Fall is truly upon us and it has been a busy time – starting with this year’s successful “Pancakes and Pumpkins” celebration at the West Vancouver Community Centre; and of course Halloween, for which I had over 100 happy ghouls, goblins, witches, and monsters knock on my door!
I’d like to share a few recent updates.
North Shore Connects
On October 19, I was very pleased, as the Chair of North Shore Connects, to announce this new partnership between the District of West Vancouver, Squamish Nation, City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation. North Shore Connects will work to advocate for, and to implement, transportation projects that reduce congestion, strengthen regional connections and support livable communities. This includes rapid transit across Burrard Inlet to the North Shore.
Based on the priorities identified by the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project (INSTPP), we have already begun to implement a suite of projects to improve transportation on, to and from the North Shore. These include the Lower Lynn Interchange improvements, the new “Chinook” Sea Bus, and the Lime E-bike Share program.
This collaboration showcases what can be achieved when five local governments, representing almost 200,000 residents, work together towards a common goal. But there is still much more to do to ensure “people spend more time living… and less time commuting”.
Metro Vancouver, which is a federation of 23 local governments, is responsible for our solid waste, water, and sewage treatment, with the costs shared across the region.
As many of you will have heard in the media recently, Metro’s North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant project has severed ties with the contractor, and work on the site has temporarily stopped. This billion-dollar project has been having construction and cost-related challenges since 2019, and I’m deeply concerned about it.
While North Shore residents will ultimately benefit from this project, they will also pay a proportionally larger share of the project’s cost. So I’ve been working diligently with Mayors Linda Buchanan and Mike Little to ensure any potential impacts on our communities are mitigated.
Municipal Hall update
We have adopted the bylaw we require to hold hybrid Council meetings, blending in-person and virtual attendance, but the Council Chamber is not up and running yet. Some of the technology we need has not yet been delivered because of global supply chain issues, but we are looking forward to welcoming the public back into the Council Chamber as soon as possible.
We continue to gradually resume programs at our community centres, and the response has been very positive. The orders of the Public Health Officer about which activities require proof of vaccination can be complex, but many people have expressed appreciation for the efforts of our staff, because it makes them feel safe while visiting our facilities.
Dr. Henry has encouraged public organizations to consider implementing vaccination mandates if appropriate. After careful consideration, our Chief Administrative Officer, Robert Bartlett has directed that staff be fully vaccinated by January 4. This is being done because vaccines have been proven to be an effective way to protect the health and safety of our employees, their families, and residents; and to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on our public health system. The Police and Library Boards have also announced their own vaccination requirements.
West Vancouver Police Department
Our Police Department has implemented online reporting of non-emergency matters. This will save residents from having to wait on the non-emergency telephone line, and vastly improve police response times.
And, to address significant retention challenges due to housing unaffordability, WVPD has launched a nation-wide program to recruit more experienced officers, and has created this impactful short video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
And finally, to ensure the safety of our veterans, there will be no Remembrance Day ceremony at the West Vancouver Cenotaph this week, but I will be laying a wreath on behalf of the community Thursday morning.
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth