I enjoyed attending events as Acting-Mayor during August and September, including the Harmony Arts Volunteer Appreciation dinner, the opening of the new Bank of Montreal at Park Royal, Heritage West Vancouver’s Royal Tea-by-the-Sea, the Tsleil-Waututh Cultural Festival, and a Mayors’ Roundtable Dialogue during the Community Summit entitled “Alone Together – Connecting in the City”.
With two meetings under its belt in September, Council is looking to progress on the five priorities identified in the spring:
Public Safety Building – Based on strong community support, Council approved issuing an RFP for an architect and project manager for the post-disaster facility to be located next to Municipal Hall, housing Police, Fire, and Rescue services in just over 57,000 square feet at an estimated cost of $36 million;
Ambleside Village and Waterfront – Council approved in principle the “Ambleside and Waterfront Plan” including consideration of food and beverage establishments at 1468 and 1472 Argyle St., food carts next summer, and the potential for sidewalk dining; and the “Ambleside Cultural Facilities Strategy”, including an Arts Centre on District-owned land in the 1600 Block Bellevue (John Lawson parking lot);
Housing and Neighbourhood Character – Building on the success of the secondary suite program (over 750 applications), Council will continue to respond to the community’s need for a variety of housing options, having approved a “Housing Action Plan” and investigation of the potential for coach houses in the community;
Municipal Services and Finances – Are we providing the rights services, at the right level in the most efficient manner? All of our departments are involved in a Core Services Review, which will address those questions over the next several months. After a stimulating Strategic Financial Planning workshop, Council enters the Budget 2013 planning process with a view to completion by December;
Environment, Parks and Upper Lands, Spirit Trail – In July, Council resolved to express strong opposition to all levels of government and Kinder Morgan to any increase in oil tanker traffic through the Port of Vancouver. Council is moving forward with a review of the 2001 Upper Lands Study and is currently taking applications for membership to a working group in this regard. Council approved the “2012 Parks Master Plan”, replacing the previous one from 1977. Two new artificial turfs were installed on Ambleside Fields D and E, bringing the fields back up to acceptable standards for soccer and field hockey. The Welsh street portion of the Spirit Trail officially opened in June, and Council will continue to move this project forward over the next year, following the recommendations of the Spirit Trail Working Group.
Other News: A Development Permit will be presented to Council for consideration on October 1st with regard to exterior renovations to a new grocery store at 16th Street and Marine Drive. The new intersection and removal of the most westerly overpass at Park Royal is slated for completion in October. And with the implementation by the Province of the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act in May, the District has begun negotiations of new service agreements with the Squamish Nation for a proposed 4-tower, residential development immediately behind the south Mall of Park Royal.
I will be attending the UBCM AGM in Victoria this week where we have meetings scheduled with the Ministries of Aboriginal Relations, Justice, Education, and Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as the President of Kinder Morgan Canada.
I look forward to receiving your questions, comments and suggestions on these or other matters over the coming months. Thank you for your interest and support, as we work together to build a better West Vancouver.