Editor/Publisher White Rock Sun
May 22, 2013
Good Old Gordie
MLA GORDON HOGG and Green Party Candidate DON PITCAIRN election night 2013
I have lived in White Rock for a cumulative 30 year period. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I was married and moved into Vancouver in order for my wife to be closer to her clients.
One morning while sharing the morning Province newspaper my late wife asked me “Do you know who Gordon Hogg is?” I replied “I knew he was at one time a White Rock councilor for a number of years and later became the Mayor before moving on to become the MLA for the White Rock area. Why do you ask?” She replied “Well there is a story here in the paper about him attending a Hells Angel funeral in White Rock and how some people felt it was not appropriate for him to attend a Hells Angels funeral.” I asked her if I could look at the story. Yes indeed that did seem to be the gist of the story. The story went on to quote Hogg as saying “He was not in fact attending a Hells Angel funeral, but was at the service to pay respect to a man he had grown up with in White Rock, who also had befriended a couple of members of the White Rock chapter of the Hells Angels who were also in attendance. According to The Province when questioned as he left the funeral if he thought it was appropriate to attend a Hells Angels funeral, Hogg clarified his position by stating he was in attendance to pay his respect to the passing of a gentleman who he had chummed around with for years growing up in White Rock. End of story!
Fast forward to 2005. Having moved back to White Rock I quickly identified a number of changes had occurred to “my White Rock.” Some I was not too thrilled about. I felt the community’s opinions were not properly being taken into consideration before some profound changes were implemented. Given my father from a very early age drummed into my head, that if I was not willing to “roll up my sleeves and put up” my opinion really did not carry any weight.
I decided given I was unable to be quiet about some of these changes I would put myself up and run for White Rock council. My first call was to Gordon Hogg’s office. I explained I would like to schedule an appointment to come in to talk to Mr. Hogg. No one asked me why I wanted to talk to Gordon, they simply scheduled an appointment for the following week and I dutifully arrived at the appointed time. I sat down and explained to Gordon I was there to inform him I was going to seek a seat on White Rock council in the upcoming civic election. Out of respect for his 20 years of service as a councilor and Mayor of White Rock, and his ongoing work for this community as an MLA, I wanted to introduce myself and answer any questions he might have about me, my background and or my vision for White Rock. I was the beginning of a relationship that I can proudly now call a valued friendship.
Do I agree with everything Gordon has done as an MLA? No. If I was hard pressed I doubt I could find anyone that would fall into a category where I agree with everything they say or do.
So on to the campaign trail I went in 2005. As I criss crossed the streets and doorsteps of of White Rock, the one constant response I heard from residents was “Do you know Gordie Hogg?” In the beginning I could only relate my meeting with Mr. Hogg and my respect for him and his office. Over the course of two other elections and two by-elections I have had the luxury of stating I did in fact know Good Old Gordie as so many residents affectionately referred to him as. I could write a book on the personal anecdotes people share with me about their relationship, some personal and some professional with Good Old Gordie.
Last week’s landslide victory for Gordon re-affirmed what I already knew. Gordon Hogg is loved and respected by a vast majority of this community. His 60% plus approval rating in recent elections illustrates no matter how much the popularity of his Liberal Party may ebb and flow, the support for Gordon Hogg is steadfast.
So to Good Old Gordie I say, thank you for the work you have done for this community for the past four decades. I believe your love for White Rock is only rivaled by my own personal pride that I feel when telling people my home is White Rock.....where you can vacation and be home the same day.
May 14, 2013
Provincial Election 2013
LEAVE ME ALONE. I DON’T CARE ABOUT HIGHRISES, DON’T CARE ABOUT TREES AND CERTAINLY DON’T CARE ABOUT EALGES HABITAT.
Is this the mantra of many living amongst us? Yesterday we the citizens of British Columbia were afforded the opportunity to have direct input into who will govern us Provincially for the next four years.
As expected Liberal candidate GORDON HOGG was re-elected. SUSAN KEEPING ran a strong campaign and can hold her head high today. THE SUN'S DON PITCAIRN did us proud as hell. One man with a bunch of old beat up signs funding his own campaign did a yeoman job of being the third candidate everyone was talking about.
At an all candidates meeting hosted by a youth group here in White Rock I heard GORDON HOGG identify it is not just the engagement of citizens voting that is on downward curve. The low voter turnout is part of a much larger problem no one is talking about. A lack of engagement.
According to HOGG statistics tell us enrolment into service clubs and church attendance has also fallen on hard times. Many people have simply withdrawn into their own cocoon and want to be left alone. They do not want to be on record for anything, or commit to anything or for that matter it would seem given the high divorce rate, anyone!
Like a large number of you I do not take voting for granted. Did you hear dozens of people were killed this week trying to vote in Pakistan? Just saying.
I tucked my yellow voter card into my shirt and headed out to White Rock Elementary to vote yesterday morning. I thought I could just roll in, hand in my card and get my voting ballot. Wrongo Buckwheat. You see I did not read the small print on my yellow card that said I was to vote at Semiahmoo Elementary on Roper. I produced identification to the helpful election staff, my name was checked against the voters list, I signed off a couple of official documents stating I was who my drivers license said I was. I was then issued a blank piece of paper with areas to write in four names in boxes. The helpful lady behind the counter asked me if I knew who my candidates were. If I didn’t she had a list of who I could vote for. I assured her I knew who I was voting for. I was then informed to write in the surname of the candidate I wanted my vote to be credited to, or simply write in the political party in one of the boxes my candidate was representing.
I was directed to the cardboard voting booth, did my duty and returned to the lady as instructed. A portion of my ballot was removed, and it was then inserted into an envelope and sealed. It was then placed in another envelope and sealed and placed in the ballot box. I can only hope for the sake of the counters I was in the minority voting this way, but I doubt it. I have now learned my votes and any other so called absentee votes will not be counted until May 24? The reason it will take 10 days to count these votes? Good question, just don’t expect Elections BC to tell you why. (read on)
I was also surprised to find out for the first time in history you could voted no matter where you lived in B.C. All you had to do was to go to any polling station, provide ID and follow the same instructions I was directed to follow.
I don’t recall hearing you would be able vote this way this year. Did you?
In order to try to keep the readers of The White Rock Sun informed I called the White Rock office of ELECTIONS BC the other day. I identified who I was and that I was calling to try to find a link on their website that listed the various polling stations. After being passed around to a few workers I ended up with a gentleman named Jeff. I explained to him the information I was looking for and he seemed somewhat skeptical of giving me this information. He informed me he would have to look into the matter and he assured me he would get back to me. This was around 10 a.m. in the morning. As the day began to draw to an end I thought I would send an email directly to Elections BC head office in Victoria. I sent and email itemizing the information and the simple link of the 17 polling places in White Rock to make things easy for voters. I am still waiting to hear back from wither party.
Our next scheduled election will be the civic election in November 2014. The one level of government that has always had fixed election dates. It is also worth noting the Civic level of government unlike the Provincial and Federal level of government can actually recall a candidate if they knowingly tell a falsehood in order to be elected. Ever wonder why this law is not extended to all levels of election? Just wondering - until next time.
April 17, 2013
Uphill Battle Over Downhill Sport
Anyone who has spent time in White Rock has an opinion on skateboarders. You see mother nature gifted our seaside city with a topography that makes skateboarders salivate. After all pumping along on a flat surface may be faster than walking but at the end of the day, the thrill of this sport rests on an incline.
A couple of years ago the problem reached the point where the City of White Rock imposed strict guidelines of what roads in the city allowed the operation of skateboarders. A small rally of “boarders” turned up at City Hall to meet with then mayor Catherine Ferguson. The guidelines remained.
So did the skateboarders indifference to the no go zones.
Personally I do not have a problem with the majority of skateboarders. What does cause my blood to turn to ice water are the brain dead boarders that come hurtling down Johnston Road on the sidewalk weaving in and out of pedestrians. Now as much as these boarders will tell you then can stop, they can’t stop quickly. Our town has a disproportionate seniors population and many walk this section of White Rock. They do not expect a manned projectile to come hurtling out of nowhere right at them. Just over a year ago a lady was struck down at the intersection of Johnston and Thrift Avenue. She suffered cuts, abrasions and a broken wrist.
If I see these boarders breaking the law on a constant basis, why can’t our RCMP force. I have never witnessed the RCMP pulling these boarders up short and talking to them. I have put a request into the White Rock RCMP to see if they have in fact written any tickets or seized any skateboards.
So what to do. Well as the old adage goes, “If life give you lemons, make lemonade.”
What would you think of the city of White Rock hosting an annual “Big Beach Board Festival.” A celebration of the culture of boarding, half pipes could be set up, the skate park at South Surrey Arena could be included, and the whole festival could centre around a downhill race course. I am thinking of Oxford Hill. Can you just imagine the excitement of two boarders going head to head down Oxford street. Those traffic calming circuits are going to separate the boys from the men.
Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast at one time hosted some form of long board festival, a quick check seems to indicate they have in the past but it may not be scheduled this summer. What I did find is over a dozen communities throughout British Columbia have developed boarder festivals. Have they increased tourism? Probably not to any great extent. But what it has done is break down the ad versa rial wall between boarders and the communities.
The situation of boarders vs residents is reaching a fever pitch in a certain neighbourhood in White Rock. The boarders have locked horns with the locals who have asked them politely to please not skateboard down their street, as they fear someone is going to back out of a driveway and one of the boarders will be seriously injured.
When you are the age of the offending boarders, remember we all thought we were 10 feet tall and bulletproof. The simple polite request to suspend boarding down through their community has been met with verbal abuse and physical confrontations which most recently saw one of the residents homes pelted with eggs. The system is constantly being monitored and reported to by-laws, council and the RCMP. To date not much has happened. The boarders are still there and the tempers are boiling to a point where the residents now fear the next level of escalation is not going to be a pretty one.
The solution? Embrace the boarders and work with them to create a safe area and develop an annual festival that the local boarders can take on as their own and eliminate the present disconnect with the community. Encourage responsibility.
Clampdown hard and heavy. Start seizing boards and handing out tickets. We can’t have it both ways.
April 10, 2013
TOIFA 2013 Did You Have A Good Time?
Would You Spend 11 million dollars to host the event again?
Last year Premier Christy Clark headed up a trade mission to India. Makes perfect sense given that India now has one of the fastest growing middle income societies in the world. Why wouldn’t we want them to think of Canada when it comes time to vacation or develop foreign business relationships. Voila Vancouver would host the TOIFA awards. The Times of India Awards.
TOIFA as they are now known is not a long running well established film festival. Nope. We created it in conjunction with a popular India newspaper. The Vancouver outing was the debut and it cost you and I 11 million dollars.
Growing up in Surrey I distinctly remember when Indians started to become very visible in the Lower mainland. In the 70’s more and more Indians immigrated to Canada. To the best of my recollection they worked their guts out to make a better life for themselves and their families. In that they were arriving in large numbers they began to settle in conclaves. A recent subject of debate. Did someone just notice that immigrants tended to gather in areas where there were other members of their native community.
Just think for a moment here. If you and your family immigrated to India and someone said “Hey do you know there is a section of Bombay where a large number of Canadians live. They have hockey there, you can get all the Canadian television stations on your TV and a lot of the creature comforts from your homeland are readily available. And oh yes they speak English.” Guess where we would settle?
But back to TOIFA. The glitter and gala gala affairs danced across our television screens. Supposed screaming mob scenes at the airport in expectation of the arrival of Bollywood stars only mustered up a knot of teen girls who were on Spring break. The same went for the night of the big affair at BC Place. The Indian Bollywood stars could walk unencumbered anywhere in Vancouver and not be recognized by anyone outside of the Indian community.
The big wrap up to the dour day event was held at BC Place on Saturday night. There were a reported 40,000 in attendance. Tickets averaged in price of about $100.00. If you were to believe all these tickets actually were bought the event generated millions of dollars in revenue. Certainly enough to cover off the cost of the event. Media in attendance were somewhat surprised when Liberal MLA’s were introduced there was a less than enthusiastic response, with the Premier Christy Clark actually receiving a murmuring of boos.
When Laura Balance the media rep for the Liberal Party and Toifa was asked the night of the gala awards if the awards were being broadcast back to India she had to admit no they were not, but there were plans to show them at a later date, but when pressed she could not confirm the network or date. To add insult to injury a SFU film student was on the radio this week revealing how she had just returned from working in the film industry in India when she heard we would be hosting TOIFA. The young lady had established a lot of contacts in India and seemed very knowledgeable on the Indian film scene. She contacted the Premier’s office a month before the event offering her assistance and insight to the Premier’s office. She is still waiting to hear back from Victoria.
So was the event about building bridges with India as Christy Clark was quoted as saying?
Or was it mainly about the brown vote in the upcoming Provincial election next month? The Liberals have gone out of their way to make a connection with the Indian community. And who wouldn’t. I just wish they were using their own money.
Oh excuse me, they do think our tax dollars is their own bankroll. We the citizens of British Columbia will have an opportunity in a few weeks to let them know what we think of this ill conceived event. Keep and eye on the key ridings presently held by Indians.
Right now the make up of the Provincial MLA's bares no resemblance to the cultural makeup of British Columbia. But that is changing election by election. And that is a good thing. Don't you think?
When was the last time you saw a collection of so many white people?
April 03, 2013
Manning Park Lodge Closes
My heart kind of tugged with the news that Manning Park Lodge was closing. Not one to be a big winter sports fan my most vivid memories of Manning Park are of summer.
On our annual trek to the interior to visit relatives from the Guildford area of Surrey, Manning Park was a milestone. I am not sure if you feel the same but even after all these years the stretch of Highway 1 out the Fraser Valley to Hope from here is the longest stretch of road heading our or coming back to the Valley. Researching this story I looked to no avail for a picture of the big old wooden cigarette sign that was in Manning Park where a forest fire had occurred in the late 50's or early 60's The sign said WHOEVER DROPPED THIS SHOULD BE HANGING HERE.
But when you saw the Manning Park Lodge you knew you were in a different land. We would camp at one of the Manning Park government campsites on our way up to the Interior. I have told the story often how even though we lived in Surrey, my father could take all day to drive to Manning Park. I have seen every logging road from here to there.
Later in life Manning Park was a great pit stop for something to eat or drink on the way in or out to Penticton for those Porky’s Revenge weekends in Penticton. Funny how things stick with you. I distinctly remember standing out front of the lodge one morning after breakfast, when I heard a roar that sounded like the very fissures of hell had opened. I looked up and there were the Satans Angels motorcycle club en masse heading for Penticton as well. Atilla The Hun’s spirit lived on.
So this week when it was announced the Lodge and park facilities were closing due to the fact no buyer had stepped forward to save the cash strapped resort I was a little melancholy. The lodge provided a couple of winter getaways for our family as well as annual summer treks. It was so close to Surrey but it was in the mountains and heck you could skate outside which was a thrill, even surpassing outdoor excursions on the steel tubes at Fry’s Corner in Cloverdale.
As I watched the news reports showing the breath taking beauty, and hearing testimony after testimony of skiers and snowshoers I wondered why there wasn’t a market for this one time popular resort? I don’t recall them doing much in the way of advertising. They story mentioned the 2008 economic downturn had hurt the resort and it had never been able to recover.
Then in passing the bombshell dropped quite innocently as they interviewed a 30 something Mom who was out for the day with her kids on Spring Break. “We don’t get here very often because there is no cellphone or internet service here in this valley in the mountains."
PARDON ME? Can you imagine how it would sit with the kids if you broached the subject they were going to the planet called NO SIGNAL. Heck not just the kids, the vast majority of parents that seem to feel it is their god given right to walk down the street merrily texting and talking on the phone wouldn’t be buying into this abyss. "Don't worry about your phones or lap tops kids they won't work where we're going."
It’s just one man’s theory, but so far it is the best one I have heard.
+Note the Provincial campgrounds will not be affected by the lodge closing.
March 28, 2013
It’s Not Working!!
What the hell am I talking about?
Could be just about anything these days, but what caught my attention this week was the young man who appeared in court late last year for assaulting a Coast Mountain bus driver. As a regular user of transit I have an affinity for bus drivers male or female. They are on the front line of a system that does not usually promote and foster positive comments from its customers. Do yourself a favour and the next time you are on a bus, look the bus driver right in the eye, give them a big smile and a friendly hello. 99% of the time the driver will almost jump up and hug you. Like police officers they usually just see the bad side of people.
But back to the matter at hand. DEL LOUIE who a year ago was sentenced to an 18 month conditional sentence and 2 years probation for his attack on driver CHARLES DIXON who only recently has been able return to work. The 25 year bus driver has been assaulted 14 times over his career. DEL LOUIE received what many feel was a light sentence due to his First Nations ancestry. DEL LOUIE was back in court this week for violating his release and probation. Given the fact DEL LOUIE had numerous priors including assaulting another female bus driver on his rap sheet, they finally came down hard and heavy on old DEL. Two months in jail for violation of his original light sentence. care to take any bets how long we hear from DEL again. I hate to be negative and I hope I am wrong but I am not putting any of my hard earned money against his future arrest.
We keep hearing how the prison populations across Canada are disproportionately high amongst First Nations members. As I compose this commentary on my computer I cant help but dwell on the imagery of Haida carvers that adorn my ring fingers. I was raised in a home where colour did not signify one’s worth, your actions did. I have been fascinated since my childhood with the rich coastal first nations history.
Subsequently the courts in this country have been ordered to exhaust all avenues other than incarceration when sentencing first nations offenders. This proved to not be effective enough, so the court system has now introduced First Nations Courts. If an offender is willing to plead guilty they simply appear before a magistrate and a cross section of their first nations peers who will decide the best form of treatment. A recent story I saw on this new court system detailed how the new courts were trying to deal with an offender who had breached court ordered conditions 15 times. The Crown was asking for 90 days in jail. The First Nations Court handed him a suspended sentence and granted him bail.
I really hate to say this but the good money is going down on this offender being back in court on new charges within 30 days. It is time to stop the madness. This is not working, we are moving in the wrong direction.
We must get to the root of the problem at a much younger age. Time for some tough love at an early stage. If the offender’s parents are not willing or capable of issuing it. Society must. And it must start now!
It’s not working. I defy you to tell me I am wrong.
March 21, 2013
FACEBOOK Coming To British Columbia
The wireless crackled with the news early yesterday morning, FACEBOOK was coming to Vancouver and would be hiring. The stamped to the computer in homes with employable youth probably resembled a Justin Bieber autograph session.
FACEBOOK the uber popular web portal is still the go to sire on the internet for young people. Even though you and I, their Mother and Fathers now inhabit the landscape, no one has come along and created a successful replacement to FACEBOOK.
Anyone under the age of 25 would kill to work at FACEBOOK. I can’t even thing of a comparison that would make sense to above over 50. Let your imagination run wild.
The point I am getting at is this. A few years ago I kind of raised an eyebrow when I heard we were importing Mexican workers to work in the fruit fields of British Columbia. Jobs that were done for years by Canadian youth, that soon gave way to immigrant worker/new Canadians. In that most of the new Canadians arriving here these days are millionaire entrepreneurs there is not much chance they or their kids are going to be working at Driedegers picking berries. Thus the agreement with Mexican workers.
Though I scratched my head at this situation it really didn’t surprise me. Then this past Sunday while listening to CBC radio, I overheard a conversation with an Irish man who would be spending his first St. Paddy’s day in Regina and how was he feeling? I thought it was a non story really until the bombshell dropped.
You see he was here in Canada on a citizenship fast track program after responding to an ad in Ireland looking for workers that wanted to come to Canada? Huh?
Well you see this gentleman had very special skills. HE WAS AN ELECTRICIAN!. Yes you read it right. The trades work force is so slim now in parts of Canada we are advertising in Europe for English speaking foreigners to come to Canada to work.
Well someone in the Stephen Harper government must have been listening to the same broadcast because on Monday of this week the Conservatives came out swinging.
The Conservative government is preparing new budget measures to boost skilled trades in Canada, and one option under consideration would require companies to promise apprenticeship training as part of any bid for major procurement contracts.
Addressing Canada’s growing labour and skills shortage – along with balancing the budget by 2015 – is shaping up as a dominant theme of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2013 budget due today (March 21)
Sad but true.
It got me to thinking about an excerpt from the book titled DUMBING DOWN OUR KIDS: Why our kids feel good about themselves but can't read, write or add. the following has for years been wrongly credited to BILL GATES of Microsoft. In the end it is really not that important who actually wrote it. The words ring true no matter what their origin was.
Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
White Rock's Gary Herman: Trades Secret
New Industry Training Authority COO Gary Herman is drawing on his trades background to help tackle B.C.’s skills deficit
Federal Budget Fallout
B.C.'s finance minister says he's concerned about financial repercussions for the province around skills training changes in the federal budget.
March 14, 2013
WHITE ROCK COALition.
For the past couple of years mile coal trains over a mile long have rumbled through the White Rock waterfront. When BNSF replaced the exisiting rail line’s actual rails with much longer rail pieces they informed the residents it was to make the trains quiter traveling through the region. Cutting down on the frequent clickity clack, clickity clack.
After some reflection it makes me think perhaps the long rails were installed to prepare the corridor for the massive coal trains that started to roll through White Rock shortly after the replacement of the rails.
Two years ago I lived one block up from the pier and to be very honest enjoyed the lonesome whistle of the trains for years. But then the coal trains began rolling through. Soon the outside deck, the vehicles and the furniture in the house began to accumulate a fine black dust. Coal dust. It has now been well documented and identified by many residents this malady is getting worse. At the time I did a little research and discovered certain coal states in America where there is a lot of coal movement the rail cars are covered/capped by law. So I fired off a letter to the Minister of the Environment asking if it was possible we could see a similar legislation introduced to protect the health of the residents along the rail transport line. No response, a second letter, no response, finally a very harshly written letter, still no response. I am sure they had a fun time reading my letter aloud in the office in Victoria. “Look away, don’t make eye contact, don’t respond then we will be on record and we might have to do something.”
This week White Rock council chimed in their support for reducing the flow of coal trains through the White Rock/South Surrey corridor. They join New Westminster who have opposed any expansion of the Fraser River port on the Surrey side of the Fraser river. The residents of White Rock fear the obvious, coal dust eminating from the unloading of the rail trains and subsequent dust from the proposed loading of the barges that will carry the coal down the Fraser and out to Texada island where the coal will be loaded on giant freighters destined for China. The coal that would be exported through White Rock and New Westminster is powdered coal, it is not your typical “old chunk of coal.” The dust associated with the coal we are talking about is toxic and has a very negative impact on the environment and our personal health.
The coal being exported is also bunk coal, the cheapest crap coal on the world market, it is virtually worth nothing as is burns very quickly and not very hot. It is of no use for manufacturing but China has an insatiable appetite for the cheap coal for heating purposes.
There has been a proposal to develop Cherry Point refinery into a deep sea port to export all the coal coming from Wyoming and Montana. The push back in Bellingham has been tremendous. They have been very organized and have lobbied every level of government up and down Washington and Oregon. I have watched their work as I watched the coal trains get longer and longer running along our waterfront. It has been well documented and I can attest from my own personal experience the trains are emiting a fine dust that covers everything along the hillside. We are breathing this toxic waste. Coal industry would have you believe the rail cars don’t need to be capped as when the cars are loaded at the open mining pits they are sprayed with some matter that is designed to contain the coal dust. Yet they have also reluctantly admitted to the fact on average each coal train loses 500 pounds of coal during shipment. Let’s do the math on that. ON average each coal train that runs by our front door is 130 cars long x 500 = 16,000 pounds of escaped coal dust during shipment. Eight tons!
If Bellingham is successful in blocking exports out of Cherry Point just across the bay from us, I fear those daily 4 coal trains destined for Cherry Point will just make a hard right and head for Deltaport and Fraser Rive Portr. Deltaport is already the largest coal exporter in North America.
Are you prepared to stand for this?
If so join other concerned residents on the beach at the iconic white rock, in White Rock this Sunday at 12 noon.
March 07, 2013
Attention Marvin Hunt and Peter Fassbender
It has come to my attention that both of you gentlemen are considering on climbing aboard the sinking Goodship Liberal Party. Your choice.
In Canada if you are a sitting MLA and you decide you want to step up to the parent club of federal politics and an MP position, you must step down from your Provincial appointment. But not so if you want to make the jump from civic level of government to the Provincial level. This doesn’t make it right.
Do you not have the courage of your convictions? Surrey Councillor MARVIN HUNT has always seemed like a straight shooter to me. He stands an excellent chance of being elected in the Surrey Panorama riding. HUNT though has had the audacity to state if he is elected to Provincial politics and becomes the MLA for the riding, he would stay on as a councilor and do his work as an MLA. Unless Surrey Council voted to remove him. So the conclusion I am leaping to is Marvin Hunt believe being a Surey Councillor is a part time job? I realize with the exception of the Mayor most of the Surrey Councillor have other jobs, but not one that would entail the dedication a sitting MLA would.
Over in Langley MAYOR FASSBENDER has appeared to me to be a man with no moral compass. I inquired to FASSBENDER last year if he did not see there being a conflict of interest with him sitting on the RCMP renewal panel, given his son is a member of the RCMP? In his reply he was very indignant that I had the nerve to even pose such a question. Really?
Both of these gentlemen have had sufficient support in their communities to be elected. I hope both of them come under heavy scrutiny by the electorate no matter how this shakes out.
If you don’t have the courage of your convictions, then don’t do it. I/we expect our leaders to LEAD – FOLLOW or GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!
February 28, 2013
Get Over It Canada
Alright it has happened. I have turned into my father. “Uncle Joe” Chesney my father and mentor in life was a staunch and fiercely proud Canadian. Our home was full of Canadian music (being exposed to that much Don Messer’s Jubilee in some quarters would be referred as child endangerment). Canadian novels were top of the pops on my Dad and mother’s reading list. How many books did Pierre Burton write?
When the Canadian content regulations were imposed on radio stations, my father said “GREAT LET’S PLAY 50% INSTEAD OF JUST 30%.” My love for first nations is a direct result of books like BC Indian Lives And Legend. Which I dragged to school along with the Surrey Story by Fern Traleven to see if the teacher knew about them and would it be possible for us to incorporate them into our class. I though my teachers and my classmates might be interested in OUR history. Fat chance. It still has not happened in our school system.
So how did I come to this realization that I was now a mirror image of my father?
Sunday evening everyone went crazy when BEN AFFLECK while accepting his Oscar for Best Picture ARGO seemed to sluff of his acknowledgement of Canada’s involvement in the Iran Hostage situation in the late 70’s (see below)
The October Surprise conspiracy theory refers to an alleged plot to influence the outcome of the 1980 United States presidential election between incumbent Jimmy Carter (D–GA) and opponent Ronald Reagan (R–CA).
One of the leading national issues during that year was the release of 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran since November 4, 1979 Reagan won the election. On the day of his inauguration, in fact, 20 minutes after he concluded his inaugural address, the Islamic Republic if Iran announced the release of the hostages. The timing gave rise to an allegation that representatives of Reagan's presidential campaign had conspired with Iran to delay the release until after the election to thwart President Carter from pulling off an "October Surprise".
In that I seem to be in the majority of my generation that have taken to avoiding the high costs and low entertainment value of most movies, I had not seen ARGO. A movie billed a “based on a true story.”
The interesting part of this equation is not more than a month ago CBC television did a very interesting in depth documentary on the lead CIA agent involved in the rescue of the trapped Americans. When the feature ended I thought to myself “Gee that doesn’t seem line up with what we have been led to believe all these years.”
The whole “let’s wait for Jimmy Carter to step down as President before we announce the freeing of the hostages will be a great jump start to Regan’s tenure as president of the USA.” That seemed to work out just fine.
People get over it. We don’t need our Yankee neighbours approval on anything. My good god America rattles and rolls around the world like a Tijuana taxi. They are viewed as a loud and garish country by most nations. We are their next door neighbour and no one seems to pay any attention to us, in particular in large part America itself.
Be thankful, be quiet and let’s just go on with our lives. I have drawn the analogy before but I still maintain. Canada living next door to the United States is like a normal family living next door to the Hells Angels. It is a far bigger deal to the family.
February 12, 2013
WARNING Some Canadians may be offended!!
Grammy Trivia Answer - Toronto rapper Drake was the only Canadian winner, receiving his first Grammy for ‘Best Rap Album’ with “Take Care”.
In that I don't watch a lot of television the Grammy's sort of just snuck up on me. Given Sunday night is even more of a wasteland of programming than other nights I settled in to watch the 55th annual Grammy Awards.
Of course the chatter on the radio leading up to the Grammy's put forth the usual "how many Grammy's will Canadians win blah blah blah." News flash folks, the people who decide who is going to win a Grammy don't give a rats ass where you are from. As long as it is America.
America is very quick to consume artists and inadvertently leave you with the impression the are from America. How often even though she had the biggest hit of the year, did you hear anyone in America mention she was a Canadian? It is a much bigger deal to us than to our neighbours.
Speaking of CARLY RAE JEPSEN let's take a look her meteoric rise for a moment. Just over a year ago local promoter ROB WARWICK of Rockit Boy entertainment did a show in Vancouver at the Media Club. JEPSEN was on a three band bill and combined they drew about 20 people. WARWICK had promoted her in concert numerous times, especially in her hometown of Mission. Despite a ton of radio airplay on pop radio in Vancouver, she was lucky to draw anyone. Then the midas touch of JUSTIN BIEBER and SLENA GOMEZ hit the maelstrom. According to legend THE BIEBS sent out a twitter about how much he was digging her video he saw on Muchmusic in Canada. The rest is history.
Recently EPSEN in search of a decent pay cheque did a cross Canada tour sponsored by TARGET who were hoping to draw attention to their arrival to the retail landscape in Canada. The aforementioned ROB WARWICK though it might be cool for his files to have an autographed photo. His request to attend the Mission concert was flatly denied. So he requested could he at least get CARLY to sign a picture. No, nope, nada piss off and leave us alone. Rob who?
The music industry never one to rank high on the list of reputable industries has sunk to a sickening level of take the money and run. Leave the whole place scorched earth. Pillage and rape, grab your 1 minute of fame and milk it like an Afghani milks his yak.
Don't believe me? Where was JUSTIN BEIBER last night in the mix? Name me the second single from CARLY RAE? Just like a disposable lighter, you don't get any warning of that last light.
Courtesy of NCN New Canadiam Music your one stop shop for what's happening in music in Canada.
Last night's Grammy Awards turned out to be less than stellar for Canadian artists who went into the 55th annual with 14 noms.
In fact, Drake was the lone Canadian winner, in the Best Rap Album for his hugely successful second set, Take Care. However, Dreezer lost in the Rap Song and Rap Performance categories to buddies' Kayne West and Jay-Z.
Carly Rae Jepsen's two noms in Song of the year (“Call Me Maybe”) and Best Pop Solo Performance (again for “Call Me Maybe”)were trumped by Adele ("Set Fire to the Rain" taken from Live At the Albert Hall) and fun's "We Are Young"
Tamia's two noms, in Best R&B Song (“Beautiful Surprise”) and Best R&B Album (“Beautiful Surprise”) were trumped by Miguel Pimentel's "Adorn" and the Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio.
Arcade Fire's nom for Best Song Written for Visual Media (“Abraham’s Daughter” from “The Hunger Games”) lost out to "Safe & Sound" from the same s/t, performed by Taylor Swift.
Michael Bublé's nom in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album (Christmas) lost to Sir McCartney's Kisses On the Bottom.
Deadmau5's nom in the Dance/Electronic Album (>Album Title Goes Here<) category lost to Skrillex's Bangarang.
Melanie Fiona lost in the Best Traditional R&B Performance (“Wrong Side Of A Love Song”) to Beyonce's "Love on Top"
Loreena McKennitt's Grammy nom in the New Age Album (“Troubadours on the Rhine”) category lost to Omar Akram's Echoes Of Love.
Howard Shore lost in the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (“Hugo”) to the score for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
And Tegan and Sara's shot in the Best Long Form Music Video (“Get Along”) was trumped by Mumford & Sons' "Big Easy Express.
Prior to the Awards show, Consular General in LA David Fransen hosted a party at Canada House, co-hosted by CIMA prez Stuart Johnston. The swishy event featured performances byDivine Brown, Jarvis Church, Snowblink, Sheepdogs and Diamond Rings.
February 02, 2013
Killer Cats. Cats On A Leash. The headlines accomplished the goalI they grabbed my attention.
Someone or some groups have come out and attempted to start a movement to have all cats on a leash if they are outdoors. I can already visualize a reality show based on trying to leash your cat. Out of work rodeo announcers could be brought in to describe the action.
I can only hope this insane movement disappears as quickly as it appears. I am always leery when people start quoting numbers like, 3.7 billion birds are killed annually bu off leash cats and some 20.7 billion animals. Really? Who did the survey, how long was the survey, what was the sample size, what was the duration of the study? I cry B.S.
As a cat owner I know all too well cats love to kill rats, mice and even birds and bring them home for inspection. I have addressed the bird killing situation with a bell on “Little Girly’s” collar. The mice and rats are on their own.
In a world ride with so many serious environmental and economical issues should we be devoting the time and energy to a supposed problem that is not backed up with any real numbers?
I notice a number of cats in the neighbourhood who seem to enjoy their freedom with long investigative walks through the neighbourhood. They are not on the road, they have a trap line of back alleys, yards, fences, forests you name it, they use it to get around the neighbourhood.
Cat owners have obviously noted how much their house cats resemble cheetahs, black panthers or other ancestors as the zero in on their prey. It is instinct. They once were wild animals. Society brought them in, domesticated them, neutered and spayed them, now we want to eliminate a primal urge.
The kitty catchers also want us now to get licenses for our cats. Just another cash grab really. Our cat has a name tag with our phone number in the event she gets lost someone can aid in her return.
But I don't want to protest just for the sake of making life difficult. So to themember of the LEASH THE CATS group, please contact me. Come on over and show me how to leash up "Little Girly." Oh yes maybe you could come a couple hours early and GIVE HER A BATH while you're here.
January 23, 2013
CASINO – We got it wrong
Well that came as a big surprise. You could have pushed me over Saturday morning when the news came in early that Surrey Had turned down the proposed casino in South Surrey. One has to look on the upside though, I am just glad no one took me up on a bet against my frightful prediction. This tell me I was not the only one heading the wrong way on a one way street.
In my heart of heart I had hoped the casino would be located in a more appropriate area of Surrey making it a win - win situation. Surrey gets the revenue and communities are not destroyed.
In previous editions of YELL IT LIKE IT IS and in editions of NAKED TRUTH b Don Pitcairn we both predicted the city of Surrey would at the end of the day approve the casino. Plain and simple we got it wrong.
So what happens now? Surrey councillor BARINDE RASODE immediately came out and reminded everyone, especially those living in the Newton area, Gateway the failed bidders in South Surrey still held a gaming license for the old bingo hall on King George Blvd. in Newton. RASODE fears and rightfully so many of the seniors in the are will suffer greatly with the opening of a casino in their backyard.
The bombastic MLA in charge of gaming RICH COLEMAN came out immediately after Surrey turned the casino down and said “We’re through with Surrey, we’re moving on and looking for other casino possibilities other than in Surrey.” Wah wah wah Richie Rich. After his initial outburst COLEMAN is now threatening to possibly look at First Nations lands for future casino sites, including Surrey. Nod nod Semiahmoo.
I have taken the time to send Mayor Watts and some of the councillors that opposed the casino applauding them for standing up for this rural community in South Surrey near the border. You may want to do the same thing. We are all pretty quick off the mark to criticize someone’s mistakes, but I believe one should also note and applaud positive actions. And this my friends is a step in the right direction for the future growth of Surrey. Hopefully with the proposed town centres in Surrey will put an end to "this drop something right out of the sky development"has come to a screeching halt.
January 14, 2013
A Pub With No Beer
Last week it seemed everywhere I looked or listened people were moaning about the demise of The Waldorf hotel on Hastings Street in East Vancouver. The staff at the refurbished facility were shocked on Wednesday when the owners of the venue called the staff in and handed out 2 week pink slips. Sixty people losing their jobs is a sad affair. But not as sad as some might have you believe.
The "Oh My God the sky is falling, this is the end of live music in Vancouver" was to say the least over the top. I smugly would ask these people "When was the last time you were at the Waldorf?" I say smugly because my Caribbean queen and I travelled into the big smoke back in the summer to see our friends the Washboard Union.
The Waldorf was a funk location, three seperate entertainment rooms including the famous Tiki Lounge (pictured above). But to portray it as an anchor of the live music scene in Vancouver would be stretching reality. The new owners of The Waldorf plan on raising the old building and constructing condominiums.
me (centre) and Ted Nugent drop by CFOX radio in the 80's
For over 3 decades as a representative for CBS Records, radio station music director, newspaper columnist and artist manager I have had the pleasure and dis-pleasure of darkening the doorways of virtually every gin joint honky tonk in the Lower Mainland. Many on a regular basis.
This caused me to reflect on the local live music landscape in Surrey, White Rock and Langley.
Times have changed. The days of the beer foam running knee deep out front of the Ocean Beach hotel in the 70's and 80's when Washington state kids crossed the border with ease to drink and party at the local watering hole. The Night Shift nightclub at The Tudor at the truck crossing also benefitted immensely from their locale and proximity to the border. Baselines PUb on Johnston Road formerly known as the Sandcastle club was packed on a regular basis as the local brother act The Sibling Rivals (Honeywell brothers) packed them in on a regular basis.
Things have changed. These days KELLY BREAKS/JUANITA MOFFAT have carved out a nice piece of the entertainment market by reinventing their massive world class recording studio Blue Frog, into a perfromance centre. On a regular basis Blue Frog presents world class entertainers in a very intimate atmosphere right here in our backyard. Patrons are thrilled to be able to sip a glas of chablis, see a great concert at an affordable price and probably be able to drive home in less than 15 minutes.
The Cresecent Beach Legion is fighting to buck the trend of diminishing memberships. Some folks now refer to the club as CLUB 240 a play on the fact they are legion branch #240. As I rocked back in my chair at the recent "Blues Summit" at Club 240 I looked around and thought I could be in any one of a hundred honky tonks I have been in through the Southern United States. In those parts of America the locals refer to their local watering holes as a"icehouses."
House concerts have also sprung up around the Semiahmoo Peninsula. There are a few patrons of the music and arts that semi-regularly open their beautiful homes by invitation to enjoy artists performing in the expansive residences. Wine, beer and appetizers being served make the night out complete.
There are a number of other local music venues we proudly promote through DOUG E'S Night Owl Column on a weekly basis. The vast majority sadly have one or two nights a week where they are busy, while the rest of the week the wait staff and bartenders can enjoy a rousing game of "I Spy With My Little Eye."
So what's the answer? Same answer ANY BUSINESS needs to address. How do I get them through the doors and ultimately how do I get them to come back and bring their friends?
As mentioned I think from my years of observation as a professional and as a private citizen I have a pretty good handle on how to do it. But don't think for a minute I am going to dump it out here for FREE!.
January 03, 2013
YELL IT LIKE IT IS Happy New Year 2012
photo by Johan Sandstrom
So how was your Christmas? Mine took a very unexpected yet pleasant turn a couple of weeks before Christmas. My companion (her words) who recently moved to White Rock with me has been commuting daily to Vancouver airport via the 20 window coupe aka the 351 bus.
Kerlande asked me around mid December what I wanted to do for Christmas. I said well it is just the two of us so I guess we will get a little chicken an have a pretend Christmas dinner complete with stove top stuffing. She asked me how I felt about inviting a few of her “bus buddies” that she had met traveling on the buses between White Rock and Vancouver. A couple of the aforementioned were going to be spending Christmas alone. I needed a couple of days to think about it to be very truthful. Any other day no problem but I just wasn’t sure about strangers coming over Christmas day.
Once I decided , “Sure that could be cool” I took it one step further and invited a couple of my friends who I knew would be spending Christmas alone given the distance between them and their families.
Well it turned out to be one of the nicest Christmases in recent memory. One of our guests is a singer and he pulled out the guitar after dinner was complete and we sang Christmas carols and God knows what else.
This could become a tradition.
As I look over the ledge into 2013 I am buoyed by my hopes the world in fact did not end as some predicted. But I do believe there was an importance in a shift that is occurring to humanity. I believe people are going to go out of their way to connect with their neighbours and community. Perhaps it signals a change whereby instead of telling a total stranger (online) in some far reaches of the world what kind of day you are having, it will mean you may lean over the fence and say “Hello neighbour.” At least that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.
I wish you good health in the coming year. If you have that, you really have everything you need to overcome anything that life may put in front of you.
...and remember it all starts with a simple "Hello."
SOMETHING TO PONDER: George Carlin
George Carlin's wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
December 17, 2012
Enough already. Could we please back off a bit about the tragic school shooting in Newtown?
24/7 news coverage is actually making me hesitate turning the radio on in the morning, and I listen to CBC radio, which in large part has done a good job of avoiding the sensational aspects of the recent tragedy.
But this morning I actually heard some police chief or lead investigator of the crime prattling on how they will locate and document every single shell casing, closely examine all the evidence and get to the bottom of this matter.
Really? I think this is pretty much an open and shut case Chief.
The NRA has fallen silent. They have not issued any of their usual jackass statements they are famous for when a horrifying gun incident like this occurs. Someone come out the day of the attack on the school saying “This would not have happened if the teachers had of been harmed.” A similar sentiment was echoed when the movie theatre shooting in Colorado happened earlier this year where 12 people died and 58 were seriously injured.
It doesn’t take a big man to pull a trigger. We sit here rather smugly in Canada gazing out across farmland and body of water that separates us from the United States. All the while the body count of shooting victims in the Lower Mainland continues to rise exponentially.
The day before the shooting in Connecticutt the Michigan state legislature passed a bill that would legalize carrying concealed weapons in schools and churches. Proponents of the bill had argued that allowing the weapons in schools and churches would be a deterrent to massacres such as today’s shooting.
Did you hear about the man in China who last week entered an elementary school and stabbed 23 children? I have to admit it did not register on my radar. Officials believe the gentleman was "psychologically affected" by doomsday predictions related to the end of the Mayan calendar ending December 21 (this Friday).
Lineup outside of gun store in the Guildfor area of Surrey
In a matter of days the Mayan calendar comes to an end. Don’t think of it as an end of anything. It is actually a beginning. We now enter the age of Aquarius. A brighter day is dawning, but as the old saying goes – It is always darkest just before the dawn.
Update December 21, 2012
NRA responds to deadly shooting in Newtown
The National Rifle Association blames the media and video games for allowing a culture of violence in children's homes.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," says Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP.
December 13, 2012
PUT YOUR CARDS ON THE TABLE
Monday evening at Surrey city hall supporters for both sides of the proposed casino in South Surrey were out in full force.
First let’s call a spade a spade, this is a casino project straight clean and simple. The applicant for the casino is Gateway and they are seeking support to build the development. Gateway is on record stating without the casino there will be no hotel, convention centre and performance theatre. Those amenities only come with a casino.
By law the city of Surrey in order to grant the development proposal simply had to speak with residents living within 3 properties or 1,000 metres which ever is largest. This was completed back in 2009.
This week the city of Surrey divulged the results of a more widespread survey done in South Surrey. The numbers weighed heavily in favour of turning down the application for a casino.
The City of Surrey stated out of 3,855 residents polled, 3,220 were against the casino while 635 came out in support of the hotel, conference centre, theatre and casino in South Surrey. The majority of the feedback which was received by staff came from South Surrey residents. When the city of Surrey canvassed those living directly in the area of the proposed development the numbers took a massive jump against the development. 2,045 opposing while only 124 voted in favour.
Gateway casinos had their own survey which indicated 2,800 Surrey residents and nearly 5,000 non Surrey residents signed their petition in favour of the construction of a casino in South Surrey. Opponents of the development pointed out Gateway did not include any addresses of their supporters, bringing their survey into question.
Last week the local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary pulled together and called a press conference touting support for the proposed casino from their organizations. I couldn’t help but notice the press conference was light on statistics.
I requested statistical information from the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cliff Annable. I wondered if the membership had been canvassed on their support, if so how many of the members responded in favour of the development. After a week of not hearing back from Annable I proceeded to contact a pair of the directors of the local Chamber who I have relationships with. I took special care in cc’ing the aforementioned Annable on this email as well. One of the directors told me the topic would be discussed at this week’s meeting of the Chamber. The new President of the Chamber Terry Ross contacted me via email and informed me I should not be contacting Directors, but going through the Executive Director Annable I assured Ross I had in fact attempted to go through the proper channels. Eventually when I received a phone call from Annable he informed me the actual membership of the the Chamber was not canvassed, but in his capacity as Executive Director he had conducted an informal poll of the business community and heard resounding support for the casino development.
It also came to light at the Land Use meeting at Surrey city hall that the financial returns to Surrey from the expansion of gambling in Surrey were slightly askew. Originally it was projected the new casino’s construction would mean 6 million dollars into the coffers of the city of Surrey. Many believed that would was the financial benefit from the South Surrey casino if approved. It was corrected at the Monday meeting that the actual benefit directly from a new south Surrey casino was more in the 3.1 million range, which when combined from the 2.9 million already coming from the Fraser Downs Casino bringing the total annual revenue share to Surrey up to 6 million dollars.
It is because of these fast and loose facts and figures that I question the validity of the casino in this particular location.
I am neither for or against casinos, but my instinct tells me there quite possibly is a better location for this development. Why not up in the Campbell Heights district of South Surrey. It is only 3 miles away from the proposed site. The massive industrial land space could easily house the development with little or no impact on nearby residential developments.
Surrey Mayor DIANNE WATTS appeared on CBC radio Tuesday morning following Monday’s report to council from the Lands Use Committee. According to WATTS on January 14, 2013 there will be a public forum held at city hall in Surrey where those for and against the development will be allowed to have their say. At the end of that meeting council may vote right there and then on the approval of the project, or council may ask for more time to consider all the information received at the meeting and to date.
If I was a betting man I would put my bankroll on the casino project moving forward at the proposed location.
November 29, 2012
THE WEEK THAT WAS
It all began with the announcement a young man had come forth with allegations against KEVIN CLASH the voice of Elmo on Sesame street. The accuser intimated CLASH had a sexual affair with him when he was a teenager. CLASH of course immediately denied the charges, Sesame Street released a public statement saying they did not need this distraction. CLASH recanted his original statement of guilt, and stepped aside only to see another accuser come forth.
The voice of Elmo is a pedophile? Is nothing sacred?
JUSTIN BIEBER rolled back into Canada after mopping up at the American Music Awards. His handlers obviously decided to make good on their time in Canada. How about swinging by Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper loves hanging with musicians.
(Harper and Chad Kroeger)
Sadly BIEBER did not show any respect for the event of being presented with the Queens Jubilee Medal by showing up in his farmer Brown coveralls. Remember last year when Bieber was afforded a visit with Barrack Obama he donned a tuxedo. Kind of tells you what he thinks of his homeland. The Biebs wrapped up his hometown Christmas visit with a giant payday at the Grey Cup half time show. What idiot thought this would be a good idea. The crowd at Skydome in Toronto when urged by BIEBER to “make some noise” responded with a wall of boo’s. Oh well, just take the money and run.
Surrey in a not so startling move dumped this week’s Land Use meeting scheduled to deal with the application for the casino in South Surrey. No one really knew about this except those that read the city of Surrey’s website where quietly the information was posted on Friday. Having been alerted to this by a regular reader of THE SUN I blasted off an email to the press department of Surrey City Hall. Here is the exchange.
Good Morning Tara;
Imagine my surprise when checking the city of Surrey's web site this morning, that the dates for the hearings into the South Surrey Casino were posted on the city's web site. As I receive numerous press releases from the city of Surrey on a regular basis, I asked myself how could I have missed this?
Checking the past few days emails I found there appears there never was anything issued to the media regarding these very important date changes.
Could you please enlighten me on why and how this occurred. I certainly hope it is not the old "let's dump something out late Friday" which as you well know has been a standard practice for years at other levels of government.
Please say it ain't so.
We do not issue news releases regarding Council schedules. That info is posted under the Notices section on our website, as per normal procedure. The Nov 26 date was always a targeted date, and the Planning and Development department decided they needed more time to gather feedback from the public and finish their report.
Tara Foslien / Media Relations
City of Surrey
With the spectacular weather this past Saturday I felt it was a golden opportunity to get out and go for a walk after being locked in the house for the better part of the week due to monsoon rains. As my Caribbean queen and I made our rounds we were taken back when we encountered a choir singing at 5 Corners, a Town Crier in the form of White Rock Players DAVE BARON and lo and behold a Santa Christmas Parade through the streets of White Rock.
I can see the look of amazement on your faces. Who knew? Did You? Judging by the absence of crowds along Johnston Road the old adage “A terrible thing happens if you don’t promote – NOTHING.”
Up at Surrey Provincial Courts CAROL BERNER once again did the perp walk with her lawyer. BERNER was back in court to see if the courts were going to dismiss her impaired driving guilty convictions in the death of Alexa Middlaer. The charges of a lower court were upheld, and BERNER was taken into custody to begin her 2 ½ year sentence. Within hours BERNER was back on the street as she now awaits her appeal of the length of the sentence. Just try to imagine how the Middelaer family feels. The law is an ass. This best out of 5 has to end!
And finally the recently retired Senator Gerry St. Germain who makes his home in South Surrey, dropped by the Tswassen First Nations reserve and urged the members to expand their land base. Really. After carving out a big chunk of their land for the superport and now applying to build two giant malls on their anscestoral lands, Gerry thinks they should be claiming some more land. Just a thought Gerry but how about giving them a piece of your spread in South Surrey to start. I am sure one could make the case the Tswassen first nations would have moved through the south Surrey area on hunting and fishing excursions.
Publisher/White Rock Sun
November 05, 2012
Post Election 2012
Well yesterday morning I had to perform what is becoming a time honoured traidition for me. The post election morning shave.
Yes I was unsuccessful in my campaign for a seat on White Rock council in the by-election brought on by by the passing of Councillor Mary Wade Anderson in June.
A couple thousand people or 15% of the city’s population felt compelled to get out and vote. I know how hard I worked to engage the community and I know at least a couple of other candidates worked hard in making the community aware of the impending election.
What would have happened if we had not worked as hard as we did? Maybe 5%, maybe less? This is aftermath of the election that I am most concerned about.
I DID NOT NOT LOSE THE ELECTION - NO, WE LOST THE ELECTION. Had I won I would not have thought for a moment that I did it alone. No, this was a group effort win lose or draw.
The malady of low voter turnout is not anything new. As I have said before it behooves me that people do not realize the level of government that will most quickly and directly affect your daily lives, the civic level receives the lowest turnout at the polls. Time and time again I hear people mention legislated voting like they have in Australia, New Zealand and now as I understand, Scotland and Ireland. Would you get off the couch if it was going to cost you $100?
As most of you know Bill Lawrence the owner of the Sandpiper Pub and liquor store across from our elementary school on Johnston Road, was successful in being elected to White Rock council. Some have already asked me how I think he will do? I answer that question with “How do you think the mayor and council have done in the past year?”
Our “city by the sea” will return to normal over the next couple of days. The signs will come down, neighbours who crossed the street to avoid contact will make like their avoidance was only imagined and the countdown to the next general election in 2014 will begin.
Perhaps a candidate will start now pushing for White Rock to rejoin Surrey, getting rid of the fire department, building highrises on the waterfront, proposing a casino on the Semiahmoo Reserve, installing surveillance cameras throughout the city, bringing in pay parking uptown and maybe even start floating the idea of a marina at the end of the pier?
But I think I did see you looking for your coat and car keys.
October 24, 2012
It is funny where election topics come from. On my rounds the other day checking to make sure my election handouts and Town Hall Meeting notices were all still where they were initially put, I was summoned over to a table of three gentlemen having lunch at Pelican Rouge Coffee Shop in Central Plaza.
The obviously knew who I was and that I was running for a seat on White Rock council. The first issue they wanted to discuss was high rises. How did I feel about high rises. I explained to them I was happy that we now had a charette / template for our town centre created by the last council. I feel this will not only encourage developers to consider building in White Rock, but it provides residents with a level of confidence that they had a saying in the build out of the uptown district of White Rock. That seemed to be the answer they were looking for.
Second topic? What did I think about the trains that run along our waterfront? Why didn’t I make it an election issue/platform? One of the gentlemen who lives on Marine Drive on East beach expounded on how he has the peace and tranquility of his morning walk along the promenade shattered by freight trains rumbling through our city I explained I personally and columnist for THE SUN don Pitcairn have tirelessly tried to keep the safety issue of the trains along the waterfront, front and centre with residents. We both have worked with a group called RAIL SMART that is an ad hoc group of volunteers who make it there business to monitor rail traffic along the Semiahmoo Peninsula corridor. Perhaps I will need to re-examine the focus I put on this issue.
I was taken to task somewhat this week for not bugging the hell out of people through FACEBOOK. I will be very honest with you, I use FACEBOOK to keep in touch with friends that do not live near enough for personal visits. I may be wrong but I really don’t think the majority of the voters in White Rock and friends of mine use FACEBOOK to any great extent. Tell me if I am wrong. I feel personal emails and communiqués like this through The White Rock Sun are more effective. I might point out at this conjecture the person that did not feel I was using FACEBOOK had not figured out they were no longer on my FACEBOOK as a friend. I have certain guidelines for “my friends” on FACEBOOK. Ignore the rules and access is denied.
This past Saturday I hosted my own TOWN HALL MEETING at Blue Frog studios and I would like to thank each person who came out an joined in the discussion. Some of the key points I covered were:
RAIL SAFETY - I will continue to be vigilant about the rail line that runs along our waterfront. Rail safety should be paramount to every resident in White Rock. The adjoining hillsides along the White Rock and South Surrey corridor need constant monitoring on their stability. I would also like to see the Provincial government force BNSF to cap the coal trains that travel through our community. Many states in the U.S. have instituted laws to prevent the harmful coal dust from covering their cities. Why have we not followed this lead?
VICIOUS DOG BY LAW - I am confident if we simply bring in and enforce all dogs on leash when off your property unless in an off leash area. If a person has a supposed vicious dog on their property it is us to everyone that visits said property to be aware there is a dog that could cause harm to their family. I also still support dogs on leash on the promenade during the winter months. I don't believe we need to lower our standards to the lowest common denominator because of a few violators.
TREE BY LAW - I think we still have some work to do on this topic. One size does not fit all. Would we be well advised to strike a tree panel made up of senior city staff and citizens that could adjudicate and problem situations between neighbours. Many people moved to White Rock to enjoy the spectacular ocean views. Each situation has its own pros and cons and for that reason I feel we can do a better job in improving the present tree bylaw.
DENSITY - I am somewhat tired of the ongoing high rise debate. We have towers and it is inevitable we will at some point in time have more. The previous council created a template for the future building out of our town centre in uptown White Rock. Every citizen had an opportunity to put forth their opinion. We now at least have an outline for developers looking at building high density developments in White Rock. Personally I think we can now move forward with an eye to the future of making all areas of White Rock vibrant and prosperous.
WATERFRONT PARKING - Is another hot topic. The recent Mayor's task force created a number of improvements and suggestions on making the commercial waterfront business more vibrant. Time will tell if it is enough. I think we should be developing a long range plan for the improvement of our waterfront area, in particular the mix of businesses we have along the beach. A more diverse commercial mix will help ensure we remain a destination year round. Yesterday (Sunday) with the good weather we had hundreds of visitors to our waterfront along the promenade and pier area. We have a challenge on bringing them up from the promenade to the business corridor. There is no quick fix but I do have some creative ideas on that topic which I am elected I will put forth.
ARTS - Our Mayor and Council recently identified THE ARTS as our #2 industry as we move forward. With my 30 years of media/marketing and live event production I am confident I have the skill sets, more so than the other candidates, to help council fulfill this goal. The possibilities are endless.
By-elections like this traditionally have a low voter turnout. The majority of the voters I have talked to are looking forward to the all candidates meeting a week from today at White Rock Elementary to get a handle on what the candidates stand for. Our turnout for the regular election in November 2011 was one of the lowest on record with just 24% taking the time to exercise their right.
I am asking for your support. This is the 5th time I have run in a White Rock election. As someone recently commented on my tenacity "Winners never quit - and quitters never win."
This is OUR White Rock. Let’s work together. There is no limit to what we can accomplish if we adopt a positive attitude about OUR CITY BY THE SEA!
Tomorrow evening (Tuesday 30th) at White Rock Elementary there will be an all candidates meeting @ 7 p.m. Come out and hear and meet the candidates.
Then on Saturday please exercise your right and get the vote out. 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Kent Street Activity Centre
October 18, 2012
ELECTION TRAIL UPDATE
With just a little over a couple of weeks to go before our civic by-election in response to your many inquiries to “How is campaigning going?” here is an overview of how things are going out there.
Given this is my fifth campaign for a seat on White rock council I am not sure why it still surprises me when people walk up to me and say something like “Hi Dave, good luck this is your time. I am voting for you and I am going to tell all my friends to get out to vote for you as well.” It always pulls me up short. I suppose it is like that old story of the guy that is wearing a club jacket with his name on his sleeve and someone comes up and says “Hello Rick.” His usual response is “How did you know my name?” I could stand and talk to people all day on the street and lately I have had the golden opportunity of doing just that. What a wonderful mix of people we have in our beautiful city by the sea.
For the most part with the exception of one other candidate I seem to be the only candidate out there saying hello and distributing my campaign material. I would think things will start to heat up this weekend.
You may have noticed last Saturday the vast majority of the election campaign signs disappeared. Too many signs went missing for it to be simple vandalism. I did the math and surmised the signs for some strange reason were picked up by the city of White Rock. I tracked down the by law officer by the name of BJ/BW at City Hall on Saturday and went into pick up my signs. When I asked the by law officer why he had removed my signs he became very short verbally with me and told me he had worked for the city and had been doing elections for 14years and he knew where signs were allowed. In that I too have been through 4 elections I felt I was well informed in where signs could actually. BJ./BW was having no part of it, I was wrong and he was right. I told him I would be happy to go home and get my election handbook and come back to show him my signs were in fact placed properly. His response was “I am not interested in reading anything you have, I know what I am talking about and if I am wrong I will be happy to apologize.” Was I wrong? I drove home and consulted my election handbook. Sure enough I had placed my signs correctly. I highlighted the portion that pertained to my signs and returned to city hall. BJ/BW was having no part of it, once again he reiterated he was not interested in even looking at the handbook.
This is reason #178 why I am out on the campaign trail. I still hear too often for my liking citizen’s complaining they have difficulty when dealing with staff at city hall. For the most part given I am the publisher and editor of this on line newspaper I interact with City Hall far more than the average person. I have noticed a shift in attitude of late and that is a good thing, but there are obviously still some staff that have lost sight of the fact they are civil servants/public servants.
There is now going to be an all candidates meeting. One of my colleagues frustrated that it appeared no organization was stepping up to host an all candidates meeting, canvassed all the other candidates to see if there was enough interest for us to finance and promote our own event. I responded given that I had not heard of any all candidates meetings being scheduled I had booked a hall in the city and was out there promoting my own town hall meeting event. I heard back from the candidate in a subsequent email there was not enough interest from other candidates so we as a group would not be hosting our own event. On Monday the paper paper’s front page headline announced there would be no all candidates meeting and it would be up to the individual candidates to get their message out. The paper went on to quote the director of the Business Improvement Association on how the organization wished to remain apolitical. The other group who has hosted all candidate meetings the Chamber of Commerce had stated they would not be hosting an event, no rep was available at press time Monday to give the paper their reason for not hosting a meeting.
Fast forward to yesterday. I had been out on the street promoting my event for a couple of days. I was in Buchanan Printing which is located next to the BIA office at 4 p.m. Sherri Wilson Morrisette the executive director came in to pick something up, noticed me at the counter, said hello and went about her business. No mention of them changing their stance on an all candidates meeting. Upon arriving home around 5 p.m. I received an email announcing the BIA and The Chamber had a change of heart and now they would in fact be hosting an all candidates meeting Tuesday October 30 at White Rock Elementary. I then got a call from someone who had been talking to one of the executive of the Chamber around lunch time and even though the conversation related to the upcoming election there was no mention of the Chamber hosting an all candidates meeting.
Am I a conspiracy theorist?
ALL CANDIDATES MEETING INFO
The South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the White Rock Business Improvement Association (BIA) will be hosting a City of White Rock By-Election All Candidates Forum.
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Place: White Rock Elementary School, 1273 Fir St, White Rock
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Moderator: Gordon Hogg, MLA Surrey / White Rock
October 10, 2012
I Love Door Knocking
As we enter basically the second week of the local civic by-election it is still pretty quiet on the landscape. A couple other candidates have started to distribute their election signs. One will be making the trip by city hall to pick up his signs that in a number of areas were placed in no go zones. A rookie mistake.
Sunday's glorious sunshine and warm temperatures drew record crowds to the final outdoor White Rock Farmers' Market. I set up shop between the fir fighters booth and Semiahmoo Peninsula and via my little sign, encourage shoppers to tell me "What is important this election to you?"
One has to take into consideration when you step out in public like that you open yourself wide open for a variety of responses. For the most part the people that did drop by were supporters of my bid for the vacated seat on council brought about by the passing of councillor Mary Wade Anderson. Generally speaking most of the shoppers were aware we were having an election in White rock on November 03.
I particularly enjoyed speaking with the GROSS family. Hal's wife LILLIAN related how her mother RUTH THOMPSON used to write a "What's Happening" column for the old paper paper version of my White Rock Sun and her father WILLARD THOMPSON was a staff photographer for the old version of the White Rock Sun.
I was dismayed that a number of residents are still miffed they do not receive a timely response to their inquiries to City Hall. I personally believe headway has been made, but judging by the feedback there is still work to be done.
The recently instituted tree by law adopted by White Rock would appear to need a little more work, or at the very least a clearer explanation on the parameters of how the tree by law actually affects private property. I also heard loud and clear from people they would like to see more interaction with the community via Town Hall meetings. The sitting council held an open session at the community centre to begin their sitting and it was standing room only. I have always felt and will push for more if and when I am successful in securing a seat on council.
The low turnout at the polls in our last election (24% in November 2011) was also of concern for the people I spoke with. One would have to assume with this election being devoid of a "hot button" issue the turnout for the by election November 03 will also run low. For that reason I urge you to circle the date on your calendar and get the vote out. You can find out all the information on the election including the advance poll dates and polling stations at the link (here)
This week the door knocking will begin in earnest. I remember back in 2005 when my friend LARRY ANSCHELL joined the race for council. At first Larry was a little hesitant to knock on stranger's doors. Boy did that change in short order. Larry would call me on days when I really was not up to a round of door knocking and tell me to get my coat on and he would pick me up at the end of my driveway in a half hour. I love door knocking. I love never knowing who is going to swing that door wide open after I push the door bell or knock on the door. I have learned so much about our community from putting the shoe leather down and traversing the hillside of our beautiful "city by the sea."
In closing the other wonderful thing I heard time and time again from people I spoke with on Sunday, was how much they love reading The White Rock Sun my online newspaper (www.whiterocksun.com). A by product of campaigning in 2005,2008 and 2011 is my run for council allows me to speak personally to people directly about The Sun. Inevitably people want to know what I do for a living. I explain in addition to marketing contract work and part time teaching at private colleges the White Rock Sun is a large focus of my endeavours. It is a job that puts me on the street interacting directly with the business owners and residents of White Rock and South Surrey.
I can't think of any other candidate in this election or any of the elections I have run in that have that opportunity to be in touch with the community the way I do.
Next week I will share with you some of the feedback I receive from going door to door.
October 04, 2012
Campaign Trail Round 1
Tuesday I attended an informal coffee klatch in our community hosted by Translink. I arrived a few minutes after the meeting at the Centre for Active Living located in Centennial Park in White Rock. One of the Translink reps upon my arrival asked me my name and when I handed her my White Rock Sun business card I was told a reporter from the Peace Arch News had just been asked to leave the meeting as it was not a media event. I explained to her I was in attendance as a candidate for the upcoming civic election and not a representative for the media.
All the candidates in the by-election we notified of the meeting. Candidate Pattie Petrala and Tom Willman were the only other candidates in attendance.
The presentation by Translink attempted to explain where the money flow comes from to fund the operation of the transit service in the Lower Mainland, future projects that may or may not be completed as projected and a general overview of Translink’s future.
When the presentation was completed it was time for a question period. I explained I was not trying to be facetious, but I wondered how they arrived in White Rock for the meeting? They explained they car pooled. When pressed by they did not take transit they explained they had materials they needed to transport with them to the meeting. A quick glance at the materials that had brought with them made it very clear it would have been possible to in fact commute to White Rock using transit, but it obviously was more convenient for them to travel in the comfort of a vehicle.
I have belaboured the point time and time again. Frankly I am a little tired of people talking about Transit and how we should be using it more, yet when the proverbial rubber hits the road they do not use the service.
I use transit on a regular basis to travel to work in Vancouver. I find it very convenient to be very frank, I am fortunate the school I instruct at is near the Canada Line terminus. Lucky me.
One thing that I found interesting was once the fare gates are completed at the skytrain stations the buses will be outfitted with scanners that you will pre-load with money and your trip depending on the length and time of the trip will remove the necessary funds. When this new system is in place you will no longer be able to jump on a bus and pay cash. The period of changeover is going to be interesting. Casual users of transit certainly will not be in the habit of loaded ATM like cards in their possession.
Apparently there were/are plans for another community feedback session to be held Friday somewhere in White Rock. The Translink reps were unsure if there was enough interest from the community to proceed with Friday’s meeting. When I asked them if they had considered putting up little notices requesting feedback from our community shuttle patrons, I drew a blank.
Speaking of which, congratulations and a heart thank you to our Community Shuttle bus drivers. September marked their 10th anniversary of operation and service to commuters on the Semiahmoo Peninsula. White Rock actually was the first community in the Lower Mainland to have institute the community shuttles. I had hoped when I contacted Translink and our City Hall identifying we were celebrating a milestone and was it possible to have a little get together up at White Rock centre with cake and coffee? Translink thought it was a good idea, but did nothing locally, they simply put out a cake in the Richmond depot which none of our drivers (because they were working here) had the opportunity to enjoy. The City of White Rock also did not see the importance of celebrating the anniversary.
September 27, 2012
Ladies & Gentlemen - Start Your Election Campaign
With the passing of long time councilor Mary Wade Anderson in June, a by-election has been called to fill the vacant seat on council.
Who will be running in the by-election? Well the only candidate I know for 100% is yours truly. This will mark my 5th attempt in securing a seat on Council.
I have run in 2005, 2008, the 2008 by-election when Councillor James Coleridge was removed for false campaign information and the November 2011 election. I have been right there knocking on the door every time. Always finishing in the top of the unelected candidates. Most recently in November 2011 I would have been the next person to be elected.
I know I have a great basis of support and this by-election I have a few creative methods I believe will put me on to council. Time will tell.
Normally by-elections do not draw much attention and very rarely unless there is a hot topic do they draw first timers. That does not appear to be the case this time.
Though it is just a rumour I have heard a lady by the name of DIANA LYNN will run in the by-election and a gentleman who previously owned the local Dairy Queen on Johnston Road in South Surrey.
I project it will be a long list of former candidates in this race. Two candidates who have run before BRUCE MCWILLIAM (2011) and PAT PETRALA(2002) are back and have submitted their nomination papers.
You can file these names under pure conjecture;
Lynne Sinclair former one term Councillor 2008. Failed in bid for Mayor’s chair in 2011 has been very coy about her by-election plans. The latest rumour around town yesterday was she had told some people she is in fact not running.
Others rumoured to be running;
Brad Forster (ran in 2011)
Hardy Staub (failed federal candidate in 2009 – one time Mayor)
Bill Lawrence 2008 candidate, missed his filing by minutes in 2011
Check back tomorrow at 5 P.M. when all the names will have been officially announced at City Hall
August 31, 2012
Pit bulls are back in the news. Two attacks this week on children one locally have shone the spotlight and ignited the debate about this particular breed of dogs.
Let me tell you right off the get go, I am afraid of these dogs. The other day in the same area where the attack occurred on the little White Rock girl I was out front working on my car and a young man with his pit bull on a leash came walking down the road. He motioned he liked my car and he started to walk over. I had to ask him to please stop where he was as I have a fear of his kind of dogs. I know dogs like a lot of animals can sense your fear and it causes them to become off centre, shall we say.
There is now a call for an outright ban on this breed of dogs in White Rock. I don’t necessarily endorse a full ban. I do believe White Rock should fall in line like other cities and create a vicious dog b law. The by law would require owners who possess dogs that have been identified as vicious, wear a muzzle when they are out in public off their private property.
If anyone chooses to enter on to the private property where said vicious dogs is kept, they are responsible for any consequences. Period. If the dog is ever found to be off the property without a muzzle, either accompanied by its owner or running loose the owner is issued a HEAVY fine.
Throughout all the rhetoric this week people have said all kinds of dogs bite people. This is true. But to the best of my knowledge beagles or gold retrievers are not the dog of choice for the sickening spectator sport of dog fighting. I would also ask those people if they had a choice between a pit bull attack or an attack by any common breed of dog, which would they choose.
I used to enjoy walking the full length of the White Rock tidal pools when the tide was out. If timed properly the walks could easily take me to the Peace Arch and back to the pier.
That all ended with White Rock/South Surrey’s dirty little secret of dogs being allowed to run free off leash on the sandy shores in front of Semiahmoo Park.
As I have already identified I have a personal fear of pit bulls and having them charging back and forth around me off leash on the tidal flats, caused me to pause and reconsider the validity of walking along that area of the White rock beach.
I hope common sense prevails and common ground is found. Unfortunately the pendulum usually swings to extremes.
Last week with all the attention being paid to the outright ban of pit bulls THE PROVINCE newspaper conducted an on line poll. 80% of the respondents said they do not think there should be an across the board ban on pit bulls. Which I would think is evidence of a well organized group of dog owners are fighting for their dogs lives.
August 14, 2012
As our search for what is going on around the Semiahmoo Peninsula area, we came across a phenomenon occurring in the neighbouring community of Langley.
Over the next month Langley will host a wide variety of events. It is refreshing to see the city of Langley putting forth a yeoman effort to keep the city and area on everyone’s radar. Obviously there is more to Langley than just big box stores.
This weekend (Saturday 18) the Langley Arts Alive Festival takes over the section of the Fraser Highway that many refer to as “old town.” Stretching along the highway between 204-206th Street artisans from the community and far and wide will display their wares. The day long festivities will also include a full complement of music. The event is created and managed by the Langley Downtown Business Association. (more info)
Next up on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 25 & 26 the Langley International Festival will welcome visitors to the festival site located at the new Events Centre at 200th Street and HWY #1. The festival was created to respect and promote the multicultural aspects of Langley. The festival showcases the unity of the community through Performing and Visual arts. The arts, music and food of many cultures are featured over the weekend. (more info)
On Saturday September 08 the event that has put Langley on the map over the past decade or so is the Langley Cruise In. Downtown Langley will be home to thousands of custom cars, hot rods, food vendors, and live music. The event has quickly grown into the largest car show in Canada, and ranks in the Top 5 in North America. Tens of thousands of visitors will stroll the streets of Langley as they reminisce over the beauty of the vehicles of days gone by. (Cruise In web site)
Wrapping up the month long festivities in Langley is the 7th Annual BBQ on the Bypass. Barbecuing has come a long ways over the past decade. There are now BBQ teams that travel from one festival to another
Some of the teams that have partaken in the Langley event include;
House of Q
Lynn Valley Butts
BBQ Bob & the “Eh” Team
Big Smokin’ Deal
Rub my Butt
Dances with Smoke
It promises to be a fun day with grillin’ and chillin’ and a full day of great music to keep your toes tapping. (BBQ on the BYPASS).
Langley you rock. It is great to see a community step up and collectively organize a month long celebration of events that draws attention to their city. The concept of promoting your city to the rest of the Lower Mainland is innovative, as opposed to just sitting back and complaining how business is down.
Up with Langley. Guess what. If you cared to, you could take advantage of the new bus service from White Rock-Langley and save the hassle of parking. This would be an ideal way to head to the Cruise In. See you on the bus.
August 09, 2012
Spirit Of The Sea Festival
An Open Letter To The Organizers of the 63rd Annual Sea Festival
Suggestions for making White Rock's summerfest "a happening"
Prior to the Sea Festival a sign here would let tens of thousands visitors know of the upcoming event
Start promoting before the week of the event. Obviously posters were created for the event, but they existed only in cyberspace and someone's garage. Let's start to branch out for the entertainment. I fully support all our local musicians, but in addition to the cream of the crop acts, lets look outside of the area for some bing bang boom acts that will get people talking. Get into the retail outlets, organize a beach volleyball contest amongst all the business owners. The TD Bank vs The Royal Bank, get your tickets here. The staff get excited and they spread the word. Get some t-shirts made that staff at all the grocery stores can wear the week before the event. Put up a banner across Johnston Road promoting the event. This morning the day after the festival they changed the banner and took down the Farmers Market and put up a Wellness Fair banner that is happening 6 weeks from now IN SURREY.
10 minutes before parade! Where have all the people gone?
The Parade. Aaaah yes the parade. I was so disappointed for the children this year. The annual event means one thing to the kids that drag their parents down to Marine Drive to watch the parade. CANDIES!! Though there was no official announcement the rumour was no candy according to the organizers. Tell me I am wrong. Cleanup a problem. B.S. the candy never hits the street,. A street cleaner has nothing on kids in search of candy. Telling the local politicans they were not welcome at this years parade was also a mistake. They are our elected civic leaders. Politicians and parades go hand in hand. The excuse for telling them to stay home was in order to make the parade go by quickly was just lame. We deserve better.
Move the parade back to where it belongs - SUNDAY. Plain and simple. We don’t want to hear your excuses and then justifying its size by saying the business owners were not happy because it was killing business. Gee do you think so? The turn out for this years parade was pitiful.Also how about getting 10 or 20 of the hot rods that were in the park on Sunday to be part of the parade. 3 hot rods, a float or marching band, 3 more hot rods, more floats. Well you get the idea.
Put some zip into the festival. The paddle board races were a welcome addition. Shorten the paddle board races up in length. Start them on the beach on the East or West side of the pier run them out the full length of thepier around the breakwater and back on the other side, friends and family and supporters can stand on the pier and cheer their favourites on. To be very honest this years format was not very fan friendly or exciting as a spectator event. But it was nice to see our SEA festival, actually had a SEA component and not just a craft fair along the promenade.
During the sea festival on numerous occasions I looked out on Semiahmoo Bay and saw this big beautiful tall ship cruising in and out of Drayton Harbour in Blaine running nightly dinner and day cruises. Did anyone think to contact the organizers to see if the tall ships could swing by the end of the White Rock pier? It would have been good for their business and it might have looked like we had a good idea.
Get a float together that promotes our Sea Festival and take it to every single community parade you can find. That beautiful old fire truck Scott Booth at the White Rock Fire Department restored would be great all decorated up with mermaids and Miss White Rock and our Mayor. The city, the BIA and White Rock Tourism should get in gear and begin to put some muscle behind the sea festival. The BIA alone takes over $300,000.00 in money out of the business owners bank accounts to improve business. Hello! What did White Rock Tourism do to promote the event?
Just a suggestsion but maybe try to have the same schedule on line as you are operating the festival on. The opening ceremony scheduled for West Beach and publicized as such, being moved to Semiahmoo Park at the last minute was just one example of events that did not happen where and when they were supposed to!
On the upside the free shuttle service worked very nicely, but should have been promoted a little bit more. The drivers were courteous and more than willing to drop us off at any bus stop along the route.
Volunteer at the ready in his old school sandcastle t-shirt
To the volunteers. WE SALUTE YOU. I felt so sorry for a couple of the volunteers who had to be putting in 16 hour days seemingly devoid of any contact with organizers or people stopping by with a cold drink and some sun tan lotion or whatever. This festival runs on volunteers efforts. Perhaps the reason for the shortage of volunteers is they get burned out and do not return.
My final suggestion to the organizers. Wrap the Sea Festival information all up in a big box, put a pretty bow around it and turn up at the next White Rock City council meeting and drop it into their laps. This event should not be going hat in hand begging people to put it on for free. Along with the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK our Sea Festival is what we should be known for. Come on White Rock open up the cheque book and start putting the tax dollars to some good use. Don’t have the money? B.S. If senior staff took a 10% hit on their cheques we would have a gold plated budget for our Sea Festival and a Tour De White Rock that would make us the envy of all other race host cities. And that is right off the top of my head, I did not even have to cook the books for that.
At this rate I fear we may not make it to the 64th or 65th anual Spirit of the Sea Festival.
One of the Sea Fest Organizers - MATT TODD
NOTE - To the the organizers of the Sea Fest. Tell me I am wrong. I will be happy to print your reply if you have anything to share with our community.
August 01, 2012
The Changing Face of White Rock
Growing up in the Guildford area of Surrey in the 60’s brings back many fond memories. Summer dips at Bothwell Pool, long lazy afternoons spent playing baseball behind Harold Bishop elementary and riding my single speed CCM bicycle to the sandy shores of Semiahmoo Bay.
Prior to my teenage years my family would spend a week annually camping at the White Rock Beach at the campground alongside the tracks behind the bands hell in Semiahmoo Park. East Beach as it is now called was inhabited by families. The area now known as West Beach (pier area) was the domain of teenagers.
Upon my “coming of age” I spent hours diving off the end of the pier, swimming in the tank and diving off the diving boards at the end of the pier on the East side. Taking a paddle around the bay on a paddle board rented from the store swim club at the end of the pier, or from the paddle board man near Oxford Street.
Despite our home only being 10 miles or so from White Rock, it was a world away. In the late 70’s I moved to my “city by the sea.”
The early 80’s were a heady time for White Rock. The sand castle competition put us on the map. We became the sand castle capital of the world thanks to former mayor Tom Kerstien. The Ocean Beach Hotel was rocking 7 nights a week. Teenagers from Washington State flocked across the border to take advantage of the lower drinking age in British Columbia. That all changed with 9/11 and more secure borders between Canada and the U.S.
On any given sunny day “the strip” along Marine Drive was a parade of hot rods and custom cars cruising back and forth with stereos blasting out AC/DC and LED ZEPPELIN. The local motorcycle club The Gypsy Wheelers prowled the hillsides striking fear into the locals and keeping the greaseballs from Surrey at bay. In the early 80’s you could buy an old cabin/house on the hillside for under $100,000.00. Many of the varied business owners moved to the uptown area along Johnston Road. More and more restaurants crowded along the Marine Drive strip on West Beach, whereas for years it hosted a wide variety of retail outlets.
Then came the 90’s many baby boomers who amassed wealth in the 80’s started building Miami Vice type pink and yellow boxes on the hillside taking advantage of an affordable ocean view in the Lower Mainland.
The next decade 2000 saw White Rock start to flat line. Visitors to White Rock began to decline, retail started to pop up in South Surrey, and locals that shopped locally out of necessity began to venture north to the big box retailers. Some critics and many local retailers bitched the pay parking was killing their business. A topic discussed adnauseum.
So what is White Rock now? Is it a mixture of upper middle class housing on the hillside, where the owners ferret out of their dwelling, spend 90 minutes each way to work in Vancouver, only to arrive home dead beat tired and too worn out to embrace the many natural attributes of White Rock. Combined with a large percentage of seniors living in the uptown are of the city in affordable apartment rental units to say we have a diverse cross section of residents would be an understatement. Most of the restaurants along Marine Drive are one month’s rent away from being out of business. The business model seemingly is to rake in as much dough as possible over the summer months, then hang on over the Fall/Winter and Spring. Most locals very rarely visit the waterfront. Why is that? Your guess is as good as mine.
Last weekend on Saturday as I strolled along Marine Drive on West Beach at supper time I was taken back at the number of empty seats on the patios of most of the restaurants. There are a handful of restaurants like Five Doors Down, Uli’s, Cielo’s, Cosmos and Charlie Don’t Surf that seem to have carved out a year round clientele, but even they will tell you it is a grind to make a go of it on the beach in White Rock.
When I forwarded the photos of the empty restaurants to some White Rock councillors I got replies from Helen Fathers and Larry Robinson. Here is their take on the changing face of White Rock and what they feel the course is for the city to set.
A new generation is taking over and they have kids and come to White Rock for the beach. I was on the beach and East Beach was packed, boarders were renting from the Surrey side, kids everywhere.
Tony at OB has complained that this year he is turning away business because it is all families with kids, which his license forbids.
Young families don't drop $100-$150 for a sit down meal.
I had dinner with my grand-daughter and my daughter-in-law's family on the quay in New West. last night. Big wide boardwalk, lots of kid's play areas, no cars ... full restaurants ... families and kids.
The times, they are a-changin'
Yes, got to agree, the beach was packed, families everywhere - gosh even saw some with dogs(oops)swear word - the bbq area was packed with tents and propane bbq's and grills - good to see that. Do you think it may have to do with Olympics being on and a lot of people being on vacation - we went to the beach today at 3.45pm (Sunday) it was packed beyond belief!
We often walk down to White Rock Beach and enjoy our fish and chips from Montgomery's and an ice cream from either Andy's or Moo Moo's. We always go to East Beach as we like to bring our beloved Dog "Lulu" with us.
Ellie and I were on the Beach yesterday - We met Uncle Gordon (visiting from England) went for breakfast at "watts cooking" spent the afternoon building sand castle on the beach - we went to buy English sweets from Celtic Treasures (unfortunately it was closed) then walked up to 55-55 and bought a couple of shells.
We always see lots of kids and families on East Beach , seems to be the place to go , we love looking in the tide pools and under the rocks. We are going to try the new paddle board down there, its really cheap about $20 an hour - seems like a lot of fun. We like to support our beach area and we love to go in the water especially when the tide is out. We are so lucky to live in White Rock and be able to raise our child here, I feel very blessed.
Though by no means an in depth look at “What is White Rock?” But it does provide some insight from a pair of elected officials who have the ability to help chart a course for the prosperity of “our city by the sea.”
White Rock is a “daycation” destination in my mind. On the masthead of this paper, we sum it up with the adage WHERE YOU CAN VACATION AND BE HOME THE SAME DAY.
I have dozens of ideas about how to put White Rock back on the map and on top of Lower Mainland residents consciousness. If you care to hear about them, on November 03 when we have a by-election you could put an X beside my name and send me up to City Hall.
Or you could buy me a coffee and just try to shut me up about how passionate I am about “our city by the sea.”
White Rock Sun
+Thank you to HUGH ELLENWOOD the Director of Archives at the White Rock Museum. Quite synchronistic ally HUGH has created a display of NOW & THEN photos of numerous locations and structures in White Rock and how they have changed over the years.
July 26, 2012
Hells Angels Not Welcome In Surrey
The Hells Angels recently held an annual national event in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was at the event police who were monitoring the gathering noticed a number of bikers in attendance who they recognized as members of the White Rock chapter of the club were wearing new patches that said West Point instead of their normal White Rock patch.
Further investigation by the RCMP confirmed a group of the White Rock club had broken away to create a new chapter called West Point which would be based in Surrey. When the news leaked out a fire storm of comments from top brass at the RCMP and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts hit the media like a tsunami wave.
HELLS ANGELS NOT WELCOME IN SURREY seemed to be the most overly used headline. It was designed to catch reader’s attention. I am living proof it worked.
My initial thought was, “Well of course the police and the mayor would say the motorcycle gang was not welcome in Surrey. What did you expect a trip from Welcome Wagon and a neighbourhood bbq to welcome the club to town? The sabres are rattling that the police and the city will do everything in their power to prevent the club from setting up shop in Surrey. I have a feeling the city does not have the power to effect such a ban, but time will tell.
Jesters clubhouse Bridgeview area Surrey
A few years ago two smaller bike gangs arrived on the scene in Surrey. The Jesters and the Shadow Club both were seen sporting colours (back patches on their jackets). The media descended like locusts. The Jesters prevailed and set up a clubhouse in the Bridgeview district, while the Shadow Club disappeared into oblivion due to negative press. Driving through Whalley the other day the giant banner on the old Shadow Club clubhouse would lead one to believe the Shadow Club is back in business as well. Obviously they had no problem setting up shop in Surrey. Both clubhouses bear giant signs of banners announcing their existence. Far from being a secretive society when you wear a jacket with your clubs name emblazoned across the back.
White Rock clubhouse in Langley
White Rock has a long history with motorcycle gangs. In the late 70’s White Rock was home to the Gypsy Wheelers, who in the early 80’s became members of the Satans Angels (who at the time had their lower mainland clubhouse in Surrey at the corner of Johnston Road and the Fraser Highway. When the Hells Angels moved into Quebec and set up shop, the Satans Angels fearing a takeover encouraged a number of smaller clubs like the Gypsy Wheelers to “patch over” to the Satans Angels. Subsequently the Hell Angels did arrive in Western Canada and the first three chapters in Canada outside of Quebec, included little old White Rock. When the club sold their clubhouse on Maple street in East Beach they moved to a farm near the Langley airport, but remained the moniker of White Rock for their chapter. Rumour has it a faction of the club has received permission from the national office to form a breakaway chapter that if the rumours are true will settle in Surrey.
Many old timer White Rock residents will attest the Gypsy Wheelers pretty much fit into the mosaic of the town. Most have anecdotal stories of interaction with the big bad biker gang. Most stories I have heard had a positive spin.
I am not leaping to the defense of the Hells Angels here, what I am doing is pointing out the absurdity of statements like HELLS ANGELS NOT WELCOME IN SURREY.
Gee do you think? I doubt they will be riding up to City Hall in Surrey and asking for a business license. Bet on a clubhouse opening in Surrey somewhere, and nothing will be able to be done to stop it. The only thing that hopefully will stop is the overly sensational statements by officials and the subsequent resulting headlines.
July 11, 2012
TOUR DE WHITE ROCK 2012
Just like Christmas, it seems every July I find myself commenting on White Rock’s TOUR DE WHITE ROCK.
Time and time again close friends question my sanity for seeking a seat on White Rock council. “Why do you care, just ignore all the crap in White Rock” is a common mantra from friends and neighbours alike. Well I tell you what I tell them, I can’t ignore it it is MY WHITE ROCK. Just like it is YOUR WHITE ROCK.
This year we celebrate the 33rd annual TOUR. There will be a modicum amount of spectators for Friday’s HILL CLIMB that kicks off the event with cyclists racing against the clock as they climb Buena Vista from Oxford up to Martin Street. Saturday’s Criterium that circles White Rock elementary hopefully will have a large crowd out to cheer on the riders. But Sunday I fear there will be the usual dismal crowd out to witness the most exciting portion of the 3 day event – the road race.
Start of Race 9 a.m. July 2011
Dozens of the top riders in North America will once again circle the course, that riders have time and time again stated is the most scenic course they ride in North America. Will the Marine Drive restaurants embrace the event? I see no indication any of the restaurants are promoting TOUR breakfasts or any kind of special events in their establishments. TONY VELTRI of the Ocean Beach Hotel who possesses the best deck in town, will once again set up the free coffee pot and welcome the few stragglers that will make the trip to the waterfront for the race kick off at 9 a.m. By the end of the race around 11:30 there will actually be crowds gathering along the waterfront strip. Is the answer to move the race later in the day? It might be as simple as that.
This year there is over $100,000.00 in prize money for the racer during BC SUPERWEEK. The Tour De White Rock per capita has the lowest prize money.
Tour De Delta 3 days - $25,000
Gastown Grand Prix 1 day - $40,000
UBC Grand Prix 1 day - $10,000.00
Giro De Burnaby 1 day - $15,000
Tour De White Rock 3 days - $15,000
Last year a few of the riders in the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK left after the Friday and Saturday races to head for Portland to get ready for a race there.
Our TOUR DE WHITE ROCK should be a cornerstone of our summer event schedule. To that extent if the race is going to continue and prosper the city of White Rock needs to “fish or cut bait” as they say.
There is no buzz around town about the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK. We have a one sided banner at the entrance of White Rock over Johnston Road, that is very difficult to read without pulling your car over and standing in the middle of the road. The only other outside promotion are a couple of posters in some shop windows.
pier sign last year
Why do the shops not have TOUR DE WHITE ROCK t-shirts available for sale a month before the race? How about getting some of the high profile retail outlets having their staff wear said t-shirts. How about the businesses along Marine Drive embracing the race? This year when I asked our mayor WAYNE BALDWIN why we did not have a sign up on the archway on our famed pier, he explained to me there was resistance from the family who paid for the archway, in that it is “art” they no longer wanted to see the city place signs up there promoting city events. HUH?
So come on folks, work with me on this. Pull on your walking shoes and head out this weekend, especially Sunday morning along Marine Drive. This is a world class event and it behooves me, as it does a large number of racers I have spoken with over the years, why the city does not embrace the race.
Hey that just might be the new slogan for the Tour De White Rock EMBRACE THE RACE!
Note – Friday in THE SUN we introduce you to the man who started the race. AL ANDERSON gets his due recognition after all these years.
July 04, 2012
YELL IT LIKE IT IS
Chemtrails. Fact or Fiction?
It happened again on Canada Day. Standing out in the parking lot with David “Boxcar” Gates following his performance at Club 240 in Crescent Beach, I glanced up at the clear blue sky and noticed a perfect pair of chemtrails streaked across the sky.
I mentioned to David “they” were at it again. He looked up and said, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about? Aren’t those just jets taking off from the airport?”
Exactly what “they” would like YOU to think.
Now here is where I set myself up perfectly to be discounted as a nut, crackpot conspiracy theorist. The problem with that kind of dismissal is on a daily basis over the Semiahmoo Peninsula I HAVE PROOF. All you have to do is look up at the sky.
(photo of stretched out chemtrails Canada Day over White Rock)
Let’s start from the beginning.
The trails you see behind a jet normally only on take off, are called contrails. Trails of condensation. Contrails dissipate normally in 15-20 seconds through evaporation.
The trails I am referring to are called chemtrails. Short form of “chemical trails.” Chemtrails do not dispate in a matter of seconds. In fact if you watch them you will see they start to expand out from the small pencil thin trail from when they first appear, to actual clouds. I have and people I have convinced to monitor the situation, have seen clear blue skies in a matter of hours turn into a cloudy day.
Here is where the logical question usually arises? What is it “they” are spraying, and who are “they.” Well from everything I have been able to ascertain is “they” are the U.S. Air Force. So why is the U.S. Air Force spraying Canada? Good question. If you ask you will encounter total shutdown. Environment Canada flatly denies anything is happening. Not surprising really. What “they” are spraying is not known. At least not with any certainty. It has been impossible for investigators to get their hands on the actual liquid loaded into the air tankers. It has been possible though to actually capture some of the spray and a finite amount of aluminum dust particles were discovered. Leading some to believe nothing more sinister than climate control is occurring. It has been well documented for years that a practice called cloud seeding has been used to modify the weather, normally to create rain.
There are also many other theories floating around out there. Many of them sinister as hell. But that’s what happens when no one will answer even the most basic questions and flat out deny anything is happening, even when it is so obvious.
Keep your eyes peeled skyward on sunny days, you will see the chemtrails.
Then YOU can start asking questions. Or not.
For more information on CHEMTRAILS
June 28, 2012
YELL IT LIKE IT IS
Goodbye Mary Wade - Goodbye Kimberly
My good friend JAS SINGH came to my home office for a meeting Tuesday. We were discussing upcoming projects at GOD’S LITTLE ACRE food bank farm in Cloverdale. Eventually and quite naturally our conversation turned to a mutual friend Kimberley Riggins who was in the pallative care unit of the Peace Arch hospital.
Kimberly touched both of our lives when we needed a guiding hand, a sign, some inspiration - there was Kimberley. One of us said, we should go up and see Kimberly and just pop in and say a quick hello. We had been talking about creating a memorial garden in her honour at the farm. Upon our arrival we learned Kimberly was now being limited to just family members. As we stood talking to the nurse a group of people walked by us, one young girl was carrying flowers, as the exitied the palliative care unit. I know what that means. I was there 2 ½ years ago when I said goodbye to my best friend, my lover, my wife.
When we arrived at the hospital the nurse informed us Kimberly was now down to just family memebers. We understood.
Wednesday upon hearing the news of Kimberly's passing JAS wrote this beautiful little tribute;
Kimberly left us.
That young Kimberly kept me up most of the night and I let her do that tonight.
Kimberly came to the farm out of interest and the first thing she told me was that wanted to meet that person with that incredible smile. I had already heard of her story and her battle with cancer prior to her arrival. She immediately connected with me in a way no woman has in my life and even today I can't tell you how she did it. We shared many visits to the farm and we shared stories of our lives and personal things that she took the time to listen to.
I tried to help her as much as I could and gave her all that she wanted however, she gave back more than she took. She was the first to scold me and criticize me for the way I lived. The criticism was for not looking after myself properly.It was so hard to believe that this We shared many emails and many more phone conversations and we shared friendship and love as friends in a way I have never done before. When I thought i was helping her, she was helping me. An amazing woman who God chose to send to the farm to change things.
The farm will run a little faster but a little quieter because of Kimberly, reflecting her personality. When we grow things we will remember her and ask ourselves many times what we are feeding people and if we are doing it "Kimberley's" way. When I think of Kimberly I m going to try from this moment on to never shed a tear because that's what she will be seeing. I know she's gone and I will really miss her and I will miss her incredible love and smile. I know that she will be flying around that farm now and then and will feel her presence in the wind. Jas Singh
As we left the palliative care unit I glanced over at the room where I had visited Mary Wade Anderson a week or so ago. I was on my way up to visit Kimberley and I ran into Helen Fathers in the hospital lobby. She said “I am on my way up to visit Mary Wade you should come in and say hell.” Which I did.
I have always held Mary Wade in high regard, we would go for lunch on the beach now and then and she was a fascinating person to talk to. So many wonderful stories I will always cherish.
But I will remember most about Mary Wade is she always gave it to you straight. A trait I fear I possess as well. At times a little rough around the edges, but truthful nevertheless.
I have crossed swords with most politicians in this town. I feel it is my job and duty. I gave Mary Wade credit where credit was due, as I have I believe to all elected officials. I also took her to task when I disagreed with her. Yet through it all Mary Wade rose above it all and always had a cheerful hello and sincere exchange every time I saw her. Including the last time in the hospital. Though her health was failing, I defy anyone to ever accuse Mary Wade of not being a fighter to the end. She had the constitution of 10.
I remember many years ago sitting with singer Steve Goodman talking to him about a song he wrote when his father passed away. He looked at me and said “He took a lot of wind with him when he left.”
So did Mary Wade. And I will miss her
June 05, 2012
Oooh What’s That Smell?
It was déjà vu all over again up at City Hall recently. The topic of banning the city BBQ’s at Bakerview Park once again reared its ugly head. The outcome was predictable. Not unlike back in 2001 the council of today not unlike the council of that day wrestled with removing the BBQ’s due to complaints from local residents.
A short history lesson. Bakerview Park is that little strip of green grass near the boat launch at the end of West Beach on White Rock’s waterfront. On weekends families flock to the area to take advantage of the BBQ’s and more importantly the picnic tables that dot the grass knoll. While Mom and Dad lay out the potato salad and pour the Kool-Aid the kids can kick the soccer ball around are play a quick game of tag.
Three council members, Councillors Louise Hutchinson and Grant Meyer and Mayor Wayne Baldwin, want the charcoal BBQ/s gone. Councillors Helen Fathers, Al Campbell and Mary Wade Anderson back leaving the BBQ’s right where they are. The deciding vote will be Councillor Larry Robinson at an upcoming Council meeting.
Do the naysayers have a point here? Is it a classic case of NIMBY? Councillor Hutchison lives on Marine Drive near the offending BBQ’s as does Councillor Grant Meyers parents. Former City Manager Doug Stone who still pulls a lot of drag in this town, also lives across the road. The negative side is proposing putting in gas BBQ’s. In order to use the BBQ’s one would have to bring their own propane tank with them. Possible solution to the problem.
Now I don’t know about you, but I kind of like those beach smells. They are part of the summer symphony for the senses. On rare occasions in the early morning hours you can still catch a whiff of a rogue beach fire smouldering on the beach. Lights up the synapses and transports one back to their childhood, it does. Having lived on the hillside above the pier in White Rock for years, you always get the smell of the deep fryers in the restaurants kicking into high gear around mid-afternoon. Should we stop that as well?
I have not heard anyone that wants the BBQ’s moved pull out the health card, in that the burning of charcoal emits carcinogens. Don’t even go there folks with those coal trains rolling by your front door everyday. You would have to be burning chunks of charcoal the size of the White Rock itself to compare those health hazards.
If I was a betting man, I would bet Councillor Robinson backs the motion to rid the waterfront of those pesky BBQ’s. No locals will give a rat's ass. The locals are not the people that use the picnic benches and BBQ pits. As a matter of fact locals rarely ever go to the waterfront.
The main users of the BBQ’s are tourists.
You know the group of people our mayor feels fuels our sole economy.
Mayor Baldwin and Councillors Meyers and Hutchinson were solicited to state their feelings on this matter via email. Mayor Baldwin replied:
*Yesterday I sent emails to the mayor and the two councillors that are endorsing the removal of the charcoal burning BBQ's.
Here is the mayor's reply
First off it is not about banning BBQs , it is about removing the charcoal burning BBQs installed annually by the city. They would be replaced with a flat metal stand that could be used for gas/propane BBQs.
The charcoal ones give off smells for hours - until they finally burn down. We have had a petition from residents complaining about the smell of the burning coals and the igniter fluids. Moreover, some people don't use coals but instead gather driftwood and burn it in the BBQs because the BBQs have the capacity to allow that. Finally, and equally importantly, we have no way of disposing of the ash so it often gets dumped where it should not (eg the beach).
In this day and age there is no need for charcoal as a fuel source and few people use it so why cater to it?
City of White Rock
WHITE ROCK MATTERS
May 03, 3012
Born To Be Mild
With the good weather just around the corner, once again the waterfront businesses of White Rock will be bracing for the annual migration of motorcyclists to the scenic waterfront of the beach.
White Rock has long been a destination for bikers out for a cruise. And really who can blame them. Beautiful scenery, parking right out front of a number of local water holes that afford the bikers the ability to keep an eye on their trusty steeds.
Many bikers advocate loud or no mufflers, stating they save lives. It has been proven for some unexplainable reasons, motorists seem blind to the fact there is a motorcycle within range. Blind spots in their rear view mirrors, inexperienced riders not aware of how they should position themselves when following behind vehicles.
I suppose one could see the case the loud pipe advocates are trying to make, but the by product of running a bike with loud pipes, is the ear shattering noise emitting from the bikes along White Rock's Marine Drive and the roadways leading up and down the hillsides through residential areas. If this does not qualify for noise pollution, I am not sure what the threshold would be.
The City of White Rock has actually designated the waterfront as a quiet zone, yet it seems the local detachment of the RCMP are reticent to enforce the by-law. Anyone who has spent any time on the beach can attest to the thundering roar of motorcycles shattering the peace and quiet of our beach resort..
I have well documented my annual sojourn up to City Hall to appear before the Mayor and Council to urge them to work with the RCMP in dealing with this noise pollution. Seemingly to no avail. I have never in all my years living by the beach witnessed the RCMP ticketing offenders. Despite on numerous occasions observing officers turning a blind eye to OBVIOUS violations of the noise by-law.
Last week another shoe dropped for bikers. The Provincial government has passed legislation whereby the popular "beanie helmets" worn by many bikers will become illegal on June1. Already bikers are threatening to ignore the new law, stating the helmets meet Department of Transport guidelines.
As this controversial law comes into effect it will be interesting to see how strictly the law is enforced. Despite there being a mandatory helmet law for cyclists, over the past 10 years in British Columbia there have only been a handful of tickets actually issued. The internet is rife with accusations by bikers there are two sets of rules for motorcyclists given the fact riders that wear turbans are exempt from wearing helmets, period. Personally if someone feels like riding without a helmet, I think that should be their prerogative. Conversely it should also be the prerogative of society to bill the rider for any medical costs to head injuries suffered in an accident.
So this summer when you inevitably hear that earth shattering motorcycle roar up Marine Drive shattering the peace and tranquility we cherish in White Rock, just remember - I tried.
If you care to lend your voice send the Mayor and Council a note with your feelings. That or quit your bitching. (click here)
April 04, 2012
This past Sunday the Canadian music industry feted its current crop of hit makers. The affair was broadcast live from Toronto with the hosting duties going to WILLIAM SHATNER.
There has been, as usual a lot of second guessing about the eventual recipients of the 2012 Juno Awards. What got my heart rate up was the induction of BLUE RODEO into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. I will concur the band has had a lengthy history creating music and trundling coast to coast on the frozen highways of this great land. Their popularity has grown to the point whereby the two lead singers JIM CUDDY and GREG KEELOR (to a lesser extent) can perform solo across the country and still draw respectable crowds.
BLUE RODEO are proud graduates of the Queen Street musical scene in “the town that cool forgot – Toronto.” Given the fact the bulk of the Canadian music industry is based in Toronto, it is only natural there is an affinity to honour those you know. I get that.
What I don’t get is the glaring exclusion of one of Canada’s longest enduring, most popular and still vital performing groups. TROOPER.
When LOVERBOY was inducted a couple of years ago I also felt then they were deserving given their meteoric rise to International fame in the 80’s. I was also reminded of a TROOPER concert in 1980 at a sold out Pacific Coliseum. LOVERBOY’S debut single The Kid Is Hot Tonight was burning up the airwaves of Canadian radio stations. Their success had not yet spread to America. Seated in front me at said TROOPER show was LOVERBOY’S lead singer MIK RENO. Mid-way through TROOPER’S show, guitarist BRIAN SMITH launched into the intro notes of The Kid Is Hot Tonight. The crowd erupted thinking LOVERBOY was set to join the band on stage, the ever familiar signature opening guitar riff caused RENO to sit bolt upright in his seat and look around. “Did I forget I was supposed to be on stage?” In one fell swoop TROOPER morphed the song into one of their classics and the show continued. As happy as I was that LOVERBOY was inducted I was shocked when I checked out the database of prior inductees. What no TROOPER? How could that be?
I could write for hours about why TROOPER should be in Canada’s Hall of Fame. But really must I? One only has to remember Surrey’s Canada Day Celebrations last year in Cloverdale where a sea of thousands of people sang in unison virtually every song in TROOPER’S set list. Mayor Dianne Watts even joined the band on stage for “Raise A Little Hell.” No other band in the history of the giant Canada Day celebrations were afforded the presence of the mayor on stage performing with them. The crowd went wild.
A few years back I attended my first TROOPER all ages show at the Haney Summer Fair. What struck me that night as I looked out over the crowd was I was looking at 3 generations of TROOPER fans. Pressed against the front of the stage was a mass of early teens. A little further back in the audience Mom and dad kept a careful eye on the kids, and over on the side of the crowd, there sat Grandma and Grandpa watching the show comfortably from their lawn chairs.
This years 2012 JUNO Awards live from Ottawa saw host WILLIAM SHATNER kick off the night of awards and music with a collection of what CARAS (Canadian Association of Recording Arts and Science) organizers of the JUNOS and Hall of Fame Inductees obviously felt were the 5 most recognizable Canadian rock compositions.
-JOHN KAY Born To Be Wild (inducted 1996)
-BRYAN ADAMS Summer of '69 (inducted 2006)
-BTO Takin' Care of Business (may of may not have been inducted 2003)
-RUSH Tom Sawyer (inducted 1994)
-TROOPER Raise a Little Hell (not inducted?)
This past Tuesday evening once again RICK MERCER chose "Raise A Little Hell" as the fight song this time for a school that is scheduled to be closed in Peterborough, Ontario
Here is a very random sample of what the Canadian media has said about TROOPER over the years.
-It goes like this: millions of records, a couple dozen hits, sold-out shows across Canada, a Juno Award (Canada's Grammy) for Band of the Year. Universal Music acknowledges them as "one of Canada's top five selling bands of all time" and the Vancouver Sun has called them "Canadian rock heroes of the first order ... the best performing band in Canada".
-Edmonton's up! 99.3 hosted a musical tournament all summer "to determine the ultimate feel good song" based entirely on listeners' votes by phone and online. Trooper's 'Here For A Good Time' was declared the winner after beating out finalist 'Summer of 69' (Bryan Adams).
-In celebration of the band's 35th Anniversary, a totally updated and re-mastered collection - "Hits From 10 Albums" - was released, featuring songs spanning the entirety of their recording career. John Kereiff, writing inGonzo Magazine, dubbed the collection "THE summer album of 2010."
-Tune into any radio station from Vancouver to St John's and you're bound to encounter one of their dozen hit radio anthems that are still featured in heavy rotation to this day."
-Dan Brisbois of canadianbands.com writes, "They've won practically every Canadian music award possible and they've been dubbed 'Canada's Greatest Party Band' ... and rightfully so." In 2009 Bob Mersereau, author of The Top 100 Canadian Albums wrote, "Since it came out in 1979, Trooper's Hot Shots has been one of the biggest-selling albums in Canadian music history.
-It's no exaggeration to say that Trooper has become a Canadian legend. They continue to perform their huge collection of hits with the vitality and sense of humor that has served them well on their steady march through the hills and valleys of Canadian Rock and Roll.
-In 2009, Peter Assaff of The Northern Light hailed Trooper's Ra McGuire and Brian Smith as "the Canadian version of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards" and Joel Rubinoff of The Record wrote, " ... this frolicking, rollicking showcase for McGuire's soaring pop melodies and whimsical wordplay is arguably one of the biggest Canadian bands of all time."
Now here is where you can help. Let’s RAISE A LITTLE HELL. All you need to do is simply click on the link below and send CARAS a note asking them to consider TROOPER for induction next year.
Let's start with President Melanie Berry at the top of the email list
Once you have filled in the form, please forward this page to EVERYONE you know and let's inundate CARAS and tell them we want TROOPER in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next year! We can do it. imagine how good we will feel next year if TROOPER can bound on stage at the JUNOS to accept their induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
March 23, 2012
Monday the final financial statement for the recent civic election (November 2011) were turned in to White Rock City Hall.
After crunching the numbers there were no real surprises to me. I suppose the only revelation I came to is, if I ever decide to run again for White Rock council ( it will be my 5th) I had better load up the war chest with cash this time.
As it was I called upon friends and neighbours for their moral and financial support. We held a fundraiser dance at Blue Frog Studios and raised about $4,000.00. When the dust cleared the bills were pretty much a wash, totally around $4,000.00
Do I really think throwing more money at the campaign would have made a big difference? Not really. I once again finished at the top of the pack, #7 in a 6 horse race is not what I set out to accomplish.
Here is the breakdown on monies spent by the candidates. The elected candidates are in BOLD.
WAYNE BALDWIN $30,000.00
Lynne Sinclair $25,000.00
Larry Anschell $16,000.00
Angela Megla (withdrew) 0
MARY WADE ANDERSON $14,750.00
Cliff Annable $10,000.00
Barry Belec $1700.00
AL CAMPBELL $7100.00
Brad Forster $3800.00
Steven Hughes $154.66
LOUISE HUTCHISON $6700.00
Bruce McWilliam $1600.00
GRANT MEYER $6,000.00
LARRY ROBINSON $7500.00
Graham Wood $865.00
HELEN FATHERS $4,000.00
So those are the numbers for what each candidate claims they spent on their campaign. If you are wondering if they reached into their own pockets or if they were financed otherwise you can see in minute detail where the money came from by (click here)
Running for a seat on council in White Rock is still a very affordable and attainable goal for a complete novice. I think I have proved that on numerous occasions. Have a dance, sell a few pops, maybe a 50/50 draw or two and voila you are on the campaign trail.
As for running in Surrey the experts have crunched the numbers and the guestimate they come up with is $90,000.00 just to sit down and run an election in Surrey. Given its vast geographical layout, the cost of signs in itself is staggering. The chance of an independent ever being elected in Surrey is slim and none. Dianne Watts and her Surrey First team which had a lock on the election from the very beginning still spent over $700,000.00 to sweep the election. I can see where slates may be necessary in larger cities and municipalities. Thankfully that is not the case in White Rock. Heck YOU could run.
The paper papers love elections. Nearly $800.00 for a ¼ page ad in the Peace Arch News? Didn’[t seem to hurt Grant Meyers in his election bid to not spend a penny with them.
So 2014 will be your next opportunity to have your say in the future of White Rock. This past electin was embarrassing as only 24% of the eligible citizens could get off the couch or up out of the recliner, and make their way no more than 5 blocks anywhere in this small town to put an X on a piece of paper. Sad but true. Nightly during the election citizens of the world were literally taking bullets for the very basic right to vote. But not us. Nope I guess things are pretty good for 75% of the people in White Rock.
Or then again, maybe they just gave up on this town before the rest of us.
March 1, 2012
60's Bullying - Surrey Style
Yesterday was the national day of anti-bullying. As I prepared stories pertaining to the event I got to thinking of my childhood growing up in Surrey in the 60's. If you were to look at my elementary school pics from Hjorth Road elementary and Harold Bishop you would see the entire class was white. It was not until Junior High (Johnston Heights) that we had our first Chinese student. I can even remember his name. Ken Wong.
This is not to say there was not bullying in my childhood. But it was not race based. It was based on toughness. Some of you readng this will know who I am talking about when I allude to a certain Surrey tough who's favourite saying, and one that sent chills through your entire body when you heard "YOU birthday boy. You and two of your friends outside." You see this particular fellow student felt it would be somewhat of a fair fight if you and two of your friends partook in a Beatle boot battle at "the rock" after school. Oh those fights were nowhere near as volent as from what I understand happens now. A couple of quick shots in the head perhaps a flick of the boots in the nether region and you and your two buddies were on the deck. Did we tell the principal? Did we tell our parents? No to both of those questions. We just sucked it up and went on with our lives.
As I thought about what it might be like nowadays with all the social media and other forms of mass communication, how far reaching it must be when a fellow student decides to besmurch your good nature.
My thoughts also went back to a young fellow in our school named Kelvin that because of his appearance which was rather gangly and his coke bottle glasses became the target of abuse from a sector of our Junior High School, Johnston Heights. As I was pretty much a jock and not that far seperated from the "in crowd" of the school I was pretty much accepted in all the cliques in our school. One day I wintessed a group of students tormenting Kelvin and I couldn't take it any longer. I stepped forward to his aid and informed the group if I ever heard or saw them bullying Kelvin again they would have to deal with me. A symbiotic relationship with my crowd of friends and Kelvin soon developed. We used to pick him up on the weekend and take him out partying with us. Our group would turn up at the A events on the social calendar with Kelvin in tow. People were always asking "What the heck is Kelvin doing here?" People just shrugged and said, he's with THEM.
So fast forward to about 10 years ago and one evening I was watching the 6 o'clock news on TV when a story came on about a fire in one of those trailer parks on King George Highway in the Newton area. The focus of the story was the heroism of a young man that ran into the burning trailer and rescued an elderly woman who was trapped by the fire. I thought, well that's a nice story. As the camera panned around to the hero of the day I nearly fell off the couch. It was Kelvin kind of smduged up with black soot, his ever present thick glasses somewhat askew. The reporter asked him if he felt like a hero? Kelvin without any hesitation said "No, I just knew Mrs. So and So was trapped in her trailer and as her neighbour I knew I had to help." My face broke out in a smile a mile wide. I thought, good on you Kelvin. I always knew you were a good kid.
I never felt compelled to go to the trailer park and look up Kelvin. Then a couple of years passed and I was at Central City Plaza at some kind of rally that was attended by numerous mayors and MLA's. As I was looking to get a good photo for the paper, I pushed my way up to the front of the barrier to get a better angle. As I finished taking the shot I was putting my camera away and I heard someon call my name. "Hey Chesney!" I tuned an looked in the direction of the shout out and there hanging over the front of the railing about 30 feet away was Kelvin waving his arms in the air. Though it had been about 40 years since I last saw Kelvin, he came flying around the crowd and gave me a big handshake and fist pump, like it was yesterday we were hanging out.
I told him how proud I was of him and his daring rescue. He just shrugged it off and said it was no big thing. And it probably wan't for a stand up guy like Kelvin.
February 20, 2012
NOTICE: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Notice is Hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the White Rock Business Improvement Association will be held on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 – 7.00pm at Blue Frog Studios, 1328 Johnston Road, White Rock, BC.
First of all a little history. Five years ago as the owner of a home based business (White Rock Sun) I was awarded the first associate membership in the White Rock BIA. In that I was only paying a nominal fee of $100.00 I would have the privileges of membership but would not be allowed to have a vote which all other commercial business owners would have. On average the commercial business owners pay thousands of dollars annually to fund the operation of the BIA.
In rather short order my membership was summarily withdrawn for apparently "looking for the story" that arose out of a simple inquiry of where the money was being spent? I took the attitude of Grouch Marx "I wouldn't want to be a member of any organization that would have me as a member." My long time friend and commercial property owner LARRY ANSCHELL of Turtle recording studios on the waterfront, had his interest aroused when he heard the story. ANSCHELL who has paid roughly a $1,000.00 annually was not as forgiving.
ANSCHELL began to ask some of the same questions I was asking. A long drawn out well publicized rift between the BIA and ANSCHELL eventually wound its way into BC Supreme Court. The final judgement from the courts was the BIA were in fact not following their mandate. A new election of officers was ordered by the court. ANSCHELL'S camp which included me were trounced by the stacked membership at the special meeting of the BIA, with the exception of one of our candidates gaining a seat on the BIA. The transparency of the BIA came into place and it appeared for a brief moment in time things were back on track.
The White Rock council of the day despite their efforts to remain at arms length were drawn into the battle. Council now being alerted to there being some problems in the operation of the BIA put the BIA on probation and renewed their grant for a probationary period of 1 year, as opposed to the 5 year extension the BIA was seeking. Council also voted and approved the way the BIA would be funded. The negative vote which was used (think Rogers cable) to renew funding, was dependent on the membership voting continuation. The problem some saw including council at the time, was the lack of engagement of the commercial business owners. Simply put, if you did not vote for the continuation of the BIA you were counted as a vote in favour of continuation. Council initially seemed to have a problem with that, but following a number of IN CAMERA meetings they changed their stance and the BIA as they had proposed would not move to a positive vote. Under that process the BIA would need an affirmative vote of 50% plus 1 of the hundreds of business owners indicate they wanted the BIA to continue.
When the dust cleared the executive director of the BIA, Russ Davies announced he was leaving his position and taking up a similar position in Kitsilano. CYNDIE RICHARDS who had been working as DAVIE'S assistant in short order became the acting executive director. Within a year RICHARDS was informed her job was being posted for new candidates. She would be more than welcome to apply. A new director SHERRI WILSON MORRISSETTE was appointed. RICHARDS lawyered up and the BIA paid her a small severance.
As my true motivation, despite what some of the directors and business owners thought, was to see a viable commercial business community in White Rock. I had a business interest in White Rock succeeding, and a personal interest. I shop local. I don't have to be told to shop local. I simply prefer to be able to walk to do the majority of my shopping. I also have a long standing desire to know the butcher, the baker the candle stick maker. Not ever being one to simply sit back and criticize I put my name forth and was duly elected to the board of the BIA last year. I figured perhaps the BIA could benefit from my decades of media, marketing and special event production. I dutifully attended monthly meeting where the directors were supposed to be coming together to brainstorm, provide feedback from the various districts in White Rock and review the effectiveness of the business improvement initiatives in place. I resigned after 6 months. It was one thing to give up precious personal time, but when it became patently clear the BIA board did not in my humble opinion have any idea on how to improve the commercial viability of the BIA. The board of directors by no means should wear all the blame for the ineffectiveness of the BIA. On at least four occasions notices were sent out to the membership announcing informal get togethers of the membership and the directors to get feedback and to reach out to gauge the effectiveness of the BIA according to the membership. The response was pitiful. One or two members turned up for the coffee klatches. Part of the reason for this is the business owners unless they actually own the commercial property where their business is located, don't even see what THEY are paying into the BIA through a levy brought forth by the City of White Rock. During the ANSCHELL inquiry I helped Larry distribute notices (see below) to every single business owner in White Rock. Over the course of one entire evening we walked the streets of White Rock and either put the notice on the door window or put it through the mail slot where available. The notice encourage the business owners to step up and ensure the hundreds of thousands of dollars they were committing was being spent in a manner they felt was advantageous to their business success. Over 200 businesses received the notices. ANSCHELL received ONE PHONE CALL, and that was from a store owner that felt the flyer coming through the front door may have set off her alarm.
In the years that have followed nothing has changed. The business owners bitch and complain about pay parking, road closures and generally speaking, a lack of engagement by City Hall to help their businesses exceed. The Mayor and Council sit back and wonder what the hell they are talking about. They feel they did their part by instituting the levy that now with annual increases is cresting just over $300,000.00. Think about that figure for a moment. Over a quarter of a million dollars.
Now you may be asking yourself "Where the hell did the money go?" Glance back to the beginning of this story to see what happened to me when I had the nerve and audacity to ask that very same question. Nothing has changed. The business base in White Rock is dieing. Monthly another business goes under. When a restaurant closes on the beach as has FRONDS and IGUANA'S there is no shortage of people that seem willing to step forward and fill the space. One would have to think a business could succeed on our world famous waterfront. A few do. They are the ones that never sight pay parking as killing their business. Instead they roll up their sleeves and get to work at making their businesses successful. They aren't sitting back waiting for the BIA or the city of White Rock to make their ventures profitable.
Tomorrow evening at Blue Frog studios in White Rock a handful of insiders and the directors of the BIA will gather and rubber stamp a budget that will be presented to the Mayor and Council for another year of funding. If past AGM's are any indication, there will be no public outcry from the membership. Hell there won't even be more than a small select group of business owners or their representatives present.
If you are a business owner you may want to have a read over the budget that is being proposed (click here)
Note - over 33% of the budget is eaten up in "operations" wages, rent etc. Ask yourself this. Do you even know where the BIA office is located?
Then you may want to read where your money went last year (click here)
If the business owners in White Rock can't take ONE NIGHT A YEAR to show some interest in their financial future, why should I are? . Why should ANSCHEL and a small contingent of business owners care, and for that matter why should the City of White Rock care?
December 27, 2011
Christmas Rush, To The Head
I have never equated a successful Christmas with the amount of money one spends. I love Christmas, it allows us WASPS a golden opportunity to dish out a hug here and there, a handshake to a casual acquaintance, a little gift or Christmas greeting to someone that would never expect to receive such an acknoledgement.
Heck if I had my way I would have a "solstice celebration" four times a year, when the calendar switches seasons. Go easy on the presents, but pick up the phone and call an old friend, taka neighbour over a jar of your homemade pickels, whatever inspiration of friendship you feel.
You know what was strange this year? The lack of crowds. Heck I picked my frozen turkey up at Price Cutter December 24 at noon and then strolled over to the liquor store for my final shopping stop. I did not wait in a line at either place. IN my conversations with friends, the encountered the same lack of excitememtn at retail all week.
In conversation with a shop owner in the area that specializes in spa treatments, she told me on average she normally sells somewhere around 100 gift certificates annually. This year she sold 5.
In contrast in phone calls to family and friends in Alberta, woe were they. Massive traffic jams, huge lineups, stressed out sales people inhabited their Christmas shopping experience. Funny what some good old fashioned oil money can do for you.
Driving along Marine Drive in White Rock yesterday the Japanese, Chinese and Indian restuarants were the only shops open. In fact looking at the morning PROVINCE paper paper this morning, there were some shops on Robson Street yesterday that opened on Christmas Day no doubt catering to those residents who do not celebrate the Christian holiday. Makes sense, if we lived in Thailand I am sure on certain days they celebrated religious holidays, we would be looking for a cappuccino.
As we get ready to enter into 2012 I caution you to hold on tight. This is going to be one hell of a wild ride we are facing down. We are in a recession, whether or not the media cares to speak about it. The slightest cause of concern may cause the people still spending money to put their wallets and purses away. When that happens, next stop depression!
I know. It depresses me too. Hold your babies tight.
December 22, 2011
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...ALBERT EINSTEIN
Once again the debate on whether or not the pay parking regulations should be relaxed even further during the winter months, has reared its head.
A representative from the local BIA business improvement association and a shop owner from West Beach appeared before council on Monday evening imploring the newly elected mayor and council, to do something to ease the pain of decreased traffic into her business. Said shop owner MAUREEN COROLIUC owner of Angelic Tea Pot informed council her business if off 25% at least since the city imposed $1.00 per hour winter parking a couple of years ago.
Council agreed to create a task force and look into the matter yet again. The task force will be created in January. The results of the task force are predictable. The city needs and wants the revenue from pay parking to keep property and commercial taxes down.
Now considering this delegation appeared before Council on Monday evening, imagine my surprise as I was making dinner Tuesday evening while listening to the CBC Evening News in the living room, on comes said two members of the delegation that appeared before council, being interviewed by Rene Filipone on the CBC Evening news, publicly parroting the same message they delivered to the new council, the very night before. The message was clear and simple. Business on the White Rock waterfront is dieing.
Well two things spring to mind. One the frustration of some merchants on the waterfront has hit the tipping point. Second point is the optics of the news report the very next evening after appearing before council. To many of the council members it may appear, as it did to me, they were being given no time to address the request of the parking delegation.
In fact after I spoke with Maureen yesterday morning, it became apparent the timing of the CBC news story was coincidental., You see a couple of weeks back the CBC was in the area looking for reaction from local businesses on cross border shopping and how it was impacting their business, with a loonie that has hovered for months now at par with the yankee greenback. In that original interview with IAN HANOMANSING Maureen made mention another challenge the waterfront businesses have, and that is the pay parking in the winter. Tuesday was obviously a slow news day and some news editor was no doubt looking for some retail Christmas shopping tie in story, and the light bulb went off and a reporter was dispatched to White Rock to get a story for the evening news, any story.
The "to pay or not to pay" issue on the waterfront has been ongoing for years now. Council feels they have bent over backwards to assist the concerns of the businesses and residents alike by lowering the cost of parking from a summer high of $3.00 per hour to a winter low of $1.00 per hour. Some merchants still long for the days of free winter parking though.
So what is a business owner to do? Well how about we take a look at the BIA. The name says it all. Business IMPROVEMENT Association. The city of White Rock taxes commercial property owners to the tune of $300,000.00 annually to fund the operation. The BIA has been operating now for 7 years and one may ask how effective it is? Is business flourishing in White Rock? Are new shop owners flooding into the area? The answers to both of those questions is obviously NO.
Most waterfront business owners along Marne Drive feel they need a long hot summer, to generate enough revenue to hold them through the lean winter months. This past year our summer came very late, and was very short, making this a very difficult winter for shop owners on the beach.
There is an old saying 'THE SINS OF THE FAMILY FALL ON THE DAUGHTER." The White Rock the twist may be 'THE SINS OF THE BUSINESSES MAY FALL ON THE BIA."
It is interesting to note there was quite a crowd of shoppers and diners along the waterfront yesterday, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. After all who goes to the beach when the weather is crappy? And I believe therein lies the real problem, not pay parking. Steveston and Fort Langley have proved it is possible to create a unique shopping district with the right mix of businesses. The WHITE ROCK waterfront in large part is fish n chips shops, ice cream shops and a few restaurants that have built up a steady client base, built on great food, affordable prices and good service.
Who are those restaurants? The ones that aren't bitching about pay parking!
Sorry to hear another business owner is hanging it up on the waterfront. IGUANA'S restaurant will be closing after the 27thth. Drop in for a splash.
December 14, 2011
If You Can Make An X - You're My Kind Of Person
G.Boyle 22 Minutes
The sting of my defeat in the recent White Rock civic election this time as particularly difficult. To refresh your memory I ran for a seat on White Rock council in 2005, 2008 and in the subsequent 2008 by election when Councillor James Coleridge was kicked to the curb for circulating false information during his election campaign.
Again I must say why does this rule not apply to Federal and Provincial elections? I suppose the solution to and the answer to that question will mean the eventual discontinuing of it even at the civic level.
If I do say so myself I ran a very focused election campaign. I believe I made my opinion on the most profound issues facing White Rock, very clear.
I received tremendous feedback from some of my fellow candidates that based on their connection with the community, they felt I would be a "shoe in" this time. I took nothing for granted. I built on everything I had done in the three previous attempts to gain a seat on council.
When the first election results came flickering across my TV screen election night, even though it showed me in 6th place I knew it was not to be AGAIN. I made my way to a pre-arranged gathering of friends. The mood was less than celebratory. I think in some cases my friends took my loss it a little more personal and harder than I did.
On Sunday November 20th I woke up, thank god for small mercies, and made my way into the bathroom. As I lathered up for my morning shave I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror. I asked myself "Well did you do everything you could?" My answer was a simple and honest "Yes."
Don't ever let anyone tell you there is not a period of evaluation when you put yourself up for what basically ends up as a popularity contest. The only thing that still resonates with me following the election is the poor turnout at the polls. A mere 29% could even muster up enough energy to exercise their given right to participate in the formation of the government of White Rock for the next three years. Particularly upsetting for me, is on a nightly basis images from across the world flicker on our television sets of citizens in foreign countries that are willing to die for that very basic right.
The only conclusion I can come to is the apathy we witnessed in the low voter turnout is a clear indication things are pretty good for the vast majority of the residents of White Rock. For the record in the 2005 and 2008 civic elections in White Rock 36% and 39% of the electorate got out to vote. So despite receiving the highest percentage of votes I have ever received, I once again narrowly missed securing a seat on White Rock council.
I will not be deterred. I will stand on guard for thee, White Rock and me. But be forewarned if you didn't bother to get out and vote, I really don't want to hear any bitching out of YOU! I will not carry your water for you.
You may want to call YOUR councillors up at City Hall.
November 28, 2011
“Marijuana prohibition is — without question — a failed policy,”
Those are the words of four former mayors of Vancouver. SAM SULLIVAN, PHILLIP OWEN, MIKE HARCOURT and LARRY CAMPBELL have all endorsed a letter that has been sent to every MP, MLA and Mayors and Councillors across the country.
In a moment of clairty the four former mayors have come to the conclusion publicly that most have known for years.
1. The illegal pot industry in British Columbia is the fuel for the local gangs. Some member of local gangs have estimated 80% of their revenue is derived from marijuana sales.
2. The illegal pot industry is conservatively extimated to be worth 7 billion dollars annually. Roughly that would mean 3 billion dollars in tax revenue straight into the Provincial coffers.
So why is ther noe appetite for this type of "grass roots movment?"
In a television interview last week when former Vancouver mayor SAM SULLIVAN was pigeon holed by a local reporter and asked "Why didn't youlaunch this movement when you were mayor?" SULLIVAN with a slight smile on his face replied "Well I wanted to get re-elected."
I am not kidding, those were his exact words.
It is only a mater or time before marijuana is legalized in this country. Advocates of the legalization of marijuan site the United States hesitancy is the biggest stumbling block for legalization here in Canada.
November 19, 2011
Yes thank you to each and every person I buttonholed on the street, every bus rider that patiently listened to my spiel as they waited for their bus home at the Canada Line, all the wonderful people my girlfriend Kerlande had the pleasure of speaking to on the telephone over the past week. Meeting so many wonderful people is just one of the numerous by products of campaigning.
Today you the residents of White Rock will hopefully once again best the Provincial average at the polls. We go high tech this year with electronic voting. The new method of voting will ensure we receive the election results much quicker than in past years. At times if there was a heavy turnout at the polls the counting of the ballots could take hours. Difficult on the nerves of the candidates.
Once again I chose to throw my hat into the proverbial ring. I had hoped after the 2008 election we may have gotten it right. I have no negative things to say today about the last three years of governance, I just think we deserve better.
Our beautiful little city of White Rock is on life support. The massive development in South Surrey of all the big box stores, in a lot of cases has rendered White Rock retail redundant at best.
It pains my heart, in previous editorials I have expounded on how I love to walk uptown and stop off and visit the many merchants as I start my shopping day. A quick coffee or breakfast at Lauara's Coffee With No Attitude or breakfast over at the legendary Five Corners Diner is a great way to fuel up for the day. The Bread Box, Hillcrest Bakery, Buy Low, Penguin Meats? What more could you ask for. Oh yes maybe a little shopping at the Superfluity Shop? (Think of it as panning for gold).
Often on the campaign trail I would get asked "So who are you voting for?" I am sorry if I was unable to answer you question sufficiently for you. I guess in this case I am a product of my environment. I can distinctly remember my Mom and Da keeping who they voted for a secret even from each other. I still maintain this practise.
In addition to having the opportunity to interact with so many of you residents of White Rock, I was also afforded the opportunity to get to know my fellow candidates. A fine lot they all are. They are all on the campaign trail because they are passionate about White Rock.
Believe me it is not monetary gain that drives any of us. One could make more money picking fruit seasonally.
So today to my fellow candidates, good luck, and to you - I say thank you.
Hopefully tomorrow I will have the opportunity to really thank a number of people.
Millions of people around the world are fighting for that very right.
November 09, 2011
TWO TIME PAROLEE GONE AGAIN
The tragic story of a young man that tried to do what he thought was the right thing to do and ended up losing his life resonated with residents across this country.
GRANT DE PATIE was working the night shift at a gas station in Maple Ridge when DARNELL PRATT decided he would leave the gas station without paying for his gas. DE PATIE ran out and tried to intervene and was subsequently dragged alongside the car by PRATT until DE PATIE fell to his death after being dragged over 7 km
The horrific incident resulted in what is called Grant's Law. This is why you now have to pay in advance for your gas. Though I never met GRANT DE PATIE I think of him every time I fill up my gas tank.
Grant De Patie
GRANT DE PATIE was eventually arrested, charged and sent to prison. He came up for parole in June 2010. Within 48 hours he violated his parole and he was back in Con College (jail). Then last week DE PATIE was once again granted parole despite a litany of infractions in prison, including possession of drugs, being drunk, verbally abusing officers and physically assaulting another prisoner.
Well guess what DARNELL PRATT only took his normal 48 hours before he violated his parole. He is on the lam and there is a Canada wide warrant out for his arrest.
Would someone please tell me who was on the parole board that looked at all the facts and said "Have a nice life Darnell." My heart goes out to the DE PATIE family. I don't know if I could control my rage if that had been my son that was dragged like a rag doll down the highway, then have to sit back and watch the legal system twist the knife of sorrow time and time again.
So what can we do? Simple write someone. Write your MP, write your MLA hell write your Mayor and Council. Tell them enough is enough. Don't throw in the towel, don't give up!
We can make change if we all get together. If writing a letter or sending an email is too much work, then damn it pick up the phone and call any of the above. Don't just sit there and shake your head and mutter how terrible this is.
Draw a line in the sand. It stops here, if you really want it to.
On another matter. The contract with the RCMP is in negotiations for renewal for another 20 years.
Constable CATHERINE GALLIFORD
GALLIFORD came into our living rooms for years, first as the media rep for the RCMP in the Air India crash, then as the spokesperson for the Pickton Pig Farm case. According to GALLIFORD from the very beginning when she graduated from the RCMP academy, the torment began. GALLIFORD has been off work with pay for 4 years. Statistics tell us 225 RCMP officers in BC alone are on extended leave. 48 of those cases are related to work place conflicts and harassment.
Send Langley Mayor PETER FASSBENDER an email if you are sick and tired of hearing about the sickening cases of mis-conduct by the RCMP. FASSBENDER is heading up a local task force into whether or not the RCMP should have their contract renewed.
October 29, 2011
Trick or Treat?
As you are no doubt aware there is a civic election coming up Saturday November 19th. I am running for the fourth time. In 2005 and 2008 and subsequently in 2009 when the recall of Councillor James Coleridge occurred, along with the other candidates we went to the poll for the third time in 4 years. On all three occasions I came very close to gaining a seat on White Rock Council.
I anguished over whether or not I would mount another campaign. The time, energy and financial aspects of running again all played into my decision. With a good base of community support and the backing of my friends I chose to undertake another run at White Rock council.
The upside of campaigning is the opportunity to speak to so many residents of White Rock. I find talking to people on the streets and on their doorsteps interesting to say the least. If elected I will continue to engage the community in conversation. Prior to the last election the CPR Citizens for Positive Renewal indicated they would support Town Hall meetings. For the uninitiated a Town Hall meeting is an informal gathering of the elected officials and the community. Unfortunately CPR only lived up to their promise with one poorly organized, promoted and poorly attended event at Centennial Arena’s Healthy Living facility. We deserve better. I monitor our council meetings more than most. I could list what I call “the usual suspects” those that attend council on a regular basis. I applaud their efforts, but somehow we need to open the avenue of communication from City Hall to the electorate.
Having been out on the campaign trail for the past week a few aspects of elections have struck me up the side of the head. I have a difficult time with people (other candidates) ostracizing me and other candidates simply because they are seen talking with certain other candidates.
I am interested in hearing what EVERYONE has to say. By being seen publicly speaking with Mayoral candidates WAYNE BALDWIN our former city manage, LYNNE SINCLAIR former Councillor and another mayoral candidate and former Councillor CLIFF ANNABLE - some candidates have indicated their displeasure with me by rebuffing my advances to engage them in a dialogue. Some of these people I actually thought were my friends. As they say politics makes strange bedfellows.
I feel it is important to hear what all the candidates have to say, what is their vision of White Rock? Do they have any ideas that could be implemented to make White Rock a better city for all of us. I also personally have to make up my mind on how I will cast my vote.
This brings me to another point. I am sure the other candidates will tell you, quite often when speaking to residents about the upcoming election they will ask you “Who are you voting for? Who do you think would make a good mayor, a good councilor?” Now I understand they may feel I/we have more insight into the candidates than they have. On a personal level though, I was brought up in a home where my mother and father never even told each other (at least not publicly) how they voted. My interest in civic politics and the value of having a vote were also instilled in me by my parents.
White Rock thankfully has a much higher voter turnout than most cities and municipalities in the province. The high turnout I believe is a direct result of our disproportionate seniors population. Many of the seniors have seen tough times. They know how important it is to have strong leadership. Unfortunately as you slide down the age demographic the engagement decreases. I believe by instituting mandatory voting as they have in Australia, we would see a wider cross section of voters turnout at the polls. But don’t expect to see that any time soon. NO political party would ever support such a move. The highest turnout for voters occurs at the federal level. On average roughly 50% of Canadians vote federally. Each political party has a tight knit group of supporters that they can motivate to get out and vote. The winner of every election is simply the party that gets their membership out in the greatest numbers. There is no appetite to bring the remaining uncontrollable 50% into the equation. Critics of mandatory voting claim you would be adding great numbers of voters who are not informed of the issue. Simply put I say BALDERDASH.
PLEASE take the opportunity to attend next week’s two All Candidate meetings. The first meeting is Wednesday November 2 @ 7 p.m. at the White Rock Community Centre in uptown White Rock. The first all candidates meeting will be hosted by Democracy Direct. The following evening the BIA Business Improvement Association at the same venue will host a second All Candidates meeting. The final all candidates meeting will take place Wednesday November 9th @ the First United Church next to City Hall. That meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
For information on who is eligible to vote, when the advance polls are and how you can even vote if you are out of the area perhaps snow birding down south – visit the City of White Rock’s web site.
Now it is time to pull my jacket and boots on and hit the campaign trail again. I look forward to talking to you out there.
To keep up to date on my locations and thoughts on the developing election issues please visit my FACEBOOK.
Publisher White Rock Sun
October 10, 2011
White Rock Election 2011 Part 1
On Saturday November 19 across the province and here in White Rock we will have the privilege to cast a ballot and have a say in forming our local governance.
Unfortunately very few citizens will take advantage of the situation. It is not only here in White Rock where the turn out will be low, but right across the province. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20-25% (if we're lucky) will actually exercise the privilege. The engagement in elections goes up slightly in Provincial elections (perhaps 35-40% if we are lucky) and then capping out somewhere around 55% for Federal elections. In my opinion that seems off base. I personally would like to see more voters engaged at the civic level, given the fact it is the level of government that can most quickly impact and change our day-to-day lives. But that is a story for another day.
Today let's take a look at what we know and what we hear from the tribal drums on who is in, and who is out in White Rock.
present White Rock council
Sitting mayor CATHERINE FERGUSON is definitely out. The one term mayor is on record publicly she is leaving the mayor's position to pursue other endeavours. Even a casual observer of White Rock council can easily understand FERGUSON'S choice. It has been a very tough year for her up in "the big chair."
The only other official withdrawal comes from councillor DOUG MCLEAN. MCLEAN who time and time again topped the polls in White Rock with the most votes, has been on council for a number of years and now feels it is time to step aside. Councillors Fathers, Anderson, Campbell, Meyers and Sinclair are all expected to seek another term.
In fact tomorrow (Tuesday 11) one of the above Councillors will make an announcement they are going to seek the position of mayor of White Rock. When that announcement is made at least one other local business owner will more than likely throw his hat into the ring for the position of mayor. Stay tuned.
