Incinerator issue flares up again in Sapperton

Late last week, word leaked out about a new proposal for a waste-to-energy incinerator in Sapperton — the third or fourth proposal in recent memory (we’ve kind of lost track — this incinerator thing is kind of like an undead zombie that can’t be killed).

Needless to say, the residents of Sapperton and elsewhere in the city are expressing renewed concern and there are more questions than answers at this point.

You can read about the proposal here, and we understand city council is receiving the proposal at a meeting today.

Companies are certainly well within their right to submit proposals to the city. However, more than one person has pointed out that the wording of the proponent’s cover letter to the city suggests that the city may have solicited the proposal in some way.

Once again, consistent with the position we’ve taken in previous postings on this topic, the Mayor needs to come clean on his waste-to-energy dreams for the city.

Was this proposal sought out by the city? How does all of this factor into the UBE?

And given the fact that extensive consultations need to take place for any waste-to-energy proposal, what impact does this proposal have on the tight timelines connected to the federal government funding for the UBE?

The questions are certainly many but the answers are few and this has lead to an intense level of distrust around the whole issue. So stay tuned for more as this seemingly unending incinerator saga continues to unfold.

Voice congratulates all Federal candidates

Our congratulations to Peter Julian, Fin Donnelly and all of the other candidates who stood for election to Parliament for New Westminster.

Standing for election and putting oneself through the rigours of an election campaign is not for the faint of heart. And everyone who does stand deserves to be publicly recognized and commended.

We also want to acknowledge the dedicated volunteers who helped these candidates through the election process. Without the efforts of these volunteers, campaigns would not be possible.

Again, we commend all of the candidates and their supporters for the commitment they’ve shown to the democratic process and to the service of our community.

A citizen asks: “where’s the briefs?”

A local resident has informed the Express editorial team that there’s nowhere in New Westminster’s Uptown area to buy men’s underwear.

This may seem like a small issue to many readers of the Express, but it may be indicative of deeper issues in the local retail community.

Women’s underwear is apparently readily available in the Uptown. And dollar stores seem to abound. But “where’s the briefs?”

We’ll admit that men’s underwear and its availability is not something we’ve really thought much about before.

But you would think, in a city the size of New Westminster, that a well-functioning commercial area would be able to meet consumer demand for a basic item like men’s underwear.

So we really do need to ask: Is there is an uncracked niche market for men’s underwear just itching to wedge itself into the Uptown?

We don’t know the answer to that question. But if anyone knows if or where you can buy men’s underwear in the Uptown, please let us know.

If the absence of men’s underwear can be ascertained beyond the shadow of a doubt then it may just be a canary in a coal mine indicative of a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.

Peace, order and good government

As everyone knows, Canada was founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… No, wait… That’s the United States.

Canada was actually founded on quite different principles: Peace, order and good government.

On a civic level, these broad principles of peace, order and good government are ones that many people can get behind and support. And in many ways, these are the very same principles that Voice New Westminster was founded on.

If nothing else, Voice New Westminster has proven that people from different political perspectives on a federal and provincial level can find much common ground on a civic level.

Civic issues are very immediate and direct and they cut across political lines: Should a road be widened here or there or not at all? Where should new schools go? Should the city spend money on this project or that one? What level of taxation do the city’s residents and businesses feel is appropriate and bearable? How should the school board allocate its resources?

These are questions best answered through informed community consensus and that’s what Voice has sought to achieve.

After all, good decision-making never results when decisions are made by a select few in the absence of open, honest consultation and thorough discussion with the public.

There’s an endless supply of examples we could provide to illustrate this point, but the recent controversy surrounding the United Boulevard Extension, and whether the city agreed or didn’t agree with the City of Coquitlam to move forward with the project, is a prime example.

And contrary to what one commentator has suggested, seeking transparency and accountability in public affairs is not some sort of sinister gimmick being employed in a cynical way to disguise negative shots. Pointing out the foibles and the errors of decision-makers and their decisions is essential to the process of achieving peace, order and good government in a community.

