Living/Working October 1, 2021

Living/Working

September 29, 2021

Lawsuit of the week: Stanley Park restaurant owners sue city hall and park board over coyote attacks, lane closures

Owners of Teahouse in Stanley Park and the Prospect Point Restaurant and Café seek damages for lost revenue

BIV file photo

The companies behind the Teahouse in Stanley Park and the Prospect Point Restaurant and Café are suing the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, claiming lane closures for vehicle traffic coupled with numerous recent coyote attacks have driven customers away and decimated their businesses.

Ferguson Point Restaurant Inc. and Stanley Park Operations Ltd. filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on September 10, naming the city and park board as defendants. According to the lawsuit, the companies signed leases with the board at a time when Stanley Park Drive was two lanes and accessible by car via Beach Avenue. In addition, there was enough parking for customers who “were freely permitted to enter the park to access all paths and hiking trails, and to access the plaintiffs’ respective premises during business hours.” The leases, the companies claim, required that “Stanley Park and the areas around the Establishments are safe for the public, including safe from attacks by wild animals.” The agreements also obliged the city and park board to ensure the public has “reasonable access” to the businesses by car.

However, the park board closed one lane of Stanley Park Drive in May 2021, blocked access from Beach Aventue in April 2020 and also cut the number of parking spaces near the plaintiffs’ businesses. Collectively, the closures and parking space reductions “significantly reduced public access to and around Stanley Park … and deterred the public rom visiting Stanley Park and patronizing the Establishments.”

Meanwhile, beginning in December 2020, reports of unprovoked attacks by wild coyotes in the park began to emerge, garnering international media attention, After more than three dozen reported attacks, some involving children, the park board issued a public warning to avoid Stanley Park between dusk and dawn. But the plaintiffs claim the park board failed to protect the public from the coyote attacks and ensure Stanley Park was safe, which as “deterred the public from visiting Stanley Park and patronizing the establishments.”

“As a result of the Park Board’s public warnings, response to coyote attacks, and general failure to ensure that Stanley Park was safe for the public, Ferguson Point and Stanley Park Operations have and will continue to suffer loss and damage including lost revenue and wasted expenditures,” the claim states.

Ferguson Point Restaurant Inc. and Stanley Park Operations Ltd. seek unspecified damages for breach of lease, nuisance and breach of duty of care. The allegations have not been proven or tested in court and the City of Vancouver and Park Board had not responded to the lawsuit by press time.

Earlier this week, a BC Supreme Court judge denied a judicial review brought forward by the restaurant owners over the City of Vancouver's decision to convert Park Drive, which circumnavigates Stanley Park, into a bicycle route. 

The restaurateurs argued that designating the route a permanent bike lane to reduce carbon emissions and appease a public opinion survey was carried out using “clear logical fallacies, such as circular reasoning, false dilemmas, unfounded generalizations or an absurd premise.”

 
Leading

City’s war on automobile owners set to shift into overdrive in 2022

The City of Vancouver’s incessant guerilla assault on car and truck owners has taken on many shapes over the years. But 2022 offers the prospect of an inflection point, from a period of annoyance to one of absurdity.

A proposal before the city’s council this week would smack the owner of a 2023 vehicle with an annual fee of up to $1,000, depending on the model’s emission rate, and hits all but low-income owners with an annual overnight parking fee that will start at $45 but can be banked upon to climb. No other North American city tries this combo, but this is Vancouver after all.

The pretense is that this is designed to contribute Vancouver’s “fair share” in the fight against climate change. But the plan is really just another in a ceaseless series of tax seizures. We all pay at the pumps for carbon emissions, and the city already imposes a property tax surcharge for its environmental scheme.

The staff report on the proposal admits Vancouver has “extremely limited jurisdiction and tools to impact emissions,” but that won’t stop it from leveraging whatever it can grasp. This new confiscation does not solve anything and indeed avoids what would be a more effective application of its principles. It simply makes people with more money pay more money.

It also proves that its Climate Emergency Action Plan was charted without public consent on a coherent process to pay for it. It is making it up as it goes, and it is going to reach further into household budgets in what is already an excessively expensive city.

“Without question, the City’s climate goals will not be achieved without significant investment and, absent other revenues, would be solely dependent on senior government transfers or increases and/or reallocation of property tax,” it says.

So, here comes another wave of fees in 2022 that further isolates the city from surrounding communities on the other side of its boundaries. Of course, their polluting vehicles can venture into the city with no such fees – at least, for the time being. They will, however, face a $3 overnight parking fee between midnight and 7 a.m.

If the city were serious about tackling climate change instead of signalling virtue, it would dare to restore the equivalent of the notorious provincial AirCare program. The annual fee would hit the tens of thousands of older Vancouver vehicles on the road today, not the more efficient ones yet to roll off the manufacturing lines.

Of course, council and staff know that their support largely comes from those who want a larger role for government and a larger bill for others to pay for it. Thus the proposal targets those who will buy fuel-conscious and pricey new cars of the future, not those who possess the coughing and haggard beaters of the present and past. Public comment on the proposal was withering, but we are used to council skipping past that inconvenience when it has its mind set.

How much will this tax grab? On this, like all projections into the future of vehicle ownership, the crystal ball is likely more cloudy than the intellectual certainty of the staff report.

The report suggests between $44 million and $72 million will be raised over the first four years from the annual and overnight fees. Net revenue will be $40 million to $60 million. It is claiming the program will cost $1.7 million to roll out and $1 million to annually administer. Anyone who has done the math in this paragraph will realize its revenue and expense projections are off-kilter at either end.

“Note that these forecasts depend on factors such as how frequently people purchase new vehicles, their willingness to choose an EV when they purchase a new vehicle, and their ability and choice to park off-street,” the report notes. Ahem, yes.

What could this buy? The staff report has a lovely eight-item shopping list coming straight from the vehicle owner’s budget: 20 kilometres of bus efficiency projects, on-street connectivity initiatives at two (yes, only two) transit stations, 25 new pedestrian signals, 100 curb ramps, 1,000 trees, four kilometres of rainwater capture projects, 15 fast chargers for the public and 500 Level Two ones primarily in rental buildings. Let’s remember this list for review in 2026, because the city isn’t talking about any increases in fees (particularly the overnight one, which will almost certainly rise).

The city’s war on the car over the years has featured disproportionate parking rates and fines, poorly chosen arteries to retrofit bicycle lanes, and lately the prodigious street patios to diminish spots to stop and shop. We were told to build laneway houses to densify the neighbourhoods; now those parking spots behind the house have gone, and parking fees for the ones in front are arriving.

Brace for even more, because the ownership and parking ploys would only raise about one-fifth of the cost of the climate change initiative.

Next on the agenda will be mobility pricing to charge everyone for the privilege of taking the car out of a parking spot and putting it on the road – but, shrewdly, that will come a little later, around 2025 or 2026. This is what we would recognize as the boiling frog approach, the temperature going up and up and up in the pot of water until the taxpayer is cooked.

The city embarked on a conceit more than a decade ago to create the Potemkin Village, a paltry council on a multilateral mission insinuating itself on matters that it cannot affect to make its citizens feel they can.

The aspirational, extra-territorial bluster has attracted a senior administrative echelon that thinks it has arrived at the United Nations, not Cambie and 12th.

Our council believes it is occupying the legislatures of Victoria or Ottawa.

Both are lost in space. •

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of BIV and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.

 

 
Spending

This map shows Vancouver filming locations for popular Netflix shows

Find out which Metro Vancouver locations your favourite shows and movies used

Has Netflix been in your neighbourhood? A new website from the streaming platform shows filming locations for some of its top shows and movies, including many that were shot in Vancouver | Netflix Canada

Vancouverites looking to live out some of their favourite small screen moments may use a new Netflix website to see what locations were used in popular shows and movies. 

Netflix in Your Neighbourhood maps out what locations were used in some of the streaming platform's top shows. 

To find out where shows filmed in your B.C. neighbourhood you can select your province in the "Netflix in Canada" section. A map will pop up that allows you to choose B.C. 

To start, the Netflix map site is showing five TV shows that were filmed in B.C.: Always be my Maybe, Firefly Lane, Virgin River, To All the Boys, and Restaurants on the Edge. From there, you can select each title to find out where it films. 

For example, when you select Always Be My Maybe, filming locations in Vancouver including the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Roxy Cabaret, The Orpheum Theatre, Glowbal, and the Nightengale appear. The city stood in for San Francisco in the Ali Wong rom com. 

