April 12, 2019

BC Ferries suing concrete maker Lehigh Hanson over alleged contamination of Departure Bay terminal lands

BIV's lawsuit of the week

Departure Bay terminal, Nanaimo | Shutterstock

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. is suing Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd., claiming contaminants from the company’s concrete manufacturing facility have migrated to the lands of the Departure Bay ferry terminal.

BC Ferries filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on April 1, claiming Lehigh’s property at 1961 Zorkin Road in Nanaimo, just southwest of the terminal, has been used to make concrete since the 1960s and that, since then, contaminants including benzene have been “introduced into the groundwater and soil at the Lehigh Property.”

The contamination levels, according to the claim, are high enough to deem the ferry terminal a contaminated site under the Environmental Management Act and Contaminated Sites Regulation. Lehigh first notified the BC Transportation Finance Authority, which owns the ferry terminal lands and leases them to BC Ferries, in May 2017.

“The escape and migration of the Contaminants from the Lehigh Property to the Ferry Terminal has caused, and is continuing to cause, contamination of the groundwater and/or soil at the Ferry Terminal,” the claim states. “The Defendant knew or ought of have known that the Leghigh Property was contaminated and that the Contaminants had or were likely to migrate to adjacent properties.”

BC Ferries claims it has suffered loss and damage related to remediation costs, including legal and consultant fees and business interruption. It seeks a declaration that Lehigh is responsible for remediation of the terminal under the Environmental Managment Act, a permanent injunction restraining the company from allowing further contamination, and damages for “loss of use and enjoyment of the Ferry Terminal.”

The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and Lehigh had not filed a response to the lawsuit by press time.


The time for Vancouver’s 4-20 ‘protest’ to butt out is long overdue

Pot is a hot mess. Responsible people are irresponsibly bumbling legalization while irresponsible people cannot figure how to act responsibly.

The black market remains, very conservatively, three-quarters of the market. Illegal dispensaries outnumber legal ones by what seems to be 50 to one in the province. We lingered like sloths longer than what was wise to legalize, then stirred like itchy cheetahs to bring the product to market. Even though state-sanctioned pot is more than half more expensive, governments seem to be the first drug dealers in history to be losing money.

Smokers swagger about the city, casually puffing affordable weed, the way an earlier generation took public swigs from brown-bagged affordable red. Please, make this a transition we surpass – for legal dispensaries to surface more speedily than a handful every hockey season, for bad players to retreat into other fraudulent forms and for cannabis to be used privately as something closer to alcohol than to cigarettes.

To do so, though, in part we need the chronically annoying activism in the city to cease with this patent nonsense about its purported struggle. Theirs is a fourth-rate, First World problem.

Troubling, too, is the mayor’s tepidness to assert his officialdom over the officiousness of the mob that would wish to trample Sunset Beach each April 20 under the pretense of pseudo-protest.

Let’s be clear, protests belong to legitimate grievances about discrimination, inequality, unjust policies or troubling situations. What takes place on 4-20 at the public park devalues the concept and is a weedy (pun intentional) euphemism for a retro festival featuring a retro band. Didn’t know Cypress Hill were still together? They are. Didn’t also know there was still anything to protest? There isn’t.

In case you were in a haze, the law’s first version is here, cannabis 2.0 legislation for edibles and beverages is coming, and possession pardons are heading our way. In other words, the rules have been changed to suit users past, present and future. You’d think it would be over to you now to abide the balance of the rules we all live by.

But no, we will get a long-weekend middle finger. No permit. No authority. No consideration.

While weed’s whiff doesn’t bother me as does the noxious tobacco sidestream, for the thousands of families in the park’s vicinity the flouting of an anti-smoking bylaw is not inconsequential. Why do their concerns not matter?

Let’s call it what it is: an open-air trade fair, kiosks and vendors and profiteers galore, a celebratory smoke-in. There are no marches across the bridge for rights, no plaintive pledge that we shall overcome, and nothing left to oppose.

Let’s then expect of it an adult leadership and treat it as the self-soothing big business festival that it is, meaning a mature environment that fits within the parameters of a permit – and where it belongs geographically out of harm’s way, not where it wishes ideologically. If the park board is powerless to prevent it, let’s work out a locale.

The 4-20 fiasco deserves the new mayor’s attention, but he has chosen not to exercise authority as the city’s leader and the police board chair. He has been collecting friends the way obsessive children used to collect hockey cards. But even at this early stage, he owes us an understanding of his boundaries. Being a self-described mayor for everyone doesn’t mean disappointing no one.

In the few days before the date, the skirmish between organizers and the city will focus not on where or whether to stage the Celebration of Blunts but on who will pay what for an unsanctioned event. Yes, those of the grow-ops need to grow up, but this is a dual responsibility and neither side wins any token (bad pun intended) of appreciation.

Meantime, we taxpayers will be paying to reclaim the site in the months to come, as we largely did last year and the year before to the tune of nearly $600,000. Organizers dispute that total, of course. To them I think we can all agree: if your protest is about what it costs the city government to do anything, we’ll join you, but get in line. 

Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media



Dîner en Blanc will return to Vancouver again this summer

Photo by Jonathan Evans via Jonny Picture/Diner en Blanc – Vancouver/Facebook

Gentlemen and gentlewomen of Vancouver, be at the ready to nab your reservations for one of Vancouver’s most popular annual summertime events, as Le Dîner en Blanc is set to return to the city for an eighth year. The popular and posh all-white ticketed outdoor picnic and celebration has revealed they’ll pop up in Vancouver on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Le Dîner en Blanc began in Paris over 30 years ago as a special pop-up picnic, and has since been carried out year after year in cities around the globe.

Not only is Le Dîner en Blanc when lucky ticket holders gather in one Vancoouver spot all dressed in head-to-toe white, but it is also about the excitement of the event going down in a secret location, revealed to participants only hours before their festive plein air summer soiree.

Highly coveted tickets to the event are released in phases, with the first wave going to “members” who have previously attended, the second phase for the lucky few that Phase I members have recommended, and the last wave opens up tickets to those on the waiting list. (So get on that list right now, if you dare to dream of attending.)

And this is no come-as-you-are park hang-out; there are rules: You must dress in all white and elegant clothing–don’t be tacky about it, either.

Haul your own table (white chairs, white table) and table setting–and again, all white only, please. Bring your own food, and be prepared to set it all up and take it all down when the night is done. Champagne and/or wine will be available for pre-purchase. Beer and hard liquor are prohibited.

Le Dîner en Blanc – Vancouver

When: Thursday, August 8, 2019
Where: Shhh, it’s a secret
Cost: $53+ per person

Vancouver is Awesome


Get breakfast hot dogs and more on Japadog’s new morning menu

Breakfast dogs at Japadog on Robson St. | Photo via Japadog

Hot dogs for breakfast? Put an egg on it and call it your morning meal. Japadog has debuted a new AM eats menu at their Robson Street restaurant location, and it features all sorts of breakfast hot dogs and fried stuff to feed your face before lunchtime.

There are six hot dogs on the new Japadog breakfast menu, including some basics like their Plain Beef Dog, Bacon Cheese Dog, Cheese Dog, and a Mashed Potatoes Dog (yep, a hot dog topped with an orb of mashed potatoes).

They’ve got two egg-centric dogs: A Scrambled Eggs Dog and the Eggs Dog (with a fried egg). You can get “Eggs Mashed” (egg and mashed potatoes in a jar which may remind some of L.A.’s Egg Slut), hash browns, croquettes, and a Crunchy French Toast with either Caramelized Apples or Strawberry Sauce.


Crunchy French Toast with Strawberry Sauce at Japadog (Photo via JAPADOG)

Combos include the Eggs Mashed with a bun and coffee or a Hot Dog + Hashed Browns + Coffee.

Known for their eclectic line-up of Japanese fusion hot dogs, the onetime cart-only Japadog has since expanded to have permanent locations and numerous carts across Metro Vancouver, and even in the Los Angeles area. They’ve added lots of eats to their Robson Street menu over the years, from seasoned fries to ice cream buns and more.


Eggs Mashed (Photo via JAPADOG)

Hit up the breakfast menu at Japadog, which is only available at their Robson Street location (530 Robson St., Vancouver). Breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 6:30 to 10:30 am and Weekends from 7:30 to 10:30 am.

Vancouver is Awesome


Vancouver’s Celebration of Light reveals competing countries and dates for 2019

Celebration of Light/Facebook

For the 29th brilliant year, the Honda Celebration of Light will brighten the skies over Vancouver’s beautiful English Bay. Today the annual fireworks event revealed the competing countries and dates for the 2019 season.

The 2019 lineup will feature dazzling fireworks displays from India, Canada, and Croatia. This marks the first year both India and Croatia will perform their pyrotechnics in Vancouver for the Celebration of Light.

The world’s longest-running offshore fireworks competition first takes to the skies on Saturday, July 27, 2019, with the debut of India’s show. Canada will follow on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, while Croatia will wrap up the three-night festival of fireworks on Saturday, August 3, 2019.

“Back for its 29th year, the Honda Celebration of Light will once again set the sky above Vancouver aglow. This event is a wonderful opportunity for families and communities to come together to enjoy three nights under the stars celebrating community and culture,” says Yuri Fulmer and Michael McKnight, co-chairs of the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society.

“It’s always a momentous occasion when hundreds of thousands of people gather in one place; especially this year with the return of team Canada, not to mention the anticipation behind what newcomers Croatia and India will present.”

Attendees are encouraged to plan ahead and take public transit or ride bicycles, and be sure to follow the “pack in, pack out” method of handling food, drinks, and garbage during the evening.

“As in past years, Park Board and City staff will clean up our beaches, parks and seawalls the morning after each firework show. We ask all visitors to our parks and beaches to use litter and recycling bins or to take their garbage home,” notes Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

The fireworks will take place rain or shine, beginning at 10 pm each night.

Music simulcast can be heard on The Breeze 104.3 FM and through the festival’s mobile app, which will be released in early summer. The winning team will be announced on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019.

Here are the official teams:

  • July 27: Amir Morani Fireworks (India)
  • July 31: Firemaster Productions Inc. (Canada)
  • August 3: Mirnovec Fireworks (Croatia)

“Each and every year the Honda Celebration of Light brings so much joy and excitement to Vancouver, and there is no question that this year will be any different. With an incredible lineup of participating countries and a host of wonderful activities for the public to enjoy, the fireworks will once again be a highlight for our city this summer,” says Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver.

“Celebrating 29 years in Vancouver, this popular summer festival is a wonderful platform to showcase our city on the world stage,” adds Stewart.

While you can certainly plot out a spot along the beach at English Bay or in Vanier Park, or find a friend with a Bay-facing West End apartment for a free show, you can also take advantage of ticketed packages to enjoy a cozier view, including special beach and park viewing areas with amenities, as well as parties held at area restaurants.

Tickets to all three viewing areas go on sale to the public on Friday, April 12. Find more info and access online here.

Vancouver is Awesome


What are we reading? April 11, 2019


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.

Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief:

Environmentalist Bill McKibben examines the quandary facing the planet as it shifts from fossil fuels, and whether the weakening of traditional energy firms portends an opportunity or a loss. - The New York Review of Books


David Frum is one of Canada’s most prominent expatriate political writers. His conservative influence on America as an anti-Trump commentator is considerable. Here he takes on the difficulties of Justin Trudeau. - The Atlantic

Bret Easton Ellis produced some of the most intriguing literature of the last 30 years. He remains a baffling figure, much against the societal grain, as this interview suggests. - The New Yorker


Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Hemp to the rescue again, this time as a prescription for weaning the world from its debilitating petrochemical dependency. - Forbes


Climate change now disrupting global container ship traffic and set to add to the cost of importing and exporting goods all over the planet. - Splash 24/7


Book now for your trip to Mars before Russian billionaire Boris Vasiliev and other high-rollers snap up all the best seats available in the US$68 billion mission to the Red Planet. - New York Shipping Exchange Inc.


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

The B.C. government’s move to improve transparency in real estate ownership might provide an interesting glimpse into who’s behind the anonymous shell companies buying up units in the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver. - ThinkProgress


Writer David Dayen has a dystopian vision of future Big Tech tyranny:

“Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are waging a war of all against all—a war for all of your time, all of your money, all of your worldly interactions and desires. They want to be your one indispensable partner for navigating life, and to get there, they must destroy one another. If the government doesn’t step in, the American public will become collateral damage.” - New Republic


Nelson Bennett, reporter:

For the first time ever, we are able to see a black hole, thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope and an algorithm developed at MIT. As this NPR piece explains, the image we are seeing isn’t an actual photo taken with an optical telescope, but an image made from numerous readings from eight radio telescopes and rendered into an image using an algorithm. - NPR


Tyler Orton, reporter:

In-depth breakdown of how a big Me Too story is handled, or perhaps mishandled, and what it means for a reporter to get scooped over something that was within their grasp. - New York Magazine


Peter German's second report into money laundering in B.C. has more than a few head-shakers to share. - B.C. government