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Old August 19th, 2005, 03:47 PM   #1
West@East_Coast
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The Problem With Vancouver!

The problem with Vancouver is that it has awful city government! These articles illustrate this point; I will elaborate more at a later time!

No business investor will see Wal-Mart vote as good - Vancouver Sun, F03 -
June 30, 2005
By Michael Campbell

What a relief. In rejecting Wal-Mart's application to develop a major retail
outlet, COPE has saved about 300 people who need work from the prospect of
securing jobs in a company that has been rated Canada's top retail employer
in three of the last four years.
It also prevented 300 high-paid construction workers from building what
would have been a world leader in environmental design for a major retail
space. In addition, it saved many small- and mid-sized Canadian companies
from attending business fairs set up by Wal-Mart as part of an aggressive
program to encourage local suppliers.
It's difficult to precisely calculate how much money the rejection will cost
the Children's Hospital, but we do know that Wal-Mart is Canada's leading
corporate contributor to such facilities. It's also the biggest corporate
contributor in the country to school breakfast programs for needy kids, as
well as to the Canadian Red Cross's disaster relief efforts.
I wonder if Coun. Tim Louis took that into account when he called Wal-Mart
Canada "one of the world's largest corporate criminals."
In rejecting the proposal on Tuesday, COPE is protecting the 81 per cent of
south Vancouver residents -- who supported the project after attending the
open house to review the design -- from saving money on needed household
items. Neighbourhood residents can now stroll down the truck route, past big
box retailer Great Canadian Superstore and mega auto dealerships, and know
that for years to come they can take a needed respite in the oasis of an
abandoned car lot that would have housed the Wal-Mart store.
Those looking to invest in Vancouver will be wary of a city that puts a
company through a $30-million, five-year process only to ignore the
unanimous approval of its own planning and urban design experts. But I've
already heard Jim Green dismiss the notion that the Wal-Mart rejection will
send a negative message to potential investors.
According to the COPE spin, Wal-Mart has been rejected in other Canadian
communities. But that is somewhat misleading. There are no other examples in
Canada of a city council rejecting Wal-Mart after it had received unanimous
approval from the city's planning staff and urban design panel. Wal-Mart
made every concession and adjustment necessary in an area already zoned for
major retail outlets, and still council rejected the application. Potential
investors have good reason to lose faith in the city's planning process and
the work of its professional staff.
In case their ideological blinders are on a little snugly, let me make this
clear for our COPE council: Not a single business investor will take this
decision as a good thing in terms of committing money and jobs to our city.
But let's not ignore the economic spin-offs of the rejection. COPE can take
pride in the boost they've provided the automotive industry. Gas stations,
repairs shops, ICBC and car dealerships will be pleased to know that the
150,000 car trips made annually by south Vancouver residents to existing
Wal-Marts in North Van, New Westminster and Burnaby will continue.
My favourite reason for COPE rejecting the jobs, city tax revenue and
charitable contributions that would have flowed from the project came from
Louis, who felt it pertinent to remind his colleagues that Wal-Mart Canada
has a parent company that donated money to George W. Bush's presidential
campaign.
Unfortunately, that calibre of comment was reflected in much of the debate
surrounding the project, because as renowned sustainability advocate and
architect Peter Busby observed, the decision wasn't about land use, it was
about politics.
Michael Campbell's Money Talks radio show can be heard on CKNW 980 on
Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.


COPE is out of its depth on bike plan - Vancouver Sun, Page D03, 28-Jul-2005
By Michael Campbell
It's becoming all the rage. The COPE-dominated city council's decision to
reserve two of the six lanes on the Burrard Street Bridge exclusively for
bicycles is catching on. Rumour has it that The Vancouver Sun is also
considering setting aside two of the six columns regularly used in the
paper's format for bikes. It's also a possible that for flights destined for
Vancouver, Air Canada will reconfigure the two outside rows of seating for
bicycle traffic.
The publicist for Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys refuses to confirm a story
that the singer has removed two of her famous corn rows and has replaced
them with a parade of miniature bicycles. With momentum like this, how long
can Cineplex Odeon resist the temptation to remove rows of seats in its
theatres to make way for bikes?
Critics of the city council's vision of Vancouver as a village where
everyone walks or bikes to their quaint neighbourhood shoppe (but never to
Wal-Mart), say that removing two of the traffic lanes on the Burrard Bridge
will lead to more pollution from cars forced to sit idling in the
congestion. Critics also correctly point out the cost to business of the
extra time needed to transport goods due to the added traffic tie-ups, which
come at a time when skyrocketing fuel costs and increased property taxes are
already putting the squeeze on business.
Of course, if the truckers' strike at the port continues until next April
there will be far fewer goods available for transport, thereby mitigating
the cost of the added congestion that city staff (and common sense) assures
us will result. But then again, what does common sense have to do with
blocking off a third of the lanes on a bridge for the five per cent of
commuters who ride a bike.
Others will point out the inconvenience for both bus and automobile
commuters, but to COPE that seems a small price to pay to be at the
forefront of a move to return to the quiet country. There's no need to worry
about the estimated $2 million in additional transit costs due to the added
congestion, we'll more than make it up in the additional tax revenues that
are sure to come in from the revitalized sales of Lycra or spandex cycling
shorts.
Before I comment further, permit me a small confession. Personally, I'm
working against COPE's and NPA Coun. Peter Ladner's plan to increase traffic
congestion by using a car for work only once a week. (Just a moment while I
give myself a big environmental pat on the back. Then again, maybe not that
big a pat, because I work at home.)
What's truly wonderful about COPE's plan is that it accurately represents
the depth of their thinking. In their world view, killing traffic flow on
the Burrard Street bridge as if it's a stand-alone transportation route will
get commuters from Kerrisdale to the West End to don the spandex and start
pedaling, especially in the rain. People who point out the myriad of
negatives -- from increased congestion, automobile pollution, additional
costs to business, and inconvenience to bus and car commuters -- just don't
get it.
In the meantime, I hear that Brentwood Lanes is thinking of reserving their
two outside bowling lanes just for bikes.
Michael Campbell's Money Talks radio show can be heard on CKNW 980 on
Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #2
Phoenix Ashes
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Opposing Wal-Mart is hardly unique to Vancouver. Even in America's sprawling boomburbs, the giant retailer is often resisted and loathed. Some of it is simple NIMBYism: not wanting the traffic. But most of it derives from a great deal of unease about Wal-Mart's unfair labor practices, its tendency to concentrate and monopolize retail functions and its effect on other locally-owned businesses who will not be able to compete against the behemoth. Wal-Mart is a notoriously bad corporate citizen too, not giving its workers sufficient health care coverage, which mean government has to fill that breach with Medicaid. In Canada, that wouldn't be an issue, but if Wal-Mart had their way, it would be. They fund hard right-wing political causes in America, including opposition to universal health care, anti-public education measures, and anti-enviromental causes.

There's a lot to hate about Wal-Mart, and not just its shoddily-built stores. There's the horrifyingly excessive scale of the place, the anti-communitarian sense of shopping with strangers all the time, the sheer ugliness of the layout and decor. Wal-Mart probably encapsulates and defines every terrible tendency out there in the retail landscape. Citizens are right to want to protect their communities from this anti-social juggernaut.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 07:07 PM   #3
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Damn right the city council is fucked up. You know you have problems when Larry Campbell and Jim Green seem level headed.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #4
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COPE is on their way out in Novemeber. Expect more economic progress in the years ahead with new local government. Thank god. Damn communists.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 07:43 PM   #5
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Its true! We do have bad city council. But I wouldnt blame this on Vancouver... BC typically cannot get its shit together when government is involved in any situation. II dont know what is in the air out here, but our politicians are idiots.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 11:14 PM   #6
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The key part of the article is this:

Those looking to invest in Vancouver will be wary of a city that puts a
company through a $30-million, five-year process only to ignore the
unanimous approval of its own planning and urban design experts.


The City strung them along and then said "no". It wouldn't have been bad if they just said no at the outset - but stringing them along to the tune of $30 million and then saying "no" - against the advice of its planning staff who evaluated the project on planning principles?

When Home Depot wanted to build a project at Broadway and Arbutus, the City said "no" from the outset - Home Depot basically walked away - Home Depot has now announced a store at Cambie & 8th in Grosvenor's already under construction The Rise development.
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Old August 20th, 2005, 12:02 AM   #7
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Yeah it's a bit ridiculous and out of hand. If I was a company looking to locate here that would turn me off for sure. This council seems to hold their noses a bit too high in the air, and it's just going to give this city a really bad image. They probably knew their decision from the start, I dont understand why they would go through with such a lengthy and expensive process. Do they just enjoy the power trip because they know they can do it?
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Old August 20th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #8
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Have any more articles written by the premier's brother you would like to share? He may be right about Wal-Mart, but certainly you could have posted someone else's writing –– rather than the acridly condescending bile this man spews.
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Old August 20th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #9
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City council turned down Wal-Marts application because they are Wal-Mart, I don't like Wal-Mart but that is wrong. The city can't turn down a companies application because councillers feel that the company is moraly wrong its not their call.
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Old August 20th, 2005, 09:37 PM   #10
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They turned down Wal-Mart because it is a symbol of American capitalism and they are left-wing nut jobs.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 04:42 AM   #11
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Vancouver isn't alone. The city of Guelph is fighting Wal Mart, plus any big-box retailers. I can't comment on specifics though.

When I first heard about this, I thought 'good for Vancouver'. Just because we live in a free, democratic and capitalistic society doesn't mean we need to be run over by predatory corporations who don't give a damn about the communities they set up in.

Left-wing nutjobs? So what? Who wants to shop in Wal-Mart anyway?
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Old August 21st, 2005, 05:43 AM   #12
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"The city of Guelph is fighting Wal Mart, plus any big-box retailers." - It's one of the religious camps that's against Wal Mart. And I thought that larry campbell character was well liked; somebody said he's bringing back the life to Vancouver (that's good, yes?).
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 12:14 AM   #13
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they need to use the wal mart land to build a massive liquor store
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COME ON GUYS!!! WE NEED TO OBJECTIFY MORE WOMEN!!!
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 02:43 AM   #14
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Campbell was the only COPE councillor to vote for the project - he had just announced his intention not to seek re-election, and it is suspected that his allies in the COPE party sided with the more extreme left members because they needed to suck up to them with the coming election in the fall.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 02:15 PM   #15
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One can debate if Vancouver has a bad city council. What is clear from the articles from the Sun is that it is terrible journalism. That people take this seriously...
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