there’s other problems. All of which was described in a decision rendered by two justice Inkson, Kingston actually adopted similar language from the additive it’s decision, particularly around sections and found that the bylaws decreased dignity and independence increased.
[00:20:43] the psychological and physical harm that might come to, an individual who is, Again, the fundamental problem in Shan’s much like Adams was that, at the time of the decision was made, there was insufficient, viable, and accessible options for the residents of Abbotsford who were homeless. And chief justice Hinkson recognize the court of appeals variation and found that if there were no other viable and accessible options for housing, then the bylaws are necessarily, unconstitutional, but he added that the city’s homeless cannot be allowed to sleep and erect shelters in public spaces as a fundamental personal choice.
[00:21:27] If this gap didn’t exist because the dignity concerns would fall away. so I think if I’m reading between the lines sure. And I’m taking off my lawyer hat for just a second and I’m putting on my public policy hat, there’s a hidden incentive here to governments, which is, if you, I want people out of tent cities.
[00:21:48] If you want to eradicate the, eyesore, let’s say, if you find it to be an eyesore, then give them a bed to sleep. Now chief justice. Singson didn’t say that, but if I’m really reading between the lines, that’s what I see.
[00:22:04] Ian Bushfield: ultimately we would hope our politicians actually care about all of the residents of their constituency. Including those without houses and would try to find homes for them. But the argument you’re referring to makes a lot of sense as well and will appeal to some others. I think where the park board in particular comes down into a tougher spot is they don’t have any authority to do that.
[00:22:30] It’s not the Vancouver park board’s job to build houses. It’s their job to. Mow the grass and maintain Vancouver’s parks. And so they’re kind of in this tough situation where they’re not responsible for building the homes. The province is doing a bit, the city’s doing a bit, but clearly it’s not enough.
[00:22:51] And so I can sympathize with the frustrations of the park or both have no power. And everyone hates when they use their power that they do have. The number of abolish the park board posts I’ve seen out there. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but
[00:23:09] Matthew Naylor: Nope, not necessarily a bad idea, maybe a good idea. Maybe an idea that I ever flirting with pretty strictly. yeah, I don’t know. I find, I find that like a unified city government is probably more sensible than the system that we have at the moment.
[00:23:28] Ian Bushfield: Well, it’s more powerful, but let’s start to turn this conversation towards. close to bring it back to the park board bylaw. One of the things I asked you before we started recording Micah, because there was a split like John Erwin of Coke voted against this bylaw, but is calling Glen Giesbrecht also voted for it.
[00:23:46] Erwin said there was a failure to consultants in indigenous and unhoused people. I think he took the view that this is still kind of a punitive bylaw versus. when was probably saying this is something that’s better than nothing. The greens all voted for it. The MPA all voted against it. So is this bylaw better than not having a bylaw?
[00:24:05] Micah Goldberg: first of all, there was a bylaw, but the bylaw was unconstitutional. If you are supportive of the concept of responsible government, you should not have an unconstitutional bylaw on the books. Not only is it useless. It’s kind of an affront to the rule of law itself because you’re not recognizing what the courts have explicitly said.
[00:24:29] So beyond just not being able to enforce it. it’s just not a good idea to have it. Now. I, the reason why I’m on this program among other things, I also love talking to both of you guys, but one of the reasons was that there is some frustration out there about why the parks board has, Gone this route, why they have decided to allow, people to, camp in parks legitimately.
[00:24:54] And the simple answer is the parks board didn’t have a very fun choice to make, but they needed to have a law on the books. If they were going to have one that complied with the jurisprudence. And in my view, they’ve taken a strong step towards, a bylaw that looks like it would withstand constitutional scrutiny.
[00:25:14] Eddie and as you put it so eloquently, the, a bylaw that it replaced simply was not a bylaw at all. It was worse than no bylaw. so I do think, that the, that the parks board is better off with this bylaw than with the one they had before. Now, whether you think that there should have been. Some other bylaw, something else that complied with the constitutional standards and tried, and by the court, I’m open to that sort of criticism.
[00:25:44] But I, see, I don’t think that the park board had much of a choice when faced with one side that wanted to keep the bylaw as is, and maybe conduct some additional consultation and, an actual motion on the books that. Could withstand constitutional scrutiny. So the one last thing that I want to, put out here is, about what enforcement is going to look like.
[00:26:12] and you and I were talking about this, before we started recording, I must say, I’m not sure how this bylaw could be enforced. There’s 14 full time park Rangers. There’s something like 240 parks in Vancouver. How it is that these 14 park Rangers with the limited enforcement powers that they have are going to be able to go into the tent cities and convince these individuals to pack up and leave the security and permanence of their homes.
[00:26:44] And these are frankly, as close to a home as these individuals have. I just don’t see how that’s going to happen. One of the criticisms is that. This bylaw has been enforced without teeth. And that very well may be true. I think it’s a practical issue that the parks board, knows about. I’ll be curious to see how they confront that, or if they take any steps to actually do something about enforcing this new bylaw.
[00:27:09] But the cold reality is that these 14 Rangers probably won’t do much, but as I said, at least the bylaws can come into compliance with our constitution. That’s
[00:27:21] Matthew Naylor: It’s one of Canada’s great traditions of passing laws to be honored in the breach where really the, the major rule in Canada is don’t cause a ruckus. and then everything else is just sort of offshoots to be deployed, to prevent said, ruckus.
[00:27:37] Micah Goldberg: Okay. Excellent. Thanks a lot guys. Cheers.
[00:27:42] Matthew Naylor: And speaking of ruckuses, there is a bit of kerfuffle going down within the NPA. So four of the directors, Jane Frost, Jenny Richards, Marie Rogers, and Corey Sue resigned July 24th, citing poor communication and failure to build the party. Now, the NPA has always been a bit of a. Party of convenience, let’s say, where the non-communist could gather and control Vancouver basically. because that was the big debate. Well, forever in Vancouver.
[00:28:20] Ian Bushfield: Well, and that’s something you only really need to do in election years. And it being two years and 792 days from an election, not that urgent or important for them to exist.
[00:28:33] Matthew Naylor: no. but like , there was a point where parties like become change agents themselves. And I think that the NPA has looked at parties like one city and groups like abundant housing Vancouver, or. even the greens and seen a much more active, militant base or partisan based, compared to the rather moribund NPA when really all the treacherous wanted to do was have a board meeting and couldn’t even get that done.
[00:29:06] Ian Bushfield: for over four months.
[00:29:08] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. Which I mean, not great. You want, you want to, at the very least keep fun, very sick.
[00:29:14] Ian Bushfield: I think even Vision was pretty active until the end there when everyone just bailed, but they had a core supporter base and it kept things moving. Like there were people who were, as, you know, Pro-Vision as they were. Partisan new Democrats or, federal liberals or what have you. And the NPA has just not had that same, like grassroots base.
[00:29:37] Matthew Naylor: No, they have not. Part of that is because it hasn’t needed to fundraise quite as much as some of the other parties because of its money, connections, and, just sort of the history and demographics of the NPA.
[00:29:53] Ian Bushfield: yeah, they just call up their three developer friends and they have all their checks cut for the next election. It’s a little more than that, but
[00:30:03] Matthew Naylor: it was timber barons, but you know, basically. Still.
[00:30:06] Ian Bushfield: So the NPA has run into a series of, controversies, even since the end of 2019. We talked with Rebecca Bly back in December when she left the NPA caucus to sit as an independent, this followed a bunch of right-wingers and anti-Soviet types. Assuming certain board positions, people with connections to rebel media and some rather, darker, more regressive stuff that didn’t necessarily represent the, the mushy, the like broad tent that I think the NPA has been historically known for.
[00:30:43] They do have some on the right, but they’re also more friendly too. The progressive culture that is Vancouver well being a bit more economically, moderate than vision or cope or whoever else.
[00:30:56] Matthew Naylor: And if you, like, if you want to go listen to one of my Sam Sullivan sessions, okay. I think it was just one, but, the. The description that Sam gave of the NPA was often a party of right wing businessmen that picked a council candidate slate of left-wing I won’t say like activists, but they were people acceptable to Vancouver’s left.
[00:31:19] And through that, synergy of the two. Sides of the NPA, or I can’t even say sides because it wasn’t really a wing. It was like the management arm and the political arm that was helpful. They became, what was the most powerful, political, or most successful political entity in the, 20 century. now it should be noted that the NPA directors that quit the party are not the ones that Ian was bringing up.
[00:31:50] as related to the antisocial and, sort of distasteful stuff that, some of these people, one who comes to mind is, is, Gomez, Tang who once ran for yes. Vancouver is a public school board trustee, who took over the board, last year. but basically they just, haven’t been like, you know, you, it’s not even an ideological conflict so much as a, failure to lead, I guess, because a lot of these people have, have been looking for some kind of, Direction, some kind of leadership, someone to step up or, or an agenda to be set. and literally no one is doing it.
