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Global Warming is Real: Pineapples Growing in East Vancouver!

An absolute stunner came this week as we discovered two fully grown pineapples on the tree.  Pineapples are usually not produced except in strange circumstances when winter temperatures do not get colder than 6 degrees Celsius and we get spring temperatures of 20 degrees by March.   This year, this has happened and a tree in east Vancouver is actually producing Pineapples.  Note that two originally grew.  We tool one to the UBC agricultural center to test the genetics to ensure this is not due to a freak gene mutation.

20130327_181154

Full video available on the Technoracle Blog at http://technoracle.blogspot.com/2013/04/finally-concrete-proof-of-global-warming.html

Why I may quit Greenpeace and Open Minds

I must disclose that I have been a Greenpeace member for most of my life. I am an environmentalist and regularly write on this topic.  Free enterprise and a good environmental policy are not antonyms, they are in fact two pillars of a modern sustainable culture.  The reason I believe this is that there has been a major shift in how people buy in BC.  Many of us buy local, we buy hybrids and we buy organic foods even though they all cost more.   We support our neighbours and farmers, the small produce suppliers and our blossoming wine industry because we know it is better for the economy and the environment.  We also know we cannot put people into poverty en masse.

Wednesday night I received a call from Greenpeace that disturbed me somewhat.  One of the three reasons they were calling me was to raise awareness of the importance of climate change and that we should “vote for the climate”.   When I asked what that meant, the response was “vote for the party that will keep the tar sands from happening”.  He then reported to me in another sentence that “the NDP opposes the pipeline”.  The implication being I should vote for the NDP.   What does “oppose the pipeline mean”?  I have a suspicion that no matter what any party says (perhaps with the exception of the Green Party), that the pipeline will be build.  The rational?  It is simply the most environmentally friendly way to move the product.

Greenpeace is supposed to be non-partisan.  I found it very interesting that the person on the phone did not mention the Green party but rather the NDP.  I am not sure why a Greenpeace phone volunteer is spending the money we donate to Greenpeace every month to call me and tell me about our political situation but that is for Elections BC to figure out.

The question that I had to ask when he stated we must oppose the pipeline is “what do you propose will be done in the alternative to move the oil“?  There was stunned silence before a reply to the lines of “well we oppose everything about the Alberta Tar sands.  If we do not build the pipeline we will cripple that operation“.  I had to think about this for a while longer.  This was a person who actually believes that if the Northern Gateway Pipeline is not built, the entire oil sands will cease production.  Better yet, if we elect the NDP who formally “oppose” the pipeline, we can shut down Alberta’s Tar sands.  I am sorry but this is simply not true.  If the pipeline if not built, the alternative is trucks and rail.  We do not have the rights to restrict traffic on national railroads and highways based on hatred of a particular industry. Those are national resources to which we all have equal rights to use.

If we had that power, I will aver that this is a very slippery slope.  For the record, I wish we all lived in a utopian society that did not require fossil fuels, but the reality is we do not and change takes time.    There is also an important concept of self government.  I do not support BC being able to tell Alberta that they cannot develop their natural resources any more that I would support Saskatchewan being able to unilaterally shut down the BC movie industry based on a belief that they are polluting and films are not necessary.  What about fishing?   If Ontario could shut down our technology industry over concerns about computers containing dangerous substances, it would put many people out of work.  What if someone in New Brunswick stopped UBC building condominiums on un-ceded native territory.   This is a very dangerous slope to slide down.  I understand the dangers of the Tar Sands project and know we have to change.  At the same time, I do not believe our students should graduate with $100,000 of debt.  We need balance in all policies.

So how does one stop the Tar Sands?  Simple.  Refuse to buy anything made with energy that comes from the Tar sands.  Stop buying cosmetics, cars, tires, bicycles, electronics, clothes and anything plastic made with Alberta crude.  Stop buying New Zealand apples and don’t buy green smoothies from Happy Planet, shipped in plastic bottles.     If no one wants to buy those products, the market for that product will dry up very quickly as no manufacturer would allow it in their products. This would cause a slump in demand and a reversal of the trend.    While sounding easy though, this equation is not so simple.  What if companies like Enbridge actually used the profits from the tar sands to invest into renewable energy sources to prepare the world for a better future?  Well guess what?  They do this.

Enbridge now generates over 1,365 MW of clean and renewable energy.  Do not believe me, read the website page at http://www.enbridge.com/DeliveringEnergy/RenewableEnergy.aspx. By contrast, the BC Carbon Tax has invested zero dollars and produced not one single MW of clean energy.  That tax is revenue neutral and only shuffles money around.  It also does not stop GHG emissions (read the increased amounts of GHG’s going into the environment on page 66 of the BC Provincial Budget).

So who are the bad guys and who are the good guys?  There is no right answer to this question.  My only hope is that I can invite anyone reading this to widen their thoughts and be a little more open minded.  We all need to work together on this.  No matter who wins the Provincial election May 14, we all have a deep responsibility to move forward to clean energy.  If you are a protestor, keep protesting to raise awareness.  If you have an idea to move to renewable energy, help Enbridge and others use the proceeds of the tar sands to invest into clean energy.  They are an energy company.  Oil is only one currency in that market.  If they invest all their money into oil, they will due as a company when the oil runs out.  The people I know at Enbridge told me that they know they need to move off oil to be successful in the future.  Some top environmentalists have noted this and are helping them with this change.

We all know oil is running out.  We have to reduce GHG’s.  I have a plan to use Geothermal energy to both produce clean and renewable energy for British Columbians.  We can do this.  It is not that complicated but it requires educating people on how this will work.

Conservatives (and anyone else with a sane brain) do not want our planet ruined. We are entrenched to fight against this and restore BC as an economic leader. In the meantime, some have advocated raising taxes on gasoline to cut back on people using cars.  Fine, I can personally afford $20/litre gas yet I found even the most hardened environmentalists are stating that this is not going to work for them.  “My life will be hell and my food and transportation bill will be through the roof” they claim.  True I replied, but we will achieve the goal of reducing your contributing to GHG emissions.  Most of them did not realize this was purely a rhetorical statement and got angry with me thinking it was an attack on their ability to exist.  When I pointed out that this is the same logic they are using on others, many then thanked me for helping to raise their awareness.

I am a friend of both clean energy and environmental causes.  I will not favor one at the expense of the others though.  We all need to work together on this.

We have an answer to meet the GHG targets for 2020 but also know that we have to measure them in a way that is fair and realistic.  Simply outsourcing the GHG’s used in manufacturing to China is not the answer.  After all, this is global warming, not BC warming.

Please give this some thought.

Wonderful Day Campaigning!

Today was a great day. We spent some time engaging citizens concerned about the BC Rail sale on the CKNW news forums. While it is highly unusual for a political candidate to engage in such a forum, we believe that direct engagements are vital to the democratic process and have broken convention to discuss. Details at:

http://www.cknw.com/news/vancouver/story.aspx?ID=1919912&nsoc=1&CommentID=666975

For anyone not familiar with British Columbia’s sale of BC Rail, it is a symptom of a deeper problem. From Wikipedia (and verified):

“BC Rail operations were owned by the public as a crown corporation from 1918 until 2004, when the provincial government leased operations for 990 years to CN. The track and other assets, including a marine division and stevedoring subsidiary as well as large tracts of real estate, remain under public ownership. The transaction is tainted by an influence-peddling and bribery scandal resulting in convictions in 2010. The provincial government, which promised when originally elected to never sell the railway, has announced that the crown corporation and its remaining operations and assets would be “wound down”.

Note that our own Auditor General was denied access to review the documents. The AG is supposed to protect taxpayers from this sort of thing:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/01/29/bc-rail-court-doyle.html

I have swallowed the Red pill and can no longer remain the same person I once was.  While going back to ignorance and bliss does appeal, it is no longer an option. 

Last but not least, to the growing ranks of supporters, thank you all for your wonderful help and encouragement.  This has made me a better person.

Duane Nickull meets Luke Skywalker!

I had a rare opportunity in 2010 to meet Mark Hamill.  To anyone hiding under a rock or less than 15 years of age, Mark played the role of Luke Skywalker in the first three Star Wars movies.

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 12.53.06 AM

 

This was a funny meeting. I was at a major tech community event in downtown LA and Mark was appearing as a luminary speaker.  The funny thing was that I had not been informed he was there and didn’t recognize him when he introduced himself.  At many of these events, the handlers for the company I was a public figure for regularly introduced me to people. That night, they came up and introduced me to Mark by saying “Duane!  There is a guy here you should talk to.  His name is Mark”.

Without the context of knowing who he was, we ended up speaking for about 10 minutes before the plethora of media gave me a not so subtle clue that he was not just a random guy.  Once realizing who he was, I suddenly felt an urge to acknowledge him realizing I had met one of my childhood heroes.  While I have met many other A-list people, nervousness overcame me and I blurted out an odd statement:

“Dude! I loved you in Corvette Summer.  Best movie ever”

😉

 

Tips for a Smaller Footprint

Reducing your Energy Footprint.

When talking to many people about green house gas emissions and other energy and environmental issues, it has been my observation that most people do not feel empowered to change anything. This is simply not true. Many of these ideas are unique to Vancouver but some of them might be useful outside of Canada. Not all of these ideas will necessarily be useful or good for all, but I do want to offer these to anyone who is in a position to make change.

Don’t feel helpless when you hear about climate change. I have faith in people. Arming people with sound knowledge and actionable alternativces, when given a chance to vote with their wallets, people will make the right choices. They buy hybrid cars, purchase organic foods and clean energy. This page contains some tips that people can incorporate into everyday living.

Packaging Re-use: Buy from manufacturers who ship food in glass jars to use Mason-style canning jars or other re-usable glass shapes (such as drinking glasses) which can be re-used by consumers rather than recycled. It struck me as odd that only one or two companies (Catelli Pasta/Pizza Sauce and Kuhne Mustard) seem to have caught on to this trend. It makes no sense that consumers will buy a can of pizza sauce then go to another aisle to purchase canning jars if they could get both in one purchase and repurpose the container. Accounting for the unnecessary trips to buy canning/preserving jars and for trucks to deliver these items to store shelves and the energy savings can add up. The cost to existing manufacturers would be minimal – no losers here as the canning jar manufacturers would be selling to the food manufacturers.

Do not buy Disposable! There are many disposable items for sale on the shelves of stores. Opt to buy where impact is less.

a. Disposable razor blades. Alternatives – non-disposable razors. There are no valid use cases for disposable razors over non-disposables and the plastic in the handles can be reused if a consumer could simply fit in new blades.

b. Liquid plumber and all other dangerous chemical compounds for plumbing system cleansing. These are harmful to marine wildlife and compounds end up coming back into the food chain and being consumed by humans. Alternatives – compressed air, snake lines, calling a plumber.

c. Incandescent light bulbs (except certain types). Alternatives – compact fluorescent, LED. Old style bulbs waste a lot of energy dissipating it as thermal heat and light that is beyond the visible spectrum.

d. The list goes on…

Go Containerless! Do not patronize or buy into the consumption of small (200 ml or less) juice or beverage packages and require parents to use a thermos or other reusable container. While tetra packs can be recycled, the evidence suggests that the net cost is still rather high in terms of forming the packaging and using extra packaging to aggregate multiple smaller containers. A better option would be to use reusable containers for all smaller beverages.

BC Liquor Law changes – Lobby the BC liquor board to relax its monopoly over alcohol sales and allow sales of beer and wine in most grocery stores. Right now, many citizens are driving longer trips to get to the small number of liquor outlets in Vancouver. The driving that could be reduced is significant. If each citizen drove an average of 5 km less in a year, the savings of energy would be spectacular. The provincial government is stuck on this old school model of alcohol sales and BC remains one of the few locations in the world that does not allow beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores. It is time for this model to die in the name of the environment.

Reuse Packaging (Canada Post) Add packaging material recycling stations to all Canada Post outlets where people can return Styrofoam chips, air packaging, boxes and other re-useable packing materials. The big loser here would be Canada Post as they cannot keep selling new packaging materials. Big winner – all people who need packaging materials and do not have to purchase them.

Drywall Recycling Build a gypsum recycling plant and mandate that all drywall and other gypsum board waste be recycled. Included in this idea would be a fuel efficient truck fleet to pick up gypsum waste by scheduling routes to avoid owners of waste having to drive long distances to recycle. The owners would pay a small fee to cover the charge or this could be billed with the sale of new drywall.

Share, don’t own – Expand the current car co-op/Zip car type programs to include more free parking spaces to encourage community car sharing. The city has opted to test a few of these by providing special parking spaces for community (“co-op”) cars. Encourage people to use these at least as a second vehicle rather than buy a second car for part time use. Note that some people use these as their primary cars.

Lobby for Change – Begin to adopt the Israeli electric car fleet idea with battery replacement stations. The Israeli’s have the most motivation to get off foreign oil of any country in the world. They have a great plan which seems to be making sense from a physics standpoint. The scheme involves consumers buying or leasing an electric auto with a quick change battery pack that can be replaced in minutes at service stations, allowing up to 125 KM per battery. Consumers will subscribe to monthly plans.

Building Codes – All new buildings can be certified LEED Silver or higher. Offer tax incentives and extra floor space for buildings that make the highest standards where the NET energy gains are greatest. Encourage innovation.

Yeild, don’t stop – Increase the number of roundabouts where they can replace stoplights. Roundabouts do not require cars to come to a complete stop thus save energy over requiring cars to completely stop and re-accelerate. Cars also do not have to wait at red lights idling nor does the city have to provide power for the traffic lights and spend energy replacing bulbs etc.

Buy for long term! We cannot require every manufacturer who sells automobiles, major appliances, small appliances, utility vehicles and other consumer items within BC to certify their items will last at least 5 years (most warranties on items like microwave ovens are less than 1 year). But as consumers, we can buy products with the longest warranty and those products that do honor the customer by making replacement parts available at a reasonable price.

Stop using Gas! The Danish government just changed their national building code to ban the use of gas or oil heaters in all new buildings. While changing laws may not be reasonable, upgrading your hot water heater and heating systems to use electricity is not a far stretch. Most houses in Vancouver use gas to heat water. We don’t have to. Electrical water heaters do not emit GHG’s and are about as efficient as gas models.

Electric lawnmowers, not gas. Same for other small power tools such as pressure washers, weedeaters and more.

Lobby the federal government hard to increase the fuel efficiency for ALL passenger cars imported and sold in Canada starting as soon as possible. Set maximum NET energy requirements for all cars and offer strong incentives to both consumers and industry to abide by these standards.

Plant fruit bearing trees in the boulevards and more coniferous trees in urban areas to help regulate heat and cold. Urban agraculture is an opportunity to reduce the need to transport foods from it’s source to a store.

Do not use plastic bags at grocery stores. Too many times I have witnessed a person using one bag to carry a single item leaving a store. This behavior needs to change. Make it a habit to keep re-usable bags in your vehicle or bike for those unplanned stops.

Concrete Steps for Change!

Some ideas to commit British Columbia to being green.

Some simple tips for you kitchen

Don’t pour hot water down the sink in in cold weather. It makes very little sense to throw away the thermal energy. Let the hot water sit until it dissapates it’s thermal energy into the room and reaches room temperature.

When boiling water in a kettle, only boil exactly how much water you require. Boiling an entire kettle of water to make one cup of tea is wasting energy.

When putting water into a pot or kettle to boil, use cold water. If you use hot water instead, it causes energy to transfer into the pipes as thermal energy. That energy is more than the energy you save from a quicker boiling pot of water.

Compost if you garden. Creating your own compost is easy and saves you from buying it at a store. Best of all, it saves the energy required for the manufacturing and supply chain process.

 

Debt is BC’s Biggest Issue

Our provincial debt is now at record levels.  In the coming weeks leading up to the election, understanding the full extent of the provincial debt, including any and all outstanding obligations, should be a primary focus of the election coverage.  ”

“Every BC resident needs to understand the connection between our provincial deficit and their own financial well being.  There is a direct correlation.”

Quite simply, the deficit is the single largest issue.  Without fixing this, we will not have funding in the provincial coffers for healthcare, education, infrastructure and other important programs.    If we are broke, we will have no options to protect the environment, educate our children and preserve our way of life.  We are seeing first hand consequences in Cyprus this month.  The utter devastation of the economy in Cyprus has resulted in private wealth being seized to pay down sovereign debt.

If we elect a government in 2013 that continues business as usual, BC will be setting a dangerous precedent by allowing special interests to mortgage our future.

As for the current budget, it would be good to also get a clarification of what assets will be sold on page 135 of the BC Budget in years 2013-2015.  These total over $700 million. As a taxpayer, I want to know what these are.

The budget also contains contradictions with other statements being given to us.  I would like to see an explanation of the projected increased in natural gas production on page 134.  The budget projects a growth in gas volume from 1461 petajoules (2011) to 2025 in 2015 (approximately 30% increase).  I am not saying it is not true, just wondering why our government is telling us the carbon tax is working while GHG’s are going up.  This needs to be explained.  BC residents are too smart to allow such a double standard.

Balanced budget legislation is worthless if not followed.   Asking why the Health funding is running a budget deficit of around $5 billion despite the BALANCED BUDGET AND MINISTERIAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT.  This act (Statutes BC 2001, Chapter 28) received royal assent on August 16, 2001.  It clearly states in section 2

The main estimates for a fiscal year must not contain a forecast of a deficit for that fiscal year.”

The following health funding report is from page 110 of the BC budget.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 10.49.51 PM

Pay close attention to the bottom three lines.  Health care is important. If the true cost is $17, 266 million, then let’s budget that.  It is also fair to expect that the accounting for this be completely transparent so BC residents who can find ways to improve the efficiency of health care are able to help our province.  Having a budget that does not reflect reality just confuses everyone.

I’ve run business and started companies form nothing and grown them to be sold to Fortune 500’s.  This is not hard to do if everyone is transparent.  We need a change in BC on May 14.

Protecting Rights to Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right for all people. The hardest thing to do is protect that right for people you don’t agree with.  Even if the statements of others are directed as hate against me,  I will put my own life on the line to defend their right to speak their truth. Censorship is a very slippery slope.  The voice you silence today might be the only one listening when you speak tomorrow.

Freedom of expression in Canada is guaranteed by section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: 2.

“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: …

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”

Everyone has this right.   You may not agree with their point of view.  A primary example is Ann Coulter.   Many people disagree with what she says but she must be allowed to say it.

Human Rights in Canada

I am a libertarian. I believe that government must serve and not intrude into our lives. I also believe that some of our liberties are coming under attack and we have a resonsibility to remain vigilant at all times.

I have joined the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. Please consider joining them too.

While losing civil liberties seems very far fetched in Canada, it was only 43 years ago, during the FLQ crisis in Quebec, that the federal government imposed the War Measures Act. From Wikipedia:

In 1970, members of the FLQ kidnapped British diplomat James Cross and Quebec provincial cabinet minister Pierre Laporte, the latter of whom was later murdered. What is now referred to as the October Crisis raised fears in Canada of a militant terrorist faction rising up against the government.

Under provisions of the National Defence Act, the Canadian Forces had been called to assist the police. They appeared on the streets of Ottawa on 12 October 1970. Upon request of the Quebec government with unanimous consent of all party leaders in the Quebec National Assembly, troops appeared on the streets of Montreal on 15 October. At the request of the Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, and the Quebec provincial government, and in response to general threats and demands made by the FLQ, the federal government declared a state of apprehended insurrection under the Act on 16 October 1970. This was done so that police had more power in arrest and detention, in order to find and stop the FLQ members. The use of the War Measures Act to address the problem presented by the FLQ was well supported by Canadians in all regions of Canada. However, there were many vocal critics of the Government action, including New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas, who said, “The government, I submit, is using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.”

While the War Measures Act was in force, 465 people were arrested and held without charge. The response by the federal and provincial governments to the incident still sparks controversy. There was a large amount of concern about the Act being used, as it was a considered to be a direct threat to civil liberties, removing rights such as habeas corpus from all Canadians. This is the only time that the War Measures Act had been put in place during peacetime in Canada. Critics, such as Laurier LaPierre, accused Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s move to suspend habeas corpus as more of a reaction to the separatist movement in Quebec by criminalizing it.

The Act’s 1970 regulations were replaced by the Public Order (Temporary Measures) Act in November 1970, which subsequently expired on 30 April 1971.

In more recent time we have had other incidents. The US Patriot Act, SOPA and PIPA, while all American in origin, would potentially have had consequences for Canadians if left unchecked. Our own government has been very careful to mandate storage of Canadian citizen data and records on Canadian soil, safe from the prying eyes of foreign nations.

I also believe that a free, independant and well funded press, trained in upholding the strongest of ethics in journalism, is imperative to any democracy. The advent of the micro-journalism, including the use of mobile cameras, poses a danger to our society yet must be present to balance the dangers of a single source of news.

I submit that liberty is never to be taken for granted.

Thoughts on the UBC Subway Rapid Transit Proposal

March 10 I attended an open house meeting with Mayor Gregor Robertson and councillor Geoff Meggs.  The meeting was filled to capacity and there were some great people in the audience.  NDP politician Mike Harcourt was there as was Constance Barnes.

Before passing any opinion on this matter, I would like to say thank you to all the citizens who gave up a few hours on their Sunday to come down and express their opinions.  This is indeed how democracy needs to work and it is great to see so many exercising their rights.  I appreciated hearing from the people for and the people against the plans.

The presentation went very well and I thought Councilor Meggs made a very eloquent and data driven presentation that would have lead anyone to the logical conclusion that the SkyTrain is needed and the best option is to tunnel under Broadway, primarily to reduce the devastation of the cut and cover techniques used on Cambie.   Based on the congestion alone, it appears we need to invest into the future.  I myself have been passed up on the 99B or very near the last person allowed on a totally packed bus.  I was surprised to find a very sizeable opposition to the project in the hall and listened to hear their concerns.

NIMBY – the Not In My Back Yard opposition is very typical and for those living right next to the projects, is justifiable.  During the construction of the Cambie street line (Canada Line), the local residents had major problems, several businesses failed and more.  I noticed some patterns of activity that I will elaborate on later.  A second set of concerns concluded that along with Skytrain we will get a lot of big box retailers displacing the local businesses.  A tangent on this is the worry that with the prosperity promised from Skytrain, the local real estate prices will continue to soar, something that does worry a lot of people in this riding.

By far the the most compelling reason against is the cost.  When asked directly, Mayor Robertson told the audience that the cost is $2.8 billion for a tunnel approach.  I took the liberty of checking the official Translink website ( I am a data geek) and found that the projected cost is actually $3.2 billion.  There are conflicting bits of information on this.  For example, this page ( http://www.translink.ca/en/Plans-and-Projects/Rapid-Transit-Projects/UBC-Line-Rapid-Transit-Study.aspx ) states the cost is $3.0 billion for the RRT version.  This page paints it at $2.8 billion ( http://ubcskytrain.wordpress.com/22points/) while the Globe and Mail pegs it at #2 billion. I also had seen another number of $3.2 billion which seems to have since been removed from the Translink website but the Vancouver Sun, of which I would believe the reporters did proper homework, reported the $3.2 billion number too at http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=4ae63f6a-c784-46da-a772-ce15cd4d8f01.  This really doesn’t matter as much as the fact that BC is now at record levels of debt.  Still, asking how we will pay for this is a very just question and one that needs to be answered honestly.  We are broke and in debt.  You cannot borrow your way out of debt.

I am running for office and one of the things I will promise you is that if elected, I will never take what I am told for granted and will do my homework.  I find it worrying that the raw data of the budget is not public and that there is a $400 million discrepancy.

So where do I stand?  This is a complex issue and here is what I would like to see.

1. Some research to understand the real cost and also the track records of those who are doing the estimates.  I would welcome an understanding of whether of not the estimates are provided by people and processes that have proven accurate or inaccurate.   If these people have been wrong in the past, we, the people , have a right to know.  One of the core policies of the BC Conservative Party is that we believe government must be transparent and accountable to the people.  We are all expected to balance our budgets in a given fiscal cycle.  Is this too much to ask of our elected officials?

2. I would like to understand the tendering process (the process by which we award the contract  and understand how many BC jobs are involved.  Are we sole sourcing it?  If we are, why and are we locking out local companies?

3. I would like to understand the options for private funding and operation to see if they are acceptable. Maybe private enterprise can help cushion the costs?  This needs a lot of work before it could be proposed but it does seem to be a valid question.

4. We, the BC Conservative Party, actually listen to people when they speak and share concerns about the potential to disrupt the character of the neighbourhood.  In particular however, the re-zoning and number of re-development applications is a separate issue.   Saying yes to SkyTrain does not equate directly to allowing big box stores to take over small family run businesses.  I also want to see a contingency fund in place to help any businesses hurt by the process.  I also want to understand why there seems to have been an acceleration in development along the corridor prior to the SkyTrain being formally approved?  On the few blocks around my house I have seen many new development signs going on and it does make me a little uneasy.

5. I would like to understand the full environmental impact.  Many people complain about the fact that our government is no where near meeting its’ 2020 GHG obligations and the SkyTrain project may actually have the capacity to help meet that target.  The Canada line, for example, carried 38 million passengers last year which is a lot less car trips.

In general, despite the high cost, it is a project I think can be beneficial to the entire corridor but there are some conditions that need to be met.  Politicians must listen to their constituents and I applaud every politician who took time to attend and listen.  I believe we have learned from Cambie and the Canada Line experience and can mitigate many of the concerns.

I remain in favor of the SkyTrain, contingent upon the concerns of residents being satisfied.  We need to reduce GHG emissions, the existing system is at capacity and the future needs to be planned for now.  For anyone who does not believe the system is at capacity, please experience boarding a 99B bus between 8-11:00 AM or 3-7 PM.

I am doing some more research on this and will post it on this blog as it becomes available.