Bridge and hospital tower up in the air politically

Richmond News

Whether Richmond gets a new hospital tower fast tracked, and whether a new crossing to replace, or complement, the George Massey Tunnel receives a green light in a timely manner, both remain a mystery to members of city council.

This, after a stunning about face on numerous policies by the B.C. Liberal Party in last week’s throne speech and the BC NDP poised to take power with a minority government supported by the B.C. Green Party.

Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap told the Richmond News he is still in favour of building a bridge to replace the tunnel but is willing to consider concerns deeply rooted in the community and at city hall. …

Mayor Malcolm Brodie has stated that the proposed 10-lane bridge will not fit with the regional plan to reduce car traffic and bolster rapid transit use. But the crossing still needs to be fixed, he noted.

“Ideally [the NDP] would support the idea of a twinned tunnel,” said Brodie.

Brodie said a new tunnel that includes a rail line to Surrey is feasible under the same budget as the bridge (presently pegged at $3.5 billion).

“Ideally you’d have a rail line in conjunction” with the crossing, said Brodie.

Brodie noted the NDP has not made specific promises on what to do with the crossing.

“But they have indicated a willingness that there are significant defects with the project and they’re prepared to take a longer look with the project,” said Brodie. …

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CARHA Hockey World Cup Richmond 2020

604 Now

It was announced on Monday that the Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association (CARHA) has selected Richmond, British Columbia as the Host City for the 2020 CARHA Hockey World Cup.

The world renowned CARHA Hockey World Cup is organized every four years in a select Canadian city. It attracts participants from all across Canada, the United States, and Europe.

In March and April of 2020, over 120 adult recreational hockey teams from more than 15 countries will travel to Richmond for this week-long event.

Not to mention, the event has been labelled the “Olympics” of recreational hockey. …

“The City of Richmond is thrilled and excited to be named the host for the 2020 CARHA Hockey World Cup,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. …

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Bridge project in jeopardy

Delta Optimist

These could be the final days for the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.

Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government’s Throne Speech tomorrow will begin a debate, expected to last several days, which will likely culminate in the NDP-Green alliance defeating the minority government on a confidence vote. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon would then decide whether to call an election or ask New Democrat Leader John Horgan to govern. The latter is expected.

Where that leaves the $3.5-billion bridge across the south arm of the Fraser River is still unclear but uncertainty over whether the project, which has already commenced, will be halted persists. …

In a letter to the Richmond News last week, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie reiterated his opposition, saying “strengthening and twinning the existing tunnel while making significant investment in more public rail and/or bus transit would be a far more cost-effective and environmentally-appropriate solution.”

The bridge plan would shift the current northbound traffic bottleneck to the Oak Street Bridge, he claimed. …

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Richmond councillors, residents debate language restrictions on commercial signs

CBC News

Richmond city council debated Monday the merits of a bylaw that would require all new commercial signs to include an official Canadian language — comprising 50 percent of the sign — but did not take the decision to a vote.

In a crowded council room, Richmond residents on both sides of the debate expressed their concerns in strongly worded, sometimes emotional statements. …

Richmond mayor Malcolm Brodie voted against McNulty’s proposed amendment last week. He said that when the issue was previously discussed, city staff found only 13 out of over 1,500 commercial signs in Richmond failed to include an English or French translation. …

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Celebrating development of world-class community centre in Richmond’s new gateway community

Indo-Canadian Voice

Celebration of the City Centre, Community Centre North development was held by Yuanheng Holdings Ltd. on June 10. Joined by guests, including officials from three levels of the Canadian government and the Consulate General of China in Vancouver.

The president of Yuanheng announced the contribution of a world-class community centre to the City of Richmond at the ViewStar presentation center. Malcolm Brodie, Mayor of Richmond, and Liu Fei, Chinese Consul General in Vancouver, both acknowledged the remarkable contribution of Yuanheng to the community. …

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Opinion: Farmland speculation: The buck stops with municipal politicians

Vancouver Sun

In his May 26 article, Postmedia reporter Sam Cooper noted that the B.C. government’s decision to exempt farmland from the 15-per-cent foreign buyers tax is fuelling runaway speculation on property in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

He also noted that several other provincially sponsored tax breaks have been contributing to an agricultural land rush in the Metro Vancouver area — lower property taxes on farmland that meets minimal production levels, a 50-per-cent break on school and transportation taxes, and an exemption from the property transfer tax if the constructed home is occupied by a family member for at least a year before it is sold. …

Richmond has become ground zero in the struggle over farmland preservation. (Cooper mentioned the municipality 21 times in his article.) Several years ago, Richmond council, with mayor Malcolm Brodie at the helm, floated a proposal to limit house size, but buckled under pressure from farmers who don’t want any regulations that might compromise their land values, and more specifically from Indo-Canadian farmers who claim they need extra-large houses to accommodate their extended working families. That has left the gate wide open for developers and speculators. …

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The sign debate is back on in Richmond, B.C.

Global News

For a third time in just over three years, city councillors in Richmond are mulling over making English or French compulsory on business signs.

The sign bylaw amendment calls for at least half of the wording on a business sign to be in one of Canada’s official languages.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie is against the idea, saying it could send a message to newcomers that Richmond is not inclusive.

“The newcomers are going to see this as some kind of an edict; that you have to have English on the signs (and) that will lead to other ways in which you’ll be predetermined as to how you have to act and operate.” …

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Rick Hansen lauds his home city for accessibility work

Richmond News

The Rick Hansen Foundation didn’t have to look far to find one of its three winners of its inaugural Accessible Cities Award.

Richmond, along with Winnipeg and Edmonton, were honoured by the foundation for leading in promoting universal access for people with disabilities.

The Richmond-based foundation said the City of Richmond has a holistic and dedicated approach to access.

“Since the 1980s, it has adopted policies to improve accessibility, and today, access and inclusion are themes embedded throughout City planning documents, which emphasize the need for accessible and inclusive neighbourhoods to facilitate aging in place, improve access to services and respond to community members of all abilities,” noted the foundation, via a news release.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie said as much, noting planners incorporate accessibility features in their urban designs. …

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Mandatory English on signs could be on the way in Richmond

Richmond News

At least 50 per cent English on business signs in Richmond could be on the way, after a surprising turn of events at city hall Monday afternoon.

City council and staff were debating the merits of a proposed, new sign regulation bylaw — which focused mainly on de-cluttering storefronts of ads and streamlining the sign application process — when Coun. Bill McNulty insisted that future signage should have at least 50 per cent of one of Canada’s official languages.

Motivating McNulty to move the amendment was the weight of nearly 200 comments received during public consultation at the end of last year, with the majority of the feedback pointing to an apparent dearth of English on business signs across the city.

Before his amendment went around the table, however, Mayor Malcolm Brodie reminded council that city lawyers have already warned them that any move to demand English or French on business signs may fall foul of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (charter) and be challenged in the courts.

The warning failed to deter McNulty, who moved on with his amendment, which was successfully passed, with councillors Carol Day, Alexa Loo, Ken Johnston and Harold Steves voting in favour. The mayor, along with councillors Derek Dang, Chak Au and Linda McPhail, all voted against the move.

The amended bylaw proposal will now go to a full council meeting next Monday, ahead of a public hearing, possibly later this month. …

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Language restrictions proposed for Richmond’s new sign bylaw

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says he’s surprised his council wants to revisit a potential bylaw on the language used on business signs.

Monday’s discussion about the city’s new sign bylaw was focused mainly on decluttering windows and clarifying the types of signs allowed, until the introduction of a surprise amendment from Coun. Bill McNulty.

His amendment called for the sign bylaw to mandate “that all future signage require a minimum of 50 per cent of one of Canada’s official languages.”

The motion passed five to four, with Brodie voting against it.

“I was surprised that this idea came up again because as far as I was concerned we had thoroughly debated this issue a couple of years ago,” Brodie said. “So this was a fork in the road.” …

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