New West Elects 2018 Bingo!

To help make the New Westminster election silly season even more silly, Cavanagh Productions (that’s the fancy name for me and my wife sitting around drinking and making shit up) have come up with a set of Bingo cards to help you laugh at… I mean laugh with candidates through this campaign season. Okay, Alice came up with the Bingo cards, all I did was type this up.

Here are the rules!

  1. Pick a candidate. They can be running for either City Council (or Mayor!) or for School Board trustee.
  2. Pick a number between 1 and 19. To help you pick (and to make sure not everybody picks 7 because god knows when you ask someone to pick a random number they always pick 7) here’s a helpful link.
  3. Click on your number to get your card: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.
  4. When your candidate says something official (press release, Tweet, Facebook, blog post, letter to the editor, campaign speech, etc) that’s on your bingo card, mark it off.
  5. If you get five boxes in a row, you win!

There will be prizes of buttons! Everybody loves buttons!

Well done, Moody Park Residents’ Association, well done.

In 1890 David McLaughlin purchased some land in New Westminster near the newly-created Moody Park. It’s rumoured that he, being a ship’s carpenter and handy with building things out of wood, built the house that still stands on that property today at 1031 Sixth Avenue. The house is typical of those of the time, in a simplified Queen Anne style with ‘Victorian’ features such as an asymmetrical floorplan, bay windows with decorative cast iron cresting, and mansard roofs.

It’s also remained relatively untouched over its 125-year lifetime, with the only major renovation being the addition of a workshop by McLaughlin himself in 1915.

David McLaughlin House at 1031 Sixth Avenue, New Westminster
David McLaughlin House at 1031 Sixth Avenue, New Westminster

So when the current owner wanted to expand living space for his family, he applied for a demolition permit to build a larger house on the site. As the house is on the City of New Westminster’s Heritage Register the permit was immediately put on hold pending the issuance of a building permit that authorizes the construction of a building to replace the building that is being demolished (City of New Westminster Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 7606, 2013). This brought the pending demolition to the city’s attention, and council directed city staff to determine how the heritage house could be saved.

The owner of the property then agreed to enter a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA), and had plans developed that would move the heritage house to the rear of the lot and raise it by 11 inches to allow for a new foundation and crawl space, and adding a new house at the front of the lot. The new house would be approximately 2160 square feet (footprint of 887 square feet), with the heritage house being approximately 1500 square feet (footprint of 800 square feet). These plans are found in the March 14, 2016 Council meeting minutes.

These plans didn’t meet all of the criteria for a standard HRA, as the heritage house would become “subordinate” to the new house. Also, it’s roughly twice the size of what a standard laneway house would be and it wouldn’t visually address the lane behind the property. Despite these shortcomings, city staff recommended that the HRA continue through the process as it would protect the historically significant house.

The application was then reviewed by the Moody Park Residents’ Association at a meeting on March 31, 2016. At this meeting, and I quote from the New Westminster Council meeting agenda from April 18, 2016:

Concerns were expressed about the size (height and massing) of the historic house, its setback from the lane, the over view into the neighbours’ rear yards from the historic house, and allowing two houses on one property with its accompanying higher density. Many were concerned that this proposal would set a precedent for future laneway houses. Some expressed concern about the lack of off-street parking and others about the low visibility of the heritage house from the street if it were relocated to the rear of the lot.

The Moody Park Residents’ Association then voted against the application.

Because of this lack of support from the neighbourhood, the owner is withdrawing the HRA and is renewing his request for a demolition permit, which New Westminster Council granted.

New Westminster residents have been crying out about heritage houses being torn town in our city for years now. People always complain when an old house is torn down to have a larger house be built in its place. So when it comes time to preserve a historically significant house, one that was built before 1900, you would think that people would jump at the chance. Unfortunately the NIMBYs in Moody Park don’t seem to care about preserving the history in our city. They would rather complain that the house already on the property is too high and would overlook their back yards more than it already does, even though the house would be positioned such that walls with fewer windows would have faced the closest properties. They would rather complain about a lack of off-street parking because they might lose one or two on-street parking spots. They would rather complain about low visibility of the historic house, even though the alternative is demolishing the historic house.

I highly suspect that the major driver behind this is the ongoing Official Community Plan consultations. A few months ago the president of the MPRA got a bunch of Moody Park residents’ hackles up when he sent out an email and handed out pamphlets strongly implying that the city was planning to force laneway houses (or worse — QUADPLEXES AND TOWNHOUSES!) down their throats after the OCP had finished. This resulted in a huge amount of pushback from Moody Park residents against the entire densification story that’s hitting Metro Vancouver lately, and this is seen here as well. I quote again: “Many were concerned that this proposal would set a precedent for future laneway houses.” I would love to check the MPRA’s minutes for this meeting but unfortunately they’re stuck in 1991 and don’t have a website.