The only other candidates that have gone public are yours truly, former city manager WAYNE BALDWIN, former councilor CLIFF ANNABLE and BRAD FORSTER husband of long time councilor and mayor JUDY FORSTER
Rumoured to be considering another term on White Rock council, is former councillor JAMES COLERIDGE. COLERIDGE you will remember sat as a councilor for a number of years before relinquishing his council seat for a run at the mayor's chair against JUDY FORSTER where he was defeated. COLERIDGE then took a term off before returning as a councilor. In 2008 in his bid for another term he was called to task by sitting councilor MATT TODD who lost his seat and subsequently launched a successful recall of COLERIDGE who had been elected. TODD knowing the civic election act inside and out was able that COLERIDGE had been re-elected by stating publically false information. The recall was successful and COLERIDGE was removed forcing a by election which saw newcomer GRANT MEYERS top the polls and secure a seat on council. The other name that is now floating around is long time resident, and community activist BARRY BELEC. BELEC has been at the forefront of numerous contentious issues facing White Rock including the ongoing contemptuous debate of the city's tree by-law or lack thereof.
The period for candidates to submit their nomination papers ends this Friday at 4 p.m. One can only assume there are a few other potential candidates sitting back taking a reading on the landscape before they publicly make their intentions known.
This next week is going to be very interesting. By Friday all the horses will be saddled up and into the chutes, the real race begins Friday @ 4 p.m. Check back Friday afternoon for a complete list of White Rock council and mayoralty candidates. One thing we do know for sure, the race will be interesting. White Rock politics always are.
UPDATE OCTOBER 13 - As expected Councillor LYNNE SINCLAIR has made public her bid for the Mayor's chair. White Rock businessman LARRY ANSCHELL this week also filed his papers for the mayoralty race. In the growing names for council you can add local realtor LARRY ROBINSON.
September 21, 2011
Randall Hopley suspect in kidnapping case being led from Cranbrook court
The sickening child abduction case of the little Kienan Hebert in Sparwwod, B.C. has left us with more questions than answers of what really happened.
Last week following the return of Kienan to his unlocked empty home, under the cover of dark had everyone wondering how that could have happened. At the centre of the malestorm was the RCMP. Over 60 RCMP descended on the small town of Sparwood near the Alberta / BC border.
There is no expectation the RCMP would make the public through the media how the investigation into the case was progressing.
I was listening to CBC Early Edition with host Rick Cluff and was drawn into a conversation Cluff was having with the lead RCMP office on the ground in Sparwood. Corporal Mukaluk (In 2007, Dan was promoted to the rank of Corporal and was transfered from Penticton to Osoyoos as a detachment supervisor. Within two years, Dan would transfer to "E" Division Strategic Communications Section in Vancouver and work as a Senior Media Relations Officer assigned to both the Southeast and North Districts.)
During the casual conversation with Cluff Mukaluk became agitated at some of Cluff's questions. Testy responses would be an understatement. The next day when news broke Randall Hopley the alleged abductor of Kienan Hebert had been captured in a remote camp near the Alberta border, the RCMP kicked into damage control.
At the subsequent press conference to announce Hopley's capture the RCMP brought inRCMP Inspector Branda Fitzpatrick to handle the resutling media firestorm resulting from the capture of Hopley. The last thing the RCMP needed or wanted at this conjuncture was a public testy exchange with the media.
Vancouver Sun report IAN MULGREW documented the majority of questions most people were asking. Read his story
Political commentator ALEX TSUKAMIS dropped a bombshell when he provided information about the arrest of alleged abductor Randall Hopley in the same area last May (link)
If and when this whole sordid affair ends up before the courts hopefully the vast majority of the questions will be answered. The problem being though is does the RCMP really need another negative story being added to the almost weekly revelation another member of the RCMP is under investigation for God knows what.
I simply can't believe the RCMP are not on standing on special guard and making sure every t is crossed and every I is dotted. Can you?
All through his life there were warning signs going off like rockets that RANDALL HOPLEY was a danger to the public (Read More)
September 07, 2011
Goodbye to the "Cookie Lady"
There are some people that mock and joke that White Rock is becoming the junk store capital of the world. I don't necessarily believe their criticism comes from looking down their noses, instead like so many prejudices, it is ill founded. I wonder if they have ever been into any of the second hand, turnaround stores?
I will openly admit to enjoying poking through the treasures at the Superfluity Shop on Prospect Avenue and a little store I have always called Granny's House, though as I now know it is called The Living Room Store.
The Living Room store is located on Johnston Road just up from 5 Corners and across from White Rock Elementary. The store is very small in size and to be quite honest, from a pickers point of view, The Superfluity is the one all will be judged by.
The proceeds from the sale of items at the Living Room Store goes to local church charities. The store is staffed by volounteers.
I stopped in my tracks last week as I walked past The Living Room, there posted on the front window was the announcement "The Cookie Lady" had passed away. I felt a wave of emotions come over me. Though I had seen her working in the store for a number of years, I did not know her name. To me, and obviously to a lot of people, she was "The Cookie Lady."
The days "The Cookie Lady" worked were marked by homemade delights she had made up to bring to the store on the days she worked. She didn't make a really big deal about it. The cookies were just there, not unlike her. Just there, doing wonderful work for those less fortunate in our community.
I don't need (yet) to shop at second hand stores. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. I liken it to sifting gold, from a lot of muck and rock a few gems will emerge. As a matter of fact a couple months back I had a dream purchase come true.
A number of years ago I saw a feature on kilts being made by a Seattle company. I thought, those look cool. Not your typical tartan dress type kilts, no these were made from denim, had lots of pockets and shiny snaps. What more could a guy want? Well a more reasonable price might be in order. These new style kilts are priced from a couple hundred dollars up to five hundred dollars. A little rich for my blood, not knowing whether or not I would actually even wear a kilt. Well about three months ago on a Sunday when the Living Room was closed, I noticed as I walked by, it appeared they had something that resembled a kilt in the window, or maybe it was just a big pair of shorts. I was there when the door opened on the Monday morning at 9 a.m. BINGO! I bought the kilt that had arrived in a box, brand new never worn. Gentlemen if you are reading this, let me answer the question I know you are all asking yourself. "Yes they are that comfortable, maybe the the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever worn. Ladies I also know what you are thinking. And no I will not break the code of the kilt.
So to The Cookie Lady I say God speed, and thank you for your kindness and neighbourly gestures. Today I am a little poorer with your passing, but I will be richer in the long run – even if I only knew you as THE COOKIE LADY.
August 25, 2011
YELL IT LIKE IT IS
Jack Layton's Goodbye;
Part of the letter to Canadians written by Jack Layton, written as he neared the end in his final days, and given to his wife to publish only after his passing. The letter contained one portion that surely will resonate with those suffering with cancer and especially those who have lost a loved one;
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.
Not many days go by that I don't come in contact with someone who has lost a loved one from cancer or is presently watching someone close fight the fight of their life.
Having lost my beloved wife nearly two years ago to cancer, I know the road they walk. In the coming months I plan on organizing and publishing a database of information on complimentary medicine and cancer treatment. I strongly object to the term "alternative medicine." Alternative to what? In this case anything other than massive doses of radiation (chemotherapy) is considered alternative.
The format of our present medical system horribly fails anyone wishing to treat their illness with something other than the gobbling of pills. Don't get me wrong, modern medicine (Western medicine) save my life twice. But in my lexicon of medicine it is one of the spokes in the wheel, not the wheel itself.
Next week we will introduce you to a lady we met who has been diagnosed with cancer. She beat the first diagnosis, but not unlike Jack Layton another form of cancer has returned.
Next month she will host a special Evening of Gratitude. Gratitude? Giving thanks for what?
It is a beautiful story about one person's strength and determination.
I will always remember the visit my wife and I paid to the cancer centre at the Surrey Memorial hospital. The "expert" doctor analysed my wife's diagnosis and crunched the numbers in his head. His forecast was like an elephant sitting on my chest. We didn't even know what to expect at the cancer centre. We thought they might have some ideas we could consider for the treatment. The doctor then said "In the best case scenario your wife may live 6 months, in the worst case scenario she will be gone in 3 months." I was stunned. I asked him if I heard him right. Laurie may be gone in 3 months? He then looked me in the eye and said "I wouldn't get your hopes up too high, her lung could clog and she could be gone tomorrow." I told him he didn't offer us much hope, then the bombshell "Mr. Chesney, we are not in the business of hope."
We put on our jackets and left. We were in the business of hope, and if you are a loved one has been diagnosed, Find some hope.
Monday Kimberley will tell us how she maintains her hope.
Coucillor Meyer Calls for South Surrey to Join White Rock
Meyers Swearing In
If I am reading the lay of the land right, Councillor Grant Meyer may have shot himself in the foot when he made a public call for South Surrey residents to join White Rock.
For years there have been grumblings about White Rock rejoining Surrey. Many of the reasons White Rock succeeded back in 1957 no longer are issues. In the 50's all the development was centred in the northern area of the then municipality of Surrey. White Rock sitting way down at the south end of the municipality was constantly complaining they were getting the short end of the stick for the tax dollars they were contributing. With the blink of an eye, White Rock seceded in 1957.
Back to Meyer. First I would have to question his timing. As the next civic election will take place in November, was this a vain attempt to up his profile. Something he has woefully lacked during his first term as a White Rock councilor. Take a moment and try to think of anything else he did in the entire three year term other than try to champion a stop for the AMTRAK train at the White Rock train museum station. Critics called the idea a pie in the sky idea, a non-starter. Their feeling were born out when a few months back AMTRAK confirmed they would not be adding a stop in White Rock anytime soon.
The backlash was instant. Starting at the top, Surrey Mayor Diane Watts could barely contain her laughter when asked about the possibility. Surrey Councillor Linda Hepner weighed into the discussion. NAÏVE AT BEST. In all practical and logical senses it is a non-starter. White Rock Councillor off base. South Surrey join White Rock. Residential tax base 50% more, business 20% more. Reverse more logical
Meyers took to the radio airwaves on Tuesday August 09 on the Bill Good Show on CKNW. Replacement host Michael Smyth put forth many questions regarding how the amalgamation might affect South Surrey and White Rock residents. Meyer seemed at a loss to answer even the most basic questions.
(Click Here) to hear an archived copy of the interview Hour #1 Tuesday August 9
Then what I call the community crows, those that do a lot of squawking and little else weighed in.
I began to wonder why no one from the media bothers to ask Meyer's fellow White Rock Councillors and our Mayor this question. How many others on Council feel this way. So I forwarded a personal email to each Councillor for their opinion. Here are their replies.
back row l-r Meyer/Anderson/Mayor Ferguson/Fathers/McLean front row l-r Campbell & Sinclair
Lynne Sinclair's reply;
I'm on break, spending time with family, so I haven't really been following this. As an elected representative, it doesn't matter what my personal feelings are and Council has never discussed this.
Councillor LYnne Sinclair
Alan Campbell's reply;
I want our 5 sq miles of real estate being the best that it can be. Walkways to Crescent ,trains stopping and parts of other Munis amalgamating has never been a priority of mine which I made clear during my campaign. Others see it another way.
Safe and accessible roads, clear open sidewalks and intersections, sound infrastructure for the future. Spend money where needed to maintain and improve quality of life here in the City. These things are all do-able on our budget and have been my focus.
Councillor, City of White Rock
"For our City by the Sea"
Helen Father's reply;
Here are my thoughts, this issue has been around for ages , long before my stint on Council.
The concept of South Surrey joining White Rock seems to me to be a bit "back to front" . I would understand more if the concept were the other way around. You have to ask "what benefits would there be? for both White Rock and South Surrey. As the only Councillor who works in the community , what I hear from the word on the street is that Mr Meyer needs an election issue - is this it? who knows maybe?.
Councillor City of White Rock
'Believing In Our Family Friendly City By The Sea'
+Note the Mayor's office replied she was on vacation and would comment in September when she returned. Councillors Mclean and Anderson felt no obligation to reply.
Over the past week the local paper paper ran an online poll. Readers were asked the simple question;
Should White Rock hold a referendum asking if the city should disincorporate and seek to rejoin the City of Surrey?
Over 200 votes were cast and 75% replied YES while only 25% indicated they did not wish to see a referendum.
Perhaps at the end of the day Meyer wanted to gauge whether or not there was support to have White Rock join South Surrey, but as a Councillor that could be disastrous, so by reversing the merger it would look like he was trying to draw South Surrey in, rather than White Rock re-joining Surrey.
The idea has been around for years. As a matter of fact the Provincial government has already created legislation that would see the amalgamation of White Rock with Surrey, merging the two Langleys, grouping up the Coquitlams and Port Moody and joining North Vancouver city with the district and West Vancouver.
The provincial Liberals recently announced the possible creation of an auditor general to oversee civic level spending. The B.C. Liberals have sent out a questionnaire to local politicians and councils, seeking input on Premier Christy Clark’s controversial proposal to establish an auditor-general to oversee municipal governments.
The survey was mailed to the province’s almost 200 local and regional governments on July 27, returnable by Sept. 9.
Super cities have been created right across Canada. It is only a matter of time given the ever tightening revenue flow from taxpayers that the Province will move towards eliminating widespread duplication of services. It is thought the Lower Mainland could see everything west and North of the Fraser merging, while South of the Fraser became another electorate district.
It is just a matter or time.
August 05, 2011
On Line Advertising Surpasses Paper Papers
Let me tell you, when I read these stats I got all tingly. The International Advertising Bureau just released its figures for 2011.
Online ad revenue exceeds print in Canada
Online advertising revenues have surpassed those of newspapers in Canada and are expected to grow further in the coming years, according to a study published Tuesday.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) said online ad revenues exceeded expectations to rise by 23 percent to Can$2.23 billion ($2.32 billion) in 2010, making them second only to television in terms of media ad revenue.
IAB President Paula Gignac called the rise a "watershed moment for the digital community in Canada," adding that the future looks "extremely positive" considering the rise of mobile and interactive advertising.
Advertising revenues for print media grew a mere four percent to reach Can$2.1 billion in 2010, while television revenues grew 9 percent to reach Can$3.4 billion, according to the report.
Search advertising continues to lead, accounting for Can$907 million, or 41 percent, of online revenue, followed by display advertising -- such as banners and ads on websites (31 percent) -- and interactive ads (26 percent), according to the report, which cited figures from a major industry group.
Online video advertising grew by 85 percent from 2009 to 2010, while email advertising declined, but both account for a small percentage of overall digital ad revenues, the study said.
In Canada, the Internet accounts for 15.9 percent of all media advertising revenue, a higher percentage than in the United States (15.4 percent) or France (15.6 percent).
As I have professed time and time again, I love newspapers. I have been reading newspapers as long as I can remember. It was a number of years ago that I discovered I could read The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, or a variety of Canadian newspapers from the comfort of my home office.
It was one of the contributing factors for starting Canada's FIRST on line newspaper The White Rock Sun. One of the other reasons was I was dismayed how the independent voice was disappearing from the media landscape. It has only worsened over the past decade. A handful of media corporations now own virtually all the media outlets including television, radio and print.
The two local papers that serve the Semiahmoo Peninsula are under extreme pressure from their parent companies to improve their bottom lines. As is clearly indicated there is a paradigm shift in advertisers priorities in ad placements. An internet portal of either of the local papers fully maximized can only generate 10% of the ad revenue of a traditional paper paper. The only other option to improve the bottom line of any organization if you can't increase the flow of money coming in, you need to cap the money going out. Cut staff. Both local papers are now arming their reporters with digital cameras. Negating the need to have a photographer who looked like he was on a photo shoot for National Geographic clogging up the payroll. I don't think anyone other than industry watchers like myself would even have noticed.
Where I do have a personal problem is the actual content of the paper papers. Again I feel I have to reiterate I love newspapers, have read them for years and mainly relied on them to keep me informed about MY community. To be very honest I can't remember when I last read an actual piece of investigative reporting done in either local paper. I have a fairly good idea on how many staff these papers have on the payrolls and unless something dramatic happens, which really why would it, we can only expect to see deeper cuts in the staffing. Given the cutting will come from the top, don't expect any "senior" people to feel the sting. Invariably it will come as it usually does when corporations scale back, the front line – the foot soldiers.
The digital revolution destroyed the music business as we knew it. Now the print industry is reeling as entire book store chains close their doors as customers prefer not to have the clutter of actual books and have switched to digital download of the latest books. The newspaper industry has been watching their numbers slip for the past couple of years as people's news reading habits change. The strong will survive. The local rags don't do everything bad. For instance
July 19, 2011
The Tour De White Rock is North America's Oldest Cycling Road Race - So Why After 32 Years Are The Crowds Getting Smaller?
So here we go again. Why do I feel like I am yelling down a mine shaft? Year after year I yell, rant rave and try to engage anyone that will listen to me about White Rock's Tour De White Rock. I have been very critical in the past regarding the organization, promotion and the execution of the event in large part have fallen on deaf ears.
Who am I to tell anyone about anything? Well I think 3 decades of marketing, media and event planning has earned me the right to speak up when I see something going so terribly wrong.
Earlier this year the former Executive Director of the White Rock Business Improvement Association Cyndie Richards, at my urging joined me in a meeting with the local tourism rep and the then stop gap point person for the "Tour", Lisa Kempton. I say stop gap because for some 26 of the 32 years the event was overseen by the former Leisure Services Director Rita Clarkson who departed her position with the city, and withdrew from organizing the Tour as well.
Following the meeting with the Lisa Kempton I got to work and put a lot of ideas on the table for discussion. On my own hook I secured graphic designs for consideration of this year's tour. Following the meeting I was in touch with Lisa Kempton, until one day I stopped receiving responses from my emails and phone messages. After a couple of weeks I contacted Cyndie Richards and asked if she knew why I was not hearing back from Lisa. Cyndie told me Lisa had been gone for weeks, she had departed working for the city.
EDITORS NOTE - Might have been a good idea to disconnect of put a notice on her phone and email to that extent.
In that I was donating my time and services I decided well perhaps if I hear from the next director of the Tour De White Rock, I would be willing to roll up my sleeves and see if there was anything I could do to assist. The call never came.
Having attended over 20 of the 32 Tours De White Rock. I have seen a few improvements. One being the restaurant owners along Marine Drive now trying to make a go of opening their doors. The 9 a.m. race start is a reasonable hour, yet for a couple of hours there is virtually no one along the full length of West Beach. The owner of Jimmy Flynn's Irish Pub was out handing out 2 for 1 coupons, Linda Adams had Iguana's up and running, so did Tyson Blume at Uli's. Toni Veltri the owner of the Ocean Beach Hotel offered up free coffee and donuts to all comers. Toni's generosity was based largely on the fact the city does not allow him to serve food until 11 a.m. daily because of his liquor license.
The other improvement I was thrilled to see was actual Tour De White Rock T-shirts for sale to the public. For years I have been trying to buy a T-shirt to no avail. They were only for the volounteers. Friday night when I saw the booth at the Hillclimb I almost fell over. Not having my wallet with me I asked the vendors if they would be out at the Hillclimb on Saturday and the road race Sunday. They assured me they would be there. Well the demand must have been so incredible they sold out everything because I did not see them out Saturday or Sunday. So here's hoping next year the T-shirts are made again, and perhaps this time even sold a month or so in the local shops to drum up interest.
I could go on and on about all the screw ups I witnessed this year (shuttle bus to nowhere?), but why plough the same old ground.
What I am urging the city to institute is a;
A Needs Assessment is a systematic exploration of the way things are and the way they should be. These "things" are usually associated with organizational and/or individual performance.
Why design and conduct a Needs Assessment?
- What learning will be accomplished?
- What changes in behavior and performance are expected?
- Will we get them?
- What are the expected economic costs and benefits of any projected solutions?
ALL of the stakeholders and that includes the residents of White Rock, need to be engaged in why White Rock's race is the most poorly attended of the four other races in BC Superweek. The UBC Grand Prix this year in its first year of operation drew large crowds, as did the return of the Giro Di Burnaby and don't get me started about how Delta capitalizes on the Tour De White Rock.
This year there was another race in the Okanagon. More riders than normal pulled out of racing here Sunday and headed for the Cascadia Race which begins on the Monday following our race. Countless riders that did participate in this years road race didn't even bother to finish the race.
So White Rock it's over to you. The Tour should be one of the anchors for our summer tourism schedule. As it is, it is an embarrassment for all of us. Every year the riders I speak to rave about the natural beauty of White Rock, saying it is the most spectacular course they race on all year. They too scratch their heads on why no one comes out to see it.
Simply saying the city does a poor job of promoting the event is a cop out. It is part of the problem, but at the heart of the matter we have a much more serious problem. What is it?
I'm not sure, but a full investigation of ALL the stakeholders should be undertaken now, while it is still fresh in everyone's mind.
July 07, 2011
The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.
Mayor Catherine Ferguson and a portion of her Council recently hosted an information session for citizens of White Rock. The room at the White Rock Community Centre seemed to be an appropriate location. The room was full to capacity. Following the Mayor's address a representative from the outside planning group spoke at length and elaborated on the many diagrams displayed on easels around the room.
As a regular at community engagement sessions I was pleasantly surprised to see in addition to what I call "the usual suspects", a clique of people who are concerned enough about their community, they attend everything including the mind numbing biweekly Council sessions.
The focus of the "charrette" was the long range design for development of our town centre which will be bounded by Thrift Avenue on the south, 16th Avenue on the north, George Street on the West and Martin Street on the western boundary.
Throughout the evening the theme of the information centre focused on green spaces and the free movement of foot traffic throughout the long range plan for the future development of the 20-25 year development plan.
As expected given how our city is geographically challenged in actual size, there were various designs presented that would be anchored by up to 5 high rise towers. The design panel made up from Council members, planning experts and average citizens one could see there had been a major effort put forth to address the concerns of all involved.
Once the presentation was completed the evening turned to a question period. The tone of the meeting thankfully in large part was very positive. One could not help but notice the citizens in attendance were encouraged by the openness and consultative tone of the meeting. Residents up to this point had been asked for their input as the basis of the framework was worked through to get us to the stage we now find ourselves at. It was announced in September or October there will be another opportunity for the community to have additional input.
Sitting amongst the 40 or 50 citizens in attendance, I could not help but think if this same process had been followed prior to the Miramar/Bosa high rise tower been instituted, there would not have been the now infamous rift in the community. The evening was a great step in the right direction to heal the division created in White Rock by the way the Miramar project was literally dropped into our laps. I personally will never forget reading the headline in the local fish wrap " White Rock Whale Wall Coming Down" or something to that effect. In that first article then Councillor Cliff Annabelle extolled how when the proposed high rise development commenced it would be very likely our famed whale wall would have to be removed. Like the majority of the residents in White rock this was the first we learned about the proposed 4 high rise development located in our "town centre." Having lived in White Rock for over 30 years I questioned that anyone up to this point had ever referred to the area around Hillcrest Plaza as our town centre.
There is no need to constantly revisit and dwell on the past indiscretions of the Mayor and Council of the day.
The charette was unable to start with a fresh slate. Every discussion obviously was centred around how to best move forward around the major development of Miramar village which will soon commence phase 2 with the addition of two additional towers. The Avra high rise tower located on the opposite side of Johnston Road from Miramar is now fully in construction mode and the corner of Thrift and Johnston will also apparently begin development in the next calendar year.
During the final stages of the public question period some members of the community in attendance identified they had participated in similar public information sessions a number of times of the years. Though there had never been such a comprehensive long term plan put forth to the best of my memory.
I think the Kodak moment came when local realtor Larry Robinson stood and addressed the panel of experts and citizens in attendance. Robinson in my humble opinion hit the proverbial nail on the head when he said "White Rock has been getting by on it's good looks." So true. As I write this editorial the sun is breaking over Mount Baker to the East. It is 6 a.m. and a group of kayakers are already heading out for a paddle on Semiahmoo Bay that is still as a sheet of glass. The birds are singing, the smell of the ocean air wafts over the hillside and dozens of early morning walkers are charging up and down our famed pier and along the beautiful seaside promenade. There are so many things we take for granted. Our beauty andits ability to fucntion as a liveable city certainly one of them.
To paraphrase TROOPER – "If You Don't Like What You've Got Why Don't You Change It?"
The charette was a good first step. Now it is time for all of us to join into the discussion if we honestly care about our home's future. IT IS MY WHITE ROCK, and if you want, it can be YOUR WHITE ROCK too.
June 17, 2011
I Need A Hug
On a part time basis I teach at a private college in Vancouver that prepares young men and women for a career in the recording/music industry.
I have learned a lot over the past 5 years from these young people. They are full of rage. In large part they are ticking time bombs.
As our institute is a private facility it is not bound by the same rules these young people have been used to in the public school system. Don’t get me wrong we have a manual that looks like the phone book of rules and regulations. The one big difference is discipline. The school allows each teacher to assess a situation and deal with them individually.
Given I have little propensity for B.S. I have had to discipline some of these students in a swift and decisive manner in order to not disrupt the rest of the class. On numerous occasions I have found myself thinking perhaps I was a little rough on this student. With out exception after the class has adjourned these students come up to me and THANK ME. Thank me for caring enough to give them s@#t.
From such a small sample group one cannot paint all youth with one stroke. But I have seen the pattern that erupted last night, take shape well in advance. Facebook, twitter and cell phones may be referred to as social media, but give it a quick spin and you have anti-social media, which facilitated the rioters . How many times on television last night did you see young people mooning for the cameras?
Time and time again I witnessed the students organizing a place to meet up to go as a mob to events like the big fireworks, which are a summer event in Vancouver. The students feel the need to travel in large groups for safety, as they will no doubt encounter large groups of people looking for a fight. And a fight nowadays does not end when someone hits the ground, sadly that is when everyone piles on. The news this morning has crackled with information that over 150 people ended up in St. Paul’s and Vancouver General hospital. A couple of the injured suffered serious injuries.
The Vancouver Police Department should have a lot of tough questions to answer today for their inaction. I also have years of experience with large groups at concerts. As soon as a troublemaker can be identified they need to be removed from the area immediately, before they rile up the other patrons. Last night it appeared the police were content to simply stand back and let it burn, hoping the crowd would eventually burn themselves out. Well they did burn themselves out, but not before they burnt out and destroyed a portion of downtown Vancouver.
Want to start the healing and the prevention? Start handing out those hugs Mom and Dad.
June 09, 2011
Wham Bam Thank You Zalm
June 12 anti-hst organizer and former Premier of British Columbia visited White Rock for a town hall meeting. Prior to his arrival Bill took time out to speak with us.
Bill you and to a lesser extent Chris Delaney have become the faces for the anti-HST movement. What motivated you after all these years of being out of politics to step back into the proverbial ring?
Every Premier and every finance Minister since the time of Bill Bennett had been approached by the Federal government to assume the HST. It is intended to be a National tax, of equal value throughout the country, and eventually a Global tax. The argument has always been that we want a world wide level playing field for business and trade. Not unlike what they’ve done in Europe. Every premier and finance Minister, including Carol Taylor for the B.C. Liberals turned down the request as a bad deal for B.C.. The B.C. Liberals during the May 2009 provincial election told us they were not bringing in the HST and also told us that the B.C. deficit would not exceed $ 450mm. When after the election they had to admit that the deficit was more like $ 2.5 billion and it was discovered that they had been secretly working with the Feds. for introducing the HST and that they had accepted a $ 1.6 billion federal bribe to fill the big hole they had left us, I decided to begin the “Initiative movement”.
Your grassroots movement certainly captured the imagination of tens of thousands of British Columbians. Are your spirits buoyed by such a strong response from average citizens?
In B.C., unlike anywhere in the British Commonwealth, we have legislation for direct democracy. It’s called referendum, which had been introduced by Social Credit under Bill Vander Zalm. The rules are extremely difficult and have again been changed by the B.C. Liberal cabinet, but the people are overjoyed at having the opportunity of, for the first time in our history, being able to tell their elected representatives what they want rather than the elected representative telling the people what they’re going to get. The response has been overwhelming and I’m excited about the benefits for democracy regardless of which party governs.
Do you think we have reached a point of hardship in British Columbia that we will be seeing more and more citizens initiatives?
We live in the computer age and people are far better informed than what they would have been 50 years ago. People now have a chance to fight an elected dictatorship and having to accept whatever a party and its leader dictate. We will see many more initiatives and referendums though, because it is extremely difficult and demanding, it will be limited to major issues affecting practically all the people.
The Liberals have claimed if the majority of the people in British Columbia vote against keeping the HST, they will be forced to return somewhere in the neighbourhood of a Billion dollars to Ottawa. Do you buy that figure given it has been such a short period of time that the Provincial government has been collecting the tax?
The B.C. Liberals entered into an agreement with the Feds. to repay the “bribe” should the tax be cancelled. The B.C. government has already received $ 1 Billion for which repayment would have to be negotiated. The Federal government now collects an additional $ 300mm in income tax from B.C. because what used to be a tax deductable expense for B.C. business is now, since they are rebated tax paid, a taxable expense. By the time the B.C. Liberals finally cancel the tax (they’ll drag it out as long as they can) this will probably be double the amount. Regardless of what the repayment, it’s a bargain compared to the $ 24 billion consumers will pay over the next 10 years.
When Kevin Falcon was recently criticized in a television interview for allocating millions of dollars of taxpayer's money in an advertising campaign to urge British Columbians to retain the HST. Falcon in his own defence claimed it was justified in that it is the job of the government of the day to keep the populace informed. Could I please have your opinion on spending all the money on advertising and Falcon's comment.
A giant waste of money. An insult to the people. Money that should be going to neglected needs such as families with autistic children. These are not information ads, they are pure and simple politics. They are the government promoting the HST for their big corporate friends (the people that fund their campaigns) and for their own tax grab to pay for mismanagement.
A number of business owners have come out in support of the HST. Many businesses claim switching their computers and cash registers back to the old system will cost them hundreds of dollars. Do you have an opinion or a comment for these people?
If the tax is so good for business, they should already have benefited enough to simply push a button on the computer and change over. Small business, especially in the big economic contributors in the smaller communities of this province, depend on the consumers for their survival. Taking billions of dollars away from the consumers will not help business – especially so in those communities dependent on tourism.
Yourself and co-anti HST advocate Chris Delaney will be here in White Rock this Sunday afternoon. What can we expect from your visit?
We hope to convince everyone to vote YES to extinguish the HST and go back to the old GST and PST on a limited amount of goods and not on services. Our competition is not Ontario, Quebec or New Foundland nor Greece, Spain or Portugal, our competition is Alberta, Saskatchewan , Manitoba, Idaho, Washington etc. where they do not have an HST. Today in Canada, only the provinces without the HST are creating new jobs and have the lowest unemployment.
No doubt you have a number of these events planned before mid-July when the vote is over. How many of these events will you be partaking in? How far throughout British Columbia will you be travelling?
We have already travelled to every part of the province, I have not missed a meeting and don’t intend to.
Will your lovely wife Lillian be travelling with you to White Rock Sunday?
It’s in the afternoon and Lillian will be with me, lovely as ever.
Final question. Were you at all surprised at the outcome in the recent Federal election. One would assume after all the years you spent in politics you must still do some armchair quarterbacking.
Somewhat pleasantly surprised, we finally have a much needed, for the time, majority government – they can now do the things they believe in and presumably stand for.
May 11, 2011
On Sunday May 1 the BREAKING NEWS banner scrolled across television sets throughout North America. The President of the United States Barack Obama was schedule to address the nation.
Warnings like this tend to make me feel slightly uneasy. I have a clear view of America out the front window. Living next door to the United States of America has a long list of advantages and conversely disadvantages.
Obama's speech is now firmly ensconced in the history books.
I have some very basic problems with how the story unfolded.
1. In his broadcast that Sunday evening Obama stated how the killing of Bin Laden was a joint effort between the United States and Pakistan. By Monday Pakistan was vehemently denying they had any knowledge of the U.S. operation.
2. Initial reports stated Bin Laden used a woman as a humans shield. The next day it was revealed in fact Bin Laden's wife was with him in their bedroom when the Navy Seals burst in. She moved towards the captors and was shot in the leg.
3. Bin Laden was killed in a fire fight when the Navy Seals finally located him in the compound. Now come reports from Bin Laden's daughter who was in an adjacent room in the compound. She has stated her father did not resist, was captured and then executed.
4. Monday morning the Internet was full of images of the Bin Laden corpse. The photos were quickly dismissed as old photos that were photo shopped showing half his face blown off. Within hours the U.S. stated they had photos of the deceased Bin Laden but they would not be releasing them in fears it would be perceived as "spiking the ball."
5. Within 24 hours the United States announced they had buried Bin Laden's corpse at sea. In line with Muslim tradition of a body must be buried within 24 hours. Burying him at sea would prevent any type of shrine being erected in his honour.
The list goes on and on. The official story is constantly changing, and you know the spin and story changes are just beginning.
Do I believe Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York's World Trade Centres? I am not sure, again there are so many conflicting stories of what exactly happened that day that will forever be etched in out memories. I have to ask if he was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Centres, why is that not stated for the record on the FBI Most Wanted list?
Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death
Osama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.
The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden. An additional $2 million is being offered through a program developed and funded by the Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association.
CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
I don't know what happened, and that bothers me. The United States entered the soverign soil of a foreign country, captured and executed a foreign citizen that had not officially been charged with ANYTHING. Indicted yes, but that is hardly sufficient reason in my world to murder anyone.
Let's for a minute reverse the situation. Imagine if Al Qaeda covertly entered the United States, captured an American citizen and executed them stating they felt the individual was a war criminal. Imagine America's outrage and subsequently how we as Canadians would react.
If we are to believe the official story, the Navy Seals monitored the compound Bin Laden was apparently holed up in since August. Would it not have been possible to inform the Pakistan government of their suspicions. Lock down the compound, wait him out and arrest him and bring him back to the United States to stand trial? Dead men don't talk.
The Soviet War in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the indigenous Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers. The mujahideen found military and financial support from a variety of sources including the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Egypt, China and other nations. The Afghan war became a proxy war in the broader context of the late Cold War.
It is time to dampen the U.S.A. rhetoric. Our next door neighbours are in financial ruin. Could this event be nothing more than an up with America morale booster. 'We're Back Baby!"
At the end of President Obama's appearance on 60 Minutes this past Sunday evening, he ended his interview by stating. "Anyone that disbelieves the person we got in Pakistan was Osama Bin Laden, needs to have their head examined."
So where is that examination room?
The now famous war room picture of President Obama, Vice President Biden, Foreign Affairs Minister Hillary Clinton and the Chiefs of Staff.
For some unexplained reason the supposed live takedown footage of Bin Laden went dark for 24 minutes. None of the 27 Navy Seals that took part in the raid have been identified?
Has the announcement of Osama's demise lessened the Taliban's resolve?
