Friday, March 28, 2008

Is Metro Vancouver Helpless.....

.....To Save Pacific Spirit Park?

Lotusland's civic politicians met today to discuss the Provincial government's legislation that will soon result in the heart being cut out of Pacific Spirit Regional Park without any compensation given whatsoever.

Here's the story, hot off the presses, from Glenn Bohn in the Vancouver Sun:

A provincial law that gives Victoria the power to expropriate chunks of Pacific Spirit regional park without any financial compensation to Metro Vancouver is unprecedented in B.C., a lawyer for the regional government says. And regional politicians say it's a question of the province "abusing" its legal authority.

Clearly, the haranguing of said civic Pols by their constituents, including constituents like us, did some good because they appeared to be hopping mad when they came out of their "in camera/in secret" session:

"We're asked to just lie down and play down," declared Gary Gibson, a director for the electoral area land includes the UBC area. "Is that what I'm going to tell my constituents?"

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said he is appalled by an expropriation law that doesn't offer compensation and doesn't allow a property owner to sue.

"That's a product of a guilty mind -- knowing that, if they were sued, they would lose," said Corrigan, who is a lawyer. he said. "It means any government, from now on, will feel justified in expropriating without compensation. It's a government abusing -- not exercising -- it's authority."

Vancouver Councillor Suzanne Anton agreed: "Any land that's owned by cities is vulnerable. We're capable of losing anything, anytime."



They're mad as heckfire and theyre' not gonna take it anymore.



....clauses in the (Provincial) legislation declare that "no compensation is payable to the Greater Vancouver Regional District," which now calls itself Metro Vancouver, and that "no legal proceedings for damages or compensation" can be filed against the B.C. government.

According to a Metro Vancouver report, the 22 hectares of land the regional government is losing are worth as much as $219 million*.

(Metro Vancouver's lawyer Sandra) Carter said the B.C. government probably has the constitutional power to enact the law.

So that's it?

We're losing parkland because our civic politicians, don't have the spine to stand up to the Provincial government's bullying?

Looks to me like only two things can possibly make a difference here:

#1 - The civic Pols have to hear from their constituents long and hard that they will pay, and pay dearly, at the ballot box if they just roll over and play dead on this one.**

#2 - The well-heeled folks of Vancouver Point Grey have to make it clear that if this goes through their current sitting MLA, who also just happens to the current Premier of the Province, Gordon Campbell, will pay dearly, not just at the ballot box, but also at the fundraising trough.


*Those numbers for the value of the chainsaw ravaged land itself are pretty much what Miro Cernetig of the VSun came up with a few months ago. Me, I did my own calculations to come up with a number that is at least that much again that I'm guessing approximates how much 'The Developers' Bund' stands to make on top of all this.
**Remember, this not a fight against First Nations land claims because there are alternatives that were fully in play before former Vancouver Point Grey MLA fundraiser Marty Zlotnick and his band of Merry Pranksters started a deflector spin campaign last summer that made the previously unthinkable (ie. the loss of urban parkland to even more condos) a fait accompli. And what is the best alternative? Well in my opinion, they would include limited development along the edges of the golf course (ie. reshaping it without destroying it) right here, right now. The result?........ The Musqueam would get their money, UBC would get it's money, and the Public would get to keep it's Park. As for the Developers? Well, they'd likely make oodles of money too - just not quite as much. And why, given that they have absolutely no stake in this whatsoever, should the Developers be the big winners here? Huh?


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