Doing things right

There is a very interesting article in the Globe and Mail about a proposed new housing development in Vancouver. The development is interesting on a number of levels, because:

  • Planners are looking at providing parking for only 10 per cent of the apartments, far below the usual minimum … [because] … reducing the amount of parking so significantly will result in huge cost savings for everyone who eventually lives there, since an individual car stall would cost $80,000 to Screen Shot 2019-11-06 at 07.36.06120,000 to build … [instead] … the project will be marketed to those who don’t own cars or are willing to sell them to live downtown;” and
  • Planners are “abandoning the city’s preference for towers that sit on podiums of townhouses … [instead] … the 11 towers will rise straight up. That will leave 80 per cent of the land available for publicly accessible space, some of which will be parks;” and the most interesting bit is that
  • The Senakw development, to be built … [in a 50/50 partnership by the Squamish First Nation and a Vancouver dveloper] … on part of the traditional land of the Squamish Nation in the neighbourhood now known as Kitsilano, across the False Creek inlet west of downtown Vancouver, will bring a level of density and building style to the area unlike anything there now … [and] … The City of Vancouver would have very little influence on the plan, because the land is owned by the Squamish Nation and not subject to local zoning or bylaws.

I understand that some local residents are upset because “Residents of Kitsilano have traditionally opposed buildings of more than a few storeys, and community activists earlier in the year said they hoped the Squamish would consult them on the project.” The Squamish Nation leaders, however, want development that will bring maximum “good” to their people, they feel that traditional city planning has left them behind.

Now, I have argued before that the Trudeau government has been “playing politics” with the First Nations and with the whole nation and with climate change when it, the government, twists and turns and tries to avoid doing much of anything on the contentious Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (TMX) project. It appears that while some First Nations, perhaps paid off by e.g. the shadowy Tides Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation in the USA, oppose the pipeline, more First Nations support it and some want to buy 51% of it.

If the Trudeau regime has half the brains the gods gave to green peppers they will cede, at a below-market value price, 51% of the Trans Mountain Pipeline to a consortium of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan First Nations and then use every legal means available to push that pipeline through to a Vancouver area seaport. Doing that would cost Trudeau the support of one Steven_Guilbeault_2014-04-12Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 06.19.04wing of the green movement ~ the wing which most resembles the 13th-century children’s crusade ~ and it may even cost him an MP or two, but in the end, I believe that most Canadians, like me, are concerned about climate change, want to address carbon use but are not convinced that “landlocking” Alberta’s oil and threatening Canada’s prosperity and national unity is the only or even a good way to do it. I believe that selling a controlling interest in the Trans Mountain Pipeline to a First Nations consortium is both good politics, it will do much to take the wind out of the Wexit movement’s sails, while not bothering Québec much … not beyond Steven Guilbeault, anyway, and it will go a long way to aiding reconciliation with First Nations and may even heal some of the wounds caused by firing Jody Wilson-Raybould, and I believe it is good policy, too.

Not all First Nations are socio-economic disaster zones. Many are well managed and well-led and are keen to advance the best interests of their own peoples and of their neighbours, too.

The Squamish Nation is Vancouver is showing entrepreneurial leadership; I would expect no less from a First Nation consortium that owns the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

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