[00:32:32] Ian Bushfield: On, like, there aren’t many options out there for people who who aren’t green essentially
[00:32:38] Matthew Naylor: if I may shamelessly plug. Yes, there are.
[00:32:41] Ian Bushfield: But even they’re relatively quiet, like they ran their campaign, but. No, one’s heard of them since. And that’s fair enough. It’s quite a ways from the next election.
[00:32:51] one city, at least isn’t throwing any controversy up. And you mentioned this split between the NPA, board and caucus and even its caucus. Hasn’t been free from controversy in the last, few months, the council has been. Divided, but at least they’re not embarrassing the party as far as I can say. I mean, you can disagree with Colleen Hardwick’s positions,
[00:33:16] Matthew Naylor: She’s not an embarrassment. She’s a very, representative voice for a particular type of NPA voter.
[00:33:24] Ian Bushfield: But this debate over, police school liaisons came up at the Vancouver school board, following many of the black lives matter protests and June and NPA school trustee Fraser Ballantyne in the debates there talked about how Caucasian kids in the district are actually the visible minority. And should be heard more from on this question about cops in schools , it just kind of came off where he did apologize for it.
[00:33:52] I don’t know exactly what he was trying to do,
[00:33:55] but people
[00:33:56] Matthew Naylor: that is super mysterious. To me, that seems like a dumb thing to say.
[00:34:00] Ian Bushfield: I know we talked with Micah about the positions, the. Board is taking on, or John Coupar is taking, for example, on, homeless camps. And, you know, there is a legit position there, I think, or at least one that’s widely reflected, but there’s a lot of vial under there that you play with fire. If you get too close to that.
[00:34:21] And so the caucus skirts, these issues to varying degrees.
[00:34:26] Well, yeah, like you said, the NPA exists solely just to be. The
[00:34:31] Matthew Naylor: not yet the party with principals and those who have principles, but can’t articulate them, but definitely know what their principles are. Not. British Columbia was ever less.
[00:34:42] so what do you think is in store for the NPA? So they have one more board election before the actual appointment of candidates, that was one of the things that Rebecca Bligh raised as a issue that she does not believe that she would have been appointed as a, as a lesbian candidate.
[00:35:04] and you know, I think those are interesting concerns combined with this idea of a, Like a failure to launch really of a political party. I don’t know where they are able to go from. Like, it’s going to require some leadership after the kind of debacle at the end of the last election, with spending and where these funds were going.
[00:35:33] and then this sort of board catastrophe, happening.
[00:35:38] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. So earlier this year, I think it was back in February. And I think it was talked about on the show on the program. Ken SIM was a rumor to be interested in running for mayor again, and he’d launched a website and. Brought about, you know, started talking up some points. It wasn’t clear though, if he was eager to try again with the NPA or to go as an independent or do something else.
[00:36:07] but I would suspect he’s the kind of guy who has the connections. Right? He was the guy who was, the story goes, talked into it by the big names of the NPA, into taking their banner. So yeah. I would suspect that that signals the mood, brewers and shakers behind this party are moving and shaking and aligning things.
[00:36:28] And maybe they’re just happy to let, whoever wants to be on the board in the interim play, play politics for a little bit while for a little longer, but soon the adults will come back and the money will come back.
[00:36:43] Matthew Naylor: That is my suspicion as well. Like money, money moves, mountains, here as in basically any time or civilization throughout history.
[00:36:53] Ian Bushfield: And we do have
[00:36:54] much stricter finance rules now than we did in advance of some of the previous elections, but money can find different ways to move different mountains. It moves a bunch of hills now.
[00:37:06] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. especially since like parties, this fundraising reform stuff does involve, candidates actually having the responsibility to take on quite a bit more. fundraising personally. And so their nomination campaigns are never paid for by the party and are actually required to donate some set amount often to, you know, the central party in order to fund their national party campaign in the case of the federal election or, just sort of general civic advertising in, Vancouver.
[00:37:44] I feel like the board election, which was pretty much ignored by the upstart and of the last round that eventually ended up splitting off and forming. Yes, Vancouver. They, some of them left for reasons that were not like totally consistent with the yes, Vancouver. I don’t know, image of itself, I guess. you know, young hip Hector Brenner was running on the same ticket as, anti-Soviet Glennis Chan. and that I think makes for an uncomfortable set of bedfellows. I am interested to see whether yes, Vancouver becomes the party, that is that home, where the program Coover is that party or whether MPA is that party or whether that relatively small part of Vancouver’s, political society in a way, young etc.
[00:38:38] Notwithstanding, is represented by an actual standard bearer party. It’s all up in the air and it’s basically going to come down to, what happens when the NPA, kind of shake itself out of its torpor and realizes that they have an election to run in about a year and a half. So stay tuned for both six months or so.
[00:38:59] from now, when the NPA might realize that they are a political party and start acting like it.
[00:39:06] Ian Bushfield: well at the city council level, they don’t seem to have fully realized that yet as their party caucus seems to be divided into largely two camps. On the one side, you have Melissa de Genova, Lisa Dominato and Sarah Kirby-Yung, who Dan Fumano has pointed out as have started to vote more consistently with OneCity’s Christine Boyle and independent mayor Kennedy Stewart to advance marginally reasonable buildings in the city, such as for example, the Denny’s site, the 28 story tower that’s going up there, or these zoning amendments that will allow six story instead of four stories on arterials. If that extra portion is rentals and not condos. On the other side, you have Colleen Hardwick who is joining quite often, the three green members and Jean Swanson from COPE and quite often, Rebecca Bligh, who was formally with the NPA, as we mentioned.
[00:40:08] Matthew Naylor: Yes, Rebecca Bligh had a fairly mixed housing voting record. If I recall, like she wasn’t as. Strong as a for example, Lisa Dominato, who was, I think the best councillor on city council for supporting a new units of housing.
[00:40:29] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, and these aren’t hard and fast lines. Like there are quite a few issues where I think, Hardwick was the only vote against or there
[00:40:38] Matthew Naylor: There’s a lot of those Hardwick Swanson votes.
[00:40:41] Ian Bushfield: and those come up a lot as well. You kind of have a scale of like conservationists to, urbanist as it would go. But I just really want her to point out this, excellent piece in the Vancouver Sun by Dan Fumano, that talks a lot about this July 24th vote over these zoning permits, which went six to five, but he just, you know, we haven’t had a ton of episodes over the summer, but it’s because council has been kind of just doing the same thing and we’re all
[00:41:09] Matthew Naylor: That’s definitely the reason and no other reasons.
[00:41:12] Ian Bushfield: I’m going with that exact reason. So.
[00:41:15] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. There was no major changes in both of our lives that took up a lot of time. Anyway. Maybe, maybe we’ll talk about that at the live show sometime.
[00:41:25] Ian Bushfield: if we can ever have those again,
[00:41:28] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. So denver motto has talked about what I think a lot of city hall Watchers have viewed as the problem of Vancouver city council, which is a lack of ability to. Do stuff. And moreover not only lack of ability, but a lack of political will to even engage with the idea of doing stuff. Like what started out with that super optimistic, van ride up from the Riverside community center to city hell to get to work has ossified into a. elegant antler shed layer. That looks great, but does very little,
[00:42:12] Ian Bushfield: well in this, Whole article is centered around the zoning amendment change for six story buildings. That motion was deferred six to five pending, further consultation. This is just where we’re at. So we can’t even decide that having two extra stories of rentals. And now there’s an argument that putting extra renters along major commercial streets is like saying here renters can exist in our city, but they have to live above all of the truck fumes and stuff.
[00:42:44] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. And that actually wasn’t the original idea in Vancouver city planning itself, which was to focus, The development of multifamily homes into link where we’re in your back roads, laneways, et cetera, side roads, so that the buffer ended up being a row of single family houses that ended up being kind of low, low income.
[00:43:10] I mean, it’s still a single family house in Vancouver, but, certainly not some of the more, Anticipated developments in Vancouver were not, this kind of rental own way. arterial focused thing. This is a new development and it could change. It should change. It’s dumb.
[00:43:27] Ian Bushfield: So, yeah, here we have a city council being. characterized as postpone and delay while we’re still in the midst of a housing crisis, an opioid crisis and a pandemic. So
[00:43:39] Matthew Naylor: Yeah.
[00:43:40] So in particular, Vancouver city council is a little frustrating to me because like with a weak mayor system, council needs to step up and show some leadership. the benefit to Vancouver’s party system is that when one party has a majority in particular, The government has a lot of leeway to like develop that vision and, executed in this type of council’s split of this kind of partisan breakdown. It is very hard without like actually some kind of special training to.
[00:44:18] Run a council or cure council, or even sit on a council that doesn’t have procedures for moving things forward in a body, right. For the disagreement
[00:44:30] Ian Bushfield: Well, and the other half of it is the number of people coming out for these projects, whether it’s through virtual consultations or in person. Is an arms race. Now it’s, you know, there were over a hundred speakers for this Denny site development. You get the NIMBYs who come out and then AHV as being effective at bringing out the people who support development and you have more and more coming.
[00:44:55] And so, provincial and federal governments can deal with this because not everyone has a right to speak before them. you can. Submit things in writing and ask to be a representative who speaks there, but it does make it a little more efficient to bring things forward. and like city council has played around with these rules a little bit in terms of speaking length and some of those types of approaches.
[00:45:19] But you know, if every resident in the city of Vancouver showed up to debate or to speak to an issue, At some point, council’s got to say, all right. I think we’ve heard from a representative sample. Let’s move on.
[00:45:33] Matthew Naylor: well actually represented the samples a little bit tricky because like vinca for city council is responsible for waiting not only based on the city’s needs and you can manufacture something that looks like the last civic election, if you wanted, but you also have to develop based on the neighborhood needs and answer the question. Do the people who live nearest by matter most, most of the councils ended up answering that question. Yes. and, and wait accordingly, although, and , actually, this is a nice little area to shoe horn in a little announcement that I have. I was recently appointed to the Vancouver board of variance. And so I’ve been spending the summer, you know, making tiny changes to the footprints of buildings and, adjusting the amount of building that can be near a tree, which sounds very boring.
[00:46:23] And. Can be very boring, but also is actually very fulfilling and, informative at the best of times. So, for those of you who are denizens of the, what zoning board approved this Facebook group, for Vancouver, the answer is in part this guy. Thank you.
[00:46:44] Ian Bushfield: Well, one of the councils where things may get shook up a little, so that perhaps things flow more difficult. Yeah, I guess so Burnaby for long time has just been a one party state, the Burnaby citizens association in the last election, like Hurley, independent famously won.
[00:47:03] And in the last few years, things have been getting. More complicated as three BCA members calling Jordan Dan Johnston and Paul McDowell all left the party over disputes where I think they thought it was getting too close with Hurley and the remaining BCA members, James Wong, SAB, Dolly wall, and Pietro Kellen, Dino and Nick Volkl.
[00:47:24] Kind of took a more pro Hurley stance. And then you also had Joe Keithley representing the greens just to really make it a mess. But you basically had, a very minority situation council
[00:47:35] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. And it’s weird for that to emerge out of what looks like to be a very unified election, but in times of political turmoil in that kind of churn, you do, parties will realign themselves and reinvent themselves to reflect the views of a pipe of us.
[00:47:52] Ian Bushfield: I think the BCA really just represented Derek Corrigan. And once he was out of the mayor’s chair, you had counselors whose only. Purpose was to be counselors. And they just happened to be able to get under the correct banner. And then they didn’t actually have as much ideology tying them together.
[00:48:09] And so they’ve started to fracture. Now what throws this into even more disarray is unfortunately to Burnaby city counselors passed away earlier this year, Nick Volkow and Paul MacDonald. So there will now need to be by-election right to fill both of those
[00:48:31] one was aligned more with him, I think. And one was not. So McDonald had left the BCA and vocal was still with it, just to con it’s a mess. I’m trying to keep up with it. And I live in this city and it’s hard.
[00:48:45] So we’ll have a byelection for two counselors. Everyone in the city will get to vote. the city was waiting a little bit to see what the province would say. You can do because we are still in a pandemic. And so having a bunch of people line up at polling stations is probably a bad idea.
[00:49:03] Thankfully, elections BC has released its COVID-19 by-election guide because I guess there are dozens of councils that actually need bio elections because turnover happens quite a bit. When you count up how many positions there are across the province.
[00:49:17] Matthew Naylor: Yeah, there are, there were over 2000 city counselors in BC, so.
[00:49:22] Ian Bushfield: Statistically some will resign die. Otherwise vacate their office.
[00:49:27] Matthew Naylor: Yeah, hopefully it’s juicy scandal for the Cadbury report to cover.
[00:49:32] Ian Bushfield: the by-election will involve, more mail in ballots, more advanced voting, trying to create more physical distancing, reducing high touch surfaces, maybe drive by voting or something like curbside voting. I dunno, just otherwise making it easier so that people don’t have to be in close proximity, coughing and wheezing, and getting each other sick.
[00:49:50] Matthew Naylor: Well, one way that people don’t have to be near each other in Burnaby, but still spend some time together without coughing. And do you think I’m getting to their sick is by cycling the central Valley Greenway. And I just wanted to highlight one of my favorite summer rides. for the sort of light Vancouver Radha, in particular , it is so beautiful.
[00:50:15] It is a nice, largely downhill track, from, well, it goes from the expo, Telus world of science, to. the new West key and is largely downhill in that direction. with two large kind of gross, horrifying Hills, and The reverse is a nice gentle incline that is still very manageable for writers of most categories and skill levels.
[00:50:43] I just want to talk about some of the interesting things that the central Valley Greenway can show you about the different types of cycle infrastructure available in Metro Vancouver. First off, there are so many like jarring transitions from like beautiful graded bike overpass over highway to truck route.
[00:51:06] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, that little white line that separates you and big trucks doing 60, 80 kilometers an hour.
[00:51:14] Matthew Naylor: those things are scary. Like I have been slip streamed off a road by one of them. Like I. I was riding on Australia and most of the roads where I was with, in the city that was built on a swamp, are like greeted embankments. And so I was writing on the side of the road, And this truck slipstreams me right off the road.
[00:51:37] It was just like being hit by a wall of whim that suddenly blew out from the side of the vehicle and sent me careening down, made me late for business, organizations, class, which I showed up to bleeding and bettered. So. And get another argument for separated bike ways. Burnaby get on. It would be so easy.
[00:52:01] There is more than enough room on that road. gravel socks.
[00:52:06] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, there’s a surprising amount of gravel on that route for how major it is. Like together with BC Parkway, it basically just loops the sky train and
[00:52:19] Matthew Naylor: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been thinking a lot about gravel and permeability recently, just because it’s one of the things that board of variants has to consider. and, it is fascinating to look at what can happen when stuff like that goes wrong, case in point Houston, which basically set up a system where you get.
[00:52:43] Was just sort of like they ran a sheet of plastic wrap under their city and filled it up with water. There was nowhere for it to go.
[00:52:52] There’s also like. Two aggravating things, both at the, the Vancouver trail. one is that the Central Valley Greenway was actually a expo 86 project that was supposed to extend all the way to the expo dome. it did not. It petered out at Clark at wWhat I consider to be Vancouver’s worst monument Columbus circle, which was originally installed around, 86 to be the end point of the official central Valley Greenway line, because why would you want a commemorative expo trail to end up the expo building Vancouver and.
[00:53:32] instead of terminating at this delightful geodesic dome, ends up at, Columbus circle, which is a monument to Christopher Columbus, that we’ve talked about on the show before, because big Dick Satan showed up there one day, after. Well, the Columbus statue had been removed some years prior, had, was replaced subsequently by nothing.
[00:54:00] so an empty plinth stands there. Now the Satan statue stood for, I believe only one day and the penguin statue that succeeded both acts of gorilla art, were eventually taken down and taken to Vancouver parks, for disposal or re use.
[00:54:19] You had a chance to write it this summer.
[00:54:21] Ian Bushfield: I have not, I have not been on my bicycle much this summer. after my bike was stolen last summer, I have to keep it , on my balcony now. Cause I don’t trust my storage locker. So that extra impediment plus the, involvement with the baby meant I haven’t done as much, but we have done a few family trips with a bike trailer that have been quite lovely.
[00:54:42] We don’t get as far, but you’re getting to use a bike trailer is fun. Haven’t made it all the way around from the BC Parkway side to the CVG though, but looking forward to it again,
[00:54:54] Matthew Naylor: Well, hopefully you’ll be able to get a ride in, in some fashion before the end of the summer. I certainly hope to, one of my favorite rides is doing central Valley out and then, BC Parkway back. and, yeah, hopefully you get to get a nice ride in some time soon. Maybe in fact, you are on one right now.
[00:55:17] The meta commentary of me talking about the trail that you are on sounding magnificently in your ears, before the sky train plays you out.
[00:55:30] Matthew Naylor: Give us money clearly. We’re rusty. Thanks all for listening. It’s good to be back. See you soon for more regularly scheduled content. for the Camry report. I’m Matthew Naylor.
Ian Bushfield: I’m Ian Bushfield
Matthew Naylor: Goodnight.