So instead of preserving a house that was built 125 years ago by moving it and adding a single house to the neighbourhood, Moody Park Residents’ Association members would rather see that historical house be demolished.

van-der-beek-slow-clap

Cote announces Quebec expansion plans

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Coté today announced New Westminster’s expansion into the province of Québec. Local community builders (and all-around great people) Briana and Will Tomkinson are spearheading the future annexation of Montréal with their move earlier this week.

“I cannot be more excited about these plans,” Mayor Coté said. “With their years of experience in bringing communities together in New Westminster, we have high hopes that the Tomkinsons will bring Montreal under the thumb of New Westminster in the coming months.”

A long-time proponent of expanding New Westminster’s land base, Mayor Coté is also not afraid to use force, if necessary.

“While we hope that we will be able to annex Montréal through peaceful means, Will’s collection of axes may be required in the future. We urge the people of Montréal to surrender peacefully.”

The expansion plans to La Belle Province should not have come as a surprise, Mayor Coté said. “I mean seriously, I had the foresight to be born to parents with an accent in their name. These plans have been in the works for a long time.”

And Mayor Coté had the following message for Montréal: “The X stands for ‘expansion’, bitches.”

Jonathan Cote can control the weather!

I ran into New Westminster mayor Jonathan Cote at the first Royal City Farmers Market Summer Market today. I commented about the turnout (large) and the weather (nice), and he dropped this bomb on me:

Yeah, Council was arguing about what sort of weather we were going to have today but I pushed the nice weather through.

I laughed, and wished him a fine rest of his day, but then I got to thinking… the weather has been pretty good recently. Blue skies for New West’s 145th May Day. Blue skies for The Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery anvil salute. I mean seriously, check out this quote from Archie Miller:

“That was one of the first Victoria Days in a number of years that we haven’t been watching clouds or rain coming. It was beautiful,” said Archie Miller, the group’s historian. “The day was really, really nice. Everything went well.”

And as proof of his benevolence? The forecast for Sunday, May 24, when the “ousted” Royal Lancers are holding their community heritage picnic?

Sunny, with a high of 21.

Doug Leung, the NPA, and the Mount Pleasant skatepark

In 2011, the Vancouver Park Board installed a skateboard park in Mount Pleasant Park. During the construction, residents opposed it. The only resident to go on record (in that article) as being opposed was Doug Leung. At that time, the Vancouver Park Board had a majority of commissioners from the Vision Vancouver party.

In 2014 Vancouver held a municipal election to elect, amongst others, seven Park Board commissioners. A Douglas C. Leung of 54 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver, appears on the nomination papers for Non-Partisan Alliance Park Board commissioner candidates John Coupar, Erin Shum, and Sarah Kirby-Yung, all of whom were elected to the Vancouver Park Board. The fourth NPA member elected to the Park Board, Casey Crawford does not list Douglas Leung as a nominator. As an aside, Douglas Leung does appear on the nomination papers of George Affleck, NPA Vancouver City councilor, and a Douglas Lee of the same address appears on the nomination papers of Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Vancouver mayor. Interestingly enough, the signatures for Douglas Leung and Douglas Lee appear to match as pointed out in this comment on Reddit

Remember, Douglas C. Leung lives at 54 West 16th Ave, directly across from Mount Pleasant Park, home of the skatepark that Doug Leung complained about in 2011.

During the 2014 municipal election, Douglas Leung was the campaign manager for the NPA as evidenced in this story and this story and this story.

In the 2014 municipal election the NPA took control of the Park Board from Vision Vancouver.

In 2015 the NPA-lead Vancouver Park Board is voting on removing the skatepark based on complaints from nearby residents.

So, to recap, Doug Leung complained about the skatepark at Mount Pleasant Park in 2011. In 2014 Doug Leung nominated numerous NPA candidates and was the NPA campaign manager, and now in 2015 the NPA-lead Park Board is responding to neighbour complaints about the skatepark?

Huh.

James Crosty answers New Westminster mayoral candidate questions

James Crosty is running for Mayor of New Westminster, and he answered my questions. Thank you for answering!

I shouldn’t have to say that the questions are satirical and James gave some kind of serious answers. He said it was fun to answer though!

Supporting and growing local businesses will help keep jobs in New Westminster, grow our tax base, provide opportunity for New Westminster citizens to live and work in New Westminster, and bring more people to our fair city. A wide range of businesses is also good for a city, as it diversifies the tax base and does not make us reliant upon any one industry. As mayor, what will you do to bring more Save On Foods grocery stores to New Westminster?

James Crosty: Nothing, there are enough already and I really like Columbia Square with free parking and walking distance from home.

The Bailey Bridge was a source of contention between New Westminster and Coquitlam in 2014. As mayor, what will you do to piss off Coquitlam in 2015?

James Crosty: Nothing, they are already upset, but Wright and Cote denied any wrong doing in this area last night (Ed: Mr. Crosty answered the night after the first mayoral candidate debate). Yet taxpayers are footing the bill when it could have been free.