Netflix also gives a brief description of each filming location and what happened in the scene that was filmed there. For example, Always Be My Maybe was filmed at the Vancouver Art Gallery for the scene when characters "Sasha and Marcus arrive at the Food & Wine Awards, they’re actually walking in the Georgia Street Plaza in front of the gallery." 

Alternatively, you can toggle through the TV shows and find out where they were filmed across Canada. 

Locals also have the opportunity to spot "Jenny from the block" in Vancouver in the upcoming weeks. 

Jennifer Lopez will be in town filming a Netflix thriller called The Mother that also stars Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare In Love), Omari Hardwick (Power), and Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mamá También). 

 

 
Spending

Burnaby unveils ‘state-of-the-art’ Eerie Illusions Halloween event

Tickets are now on sale.

The Burnaby Village Museum is hosting a family-friendly Halloween event for 2021 | FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Burnaby Village Museum is being transformed into a “magical world bathed in breathtaking colour, with talking crows, invisible bands and photo-bombing ghouls” as part of its Halloween event Eerie Illusions.

“Utilizing state-of-the-art lighting, projections, soundscapes and special effects, Eerie Illusions will amaze and astound visitors of all ages, and showcase Burnaby Village Museum as it has never been seen before,” says a city statement. “The fun starts when two eager children discover a book of magical spells, unleashing a torrent of enchantments throughout the Village. As the children work to set things right, the Village is overrun with unruly spirits, chatty crows and portals to different dimensions and times. Visitors will encounter unique displays, activities and surprises as they explore the Village on a quest to return things to normal.”

The city says this Halloween experience is suitable for all ages and tickets can be bought in advance at this site. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids from two to 12, but no charge for kids under two years.

The event runs rain or shine on the following dates:

Oct. 22-23, 5-11 p.m.
Oct. 24-28, 6-10 p.m.
Oct. 29-31, 5-11 p.m.

Last entry is one hour prior to closing. The experience is designed to take approximately 45 to 65 minutes to experience, the city says.

Take-out food is available for purchase from an on-site café. In addition, there will be food trucks on site selling snacks such as mini-donuts and popcorn. 

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

•As an outdoor event, B.C. Vaccine card is not required for entry.

•Masks are required in all indoor spaces.

•Please stay home if you are sick.

•Respect and follow directions of staff at all times.

•Anyone not following safety guidelines or directions from staff will be asked to leave.

What you need to know

•Enter through our Main Entrance off of Canada Way and Sperling Avenue.

•Bring either your printed ticket or e-ticket with barcode.

•There is limited free parking around the venue. If possible, we recommend arriving by public transit.

•Working service animals are permitted on site. Pets are not allowed. 

•Carousel rides will not be available.

•Trick or treating will not be taking place.

•There are no exchanges or refunds offered for this event.

 

 
Spending

Backyard Adventures await at Science World's latest exhibition (VIDEO)

You can ride a mechanical bee

Backyard Adventures runs until January 14 | Thor Diakow

There's a hidden world waiting to be discovered in your own backyard.

That's according to Science World's latest exhibition, Backyard Adventures.

The new attraction, which opens Sept. 29, features a 5,000 square-foot space for visitors to "connect with nature and uncover a trove of scientific wonders."

Numerous interactive exhibits include an augmented reality garden bed and backyard-themed mini-golf. Science lovers can also ride a mechanical bee and collect pollen from flowers.

 

 

"This exhibition is all about extending the traditional meaning of a backyard, beyond that lawn patch that you have beside a building, to your communities and your ecosystems that everybody is a part of," says curator Dana Turner.

The exhibition enables guests to learn about biological interactions between plants and insects, the zoology of nocturnal animals, and the horticulture behind growing giant vegetables.

"A lot of people think, in order to do science, you have to go and get a fancy degree and you have to read a lot and study a lot of books and really, all it takes is getting out in the world beyond you, looking at things really closely, getting your hands on things," adds Turner.

Backyard Adventures runs until January 14. Science World is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Visitors 12 and over are required to show proof of vaccination and anyone six and up are required to wear a mask.

In recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Science World will be offering free admission for Indigenous visitors from September 30 to October 3.

