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pooette, although I agree with some of what you said, you ALSO need to put this in to some perspective as well. Stanley Park is iconic, it is a link to what surrounds us, what we look at when we look at the North Shore Mountains, yet it stands on the doorstep to our great city. It defines the character of our city, our link to nature. It is our escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

As a born and raised Vancouverite whom has spent many a day walking the trails or sitting on the beach looking out over Georgia Straight or having lunch at Prospect Point, when I finally had a chance to see the destruction that this storm caused, it was gut wrenching.

Beyond the necessity to stabilize the slopes above the seawall to prevent further slides, and to restore damage to the manmade structures such as the seawall, it is important that we give the park a head-start, so that we can hopefully one day soon see a forest again where NOTHING currently stands. Sure, it won't be the same, sure it would grow back again, but just like when they log a forest, they plant trees again to allow nature a chance to return things as they were.

People are giving money because they want to see what was once there back, and I plan to do the same. Before you say 'it's just an f'ing park', it's our f'ing park, and if this same event happened in Central Park in NYC, everyone there would be wanting the same thing as what we want here

I read on Wikipedia that the fir tree atop Siwash Rock is actually a replacement. The original died in the dry summer of 1965, and through the persistent efforts of park staff, a replacement finally took root in 1968. And this was for one tree.

I don't expect that any of what I have said has changed your opinion, and you are welcome to your opinion. I agree that this is not a catastrophe, but it is a catastrophe to the park itself. Plus, when I bring friends visiting through the park, I'd rather them see trees (even smaller ones) then what looks like the crazed antics of some drunken loggers.

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what defines "replacement" the park board has been talking about? tiny seedlings or are we talking about 5-10 foot replacements?

good question, I would assume a bit of both. Seeing that it takes $2,000 to 'buy' a tree I would assume it isn't a seedling. If so, I think I need to change careers. B)

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Vancouver is 13th least affordable city in world

Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

Published: Monday, January 22, 2007

Vancouver has crept up the ladder of unaffordable cities around the world, with the median house now costing almost eight times the median income here.

An international study of housing affordability done by Demographia places Vancouver as 13th worst in the world for affordability -- up from 15th last year -- since it takes 7.7 times the median income of $58,100 to buy the median house at $448,800.

This year's study also included Victoria for the first time, ranking it at 23rd among the 25 most unaffordable housing markets in the world.

The report is the third annual study done by Demographia, a company owned by American public-policy professor Wendell Cox, which looks at housing prices in six major industrialized countries.

Other places included among the "most unaffordable" markets were Los Angeles-Orange County, in the No. 1 spot, San Diego, Honolulu, San Francisco and London, England.

Victoria was tied with Sacramento, Calif., Sarasota, Fla., and Melbourne, Australia. According to the report, it takes 6.6 times the median income to buy the median-priced house at $370,500 in those cities. Regina was the city ranked as the most affordable in the Demographia report.

Overall, the unaffordable cities have just become slightly more so. Cox and fellow author, New Zealand property-investment manager Hugh Pavletich, both blame the effect of smart-growth-style policies and strong planning controls for global unaffordability.

fbula@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Sun 2007

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This is not a surprise to me. Even the Conference Board of Canada is stating that a "booming economy" is not necessarily translatable to overall good quality of life. When I saw that bit about Regina there in the article, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that it is gaining people for the first time in a long time because my province is just "too expensive" to maintain in any relative time for any personal family life from the office or other workplaces. Why should making "so much money" and "working to death" be the primary reason to live in certain jurisdictions around the world, not just in Canada? Some nations, from what I have read in the past, have reported of people resorting to drastic actions to deal with this general issue. Believe me, some of those findings are not pretty at all.

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Vancouver 2010 Flag Raised at IPC HQ

IPC NEWS RELEASE | January 22, 2007

Last weekend, the official flag of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games was raised in front of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Headquarters (HQ) in Bonn, Germany.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven was joined by IPC Vice President Miguel Sagarra and IPC Governing Board member and member of the VANOC Board of Directors Patrick Jarvis in the flag-raising ceremony.

The Vancouver 2010 flag will now fly side by side with the IPC flag and the flag of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

Miguel Sagarra, Sir Philip Craven and Patrick Jarvis with Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games Flag, Photo: IPC

The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 12 to 21 March 2010 with approximately 650 athletes from more than 40 countries participating in Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross Country Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling.

For more information about the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, please visit the official website at www.vancouver2010.com.

Flags_1.jpg

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Cost for restoration of Stanley Park rises to $9 million

By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun

Published: Friday, January 26, 2007

The pricetag for the restoration of Stanley Park has risen to $9 million, including $3.5 million to rebuild the seawall and stabilize the slopes above the popular perimeter promenade.

The park restoration working group, headed by Stanley District manager Jim Lowden, has produced an itemized preliminary estimate to be presented to city council on Tuesday.

The report identifies funds for the work totalling $8.6 million -- $2 million from the city’s 2006 budget surplus, $2 million from the provincial government, $2 million from the federal government and $2.6 million in public and corporate donations received over the past five weeks.

The seawall and the forests that cover much of the park were badly damaged by hurricane-force winds in the wee hours of Dec.15, 2006. Several storms since then have caused damaged trees to fall. About 3,000 trees were blown down in areas totalling 40 hectares (100 acres) and all the walking trails west of Pipeline Road remain closed and extremely dangerous.

The seawall, undermined by pounding surf from severe winter storms and threatened by damaged, leaning trees, may be closed for much of the year.

© Vancouver Sun 2007

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Sigh... prices are rising and rising... sigh

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Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Commemorative Coin Collection

January 26, 2007

One of the new Games-themed $25 coin designs launched this week.Art and coins come together in the launch of a series of commemorative coins for the 2010 Winter Games.

Beginning in February and spanning the period up until Games time, the Royal Canadian Mint will unveil an extensive Olympic and Paralympic-related coin collection. With expressive designs created by Canadian artists, these coins offer an opportunity to relive the Games for years to come.

The first modern Olympic-themed coins were struck to commemorate the 1952 Olympic Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland. Since that time, coins have been produced by the mints of the Games host countries and are an integral part of Olympic culture, history and art.

Over the next three years, 17 coins will be put into circulation encompassing the most extensive Olympic Games circulation coin program ever undertaken by a Mint: from two commemorative Lucky Loonies to 25-cent winter sport-themed coins to a unique series offering Canadians the opportunity to vote on the athletes featured in its design.

“Taking into account the subject and the sport as well as who the audience is, is integral to the designing of coins,” says commemorative coin designer Steve Hepburn of Richmond, BC. “It’s important to convey a sense of what makes that sport special or different from others, and to make it visually appealing while remaining true to the sport and its intricacies.”

Numismatic, or collector coins, are detailed works of art worth far more than their face value and are sought by collectors as commemorative treasures and gifts.

More than a little loose change: denominations of the coins will range from 25 cents to $25.“The audience for collector coins is more specific than that for circulation coins,” says Hepburn. “When designing collector coins, there is more artistic freedom and room to be less conventional.”

Included in the limited mintage collection are sterling silver holographic coins, premium gold coins, and pure gold one-kilogram coins sure to satisfy the most ardent collector.

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When designing collector coins Hepburn says “size and readability is a challenge. I worked on designs many times larger than the final product to ensure clean, crisp lines with good proportions. It’s very important to remove unnecessary details and information to make a strong-reading design at its final size.”

One of the design challenges Hepburn says is, “What looks good at 8 feet across may be a jumbled, unrecognizable mess when reduced to one inch. It’s important to involve the viewer when designing coins and to make them as interesting as possible by using perspective, angles and foreshortening.”

“I love sports,” says Hepburn. “When the Mint called, I was thrilled to be part of the project. I consider myself quite patriotic so the Olympic Games carry great importance to me. They’re always exciting and with them being in my backyard in 2010, it’ll be a year to remember. Go Canada, Go!”

Canadians can purchase the commemorative coins through the Royal Canadian Mint’s website. Circulation coins are available at RBC Financial Group and participating Petro-Canada locations. Canadians can also look for these coins in their change – the first coin, curling, will begin circulating on February 23.

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Two things. First, for our Vancouver and BC members here, did you hear the news about "incoming earthquake" warnings yet? I do not know what it was doing in the news just now. Just trying to give you guys some heads up on what occurred.

Second, for our Vancouver Canucks fans, your team will be playing against the Calgary Flames tomorrow. But, that is not the point of this part of the post. The highlight of that hockey game in Calgary is the playing of the Canadian national anthem. For those too young to remember the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games, here is something that blew some of us away then.

At any Olympic Games opening ceremony, the national anthem is sung in the official language(s) of the host nation all the time. At Calgary 1988, it was not the case. It was sung in the First Nations' Cree language. Well, come tomorrow, it will be a "repeat performance" of that moment almost 19 years ago. Never mind it is a bit of a symbolic gesture from one former Canadian Winter Olympics host city to the upcoming one. All of Canada, via the CBC Hockey Night in Canada, will get to witness and hear it LIVE! Oh, by the way, it will be sung by a teenage girl of Cree descent from Edmonton.

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^Reply:

I heard about the incoming earthquake warnings on Global Early News today... something about the machine picking up tremor pressure?

Yeah. It seems that the seismographs are indicating something "big" is coming. But, it seems the news has not aroused anyone at all.

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From castanet.net:

Slide closes highway (sea-to-sky)

http://www.castanet.net/edition/news-story...46-3-.htm#26446

The Sea-to-Sky Highway is closed between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay, due to a major landslide just south of Lions Bay. Reports say single lane alternating traffic should be open by 6pm. Highway crews are on the scene, assessing the situation on the road, and up the mountain where the initial slide took place. The full clean-up could take much longer.

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Landslide forces closure of Sea-to-Sky Highway

Vancouver Sun

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A landslide today forced the closure of the Sea-to-Sky Highway in both directions, and the highway is expected to remain closed for many hours while the debris is cleared.

The slide occurred before 10 a.m. near Ansell Point, just north of Horseshoe Bay. A West Vancouver police spokesperson said no one was hurt in the slide.

Roadwork has been underway in the area as part of improvements to the highway to Whistler in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics. But a project spokeswoman said no work has been done for the past couple of days.

In December, hundreds of people were stuck in their vehicles along the Sea to Sky Highway for up to 12 hours after a massive snowstorm caused treacherous road conditions and led to two serious collisions and a jackknifed cement truck between Squamish and Whistler.

Full details about today's highway closure will be available in Monday's Vancouver Sun.

© Vancouver Sun 2007

Source: http://www.canada.com/globaltv/bc/story.ht...c8c&k=28380

Another reason why the Sea-to-Sky update is sooo necessary (not jsut for the olympics either).

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Two articles in today's Province about the Athlete's Village

Feb 5, 2007

Athletes to have royal stay

Report: Nothing will be spared for competitors at seven-hectare competitors' village

Exactly three years from today the Vancouver Athletes Village will open and according to 300 pages of just-released information under the Freedom of Information Act, Olympic performers are in for the royal treatment.

Nothing will be spared at the seven-hectare site to make the athletes' playpen a splendid experience, according to the documents made available to The Province by the 2010 Games Watchdog Committee.

The village on the southeast corner of False Creek features clusters of eight-storey apartments and luxurious amenities, from five-star hotel service to a hall to dance away the midnight hours.

There are pool tables, X-Boxes and a massage centre. A stage for entertainment, a religious centre and a ticket office. A bank and postal and courier services.

An area as big as a big house, 300 square metres, has been set aside for gift-bag storage. The material will be donated by sponsors.

The village's 15-odd buildings have been designed according to the latest green standards.

Glass and non-glare finishes are featured. Decks are guaranteed at least three hours of sun a day and are protected by windshields.

Poisonous plants such as burning bush and deadly nightshade have been banned. They are on a list of 100 common types that are not permitted in the rooftop gardens.

There will be a library, an Internet cafe and phone lounge and a 500-square-metre fitness centre.

The latest headlines from Europe will be easy to keep track of at a news agent.

Athletes will be housed two to a room measuring 12 square metres. Men and women won't share living quarters.

The washers and dryers are free of charge, but do-it-yourself.

The level of hospitality is equivalent to a four- or five-star hotel. Meals for the 2,800 hungry competitors will feature Vancouver's famous multicultural cuisine.

Top-flight Canadian snowboarder Crispin Lipscomb said he hopes Vancouver's food is tastier than the meat and veg served up at last year's Italian Olympics.

"The pasta was repetitious," he said. "It was a pretty static menu."

If Turin was any indication, Lipscomb said the guys will leave the beauty salon and florist for the girls.

The idea behind the main athletes' village is to provide a secure base where international guests can relax under protective eyes.

"We were encouraged to spend our whole time in the Turin village," Lipscomb said. "It was quite a feeling of decompression after years of preparation. Canadians have a reputation of being good hosts. I hope everybody takes that seriously."

The site will be enclosed by a secure perimeter fence with overhang to prevent climbing.

Extensive security measures were introduced following the 1972 Munich Games, where 11 Israeli athletes were killed in a terrorist attack. Vancouver will pay $1.47 million in terrorism insurance for the publicly owned buildings.

Vancouver project manager Jody Andrews said standards of comfort are set by the International Olympic Committee.

kspencer@png.canwest.com

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Tell us by e-mail at provletters@png.canwest.com or by fax to 604-605-2223. Please include your name and address.

And the 2nd article:

Games watchdog says village costs are being hidden

Kent Spencer, The Province

Published: Monday, February 05, 2007

Costs for the athletes village are being hidden in other budgets and may never be revealed to the public, the 2010 Games Watchdog Committee said yesterday.

"The city is laying out a bag of money," said watchdog Chris Shaw.

"[Former Mayor] Larry Campbell said the Olympics wouldn't cost Vancouver a penny. We're considerably past that."

Shaw said about 300 pages of Olympic documents -- which he said took five months to pry from the City of Vancouver -- show Vancouver taxpayers are getting "screwed" by the village deal.

Vancouver project manager Jody Andrews said among the costs the city faces are:

- Vancouver will pay $28 million to clean up soils at the longtime industrial area on False Creek, including hazardous waste. More than 13,000 truckloads have already been taken out.

- Vancouver will pay $32 million for shoreline restoration and fish protection. An island and intertidal channel will be erected.

- Vancouver will pay for all roads, water and sewer pipes, and electricity, gas and telecommunications lines.

Said Shaw: "This is the most brilliant deal the developer could imagine. They only have to put $29 million down and stand to reap millions."

The development company is Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties Ltd. Millennium, which is to build 1,000 condos for the village, is to pay Vancouver $193 million.

The city then pays Millennium $83 million to build 250 of the condos, as well as a $5-million child-care facility and a $14-million community centre, for the city.

Andrews said Vancouver will be ahead $64.5 million when its 20-hectare parcel is fully developed in 20 years.

The watchdog committee says taxpayers' expenditures for the village are being hidden in road- and sewer-building budgets.

It believes security costs will appear in military budgets and never be revealed.

© The Vancouver Province 2007

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^ that is one of the most annoying articles i've ever read. all shaw ever does is complain, whine, complain and then whine some more.

- Vancouver will pay $28 million to clean up soils at the longtime industrial area on False Creek, including hazardous waste. More than 13,000 truckloads have already been taken out.

Is it not the city's responsibility to clean up contaminated soils? Because it is.

Vancouver will pay $32 million for shoreline restoration and fish protection. An island and intertidal channel will be erected.

Uh huh Shaw. We're building public space/parks not just for the new development but for residents all over the city to enjoy. This is equivalent to all the parks the city built along the Coal Harbour waterfront.

Vancouver will pay for all roads, water and sewer pipes, and electricity, gas and telecommunications lines.

Last I remembered, the city is responsible for these things.

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Well weren't the flats at False Creek had contaminated soil as well? They are just mixing this all together and giving an excuse to complain about the olympics. Some of the condos will be sold after the olympics... But I would like to see a lot of them go to CO-OP Housing though...

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A couple of articles in today's Province

Feb 6, 2007

Crash shuts highway, again

Logging truck loses load, logs hit bus, driver injured

Clare Ogilvie, The Province

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2007

WHISTLER -- Hundreds of drivers were stuck in Whistler last night, trapped by an accident on the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

It's the second time in two days the highway has been shut for hours on end.

The accident, about two kilometres south of Function Junction, closed the highway at 1 p.m.

A logging truck lost its load on a corner as it headed south.

The logs, some at least a metre in diameter, spilled into the southbound lane and hit an empty Gray Line bus head-on as it travelled toward Whistler, seriously injuring the driver.

The highway was opened to alternating one-way traffic within an hour. But RCMP closed it to investigate the accident. Alternating traffic was again moving by about 5 p.m. The road was closed again at 8 p.m. to let an ambulance through, police said.

By 8:20 p.m. the road was open in both directions, although a traffic jam five or six kilometres long had built up.

It took emergency services more than half-an-hour to cut the driver from the bus. He suffered serious injuries, especially to his legs. The truck driver was not hurt.

For many drivers, two highway closures in two days grated on nerves. Said one driver: "I'm really sorry for the people in the accident, but this is just too much.

"This is the second day I have tried to get to the city. What do we have to do, buy planes to get in and out of town now?"

A rock slide at about 10 a.m. Sunday, four kilometres north of Horseshoe Bay, shut the highway until just after 5 p.m.

clareogilvie@telus.net

© The Vancouver Province 2007

And the 2nd article:

Sea-to-Sky slide spurs rethink for Olympics

By Damian Wood

Feb 6, 2007

Vancouver 2010 officials are looking at alternative ways of getting fans to Whistler in the event the Sea-to-Sky Highway is shut by a slide.

Until those plans are finalized, however, organizers are reluctant to discuss details.

In the original Bid Book, organizers planned to use ferries to take ski fans from Vancouver to Squamish and then on by bus, but that plan has been dropped

“All athletes, officials and personnel required to stage an Olympic or Paralympic will be accommodated close to their competition venues,” said Wayne Keiser, 2010’s head of transportation and logistics. “In addition, we are currently working with our key stakeholders to develop contingency plans that include a combination of flexible competition schedules and spectator transportation options.”

On Sunday, a major rock slide closed the highway between Vancouver and Whistler for about seven hours, a few kilometers north of Horseshoe Bay. Yesterday, the highway was closed again after an accident at Whistler’s Function Junction between a logging truck and an empty bus.

Keiser said that a $600-million upgrade to the highway will reduce the chance of disruptions during the 17-day Games.

Ministry of Transportation spokesman Mike Long said the cause of Sunday’s slide may never be known. “There are a number of factors,” said Long. “There’s the weather, the freezing and thawing.”

dinwood@png.canwest.com

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I actually like the bus gangway to have no seats... I find it annoying to walk by the gangway when there are people sitting there... more room for people to stand during Rush Hour. Anyhow... hopefully these buses won't have the 'power-steering' problem unlike the EL40LFR...

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