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Woodwards - sold out

Apr, 23 2006 - 1:10 PM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - The name behind the marketing of the Woodward's project says it's testimony to the enthusiasm for the tremendous potential of the Downtown Eastside.

Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing and Westbank Projects confirmed this morning that the Woodward's redevelopment sold out in one day.

By 6:30 last night, all 536 condominiums were sold generating more than $200 million dollars in end of day sales.

Westbank president Ian Gillespie calls it a historic day for a historic neighbourhood, marking the next successful step in revitalization of the downtown eastside.

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Canucks fire Marc Crawford after missing NHL playoffs

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006

h042534.jpg

Marc Crawford.. (CPimages ‘05/Chuck Stoody)

VANCOUVER (CP) - Marc Crawford is out as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. General manager Dave Nonis made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday at GM Place.

Nonis said Crawford was a good friend and that it was a difficult decision, but the team needed a kickstart. The Canucks finished ninth in the Western Conference this season with a 42-32-8 record - the first time since 2000 they didn't make the playoffs.

Crawford was hired in 1999. The 45-year-old took the Canucks to the playoffs four times and holds the franchise record of 246 wins. But the Canucks won just one playoff series and twice lost a Game 7 on home ice under his leadership.

He had one year left on his contract.

© The Canadian Press, 2006

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  • 1 month later...

Vancouver Sun, Page A01, 25-May-2006

More city residents legging it to work

By Frances Bula

More people in Vancouver walk to work than anywhere in North America except New York City.

The proportion of people commuting by bicycle has doubled in 10 years.

And the transit system, with triple the number of people using it to go to the University of B.C. since 1997 thanks to U-Pass, has become so popular that it's in danger of losing passengers because of overcrowding.

That's the latest transportation picture for Vancouver, a city that is setting the standard as North America's "greenest" city as it bucks the trend to more cars, roads and traffic that prevails elsewhere.

Vancouver has already exceeded the goals it had for 2021 when it comes to reducing car trips and promoting cycling and walking downtown, a shift that many environmentalists and planners say is vital in order to reduce pollution and create more livable cities.

"Our projection for 2021 was to be at 18 per cent for all biking and walking trips. We're now at 27 to 32 per cent, as of 2004. This does not look very ambitious any more," says Lon LaClaire, Vancouver's strategic transportation planning engineer, the co-author of a report outlining the city's progress on its transportation plan.

That's largely because of the city's hugely successful development of a residential downtown, he said. Having 72,000 people living on the downtown peninsula surrounding the central business district is a major reason for that radical increase in walking and cycling.

"There are two things that affect how people get around -- land use and structure. The bigger piece is probably the land use." The city has also doubled the number of kilometres of cycling routes in the past 10 years and worked on ways to make walking more enjoyable.

But people outside Vancouver's boundaries are also choosing not to bring their cars.

Although trips to the city have increased by 23 per cent between 1995 and 2005, vehicle traffic decreased by 10 per cent across Vancouver boundaries in the same period.

The just-released statistics in the city report come from trip diaries, surveys and 24-hour road counts done mostly in 2004.

All of that is in stark contrast to most of the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation noted recently that "the private vehicle, especially driven alone to work, is the mode of choice. . . . In every major metro area, workers who drove alone to work increased in numbers and share in the last 40 years."

The one problem area for Vancouver is central Broadway, where drivers in cars still account for 50 per cent of all trips. That's partly because the transit connections between the city's two major office hubs -- Broadway and downtown -- are so bad. It's also because transit along Broadway is at capacity.

"We're hitting the wall," said LaClaire. "There's no more capacity in the system for them to get on."

More than 60,000 people use the Broadway buses every day and passengers are getting left at stops because buses are so crowded, even though they're running at one a minute.

LaClaire said the Broadway/Commercial transit hub is the city's biggest congestion problem, with the result that transit use has dropped off slightly in the past year because some people are giving up.

"It's a really tragic thing for us. Anywhere else, carrying that number of people would be on [light rapid transit]."

The extension of the Millennium SkyTrain line from Vancouver Community College to Granville Street had been a priority for TransLink and was originally scheduled to be done by this year. But it was bumped for the Richmond-to-downtown Canada Line and the proposed light rail line into Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam.

LaClaire said some of the Broadway problems will be relieved by the Canada Line, which will create a fast link from Broadway to downtown. But, LaClaire said, the extension to Granville has to be a priority.

His department plans to set new transportation targets for 2031, since it has already achieved most of what it planned to do by 2021.

FAR FROM THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Researchers investigate the busiest blocks for pedestrian traffic in Vancouver and preferred methods of travelling in the city. Studies find that more Vancouver residents walk to work than in any other Canadian city.

BUSIEST BLOCKS

A 2002 study flagged these among the downtown spots with the highest number of observed pedestrians between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.:

- Robson, Burrard to Granville

- Hornby, Robson to Pender

- Alberni, Bute to Burrard

- Howe, Dunsmuir to Cordova

- Robson, Denman to Broughton

- Davie, Hornby to Granville

- Pender, Carrall to Main

- Burrard, Davie to Comox

- Granville, Davie to Smithe

- Pender, Bute to Granville

- Seymour, Pender to Cordova

- Hastings, Burrard to Homer

- Smithe, Hornby to Granville

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Choke Point: Our busiest transit hub

The transit hub at Broadway and Commercial is the busiest in the Lower Mainland with lineups for popular bus routes

Emily Chung and Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

Published: Monday, May 29, 2006

Vancouver planners call it their Port Mann bridge -- the choke point that controls the flow for the whole system.

Visually, the transit hub at Broadway and Commercial -- the busiest in the system -- doesn't attract as much attention as Port Mann congestion, because hundreds of transit passengers waiting for a bus or SkyTrain don't snake down Highway 1 the way cars and trucks do.

But those in the 200-person lines up and down the street or packing the SkyTrain platforms experience about the same travel delays as anyone idling in traffic at either end of the Port Mann during rush hour.

The congestion leads to scenes like one on Friday morning rush hour, when it took three tries for a young couple to get a large suitcase onto a SkyTrain at Broadway station.

The man's attempt to shove the suitcase onto train No. 1 failed when he was shut out by a wall of passengers bursting out the doors.

The couple waited for train No. 2, which stopped down the platform, away from them. They ran toward it and got half the suitcase onto the train before a straggling passenger forced them to pull back out to let him off. They finally got onto train No. 3, which barely accommodated the suitcase and both its chaperones between other close-packed passengers.

The couple were lucky. Even without a suitcase, commuter Sande Rees, 22, said she usually watches one or two full trains go by before she can squeeze into a SkyTrain car at the Broadway station during the morning rush hour.

Broadway and Commercial, the busiest transit hub in the Lower Mainland, brings together two SkyTrain lines and the two most heavily used bus lines in the entire system, the 99-B rapid bus that travels along Broadway to the University of B.C. and the No. 9 local bus that also runs on Broadway.

"The fact that our main route is at capacity on Broadway is actually a much bigger problem for us than the Port Mann," said Lon LaClaire, Vancouver's strategic transportation planning engineer. "And the more we get people interested in transit, all these lines get bigger. But the fact that our critical links are tapped out is a problem."

And in three years, it will all get worse, as the newly opened Canada Line brings even more commuters into the system.

As it is, more than 100,000 people come through the Broadway/Commercial hub daily. At peak times, a SkyTrain arrives there every 108 seconds, a 99 B-line bus arrives every three minutes and a trolley bus arrives every three to five minutes, said Ken Hardie, director of communications for TransLink. Nevertheless, passengers can wait here up to 15 minutes for a spot on a SkyTrain car or a 99 B-line bus.

"Between 8 and 9 [a.m.], it gets horrendous here," said John Holdal, who works for Coast Mountain Bus Company, helping load people on the 99 B-line bus. "Usually there's two busloads standing here at once."

Holdal gestured to the lineup stretching more than 20 metres from Broadway into the station's atrium. He said it is usually twice as long, extending almost to the fence that separates the back of the atrium from the bushy gully cradling the Millennium line SkyTrain rail.

Jin Ming Song, who has been handing out the 24 Hours commuter paper at the station for a year, said sometimes the buses are slow to arrive, and the line winds "like a snake."

Bobbi Macdonald, who was standing in the lineup for a 99 B-line bus at Broadway, agreed. "The lineup can sometimes be 100 people long," she said. "It's really unpredictable, I find."

Each morning, Macdonald, 36, makes an hour and a half bus journey that begins at her home in the Grandview neighbourhood. From there, she travels with her two-year-old son, Morgan, to his daycare at Broadway and Nanaimo.

Then, she tries to catch one of the few 99 buses that starts its route at Boundary (most begin at Commercial Drive.) If she misses it, she must take another bus to Broadway station. There, she said, she waits in line up to 15 minutes for a 99 bus.

"The buses are always overfull," she said.

Hardie said transit ridership went up 24 per cent between 2002 and 2005. "And a lot of that has been along that [broadway] corridor," he added, noting the student transit pass introduced at UBC in 2003 was a large contributor.

"Sometimes, though, if there's a lot of demand for something, it's not that easy to access," he said.

He noted the corridor is the next prime candidate for rapid transit -- after the Canada Line to Richmond and the Evergreen Line to Port Coquitlam -- but for now, service along the corridor is almost at saturation.

"In terms of the management of people at Broadway and Commercial itself, we're probably physically moving as many buses as possible."

In fact, Hardie said, wait times and "pass-ups" are worse at later stops along the route, and TransLink is addressing those problems by not filling buses to capacity at Broadway/Commercial and by starting some buses at later stops such as Main St.

That doesn't help commuters like Macdonald. The unpredictable commute times have prompted her to get her learner driver's licence. "I can't continue to be late for work," she said.

That's exactly the kind of thinking that has transportation planners worried.

The Vancouver region is seeing a rapid spurt of interest from commuters in using transit. But if it doesn't have a system to serve them, they'll be turned off for years.

In fact, transit use declined slightly after a peak in 2004, shortly after the U-Pass system was introduced, likely because people were put off by the crowding.

TransLink and the city of Vancouver are working on some improvements to help the existing hub work better. TransLink is trying to accelerate the arrival of 34 new SkyTrain cars that were due to arrive in 2009.

With the help of some federal funding, about $3.5 million will be spent on revamping the Broadway/Commercial "village" to create more plaza space, widen the narrow sidewalk on the south side, widen the overhead walkway across Broadway, relocate escalators that are blocking flow and generally improve the look of the overworked corner.

The city is also in the process, along with all the other work it's doing on Broadway, of creating bus-only lanes from Commercial to Arbutus for the rush-hour periods. That will be in place by September, usually the busiest month of the year as college and university students flood back onto the system.

Over the next year, it will also put in a traffic-light coordination system so buses will be able to delay lights turning red against them at pedestrian crossings.

As well, it's putting in bus bulges between Macdonald and Alma, a small improvement that will shave 10 seconds per stop off bus travel times.

"But all we're doing is tweaking the system to get a little improvement," LaClaire acknowledges. Things won't be better until Broadway gets the SkyTrain extension that it was originally scheduled for 2006, before the Canada Line to Richmond and the Evergreen Line to Port Coquitlam jumped ahead.

In the meantime, he said, "it's really painful to watch."

echung@png.canwest.com

fbula@png.canwest.com

TRANSIT'S TOP TRANSFER

Broadway and Commercial SkyTrain station is the most important single transfer point in Greater Vancouver, connecting Millennium and Expo SkyTrain lines with Broadway, the region's busiest bus corridor. Facts about this station:

75,000

Daily SkyTrain boardings and disembarkings.

41,000

Daily bus boardings and disembarkings.

116,000

Total daily boardings and disembarkings.

232,000

Projected total daily boardings and disembarkings by 2021.

Source: TransLink

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

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I would agree... though I would say 15 min. wait for a skytrain is just dramatic.

I think adding another entrance to the Broadway skytrain would relieve some congestion on the entrance level. The best way to relieve congestion on the platform:

1) Decrease waiting times for Skytrain and Buses, hence, increasing supply of Skytrain and Buses to demand.

2) Increase Mark I 4 trains to 6 trains (this is possible) and Mark II 1 train to 2 trains (although this is already done).

I would also advise redirecting bus routes (if necessary) but that would be hard to do, especially those with the electric trollies.

Please excuse any spelling or statement error(s) I have made in the above statment(s).

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I would agree... though I would say 15 min. wait for a skytrain is just dramatic.

I think adding another entrance to the Broadway skytrain would relieve some congestion on the entrance level. The best way to relieve congestion on the platform:

1) Decrease waiting times for Skytrain and Buses, hence, increasing supply of Skytrain and Buses to demand.

2) Increase Mark I 4 trains to 6 trains (this is possible) and Mark II 1 train to 2 trains (although this is already done).

I would also advise redirecting bus routes (if necessary) but that would be hard to do, especially those with the electric trollies.

Please excuse any spelling or statement error(s) I have made in the above statment(s).

Yea, the trains are packed like sardine cans and the station platforms are packed like sperm in balls.

1) We're already using every SkyTrain car we have, which is why we're ordering 34 additional Mark II cars at a cost of $84 million to be delievered 2008. At peak hours, the 99 B-Line runs at every minute and that's the best they can do and still it's not even close to serving the demand even with buses with 120 passenger capacity.

2) they already use 6-car Mark I trains and 4-car Mark II trains.....but until we get more cars, we can't do more of this unless we sacrifice frequency for capacity.

Interesting: Mark I and Mark II cars can be linked together to form a train. That means we could have a train of 2-car Mark II's and 3-car Mark I's, carrying 500 passengers. Most platforms have a length of 80 metres.

18 + 18 + 12 + 12 + 12 = 72 ........ 8 metres spare on the platform.

a Mark I car carry 80 passengers, equivalent to that of a standard 12-metre bus. a Mark II car can carry 130 passengers, a little over the B-Line buses.

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UBC's Museum of Anthropology to Grow by 50% in $52 million expansion

“I’m delighted that this renewal project will allow one of Canada’s foremost museums to extend its role as a public and research institution,” says UBC President Martha Piper.

“The Museum of Anthropology is internationally renowned for its Pacific Northwest Coast collections, its stunning architecture, and its commitment to meaningful collaboration with the communities it serves,” says Dr. Piper. “The planned expansion will enable the Museum to play an even greater role in the preservation and dissemination of our cultural heritage for the benefit of future generations.”

The project also includes the creation of the Reciprocal Research Network (RRN). This will be the world’s first web-based system for the exchange of collections information, and is being co-developed with the Musqueam Indian Band, Sto:lo Nation, and U’mista Cultural Society in Alert Bay, B.C.

The federal government, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and the provincial government, through the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, each contributed $17.2 million in funding. The University has committed the remaining funds for the project.

“We applaud the MOA for its innovation in the areas of research and exhibition,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. “This great new facility will ensure that people both within and beyond B.C. can strengthen their links with the past and carry this vital cultural knowledge into the future.”

“We’re very pleased the renewal project will create unprecedented opportunities for teaching and learning,” says Minister of Advanced Education Murray Coell. “This will further enhance MOA’s renown for its international collections, innovative exhibitions, and spectacular west coast setting.”

The new facilities are being designed by Stantec Architecture and Arthur Erickson, who designed MOA 30 years ago. The physical expansion includes:

• A re-designed Research Centre showcasing 15,000 objects and offering opportunities to explore cultural diversity;

• A new South Wing with state-of-the-art archaeology labs, a community research suite, open plan offices, and Library and Information Centre;

• A new, 5,800 sq. ft. Major Exhibit Gallery and multi-purpose public programming areas;

• A revitalized lobby, expanded gift shop and rental facilities, and a new Museum Café.

Source

See plans here (PDF's).

B.C. to make 'significant' transit investments

VANCOUVER SUN

June 03, 2006

KELOWNA I Premier Gordon Campbell promised more money for transit on Friday at the launch of the first pontoon for a new bridge over Okanagan Lake in Kelowna.

Campbell said there will be "significant" investments in transit across B.C., but didn't say when the money might come or how much it will be.

As for the new William Bennett Bridge, Campbell said the span will be important to both the region and the province when it opens in 2008 because Kelowna is the fastest-growing area in B.C.

Former premier Bill Bennett said witnessing the launch of the pontoon is part of a dream.

Campbell, asked about calls for a second span to provide an alternative route to the Bennett Bridge, said the federal government would have to be involved in any such discussions.

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Twinning of the Port Mann Bridge

Although I do not have an online news article, Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation, announced the Twinning of the Port Mann Bridge, was on CTV Canada AM (Vancouver Local News Update) as a top story.

The twinning of the Port Mann Bridge will be assessed by environmentalists. The tolled bridge will cost $2.50 each time travelled.

--------------------------------------------------

Twinning of the Port Mann Bridge Information from the Gateway Project Program

Project Description

The Port Mann/Highway 1 project includes widening of the highway, twinning the Port Mann Bridge, upgrading interchanges and improving access and safety on Highway 1 from the McGill interchange in Vancouver to 216th Street in Langley, a distance of approximately 37 kilometres

The pre-design concept includes congestion-reduction measures such as HOV lanes, transit and commercial vehicle priority access to highway on-ramps, improvements to the cycling network and a proposed toll on the Port Mann Bridge. As well, the new Port Mann Bridge will be built to accommodate future light rail transit.

Project Goals

The following goals have been established for the Port Mann/Highway 1 Project:

- Reduce travel times for trips along the corridor and increase their predictability;

- Reduce congestion at entry and exit points to Highway 1;

- Reduce travel times for trips across the corridor and improve connections within and between communities;

- Improve access to and egress from the corridor for goods movement;

- Facilitate the introduction of transit service along the corridor and the improvement of transit service across the corridor;

- Expand HOV, cycling and pedestrian networks along or in the vicinity of the corridor; and,

- Improve safety for vehicle operators and passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Project Status and Milestones

The Gateway Program continues to refine concepts for the proposed improvements and work with TransLink and area municipalities to ensure an integrated transportation solution that benefits the region.

Pre-design public consultation was recently completed, and input received from over 3200 participants is currently being compiled. A detailed pre-design consultation summary report will be completed and will assist in refining the project as it moves into the preliminary design and environmental assessment stages.

Public Consultation

The Gateway Program has completed pre-design public consultation for the Port Mann Highway 1 Project, the first of three stages of public consultation. Thirteen open houses were held in 8 Lower Mainland municipalities to give residents, community organizations and businesses with an opportunity to provide feedback on the pre-design options, including goals for upgrades to interchanges, congestion reduction measures such as HOV lanes, transit and commercial vehicle priority access to highway on-ramps, improvements to the cycling network and a proposed toll on the Port Mann Bridge.

Community Relations

The Gateway project team is committed to working closely with local and regional governments as well as community advisory groups to meet the Ministry of Transportation’s goals and community needs.

In addition, a comprehensive community relations program will ensure that residents, municipalities and other key stakeholders are well informed and have their inquiries dealt with in an effective, timely way.

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Artist Rendering:

twin.gif

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Personal Opinions

I personally love this project because I am the type who is really 'pro' in expanding highways. Although I do not prefer new highways being built in Vancouver, I like the government to expand them. The bridge will also feature future LRT (maybe by TransLink?).

If the Translink chooses to built LRT, it should run from Lougheed SkyTrain Station (extending the Evergreen Line) through Lougheed Highway (serve many large business there) and to many parts of Surrey (eventually making it's way to King George Station).

The BC Liberals are doing an excellent job in improving transportation in BC.

--------------------------------------------------

Please excuse my bias opinions and spelling/statment error(s) I have made in the above statement(s). Thank you.

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^ the Alex Fraser Bridge was built to accommodate LRT. Today, that space has been taken up by additional road space and it likely will never ever see LRT use.

Falcon saying it can accommodate LRT is probably just a feature of Gateway to just gain public support......i wouldn't buy it, LRT probably would never happen.

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I rarely ever do say this but because i feel strongly about these issues, your opinions are wrong. The fact is that if we expand Highway 01 and twin the Port Mann, ten years down the road we will be kicking ourselves on why the hell we even did this in the first place. You will see sprawl like you have never ever seen before, you will see the roads congested once again, you'll see an substantial increase in air pollutiion.......you will see Greater Vancouver adopting some characteristics of Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Boston, and Houston. Time after time, cities have expanded their roads and they have got the same results as other cities before them.

Regarding the Ministry of Transportation doing a great job? Well, under Kevin Falcon they've taken a dictatorship style of running things: absolutely no public consultation on whether or not Eagleridge Bluffs should be tunnel or overland, absolutely no public consultation on the Gateway project and what the project should consist of - instead, all the decisions and plans were created two years ago behind the scenes.....

......and last, the Canada Line: because the province insisted that it should be a P3 project, we're getting a line that has only a maximum operating capacity of 15,000 people per hour per direction (with 3-car trains and 50 metre platforms) and these platforms are likely unable to be expanded beyond the 50 metres. Compare that to SkyTrain's 80 metres and its ability to expand to 130 metres. That means that 15 years down the road, when we reach system capacity we will again have to spend probably in the hundreds and hundreds of millions to modify the system to handle greater capacity. Some great planning for RAV, eh?

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That may be an issue in the RAV line and I'm quite dissapointed about cutting funding by making the platform smaller (more like a short term improvement than a long term one).

If we do need longer platforms, I don't think they are going to expand it though. It would be really hard and it would cost a lot. Maybe even more than just starting to make it in the first place?

If we ever have an LRT on the Port Mann Twin (I have to say it's highly unlikely) we should extend the Evergreen Line from Lougheed Station on the Lougheed Highway then to Highway 1 (elevated) and onto the bridge deck eventually meeting up with King George Station (or even further?). I stress this a lot because I want a station to IKEA so that I can go to that one more often =P.

Yes, I do have to say Kevin Falcon isn't very professional at his minster of transporation. But I do have to say that BC is at least attempting to improve transportation, in a sense in the wrong aspects.

I do prefer imrpoving rapid transit in some views (I'm more for the rapid transit) but I do have to say that Highway 1 does need a little change. Maybe expanding the WCE may help but there are many drivers (like my parents) who will not give up their cars because they have to drive their sons and daughters around. But with the gas prices rising, I fear that we need our rapid transit network to be expanded as soon as possible in order to meet the demand.

Now for the Eagle Ridge Bluffs, it would be really hard for it to go underground because it would just cost too much money. The BC Liberals currently are spending lots on transportation already (like on the Canada Line, Gateway (which I'm only 'pro' to it in some aspects). And if the protesters were successful, as a future tax payer, I do not want to pay for it.

Talking about all this transporation business, maybe I should look my carrers in TransLink as Transit Planners? LOL! =D

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Talking about all this transporation business, maybe I should look my carrers in TransLink as Transit Planners? LOL! =D

join the club. thats what i am doing.... too bad only master programs of urban planning are offered at UBC...

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I do prefer imrpoving rapid transit in some views (I'm more for the rapid transit) but I do have to say that Highway 1 does need a little change. Maybe expanding the WCE may help but there are many drivers (like my parents) who will not give up their cars because they have to drive their sons and daughters around. But with the gas prices rising, I fear that we need our rapid transit network to be expanded as soon as possible in order to meet the demand.
There are many many many more single occupancy vehicles than high occupancy vehicles, like yours. We're aiming for the SOV's.
Now for the Eagle Ridge Bluffs, it would be really hard for it to go underground because it would just cost too much money. The BC Liberals currently are spending lots on transportation already (like on the Canada Line, Gateway (which I'm only 'pro' to it in some aspects). And if the protesters were successful, as a future tax payer, I do not want to pay for it.

If the Ministry wanted it to be tunnel, they would've payed more for tunnel. And considering that tunnel is only $80 million more, a blimp in the radar when you compare $400 million for RAV and over three billion for Gateway, it's nothing and it's certainly possible.

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Aquarium announces expansion plans

Jun, 09 2006 - 8:10 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - The Vancouver Aquarium has announced its expansion plans that will see it grow by about 27 per cent.

It will build on property that once housed the zoo.

There are plans to construct habitats for beaver and various seabirds similar to what was once displayed back in the '80's.

Perhaps the most impressive addition will be a see-through underwater tunnel through the stellar sea lion exhibit.

The 70 to 80 million dollar expansion should be completed in 2009.

Before that though, there will be the 55 thousand square foot Discovery Education Centre.

It will open in early Autumn.

The aquarium celebrates its 50th anniversary June 15th.

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WEATHER WARNING: IMMINENT SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR GREATER VANCOUVER

ENVIRONMENT CANADA | June 11, 2006

THUNDERSTORMS HAVE DEVELOPED OVER THE SOUTH COAST MOUNTAINS. EXPECTED 8-9 PM TONIGHT THRU 1 AM: THE MAIN CONCERN IS FOR HAIL 10 TO 15 MM, INTENSE LIGHTNING AND LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL OF 10 TO 20 MM PER HOUR. GUSTY WINDS ARE ALSO EXPECTED. THIS IS A WARNING THAT SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE IMMINENT. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT SOME SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL PRODUCE TORNADOES....LISTEN FOR UPDATED WARNINGS. NOTE..A SUMMARY OF ALL WARNINGS AND WATCHES FOR INTERIOR BRITISH COLUMBIA IS AVAILABLE IN THE WWCN11 CWVR BULLETIN ISSUED IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THIS BULLETIN.

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'There was nothing like it'

Canada had never seen an aquarium before June 15, 1956 -- the day a huge crowd rushed the doors on opening day at the Vancouver Aquarium. The dream of a small group of scientists, a timber baron and a local politician had become reality, and today the facility can rightly claim to have changed the way we look at animals from the sea

orcas061106_vp_210.jpg

The era of keeping orcas at the Vancouver Aquarium is over, but scenes like this one in 1985 have provided great thrills over the years.

Lora Grindlay, The Province

Published: Sunday, June 11, 2006

It's had great successes and tragic disappointments, but most of all it has endured.

The Vancouver Aquarium is 50 and, like a longtime friendship, it's had its good times and its challenges. But from humble beginnings in a time when few Vancouverites had ever laid eyes on an octopus -- never mind a killer whale -- it's earned a place on the world stage of aquatic animal care.

And with every step forward, every celebration of birth and every mourning in death, controversy and protest have never been far behind. Animals evoke perhaps the deepest of human emotion and keeping them in captivity is just one of the many issues the aquarium faces.

Despite its critics, aquarium founders and current staff take great pride in having united humans with the mysteries of aquatic life and having created concern for their underwater world. Without being in the presence of the tiny, huge, beautiful and ugly creatures that live at the aquarium, it's not known how much care and concern there would be for those living in the sea.

Like it, love it, hate it or don't care at all, the aquarium shows no signs going away and if all goes according to plan, it'll only get bigger.

- - -

The 50th anniversary has many people reflecting back on the day the doors opened on June 15, 1956.

Murray Newman, the aquarium's first curator who served as director until 1993, remembers being overwhelmed by the opening day crowd.

"It was an innocent period in history where there was a lot of goodwill and a lot of co-operation and great interest in the project," says Newman, who was a 32-year-old University of B.C. graduate student in fisheries at the time.

"We had a very small staff and it was chaos on opening day. We were enlisting everyone to help us."

The biggest problem -- the saltwater system. The original intake pipe from the harbour, located near Lumberman's Arch, lay too shallow and too close to shore. The water would be too warm in the summer and, in spring, too much fresh river water would get pumped in.

With no control over the temperature or salinity of the water, it was difficult to keep the animals alive. The problem has long since been fixed and there are now two intakes in First Narrows Inlet, both 13 metres down at the lowest tide.

More than 10,000 people flooded the aquarium in its first 48 hours and since then it's hosted more than 33 million visitors. Kids got in free back then; adults paid 25 cents.

"There was no controversy in the beginning," says Newman, now 82. "People were just thrilled. It was beyond their expectations."

Opening day was the culmination of an idea hatched by a group of fisheries and oceanography professors at UBC that included Newman, Carl Lietze and Dr. Wilbert Clemens. They enlisted the help of timber baron H.R. MacMillan and alderman and businessman George Cunningham.

They formed the Vancouver Public Aquarium Association in 1951 and eventually convinced the city, the province and the federal government to pitch in $100,000 each for startup capital. It was the first public aquarium in Canada.

"There was nothing like it," says Newman. "Within just a few years, we knew we had to enlarge it."

The animals displayed had mostly been caught in local waters. The most popular was a giant sea turtle borrowed from the Waikiki Aquarium.

Dr. David Hoar, a retired geneticist and a member of the aquarium board, has vivid memories of the aquarium's first days. His dad, Bill Hoar, was a UBC zoology professor and part of the group that instigated the aquarium.

"I remember Murray phoning up shortly after they opened, in desperation, because the floors were awash in peanut shells, popcorn and cigarette butts," recalls Hoar, who got hired as a 13-year-old to sweep up garbage for 50 cents an hour. "In those days, people just dropped stuff around them."

With his money, he bought a scuba set and started collecting specimens for the aquarium -- including octopus, which he found under the ferry dock in Horseshoe Bay.

Hoar tells a hilarious story of capturing a huge octopus -- six metres from tip to tip -- near Lighthouse Park.

"I was with a friend who had a VW Bug and we ran up to one of the neighbours in the area and borrowed a garbage can, filled it with seawater, lumped in this huge octopus," says Hoar. "Arms were coming out and we had to keep pushing the arms back in. It was sitting in the passenger seat. Eventually, we got it to the aquarium."

When he visits the aquarium Hoar still sees parts of the original building, but he's amazed at the "phenomenal maturation."

"Some of those displays just take your breath away," he says. "You can stand there in front of that North Pacific tank and you can almost feel like you are there."

Newman believes the aquarium's most far-reaching work followed the live capture of Moby Doll, a killer whale captured off Saturna Island in 1964.

Moby Doll, the first killer whale to be exhibited anywhere, lived for 86 days in a net pen near Jericho Beach. Until then, orcas had been considered vicious killers or pests who ate salmon fishermen wanted to catch. In 1960, the federal government even considered shooting killer whales with a .50-calibre machine gun near Seymour Narrows.

"Nobody had ever seen one alive. We brought it to the attention of the public," says Newman. "Now the killer whale is almost a sacred animal. Once they become popular in the aquarium, the public becomes very interested in their protection."

Newman's successor as president, John Nightingale -- they are the only two people to have headed the aquarium in its 50 years -- takes just a moment to reflect on the anniversary, since he's focused on the future.

"It's a milestone and yet it's just another day in another month and another year in an ongoing progression," says Nightingale. "It's all about what comes next."

Work is finishing on the $22-million education centre, due to open in October. The building, along with a $3.3-million research wing completed last year, expanded the aquarium by 4,000 square feet.

Provincial and federal government capital grants made up $11 million of the cost of the education centre; the rest was raised in the community. The research wing was funded by $2.3 million in private donations and $1 million from government grants.

The aquarium has had assistance from government numerous times, but Nightingale stresses that it has never received an operating subsidy. And he admits that if the parks board approves an $80-million rebuilding that will increase the size of the aquarium by 25 per cent, "huge and significant help from government" will be required.

"A lot of it isn't very sexy. What donor wants their name on a footing four storeys down in the ground?" says Nightingale. "We still expect to raise $10 or $20 million on our own in the community."

The aquarium relies largely on admissions, memberships, income from the gift shop and concessions for operating revenue. They also receive private donations, research grants and capital grants. Last year, they brought in nearly $27 million and spent $20.5 million on everything from staffing to animal care and interest on their debt.

Until 1999 the aquarium, in its licence agreement with the park board to occupy the site, paid $1 a year. Since then they pay rent on a sliding scale that started at $40,000 a year.

One of the aquarium's most active critics, Annelise Sorg of the group No Whales in Captivity, calls the 50th birthday "a very sad occasion."

"To me, it's 50 years of cruelty," says Sorg. "Fifty years of taking over Stanley Park. Fifty years of incarcerating animals of all sorts to entertain and make money."

Sorg sees no benefit in displaying ocean creatures. She does, however, say displaying "mechanical and virtual ocean creatures" would be useful. The technology exists, Sorg said, to use film, photography and sculpture to show ocean life.

"People's hearts and minds are not being reached in a compassionate and in a real conservation-minded way," she says. "The problem is that they are being reached with these glitzy shows where people want to sit in the front row to get splashed, where the whale waves at them and spits water at them. This is not education, this is entertainment."

Nightingale says the aquarium is considered one of the top five in the world not because of flash but because of "layers and layers of programming that are built around a very modest physical facility."

Newman believes controversy will never go away and is puzzled by the attitudes he encounters.

"There's this strange business that nobody has any sympathy for a dog fish shark until it goes into the aquarium," he says.

Newman adds that if a fisherman, who has contempt for the shark, catches one and throws the bleeding fish in the bottom of his boat, no one cares. "And once they are in the aquarium, they see this thing as an organism, they see it as a living being. People develop empathy watching living things in the aquarium. It's profound. This is why zoos and aquariums are important."

lgrindlay@png.canwest.com

BELUGAS GIVE FAMILY A KEEPSAKE FOR ALL TIME

White Rock dad Rice Honeywell took his kids to the aquarium recently, lining them up in the beluga viewing area for the photo on our cover this week.

Says Honeywell: "I now use it as my desktop on my computer as a reminder that they're growing up fast, and that if I want to spend more fun days like this, I'd better do it soon before they all grow up and start exploring their own horizons."

The Honeywell kids in the picture are, from left, Hanlan, 17; Jess, 15; Shannon, 12; and Nate, 10.

"Although their mom couldn't be with us that day, it will always be a treasured memory of a time when I had them all under one roof," says the proud father.

© The Vancouver Province 2006

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Say, mr.x, any news from the World Urban Forum there in Vancouver? From what I heard in the news, the reason the conference is being hosted in the city is because of its consistent ranking of being one of the most livable cities in the world, as you and a couple of others have posted here in the past. As such, Vancouver is an example of how to manage urban growth.

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No contracts for BC Place after 2010

June 23, 2006 - 8:55 am

By: Treena Wood/The Province

The 2010 Winter Olympics may be the swan song for one of Vancouver's aging buildings. BC Place isn't taking any contracts for after 2010 until something is done about the roof. The stadium just turned 23, and a new marshmallow roof would cost up to $30 million. So far there is no money in the budget at BC Place, which loses $5 million every year.

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No contracts for BC Place after 2010

June 23, 2006 - 8:55 am

By: Treena Wood/The Province

The 2010 Winter Olympics may be the swan song for one of Vancouver's aging buildings. BC Place isn't taking any contracts for after 2010 until something is done about the roof. The stadium just turned 23, and a new marshmallow roof would cost up to $30 million. So far there is no money in the budget at BC Place, which loses $5 million every year.

What exactly is so wrong with the roof that the stadium would require a new one? I mean, I know it's dirty, ugly and out of date, but surely a new air-supported dome isn't the answer...

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The following is the May 26, 2006 version of the article in the Vancouver Sun. There is a June 23, 2006 version but is locked to exclusive online Province subscribers.

Evergreen line in jeopardy

Corrigan: Burnaby mayor, seven others issue joint statement urging province to kick in $230 million

Published: Friday, May 26, 2006

GREATER VANCOUVER - The Evergreen rapid transit line to the northeast sector of Greater Vancouver is in serious jeopardy if the provincial government does not contribute more money to help pay for it, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said Thursday.

Corrigan and seven other northeast mayors issued a joint statement urging the province to kick in $230 million -- in addition to $170 million it has already committed -- for the $800-million light rail line.

TransLink, the regional transportation authority, is planning to borrow $400 million for its share of the cost.

The mayors said the Evergreen Line is needed to link some of the region's major growth centres with rapid transit, and said it would "enhance the effectiveness" of the province's $3-billion Gateway Program to build new roads and bridges.

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon was not encouraging.

"My position today is that we will maintain the commitment we have always maintained -- $170 million available for the northeast sector line post-2010," Falcon said. "And that has not changed. I respect their right to ask for more money but I'm not making any commitments in that regard."

TransLink wants to get the line built before the 2010 Winter Games, but has been told by the province its contribution won't be available until after 2010 and TransLink will have to borrow if it wants to build it earlier.

TransLink's financial projections show it will be running operating deficits in the hundreds of millions of dollars by the end of the decade unless it gets more funding.

Corrigan wasn't surprised by Falcon's response.

"That's going to require a cabinet decision and the premier's going to have to be involved," he said.

But he said the province once paid for 100 per cent of major transit projects, and has now pared that down to 20 to 25 per cent.

"That is putting an unreasonable burden on the property taxpayer," Corrigan said. "And it certainly isn't assisting growth and development in the Lower Mainland."

Corrigan said the Evergreen line is in serious jeopardy.

"The project has been in jeopardy since the time they made the decision to go with the RAV Line," he said, referring to the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver line, now called the Canada Line.

TransLink, under pressure from the province, agreed two years ago to make the $2-billion Canada Line its first priority, vaulting it ahead of the northeast line.

Some northeast mayors on TransLink's board voted for the change only after they were promised the northeast line would be built simultaneously. But with the funding shortage, that commitment is looking increasingly shaky.

"This is what I've been saying since they prioritized the RAV Line," Corrigan said, "that it was the northeast sector line that was going to suffer, and that we would find ourselves in a position where there wasn't enough money to do both projects."

He said only public pressure can change the government's mind on its share of the funding, and predicted "that many of the people in those northeast communities will react very strongly."

In addition to Burnaby's Corrigan, the joint statement was endorsed by the mayors of Anmore, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

In a statement, the mayors said, "All mayors agreed that the current estimated funding shortfall of $230 million for the Evergreen transit project is posing a serious threat to its timely implementation."

bboei@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

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Currently, the line is in jepordy. YES!!!! NOT ENOUGH FUNDING?! CANCEL IT. I dun like LRT for this area (only LRT for the Downtown StreetCar). I prefer SkyTrain much more. If they would cancel it, they should use the money to extend the platforms on the Canada Line and/or providing funding to start construction faster on the Millenium Line Extension to Arbutus OR set this funding to provide M-Line extension all the way to UBC.

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Air India memorial planned for Vancouver's Stanley Park

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national...69b&k=94858

VANCOUVER -- In less than a year, cracked pavement and an abandoned wading pool in a dilapidated part of Stanley Park could be turned into a beautiful memorial and children's playground to commemorate the victims of the 1985 Air India bombing.

The federal government has offered the Vancouver Park Board $800,000 to redevelop the playground as a tribute to the 329 victims of a terrorist plot, hatched and executed from British Columbia's Lower Mainland.

Park Board staff are recommending acceptance of the donation, followed by a summer of public consultation with a proposed completion date of June 1, 2007.

The board will vote on the staff recommendation Monday.

Vice-chair Ian Robertson said he would be surprised if it was not unanimous approval for the Air India memorial.

"We're thrilled that the park board in an indirect way can be a recipient of this memorial and this commemorative donation by the government," Robertson said Thursday. "I think it is very timely."

Eighty-two children were among those who perished in the bombing 21 years ago today.

That makes the memorial and proposed playground development all the more fitting, Robertson said.

"From the victims and their families' perspective, it is close to the ocean. It is also an area that I think if done properly could have a positive impact on children and young people for generations to come. It will be a place where the families can gather on occasion and remember their loved ones," Robertson said. "It is a very bittersweet thing that can happen."

For Natasha Madon, who was just five when her dad Sam died aboard Air India Flight 182, said there couldn't be a more fitting tribute.

As a small child, she used to play in the area now destined to become a permanent memorial to the victims of Canada's worst mass murder.

"It is still important even 21 years later to do it," said the young North Vancouver woman.

A beautiful commemorative wall was built on the west coast of Ireland, near the place where the plane went down, within a year of the bombing.

"Not everyone can go to Ireland every year," Madon said. "It would be nice to have something in Vancouver. Stanley Park is a beautiful setting. It is a positive thing in that it is a park and people can come and see, but also enjoy the space."

The financial commitment was first made to the park board by the previous Liberal government, which also declared every June 23 National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. The current Conservative government is following through on both commitments, said Philip McLinton, spokesman for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Despite the acquittals last year of two B.C. men in the terrorist plot, things seem to be happening again in terms of the the Air India case, Madon said.

Just Wednesday, a judicial inquiry into the bombing finally opened after two decades of lobbying by relatives.

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If they would cancel it, they should use the money to extend the platforms on the Canada Line and/or providing funding to start construction faster on the Millenium Line Extension to Arbutus OR set this funding to provide M-Line extension all the way to UBC.

I'd love to see sky train all the way out to UBC, or at least down Broadway to a certain point, but I don't think we'll be seeing that for a long time if it ever does happen. Not with the Canada Line currently in construction.

This is the city site on it, as you can see it's pretty outdated

http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/rto/...m_extension.htm

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B.C. Place too important to scrap, says Braley

Mike Beamish, CanWest News Service; Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, June 17, 2006

VANCOUVER -- For a man who reportedly has his football team on the block, B.C. Lions owner David Braley seems unusually concerned about the future of the venue in which his club operates.

The outlook for B.C. Place Stadium site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter OlympicsE_ beyond the end of this decade is open to speculation, given the skyrocketing value of the land on which it sits and the expansion of the downtown Convention Centre which could siphon off trade shows that sustain the stadium.

But Braley, a Burlington, Ont., businessman who rescued the Lions from receivership in 1996, believes that the 23-year-old Teflon-roofed dome hasn't outlived its usefulness and is necessary if Vancouver is to remain a big-event city. He is not interesting in partnering with Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot who is seeking to build a soccer stadium in the downtown core.

"It's a really, really important major event facility," says Braley, who was in Vancouver for Friday's CFL opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. "The Grey Cup game last year probably had to be worth $45 million to the province. If you don't have a facility like this, in your city, downtown, you're in trouble, because you can't hold those kind of big civic events. I think they keep the facility. I think that's what will happen."

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