 
Exploring

What are we reading? September 30, 2021

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

 

Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor

Fire-hardening houses through the use of concrete siding, metal roofs with no gutters or air vents, and no nearby vegetation, are among measures called for under a new Oregon plan to protect homes from wildfires. But some homeowners are pushing back. – NPR

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/27/1040048299/oregon-has-a-new-plan-to-protect-homes-from-wildfire-homebuilders-are-pushing-ba

 

This thoughtful piece on the potentially deadly consequences of giving air to COVID-19 misinformation in newspaper op-eds should be required reading for reporters and editors:

“When it comes to opinion journalism, it’s on editors to ensure that it isn’t just the loudest often self-proclaiming experts who are provided with a platform for their views and ideas, but those with demonstrated expertise, humility, and thoughtfulness, as they often add immeasurable value to the public conversation….”  – elemental

https://elemental.medium.com/an-opinion-pandemic-520a343751fc

 

Glen Korstrom, reporter

The crimp in supply chains is pushing up prices for raw materials, labour and containers for shipping. The result is manufacturers are seeing profit margins shrink. The question is whether this is a temporary phenomenon/ – Barron’s

https://www.barrons.com/articles/fedex-results-highlight-inflations-blow-to-earnings-51632496788?st=mv9laqw7stb0tag

 

We could be hearing about the U.S. debt ceiling for a while and this good short read is a good explainer of the phenomenon, how it works and why it matters – Wall Street Journal

https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/us-debt-ceiling-explained-11632429692

 

Merging the MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX always seemed unlikely, although the concept fueled headlines pre-pandemic. 

The two largest North American soccer leagues have been increasing games between the leagues’ teams, however, and that is poised to increase in the lead-up to the 2026 World Cup that includes games in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. – The Athletic

https://theathletic.com/2842905/2021/09/22/inside-the-ambitious-new-leagues-cup-format-that-mls-and-liga-mx-hope-will-add-rocket-fuel-to-their-plans-for-growth/?article_source=search&search_query=concacaf/

 

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

China's great big debt problem is now the world's great big debt problem – Foreign Policy

https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/09/29/chinas-property-sector-evergrande/

 

Dear landlord: I'm a restaurant owner, and I'm a touch light in the wallet this month. Might be a touch light for a couple of months. Will you accept food and drink in lieu? That's likely a familiar refrain for a lot of landlords in a lot of Canadian provinces and American states, according to the September rent report from Alignable. The report finds that 51% of restaurants and 38% of Canadian small businesses surveyed can't pay their rent this month.  

https://www.alignable.com/forum/alignable-51-of-restaurants-cant-pay-sept-rent-up-6

 

Anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, Deep State zombies and other fans of misinformation will be happy to know that the social media incubator of idiocy and irrationality and other sources of bilge and bathwater are accelerating the  global supply of misinformation and bad data – The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2021/09/eric-schmidt-artificial-intelligence-misinformation/620218/?utm_source=feed

 

Nelson Bennett, reporter

One of the problems with electricity as an energy source is that it’s not nearly as easy to store and transport as coal or chemical fuels, and therefore not widely exported. But Australia and Singapore are planning to address the problem with a staggering $22 billion solar energy project that will see solar power produced in Australia and exported to Singapore via a 5,000 kilometre marine transmission line. It will require a solar farm 10 times bigger than anything built to date massive battery storage, and will supply about 15% of Singapore’s electricity. -- New Atlas

https://newatlas.com/energy/sun-cable-australia-singapore-solar-undersea-powerlink/

China and the U.K. are currently going through different kinds of energy crises, both of which underscore how reliant those countries are on free trade. China is rationing electricity and part of the problem is its embargo against Australian coal imports. In the UK, Brexit has caused a shortage of lorry drivers because European drivers can no longer work visa-free in Britain, resulting in a lack of drivers to deliver gasoline and diesel to gas stations, which are now out of gas. But there are also fundamental supply problems, and as this Al Jazeera piece points out, the U.S. can’t simply respond to a spike in demand for things like coal, oil, gasoline and natural gas because investment in fossil fuels has been deliberately squelched. -- Al Jazeera

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/9/29/china-power-cuts-uk-petrol-woes-why-is-there-an-energy-crunch