Year in review: Election surprise

Richmond News

It wasn’t quite the seismic city council shift caused by the Terra Nova furor of the 1990s, but the 2018 municipal election heralded a significant changing of the guard, nonetheless.

Out went veteran incumbents Derek Dang and Ken Johnston and in came the fresh faces of Steveston resident Kelly Greene and school teacher Michael Wolfe. …

Malcolm Brodie, once again, cruised to victory in the so-called “race” for mayor, brushing aside his nearest challenger, Roy Sakata, with consummate ease and a more than 22,000-vote margin. …

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Council salaries to increase significantly in 2019

Richmond News

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie’ salary will go up between $35,000 and $39,000 in 2019 to compensate for losing a federal tax exemption for one-third of his salary.

A motion by Coun. Kelly Greene to cancel large pay increases for mayor and council was defeated at last Wednesday’s council meeting but another motion to allow councillors to waive their increase passed. …

taff is recommending the increase to the mayor’s salary as well as an increase between $9,000 and $12,000 for councillors after their federal tax exemption of one-third of their salary was cancelled.

Brodie called the decision by the federal government to cut the one-third tax exemption, a subsidy to municipalities, “regrettable.” He added that the previous salary levels were based on having the tax exemption, and this is a salary “adjustment,” not a “raise.” …

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Stewart, West named as Metro reps on Municipal Finance Authority

Tri-City News

A number of Tri-City politicians are on Metro Vancouver board committees next year.

But a few are also serving as Metro Vancouver representatives on external agencies.

This month, the board appointed Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart and Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West as two of 10 Metro directors on the Municipal Finance Authority, the central borrower that’s tasked to review financing requests from B.C. regional councils and authorize the issue and sale of securities; it meets twice a year in Victoria. …

And Coquitlam Coun. Craig Hodge is the alternate rep to Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie on the National Zero Waste Council, a leadership board with the goal to advance waste prevention in Canada; it meets four times a year. …

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No solutions for tunnel replacement until 2020

Richmond News

Solutions to congestion in Richmond at the George Massey Tunnel won’t be solved any time soon – the province said its next steps will be to consult with municipalities and First Nations and present a business case on three possible solutions in the fall of 2020.

The proposed solutions are an eight-lane bridge, a six-lane bridge or an eight-lane tunnel, which would have fewer negative impacts and be less expensive than a bridge, according to the ministry’s press release.

While he’s not happy about the timeline on the George Massey Tunnel replacement, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the previous government didn’t listen to their concerns when city staff meet about a proposed 10-lane bridge.

Some of the concerns that the city of Richmond brought up with the previous provincial government were the loss of farmland, the number of lanes, a “Los Angeles-style freeway” in south Richmond with “unbelievably massive and complicated” on and off ramps onto Steveston Highway, and environmental concerns for the river, Brodie said. In addition, a large part of a park planned on the former Fantasy Gardens lands would have been appropriated for the project. …

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Fred Lee’s Social Network: Richmond Christmas Fund’s Not So Silent Night

The Londoner

The reality is not every family’s Christmas will be merry and bright. Many face financial hardships during this so-called festive period. Each year, the Richmond Christmas Fund operated by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives does its best to help families in need, offering support, a warm meal and gifts under the tree. That number totalled some 2,100 families last year. First started by Ethel Tibbits back in the 1930s, the program relies almost entirely on donations from the community.

The Audi Richmond Showroom recently played host to A Not So Silent Night, Richmond Christmas Fund’s newest fundraiser. The merrymaker — sponsored by Audi, TD Bank and the Pacific Gateway Hotel — attracted the city’s who’s who to the Richmond Auto Mall for the holiday merrymaker. More than 300 kind-hearted folks turned out for the event’s debut on a rain soaked night. …

Luminaries in attendance included MLAs John Yap and Teresa Wat; Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, RCMP Superintendent Will Ng; Richmond News publisher Alvin Chow; TD Wealth Management’s Lee Howarth; PLLR Lawyers Tom Russell; Panatch Group President Kush Panatch; Craft Collective Beer CEO Andrew Harris; River Rock Casino Resort VP Chuck Keeling, and Gary, Rand and Ryan Cowell, owners of Audi Richmond. …

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Mayors’ Council approves TransLink’s 15-month timeline to plan new Surrey SkyTrain

Daily Hive

A tumultuous Mayors’ Council meeting today ended with TransLink management being provided with the approval they need to start planning for the Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension.

The region’s mayors voted to approve TransLink’s work plan for the 16-km-long project, which has an estimated 15-month timeline to reach the milestone of completing a business plan. The South of Fraser rapid transit strategy will also be refreshed to reflect the cancellation of the Surrey Newton-Guildford light rail transit project (LRT) and adoption of SkyTrain on the Fraser Highway. …

A request from Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie to have the City of Surrey pay for some of the estimated $57 million spent by TransLink on LRT planning was also approved, with support from even Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. However, the amendment on the municipal government covering “unnecessarily expended” costs was only approved after changes were made to not include a specific dollar figure and to allow Surrey to provide in-kind compensation — such as land value and other benefits — instead of solely cash.

Brodie, one of the most vocal critics on the board of the switch to SkyTrain, also posed questions over whether Surrey residents truly wanted SkyTrain over LRT. McCallum argued this is the case. …

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Mayors’ Council votes to proceed with planning for Surrey SkyTrain extension

Global News

The Surrey SkyTrain took another step towards becoming a reality at the TransLink Mayors’ Council meeting on Thursday, despite its total funding still considered up in the air.

The mayors voted to allow TransLink staff to proceed with planning and project development for the project, which would see a 16-kilometre Expo Line extension to Langley.

The work plan that was approved projects at least part of the extension could be up and running by 2025. …

n response to questions from members, including Richmond Mayor Malcom Brodie, of whether the majority of residents wanted the change, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said 80 per cent of people in Surrey wanted SkyTrain, calling the recent civic election a “referendum” on LRT. …

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Metro mayors tell Surrey to pay for cost of abandoned LRT

Vancouver Sun

Surrey will have to compensate TransLink for the money the transit authority has already spent on the suspended Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail project.

Members of TransLink’s Mayors’ Council approved a resolution to that effect on Thursday, and also voted to have staff begin planning for a SkyTrain project down Fraser Highway. …

“I have a number of concerns about the cost, and particularly about the costs that we are throwing away,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “If there’s one area where TransLink over the years has been criticized heavily … it is the entire question of cost containment and the wise use of resources.”

Brodie called on Surrey to pay back the money. The council agreed that Surrey would have to compensate TransLink for “all work plan costs unnecessarily expended to date” at the time the city signs a memorandum of understanding with TransLink for the new SkyTrain. A dollar figure was not attached in case the amount changes. …

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Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans Surrey will have to ‘compensa

Surrey Now-Leader

Metro Vancouver mayors took one more step along the road to SkyTrain on Fraser Highway at their meeting on Thursday.

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted to “proceed immediately with planning and project development work” for SkyTrain along Fraser Highway.

The vote followed heated, divisive debate over if Surrey should be allowed to completely rejig South of the Fraser transit plans. …

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie cited both delegations at the meeting and the emails he “received from people in Surrey” that showed dissent.

“What do we really know about what the people of Surrey want?” Brodie asked, citing pre-election consultation work that showed support for light rail. …

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City of Richmond seeks public feedback as it vies for $10 million prize

Richmond News

t’s morning. The alarm’s gone off and you reach for your phone – scrolling through notifications, reading messages, checking the news. An alert pops up to tell you about traffic delays, bill payment deadlines and weather alerts. All the information you need to start your day is at your fingertips, on one device.

This connectivity is at the heart of Richmond’s Smart Cities vision, where the city is vying for one of two $10 million prizes to use data and technology to improve residents’ lives. Richmond is one of 10 finalists in its category, and now, the city is looking for feedback from the public on its project proposal.

“As part of the Canada-wide Smart Cities competition, we are identifying ways to enhance the daily lives of residents through innovation, data and connected technology,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

“Of most importance will be the creation of a successful model to integrate all levels of government, while we encourage partnerships across the private sector and academia to foster improved community resilience during major emergencies.” …

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