Living/Working September 9, 2022

Living/Working

September 9, 2022

Lawsuit of the week: Ferry firms sue Nanaimo Port Authority over stalled passenger ferry plan

A trio of companies is suing the Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) and a private equity firm for allegedly stealing confidential information related to a plan to start a high-speed Nanaimo-to-downtown-Vancouver passenger ferry service.

Island Ferry Services Ltd., Island Ferry Management Ltd. and Island Maritime Holdings Ltd. filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on August 16. The companies claim the port authority and Conqora Capital Partners Inc. abruptly backed out of a proposed deal for equity financing and a lease in November 2020. The Island Ferry plaintiffs claim they’ve spent more than 15 years and upwards of $18 million developing plans for ferry service between downtown Vancouver and Nanaimo.

Over the last decade and a half, the plaintiffs claim they’ve created business plans and a host of reports related to the plan including “financial models, ridership projections, operational plans, vessel certification, environmental reports and agreements with third parties.”

The companies claim they shared confidential information with the defendants after signing non-disclosure agreements as part of their efforts to secure financing and a lease from the port authority for a facility to house the operation. However, the port authority allegedly backed out and refused to ever sign a lease with the Island Ferry companies, leading Conqora to pull its original investment offer.

“Conqora then misappropriated Island Ferries’ confidential and proprietary information to pursue the business on its own,” the claim states. “In September 2021, Conqora publicly announced that it had entered into agreements with the NPA and the Snuneymuxw First Nation for the purpose of providing the business.”

Island Ferries, according to the claim, has been exploring plans for ferry services on several different routes since 2006, raising millions in investments and securing $30 million in financing from the Toronto-Dominion Bank for vessels.

Moreover, the companies claim they have “strong support” from all levels of government to start the service, having obtained more than $13 million from a federal government grant. Most of the confidential information, according to the claim, was “required” by the port authority as well as TransLink to secure space at the Nanaimo terminal and the SeaBus terminal.

By the summer of 2020, the companies claim Conqora began excluding their representatives from negotiations with third parties and used confidential information “for its own benefit and/or without any due regard for Island Ferries’ legitimate interests.”

Island Ferry Services Ltd., Island Ferry Management Ltd. and Island Maritime Holdings Ltd. seek unspecified damages for breach of confidence, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of confidential information.

The allegations have not been tested or proven in court, and neither Conqora nor the Nanaimo Port Authority had responded to the lawsuit by press time.

 
Leading

An updated inventory of long-haul inflation implications and angst

Sigh, argh, crying out loud: Inflation and higher interest rates are back and staying put.

For nearly a generation those two economic menaces were gone and staying so.

Central banks and governments were lead-footed in tweaking to inflation’s arrival, lead-headed in assessing its persistence and again lead-footed in imposing measures and offering solutions to patch over what had been substandard leadership. Those mistakes have cost all of us.

It ought to have been evident when the supply chain fractured at the outset of the coronavirus that it would cost more to bring products to market more slowly and meanderingly, and to provide services with the overhead of extra health and safety precautions and expenses for businesses and individuals.

And it ought to have been clear that this wasn’t temporary, any more than the pandemic was going to evaporate magically with vaccines. But here we are, in a full second year of galloping costs of living we have largely swallowed as some sort of cruel byproduct of COVID-19.

Many, many things are worrisome about substantial, sustained increases in the cost of living and borrowing – both their impacts and the reactions to them. Here are mine:

1. For a large cohort of the population, an environment of escalating prices and credit costs is unchartered terrain. While the old-timers among us are haunted with double-digit memories of mortgage and loan rates and enlarged grocery prices, if you are under 35 your adulthood has only experienced near-free money to borrow and low increases overall in living expenses. This cohort’s reaction will be pivotal in the wrestling match to bring the dragons to ground. All of us will need to understand the long tail of how rising rates course through the system and that the discomfort stands to prevail for another two years, but for a generation-plus that has not been confronted in the last decade-plus with economizing, that’s a tall order.

2. Changes in the leadership of the provincial NDP and the federal Conservatives may well prompt elections in the next six or so months. The governing federal Liberals believe their best chance to capture a majority is to confront Pierre Poilievre (the presumed Tory race winner as I write) with an election campaign. They feel they can define him darkly before he defines himself with the electorate. Justin Trudeau has told his cabinet he intends to run again. His pact with the federal NDP is wavering on social program spending, and he can claim that he needs to protect the country from what he will deem a Trumpian foe in the new Conservative chief. It is possible we will enter an election campaign in November, and with that will come more spending promises from the Liberals without more plans on how to pay for them. Similarly, presumptive provincial NDP leader David Eby is gradually repositioning his vision in place of John Horgan’s as he campaigns toward the premiership in December. In his case, it’s not a matter of his defining his BC Liberal opponent, Kevin Falcon, as his defining his own vision through a spring budget and campaign for the mandate that arises from his leadership bid and new term. We need to remember that our senior governments have unleashed spending and padded the ranks during the pandemic, either oblivious or malicious about the economic souring that was taking place in early 2020. Any further “investments,” as they euphemistically call them, will not diminish economic troubles, particularly if they resemble Horgan’s relief package last week that specifically penalized landlords. The province is crying out for a growth strategy – so, for that matter, is the country – as a companion to measure after measure by governments to spend our money on ourselves.

3. At a local level, government are experiencing cost increases no differently than anyone else, but their inabilities to run operational deficits steer them toward tax hikes and additional fees to paper over the additional expenses. With the municipal elections a month away, I’m not hearing anyone in the region talk about austerity and frugality to spare the property owner, the driver, the builder or anyone with whom it does business.

4. I worry about price gouging while expectations of inflation exist. Any sneakiness on the part of businesses will only delay the return of a sensible market.

5. While many would love housing prices to decline to bring homeownership within range, inflation and rising interest rates are one of the worst paths to get there, mainly because many of those same people will find their way into a market that seems inviting at the front end but is actually stinging as the mortgage bears down. Moreover, a cooler housing market is bad news for governments at all levels, but particularly the province, owing to their dependence on real estate construction and transactions as a steady stream of revenue.

6. Inflation and expectations about it naturally begat wage demands, and employers are not helped by the extraordinary labour shortages owing to our demography and our third year of missing immigration targets amid our sub-normal productivity as a country. The settlements in recent weeks of a handful of public sector contracts weren’t great benchmarks for the private sector, but it is obvious that several factors now are pushing many companies into compensation terms that, yes, will spur a new round of increases in the cost of their goods and services.

Believe me, sooner or later, I’d like to have happier news. •

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

 
Spending

Video: Remembering the day Queen Elizabeth opened the Massey Tunnel

As the world mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Richmond News looks back on the day Her Majesty cut the ribbon at The Tube in 1959

Queen Elizabeth II cuts the ribbon at the opening of the Deas Island Tunnel (later renamed George Massey) in 1959City of Vancouver Archives: AM54-S4-: Q E P17.07

As the U.K. and people around the world mourn the death of 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth, the Richmond News remembers the day Her Majesty came to town to open the Massey Tunnel.

The Queen passed away peacefully on Thursday afternoon (U.K. time) at Balmoral, the Royal Family’s estate in Scotland.

On July 15 in 1959, just seven years into her reign, a fresh-faced “Queen of Canada” – as she was then - arrived here to officially cut the ribbon on what was then called the Deas Island Tunnel, later renamed after George Massey.

In front of a cheering crowd, and with husband Prince Philip in tow, the Queen “graciously opened” – as per the unveiled plaque to that effect – the tunnel, according to records and a grainy, black and white video on YouTube.

The Queen did return to Richmond in 1971 for B.C.’s centennial celebrations — but there are no records of her doing anything official in the city and Vancouver Airport was likely her only local stop.

Richmond News

 

 
Spending

Free events and festivals happening around Vancouver in September

Keep your wallet at home because you won't need it🕺💸

There are plenty of fun free events happing in and around Vancouver, B.C., in September 2022. From festivals to roller disco, there's so much to do!@fourfires.ca/Instagram

Sometimes a night out or day activity is worth every penny (like a concert or fun festival), but sometimes that penny can be better spent elsewhere. Luckily, having fun and being thrifty can still go hand in hand, even in Vancouver.

The first month of fall is an exciting time to be. Summer is coming to a close, pumpkin spice flavours fill the air, and trees will soon turn autumn colours. Speaking of autumn-coloured trees, fall is also a beautiful season for a road trip

If you're looking for local fun, here is a list of free events and festivals happening this month.

Sunset Beach Roller Jam

The regular roller disco lets you jam out on skates with a view of the beach. The event comes with DJs, chalk street art and 70s fashion, and is worth stopping by  before the rain sets in. 

When: Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

Where: 1204 Beach Ave.

Car-Free Days

If you've ever been curious about what the city would look like without cars, this series of events will satisfy that itch. On separate days, three Vancouver streets will be car-free and filled with food and drinks, local art, and live music.

When: September 10, 18, 25 from noon-7 p.m.

Where: Sept. 10 on Commercial Drive from North Grandview Hwy to 1st Ave; Sept. 18 on Main Street from 10 Ave to 25 Ave; Sept. 25 on Denman Street from Davie to Robson streets

DIY Donut Workshop

Vancouver's iconic Lee's Donut shop is hosting a workshop for all ages where you can decorate your own donut and learn the science behind the making of the famous Granville Island dessert. 

When: September 24 at various times 

Where: 108-1535 Johnston St

DTVAN Kids' Day

This event is filled with free fun for all kids, with water play, face painting, glitter tattoos and more. 

When: September 17 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where: Emery Barnes Park - 1170 Richards St

Light It Up Chinatown

The weekend-long community celebration will have food trucks, live entertainment, a self-guided walking food tour, lights, and colourful decorations. This free event is a fun way to explore Chinatown.

When: Sept. 10 starting at 11 a.m. and Sept. 11 starting at noon

Where: Chinatown. Main Stage at the intersection of Columbia and Keefer streets; Kids Zone at 127 E Pender St (across from the Chinatown Storytelling Centre) from noon to 4 p.m.

Latin Independence Day Festival

Celebrate the nine Latin countries that share the same Independence Day and try traditional dishes, shop for traditional crafts, learn history, and enjoy Latin music and dancing. 

When: September 17 from noon-6 p.m.

Where: TBB El Redentor - 2551 E 49th Ave

Fire Dragon Festival

This event will be filled with cultural activities and performances, such as dragon dancing and workshops, to bring the Chinatown community together and educate about the neighbourhood's legacy. 

When: September 17 from 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Where: Throughout Chinatown, including activities in the Chinese Cultural Centre courtyard and Andy Livingstone Park

Four Fires Festival

This festival celebrates traditional indigenous canoe racing and canoe carving. There will also be visual and performance art, dancing, and live music by award-winning musicians.

When: September 10-11 

Where: Concord Community Park - 50 Pacific Blvd

Indigenous Culture in Community Exhibit

This free nine-day celebration highlights the work of Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh Nations, Coast Salish and Urban Indigenous artists within the community. An opening reception kicks of the exhibition and events which take place both at the Roundhouse and several city parks.

When: September 22 through October 1 (9:30 a.m. -9:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. weekends); opening reception on September 22 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Various locations; Opening Ceremony at the Yaletown Roundhouse - 181 Roundhouse Mews

Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus

The community choir is offering free singing lessons starting September 21. The five-week program teaches a capella singing techniques and arrangements suitable for men and lower-voiced women. Registration required.

When: On Wednesdays from September 21 through October 19 from 7:15-9 p.m.

Where: St. Faith's Anglican Church - 57th & West Boulevard

Yoga for Coal-Free Fashion

This free yoga class doubles as a protest asking Lululemon to phase out coal and switch to 100 per cent clean and renewable energy by 2030. The event is BYOM (bring your own mat) and will be led by an experienced instructor.

When: September 17 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Where: 1818 Cornwall Ave

Run to the Polls

This free guided route helps educate runners on non-partisan topics surrounding voting, such as checking voting eligibility, ways to hold elected officials accountable, where to find your local voting site, and more.

When: September 25  from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Where: Rackets & Runners - 3880 Oak St

Vancouver Is Awesome

 

 
Spending

5 things you (probably) didn't know about Vancouver's Italian community

Vancouver's lions wouldn't be standing guard at the bridge if it weren't for an Italian sculptor

Stone lion at entrance of Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge, isolated. The Lions Gate Bridge is adorned with a pair of noble lions on the south end, really leaning into the bridge's name. The pair are probably the most well-known pieces of work by Charles Marega | Photo: zennie, iStock, Getty Images Plus

Vancouver is a city built on immigration.

While First Nations people have been living in the area for thousands of years, and early settlers primarily came from Great Britain, many other cultures have become integral pieces of the local culture. One significant population that's been here since the founding of Vancouver are Italians.

While no streets or parks carry Italian names, there are more than a few signs of Italian culture and influence around the city, historical and current. Here are a few things you (probably) didn't know about that.

1. The Lions Gate Bridge lions were designed by an Italian-Canadian sculptor

The Lions Gate Bridge is adorned with a pair of noble lions on the south end, really leaning into the bridge's name. The pair are probably the most well-known pieces of work by Charles Marega.

Technically, he wasn't born in Italy, but in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, the town he was born in is in modern-day Italy, near the border with Slovenia. Marega went on to study in Italy and other parts of Europe before eventually making his way to Vancouver where he became a popular sculptor for some big and small projects at the time.

"At one point he made 'sculpted concrete garden gnomes' as a sideline business to support himself," Ilaria Baldan, executive director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada - West, tells Vancouver Is Awesome. "Many of these were in people's front yards across the city."

Along with the two lions, Marega created the Joe Fortes Memorial Fountain and several statues that are part of the legislative buildings in Victoria.

2. Vancouver's Little Italy wasn't always on Commercial Drive

These days the heart of Italian culture in Vancouver is often considered Commercial Drive, where several Italian businesses have been going for years.

However, that's not always been the case. When the major wave of Italian immigrants made their way to Vancouver many settled in Strathcona 

"Thus, in the early 20th century, Strathcona was ‘Little Italy.’ The neighbourhood was home to a number of pioneering Italian businesses including, Crosetti’s on Main Street, Benny’s Italian Market, Minichiello’s Grocery (later Union Market) and Giuriatti’s, all on Union Street," writes civic historian John Atkin in a report to the city.

However, over time the population spread out over East Vancouver and Commerical Drive became the commercial hub. By the 1970s 'Little Italy' had come to mean Commerical Drive and Strathcona's Italian area faded.

3. The City of Vancouver apologized for mistreating Italian-Canadians during Second World War

Earlier this summer Vancouver's city council apologized for actions taken in the early 1940s.

While the internment Japanese-Canadians is well known, a similar thing happened to a smaller extent to Italian-Canadians, including 33 Vancouver residents who had connections to the Fascist Party of Canada. They were rounded up and transported to internment camps out of the province.

Lino Pasqualini's dad, who owned a bakery, was one of them.

“He didn't join the Fascist Party for political reasons. He joined because Mussolini promised all expatriates a free trip to Italy for a golden jubilee. And he wanted so badly to introduce my older sister and myself to our grandparents, who we never had the pleasure to meet,” Pasqualini told city council earlier this year, when the apology was officially issued.

4. Vancouver has an Italian Garden

Tucked up in Hastings Park is 'Il Giardino Italiano', or 'The Italian Garden,' based on traditional Italian gardens.

Created in 2000 it has a variety of parts to it, including an 'Opera Walk,' sculptures and fountains (with sculpted spouts). There's also a 'feast area' and Bocce courts.

Among the sculptures is one dedicated to Italian Immigrants; there used to be one of a young Christopher Columbus as well, but according to the Vancouver Sun it's been put into safe keeping.

Tucked away next to the Hasting Park skatepark, the garden is currently inside the PNE grounds.

5. A Metro Vancouver cyclotron uses Italian magnets for clinical nuclear medical diagnostics in the Pope's hospital

The Agostino Gemelli University Policlinic is the second largest hospital in Italy; located in Rome, it's the hospital used by popes, and in 2004 the Pope was involved in purchasing a very specialized, multi-million dollar piece of equipment, an Advanced Cyclotron Systems Inc. cyclotron, according to Baldan.

Cyclotrons are used to create specialized radioactive atoms used by doctors for the diagnosis of internal issues.

ACSI and its parent company Ebco Industries are based in Richmond. As cyclotrons rely on magnets to accelerate particles, ACSI needs a good source for the massive (1,428 kg.) magnets they use. And for that, they look to Forgia di Bollate, a company located in northern Italy.

Bonus

The Italian Cultural Centre is the heart of many Italian cultural activities in the city. That's probably not a surprise, but what you might not know is that they run an Italian library for their members.

Vancouver Is Awesome

 

 
Exploring

What are we reading? September 8, 2022

Photo: Nora Carol Photography, Moment, Getty Images

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

 

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Catch of the day: led by Japan, China, South Korea and the United States, the global industrial fishing industry, which continues to pillage the world's invaluable resource of fish and other marine life, is also a leading contributor to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. – Popular Science

https://www.popsci.com/environment/ocean-plastic-fishing-industry/

 

In brighter news from the high seas, the world's much-abused oceans could provide humanity with a massive source of clean renewable energy if this new wave-driven technology yields what its proponents claim it can. – New Atlas

https://newatlas.com/energy/swel-cheapest-wave-energy/

 

Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Canada is not yet at the point Holland is with its mandates to reduce nitrogen emissions from farming, which has triggered an all-out revolt by farmers. The Trudeau government is still in the consultation stage of proposed mandates to reduce nitrogen fertilizer emissions by 30%. But the president of the Canadian Wheat Growers is already ringing alarm bells over any nitrogen emissions reduction mandate. The result of such a mandate will be simple, he said: “We will grow less food,” food prices will rise, and countries like India and China will be the beneficiaries of agricultural production leakage. – The National Post

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/opinion-cutting-fertilizer-emissions-in-canada-will-ultimately-harm-the-worlds-environment