Fallen leaves from trees are a menace to the walkability of New Westminster, creating slippery sidewalks and clogging our storm drains. What will you do to rid New Westminster of this scourge?

James Crosty: Volunteer Patrick Johnstone to work evenings, weekends, and Friday (because it’s his day off) to rake them all up.

Patrick Johnstone, you’re ineligible to answer this question because we all know you love the trees. Okay, here, if you want to answer a question for #3 here goes: If you love trees so much why don’t you marry one?

James Crosty: I wouldn’t suggest that because his bark is much louder than a tree…

Without using Google, what are the eleven neighbourhoods of New Westminster? Yeah, eleven. I had no idea there were that many. Don’t forget Connaught Heights, everybody forgets them. At least they have a SkyTrain station! Okay, what are the other ten neighbourhoods of New Westminster?

James Crosty: McBride-Sapperton, Massey Victory Heights, Glenbrook, Downtown, Quayside, Queensborough, Uptown, West End, Brow of the Hill and Moody Park. Oh and did I mention Connaught Heights… And I didn’t look it up!

Editor’s note: Nine out off ten for Mr. Crosty! Although he did call it “Glenbrook” and not “Glenbrooke North”… :–) And he forgot Queen’s Park too! Queen’s Park, I think you need to change your name to Uptown!

Speaking of the neighbourhoods of New Westminster, which is your favourite and why is it Sapperton?

James Crosty: Because I used to live there but I like the Quay too and ahh…Massey Victory Heights, Glenbrook, Downtown Queensborough, Uptown, West End, Brow of the Hill and Moody Park oh and did I mention Connaught Heights…..

Why have none of you developed your websites with Of Desks, one of New Westminster’s finest web design and development companies? (Oh man more free press for Of Desks!)

James Crosty: I have an excellent in-house live-in really great designer, besides I may not get any dinner if I went to another designer! No growler for you!!!

As mayor, will you learn how to properly reference someone on Twitter by using the @ symbol in front of their name?

James Crosty: Well I do know how to reference someone on Twitter but not sure when it comes to Mayoral candidates. I don’t want to promote any “Machines”. Besides, none of them follow @crostyca

Questions for New Westminster mayoral candidates

New Westminster is going to have an election on November 15, 2014, for mayor, city councillor, and school board trustee positions. There are four men running for mayor: current mayor Wayne Wright, current city councillor Jonathan X. Cote, local businessman James Crosty, and electrical engineer Vladimir Krasnogor. I have some questions for them. In fact, any of the people running for councillor can answer these too.

All Candidates

  1. Supporting and growing local businesses will help keep jobs in New Westminster, grow our tax base, provide opportunity for New Westminster citizens to live and work in New Westminster, and bring more people to our fair city. A wide range of businesses is also good for a city, as it diversifies the tax base and does not make us reliant upon any one industry. As mayor, what will you do to bring more Save On Foods grocery stores to New Westminster?
  2. The Bailey Bridge was a source of contention between New Westminster and Coquitlam in 2014. As mayor, what will you do to piss off Coquitlam in 2015?
  3. Fallen leaves from trees are a menace to the walkability of New Westminster, creating slippery sidewalks and clogging our storm drains. What will you do to rid New Westminster of this scourge? Patrick Johnstone, you’re ineligible to answer this question because we all know you love the trees. Okay, here, if you want to answer a question for #3 here goes: If you love trees so much why don’t you marry one?
  4. Without using Google, what are the eleven neighbourhoods of New Westminster? Yeah, eleven. I had no idea there were that many. Don’t forget Connaught Heights, everybody forgets them. At least they have a SkyTrain station! Okay, what are the other ten neighbourhoods of New Westminster?
  5. Speaking of the neighbourhoods of New Westminster, which is your favourite and why is it Sapperton?
  6. Why have none of you developed your websites with Of Desks, one of New Westminster’s finest web design and development companies? (Psst, Wes, you can get me a growler from S&O next time I see you)

Wayne Wright

  1. Your website lists your accomplishments without saying what you will do in the coming four years. Should we take this to mean that you’re going to bulldoze everything you’ve done and do it again?

Jonathan X. Cote

  1. It’s been shown that using a middle initial makes you look smarter. As the only candidate to use his middle initial in this campaign, why do you need this advantage? What are you hiding?
  2. Much ink has been spilled about The Machine that runs your campaign. What fuels The Machine — gas, solar power, or the tears of your vanquished opponents?

James Crosty

  1. As mayor, will you learn how to properly reference someone on Twitter by using the @ symbol in front of their name?

Vladimir Krasnogor

  1. What do you have against machines? Are stocking frames safe in New Westminster under your mayoralty?

Answers can be sent to me at brad.cavanagh@gmail.com or, if you’re James Crosty, you’ll probably tweet them to me anyways at @CanSpice. I fully expect none of you will respond, but be warned that I’ll put your responses up here when I get them!

Update: A number of candidates have answered these questions: