I recently attended the first RA forum meeting for 2015 in my role as QPRA president. For those who aren’t aware, the city organizes regular meetings for the RA’s to meet and discuss issues of common concern. The RA forum is distinct from other city committees that the QPRA has a presence at, such as the Community Policing Committee and the Neighbourhood Traffic Advisory Committee. This month’s meeting was valuable, and the following are the news and notes in brief that I felt were of interest to pass on:
1) The city is developing a Good Neighbour Protocol:
This protocol will essentially be a code of conduct for major projects and apply to developers, who will be required to sign it in order to get permits and other approvals for major projects. It will address issues such as noise, dust, street cleanliness, parking use and so on. The protocol will be presented to council on Feb 2nd for endorsement, following which there will be a round of consultation with developers (note that developers are not being asked to ‘approve’ the protocol, simply provide feedback). The final version will be presented to council for final approval in March. The protocol will include mechanisms to coordinate projects (or project phases) to avoid a ‘perfect storm’ effect on residents. Initially the protocol would apply to large projects only but may eventually be expanded to residential projects.
2) Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline Update:
The new proposed route for the pipeline would follow the brunette river ( and rail tracks) adjacent to New Westminster before turning North through Burnaby to the Westridge terminal. This route would run adjacent to Hume Park and the Braid industrial area. There will be no expropriation of land in New Westminster.
The City of New Westminster has submitted a 23 page information request to the National Energy Board, who are responsible for the fixed, 14 month review process, and the City is also applying for intervenor status in the process due to the potential impact that the pipeline could have on the city. It is unclear at this time if Kinder Morgan will delay/suspend project on basis of oil price.
The City web site has links for more information:
3) Fraser Surrey Docks Update:
For those following the proposal to operate a coal terminal at the Fraser Surrey Docks across the river, there are a few updates:
There is a possible alternate route for the coal trains through NW via the CPR line. Officially the proposal indicates that this line would only be used when the Southern route is unavailable, such as during track maintenance. The trains would be treated with dust suppressant and scheduled for just-in-time delivery to waiting barges (no coal sitting on docks), with enclosed storage as well. The City has raised a range of concerns, especially regarding fire risk (smoke) and has joined an independent intergovernmental review group. A judicial review has also been launched, and the City has applied for intervenor status. It is not clear at this time whether market forces will result in cancellation of the project or not.
4) Transit Referendum/Plebiscite:
The official ballots will be sent out March 16; to be returned by May 15. The City is supporting the yes side, for a variety of reasons, not the least if which is that investment in regional transit will go a long way towards mitigating the effects of vehicle traffic on the city. In addition, the Mayors’ proposed plan includes:
-Upgrades to NW skytrain stations and increased skytrain service (more often, longer hrs)
-Increased bus services on 6th, 8th & 12th st’s
-Cycling & pedestrian infrastructure improvements for the city
-Patullo bridge replacement (not tied to the vote, but art of the overall plan)
The City will be using its resources to provide information and get the vote out. The City will also be creating a coalition of businesses, etc. (RA’s can join). RA’s can also support the process by seeking resident engagement (providing info; seeking feedback).