May 03, 2011
ORANGE CRUSH? Not Really
Alright I give up. I will now start to take polls a little more seriously. I scoffed when the pundits had Christy Clark walking through the competition to take the Liberal leadership, and very honestly I was suspect of the predictions Quebec was experiencing an “orange crush” of NDP support.
We all make mistakes.
With that said from the comfort of my armchair when the early picture of the Conservative majority and NDP official opposition was announced just 40 minutes into the British Columbia broadcast, well like everyone else I was shocked. Not because the Conservatives did so well, but lord have mercy on the support of the NDP in Quebec of all places . I suppose you had to be there.
My gut tells me there was an undercurrent spreading across the country no one really saw prior to, during or for that matter post election. I think what we saw was the inevitable backlash from Canadians saying “I am sick and tired of the Conservatives and the Liberals playing political keep away.” I don’t for a minute mean to insinuate the NDP did not run a strong campaign. Locally SUSAN KEEPING of the NDP fared very well at both all candidates meetings. In fact she made huge strides which resulted in her beating the Liberal candidate HARDY STAUB for second place amongst the candidates.
We woke up yesterday morning and by 8 a.m. MICHAEL IGNATIEFF had fallen on the sword, and resigned. GILLES DUCEPPE conceded defeat election night and ELIXABETH MAY got her wish, one seat in Ottawa.
MAY will be a force to be reckoned with. She’s little but she’s loud and she has proven she does not suffer fools well. Welcome to Ottawa Ms. MAY.
There were a few seat changes in British Columbia but generally things remained status quo, unlike the rest of the country. What does that say about us? Well I guess life is pretty good for the majority of people in British Columbia. The voter turnout in B.C. was not much more than the last federal election which set an all time low.
Setting differences aside today I congratulate RUSS HIEBERT on his win. I would also personally like to acknowledge three of the other candidates locally. LARRY COLERO of the Green Party and Independents AART LOOYE and DAVID HAWKINS. The only three candidates I had any type of interaction with leading up to the election. How and why did I meet them? Well I met them out on the streets of the riding.. The fact they all turned their collar up and gave it their best shot ranks them pretty high in my books.
We'll talk in four years. Damn it feels good saying that.
April 21, 2011
I want to pitch for the New York Yankess. Hear the roar of the crowd as I strike out the last batter to win game 7 of the World Series. Is it going to happen? Only in my dreams.
After sitting through two nights of All Candidate meetings in White Rock, I am convinced all of the candidates would like to be the MP for this area. They can get in line right behind me, and my dream.
I do not mean to casually dismiss any of the candidates. Their intentions I believe are sincere in varying degrees. But at the end of the day RUSS HIEBERT is heading for Ottawa and I am not bound for Cooperstown.
Roughly four hours of mind numbing rhetoric from all the candidates did not change anyone in the audience’s minds. Those in attendance arrived ready to support their friends or the party they like, and there was nothing new to hear.
If I was to turn up in Florida at the Yankees training camp hoping to take the place of Mariano Rivera, before I went I would work 18 hours a day for a year for my one shot. I can pitch but I am not in the same league as Rivera. Heck I was once the starting pitcher for the Hjorth Road Yankees, does that count? Much the same way for the candidates that turned up this week at the Star of the Sea and at the United Church.
I am not sure what to make of the news this week that the NDP is leading the BLOC in the popularity polls in Quebec. Is there something going on in the East we have not seen here on the west coast?
I spend more time than most of you walking the hillside of White Rock . I have only encountered one candidate out door knocking and main streeting. Green Party candidate LARRY COLERO was making his way introducing himself to people along Marine Drive last weekend. That’s it. I have not received any campaign literature in my mail. The advertising dollars spent to date is minimal. I have not had one of the candidates or their supporters knock on my door looking for my support. Over the two all candidates meetings the only candidate that highlighted they have a web site or are using social media was SUSAN KEEPING of the NDP.
Unless there is ground swell afoot that I have missed this is the non election, election. Could it be we are simply burned out on voting? Will the youth get out the vote this year and make a difference. It seems to be the only ground swell I have seen out there. Though I have not heard or seen any sign of that happening in this riding. The average age at the two all candidate meetings was tipping 70+.
None of the established political parties in Canada shows any appetite to bring forth some form of legislation that would increase the turnout at the polls. The simple method is adopting the system used in Australia. If you don’t vote you get a notice on your income tax that you are being billed $100.00 . So for all the rhetoric from all the parties stating they would like to see more Canadians participating in, don’t expect it to be instituded in our lifetime. Winning an election is all about getting YOUR supporters out. Some parties are more adept at mobilizing their party members.
So what the hell is the solution? You tell me. I have to suit up and get back out there on the mound to work on my change up. I can't just turn up.
March 30, 2011
Well I didn’t take very long for the Federal Election to snap into the goofy section of the public opinion meter.
ELIZABETH MAY federal leader of the Green Party was informed again this week, “thanks but no thanks.” Last year it was due to the fact the Green Party was not running candidates in every riding, well as history showed us - after the public outcry MAY was welcomed to sit down at the table with “the boys.” You could hear the teeth gnashing clear across the country. You see ELIZABETH MAY does not owe anyone – anything. She is a loose cannon that cannot be controlled and constantly will go “off the script.” Nothing could be worse for the other candidates. Elizabeth does not play fair. IGNATIEFF, HARPER, DUCEPPE and LAYTON spar with each other on a regular basis. Ask anyone who has climbed into the ring what is like to face someone you know nothing about. Do they have a good left hook? Do they like to fight inside? What’s the deal?
It is only a couple of days since the news release was issued by the consortium television networks. Given they couldn’t trot out last year’s excuse again, the spin doctors huddled down in the back room and came up with this year’s excuse. IGNATIEFF couldn’t run for a microphone quicke enough to say how he would welcome MAY to the debate. Do you not think for a minute all the other leaders didn't sign off on this proposal before it was made public. If you believe the leaders were not consulted first, I have a sinkhole in Semiahmoo Park to show you.
Of course IGNATIEFF now would like to see ELIZABETH MAY at the table for the debate. IGNATIEFF has little to lose compared to HARPER. If anyone is going to get hammered by MAY during the debate it will be HARPER. There could be some collateral damage to the Liberals, but it is mainly HARPER and to a lesser extent the NDP that will be in the cross hairs of ELIZABETH MAY.
A vote for the GREEN PARTY is not a wasted vote. Most people I think would like to se the GREEN PARTY expand their platform from what is perceived as nothing more than an environmental group. It is interesting to note tough, the GREEN PARTY is the largest political party in the world, based on membership.
What kind of democracy excludes a party with the support of one million of its citizens?
What kind of democracy allows a handful of TV executives to decide that a party that only runs candidates in one province has more right to be in a national leaders’ debate than a party with candidates in every riding?
In the last election, your voices won Elizabeth her rightful place in the debates. We can’t believe that we have to ask you to rally on her behalf yet again. But we do.
Here’s what you can do:
Vote in CBC’s poll on whether Elizabeth should be invited to the leaders’ debates
Donate to support Elizabeth’s battle for inclusion;
Sign our petition
Send a text message to the Chair of the Media Consortium, Mr. Troy Reeb of Global TV on his cell phone at 647-261-3752
Email the news directors of consortium members CBC, CTV, Global, TVA
Email party leaders Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe
Forward this message to your friends and family
(The Green Party broke 1% of the popular vote in the 2004 federal election, when it received 4.3% and qualified for federal funding. Its support has ranged between 4.5% and 14% since the 2006 federal election and it has not polled below 5% in any opinion poll from 2007 onwards. In the 2008 federal election, the Green Party of Canada was invited to the debates for the first time and achieved a high mark of 6.8% of the popular vote. With just under a million votes, it was the only federally-funded party to receive more votes than in 2006, but it still failed to win any seats.)
March 02, 2011
YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Not a day goes by that I don’t hear, read or see a news item that makes me scratch my head. For instance here are stories and my take that occurred in the past week.
Countries around the world are seizing foreign funds held by MUMMAR AL GADDAFI the well known dictator/despot of Libya since 1969. The first number I heard stunned me. Apparently GADAFFI has 39 BILLION squirreled away in foreign bank accounts. Stop for a moment and let that number sink in. Those are just the funds the family has stashed away OUTSIDE of Libya. What kind of wealth are they sitting on in the country. A country rich in oil that is home to many people that subsist on sand sandwiches and rancid goat entrails. Within a day or so the news dropped GADAFFI has at least 2 BILLION in Canadian banks.
As all this was unfolding Victoria singer NELLY FURTADO( possibly believing the best defense is an offense), came out Monday and stated she had been paid a million dollars for a 45 minute performance for the GADAFFI’S back in 2007. The fact the private concert was held in Italy is little consolation in my mind. Who the hell advised her this would be a good idea. I know the money is staggering, but would you play a picnic for Willie Picton? How about a backyard prison barbeque for Charlie Manson. FURTADO was obviously concerned a number of names had already come out in the U.S. press of American stars that have bellied up to the tyrant trough. FURTADO is offering to donate the million dollar fee to charity, now. Not a word about the interest which would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Over the weekend the wireless crackled with news our foreign affairs department were earnestly trying to secure the release of a Canadian citizen who was grabbed by the Taliban. Was he soldier? A Spy? Was he part of a covert military operation? Nope. He was in Afghanistan on holidays. Who the hell goes to Afghanistan on holidays? Again I understand if you were there working with an aid agency that would be one thing, but holidays in the Afghan highlands?
Roll up the rim, and roll up the cot. Monday night things were so busy at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New West, a half a dozen patients to the emergency ward were warehoused in the Tim Horton’s café off the lobby of the hospital. No one ends up at emergency in a relaxed easy going mood. NO a tragedy has hit your life or that of a loved one. Put yourself in the position of the patients or loved ones sitting in Tim Horton’s waiting for a doctor to see you. What is wrong with this picture?
Health Minister Speaks on Tim Hortons story
Colin Hansen calls last night's decision by Royal Columbian Hospital to treat patients in the Tim Horton's coffee shop "appropriate care," says no investigation necessary.
Imagine the furor if it was the Hansen family that was sitting there holding their loved ones hand next to the donut rack.
CHARLIE SHEEN. If he wasn’t a millionaire living behind giant walls in Beverly Hills his friends would be dragging him off to the psych ward or rehab at the very least. If you saw CHUCK on any of his recent television appearances you surely could see the guy was operating with just one oar in the water. Here’s hoping intervention happens sooner than later. That time bomb is ticking.
BEV ODA’S whole flip flop and fly over the insertion of (not) into an official government document was classic case of get the Spin Doctors on the set we need help here folks. After a couple of days of dodging the hard questions and spinning stupid stories out, the spin doctors came up with an aide used a stamped signature of Bev on the document without her knowledge. This when ODA contradicted that statement two days earlier. A week has passed and the story has disappeared. Actually kind of knocked off the Conservative radar by the latest news the Conservative party at the federal level was washing election funds fraudulently through local MP offices. Beautiful. And even that is sinking off the radar.
February 23, 2011
I was wrapping up my "sunny work in the yard" weekend on Sunday, watching the 6 o’clock news when a story caught my ear.
It seems a young married father up in Surrey was diagnosed with liver cancer a short period of time back. The cancer advanced faster than expected and his life expectancy was cut short. Steve Martin had always had a dream about building and owning a race car. A particular style and model of a Mazda that he used to watch at local speedways. When Steve’s buddies heard the sad news they went to work to complete Steve’s dream. Working around the clock for days the group of mechanics and body men completed the building of the car in a couple weeks. A job that would normally take months.
Last Friday they called Steve’s house and told him they had a surprise for him and that they would be over after lunch. They trailered the race car to the end of Steve’s street, fired it up and roared down his street. The friends expected from what they had heard about Steve’s condition he might only be able to come to the window. But nope, not old Steve. He pulled on his sweat pants and marched out into the street to inspect the car. Hugs were passed out all around, Steve smiled, his family cried, then Steve went back into the house. He was gone by the next morning. The will to live is a marvelous thing. But there comes a time when cancer sufferers KNOW.
A young lady in Surrey by the name of MEGAN McNEIL also showed amazing strength in the face of cancer. Still in her teens when she passed away a couple weeks back MEGAN fought the scourge of cancer with everything she had. Being a singer and a songwriter MEGAN felt she wanted to offer hope to other cancer sufferers. With the help of a Vancouver studio and producer Garth Richardson MEGAN and a group of other cancer patients went in and recorded the song “Will To Survive.” You can watch the haunting video by visiting her websit www.willtosurvive.org. MEGAN too passed away very quickly surrounded by loved ones.
If cancer has not come crashing into your life in a very personal way, thank your lucky stars. Statistics put 33% of Canadian women being diagnosed with cancer and 29% of Canadian men suffering the same fate. Take a moment and image 1 in 3 of your close personal friends are going to be struck with cancer. And the numbers are not getting any better. The very alarming statistic not many people talk about in childhood cancer. A decade ago it was a rarity. Not so much anymore.
So if the imagery of F_________CANCER bothers you, I am sorry. Sorry for you that you have not gone through the horror of the cancer ride.
February 2, 2011
Such Big Country – Such A Small Talent Pool
Do you recognize this lady? Her name is Marilyn Dennis. For YEARS she was the host of some woman’s hair chat show on CITY-TV out of Toronto. The show was carried locally here on City-TV 13.
One day last year she was gone. Pffft, vapourized. Can’t say I was sad to se her go. Though I had only watched nano seconds of previous shows, I couldn’t help but thinking how long is this woman going to be on the air? Don’t tell me it was because she was getting good ratings. Either she knew someone high up at City-TV or she worked cheap, or a combination of both.
In June 2008 after hosting City-Line for no less than 19 years, Dennis announced she will be hosting a new show, The Marilyn Dennis Show, on CTV. Little more was heard about this until June 2010 when CTV announced that the program would premiere in fall 2010. But due to studio construction the program premiered on January 10, 2011 on CTV
DENNIS was replaced by a striking black woman, who almost immediately went out and got pregnant, periodically as I surfed by the channel it was painful to watch this woman trying to navigate around the set as her baby bulge grew bigger and bigger. Once she popped the baby she was right back to work. No mat leave for this woman. Not when you have waited in the wings as long as she had for a national show.
But back to MARILYN DENNIS. Damn if I didn’t snap on the TV earlier this month and CTV has picked her up. Huh? Do we not have anyone else that could do the job?
In addition to us only having a dozen television actors, it appears now television is also going down that rabbit hole. Heck the cancel Corner Gas and spin off at least three shows starring “the stars of Corner Gas.” Give me a break.
There are a ton of talented gifted actors in this country. Come on networks spread your tiny wings and fly away. Let’s get some new blood on out TV’s. Who knows we might even be motivated to turn the boob tube on a little more often if we thought for a moment we might see something different.
I have to think I am like a lot of people that thought if I see one of those Vicki Gabereau commercials one more time about how to drive through a traffic circle, well there could be a hostage taking. They were on every commercial break for months then they disappeared. A new flight of Gabba Gabba Gabereau’s has appeared but she is toned down considerably.
Maybe it can all be explained by a local phenomenon in White Rock. ELIZABETH HOLLICK has painted a number of public art pieces throughout White Rock and South Surrey. I have heard the silent bitching from other artists. “Why does Elizabeth get all the good gigs?” Well let me answer that for you. ELIZABETH is a talented artist who gets out there and hustles herself. Then she turns up and does a professional job.
I don’t think it is as simple as that to why we only have 10 TV stars and a dozen actors in this country. I think it is born more out of laziness, on the part of the producers of Canadian television.
Certain actors have become like comfy old slippers. They don't bring attitude, they turn up on time, they work well with others and they aren't that expensive to hire. Sort of like JIM BELUSHI stateside.
January 25, 2011
What You Gonna Do?
The newest link in TRANSLINK’S network, the Canada Line which runs from Richmond to Downtown Vancouver could soon be shut down by a labour dispute.
Workers on the Canada Line which includes control room operation workers, maintenance workers and attendants.
After one year’s operation the workers are looking for a better deal specifically reagarding health and welfare benefits and pensions.
The 180 Canada Line workers hired by operator Protrans BC certified with the BCGEU in August 2009. Since then talks have been ongoing attempting to conclude a first collective agreement.
As a regular user of the Canada Line I applaud the efficiency and cleanliness with which the system is operated. I know the “old” SKYTRAIN is 25 years old, but there is no comparison.
Due in large part the Canada Line is a P3 project which means there is a private investor (Protrans owned by SNC Lavalin) that has a contract to operate the Canada Line for 35 years.
The workers are in a legal position to issue 72 hours then hit the bricks. How would this impact bus travel? Well the obvious solution would be for the buses to resume their old routes of driving right into downtown Vancouver. I am confident Translink and Coast Mountain Bus Company have already looked into the feasibility of simply going back to the old system. On the face of it one would think that would be an option.
But hold it a minute. Bus drivers and staff at Coast Mountain Bus company as well as Skytrain employees are also now in contract negotiations. My goodness can you imagine if they all walked out at the same time. Can you say gridlock?
Speaking and the lack thereof, the new bus lane on Highway 99 from the King George Highway to Highway 91 cut off is nearing completion. Millions of tax payer dollars have been spent on this project. I am still befuddle on why?
There is NEVER any traffic backup on this section of HWY 99 unless there is an accident, which would also limit the use of the bus lane. I can’t seem to get anyone to answer the simple questions of “Why?” for love nor money. I have been bounced from Victoria to Ottawa more times than a Russ Hiebert flight plan. Speaking of which Hiebert was trumpeting as recently as last week how wonderful the Conservative Government was for putting up the lion’s share of the 12 million dollars for the project. I once again ask the question why was there not an extension put from HWY 10 up to the existing bus lane heading into Vancouver? If they were serious about this new bus lane from King George Highway, why have they designed it in such a manner that the buses will have to merge back into traffic in the short distance. Once over the Serpentine River and once again over the BNSF rail overpass?
Norht of the Massey Tunnel another important link in the bus lane system is set to open in the next month or so. Once completed this will mean bus riders from South Surrey and White Rock will roar past idle traffic on Highway 99.
Commuters in their automobiles should not be surprised to see the smug looks on our faces out the windows of the old #351.
Now if TRANSLINK could improve the bus experience, oops sorry I was dreaming!
Backgrounder Journal Chamber of Commerce
A new northbound shoulder bus lane is being built between the King George Highway and Highway 91 in Metro Vancouver to improve transit service and reduce traffic congestion for commuters travelling from White Rock and Surrey. The project is a result of a partnership between the Government of Canada and the province.
"The Government of Canada is proud to work with our provincial partners on infrastructure projects that will create jobs, stimulate the economy,and improve highway safety for residents and visitors alike," said Russ Hiebert, Member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "This highway improvement project will go a long way toward easing traffic congestion and improving commuting times across metro Vancouver."
"Transit expansion is happening at a critical time in Metro Vancouver," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond. "At the rate the region is growing, we are investing in key projects to get people out of their cars and into transit. More people using transit will help their communities become healthier places to live, work and play."
The new six-kilometre northbound shoulder bus lane will open this spring.
The Province is investing $110 million for transit and road improvements on Highway 99. Improvements include 17 kilometres of separate shoulder bus lanes. A shoulder bus lane from Westminster Highway to Bridgeport Road is now open. Work continues to add more lanes north and south of the George Massey tunnel in both directions.
The Government of Canada is contributing $6.5 million toward this project. In total, the federal government has contributed $24.5 million toward transit improvements on Highway 99. The federal contribution to this project comes from the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, which provides funding to provincial, territorial and municipal construction-ready infrastructure projects. Since March 2009, over 400 projects have received a total federal investment of over $500 million under the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund across British Columbia.
On Dec. 2, 2010, the Government of Canada announced it is extending the construction deadline for a number of Economic Action Plan infrastructure projects. Proponents of projects under the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the Building Canada Fund Communities Component Top-Up, the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program and the Knowledge Infrastructure Program will now have until Oct. 31, 2011 to complete their projects.
Editor's Update - It was anounced after prees time that HWY 99 will in fact be widened to accomodate bus traffic over the Serpentine River. There are presently no plans to widen the road over the BNSF rail tracks along that sectin of HWY 99 northbound. Buses will merge back into the flow of traffic at the rail overpass.
January 19, 2011
Not In My Backyard
You heard the news, everyone was talking about it at the coffee shop last week.
A group of condo owners on the UBC grounds were up in arms because a development sign went up in the neighbourhood proposing a 12 bed hospice to be built down the street from their condo.
The reaction was swift and sure. The residents of said condo tower had all paid in the niehgbourhood of a million dollars for their homes, and would not in any way shape or form support a hospice being built n their neighbourhood.
The reason? Their cultural customs dictate that living near where people die is terribly bad luck. Fine by me. If that is your culture, adhere to it. Small problem though it is not the custom of “ours.” Now I realize many will say a statement like that only advances an us and them division of society.
First things first. The right to die with dignity and respect is part of “our” culture. Having recently walked that road I canot tell you from personal experience how important it was to my wife’s departure from this world, to have The White Rock Hospice Society located in close proximity to the hospital. Not so much for my wife but for me. I can’t imagine how long I would have stayed in a state of suspended reality had it not been for the assistance I received from the hospice. Now one must note the local hospice does not house terminally ill patients, that is left to the Peace Arch Hospital across the road.
The condo complex in question boasts 80% Asian owners. The representative for the condo owners I saw on television stated “This hospice should not be built here, it is against our custom to live near where people die. By allowing the hospice being built we will suffer not only mentally but financially. We will not be able to sell our condos for anywhere near what we paid if this building were to go ahead.”
Well both of these statement may be true. I suppose other Asian real estate seekers may have a problem with moving into a condo that is in close proximity to a hospice. I doubt if anyone I know would pass on the condo for that simple reason.
The battle has quickly dropped off the news radar. How do you deal with this topic and not run the risk of being branded a racist. Not good for business folks.
Me? Not so much. I am all for immigration. Immigrants developed this country that in the scheme of things is a very young country. The first wave of settlers were European. They too brought their customs with them and they became the groundwork for the very fabric of Canada. The simple fact we have only 33 million people in the second largest country in the world should tell you we need more people and a greater tax base. The fact we even have a paved road from coast to coast should not be taken for granted.
But and isn’t there always a but I support a modicam amount of assimilation into the society you are joining. Oh don’t get me wrong I don’t expect Indians to rip off their turbans and join the Kinsmen the first week they are here. But I do expect they abide by the same rules that govern the rest of us. Not wearing a helmut when you are riding a motorcycle in Canada because it will not fit over your turban is a perfect example. Helmut does not fit? Then you are not free to operate a motorcycle in Canada. Straight clean and simple. There is no grey area here. Immigrants to ANY country certainly should be encouraged to carry on and practise their customs, in private. Once your customs impact someone else it is a new game.
So to the residents of the condo tower at UBC I say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!” Your protest is two layered in my mind, first there is the stated cultural problem, but without exception every condo owner I heard speak on this matter, the topic quickly moved to how it would devalue their property.
I applaud the members of the Asian community that have come out full force swinging at the debate. A large number of recent immigrants believe the statements put forth by these owners does not but widen the gulf between the two communities that have co-existed and prospered side by side.
Can we not move past this debate? Perhaps sell your condo and move. Developments happen all the time, there is always a “not in my backyard” argument floated out there no matter what form the development comes in. As a matter of fact this group of Asian condo owners is not the first group to stand in the way of the development. Nope. The orginal site for construction of the hospice was next door to a frat house on the university grounds. The students registered their concern about the development to the University brass. Turns out the sorority boys felt their "kegger all night blow out parties" might be upsetting for the residents of a hospice.
Now that's Canadian.
January 06, 2011
YELL IT LIKE IT IS - Suffer The Little Children/Old Folks and Animals
You heard it. I know you did and your reaction hopefully was similar to mine. Just a day or so into the New Year, the news crackled with a story about how a 3 month old puppy was beaten to death in a motel room in Victoria.
I was almost sick to my stomach. As a matter of fact I found myself changing the channel or turning the volume down as the story was repeated adnauseum for a day or so. Slow news day?
I cannot sit idly by and watch anyone mistreating a child, an elderly person, a woman and any animal. Many years ago I was sitting in the Dell Hotel in Whalley in the middle of the afternoon (“Hey I was waiting for someone”) when a couple sitting in the sparsely occupied beer parlour got into it. I just figured it was none of my business. That was until the gentleman decided he was going to start pounding on his lady friend. I snapped like a cheap elastic band and jumped into the fray and tried to stop him from beating on her. That didn’t end too well because as I was rolling around the floor with buddy, the little woman decided to el kabong me with an empty beer pitcher. So things don’t always work out well when sticking my noise into other people’s business.
Back to Victoria. It turns out the guy was looking after a friend’s 3 month old pit bull in his motel room, when for reasons unknown, the dog angered him and he beat it to death. Just typing the words makes my stomach flip.
Police apparently responded to a number of 911 calls from other patrons of the motel. The young man was taken into custody and charges were being considered. BEING CONSIDERED? This person needs help. What kind of rage do you have building up inside yourself that you can actually kill a puppy with your bare hands? The guy is a ticking time bomb.
I have no problem with someone disciplining an animal or a child. Where I do have a problem is with bullies exhibiting their machoism on the aforementioned disenfranchised sector of our society.
Not on my watch.
December 29, 2010
LINGERIE - The Gift That Keeps On Giving
I decided for Christmas this year I would entertain purchasing the new girlfriend some lingerie. I can well imagine every woman reading this right about now is saying “This is not going to end well.”
Well it did end well. This year I decided I would adhere to the comments made by a number of women in my life over the years about purchasing lingerie. “Men always buy totally the wrong thing. Items that cut bind, lift separate, pull, push, squeeze are not comfortable for any period of time.” Funny I didn’t think you would be wearing said item(s) for hours. But that’s another story.
This story is about the different shopping habits of men and women. I and most men I know could pull up front of Mark’s Work Wearhouse, put on the four way flashers dash in, grab a pair of 33/34 boot cut jeans, grab a pack of t-shirts and a couple dress shirts and sweaters and be out in less than 10 minutes tops, barring any lineups.
Not the case with women. A true exhibition of the popular self help relationship enforcer MEN ARE FROM MARS-WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. Most women pride themselves on their shopping ability. They will discuss amongst themselves different techniques for improving on the shopping experience. Arrival time is all important. Door crashers are for losers. A well seasoned female shopper will circle her prey with the cat like maneuvers of a cougar. Mid morning from my extensive experience watching women shop, seems to be optimum. Arrive around 10:30 do a low level pass over a couple of stores, take a lunch break visit with shopping mate and then go cross furough back over the ploughed retail landscape.
Oh yes well we are on the subject of the differences between men and women shopping, here is a tip for all you struggling woman’s retail outlets. GET SOME CHAIRS! I can guarantee we will be less apt to be breathing down our wife/girlfriend’s necks if we are comfortable. Hell I even encountered a story in Los Angeles that provided a cappuccino and some reading material along with the comfy chair. My late wife showed her appreciation monetarily.
So this brings me to a visit over to the Morgan Crossing/Grandview Corners location of La Vie En Rose. Lovely store, helpful staff yet over an hour to spend $50.00 gift certificate. Now I realize everything was 50% off but still, how can it take that long to spend even $100.00? See male method above for shopping. For men, time stands still when you are waiting for your significant other to do some shopping. All the while a little voice is screaming in your head “How Long Have We Been Here?”
So let’s just leave it like this. Men and women shop much the same way we make love.
A man walks right in, sees what he likes, picks it up and takes it home. Conversely woman will want to check out the entire lay of the land so to speak. Compare them, size them up, weigh out the attributes of each item/suitor. Well you get the idea.
Me? I am just happy that New Year’s Eve I will be celebrating all the wonderful differences between men and women. If you know what I mean!
December 22, 2010
YELL IT LIKE IT IS – Adios 2010
As we get ready to fold up 2010 and place it in the memory box I can’t help but thinking about what 2011 will hold for us.
A month before the Christmas rush the news channels and fish wraps were heralding how bad it was going to be at retail. What were they thinking. Did they not take into consideration their very own sales forces would be walking through these same retail outlets looking for ad dollars? You can well imagine the response from hard up against it retailers. In the past week or so there was a complete about face about how on average we would be spending $1,000.00 this Christmas. These reports came to us live from the shopping malls with very little human traffic in the background.
Watch for the announcement in the first quarter of 2011 how we are dangerously close to entering a recession. Really?
Stats Canada last month released a shocking piece of info. Sixty percent of Canadians polled stated they would be in dire financial straits if they missed ONE PAY CHEQUE. Look around you for God’s sake. We have been in a recession for months. It is just the Government and the Media do not find it beneficial to make the announcement.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not a prophet of doom. Just a realist. The strong will not only survive they will succeed. The marginal fringe players will disappear as a natural attrition occurs.
We have “too many” of everything. In last week’s column I lamented I did not think a little town like White Rock could support 7 sushi restaurants. It is not just White Rock, it is everywhere. If you eliminated 50% of __________________(fill in the blank) the remaining businesses would pick up the slack and prosper.
I look forward to the new world of retail that will emerge in 2011. The smart business owners will continue on the same personal service path they have followed for years, and perhaps even ramp it up a tad more. As consumers we will drive past a number of businesses where “people call us by our name.”
It is the CHEERS principle and I for one welcome it.
Political commentator BILL MAHER posted this Christmas greeting. It pretty much says it all. (CLICK HERE)
December 15, 2010
Sue Sue Sushi
Last week the inevitable happened. JUST FRIENDS CAFE went under. To be truthful it doesn’t really surprise me. In that I spend an inordinate amount of time uptown I quite often use coffee shops and restaurants as rendezvous points to meet people I may want to do an interview with or whatever for this newspaper.
I am a pretty fine chef if the truth be known, so I am at times overly critical of the food and service industry. I bristle when I am paying for someone’s learning curve. I also object to paying $5.50 for a coffee and muffin. But that is a story for another day.
So when I saw JUST FRIENDS had bit the dust I asked one of the girls in BUY LOW if she knew what was going into the space. She told me it was going to be a Sushi Restaurant.
Well you could have pushed me over with a stiff breeze. Does White Rock NEED another sushi joint? Counting from 16th Avenue and heading south, there will now be 6 sushi restaurants from 16th Avenue to 5 Corners. A mere two blocks..
KAPPA on George Street is the “grand old dame” that has been around the longest and offers the most authentic tatami room style of dining. The other joints I have tried and not to say they are not average to good, but they all fall short of one of the finest sushi joints perhaps in the Lower Mainland. TAKA’S @ 5 Corners is world class.
In a past life when I had an expense account and ran with the elite of the rock n’ roll industry TOJO’S on Broadway was the top restaurant visiting rock stars wanted to visit. His reputation preceeds him. So I know of what I speak when it comes to sushi.
TOJO on Broadway is spectacular, a little pricey, but worth the extra green. At least I used to feel that way until TAKA and MIGOOMI rolled into White Rock a couple of years back straight from the hotbed of sushi - Austin, Texas.
If you have not been to TAKA’S and you like sushi, do yourself a favour. There are only a few seats at the sit up bar and a couple of tables that seat 3-4 people. Most of the business TAKA does is take out. Tray after tray fly out the door as you sit and dine.
But back to the new sushi joint BLACK TUNA SUSHIE in Hillcrest Mall. I have to figure they did due diligence and checked out heir competition. To me and a number of people I have talked to it seems like overkill. Canthat many sushi restaurants in a 2 block strip in a town of 18,000 (mainly white) citizens survive?
It's called free enterprise folks, and if it does succeed it will be at the cost of at least one of the peripheral sushi restaurants closing.
As a lady friend said when I told her we were getting another sushi joint, she replied “Oh great I can go get my nails done, buy some used clothes and eat sushi. Welcome to White Rock.” She may be a little harsh in her observation, but......
December 08, 2010
Bus Service To Grandview Corners
The plight of White Rock businesses has been beaten like an Afghany beats his yak. But get ready for another round of teeth gnashing and hand ringing.
Beginning Monday White Rock’s community shuttle bus (Cranley) will extend his route on 24th avenue over Highway 99 smack dab into the middle of what some believe is retail mecca, Grandview Corners.
Big box stores abound, Wal-Mart is open 24 hours a two block long shopping district I like to call “Anywhere USA” will welcome the increased business from White Rock and South Surrey.
I was talking to someone the other day and they asked me if I shop much outside of White Rock. I explained I didn’t, in that I am able to do the majority of my shopping on foot. I am shopping for one, so I don’t need to hit Costco up for 100 rolls of toilet paper. As a matter of fact it has now been slightly over a year since my wife passed and I think I just finished up some of the aforementioned toilet paper we bought in 2009 at Costco. Damn near had to put an addition on to the house for that package of paper.
My trap line includes, The Bread Box for fruits, vegetables, sliced meat and cheese. Hillcrest Bakery for bread and baked goods. BUY LOW my go to store for just about everything I need food wise. For a store that is not that big I have never not found an item I am looking for. They may not have 4 different types of oyster sauce but they will have one. Then it is on up to Penguin Meat for my chicken, fish and meat. Semiahmoo Mall has my one stop health store NUTRITION HOUSE and if I do need a pair of socks or whatever in the clothing department it is off to Zeller’s.
Do I shop locally to support businesses in White Rock? I suppose inadvertently I do, but I will not shop locally just for the sake of it. The aforementioned outlets are purveyors of what I call “leaning into it.” By that I mean they have great prices, friendly service and a good selection and it is all within walking distance from my home.
I fear now that the bus services is going to be extended on Monday to Grandview Corners our local business owners are going to take another hit, that most can ill afford.
Times are rough out there. No one else is will admit it, but let me tell you folks WE ARE IN A RECESSION. Don’t believe me. Stats Canada two weeks ago came out with the bombshell survey results stating 60% of Canadians would be in dire financial straights if they missed one pay cheque. Let that settle it in for a moment.
Am I concerned? You bet I am. I think I will go for a walk!
November 22, 2010
Where Are The Great Leaders?
The Liberals who themselves are in a state of disarray after the implosion from the resignation of Premier Gordon Campbell, must be rubbing their hands with glee.
Last week the NDP also faced a cross roads. Could CAROLE JAMES lead the party to success in the next Provincial election? Well if we are to believe the figures from the NDP emergency meeting on Saturday, the membership is 80% behind CAROLE JAMES. Really? Yet the sidebar to Saturday’s gathering was the fact sitting MLA’s in the NDP party do not share the same high percentage for approval rating. JAMES likely will not face a full leadership review until a year from now. Great, right on the eve of the next Provincial election they may or may not change leaders. If they do in fact face the obvious, which is, CAROLE JAMES who has lost two Provincial elections as the leader of the NDP is not capable of winning the election. So where is the rationale to elect a new leader on the eve of the Provincial election, leaving no time for them to establish and exhibit their leadership qualities.
I admit in my heart of hearts IF I HAD TO CHOOSE a particular political party based solely on their platform, it would probably be the NDP. In principle I support what the NDP used to stand for. My grandfather was an organizer for the CCF Party and Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan. My father, “Uncle Joe” Chesney put his name forward as a candidate for the NDP and ran in Langley a Socred stronghold. He had his hat handed to him by BOB MCLELLAND.
God where are the new faces on the political scene? I keep hearing that politics can’t attract great people. I don’t buy that. I think the problem lies in attracting candidates that are committed to making the world a better place. Not in making their bank accounts better places. Ask yourself this. Where are all the NDP MLA’s that suffered the scorched earth results when the Liberals swept to power. Where are they now? Are they back in the business world leading Fortune 500 companies? Not likely. Hell former NDP Premier GLEN CLARK was ill suited for any type of employment. A part time union organizer and some time bar tender hardly prepared him for the return to real life. I maintain someone dropped a dime and called in a favour to get him a job with the JIM PATTISON empire. How good would it look for a former Premier to literally be out of work?
The best PATTISON could come up with when questioned why such a capitalist would hire a devout left wing person to run anything in his company. PATTISON is on record as stating “Glen Clark deserves an opportunity to make a new life outside politics, and he’s got a family to feed.”
So here we are once again sucking it up, holding our noses and preparing to vote for the lesser of two or three evils. Is there another Trudeau type in the wings? Someone that can capture our imagination of a nation? Names from the past like GORDON WILSON and RITA JOHNSTON are rumoured to be considering pumping some like into something called the B.C. Conservative Party
Someday I hope to see a woman elected as Premier or Prime Minister in Canada. The “are they capable” seems Neanderthal to even debate.
But it certainly won’t be CAROLE JAMES. Canada has had women twice lead political parties. (One at the Provincial level, RITA JOHNSON Premier of British Columbia (3 months) and KIM CAMPBELL Conservative Prime Minister (5 months). Neither was elected to that position, they both came by default.)
Time will tell, but I for one am getting tired of waiting!
November 08, 2010
Have You Ever Been Fired?
Does anyone ever get fired anymore?
Does anyone have to pay the consequence for their actions. Let’s take a look at a few recent news items that make my blood run cold.
First of all what do you think about the Provincial Liberals pouring a half a BILLION dollars into a retractable roof for BC Place? You would have to be living in a cave to have not heard our retractable roof does not retract in inclement weather. Pardon me? Someone please wipe the egg off their face, step up and take one for the team. Whoever signed off on this asinine expenditure should be fired. No stories. Tax dollars poured into a black hole. Tell a senior that is living from week to week on a meager income watching government services slashed time and time again impacting their very existence.
What about the construction company that decided to extend the road closure on HWY 99 the other morning to facilitate the paving of the “bus lane to nowhere.” Commuters were backed up for miles cueing up for the one lane northbound into Vancouver. Was it because there was a threat of rain on Friday that caused the construction crew to say “What the heck, we’re up and rolling now, let’s get this thing finished?” Who knows? But again at the very least there should be a massive fine levied against this outfit, but again, WHO MADE THE DECISION? One would have to believe it was a foreman out on the Highway and not someone in an ivory tower. Should they have to walk the plank?
Is anyone at AIR CANADA in China going to have to wear the security breach that allowed the young male Asian traveler with some rubber mask of an old man board a flight out of Hong King? When I first heard the news I thought it happened this mid-week when the news broke. Nope it happened late last week ladies and gentlemen. It appears some agency was doing everything possible to keep this one under the radar. Trying to piece together what happened is very difficult. AIR CANADA reps claimed they had concerns but airport officials overruled their concerns. Never mind splitting hairs, who the hell was the final checkpoint that cleared a passenger supposedly with an AEROPLAN frequent travelers card and a boarding pass? Our minister of Public Safety VIC TOEWS when alerted to the latest breach of security seemed to brush the incident off as nothing out of the ordinary with the exception of the rubber mask. Statistics may support his stance. Over 10,000 illegal travelers arrive in Canada annually. 50% of the claimants are released from custody to await their fate.
Call me crazy, but again publicly humiliate this person and make an example of him. He should be on an airplane heading home as we speak. Those legal immigrants that wish to immigrate to Canada must be even more livid than I am.
Why should someone at AIR CANADA or the CANADIAN BORDER SERVICES be fired? Because the next time someone is thinking of sluffing off on their duty, they may stop for a moment and say “Whoa, wait a minute. I just thought of something. They made that guy that blew a half a billion on the roof, the clown on Highway 99 and that jackass at Air Canada walk the plank and suffer the public humiliation. Gee maybe I should take a little more care than I had planned on.”
We’re talking about serious mistakes here. Its not like you put a file in the wrong folder in a filing cabinet at work, bought the wrong kind of coffee for the lunchroom?
Today in Surrey Provincial court CAROL BERNER will appear for sentencing in the death of young ALEXA MIDDELAER who was struck down by CAROL BERNER as she fed horses on the side of the road in Delta. ALEXA'S parents think the rumoured 3-5 years in jail for BERNER is an insult. Sadly I hope they are bracing themselves for a sentence less than 3-5 years.
No one pays.
October 26, 2010
Our Man In Victoria?
Basi/Virk WE THE SHEEPLE
I feel sick. With each passing day and new revelation about the BASI/VIRK trial I find myself getting angrier and angrier.
My God how stupid does the Provincial Government think we are. Obviously they credit us with very little intelligence and even less gumption to stand up and say “Enough is enough!”
Last week on the eve of former Finance Minister Gary Farrel Collins being called before the courts to answer questions on the sale of BC Rail, all of a sudden MSSRS. VIRK and BASI after clogging up the courts for no less than 7 years, had an epiphany and decided they would cop a guilty plea and collapse the trial. Shut it down, sweep it under the carpet and run for cover.
I don’t care to go into the machinations of the trial itself, I am sure you have read the political spin over and over. No one in Victoria seems to be able to get their story straight, on who in fact signed off on the stinking deal. Initially the cost to the taxpayers for the trial was pegged at 6 million dollars. That quickly ballooned to $11 million dollars after we dutifully swallowed the $6 million dollar pill without much more than a whimper.
Those outside of the mainstream media who are not beholding to the government for advertising largesse have been screaming from the top of the mount. Mainstream media pundits have vacillated back and forth on the topic. Kid gloves would be an appropriate description for the easy ride that is being dished out by many well respected political scribes. One must remember all levels of Government, from civic to provincial to federal are the top advertisers for mainstream media. Let’s face it if the White Rock Auto Mall was a big advertiser of a media outlet, do you think you would see any “Cars Are Bad” articles? Doubtful.
So they have hunkered down in Victoria and they are waiting out the male storm of discontent amongst the electorate. Campbell trots out a little cabinet shuffle to try to divert the media, he has an Address To The Province tomorrow evening. Some observers think CAMPBELL will step down as the leader. Presently the approval rating for the BC Liberals is hovering in single digits (9%). Don't bet on CAMPBELL stepping down.
You may be asking yourself, what the heck can I do? Well I’ll tell you what you can do. You can send a letter, and email or make a personal visit to the offices of our local MLA’S Hogg, Falcon and Cadieux. These people were elected by you and I to represent us in Victoria. Their silence is sickening.
Do none of them have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say “This Is So Wrong!” I am doubting it, but I will be pleasantly surprised. Surprised because you will probably read this and think, “Yeah someone should do something about that.”
Let me give you a little piece advice my late father “Uncle Joe” passed along to me at a very young age. PUT UP OR SHUT UP! My father taught me if politicians get one letter, they toss it in the garbage, if they get 10 letters they create a file, if they get 100 letters they have a meeting. If they get a thousand letters, they do whatever they are told/asked. Don’t believe me? Just give it a try. You can make a difference. One at a time we can do it.
If you’re not prepared to PUT UP well then as UNCLE JOE used to say - SHUT UP!
Send GORDON HOGG a letter (CLICK HERE)
Send KEVIN FALCON a letter (CLICK HERE)
Send STEPHANIE CADIEUX a letter (CLICK HERE)
October 06, 2010
Young People in White Rock About To Be Very "Bored"
A month or so back a group of skateboarders, long boarders to be specific were up in arms the city of White Rock was enforcing a by-law that had been on the books for a number of years. The by-law specifically bans the operation of skateboards, long boards and in line roller blades in the most highly populated areas of uptown White Rock.
The group staged a ceremonious skate complete with a police escort from Bakerview Park in South Surrey to City Hall. Upon their arrival at City Hall Mayor Ferguson afforded them an audience to address their concerns. The boarders felt they were being unfairly targeted by the police and by-law officers. It was rumoured that some skateboards were actually seized by the authorities.
Mayor Ferguson listened to the delegation and then subsequently informed them they were free to appear before council as a delegation if they felt they could make a case to rescind the present by-law.
Mayor Ferguosn meets with media and boarders
Well stick a fork in those long/slate boarders, it is all over for them. This past weekend a boarder in Abbotsford was critically injured when struck by an SUV. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for possibly being impaired and eye witnesses claimed the boarder went right through a stop sign before colliding with the car. A couple of months back there was a horrifying accident when a young girl skateboarding down Mount Seymour Parkway had some difficulty and collided with a vehicle killing the young boarder instantly.
Locally last week tragedy struck really close to home. The mother of a good friend of mine, PAT L’ORANGE was knocked down by a boarder as she was walking to her home on Thrift. L’ORANGE was more than willing to praise the young boarder who stayed with her and followed the ambulance to the hospital where she was treated for broken bones. PAT is 90 years old folks. She had her legs torn out from underneath her and fell hard breaking her wrist in numerous places.
Anyone who has been uptown especially walking along Johnston Road south of Thrift all the way down to Buena Vista has witnessed skateboarders rocketing down the sidewalk. Oh they will tell you they can control their boards. Sure unless someone steps out from behind a car or steps out of a business and walks right into their path.
It’s over boarders. Pack up and head for higher ground. No matter how remorseful the boarder who hit PAT LORANGE was, there is not a hope in hell the Mayor and Council are going to rescind the present by-law. As a matter of fact after this most recent incident look to see the by-law enforced with a heavier hand. Today I was uptown and two lon boarders roared by me on the sidewalk, both not wearing the mandatory safety helmet.
Stick a fork in them and point them to the skate park.
September 20, 2010
Today 10 White Rock fire fighters and their support crew will leave Hope on the final leg of their grueling 2 week bicycle tour of Canada.
On Tuesday August 31 the riders dipped the wheels of their road bikes into the Atlantic Ocean off of Halifax. It has been a steady grind since as the group faced the expected weather, health and automotive problems. But soldier on they did.
I have driven from Halifax to Vancouver. Making good time IN A CAR it can take 6 days, of very long driving days. Our fire fighters have done it in just 14 days. You have got to be rocking and rolling to be keeping up that kind of pace.
So today somewhere around 2 p.m. the cavalcade of the 10 riders and their support team will ride back into their hometown. I pray to God we give them a heroe’s welcome.
This group of gentlemen have spread the good will and good name of White Rock from COAST2COAST. The very least we can do is go for a walk in the sunshine today and give them a wave, a two thumbs up or a salute as the returns home.
The goal of the ride over and above simply wanting to complete an almost insurmountable task, is to raise awareness and money for the good work VARIETY does. There will probably be a bucket or something at the big wrap up party at the parking lot by the museum today, or if you would like to make a donation in the name of the fire fighters – follow this link.
In the coming months we will be bringing you exciting news on another front from the White Rock Fire Hall. Very quietly and without a lot of fanfare a group at the local hall, located one of our heritage fire trucks and have been rebuilding it in their spare time. The truck is close to being completed and it will become a show piece for our city at numerous fairs, parades and community gatherings in the future.
There is a very popular television show these days way up on pay tv called SONS OF ANARCHY. The series is sort of what THE SOPRANOS was to organized crime, but this time it takes the viewer inside the world of an outlaw motorcycle gang. What struck me when I watched an episode of it, being a big fan from the beginning with THE SOPRANOS, was the “tribe mentality.”
A very good book I read this year was called TRIBES by Seth Godin. We all want to be a member of a tribe, whether or not we are even aware of it. Joining a sports team, becoming a member of an organization, it is a time honoured tradition to gather. In early times it was necessary for survival.
Fire fighters are a TRIBE. They wear uniforms to inform us of their tribe. The congregate and travel in groups. Safety in numbers. Safety in a tribe.
You and I are also members of a tribe. We are the White Rock tribe. No other town in the Lower Mainland has the community spirit we possess. Oh we can, and I do bitch and complain about it at times, but it is here bubbling under the surface.
Privately we go on and on to people how wonderful it is to live and play in White Rock. Today between 2 & 3 p.m. – SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD.
Welcome home to all the riders and their team. You did us proud, SHORE2SHORE.
September 13, 2010
Does She Promote Surrey To Promote Herself?
Years of gainful employment in the media has afforded me to witness first hand cetain people that have a way with the media. TERRY DAVID MULLIGAN famous for being famous, OZZY OSBOURNE reality television madman, BRUCE ALLEN the mouth that roared, and to that list I can now add Surrey Mayor DIANNE WATTS.
The media is in a frenzy lately to hang GORDON CAMPBELL from the tallest fruit baring HST tree. To make the story palatabliele and to breathe life into it, there must be a successor. The two names most commonly batted about are former cabinet minister CAROLE TAYLOR and Surrey Mayor DIANNE WATTS. Presnt day Health Minister KEVIN FALCON is thrown in to the mix just to avoid reverse sexism charges.
DIANNE WATTS draws the media like moths to a flame. My years of media manipulation also tells me there is a puppet master behind WATT’S curtain that has not, and may never step from the shadows. In the last 72 hours alone The Province newspaper has carried a front page story (Friday) on homelessness in Surrey and WATT’S battle to solve the problem at the local level. Tired of waiting for Victoria to offer up a solution the mayor of the second largest city in the province has become pro-active. Sunday’s Province carried a long editorial on how WATTS is going to the mat to ensure her city receives its fair share of transit dollars.
This past week in an interview on CBC Radio when the question of whether or not she was going to seek the top job in Victoria, Watts evaded the question brilliantly by saying “I am really enjoying what I am doing right now.” HUH?
That response can be spun a million different ways. It is not a denial or a confirmation on the actual question.
Even though The White Rock Sun and DON PITCAIRN may have been the first media outlet to actually go out on the end of the diving board and ask the question if in fact DIANNE WATTS was interested in throwing her hat in the ring, in the back of my mind I could see the scenario whereby WATTS might be a dark horse. But in the last 30 days as the heat to roast CAMPBELL has increased, the profile of WATTS has gone through the roof.
Conspiracy theorists can form at the right. The big question is could WATTS turn the fortune of the British Colubia Liberals around before the next election?
Certainly, if they get to it sooner than later. How that could roll out remains to be seen. First step is to get her elected and that would have to wait until the next election, unless one of the local MLA’S like KEVIN FALCON or GORDON HOGG were to step down and force a by-election. I can't see wither MLA doing that. So what the scenario could possibly be if it is being worked on for the time being is information that is only being shared in the backrooms by the spin doctors. They could wait until the next Provincial election in 3 years and run her in one of the ridings locally, take their lumps in the Provincial election and re-group with WATTS at the helm for the next Provincial election in 8 years.
That is a long time to be in waiting Mayor WATTS? Therein may be the problem.
September 8, 2010
If you live in or around White Rock for the past number of months at public events you have probably seen the White Rock fire fighters information tent. The fire fighters leave Halifax harbour today Wednesday September 8).
Over the next 14 days and nights a group of 10 fire fighters will cycle in relay from coast to coast. Now just stop to think about that for a moment. Halifax to Vancouver in just 14 days. I have made that drive and it can easily take 6 days in a car. I suppose given I have made that drive I can get a sense of the monumental task these fire fighters have taken on.
This past long weekend I drove with a friend out to Calgary for a wedding. I often found myself imagining during that drive what it would be like to cycle just through the Rockies.
The whole idea for the ride was hatched a couple of years ago when a couple fire fighters were sitting around the hall on an overnight shift. With the exception of a couple of the riders, none of the other fire fighters had ever ridden any long distance. Since the concept of the ride was hatched, the riders partaking in the SHORE2SHORE ride have trained extensively, made huge personal sacrifices and spent thousands of dollars out of their own pocket to purchase cycles with the help of the local cycle shop O’HAGANS PENINSULA CYCLES. In addition to financial considerations DAMIAN from PENINSULA CYCLES will also join in the ride.
TERRY FOX started the trend in Canada of coast to coast journeys to raise awareness and funds in 1980. STEVE FONYO who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately did his cross Canada run in 1984/85. RICK HANSEN did his part when he completed his trip around the world in a wheel chair by crossing Canada.
Since then it seems like there is someone or some group that is crossing Canada to raise funds and awareness for personal reasons. In the case of the White Rock fire fighters two of their members have family members that have benefited by the generosity of VARIETY. The decision on who to raise funds for once the ride was set was an easy decision.
Our White Rock fire fighters this past year staged a very public information campaign when it appeared the Mayor and Council due to financial constraints were considering thoughts of merging the White Rock Fire Department with Surrey.
When I ran for a seat on White Rock Council in 2005 and again in 2008 the fire fighters were front and centre in having the candidates identified who would and who would not support White Rock the fire department maintaining autonomy. I went on record in both elections as stating any change in the fire services for White Rock was a matter for a referendum. I feel the same way today. Something as profound as a change like that to our emergency services should be a decision made by the electorate, not the elected.
I go for a ride now and then on my mountain bike. Give the topography of White Rock one normally encounters a hill at some point on a ride. Now I wouldn’t for a moment try to spin the fact I am a health nut, but I do try to get my share of exercise through walking. A simple ride up Marine Drive to Crescent Beach reminds me constantly my mind may be writing schedules my body can’t cash.
I am in awe of what our fire fighters have set out to accomplish. I look forward to their triumphant return to White Rock on September 22. Keep reading THE SUN to keep up on how the ride is going. We will also be your source for all the information on the “Welcome Home” ceremonies.
In the meantime if you feel compelled to make a donation you can simply
WRFF – WE SALUTE YOU!
August 30, 2010
We are now half way into our second week of boiling our drinking water in White Rock. A sight inconvenience for most, perhaps a tad more dire for the restaurants in White Rock who are loading in ice cubes and buying drinking water at an alarming rate.
Funny how something that we all take/took for granted for so long can cause some people to enter into a state of hysteria.
Like the majority of White Rock residents I heard about the boil water advisory on the late news on Friday evening (11 p.m.) I immediately went to EPCOR’S and The City of White Rock’s web site. Neither had any information posted. My day began the next morning around 5 a.m. as I tried to cobble together any information on the situation for the pages of The White Rock Sun. EPCOR and The City of White Rock still did not have any information on their site. It was not until somewhere between 7 & 8 a.m., that I noticed both the sites had been updated with information on the water problem.
To some this may seem strange. Not to me. As an internet pioneer I long ago stopped setting my hair on fire when confronted with an entire sector of our society in charge of matters like this do not put as high a level of importance on the internet as I do. Hell I started a paper because I believed it was the wave of the future.
By mid Saturday morning the downtown news media was in a flap. Camera crews and reporters were dispatched to the far reaches of Semiahmoo Bay. Then the monkey see monkey do syndrome kicked in. By Sunday evening the local media had fanned the flames of a minor news story into a full blown national disaster. All of the national newscasts Sunday evening carried the WHITE ROCK DISASTER? story at the top of their newscasts.
Like most of you I started to receive the emails and phone calls to see if I was alright. Did we have another Walkerton on our hands?
STOP RIGHT THERE!
Unlike the water from the taps - the information from EPCOR was now flowing just fine. Media updates were being provided and the water provider for White Rock had kicked into gear to identify and rectify the problem as quickly as possible.
Could they and the City of White Rock done better. You bet they could have. But as the old saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Thank goodness we got a warning that turned out to be not of the serious nature. I believe all parties involved including Fraser Health are heaving a huge sigh of relief, as they should be. Quite possibly we dodged a serious bullet here.
As we move forward I hope cooler heads prevail on a number of fronts. The three White Rock Councillors MCLEAN, MEYERS and SINCLAIR that ran to the media to express their concerns should be taken out back behind the proverbial woodshed in my humble opinion. I applaud their concerns if they are well intended. I castigate them if this is just political grandstanding at its worst. A behind closed door meeting of Council quite possibly may be warranted to answer questions the Councillors have. But broadcasting it from the top of the highest hill is reactionary at the very least.
The tribal drums in White Rock are pounding out loud and clear “CHLORINATE THE WATER!!!” Here too I hope all the stakeholders are able to step back and in the light of aftermath seriously weigh out our options as we move on.
The water system in White Rock dates back nearly a hundred years. We are one of the last cities/municipalities in the Lower Mainland that has a private water system.
Within the past year EPCOR circulated a questionairre with everyone’s water bills asking how residents felt about adding chlorine to the White Rock water. I do not have the exact numbers but far and away they heard loud and clear there was no appetite to alter our beautiful natural water.
Has this recent situation changed the minds and swayed public opinion in White Rock? It is too early to tell at this point so lets just all sit back, take a big deep breath and seriously examine all the possibilities as we move forward. It has not yet been determined beyond a shadow of a doubt what caused the problem. Was it human error? A breakdown in the water system. Who knows. Certainly not any of the “let’s set our hair on fire gang.”
At the end of the day I tip my hat to EPCOR for erring on the safe side. As I said, “Could they have done better?” Probably. They’re human. I will continue to think they did their very best until proven differently.
To the City of White Rock. Let’s get a first alert system in place as soon as possible. Enter all the phone numbers and email addresses you can lay your hands on and develop a data base that is used ONLY in the case of an emergency. The future of our drinking water is just one element we should be concerned about. The other being the trainloads of hazardous material that is dragged by our front doors on a daily basis causes me more concern. If there were to be a toxic spill in the area the first notice we would receive at this point in time, is the sucking of the air out of our lungs as the hazardous cloud drifted up the hillside.
I hope there will be a full accounting of the situation once the problem is identified and solved. A town hall meeting is in order. After all this Council promised when elected two years ago they would ensure a more open and transparent governance of White Rock was about to unfold. Well since then I have not seen the promised Town Hall meetings. What I have seen is an unprecedented damn “In Camera” meetings.
August 23, 2010
While conducting an interview with Councillor bon vivant HELEN FATHERS I asked her how she would describe White Rock. I thought it was a fairly easy question until I noticed her hesitation.
It is not as easy as you might think.
Here is how I would describe White Rock;
White Rock is a beautiful little town on the outskirts of Vancouver. Unlike most of the other urban sprawl stretching out from Vancouver, you have to be coming to White Rock to get here. It really is not on the road to anywhere. I think Ladner and Steveston have a similar feel due to their geographical locale. Though neither possesses quite as breathtaking scenery.
In the early morning hours I still hear the odd crab fisherman taking his traps out to the end of the pier. The clickety clack clickety clack of the little cart that carries the many traps perched precariously is a sound of White Rock I remember from my childhood.
The early morning smell of a still smouldering beach campfire takes me back to the days of a “mickey” of Canadian Club shoved down your cowboy boot standing around a campfire at 1,000 steps.
The roar of an outlaw motorcycle strangely enough gets the synapses going. Back in the 70’s White Rock was home to one of the very few motorcycle gangs in the Lower Mainland. The Gypsy Wheelers later morphed into the Satan’s Angels and then into one of the first chapters of the Hells Angels in Western Canada. The “gang” was a major part of the fiber of White Rock for years. I remember back in the 90’s while living in Vancouver I was reading the morning Province newspaper one morning when I saw some headline to the effect; MLA attends Funeral with Hells Angels - White Rock. As my White Rock radar was always on high, I read the story with interest. Our then and still MLA Gordon Hogg had attending a funeral for a gentleman who had been associated with some of the member of the Hells Angels. His name was MERVYN MAYES and was an original Gypsy Wheeler. Hogg when confronted by the media outside the church, very succinctly told the reporters he was here to attend the funeral of a friend he had played Little League baseball with, gone to school with and attended Scouts as a child. He then told the media to look somewhere else. for a story, he was here to honour a friend’s memory. Plain and simple a bond between two young men over rode political correctness. It probably wouldn't have happened elsewhere.
The White Rock Wave, which I have spoken before about, is one of my favourite descriptions of White Rock. We all do it. When crossing a street and a car stops to let us cross we all invariably in a variety of different ways acknowledge the drive. Usually with a polite little wave – the White Rock Wave.
Breakfast at the Five Corners Diner or the Roadhouse Grill. Comfort food and comfortable homey welcoming atmosphere. It doesn’t get much better.
Lunch at Sugar & Spice uptown. A true haven for the seniors in our community. The owner of this lovely little soup and sandwich shop Helen, dotes and fawns on her customers. It truly is something to see. Most are greeted by their name.
The Whaling Wall on Johnston road is always a source of pride to take visitors to see and nonchalantly say “Oh yes, the whaling wall it is quite beautiful isn’t it” like everyone has one in their city. Painted in the 70’s thank goodness the location that was chosen was not in direct sunlight. Though it might be time for us to get a fund going to have the artist WYLAND jump on a plane and come back and touch it up a bit.
And finally in my description of WHITE ROCK I would have to say, the people. As I walk quite a bit to get around town, I meet a myriad of people that are more than willing to sit and talk about the past, the present or the future and maybe solve a few of the world problems while we are at it. Just go for a walk along the pier or the promenade early one morning. If you look someone in the eye you will usually be greeted with a friendly good morning. I call them “dawnbreakers.” The same person in the middle of the day in the same locale might just walk by in silence.
Finally our weekend water advisory also exposed the underbelly some of us are fortunate enough to call home. People were forwarding email alerts, I would bet you also got a phone call or two from friends and family that live outside the area expressing concern for your well being, it was the talk of the Farmer's Market on Sunday and a handmade sign was taped to the front door of the Buy Low warning residents that may not have heard there was a water advisory in place. People taking care of each other. It is called community and I cherish it.
So there you go. My White Rock. What makes up YOUR White Rock?
White Rock Sun
August 16, 2010
This Little Sign Says a Lot About White Rock.
The little homemade sign has been hanging in THE BREAD BOX on Johnston road for about 6 weeks. If you are not a regular patron of the BREAD BOX just up from 5 Corners you may have a little trouble understanding the meaning of the sign.
You see the regulars that shop for the best deals on vegetables, fruits, sliced meats and farm fresh eggs take ownership of The Bread Box. The staff very quickly become like members of your extended family. Andrew the owner of the business somewhat takes a backseat to Mary the Madam of the Market. And Beata and newcomer Toni all have their own distinct personalities that enrich your shopping experience.
Shoppers at THE BREAD BOX will patiently stand in line, sometimes for up to a half an hour. Imagine that ever happening at a Big Box store. While in line the customers of the BREAD BOX socialize, get caught up on the local news, watch the ever present music DVDS that are running in the store on the TV, or simply just take the time to unwind and let life slide by at a manageable pace.
A few months back THE BREAD BOX was in need of a new refrigerator. Any other store would just gone out and bought the fridge. But not the folks at THE BREAD BOX. You see not only did “they” need a fridge, but “we” needed a fridge.
Nearly 6 weeks back a jar appeared near the cash register with the little sign you see above this article. People would toss in a loonie or a twoonie, no one from the store staff ever said anything other than thank you very much.
Well lo and behold if someone didn’t smash out the door window in the early morning hours one night and grab the jar and make off with $60 or $70. It was more than just the loss of the money jug. Andrews insurance would go up, he would have to pay a deductible, on and on. But jug #2 magically appeared a couple of days later. Well lo and behold if someone didn’t grab that one too. This time during store hours in the confusion of the crowd or whatever, someone slipped the jug under their coat or in their bag and made off with the second jug. So now we are on to jug#3.
I have to feel sorry for whoever took the money. I can only assume they have some trouble in their lives that have dictated this ill begotten behaviour. If they were in trouble financially and needed a litle food I am confident Andrew and Mary would have ensured they didn't go hungry. Sadly it was probably not food the money was spent on.
The poor souls. They have never had Mary lean across the counter and give you a big hug,seen that beautiful big smile of Beata that lights up the room or Andrews dry sense of humour as he kids with the regulars. Toni is the quiet one, but we're sure she will loosen up she's new. When Beata started work at The Bread Box she was shy & quiet. Of course next to Mary a stan up comedian would seem shy and quiet.
So don’t worry about “us” and "our" fridge. We’ll get it. We’re in no big hurry. If we were, we wouldn’t be shopping at The Bread Box.
July 20, 2010
Street Of Dreams?
Sometimes Even If You Build It They Don't Come
Under gorgeous sunny skies the 31st annual TOUR DE WHITE ROCK went off seamlessly. Oh I can imagine there had to be some hair pulling and teeth gnashing in the background. Anytime you stage an undertaking as large as a three day event there are always problems. If no one notices the organizers have done their job.
I have been critical in the past of the marketing and promotion of the event, and that will continue again this year. With a slight twist. I will offer up to the organizers some very basic "marketing 101" ideas that they may or may not choose to implement. I fully understand over the years I have rubbed some people the wrong way. (some?)
For the past 3 decades I have been gainfully employed to market and publicize events. Try to put yourself in my shoes. Take your profession, and then imagine having to sit by year after year and watch someone totally inept trying to do your job. It is frustrating, but I am taking the high road and going to keep it as positive as possible. I will not digress into name calling and finger pointing. I don't and this town certainly does not need any more negative energy.
So let us begin.
Publicize the race sooner. The posters promoting the event went up around town just 7 days in advance. This is too short a period of time for people to plan their busy summer schedule. Three weeks minimum. Also design a poster that is eye catching. This year's poster just faded into whatever surface is was attached to. TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Simply hammer home TOUR DE WHITE ROCK, the dates and then direct people to your website for further information. Period. Make the poster so beautiful that people will actually want to take them down carefully and frame them. Sell them in a merchandising booth on the waterfront. More on the merchandise a little later
It might seem like a small thing, but print on both sides of the banner that you hang up over Johnston Road to promote the event. It cost a fraction more to do both sides.
Take a cue from the TOUR DE DELTA when it comes to bus board advertising
Tour De Delta
Tour De White Rock
The TOUR DE DELTA is very effective in that the event is giant, large and grabs your attention. If you live in the White Rock/South Surrey area you can't tell me you did not notice the TOUR DE DELTA bus boards. Conversely yesterday afternoon when I was up at the bus exchange waiting for the community shuttle buses to come in and out to take these pictures, a bus driver came over and asked me what I was doing. I explained I was taking pictures of the two different bus boards on the buses. He replied "Were there any for the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK?" I pointed to HIS bus just down from us and said "There Is One Right There." It might be worthwhile to get a better bang for our buck to join forces with the TOUR DE DELTA and share the cost of bus boards. More bang for your buck. I am not sure how many bus boards White Rock purchased, but in the half hour or so that I stood up at the exchange I saw 6 TOUR DE DELTA and just 1 TOUR DE WHITE ROCK.
Getting free publicity is always a challenge. I can understand the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK does not have a big war chest to go out and buy expensive television advertising, but if worked properly we could very easily see the media coverage expanded on.
Case in point on Sunday morning I was watching the morning news on GLOBAL with "Double J" Jay Janower in the first hour 8-9 and he did not make any mention of the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK. In the second hour 9-10 following a far too long story on weiner dog races, just as he went to the commercial break he blurted out "In the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK last night (Saturday) so and so won." It sounded like the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK was over. Now I know from years of working with the media it is a challenge to get them to buy into what you are trying to promote. It can be done.
Here is another free idea. Each Sunday morning Global TV does a small town BC. A feature they run all morning long on a small town, they tell you a bit about the city, show some pictures etc. etc. Get out in front of it now and make sure next year White Rock is the "small town" on the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK weekend. Tons of free publicity. CHRISTIE GORDON the weather person on Global on the weekend grew up in Crescent Beach. She is well aware of the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK.
Merchandise aka FREE ADVERTISING
the 2010 version
last year's model
Each year the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK creates t-shirts for their volunteers to wear the day of the race. Great idea. Emblazon VOLUNTEER big across the back. Then take the ordinary shirts and get the local merchants to wear them in the weeks leading up to the event. Put them for sale in the gift shops around town. Have you ever tried to buy a White Rock souvenir t-shirt period. Most of the crap that is sold around town says BC, GASTOWN or whatever. The sale of the t-shirts easily will cover the cost. It becomes a wash and all that promotion is FREE OF CHARGE.
In closing I hope my critique and proposals are taken in the proper light. I do it because I LOVE WHITE ROCK. I make sure every year I invite a friend from somewhere to come to White Rock and enjoy THE RACE with me. In the past I have had TOUR DE WHITE ROCK parties. Some years you can hear the noise coming from all kinds of deck parties. This year nothing. Along Victoria Drive where I live near the pier, in the past dozens of people came out to their back gates and set up lawn chairs and cheered on the riders. One lady is all I saw this year. Sad but true.
The only way we are going to turn this event around is if we all pull together. I am prepared to do my part. I could go on and on, but to be quite frank this is what I do for a living and I have to get out there and service the people that pay me to promote and publicize their careers and events.
White Rock Sun
July 14, 2010
Native Americans believe eagles are messengers and guides to the other side. Now so do you as I. Thank you for sharing an extremely personal time in your life. Laurie must have been an exceptional person. I hope you're doing okay.
Here is a shot from the snows of Dec 2008. When you read the book you'll understand the significance of this picture.
"The Circle of Healing"
by Jeff Guidry
Jeff Guidry with Freedom
Every day at Sarvey Wildlife Center we witness first hand the incredible battle for life that our animal brothers and sisters go through. This is a story of one Bald Eagle's magnificent spirit and sheer will to live.
It was mid-summer when a call came in reporting a fledgling Bald Eagle had fallen out of a nest on a Seattle golf course. Our very own Crazy Bob went to the rescue and transported her to the Center. She arrived with two broken wings. When asked to take her to the vet, I jump at the chance.
When I load this hurt and terrified baby into the car, she neither whimpers nor fights; she can't even stand. This is not a good sign; she is obviously in very bad shape. As I drive to Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital, I constantly look back to check on my very special passenger. She stares at me with big beautiful brown eyes, her mouth slightly agape. I drive a little faster—this Bald Eagle must live!
She is operated on and has both wings pinned; they are now immobile. Back at Sarvey we lay her in the bottom half of a huge carrier filled with shredded newspaper for support.
The fight for her life begins.
Twice a day a tube is pushed down her throat so that food and medicine can be pumped into her. A week goes by with no change; she still cannot stand up. At three weeks, there's a slight change, but it's for the worse. I'm getting scared for this young Bald Eagle.
Working at the Center, you begin to recognize a look, a look that indicates death is winning. This bruised and broken Bald Eagle was losing the battle but not her dignity. The struggle for her life was not over.
Every chance I get I talk softly to her, telling her to hold on, to fight, to live. Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know.
Four weeks go by and she is still on her belly. There is nothing so heartbreaking as seeing the life force of this majestic bird slowly slip away.
At five weeks we are approaching the end.
Sarvey Wildlife Center believes in giving every soul that comes in a chance to live; but when it is painfully clear that death is the only way out, the decision is made to let that particular spirit continue on its journey. We were at this juncture; this beautiful baby eagle was given one week to see if she could, or would, stand up. This was a crushing blow. Every day that next week I checked to see if she was up. The answer was always the same... "No."
On the following Thursday I could barely face going to the Center. As I walked in not a word was spoken but everyone wore a huge grin. I raced back to the young Bald Eagle's cage, and there she stood in all her glory!
She was standing! She had won. This girl had cheated death by a mere 24 hours. She was going to make it. She was going to get her second chance.
After another week the pins in her wings were removed. Her right wing was perfect, but her left was not. She couldn't fully extend it. We tried physical therapy and hoped a little time was all she needed, but there was no significant progress. Her wing was too badly damaged. She would never fly, never soar the skies with her people. At least her life was saved, but for what? Was she doomed to live her life in a cage? Not exactly, for this was a special soul.
Bald Eagles normally want nothing to do with humans and will go to great lengths to get away from them. This girl liked people; she wanted to see what you were doing, to follow where you were going, and to see whom you were going with. She was very curious.
About this time our director suggested that I try to glove train her. She had the right temperament; maybe she could do educational programs. Wouldn't that be something? Very few eagles are able or willing to be handled, much less remain calm in front of large crowds. The work began.
I started getting her used to the glove, a little at a time. At first she was thinking, "OK, I'll step on your hand but only with one foot." Then, "OK, I'll use both feet but only for a second." Later, "Yeah you can take me part way out of my cage, then I'll jump right back in." And finally, "OK, I'll let you walk around with me on your arm. Hey, this is fun!"
At this point, every day a volunteer would take this Bald Eagle out for a cruise around the clinic. It was time for her final test—jesses, the leather straps that attach to the ankles of birds-of-prey to give control to the handler and to protect the bird from injury or escape. I put the jesses on her—a piece of cake. It was as if she were born with them on. This was certainly a very mellow Bald Eagle.
Now it was almost time for her first program, but she needed a name. None that we could come up with seemed right, and then Paula, a volunteer, said, "Hey, what about Freedom?" That was it; that was her spirit and her spirit was why grandfather sent her to us. She was ready.
Freedom is now four years old and one of Sarvey Wildlife Center's premier ambassadors. She clearly enjoys our programs and really knows how to turn on the charm. She is a star. Freedom has been on national television, on the front page of major newspapers, and is known across the country.
She is also one of the great loves of my life. She will touch her beak to the tip of my nose and stare into my eyes. At that moment our spirits are one.
I am the luckiest person on Earth.Thank you, Freedom.
(editor's note)...Jeff said, "Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know."
Now we all know why:
Freedom is alive because Jeff fought for her life, and there is no doubt that Freedom sensed his love and commitment. Jeff gave Freedom the support she needed to want to live.
When Jeff was later diagnosed with a serious illness requiring chemotherapy, he found himself turning to Freedom for support. Two or three times a week, whenever he felt well enough, he would drive from Bothell to Arlington to walk with Freedom around the grounds. Now it was Freedom's turn to give Jeff a reason to fight for his life.
Only a short time ago Jeff was informed there was no trace of the disease left in his body. He immediately left for the Center.
When he took Freedom out of her flight, she did something she had never done before: She extended her wings and wrapped them around him.
The circle of healing was now complete.
July 1, 2010 Canada Day
Tuesday afternoon under a brilliant blue sky I White Rock to take a friend up on a dinner invitation at her trailer in Birch Bay. She had been asking me for a couple of years, but going near the border on a weekend when she is usually at her trailer, did not appeal to me. Last week she mentioned she was taking the week off and why didn’t I come down for dinner on Tuesday? Why not indeed? Surely I should be able to just breeze across the border in the late afternoon. Mistake #1. Seems the kids got out of school and everyone was hitting the highway to beat the rush. I don’t do lineups very well. Take a big deep breath.
As a 30 year resident of White Rock many of you fellow old times will remember there was a time when you could and would pop across the border with the greatest of ease to pick up cheap groceries (read beer) get some gas and be back home all within a half hour or so. Then came September 11, 2001. 9/11 changed our lives and our freedom of movement across the invisible 49th parallel.
As it had been a couple of years since I drove into the States I forgot that all travelers entering the United States now needed a passport in their possession. This dawned on me as I was being waved up to the customs booth. The border patrol officer asked me the usual questions, “Where do you live, where were you born etc. Then the bombshell dropped. “Could I see some ID please?” As I handed him my driver’s license he looked at me incredulously. “Do you not have a passport?” I explained I did in fact have a passport but given that it had been a couple of years since I drove into America I simply forgot it. He took my driver’s license gave me a lovely orange sticker for my window and told me to pull around and go inside to get my drivers license back. Back exactly, that was where I thought I was going, Back To Canada.
I parked my car and mistakenly thought I would just walk in get my license and be on my way home. As I entered the building I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a lineup that resembled something at Disneyland. Thinking I was just going to be a minute I had left my digital camera on the seat of my car with the door unlocked. As I turned around to go out and lock the car I was informed once in I could not leave the building, I explained my situation to no avail. I was somewhat relieved to see more cameras than NBC television on all corners of the building. I figured well if someone grabs the camera it will be on video. I took my place in line. As I glanced around the room I saw there were two signs they wanted you to make no mistake about. No cell phones or PDA’s and we do not have a public washroom. No problem I don’t need either one of them right now. Two hours later as the line snaked around the stanchions I was beginning to wonder if the no washroom was going to be a problem.
When I reached the front of the line I was summoned to the counter by an officer. He took my fancy little orange sticker I was given at the booth outside. He began to run a series of questions, mostly centering on why I did not have my passport in my possession. When I explained that I had already told the officer outside that it was an honest mistake on my part, if he would be so kind as to give me my driver’s license back I would return to the, true north strong and free. Nope, not going to happen. The border officer continued to hammer away on why I did not have my passport. Once again I attempted to explain my predicament. I punctuated the explanation that as a long time resident of White Rock I considered Blaine, Birch Bay and Bellingham to be my neighbours. Wrong thing to say. He immediately launched into how I should consider America a foreign country just like Mexico, which I had explained to him, is where I always use my passport. After his stern lecture I made my second big mistake. I asked him if it was necessary for our American neighbours to show a passport to enter Canada. This turned a tense situation up a level or two. I should have shut up right then and their, but again thinking I was going home I said “I am not in the habit of asking my neighbours to show three pieces of ID when they come to visit.” Big Mistake #3. I know better. As previously mentioned being a frequent border crossing until the last decade, I know a little bit of honey, a few well placed YES SIR - NO SIR’S go a long ways.
I found myself now sitting in the middle of the room where I was directed to sit while the officer decided what he was going to do with me. Vanishing Point was playing out in my mind. How could I have been so stupid? After a series of questions that were hollered out to me over the crowd, I was summoned back up to the counter. I now figured there were two places I might be going. Home and god forbid a backroom. The officer sat solemnly staring at my drivers license, then slid it back across the counter and told me he had flagged me and I would NEVER be allowed to enter the United States of America without a passport. Have good day. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, or so I thought at the time.
I arrived hours later for dinner, had a lovely all be it short visit. Around 10 o’clock I excused myself and said I had to get back home. As I drove from Birch Bay towards the truck crossing I had a feeling of calm and a sense of security that I was going to be welcomed home and waved right on throughBig Mistake #4. When I pulled up to the Canadian Customs booth, the young lady asked me where I had been, where I lived and could she please see my passport? Passport? I don’t have one with me. She then began to question me when and how I got into the United States without a passport. I told I really did not have the answer to that but a quick call across the road my shed some light on it. Frustrated she then asked me “What hospital were you born in?” I explained to her I did not know in that I was adopted at birth, could have been Kamloops or Vancouver. Puzzled as to what to do with me she leaned a little out of the booth and held up my drivers license like a first place prize at sports day and with great seriousness said “Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?” Are you kidding me, this is the last line of defense we use to ensure terrorists don’t enter the country? I blurted out STEPHEN HARPER. She handed me back my license and said “Have a nice evening.”
As I drove the final leg north I thought well did you learn anything today Dave? Yup!
Next time take a passport when going to America and always remember - THERE ARE NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS not for me, not for you.
Not very neighbourly if you ask me.
June 21, 2010
Scared? Who Me?
Will the HST be the downfall of the Liberals? More importantly to White Rock and South Surrey residents will it signify the end of GORDON HOGG’S tenure as our MLA?
I think there are more sinister movements a hand that will decide the future of GORDON HOGG and this area.
Follow the bouncing ball, here is my armchair quarterback take on things.
HOGG fell out of favour with Premier Campbell a couple o years ago when he had the Mines Ministry under his belt. HOGG and CAMPBELL were rumoured to have crossed swords. Before you could say bye bye HOGG landed in the back bench of the Legislature.
Now comes talk the HST proponents may start recall proceedings in November if the government does not repeal the HST.
HOGG in an interview with his buddies over at the local fish wrap pontificated how happy he was the electorate had spoken in such large numbers here in South Surrey and White Rock against the HST and inevitably against the Liberals. Huh?
Here is where the water gets murky. I have heard KEVIN FALCON recently moved into the Ocean Park area, which would entitle him to run in the riding HOGG presently holds. This would free up FALCON’S riding over in Cloverdale for, oh let’s see, maybe Surrey Mayor DIANE WATTS. Or anyone else they may want to parachute into Victoria. Cloverdale after all the blacktop FALCON laid down is a lock for anyone on the Liberal ticket.
So what happens to HOGG? Well having served two terms in Victoria and being over the age of 55 he is fully pensioned with a gold plated pension the likes a common man would never see in 40 years of service, let alone 8.
HOGG has been rumoured to be putting together a kabal of former Councillors and city staff and plans, if you can believe the tribal drum, are afoot for a run at a complete takeover of White Rock City hall in the next civic election.
Could there be any truth to this conjecture and collection of rumours? Only time will tell and we won’t have long to wait. The civic election is in November 2011.
June 21, 2010
The images of four RCMP officers tasering ROBERT DZIENSKI Polish immigrant and first time visitor to Vancouver will forever be etched in our minds. The citizen shot video footage has been run adnauseum. Thank goodness for that.
If you remember back to 2007 when this tragic incident unfolded on the arrival level of Vancouver International Airport, the young man who shot the footage had to fight to get the video returned to his possession from the RCMP.
Commissioner THOMAS BRAIDWOOD described the actions of the four RCMP members as "shamerful conduct." I don't think anyone other than a blind loyal booster of the RCMP would describe it any other way. If the four officers who respnded to the call of a disturbance by Mr. DZIENSKI at the airport were unable to resolve the situation without the use of any kind of a weapon clearly indicates there is a problem with the training of our police forces. This "pump four shots into him and proceed with caution" is a clear indication a good number of our peace officers are inept at executing their job. Their job is to keep the peace. Perdiod.
Officers MILLINGTON and ROBINSON along with Constables BENTLEY and RUNDEL I hope are truly remoreseful for their actions. MILLINGTON has been suspended for providing the force with false information in another matter, while the other three members are on medical leave. Whether or not they are sufereing medically or this is just a ploy to keep them out of reach of the media is a debate left for another day.
BRAIDWOOD was also very critical of how he believes there is a "conflict of interest" when the RCMP investigates a Mountie related death. Our Attorney General has promised a new means of investigating police officer related incidents will be set up this year.
Fully one third of this country's RCMP are based in British Columbia. Their contract is due for renewal next year. Coincidentally there has been talk this week of the RCMP forming a union. Perhaps in advance of any new deal the government may be looking at making with them for future services.
Finally a Special Prosecutor has been appointed to review the BRAIDWOOD inquiry to see if charges are warranted against any or all of the RCMP officer caught on tape beating down ROBERT DZIENSKI three years ago.
Don't hold your breath. I personally don't believe there will be any charges laid. There will be a lot of paper shuffling, further inquiries and a boatload of recommendations. The mother of ROBERT DZIENSKI earlier this year negotiated a private compensation deal with the RCMp for the loss of her son. At the end of the day that will be it. Sadly.
June 04, 2010
It was June 04, 2007 that I threw the switch and launched The White Rock Sun. What a wonderful journey it has been.
Regular readers will be well aware during that time period my best friend, life partner and wife Laurie was diagnosed with lung cancer. To say I put everything on hold would be an understatement. The medical experts guesstimated she would live 3-6 months. We fooled them all and milked two wonderful years which came to a close this October.
For the past 6 months since Laurie’s passing I have been somewhat in a fog. I am fortunate enough to have a strong support group around me, but her death still blew my world apart. It is called life. It goes on within and without you.
On to a happier note.
My 3 decades of gainful employment in the media industry, newspaper, radio and media marketing provided me with an early insight into the future of newspapers. Do I predict the total demise of newspapers? Absolutely not. What I did predict and continue to predict is the newspaper industry must reinvent itself and make some form of connection with their readers.
To that extent the survey numbers continue to highlight the only level of newspapers that are holding steady or showing a slight growth are the “community newspapers.”
The trend to the 300 channel universe and on demand news day and night has greatly impacted how the news is delivered daily. Daily newspapers like THE PROVINCE and VANCOUVER SUN are in a desperate tailspin to remain vital. Over the years they have slowly and systematically reduced their staff in an effort to maintain their profit margins. If you can’t increase the money coming in the front door you have to limit the money going out the back door in wages. Subsequently some of the truly brilliant columnists at the two local newspapers were washed out on the streets. Locally some have landed on their feet at the news portal THE TYEE. The online only news service presents what one would have to call unfiltered news. Its validity is constantly debated by its detractors, but the existence of portals like THE TYEE, ALTERNET and THE WHITE ROCK SUN throw a wrench into the control and spin of the content we receive as news.
The three levels of Government Federal, Provincial and Civic are for the most part the #1 advertisers at all levels of media. If you don’t believe me next time you are reading THE SURREY NOW count the number of pages of advertising paid for by the City of Surrey. In White Rock the city on a weekly basis purchases either a half page or a full page of advertising. This is not a public service provided by the newspaper. No the city is the biggest advertiser. Put yourself in the place of the Publisher or Editor. Now ask yourself would you be running very many stories that were critical of your #1 advertiser? I think not. It is rather Orwellian but I didn't make the rules. You should understand them though.
I find a new sense of renewal and commitment to the development and success of The White Rock Sun. I thank each and every one of you that read THE SUN on a regular basis.
I thank PD TAYLOR, MARILENA FLUCKIGER, DOUG E LACHANCE, LEIGH MORROW, DON PITCAIRN, and EVE LEES that contribute articles on a regular basis.
I thank the community activists like PAT PETRALA, TONY INTAS, JEAN KROMM, PHIL LEGOOD, LISA NOLAN, DAVID DICKINSON, BARB COOPER, COLLEEN PEPPER for providing information for the readers of THE SUN on a regular basis. As well as the multitude of you that take a moment now and then to point us in the right direction of an interesting story about our home(s).
Then there is my IT support. Headed up by KEITH “Lefty” MONTGOMERY, with more than able assistance supplied by JON ROWTHORN and RA MCGUIRE that kick my ass on a regular basis driving me deeper into the cyber world.
The sun will soon return our personal solar panels will be topped up. Then just watch us grow.
Thank you for reading & writing.
White Rock Sun
May 13, 2010
There is a line of thought that loud exhaust pipes on motorcycles – save lives. I suppose in theory that line of thinking holds some weight. A motorcycle that sounds like the very fissures of hell just opened, is hard to ignore. Therein lies the rub and the downside of loud pipes on motorcycles that roam and roar the hillsides of White Rock unfettered.
One has to wonder why White Rock's anto noise by-law is not enforced by the local chapter of the RCMP. Our East Beach is actually posted as being a QUIET ZONE with the signs along Marine Drive stating any violation could result in a massive fine. The local detachment of the RCMP was unable to supply to me last year and the year before how many tickets had actually been issued for this blatant violation of our city bylaw. In today’s computer age I have a difficult time understanding why this information is not a click of a computer mouse away.
I recently appeared before White Rock council and posed the question of why nothing is being done about this annual pollution in our quaint seaside town. Make no mistake IT IS POLLUTION. Noise pollution may not have long term effects like other forms of pollution to the environment, but it is still pollution.
Before anyone wants to get a rope I must confess once again I love the low throated rumble of a big motorcycle. I am not being anally retentive about this matter. I am singling out the small sector of the biking community that flagrantly violate noise by laws that are prevalent in every community in British Columbia.
The geography of White Rock’s hilly terrain affords some bikers to crack throttles their wide open in order to climb the hilly streets that criss cross the grid of roads locally.
This past Mother’s Day weekend brought droves of visitors to White Rock for the annual Mother’s Day brunches and a stroll along our waterfront promenade and pier. When I didn’t live in White Rock I too was one of those weekend interlopers that arrived to sample the fare of our beautiful city. I understand the attraction. What I don’t understand is why a simple concerted effort by the local RCMP cannot be executed to send a clear message, this type of activity that infringes on residents and locals alike, is being tolerated.
The two weeks ago when I spoke to city council when I turned to return to my seat I noticed a bevy of head nodding of approval from the others in the public gallery.
I was assured by Mayor Ferguson our city manager Peggy Clark would contact the local RCMP office to see if there was anything standing in their way from enforcing the existing by-law.
I will wait patiently and hopefully when the answer comes I will be able to hear it!
MAY 18, 2010
Reply from White Rock City Manager PEGGY CLARK:
The RCMP S/Sgt has advised us that they are actively continuing to check the pipes of motorcycles to ensure that they are legal. In addition speed checks are being done for both cars and motorcycles on all streets, but particularly Marine Drive. The Sgt. visits all motorcycle shops in the area and advises them to let their customers know that those with illegal motorcycle pipes will be fined in White Rock.
Last year the RCMP advised that they stopped over 400 motorcycles during the summer and only 2 had illegal pipes. The problem is motorcycles make noise and it is the accumulation of them going by (particularly on a sunny day) that is noisy not an individual one.
The RCMP have also said their efforts will be maintained trying to alleviate this problem as much as is legally possible.
April 30, 2010
Monday evening White Rock Council reviewed the success/failure of the recent free parking program instituted on the waterfront at the behest of the waterfront merchants.
Council was dismayed to hear that from the 82 questionnaires circulated to the business owners to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the program, the city only received 10 replies. To add further insult to injury of the 10 returned only 5 actually took the time to itemize the impact directly felt by their business as a result of the free parking Monday-Thursday for two months.
Council subsequently passed a motion to suspend the free parking for 2010. The disdain for the lack of feedback was very obvious in Council chambers. Councillor Lynne Sinclair wondered how the merchants could fill the council chambers last year pleading poverty and undue hardships brought on by the pay parking, yet when it came time to participate and provide feedback, the response was minimal.
Mayor Ferguson who has affected the mantle of the champion of the business community urged Council to not throw the proverbial “baby out with the bath water.” A subsequent motion was added to explore if and how the Economic Development Committee may be enlisted to help build a healthier business community.
This all comes on the eve of a $1.00 per hour increase in the parking rates on the waterfront. The $2.00 per hour charge will jump to $3.00 per hour commencing this Saturday May 1. I can guarantee you this will come as quite a surprise to a large number of business owners along our waterfront. It is only this week I have heard some grumblings from the business owners. Does the saying “a day late and a dollar short” spring to mind?
The merchants have circulated a petition to present to City Hall to protest the suspension of the "free parking" for 2010. The point the business owners hope to make is, they were informed the $1.00 increase in pay parking was being instituted to offset the loss to the city's coffers during the "free parking" time frame.
It has been well documented and debated ad nausea about the negative impact the massive big box stores and shopping districts springing up in South Surrey have had on our retail base in White Rock proper. Yesterday I saw one of our community shuttle buses totally wrapped in an advert paid for BEST BUY – Now Open in South Surrey!
If the suspension of the free parking, the increase in the price of parking during our peak months, and the onslaught of competing retail to the north wasn’t enough this morning while listening to the radio I heard an advertisement on the radio urging all the shoppers in the Valley to COME ON DOWN TO BIRCH BAY – Because we don’t have any HST! Well that didn’t take long. Someone is thinking.
Mayor Ferguson is planning on convening a consortium of local business people in the very near future to open up the dialogue with hope some solutions can be found to save the dwindling retailers in White Rock. I wish her and her committee luck. There is no simple solution to the problem in White Rock.
At Monday’s Council meeting Councillor Mary Wade Anderson lamented how she had been down to the beach on numerous occasions during the “free parking” period to see first hand its effectiveness. Anderson stated she was shocked at the number of businesses that were closed in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.
Seldom open ice cream shops, junk t-shirts merchants who have very little actual White Rock souvenirs, a grocery store that sets its operating hours seemingly with a Ouija board, and over priced restaurants serving pedestrian food is not a landscape that encourages shoppers to return on days that are not sunny.
Are we our brother’s keepers? I think not. I do believe city hall has an obligation to promote White Rock as a year round destination. But I don’t believe it is the job of our elected officials to actually ensure the businesses are successful. If anyone disagrees with me, talk to the owners of Cielo’s, Giraffe and the Ocean Beach Hotel that just spent tens of thousands dollars on a major re-fit and Cosmos Greek restaurant. These businesses seem to be doing just fine year round. Oh I am sure they would like to be doing better business wise, who wouldn’t? But instead of sitting around bitching about the pay parking and blaming everyone else for their economic situation, they have rolled up their sleeves and are hard at work building their business. They are leaning into it.
Interesting concept isn’t it?
April 19, 2010
Mayor DIANE WATTS over the weekend inadvertently garnered even more support than usual when she took a tough stand against the organizers of the Vaisakhi parade in the Newton area of Surrey. Watts was assured ahead of time there would be no floats carrying images of martyrs or terrorists, depending on how you look at the actions of some Sikh extremists.
WATTS is by no stretch of the imagination a shrinking violet. She is a very hands on as she navigates British Columbia’s second largest city into the future. In the past couple of years she has rebranded Surrey as the place where “The Future Lives”, opened a beautiful Spirit Square in Holland Park bringing new enthusiasim for the development of Whalley. WATTS also ponied up millions of dollars for Surrey to become a host city for the 2010 Olympics. Tens of thousands of people jammed Holland Park nightly to enjoy the outstanding lineup of talent that performed nightly.
Not a week goes by that WATTS is not in the news. She has a battery of media/press people employed to guarantees Surrey gets out the “good stories” to offset the perception Surrey is some kind of gang banger headquarters.
I grew up in Surrey. Yes I have heard all the “Surrey Jokes” some of them are actually quite creative. Given the massive physical size of Surrey, growing up there in the 50’s and 60’s and I suppose to some extent even today, residents would identify where they lived in Surrey. Given its size if you said you lived in Surrey the next question would be, “Well where in Surrey.” Thus dozens of locales such as Fleetwood, Green Timbers, Whalley, Crescent Beach, Cloverdale, Newton, Port Mann or where I grew up first North Surrey then more specifically Guildford.
I Love Surrey, and I did before the local fish wrap tried to brand themselves with that catchy phrase. I have many fond memories of Surrey and I may have tossed out the odd Surrey joke, but I would quickly rise to its defense when I heard some urban yuppie from downtown mocking my “hometown.”
There are many that believe PREMIER GORDON CAMPBELL will not run for a third term in the next Provincial election. The tribal drums keep beating WATTS will become the next leader of the Provincial Liberal Party which will invariably lead her to becoming our next Premier.
I’m not sure I will be able to support the Liberal party if for no other reason than their about turn on gambling, but I can tell you one thing. I will support Mayor DIANE WATTS.
She gives it to you straight. I like that in a person. I love it in a politician.
April 13, 2010
HIGHWAY TO HELL
Well it has now been 6 weeks since the Provincial Liberals announced the creation of a new Bus Lane along Highway 99. Regular readers of THE SUN will know my stance on the matter.
Based on the limited knowledge I have which was contained in the Press Release that announced the infusion of $13 Million Dollars Into The Local Economy, I have yet to receive a clear answer to my question of “Bus Lane? Great idea but why in the chosen locale?”
First a quick recap The announcement heralded construction of a bus lane along Highway 99 heading north between the King George Highway and Highway 91 the East/West connector to the Alex Fraser Bridge. If you use the bus service into Vancouver on a regular basis you too must be scratching your head. This section of Highway 99 NEVER incurs traffic backup, with the exception of when there is a major accident along that stretch of the highway. Hardly worth the expense.
I have written letters to our MP Russ Hiebert (ignored), MLA Gordon Hogg (looking into it), White Rock Mayor Catherine Ferguson(waiting for information) and finally when no response was forthright from Hogg or Hiebert I went straight to the Ministry of Transportation in Victoria. Here is the nearest thing I have received to date of an explanation:
King George Highway to Highway 91 - 6.2 km-long,
4-metre wide shoulder northbound from the Highway 99A interchange
on-ramp merge onto Highway 99 to the north west end of the Highway 91
interchange on-ramp merge to Highway 99.
o Status: Tender in August 2010.
o Completion: March 30, 2011
- Addresses the final key congestion point along the corridor, as south
of Fraser buses servicing the King George Park and Ride are impeded by
traffic along Highway 99 entering from a congested King George Highway.
Traffic along this corridor experiences speeds of less than 60 km/hour
in the AM peak hour.
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
In the email I received from Jeff Knight it clearly identified plans are in place to put a bus lane from the north end of the George Massey Tunnel to connect with the newly created bus lane that leads to the Canada Line. There are also plans to extend the Southbound bus lane from the Oak Street Bridge area to the existing bus and HOV lane heading south on Highway 99.
Back to the new extension heading north. Once completed this would leave an entire section of HWY 99 heading north without a bus lane in the congested area north of Highway 10 between the #10 overpass and the existing bus lane near the “dump curve” on HWY 99.
Call me crazy but the rationale of this infusion of $13 million dollars for a bus lane going “nowhere” is beyond me.
All this at a time when the Provincial Government is pleading poverty and cutting important community services. This past year alone White Rock lost its valuable “Home Share” program which operated under a $160,000.00 annual budget. Home Share allowed seniors that may be experiencing difficulties getting out to perform the simplest tasks like a doctor’s visit, grocery shopping, a hair appointment or something as simple as a visit with a neighbour. The program aided seniors that may be living in a situation where one of the partners is confined to the home due to sickness or old age and is unable to be left alone. Home Share provided a vital link for seniors in our community. Just try to imagine yourself in the position.
Shame on the Provincial Liberals.
I will be happy to apologize if and when anyone can give me a rational answer to the bus lane expansion along the identified stretch of Highway 99.
Even after 6 weeks I am still waiting patiently.
D. Chesney/Editor - Publisher
*DONNA PASSMORE a true community activist takes me to task, sort of, on any kind of bus lane expansion along the HWY 99 corridor
FROM DONNA PASSMORE
I'm blind copying some of our transportation academics and CAW 111 folks. And I'm blind copying some of our wildlife and fisheries friends.
> As you may have read in my email last week, in its 2010 Budget, the BC Government announced expansion of Highway 99 from South Surrey to Highway 17 to include a fast bus lane in either direction.
> My initial reaction was alarm because it is farmland the full length of that corridor, and critical wildlife habitat. HOWEVER, This morning I took a much closer look and there appears to be set back for most of the route. (wide grassy areas that are outside the farm/wildlife fences, that almost appear to have anticipated this move). In short, the government will be able to defend itself against allegations of taking a run at farmland for most of the route...
> There are still very disturbing aspects of this proposal:
> 1. Shortly after announcing Gateway, Falcon announced (with Val Roddick's enthusiastic support), plans to double the tunnel next. As someone who has taken the bus from South Surrey for the last 15 years, I don't believe a fast bus lane is needed (especially given that the frequency of buses doesn't support it).
> What happened with the HOV lane along Highway 99 (from Richmond to Vancouver) is they reduced the # of passengers from 3 to 2, so it is almost as full as the other lanes now. I think that is what they are planning with the Fast Bus Lane. They'll create it, using public transit to appease the public, and then they'll just open it up to a regular HOV lane. As volume will quickly increase to fill the highway, they'll be able to use the same rationale that they did with Highway #1 and justify twinning the tunnell.
> 2. The expansion of the Highway will result in increased traffic (and will suck millions of $ out of the public purse that SHOULD be used to actually buy more buses and hire/train more drivers - putting more buses on the road would do more to increase efficient movement than just building more laneway...). I need to talk to Jim Houlahan about this and make sure we're all on the same page. This is another Gordon Campbell sleight-of-hand that puts money into the big engineering companies and deprives us of truly sustainable transportation.
> 3. There is still the issue of wildlife habitat. This is critical Boundary Bay corridor and we are looking at losses of easily 200 acres of habitat that will be lost. I know that the grassy verges alongside the highway aren't the best habitat, but we are losing so much already along this corridor that I believe every inch of habitat we lose will force that wildlife onto the farmland, and will therefore increase competition for whatever the adjacent land can produce. Additionally, it will take the traffic closer to the actual ALR and increase the area of agricultural/wildlife habitat exposed to diesel and other particulate. As well, the road widening will have to include several bridge/overpasses over important fish-bearing waterways (Serpentine and Nicomekl).
> Given all of that, I can't believe that these arrogant jerks would yet again announce a transportation project without bothering with an environmental assessment process.
> Your thoughts???
David, I've worked on sustainability and transportation issues for 25 years. I've read the studies, gone to the conferences. I'm sure your gut instincts are very good on some things, but on this the science is solid.
The Sightline Institute has established that for every new 1 kilometre of new lane produces 50 tonnes of new greenhouse gases - and that ain't from buses.
I've got a lot of farmland stuff to get to, but if you want to explore it online there are lots of sources. Victoria - Todd Litman's organization, I think it's the Victoria Transportation Institute, the Sightline Institute - check with Bill Rees (UBC School of Community & Regional Planning - he and I were on the Clouds of Change Task Force 20 years ago, or Larry Frank, who holds the Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation at UBC. or Gordon Price, Chair of SFU's Cities Program, or Dr. Mark Roseland (Mark was a brilliant young grad student hired by the Clouds of Change Task Force, now he runs SFU's Sustainable Communities Program). In short, there are loads of places to go for information...
April 02, 2010
Well well well. Call up The Irish Rovers and have them drop by to sing a chorus or two of “Wasn’t That A Party.” Wednesday evening’s election of a new board of directors for the White Rock BIA may have been a shocker to some, but having spent the last 3-4 weeks canvassing on behalf of Democracy First it came as no real surprise to me.
The court ordered election set forth by the Supreme Court of British Columbia was designed to clear the air and allow one group to guide the future operation of the White Rock BIA. If in fact there will be a BIA. It was the hope of the judge the election would unite the business community, allowing it to prosper in these tough difficult times. We are not there right now.
Instead the election clearly has driven a stake through the business community. Commercial property owners and business owners themselves have felt forced to side with one party or the other. Given the fact the vote like any other vote in Canada was secretive the business owners I talked to who emphatically stated they would be there to vote, stayed away in droves. Fear of retribution and a loss of business were threats dished out to the local business owners.
The proxy votes had to be counted with the court appointed parliamentarian on Monday evening. The count put our side Democracy First just slightly ahead. One look around the room on Wednesday and I knew it was going to be even closer than I had predicted.
In the end as you have already read here in the electronic pages of Canada’s First Internet Newspaper only one of our candidates Alec MacKenzie was elected to the new board. The new/old board is made up of a mixture of past directors and a couple of new reps who share their vision.
The whole reason this debacle took place was the plain and simple fact the old directors of the BIA refused to open their accounting books when requested by a member who felt there were some shortcomings in their reporting of expenditures. That problem still remains. With the election of Alex Mackenzie (Democracy First) to the Board of Directors those tough questions will now be answered. Trust me.
In the meantime there will be a special White Rock Council meeting on Tuesday evening, scheduled to try to ram through a first, second and third reading of the budget put forth by the old BIA. Presently the BIA sits in limbo until the city funds the operation of the BIA. Their 5 year mandate ended at the end of March. Until such time as the business community through a vote with the city occurs there is no BIA money forthcoming.
It has been rumoured the City of White Rock is planning on conducting a “negative vote” with the commercial property owners and business owners. If you are not aware of what a negative vote is, remember back a couple of years ago when Shaw Cable attempted to raise their rates through the same type of vote. What it means is if you don’t come to them and say I don’t want it – you get it. The uproar over that proposal is still ringing in the ears in the ivory towers.
Wednesday evenings vote at the Star of The Sea accounted for 176 votes cast. This is out of a possible 540 votes available, which is the combined number of commercial property owners and business owners. Roughly 33%. Not a majority by anyone’s stretch of the imagination.
If you are a commercial property owner or a business owner reading this, I encourage you to send an email to the Mayor and Council through the link below. Tell them at the very least THEY MUST conduct a positive vote, which would mean a notice sent to each commercial property owner and each business owner with a clear reply form that says YES or NO to the continuation of the BIA.
White Rock Mayor and Council (CLICK HERE)
*Note - click on each individual Councillor's email. The other link under each name does not go directly to the Councillors. It is first filtered by staff at City Hall.
On the Democracy First front is it over now? Not really and it won’t be until ALL the questions are satisfactorily answered. The inability of the old BIA to account to date of tens of thousands of dollars spent is one of the points. Another point that is going to cause some big headaches for City Hall is why certain commercial property owners in White Rock had their BIA levy capped while other business owners paid thousands of dollars more annually? Lawyers have already been contacted from what I can tell through conversations with some of these commercial property owners.
Democracy First will not rest until the stink is blown away by the crisp clear ocean air that blesses “this place we call home.” It never was about control for the BIA that Democracy First was after. It was the truth. Sadly even after all this we are not there yet.
Editor David Chesney