After years of debate, the Evergreen Line transit project is finally pulling out of the station
It’s that time of year when columnists and pundits reflect upon the many notable issues that generated headlines since last January. What follows is a shortlist of urban affairs stories that were top newsmakers in 2011.
Leading the pack was the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff run where the team came within a hair of bringing home the Stanley Cup in June. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of their loss, a major riot broke out resulting in millions of dollars worth of damage. To date, only a handful of charges have been laid with hundreds more anticipated in 2012.
Many of us were also saddened to learn that Dianne Watts, the popular Surrey mayor, fell off a horse and broke her back while on vacation this summer. To her credit, after a brief hospital stay, she was back on her feet and ready to govern – albeit she still hasn’t fully recovered from the injury.
Another headline grabber was the announcement that Metro Vancouver mayors finally approved a new two-cent gas tax to fund the controversial Evergreen Line. This rapid transit service connecting Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam Centre is set to beg operational sometime in 2016.
Premier Christy Clark also caught the attention of civic politicians when she made good on a promise to establish a new Municipal Auditor General. You can anticipate a few embarrassing reports on city spending to be tabled in the very near future.
A few mayors and councillors also ended their political careers in 2011. In the case of COPE’s David Cadman, he narrowly lost an internal nomination battle. Two months later his party suffered a crushing defeat on election day.
Meanwhile in Surrey, longtime city councillor Bob Bose was defeated and announced he was retiring from politics after first getting elected back in 1976.
In Port Moody, former mayor Joe Trasolini retired from civic politics to ostensibly allow for renewal at city hall. But he shocked almost everyone by announcing a short time later that he was joining the NDP and would be running to become the local member of the Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile a major shift is occurring over at the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Delta Mayor Lois Jackson stepped down as chair of the board and was replaced by Greg Moore, the Port Coquitlam mayor. Perhaps more importantly Johnny Carline, Chief Administrative Officer, the most powerful civic bureaucrat in the region, said he would be vacating his post early in 2012.
It’s truly been a rewarding experience joining the 24 Hours Vancouver team this year and writing about urban issues. I wish you all the best of the season.
- Post by Daniel.You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus. This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Thursday, December 22, 2011.