If the emperors-that-be aren’t wearing any clothes, the citizens must say so. Mindlessly applauding the emperors-that-be and agreeing that their non-existent new clothes are truly wondrous serves no purpose other than pure sycophancy. What our city needs is clearheaded thinking, honest, open-eyed discussion and an end to the apathy that holds us back.

Ultimately, no public good comes when the public’s business is conducted in the shadows and special interest agendas are allowed to replace the interests of the community. Peace, order and good government can only be achieved when light is allowed to shine in.

And that is what Voice was formed to bring about; because nothing good grows in the absence of light, transparency, accountability, and a strong voice for the community and its citizens.

Chris Bryan editorial is a “must read”

Chris Bryan’s editorial about Voice (and the evolving New Westminster political scene) in the October 28th Newsleader is a must read for anyone interested in local political affairs.

As Chris Bryan points out, not only is Voice alive and kicking and “a force to be reckoned with in 2011,” Voice is actively gearing up for the next civic election which is now just a year away.

To paraphrase an obvious and famously apt quote attributed to Mark Twain/Samuel Clemons: Reports of the death of Voice have been greatly exaggerated; and it’s pure wishful thinking on the part of those with an interest in maintaining the status quo here in New Westminster to imagine that Voice is dead.

And, as more and more people are starting to point out, holding elected officials to account, raising important issues and challenging the status quo are essential to the political process and not “negatives” as some would have it.

However, as Chris Bryan very correctly points out, Voice was just a year old at the time of the last civic election, and like any young, vital organization Voice is always learning and evolving and we appreciate any and all feedback.

After all, Voice is based on the premise that the community’s interests are best served when a diversity of views and opinions are brought to bear on issues and a broad public consensus is achieved. And what we’re ultimately striving for are the optimal solutions that flow from open and transparent public processes that have accountability and “value for money” as key guiding principles.

Chris Bryan’s passion for New Westminster is readily apparent, and as always, Voice is open to feedback and critical analysis of our organization and our actions in the community because that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Sapperton Day: Another Community Success Story

Congratulations to the Sapperton Day Street Festival organizers for another fantastic Sapperton Day Festival. The event was masterminded by the Sapperton Business Association’s directors Guy Ciprian and Marnie Kurylo.

Once again Wesgroup and co-hosts the McBride Sapperton Residents’ Association (MSRA) along with their volunteer staff started the day off with the event’s pancake breakfast. The pancake breakfast is really a great example of residents, developer, and other local businesses working together for the benefit of the community. Many local businesses, some outside of New Westminster, donated supplies for the breakfast.

Local realtor, Steve Kasper, could be seen flipping pancakes while MSRA directors mixed batter, flipped pancakes, cooked sausages and served breakfasts. The MSRA reported that they served over 400 breakfasts and raised over $1600 for the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. This year, because of the ongoing street work some new entertainment was incorporated while others were not able to be a part of the event. Highlights of the day included the Vancouver Circus School & its “Inner Ring”, the Knot’s, the Real Canadian Rock Band, Korki the Clown, Extreme Trike Race (sponsored by Caps) Silent Auction, The Sapperton Royal Express Train, Tin Lizzie Donuts and over 97 local vendors.

Throughout the day the Silent Auction generated over $1400 for the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. The MSRA directors sold 50/50 tickets, draws were held every hour on the hour, to raise funds for the E. Columbia Sidewalk Mosaics that will be incorporated into the new sidewalks. The MSRA reported that their 50/50 sales raised $670 for the mosaic project. The Sapperton Business Association is projecting that the event raised between $9,000 and $10,000 for the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundatin, the event charity.

Organizers have received compliments from city council, local media and more importantly the Sapperton residents. They have also received reports back from the police that they were impressed the event went off, once again, with out any situations. Shaw’s, “The Express”, did a remote broadcast which was aired June 15th. Attendance again hit a record capacity.

Special thanks to Senator Yonah Martin, announcer John Ashbridge, Adam Popowitz, SASS and the Teamsters (local 31).